OP: 「インフェルノ」 (Inferno) by (Mrs.GREEN APPLE)
「森羅 日下部、入隊」 (Shinra Kusakabe, Nyūtai)
“Shinra Kusakabe Enlists”
Let me be clear from the get go. Thirty-six screen caps doesn’t do this premiere justice. I can’t wrap my head around how much I enjoyed watching fire burn through my screen. I say ‘through’ because the fire lodged itself at the back of my brain like a bad parasite.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the opening sequence. What a gem. I was about a minute in and had to pause. I rushed over to my partner and told him he needed to watch this with me because I could already feel how good it was going to be. He dropped whatever he was doing and we watched the full twenty-two minutes together. I don’t know where I got the strength to pause but it didn’t feel right to keep this jewel to myself. The fire crackling, the ignition, and the sound of the train combined with the nostalgic Soul Eater art style drew me in like a moth to a flame.
Overall, the episode was a strong introduction to our main character Kusakabe Shinra (Kajiwara Gakuto) and the 8th Special Fireforce Brigade. Each have their reasons for being part of the task force but as of this episode we’ve only learnt of Shinra’s dark and twisted past. He’s been blamed for the accidental and fiery death of both his baby brother and his mother for lack of control of his Third Generation ability, taking on the nickname of ‘Devil’ (akuma). His uncontrollable, twitchy, and nervous smile hasn’t helped his cause either. He’s grown up under a veil of misunderstandings and isolation but as of now it seems he’s found a place to call home. Even though it’s a little early to say, the kindness and unending support he receives from his new colleagues is a sign of his developing role within their ranks.
Although the episode focuses on Shinra’s backstory, the ED tells another‘s and what a tragic story it tells. I’ll let those of you who haven’t focused on it take another look rather than revealing any spoilers. One thing I will say though is how much I enjoyed the song by Keina Suda and how much I look forward to the missing details of this character’s backstory.
Before I jump into the battalion’s structure, let’s look at the little we know about this world set in Solar Year 198. Somehow, at one point in time (which possibly marked year 1), humans began to spontaneously combust into what they now call ‘Infernals.’ The creatures are lost souls completely engulfed by fire and wreaking havoc across the world. However, as a result of Infernals came Second and Third Generation fire users. Shinra is of the Third Generation and his flaming feet make him the strongest within his group…for now. Although we haven’t seen it happen yet, based on the OP it looks like Shinra will learn to fly using his ability. Every good hero finds a way to travel in the air, whether with capes, spiderwebs, booster engines, etc. So luckily for him, it looks like he’ll be able to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a hero as a member of 8th Special Fireforce Brigade. The Fireforce brigades were created as a countermeasure to help ‘extinguish’ Infernals and I’m guessing as humans evolved with more controllable abilities, so did the structure of the teams.
For now, the newly-formed Fireforce 8 consists of five members, with two more yet to be introduced (teased in OP). There’s the extroverted and bizarre Commander Oubi Akitaru (Nakai Kazuya), a non-ability Fireforce member with a sense of humour. Then we have Sister Iris (Ichimichi Mao) who prays for the lost souls’ liberation, although it’s still unclear to me where this originates from. But my favourite is the cool-looking but ditsy Oze Maki (Kamijou Saeko), a Second Generation fire user with the ability to dispel and control fire at will. And finally, we have the very stern and level-headed Hinawa Takehisa (Suzumura Kenichi), also a Second Generation ability user. They gave a great first performance during the battle at the station during the opening scene so I didn’t expect things to go so smoothly during their second battle in the factory with Shinra at their side. Even though I was engulfed by the amazingly animated battle at hand, it was touching to see them treat him as one of their own. I imagine the show will continue in this direction. Battles will be important, yes, but relationships all the more. It’s these relationships and strong bonds that will push the characters to reach their ultimate abilities and defend humanity. A little cheesy, yes, but I’ll deal with it for this level of animation and detail from David Production.
As someone who hasn’t read the source material, I’m looking forward to discovering what the terms ‘Great Fire’, ‘Solar Year’, ‘Látom’ (I assume amen?), and “Amaterasu Operational Rate” (based on the Sun Goddess?) refer to. One term I know for sure is ‘lit’, and this series was that and more. Pun very much intended.
ED: 「veil」by (Keina Suda)