Burning Bigger and Brighter
- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Action, Supernatural, Shounen
- Airing Date : David Production
- Producers : July 2020 – December 2020
About Fire Force Season 2
If you’re reading this, it’s most definitely because you’ve seen the first season of En En no Shouboutai (Fire Force) and enjoyed it like we did. After Shinra’s dramatic encounter with his little brother, Sho, in the region below the Empire known as the Nether, more information about Adolla Bursts and Adolla itself comes to the fore.
Shinra seeks to unravel the mysteries of Adolla and the Evangelist, while trying to find a way to turn Infernals back into regular people; however, things are a lot more complicated than he could have imagined, with the very foundations of society being built around a diabolical plan. The Evangelist wants to gather eight people in possession of an Adolla Burst and sacrifice them to cause another Great Cataclysm, like the one that gave the world its current appearance 250 years ago. With more individuals possessing an Adolla Burst being uncovered, Shinra is determined to protect them all and prevent disaster.
So, What’s the Truth?
In the first season of Fire Force, we learn of the strange bugs that induce Infernalisation when Rekka Hoshimiya, Lieutenant of Special Fire Force Company 1, is revealed to be part of the Evangelist’s plan to create pyrokinetics who possess an Adolla Burst. Hoshimiya’s most notable victim is the young Nataku Son, a child who is revealed to be one of many children being experimented on in a laboratory operated and owned by Haijima Industries. The company is the most pervasive in the Empire, with up to 70% of all industry being subsidiary to Haijima Industries. The company is also the one responsible for the maintenance of the Empire’s perpetual energy generator, Amaterasu, which is revealed to be powered through the subjugation of an individual who possesses an Adolla Burst. Speaking of Haijima, Viktor Licht, the Forensic Science officer of the 8th Company, is revealed to be a Haijima spy. Haijima seeks to create a second Amaterasu and requires an individual who possesses an Adolla Burst to make powering it possible.
The second season of Fire Force brings with it a host of revelations with regards to what is really happening in the story, particularly in relation to the establishment of the empire, the origin of the Infernals and more on Adolla, the realm with blackened flames once known to the world as “Hell”. One of the biggest reveals is the presence of otherworldly beings, particularly Raffles I, the creator apparent of both Amaterasu and the Holy Sol Empire. Both the Evangelist and Raffles are beings from Adolla who took on the positions of Raffles I and the Evangelist respectively, forming the Holy Sol Empire with the objective of gathering eight individuals with an Adolla Burst and sacrificing them to trigger a Great Cataclysm like the one that ravaged the world 250 years prior to the events of the series.
The first half of Season 2 introduces us to the 4th Company, where some interesting side characters are introduced. Standout characters include Ogun, who was in the same class as Shinra and Arthur at the academy. The most important character introduced to us from the 4th Company is Captain Hague, an individual who has experienced a life-changing battle against a demon. Throughout this season, Shinra’s contact with characters who have seen the hellish landscape of Adolla has caused him to see visions and hear voices otherwise known as an Adolla Link. These telepathic connections are available only to those with an Adolla Burst, and those who have experienced the utter fear that comes with facing off against a demon and seeing the blackened flames and landscape of Adolla itself.
Shinra’s most vivid visions feature a menacing woman who looks just like Sister Iris. Her musings have caused Shinra to lose control of his abilities and go on a rampage against Hague and members of the 4th Company. For the sake of convenience, we’ll call this instance “Demon Shinra”. Arthur, Ogun, Captain Hague and Lieutenant Pan combine their abilities to rein him in. Looking on at the events nearby are the most prominent members of the White-Clad, at least from a viewer’s perspective, Charon and Haumea, who reveal that this individual plaguing Shinra’s senses is none other than the first pillar.
The most pivotal part of the second season mostly takes place on the Chinese Peninsula, where talking animals are found on the harsh terrain. The Special Fire Force Company 8 runs into some incredibly powerful enemies, including a demon-class Infernal. They also discover a perpetual energy generator similar in design to the Empire’s Amaterasu, where Shinra experiences an Adolla Link with the woman draped in black. In Scop the mole’s explanation, this woman gave them flames that nourished and warmed them, blessing the terrain, and even repairing the once-derelict generator by giving herself up as a power source.
The best part of this season of Fire Force must be the vast expansion upon the world we were presented with in the first season, an improvement of the lore we were given in a way that brings up more questions as it answers them.
An incredibly striking aspect about the way that Fire Force’s story progresses is the similarity to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, in which a nation is constructed with the sole purpose of gathering individuals who fit a certain criterion to sacrifice them and cause great disaster. Shinra and the other pillars can be compared to the Elric Brothers and other characters who have seen “The Truth” in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe. Fire Force also features characters who lose a part of themselves after being exposed to this “Truth”. This construction of the Fire Force universe while undoubtedly something we’ve seen before, does not take away from the experience, especially when it comes to some of the intricacies of the Fire Force universe. This is great because it is the kind of story that encourages thinking and theorizing about the truth of this universe.
In the latter stages of this season, Fire Force pieces together the link between the characters who have seen Adolla – the Great Disaster of Solar Year 196. Many different characters came face to face with death in this event: Captain Hague received the scars across his face and experienced an Adolla Link; Kasugatani Inca discovered her flame-detection ability, which was later classified an Adolla Burst; both Joker and Captain Burns of the 1st Company lost an eye each after seeing Adolla; and Lieutenant Sagamiya Konro of the 7th Company fought a tough battle against a demon suspected to be his doppelgänger.
The battle left Konro scarred forever and suffering from tephrosis; however, as Captain Hibana puts it, Konro is a “hard as nails man”. Unfortunately, the second season of Fire Force does not get to explore this doppelgänger concept at length, but there was a strange moment when Shinra recalled the first pillar in Adolla while engaged in conversation with her lookalike, Sister Iris. Shinra shudders at the idea and quickly pushes it to the back of his mind, but this sets us up for something significant relating to the doppelgänger concept, which is quite exciting.
Fire Force Season 2 is ripe with flashy combat involving the 8th Company, but the fights that stood out the most to us were Shinra’s battle against Charon when he and Haumea had arrived to abduct Inca; Shinra vs the sadistic Kurono in the Haijima facility; the battle against the White-Clad demon on the Chinese Peninsula in which Shinra was granted a boost by the black-clad lady inside the generator – a state we love to call “Adolla-Blessed Shinra”. In this state, Shinra’s Rapid technique reached the speed of light in one of the flashiest, most exhilarating scenes in the series so far! However, special mention needs to go to one of the best supporting characters in the show so far – Juggernaut – who single-handedly defeated one of the powerful hooded members of the White-Clad, nearly losing his life in the process.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Fire Force in both seasons is the under-utilization of most of the main female cast, particularly the relegation of Captain Hibana in this past season. After her dramatic introduction and backstory in the first season, Fire Force has given Captain Hibana a spectator’s role despite her overwhelming abilities. This is reminiscent of the treatment of Juvia Lockser in the Fairy Tail series; a complete disregard for the growth of the character in favour of making her a slave to her affection for the protagonist.
However, season 2 of Fire Force had a few MVP moments for Oze Maki, as well as a slight improvement on the use of Kotatsu Tamaki as more than just a mule for fan service. Tamaki’s establishment as a sister, as well as the little bit of expansion upon her character in both backstory and present events was welcomed, albeit short. Her bravery in incredibly dangerous situations makes Tamaki one of the standout characters this season, but she and other female main characters in the story need to have their own brilliance highlighted in the ways we’ve seen side characters like Ogun and Juggernaut take centre-stage. Given her training with the 7th Company alongside Arthur and Shinra, we can hope to see a much more dazzling and powerful presence from Tamaki in the future.
Fire Force Season 2 was a dazzling exhibition of what can happen when a Shounen anime is done well, particularly with regards to story progression, hype, art and animation; however, there is still a lot that can be done with the interesting roster of unique characters. Fire Force can be hilarious at times, and this season it has managed to keep the comedy away from the more pivotal moments in the story. Characters are unique, quirky, and fun when they have to be, but there were a few brilliant MVP moments for many side characters. As mentioned before, Fire Force needs to improve its utilisation of its female main characters and allow them growth and importance separate from male characters, main or otherwise, for it to reach even greater heights. The evolution of characters like Tamaki, Hibana, as well as the non-combative Sister Iris is necessary to make Fire Force more than just good, but great. To bigger, better, and brighter flames – Látom.