Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23: Tamaki decided to become powerful and reliable
Anime Best in Show

Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23 Review – Best In Show

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Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23 Review – Quick Summary

In Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23, “Firecat,” Shinra and Hibana visited Konro to ask him about the time he and Shinra connected via the Adolla Link. Hibana expressed suspicion, and she doesn’t have a lot of affection for the 7th Special Fire Force Company. Hibana’s worst fears seemed confirmed when they found Konro apparently meeting with a White-Clad in a remote location. But their perceptions were far from reality. Why did Konro meet with a White-Clad? What is Hibana so suspicious of not only Konro, but of the entire 7th Special Fire Force Company? And what does Tamaki have to do with any of this?

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

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Favorite Quote from Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23

Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23: Hibana clearly liked the idea of being Shinra's girlfriend

You know, I’m not the most sophisticated or observant of men, but I gotta say, the guy’s right — she really doesn’t look like the idea bothers her at all. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

It might not be the most original humor in the world, but what can I say? I liked it.

Shinra had visited the headquarters of the 7th Special Fire Force Company. Hibana had accompanied him because (in a quote that very nearly earned my favorite quote status!), as Hibana said to Shinra, Shinra is “too nice to others, and gets fooled easily” (01:22)

Honestly, Shinra had no answer to that.

A worker told them that Konro wasn’t there, and as they were about to go, the man asked Shinra if Hibana were his girlfriend. Of course, she got all dreamy-eyed thinking about it. Shinra protested that no, she wasn’t his girlfriend, and she was, in fact, the captain of the 5th Special Fire Force Company. There was no way someone like that would be his girlfriend!

The man looked at Hibana again and said (02:01), “She really doesn’t look like she’d object!”

I wonder if Shinra ends up with her at the end of the series? She’s a bit sophisticated for him, but I could see it working out.

Best in Show Moment for Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23

Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23: Tamaki decided to get our of her own way.

This is a different look for Tamaki. I like it! More importantly, Tamaki likes it. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: Tamaki’s a Great Character, But…

I’ve liked Tamaki’s character since we first met her in the first season’s episode 3. Well, most of her character. The very concept of the Lucky Lecher Lure doesn’t appeal to me. In fact, it reduced how much I could engage in the episodes where it was front and center.

Now, there’s no law or rule or even a guideline that says a writer (Atsushi Ōkubo in this case) has to give me everything — or anything — I want. The writer has a vision for the story, and I either want to see if through, or I don’t. So I stuck with the series. I’m really glad I did. I enjoyed the rest of the first season, and the second season has been a wonderful upgrade. The visuals alone are worth the price of admission, but the themes, the characters, and the sheer badassery of the of the fights makes every week a delight.

So how do I react when the writer used this episode to throw the Lucky Lecher Lure in my face? While at the same time showing how Tamaki developed the will power, strength, and self-respect that she showed when she single-handedly held back dozens of Infernals and two White-Clads until help arrived?

Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23: Tamaki's friends support her now

It’s well-known, but it bears repeating: Unless you have tremendous strength of will, how you see yourself depends a lot on how those around you see and treat you. Tamaki’s hanging out with a better class of folks now. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Will my dislike of the Lure ruin the experience?

Delivery: You Gotta Own Your Concepts

To Move Forward, First Acknowledge Where You Are

Atsushi Ōkubo surprised me. He’d didn’t shy away from the Lure. He had Tamaki embrace it, not as someone she liked (she hates it), but as something integral to her character. In her back-story, it interfered with how she interacted with friends and peers. In the present, it interfered with how she interacted with Shinra and the others (though I seriously doubt Arthur even noticed). Worst of all, it interfered with her self respect and pride.

This episode acknowledged that. Now that she experienced combat in the Nether, the stage was set for my favorite moment in this episode. It’s my favorite precisely because the story treated Tamaki as a character trying to deal with life in a dreadful world.

When the human equivalent of a carrier battle group named Benimaru suggested that Tamaki train with Hikage and Hinata, Tamaki was at first insulted. She wanted to train with Benimaru and become stronger and more reliable. She didn’t want to baby sit. She didn’t listen to Shinra’s tone of voice when he told her the two of them were a handful.

Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23: Shinra tried to warn Tamaki about Hikage and Hinata

Shinra tried to warn Tamaki. Though, maybe instead of calling them “a handful,” he should have said something like “an active threat to life and limb.” Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

To Tamaki’s credit, she learned quickly that these were not two normal children. I’m still not sure what they are, but their combination of speed, power, and child-like lack of inhibition nearly overwhelmed Tamaki’s will to fight. Here she was, a full Fire Soldier, and she couldn’t defeat two (albeit powerful) children.

Tamaki Defines Who Tamaki Is

Takami’s back-story told us that she had previously make her life decisions based on the expectations of others. Now, she decided that she wanted to be powerful and she wanted to be someone the others could rely on, even in the darkest moments of battle. Sensing her new resolve, Hikage and Hinata gave her a tremendous sign of respect — they formed a single entity named Mother Fox to counter her power. They were determined to take her most powerful strike head on.

Using a new move, Nekomata Fireball, Tamaki crashed into the united pair — and blew clear through them (21:09).

Back in their individual forms, Hikage and Hinata were quite miffed. They wanted to continue the fight. That’s when Benimaru stepped in and stopped the training.

“I don’t know why,” he said to Tamaki (21:19), “but… you were suppressing your own power. But you’ve peeled that layer away, haven’t you?”

Fire Force Season 2 Ep 23: Tamaki was surprised and gratified at Benimaru's recognition

Even though she’d just lived through the moment, Benimaru’s announcement that she’d “peeled that layer away” seemed to shock Tamaki. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Having the Captain who’s widely acknowledged as the most powerful in Fire Force acknowledge your accomplishment had to be a tremendous boost for Tamaki. From her perspective, she was now on the right track — the track that she decided to be on.

Tamaki’s Growth is Not a Magic Cure

As if to drive the point home, the Lucky Lecher Lure choose that moment to blow her clothes off. She covered herself, and Benimaru said “Nobody asked you to peel that much away…” But the moment no longer defined her. Tamaki had just loosed her real power against a foe that Shinra at least found formidable. And she’d won.

That’s a long way of answering the question of whether the Lure ruined my enjoyment of this episode. It did not. Now Tamaki has claimed her own will, I’m really looking forward to seeing how she fulfills the promise of that angry, defiant gaze she gave Shinra back in season one episode 3.

What did you think of Shinra and Arthur’s training? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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