In Fire Force episode 5, "The Battle Begins," Shinra Kusakabe grew concerned about Iris because she was obviously trying to hide something -- something that's bothering her. He's right to be concerned, because that night, she went alone to visit Princess Hibana, captain of the fifth Special Fire Brigade. Hibana is none too pleased to see her and decides to use her as bait to lure the eighth Special Fire Brigade. She need not have bothered with such a plan. Maki Oze had already noticed that Iris was missing, and as soon as Hibana announced her plan, she felt the ground shaking. Shinra had landed. Will the fifth's overwhelming numbers repel the eighth? Will Maki punch someone in the stomach? And will Arthur Boyle figure out why he feels so weak?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What's in This Post
3 Favorite Moments
Moment 1: Shinra's Touching Empathy
Shinra saw through Iris' pretty smile. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Shinra is third-generation pyrokinetic who, even though he's young, has incredible fighting abilities. He showed impressive combat capabilities in the previous episode against both an Infernal and human opponents, even though he was outnumbered by the latter. Characters like that aren't often empathetic. It's like the difference between Boromir and Faramir (Boromir was a fantastic warrior, but little more; Faramir was an accomplished warrior and scholar). Shinra, though, showed real compassion for Iris. When he caught her during her cleansing ritual (at least I think it's a cleansing ritual), despite the fact she was half naked and was otherwise covered in a clinging and wet robe, he saw that she was crying. Later, as he lay in bed (9:09), he couldn't get the last image of her our of his mind -- as she had left the room, she tried to give him a reassuring smile to show everything was well. But he could tell her smile was forced. He even remembered the look Hibana and Iris had exchanged in the previous episode. He was so worried about it that he even asked Arthur! I like having a powerful male main character who worries about his teammates.
Moment 2: Takehisa's Serious Skills
Yes, Takehisa is firing two-handed. Yes, he's spinning while upside down. Yes, he's still hitting his targets. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
So, I had a strong suspicion that Takehisa Hinawa was going to turn out to have some seriously cool abilities, even if he was "only" a second generation pyrokinetic. What I didn't except, though, is just how cool his ability would be!
The 8th Company forced their way into the 5th's compound. Shinra went off to find Iris while Arthur tried to follow. That left Takehisa and Maki to take care of the rest of the 5th's lackeys -- and there were a couple dozen of them. We learned a little earlier in the episode that he could control the combustion intensity of gunpowder as he fired a gun.
As Arthur followed Shinra, the 5th's lackeys tried to stop him. First using a sniper rifle, then closing in with pistols, Takehisa cleared the way for Arthur. Screaming "Don't think you can escape my discipline," (13:38), he charged headlong into the group, automatic pistols firing in both hands.
Not content with merely running, he leapt into the air and continue firing while he spun around. Upside down.
Even Maki was impressed!
Moment 3: Arthur Really Is an Idiot
Arthur could not understand why he was performing so badly. Once he figured it out, though... Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
For a while, I thought that Shinra called Arthur an idiot because they were rivals, or at least because Arthur said they were rivals. Then I noticed that Takehisa started calling Arthur an idiot, too, and I began reevaluating everything I've seen about him so far.
My third favorite moment offers near-conclusive proof: Arthur is, in fact, an idiot.
Arthur had been trying to catch up to Shinra by tracking his devil's footprints. Suddenly, Conehead, the mad-scientist type who worked for Hibana, found Arthur. Unfortunately for Arthur, Conehead had brought the Infernal they'd captured in the previous episode. They had upgraded the Infernal's powers and had bound him to the 5th, so he now did their bidding. And their bidding was to kill Arthur.
Should be a piece of cake for our hero, right? Not quite. It seems that no matter what he tried, he couldn't strike the Infernal with his sword. Even worse, the Infernal seemed to have no trouble hitting him -- and hit him it did! A lot. As he wondered aloud what was going on, the Infernal taunted him, saying that only losers lamented being out of the zone or some such to excuse their weakness. Conehead even waxed poetic over how overpowered his Infernal was compared to Arthur.
One thing's for sure: Arthur can take a lot of punishment.
In retrospect, it probably should have been obvious! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
What happened next proved Arthur's status.
Just before the Infernal fired its finishing blast, Arthur looked down at his sword (20:50). "My left? Why, when I'm right-handed, am I holding it in my left hand?"
That's right. Arthur had been fighting left handed when he's actually right-handed. After switching hands, he handily defeated the Infernal -- with a single strike, no less!
I like how we've seen the 8th put an emphasis on training. It means they'll not only be ready to take on Infernals, but other companies -- like the 5th! -- as well. I like that kind of realism. Also cool? The captain pushing training to its limits. He was standing one-footed on a training ball, various weights balanced in his outstretched arms. Shinra was aghast and said, "Captain Obi, that's no longer physical training -- it's something physical training adjacent" (4:21).
Do you remember when Takehisa shot Shinra in the leg? Iris just said "látom" and Maki smiled. They knew what Shinra didn't. Namely, that Takehisa could control how intensely the gunpowder combusted. The scene was funny (and a little frightening), and it also prepared us for what Takehisa did later in the episode.
In my review of the previous episode, I wondered what would happen if the 5th and 8th went to open war. The 5th is full of posers under the corrupt leadership of Hibana, who is, after all's said and done, a third-generation pyrokinetic. I thought the conflict wouldn't go well for either side.
So far, I was half right.
There were three scenes that drove home just how unprepared the 5th was for conflict against a determined and powerful foe (like the 8th!). First was Hibana herself. After burning off Iris' habit, the Princess mused that she'd use Iris to lure the 8th to her compound and crush them (11:30). The words were hardly out of her mouth when the ground shook. Shinra had arrived. Hibana doesn't understand loyalty. She doesn't understand camaraderie. Of course Shinra and the rest of the 8th would come after Iris. Hibana only understands power and sycophants. That's not a combination you want to take into battle.
As an aside, I had to chuckle when Shinra introduced himself by saying, "I'm Find-the-Sister-and-Crush-the-5th Man, from Company 8!"
The second scene was during my second favorite moment. Takehisa and Maki -- all by themselves -- handled most of the 5th company. Only one of them, Exploding Gum Guy (okay, Touru Kishiri, but I like Exploding Gum Guy better), could even get close to them. The lot of them were ready to look down on everyone else, and they apparently never asked themselves a very simple question: "Why?"
Finally, we get re-introduced to the 5th Angels Three, which seems to be less their number (3) and more the team size, because there were apparently way more than three individuals (21:49). That didn't really matter, though, because Maki pounded all of them. Only one seemed to be left, and as she hid, even her chin trembled. Neither Maki nor Takehisa were even winded.
You know, I almost felt sorry for the members of the 5th. Almost. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Maybe it's just I've had more than my share of interactions with folks whose opinion of themselves far exceed their ability. Actually, it's not just that. A deluded soul alone is just something pitiful. But when others start buying into the fiction? When those deluded people build a cult and take over a country? Yeah, that gets annoying fast. So it was particularly gratifying to see the 8th, whose smaller numbers have both great abilities and less need to flaunt them, handily stomp the 5th.
I'll take my victories where I can!
What did you think of Shinra and Iris in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts about This Series
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit: Enen no Shouboutai - Episode 5 discussion
- AngryAnimeBitches: Enen no Shouboutai Episode 5
- 100 Word Anime: Fire Force Episode 5 – Sisterhood