Obi meets with Karim, Hibana, and Konro to discuss the Knights of the Ashen Flame and how they should move forward. Licht investigates the battle site, looking for clues, while Shinra and Arthur see Benimaru for some training.
What did you watch?
The last episode of Fire Force brought the Vulcan arc to a close and now that he’s a part of the eighth he’s quick to get to work developing new weapons for them to fight Infernals with. As such, episode 18 is a chance for some reflection and planning. But then, they can’t just leave Arthur and Shinra sitting around, so let’s get them doing some training and who better to put them through their paces than Benimaru! As with all the reviews in this series, I am joined by Yomu from Umai Yomu Anime Blog. There will also be spoilers, but it’s a training arc, so probably not many.
Captain Obi as joined by Karim from the First, Hibana from the Fifth, and Konro from the Seventh so that they can exchange their findings on the Knights of the Ashen Flame. It doesn’t appear that they have any new information however other than Giovanni had fled along with several others from his company, although Hajime had replaced him with someone else claiming to be Giovanni. The real news was that Arthur and Shinra weren’t ready to take on the Ashen Knights and need to get some training in.
Licht headed to the latest battle scene and started collecting evidence, hoping to find something useful. Joker met him there to discuss Shinra and how he needed to find a way to make him stronger and fast. Benimaru, however, was already putting Arthur and Shinra through their paces when Licht showed up and offered a suggestion that Shinra could try concentrating his flame into a jet to be more efficient. Benimaru then offered some advice on how Shinra may be able to do that.
So, Yomu, welcome back. We’d been hoping for a more relaxed episode, but there wasn’t a shower in sight, not even a hot tub! What even is this show? Anyhow, it’s Yomu’s turn to go first as always Yomu will be in bold.
What did you think?
Well, we got to see Benimaru again in what was basically an expedited training arc for Shinra and Arthur, and then Maki also levelled up with some new tech Vulcan created to make her flames more combat viable. Personally, I really like training arcs.. but oftentimes I find them too short! A single episode isn’t enough! I want to see more struggle, more interesting training methods, more depiction of the progress made… Regardless, it was a fun episode with some good banter and comedic moments!
I was a little underwhelmed by the training arc. It didn’t really feel like anything had happened, but mostly I was annoyed that the episode title didn’t mean what I thought it would mean. I was expecting to find out why some people have pyrokinetic abilities and how they work, but all we got was Benimaru talking about chi and hand gestures to represent different parts of the body.
What was your favourite moment?
I really liked the scenes of Hibana being domineering towards that 1st Squad guy, don’t remember his name. I actually quite appreciate how they’ve managed to keep that aspect of her character and show it when Shinra isn’t around. Many times female characters lose traits like that once they’ve fallen for someone, and just transform into that character that is obsessed with their love and nothing else.
Yeah, when he offered to sit on the floor in jest and she was sure, you do that. I think Hibana has been my all-around favourite character in the series. That aside, I enjoyed the interaction between Litch and Joker. They seem to be fairly close and talk as if their friends, which makes both that much more interesting.
What was your least favourite moment?
Once again we’re reminded of Arthur’s confusing existence, as he seemed totally incompetent this episode. Even if it is training, he’s such an odd character. Is he strong or not? Does he know something we don’t, or is he just an idiot? He goes from being able to take on some of the Evangelist soldiers to a bumbling idiot. I just can’t get a read on this guy, and I really just wish I had something to go off of for him!
I’m just still annoyed that I didn’t find out anything about pyrokinesis. That’s false advertising right there. Otherwise, it all felt a bit boring and even the training didn’t have the intensity that a lot of training arcs have.
Who was your favourite character?
Hibana. As mentioned previously, I really like how she’s retained her original personality traits as much as she has, instead of just becoming a cliche lovestruck damsel.
Agreed. Hibana rules. It’s great that she is still the same masochistic princess as when we first met her, despite the Shinra obsession. It also was nice to see a little more of Maki too, although even that wasn’t really enough.
Who was your least favourite character?
For the most part, it was Arthur, because he just didn’t do anything this episode. It was supposed to be a training episode, rushed as it was, but he didn’t seem to gain or learn anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just tell us next episode that he learned some new technique or something off-screen, which would be a pretty weak way to go about things considering this was the training episode…
I feel like it’s guaranteed, especially as Benimaru told him that his attacks were his finishing move while Shinra had to develop some new move.
I’m going with Benimaru because the training was uninventive and I failed to see how anyone got anything from it.
Would you like some more?
Yeah, I’d still like some more. I would have liked more training, specifically more in-depth training. I feel like this was one of the weakest training episodes I’ve seen in quite some time, many other shows have done a better job even with only a single episode. It’s unfortunate because my ears perk up whenever I hear “training” in a shounen anime, but this episode was a letdown for that.
Either way, I’d like to see this series to its conclusion. Now I wonder if they are really going to dial up the pacing and just dive right into the final confrontations with the Evangelist now that the team has “levelled up”, using this single afternoon of training as reasoning for why Shinra can now fight on equal footing with Sho.
I feel like there’s no way we’ll get a resolution in the next six episodes and we’re staring at a second season, if it gets one. It’s a weird one for me because I do like the show and the premise behind it, but for whatever reason, it’s not really doing it for me. Like you, I want to see it through the end though. I just feel like we need more story.
I worry that they are going to attempt to wrap up everything in those next 6 episodes. The Evangelist storyline, at least. This episode felt very rushed, and it makes me think that this trend will continue… It’s interesting to think back to when the series first started, and we had entire episodes of basically no action and little development, that served sort of like “breaks” in-between action-heavy episodes. Now it’s like they don’t have enough time for that style anymore.
Maybe I’m being too cynical though, as this is mostly based off this one episode. But we’ll see soon enough if they try to spark another engagement between Shinra and Sho, and Shinra is somehow able to hold his own now. That’d be the biggest indicator that they are rushing things I think.
Agreed. There’s no way Shinra is as strong as Sho after that. He’s not even stronger than Benimaru or Leonard Burns from the first, and Sho would destroy them.
For me, there’s still a ton of world-building that I want to see and understand and I don’t see that coming to be and the Evangelist being defeated too. I think they’ve tried to be too ambitious and we’re going to be left with a mostly unfinished story, which will be a shame.
Hopefully, this doesn’t become another tragic example of poor pacing and a rushed ending. It’s so much better to end on a good note without compromising episodic quality than it is to rush through in order to ensure that “epic” conclusion. A rushed ending only leaves a sour taste in the viewer’s mouth and kills any chance of a sequel. I’d take a big cliffhanger any day over a rushed ending that glosses over everything.
Absolutely and I’ve seen a few of those where if the season had had another four or five episodes it would have been so much better, but a rushed ending can really dampen your views on the series as a whole.
Fire Force just needs to give us some answers and find another way to end this season on a climactic note without jumping straight to the final boss. I think it’d be better to save the Evangelist as a cliffhanger for another potential season, just knowing that he’s still a threat works well.
How’s this for an ending: A confrontation with Joker, where we learn some more juicy info about what’s going on, and then Joker unofficially joins the team?
He seems like a more reasonable end for this season, given his power level is much more in line with Shinra.
That would work for me. If only to find out more about the Joker and what he’s trying to do. He’s obviously insanely powerful and even he had a hard time with Sho, who knows what the Evangelist is like… unless it’s Ruffles the third!
Haha, I’m thinking more along the lines of Burns for the Evangelist personally.
He was there when Sho disappeared!
I completely missed that, to be honest. I haven’t even thought about him much since when we first met him, aside from the fact that he is one of the more powerful characters in the world.
Other reviews in the series
- Season One
- Episode 1 – Shinra Kusakabe Enlists
- Episode 2 – The Heart of a Fire Soldier
- Episode 3 – The Rookie Fire Soldier Games
- Episode 4 – The Hero and the Princess
- Episode 5 – The Battle Begins
- Episode 6 – The Spark of Promise
- Episode 7 – The Investigation of the 1st Commences
- Episode 8 – Infernal Insects
- Episode 9 – The Spreading Malice
- Episode 10 – The Promise
- Episode 11 – Formation of Special Fire Force Company 8 – The Mightiest Hikeshi
- Episode 12 – Eve of Hostilities in Asakusa
- Episode 13 – The Trap Is Set
- Episode 14 – For Whom the Flames Burn
- Episode 15 – The Blacksmith’s Dream
- Episode 16 – We Are Family
- Episode 17 – Black and White and Gray
- Episode 18 – The Secrets of Pyrokinesis
- Episode 19 – Into the Nether