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Review of Fire Force Episode 20: The Tank Battle and the Samurai-Knight

Quick Summary

In Fire Force episode 20, “Wearing His Pride,” Shinra came upon an Ashen Knight who has taken Victor Licht hostage. If Shinra didn’t surrender, the knight said he’ll slit Victor’s throat. So why is Victor talking about “Rapid?” Meanwhile, Takehisa Hinawa found himself pitted against Arrow, while Yona and Mirage watched. Takehisa and Arrow both used distance weapons. Both hammered the other mercilessly. Who will give out first? And when will Yona and Mirage join in? Finally, Vulcan and Akitaru Oubi come upon two opponents they were probably least prepared to face: Lisa and Giovanni. As Vulcan tried to woo Lisa to his side, Giovanni dropped an emotional bomb: He had been the one to train Lisa for her mission to infiltrate Vulcan’s home. With Giovanni reasserting his terrifying power over Lisa, she had little choice but to obey. Is there anything Vulcan or Akitaru can do? And where the heck is Arthur?

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

What’s in This Post

3 Favorite Moments

Moment 1: Tank Battle

Yona could not believe the raw power unleashed by the clash between Arrow and Takehisa. His reaction helped the scene feel more impactful. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

After Maki’s fight in the previous episode (my second favorite moment), I wondered how they would top it. That was a series high point for me. We’re getting close to the end of the first season. Surely they wouldn’t be content to leave that as the high point, would they?

They answered with a resounding no.

They built up to this battle masterfully. Takehisa unslung his backpack and unrolled what looked like a collection of pipes. It was a little dark, and I couldn’t see clearly what he was doing. At the same time, he and Arrow were carrying on a philosophical argument (06:43). Takehisa wanted to get a better idea of where she was, for one thing. For another, he wanted time to prepare.

Of course, concerning the philosophical argument, they could not come to an agreement. So Takehisa raised his weapon. This time, it was a long-barreled rifle. A very large calibre rifle (08:15). When combined with his ability, the resulting shot exploded the end of the barrel. Those other “pipes?” They were spare barrels.

I’ve heard of spare ammo packs before. But spare barrels? It’s about to get real… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Honestly, it was like watching a military armor engagement. Or a two naval battleships firing at each other from close range. His shots were so violent that even their shock waves were causing damage.

Of course, Arrow gave as good as she got. Her pyrokinetic arrows blasted the area to rubble all around Takehisa.

My favorite part of this scene was Yona’s reaction. He and Mirage were hiding and waiting for a distraction so they could attack Takehisa unseen. That wasn’t going to happen, though.

“… That would be like stepping into a shootout between two tanks!” he said, barely audible above the din (09:22). His reaction cemented the scene’s impact as much as the animation, sound, and music, all of which were fantastic.

Moment 2: Arthur as the Samurai-Knight

Arthur was self-reflective in this episode. Very successful with his tactics, too, thanks to Benimaru and Konro’s training. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

We got another intriguing glimpse into the Mind of Arthur(tm) this week. It was just after the tank battle. Takehisa was still alive, but he was exhausted and wounded. Mirage and Yona were about to dispatch Takehisa when the latter flicked a bullet into a nearby flame. It fired and went right through Mirage’s forehead (12:16). I was all impressed, but unfortunately, it wasn’t Mirage the bullet had pierced. It was one of Mirage’s shimmers. It looked bad for our hero then!

In another flip of perception, Takehisa pointed out he wasn’t aiming for Mirage. He was aiming for the ceiling. He needed to make a hold big enough for Arthur to drop through. Takehisa had seen his comrade peeking through a hole, so he widened it.

Mirage was almost gleeful. He and Flail had faced Arthur at Vulcan’s workshop, and Arthur had fallen for all of their tricks after he had lost his confidence. So Mirage unleashed a torrent of shimmers against Arthur. Who promptly ignored each one.

Arthur’s getting close to “scary good.” Doesn’t he remind you of Obi-Wan in this picture? Well, except for the whole glowing eye thing… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Guess what? Arthur paid attention to the lessons Benimaru and Konro had taught him. In particular, Benimaru taught him to be aware of the life of his comrades and his enemies on the battlefield. The shimmers didn’t have any life force, so Arthur ignored them.

But as he did so, he began to reflect. All while the shimmers are impacting harmlessly against him, he’s earnestly thinking about what he had become. ‘Being a knight-samurai would make me a samurai, wouldn’t it? Which would mean… what, exactly?” he wondered (14:57).

By this time, Mirage was getting worried. He didn’t want to get too close too soon, and he didn’t panic, but he began changing his tactics. Arthur decided finally that he’s actually a Samurai-knight (15:09). His poses were so dramatic, and his inner voice so serious and introspective, that I had to pick this as one of my favorite moments.

It was almost anticlimactic when he he won the fight.

Arthur just sees the world differently than most of us!

Moment 3: Vulcan and Eternally Springing Hope

Guess who was waiting for Akitaru and Vulcan? She didn’t look any too happy to see them, either. I think she’s conflicted. And I think I like understatement sometimes. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

There’s going to come a time when Lisa has to make a choice. In this episode, we got a little better idea of what that choice will entail. And how woefully unprepared she is to make it.

That’s where Vulcan comes in. He and Akitaru came upon Lisa and Giovanni, and Giovanni immediately delivered a dire warning about our heroes never seeing their friends again. Lisa even tried to insult Vulcan for wearing the Fire Force coat that he swore he’d never wear.

“You look good in anything,” he responded (19:10). She actually managed to keep her stern expression. She couldn’t stop her blush, though.

I honestly feel bad for Lisa. Giovanni is an expert at manipulation, and it seems he started “training” her when she was young. It’s not going to be easy to throw off that kind of influence. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

She tried to regain the upper hand by asking why he’d come to the Nether. But that backfired on her in a big way when he said, “Silly question. To come and see you, Lisa, obviously” (19:19).

Vulcan clearly adores her. That affection started to weaken her resolve. Unfortunately, Giovanni is no fool. He saw what was happening. He immediately acted to reassert his control. The very sound of his voice terrified Lisa. Whatever barbs he had put into her psyche, they’re sunk deep.

For the record, I think Giovanni calling her “an ignorant, dirty little cat” (19:57) was particularly cruel — though no doubt part of his attack on her. She reacted with pure terror at the very mention of more “lessons.”

Giovanni has had his psychological claws sunk into Lisa’s mind for too long. At least for now, her will is not her own. She’s seen a different life with Vulcan — can that help her at all? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Vulcan was not about to give up, though. We’ll have to wait until next week to see exactly what he and Akitaru can do against Feeler (Lisa’s Ashen Knight name) and Giovanni. But if I had to choose someone’s technology, it’s Vulcan’s. That, and he has a very clear understanding of the stakes.

Thoughts

If it’s worked seamlessly into the action, I enjoy a conversation that clarifies the stakes. Especially if it deepens the philosophical under-pinnings of the world.

In this episode, there was a brief lull in the action as Arrow tried to find the best position and Takehisa prepared his barrels. Takehisa started it by claiming Arrow and her side didn’t appreciate life. She countered, and they went back and forth until they actually came to a point of agreement. They both agreed that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few — or the one.

Did Arrow really think she could convince Takehisa to just turn Shinra over? I doubt it, but I wonder why she even tried! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Both of them were almost in position. Both of them were already ready to unleash fire and thunder in the depths. She asked, if they can agree on that point, why they were fighting?

In the final analysis, Takehisa just couldn’t accept that Shinra’s feelings — or any individual’s feelings — didn’t matter. It was an affront to his sensibilities. And the biggest affront? The idea that he would turn over one of his men to an enemy.

I have to respect that position.

What did you think of the fights in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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