Fire Force S2E2: Arthur talked Shinra back to sanity. So to speak.
Anime Best in Show

Fire Force S2E2 Review – Best In Show

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Fire Force S2E2 Review – Quick Summary

In Fire Force S2E2, “Flames of Madness,” Akitaru Obi gave Shinra Kusakabe some unexpected good news: Captain Hague of Special Fire Company 4 granted Shinra a meeting! Hague might have some information to help Shinra resolve his complicated family situation. Accompanied by the Captain’s granddaughter Asako Hague, Shinra visited the 4th Company, which was like a homecoming for him. The 4th ran the Fire Force academy, and he met some old friends like Instructor Pan before visiting Hague’s office. There, Shinra learned that Pan’s last-minute warning that the Captain hadn’t been himself was an understatement. Why is Captain Hague so interested in Shinra’s Adolla Burst? Or would “obsessed with” be more accurate? And was Shinra imagining things, or were there more voices in his head than normal?

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

Best in Show Moment for Fire Force S2 E2

Fire Force S2E2: Shinra won't give up on become a hero. Yet.

In the end, Shinra rededicated himself to becoming a hero. But he could not have done it without a little help from his friends, especially Arthur. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Shinra, the First Pillar, and Weaponized Facts

It’s easy to forget just how young Shinra is. According to My Anime List, he’s only 17 years old. Though he’s utterly committed to becoming a hero and uncovering the truth about his mom, he only has limited life experience. He hasn’t had to live through the inevitable betrayals that many of us as older adults had to work through. Plus, he’s idealistic.

The First Pillar hit him exactly where he was weakest: in his dedication to his mission. He only recently learned that his mom wasn’t dead. Instead, she’d been turned into the Demon Infernal that he had assumed killed her. So, the foundation for his life, the negative energy he’d used to defend himself against “mother killer” taunts all through school, was completely false.

The First Pillar also used the most dangerous weapon at her disposal. She used facts. No half truths here. She used the facts as he himself already understood them. It’s no wonder Shinra’s mind fell to such an attack! It would have been unbelievable if he had not fallen.

Fire Force S2E2: The voice inside Shinra's head is a little unsettling.

Before Shinra even realized it was the First Pillar talking to him, before we viewers even know what was really happening, the First Pillar’s facts were deranging Shinra. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

By the way, I can’t say enough positive about Arthur Boyle in this episode. I only regret having to focus on this one moment! If you’d like to read more about him, please see Irina’s post on I Drink and Watch Anime. It’s a great perspective on this episode.

Delivery: Shinra Remains Shinra, with a Little Help from His Friends

When Shinra went insane, Arthur told him he had three chances to get himself under control. Before Arthur could even finish, Shinra attacked.

All while he and Arthur fought, Shinra kept up an inner debate with the First Pillar. He couldn’t dispute her facts. He needed something else, like a change of context, to have a chance of throwing off her influence.

The First Pillar had reminded Shinra that he couldn’t avenge his mother because she wasn’t dead, and he couldn’t kill the demon his mother had become because she was his mother. Giving into despair, he fell further into her trap as he said (20:05) “It’s too much hassle, so I’m gonna burn everything now!”

Arthur say his chance, saying, “What about your brother, Sho?”

The First Pillar was so angry at Arthur’s question that she lost her composure. That was the instant her control began to slip. Arthur followed up with a series of special Arthur attacks, culminating with “Knight Head,” a powerful head butt. The pain and blood bought Shinra precious mental seconds. “Now who am I supposed to wanna kill to keep in living?” he asked.

Fire Force S2E2: Arthur forced the First Pillar to lose her compsure.

Arthur’s question about Sho broke the First Pillar’s concentration, which gave Shinra precious seconds to regain his sense of self. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Arthur’s answer was that Shinra should protect the people who are precious to him. “That’s something that Knights, heroes, and Fire Soldiers all do,” (20:53), Arthur said.

It was the rhetorical wedge that Shinra needed. Shinra poured all of his power into his feet, as if he was going to launch himself at Arthur. The First Pillar felt exultant, thinking that she’d convinced him to lose himself to fury and despair. But instead, Shinra launched his left left upwards to drive his own knee into his face. The blow restored his equilibrium. He once again proclaimed his goal to be a hero.

And he could not have done it without Arthur.

What did you think of Captain Hague’s addiction to the Adolla Burst? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Fire Force S2E2 Review – Best In Show

  1. I said similar in my review of this one. The whoel arc with Shinra in this episode was excellent. I love that they played with his dedication and the natural changes that recent events would have brought up. And arthur being so isntrumental in snapping him out of it was really awesome too.

    1. “I love that they played with his dedication and the natural changes that recent events would have brought up.”

      The First Pillar knew exactly what buttons to push, didn’t she?

      “And arthur being so isntrumental in snapping him out of it was really awesome too.”

      I liked what you had to say about that in your review:

      There were two quotes along those lines that I couldn’t figure out how to work into my review. The first was Hague seeing Arthur acting so strangely and wondering if he’d been possessed, too.

      Ogen said, “No. He’s going beyond us.”

      I also loved it when Ogen said, “You really are a damn powerhouse when you’re delusional.”

      The first season was a lot of fun to watch. This season is shaping up to be even better!

      1. Thank you kindly. And I absolutely agree. Thus far, I think this is focusing far better on the positive points of season one than the more divisive habits it had. Hopefully, it can keep it up.
        It shows how much raw ability Arthur has, I think. He has all that potential, he just can’t tap into it without a mental nudge.

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