The Summer 2020 Preview Guide
Fire Force Season 2
How would you rate episode 1 of
Fire Force (TV 2) ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
I was critical of a lot of Fire Force's missteps back when I reviewed its fun but very flawed first season. A lot of that was the burden of expectation – the first handful of episodes established a high bar of suspense, characterization, and world-building that the series as a whole doesn't actually make a habit of prioritizing. When you take lost potential out of the equation, though, Fire Force was always an anime that I liked, but wanted to <i>love</i>. For every great joke, warm character moment, or badass action scene, though, Fire Force would just as often stumble against its own clumsy plotting, weak pacing, and downright irritating treatment of certain female characters, specifically Tamaki. Still, when Fire Force is –ahem – firing on all cylinders, it can be a spectacularly thrilling, goofy, and damned entertaining anime.
This Season 2 premiere, then, perhaps represents a near-perfect ideal for new and old viewers alike, even though it is an almost completely standalone story that delegates all of the plot-critical stuff that happened last season to a couple of line of Shinra's inner-monologue. That one scene, where Shinra reflects on how carefree everyone is acting even though they all recently descended into a subterranean nightmare world and Shinra himself was almost murdered by his super-powered little brother, is Fire Force holding up its hands and telling its audience: “Don't worry. We'll get to all that serious stuff in due time. For now, though, enjoy this fight with a giant Infernal that reintroduces all of the main characters in a badass action scene, and also a whole mess of gloriously stupid workplace comedy shenanigans about weird hats and nude calendars.”
So, for anyone like me who is a little foggy on all of the characters we met in the first two dozen episodes of Fire Force, this premiere has got you covered. Don't expect any progress whatsoever when it comes to the core plot of the show, but that's not what this episode is about. It's about showing off how legitimately cool and heroic Company 8 can be when the Infernals are out tearing up civilization, and its also about reminding us that these same pyrokinetic superheroes are also, no fooling, the stupidest dorks alive. Lt. Hinawa is so functionally useless at fashion that he doesn't know he's being pranked when the girls dress him up in pink-bunny booty shorts, disco shoulder blades, and a rabbit-eared hat that says “Nudist Bitch”. Later, Shinra spends the entire rest of the episode getting lectured on the Fire Force's extremely competitive annual nude calendar competition. Is this a convenient way to review every single Fire Company and Fire Force member we've met so far? Sure. Is it also a gleefully weird and silly waste of time on the creators' parts? Hell yes, and I loved the episode for it. Fire Force will probably continue to irk me with its Bad Fanservice (as opposed to this episodes Very Good Fanservice), and I'm sure the plot will have plenty of speed bumps just like last year, but this premiere was a perfect reminder that I actually like Fire Force, when all is said and done, and I am looking forward to seeing where this second half of the series takes us.
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