Imagine a world without fire, where light, cooking, heating, everything has to come from somewhere else as humanity has grown around the fear of the flame instead of its utility. The world of The Fire Hunter has seen countless wars which have driven human biology to change so drastically that when a person is close to a natural flame they spontaneously combust. To enjoy light or steam humanity has moved on to a new source of energy, a stone-shaped material that emits light and steam that exists within the bodies of monsters that inhabit monsters in the forest.
Those tasked with collecting this new material are known as fire hunters, and our story follows a young girl Touko as she is saved from such a monster by a fire hunter that gives his life to save Touko. However, she is followed by the hunter’s dog Kanata and journeys to return him and the fire hunter’s sickle to his relatives. Meanwhile, the fire hunter’s son Koushi and his sister are adopted by a wealthy family where they begin to learn more about the country’s ruling royal family.
A Literal Novel Concept
The story of The Fire Hunter is based on a novel series of the same name written by Rieko Hinata and illustrated by Akihiro Yamada, and it really shines through in the anime adaptation. Worldbuilding in anime often suffers from over-complicated exposition dumps from characters that detract from the mood of the story, but The Fire Hunter world is built up using similar tools to a novel through environmental inferences, context clues, and descriptive storytelling. In anime, this plays out even better than in a novel with the world’s visualisation giving all the environmental description that is needed.
This can be best viewed through the colour palette which is dark in tone and saturated to feel earthy in a world without flame. The art style is reminiscent of that from an early 2000’s anime, and it suits the story’s atmosphere perfectly as the backgrounds make you feel humanity’s struggle for this new energy source but through the story of Touko, there begin to be brighter colours as she journeys in this world.
So far the story for The Fire Hunter anime is a simple one, with Touko’s journey being clear cut from the get-go in the first episode, as she leaves her home village for the first time. However, this journey is a typical story for anime with the antagonist encountering conflicts along the way but as it is cut in between with the story of Koushi and his sister learning about the world’s political system, history, and context brings to life Touko’s side of the story as she uncovers more about the world through fresh eyes. This can be seen with the train Touko takes to the next big city as she is accompanied by women being sent off to be brides, showing that life in the villages is very different to the big city and what could have been if Touko stayed at home.
The Fire Hunter anime is a fresh look at an older form of storytelling as an adaptation of a novel that has not been common within anime over the last few years. It also goes to show the wealth of storytelling that lies within such descriptive narratives as the world is brought to life on the screen, and the excellent use of a saturated colour palette builds the perfect atmosphere for the story being told. What have you thought of The Fire Hunter anime adaptation? Are you looking forward to seeing the rest of this world and Touko’s story? Let us know in the comments!