Anime

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: The Captain’s Council and the Joker’s Wild

Quick Summary

In Fire Force episode 10, "The Promise," Akitaru Oubi, Hibana, and the other Fire Force Special Company captains are called to a meeting with the Tokyo Empire's Emperor Raffles IIIShinra Kusakabe and Tamaki Kotatsu must attend because of their involvement in the incident with Rekka Hoshimiya. In the meeting, the emperor confirms what Rekka had told Shinra. Namely, that Shinra's flames are powered by the Adolla Burst, an ultra-pure form of flames. Even as they meet, Joker listens in and decides it's time to talk to Shinra again. What does he want to talk about? How will he get to Shinra if he's surrounded by Special Fire Force Captains? And will Tamaki have an episode free of the lucky lecher lure?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious. 

What's in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: The Fate of Shinra's Brother Sho

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: Joker is dangerous

Joker didn't come to fight. But he made it quite clear that he'd be happy to indulge Shinra. Shinra wisely declined. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Before I share my first favorite moment of the episode, can we just take a moment to enjoy the massive disconnect between Akitaru solemnly taking responsibility for Shinra's safety one minute, and Shinra going on a sight-seeing tour, alone, in Amaterasu the next?

Did I mention Shinra was alone?

I'm going to have to start awarding the Mr. Plot Award...

So, shock of shocks, as Shinra is investigating the beauty of the power generation plant that is Amaterasu, Joker suddenly appears. As soon as Shinra saw him, he assumed a defensive position (13:20). Joker is delightfully unhinged; or maybe he's just utterly free from any social convention. He says he doesn't want to fight, but he'd be happy to change his mind. Shinra once again impressed me with his maturity. He backed down.

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: Shinra's no fool

Shinra continues to make good decisions. Plus, he saw there was a chance to learn something about his brother. Why not take that risk? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Joker either taunted or lauded Shinra on his progress towards finding his brother. It's hard to tell with Joker. Heck, it might have been both! But then he dropped a bomb that, even though it was foreshadowed, will likely change the show's focus.

Joker said that Shinra's brother Sho was the (14:03"Commander of the Knights of the Ashen Flame, in service of the Evangelist." 

Needless to say, the combination of good news (hey, your brother's alive!) and bad news (hey, he's your complete opposite and is likely your mortal enemy!) troubled Shinra.

Moment 2: Shinra's Friends See Through Him

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: Shinra wants to open up

Look at how much this simple shot tells us about Shinra! He wants to take the lieutenant up on his offer, but he's not quite read. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream​​

Put yourself in Shinra's place. He just found the brother he thought was dead is alive. But he's Shinra's enemy. In fact, he's the enemy of all human life on Earth! 

That's gotta weigh on a person!

Shinra tried to hide it, but everyone around him exchanges worried looks. They knew something's up. Lieutenant Takehisa Hinawa saw it, too, so he asked Shinra to help him prepare the evening meal. 

Is it just me, or was Shinra slicing the carrots unevenly? If they're different sizes, they won't cook evenly! Or, was it on purpose and a sign that Shinra was still grappling with his thoughts?

Takehisa, the same lieutenant that had visited Shinra and Arthur Boyle while they were under cover in First Company, quietly told Shinra that if something was bothering him, Takehisa would be happy to listen.

"If it's too hard to talk to me," the lieutenant said (18:34), "you can always tell the captain."

The atmosphere of mutual support in Special Fire Company 8 is so warm and inviting, that if there turns out to be a traitor in their midst, I'm going to be seriously upset.

Moment 3: Shinra Decides to Trust His Friends

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: Supper in Company 8 is comfortable!

Doesn't that just look inviting? Takehisa and Shinra did a great job preparing the meal, too. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

When I write fiction, if I can create a sense of place, I consider a scene to be a success. The dinner scene at the end of this episode was so homey and comfortable that I had to applaud the writers and artists. It's a simple scene; but it's the heart of the episode.

Shinra had been struggling to decide what to do about the information Joker gave him. Takehisa gave Shinra the first push in my second favorite moment. Iris gave him another when she laughed at how Arthur and Shinra were competing to see who could eat the most rice. “Things are the same as always," she said happily (20:03). 

All of them had been worried about Shinra. Even Arthur gave him some extra slices of beef out of concern. It was a strange way of expressing it, but it was an honest concern nonetheless.

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: Arthur shares his food with Shinra?

How worried did Shinra make everyone feel if even Arthur was giving him slices of roast beef? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

So Shinra did the smart thing: He told them about his encounter with Joker. 

But there was some ominous foreshadowing to go along with this feel-good moment. "It would be fine sharing with my friends at the 8th. That's what I thought" (21:09).

What's that mean? That he was mistaken he could trust them? Or that they could handle the news? Or that something bad will happen to them because he shared the information?

Maybe that statement means nothing, but it's the kind of story telling ambiguity that I love.​​

Thoughts

Three things jumped out to me in this episode.

First, even though it was a low-action episode, the animation was gorgeous. The background art that did such a profound job of setting the tone for Shinra and Joker's meeting was very, very impressive. 

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: Fantastic animation

The shot was even more beautiful with the steam's shadows moving left to right. It gave a powerful sense of motion to a still scene. Whatever anyone says about this show, there's one thing that's for danged sure: it's animation is amazing. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Second, did you see the very last shot before the ED? Does Sho Kusakabe have his brother's smile or what? 

Finally, did you notice the difference in the fan service between this episode and the previous? I thought it was night and day. At the beginning of the episode, Tamaki's lucky lecher lure was played for laughs, and I thought it worked. Tamaki's strange affliction also seems to have morphed, because there wasn't anything lucky about it: Tamaki planted her knee right in Shinra's face. Then she started beating on Shinra and called him "skirt devil." Rightly protesting his innocence, he found he had to contend not only with Tamaki, but also with Arthur, who attacked him and shouted, "Farewell, skirt-devil."

Review: Fire Force Episode 10: The lucky has left the lecher

I think the lucky has left the lecher. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

The scene didn't trivialize a traumatic experience. It didn't interrupt a major dramatic development. Heck, it didn't even show much of Tamaki's skin. It worked much better than the scenes in the previous episode

There was a second instance of Tamaki fanservice that I thought worked really well, and it worked partly because of how Maki Oze reacted to it. Just before Takehisa and Shinra started cooking dinner, Maki said she and Tamaki would take care of it. Second later, Shinra heard Maki scream, so he turned towards the door. Just in time to see Tamaki standing there, yelling at him not to look. She was only wearing an apron. 

Shinra immediately looked away. Maki stood just behind Tamaki and said, "How in the blue blazes did you end up like that? You were wearing coveralls just a second ago!"

Keep in mind that Shinra was still looking in the opposite direction. I think it's funny how he doesn't buy into Tamaki's displays. He tells Maki (17:49), "That kind of conventional thinking doesn't apply to Tamaki."

To me, the tone, placement, and intent of this scene was worlds beyond what we saw in the previous episode. I'd prefer to see Tamaki's personality develop, because I think there's real potential there. But at least even Maki is expressing incredulousness at the goings on. Maybe the show will develop a self-aware sense of humor? That'd be interesting.

What did you think of the Captain's meeting? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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