Fire is one of mankind’s best friends, and worst enemies. Without it, we wouldn’t have left the caves. But out of control, it can devastate everything. In the world of Enen no Shoboutai, the danger that Fire presents is a bit worse, as almost 90% of the world has been eaten by fire and only a small portion of Japan is still habitable. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a new malady that preys on mankind: Death by Fire: a strange spontaneous combustion that turns its victims into fire monsters that destroy everything in their paths.
Fortunately, there’s a group of heroic people that will risk their lives to stop these Fire People, and at the same time, be as merciful as possible as they were once human and have families who love them. They are the Fire Brigade, and their mission is to save people’s lives and fight the Fire People, sometimes using the same powers that the fire sickness imparts.
As you can imagine, it takes serious guts to be a part of the Fire Brigade. Which means that choosing just 10 badass characters for this list was a difficult task. Just a word of warning, there are spoilers ahead.
10. Flame Widower
This character has no name, and is the second fire person we meet in the story. But despite this, and the fact that he is a very short-lived character, it is impossible to deny that he has more guts than many of the characters that come after him. One of the reasons why first generation flame people lose their conscious thoughts is because the transformation is incredibly painful: they are, effectively, being burnt alive. But this man, who had lost his wife to the spontaneous combustion disease a year prior, simply remained sitting at his dining room, waited for his daughter to arrive and call the Fire Brigade, and then waited for them to come to take him out of his misery without going insane or uttering a word.
As we said, he is a very short-lived character. He doesn’t appear in more than a dozen pages, and he barely moves. But due to the implications of the story –right when we meet him, and later as we understand more and more about of this universe- he becomes impossible to forget. He’s braver than some brigadiers, and certainly more badass than some of the long-lasting villains, and this is why, despite the fact that we never learn his name; he earns the tenth place on our list.
9. Rekka Hoshimiya, First Brigade Commander
We first meet Rekka as the trainer in the First Brigade Fighting Cathedral. He seems to be a really agreeable fellow, unlike other commanders, and is quite popular around the Cathedral. In particular, he is quite admired by the young Tamaki, who obeys his orders without question. He’s also a Third Generation flame user, who can generate flames through his arms, which makes him look incredibly intimidating, even if we don’t consider the fact that he is proficient in many martial arts. He is quite difficult to beat, and is one of the best fighters in the eight brigades, which makes it really bad for our heroes when he happens to be a traitor.
Rekka is charismatic, popular and joyful. Unfortunately, he’s also completely insane and believes that fire is the will of the Sol God and he wants to help the Preacher to find those humans who are “compatible” with what he calls the spark. And to find them, what he does is capture as many people as he can, and inject them with a bug that will make them transform into flame people to kill them immediately if they do. His victims include children, and he cruelly laughs at their pain if they fail to overcome the spontaneous combustion and become Second or Third Generation flame users.
Because of how nice he was at first, and how terrifying he becomes once his betrayal is discovered, he earns the ninth place on our list.
8. Sho Kusakabe of the Ash Flame Chivalric Order
One more warning here: Sho Kusakabe is a bit of a walking spoiler, so anything below this line will discuss one of the first big secrets of the series. Warning done, let’s discuss this Ash Flame member who has been raised by the Preacher of the Order from almost six months of age. This makes him almost fanatical in his beliefs that the humans must be turned into ash, and he will do anything for the only parent he has ever met. His power as a Third Generation even gives credence to the idea that the Ash Flame Order is protected by the Sol God, as he can control flames that look like feathers and angelic wings. He also has connections to the original flame, and that makes him even more valuable to the Preacher.
But what makes him an absolute badass is that he never once shows any emotion. He is a soldier through and through, and will even kill his own subordinates if they dare to try and betray the Order. When fighting the young brigadier that claims to be his brother, Sho doesn’t even blink. He has no family but the Preacher, and will die to make his words come true. And he isn’t even 13 years old yet.
Because of these reactions, Sho Kusakabe wins the eighth place on our list.
7. Leonard Burns, First Brigade Battalion Commander
Being in charge of a group that, no matter how nicely you try to explain it, dedicates their lives to killing innocent people who were afflicted by a terrible disease can’t be easy. To hold control of all the different personalities and politics of the eight Fire Brigades is not an easy task either, and managing the different political interests around the Fire Brigades seems impossible. Yet, that is what Leonard Burns does, or at least, part of what he does.
The way in which he keeps control isn’t the only thing that makes him impressive, his powers also make him look like a complete badass. He is a Third Generation who can control flames with his right eye, which is completely covered by a patch. He rarely moves his arms, always having them crossed, as if any fight was beneath him. Legend says he lost his eye when he looked straight into the light of Hell, and looking at him, you don’t doubt it. And while it may be true that he has a hidden agenda, one can’t deny that he is following it like a badass.
And that is the reason why he has the seventh place on our list.
6. Shinra Kusakabe
Shinra has had a difficult life. As a Third Generation fire user, he was always feared by people around him, especially as his particular power is focused on his feet and makes his footprints look like demon prints. Added to that, he suffers from a very particular form of nervous laughter ever since his mother and brother died in a fire, making his grin incredibly off putting. Because of this grin, people assumed he had caused the fire, and started calling him a devil.
But he promised his mother he’d become a hero, and no matter what other people say about him, he’s determined to fulfill his promise. He wants to be a hero, and save everyone. And he will never stop until everyone is safe, because that’s what heroes do. From the moment we met him, a lot of people offer him the chance to be a demon, to get revenge on those who bullied and harmed him, but Shinra persists. He wants to be good, to make up for being unable to save his mother and brother, and he never falters.
Because of this, Shinra earns the sixth place on our list.
5. Princess Hibana, Battalion Commander of the Fifth Special Fire Brigade.
As the only woman among the Battalion Commanders of the Fire Brigade, Hibana has had to show her willingness to go far and beyond what her male counterparts do. An orphan from a very young age, Hibana was originally training to be a nun at the Holy Sol Temple, just like Sister Iris from the Eighth Brigade. But she was the only Third Generation at the temple, which gave her a bit of an ego, as her ability to create flowers made of fire made her very popular. Unfortunately, the temple burnt down due to many students suddenly combusting, and everyone but Hibana and Iris died. This made her lose faith, and dedicate herself completely to obtaining knowledge and power.
As a leader of the Fire Brigade, one can easily underestimate her. She rarely goes into hand-to-hand battle, letting her brigade, -specifically a female squadron of unknown numbers- to deal with the threats. However, she exudes enough authority that she can halt a Fire Person execution with a word, without needing to step into the battle, her Brigade is trained enough to be able to neutralize the threat quickly… and she is able to torture a fire person to the point of said fire person verbally wishing for death. Considering that a fire person, sentient or not, is in constant pain, just imagine the cruelty that Hibana has in herself just to get that reaction.
She is beautiful, she’s dangerous, and because she has no ethics when looking for answers, she definitively earns the fifth place on our list.
4. Dr. Giovanni, Captain of the Third Special Fire Brigade
There are many, many ways to measure what makes a badass. But let’s be honest, looks have a lot to do with the title. If you look badass, people will believe you are one at first, even if you are a bit of a coward at heart. And if you have the attitude to back up the look, then your reputation is insured. Maybe that is why Dr. Giovanni wears a leather plague mask all the time. When you look like you stared the Black Plague in the face and laughed at it, you become a memetic badass immediately. There’s also the great advantage that no one knows his face, which comes in really handy for a double agent as him, since Dr. Giovanni is not only the captain of a fire brigade, he’s also a mole for the Ash Flame Order.
As a Second Generation flame user, and the only Second Generation among the Fire Brigade Captains, he can control fire to a point, which allows him to launch projectiles and control them in mid air. He’s also a very proficient inventor, as shown by the extra metal skeleton he hides under his cloak for combat. Unfortunately, he has the tendency to enjoy experimenting on humans, and will kill anyone who badmouths the Preacher in front of him.
Due to how dangerous he is to people who interest him, Dr. Giovanni has the fourth place on our list.
There’s not a lot known about the man known as Joker. He seems young, has black hair, wears an outfit that wouldn’t look out of place in a western, and covers his left eye with a black, ornate bandana. It is almost certain that he is a Second Generation Fire User, as he has been seen controlling flames around him, but never creating them. However, he could very easily be hiding that extra power for his own reasons. He also carries with him ashes from deceased flame people, which explode in contact.
Besides all that, he is also a very good combatant, being able to stand his ground against Shinra and other Fire Brigadiers, as well as against the Ash Flame Order. This double game makes him even more interesting since he seems to have no loyalty to either of the sides in the war, and is following his own personal agenda that has to do with the Kusakabe siblings. He is, as his moniker implies, a wild card that can change the game completely depending on what side he decides to choose in the end.
Because of how unpredictable he is, and how dangerous his abilities are, Joker has the third place on our list.
2. Benimaru Shinmon, Battalion Commander of the Seventh Special Fire Brigade
It takes a special kind of person to get the respect of a whole village and still think he doesn’t deserve it. Benimaru Shinmon is such a person. The Seventh Brigade is situated in Asakusa, an incredibly traditional area, and thus, they are only concerned about protecting their people and their way of living. This makes it strange for other fire brigadiers when they get to know them, as it seems as if the Seventh Fire Brigade spends more time fighting among themselves, or destroying houses during their fights with Fire People than actually helping citizens. Benimaru’s philosophy, which extends to his whole brigade, is that they are saving people, not objects. Houses can be rebuilt, human lives can’t.
Besides this philosophy, that makes him look like some kind of zen badass at times, he is also both a Second and Third Generation flame user. This means he can create flames, and also control flames created by other sources. Because of this, Benimaru may be the most powerful battalion commander of all the Special Fire brigades, which makes many wonder how it’s possible that he insists he shouldn’t be the leader of his people.
Due to his honesty, humility, and raw power, Benimaru Shinmon earns the second place of our list.
1. Akitaru Oubi, Captain of the Eighth Special Fire Brigade
By this point of the list, you may be wondering what does it take to be the first place. We’ve discussed beings that are incredibly powerful, as well as dangerous. What is more badass than that? Well, the normal human who, upon seeing the cruelty of some Fire Brigadiers, decided to create his own Special Fire Brigade that wouldn’t follow the same cruelty. Unlike every other Captain, Akitaru is not a Flame User, which means that he could very well one day fall victim to the Spontaneous Combustion Phenomenon.
That doesn’t stop Oubi from wanting to help. And since he knows he’s not as strong as a Second or Third Generation, he spends every second of his free time working out, to be ready to fight. We’ve seen him doing pull ups, lifting dumbbells, and doing balance exercises as everyone else goes on with their normal activities. And this has earned him, not only the strength to confront a Flame Person face to face, but also the respect of every member of the eighth brigade.
It’s this ability to command respect and loyalty, as well as his incredible strength of will to make himself a weapon against the Fire People, what earns Akitaru Oubi the first place on our list.
Firemen in the real world, are heroes. All of them risk their lives to save people from fires and other disasters. Even as we write these lines, somewhere around the world, there is a fire department doing their job. Because of this, we can’t be surprised that fictional firemen are not only heroes, but also badass heroes.
So what are your thoughts on the list? Do you think there’s a better order? Or did we miss your favorite badass? Please, let us know in the comments.