「約束の火華」 (Yakusoku no Hibana)
“The Spark of Promise”
Princess Hibana and Sister Iris’s relationship is in the spotlight. I’d wondered why Sister Iris thought she could waltz into the 5th Brigade’s base without an invitation. It’s clear, after watching this episode, she has a very strong attachment to Hibana.
Their common thread isn’t only in that they witnessed a horrific event but in that they were both survivors of the catastrophe. For some odd reason, Sol (the God often referred to) spared their lives and took those of the ones they loved instead.
Both were orphaned so they found a safe haven with the nuns. When flames took their home from them, they each had very different reactions. Sister Iris stayed true to her faith, she channeled it, and even vowed herself to the Fire Force to help cleanse the world of Infernals.
But Hibana’s outcome is much darker. Sol had bestowed upon her the ability to control power as a third generation pyrokinetic. She would often entertain the other orphaned girls in the convent with her beautiful floral pattern flames. When the fire took them from her, she perceived it as the work of the devil. Thus, if she had the same ability as the devil, she should act as such. Her and Iris’s paths lead in different directions but the goal was the same: to help the save the world from Infernals. They just went about it in different ways.
Whereas Iris is working within this world and its rules, Hibana is slowly picking at it, using her scientific mind to deconstruct and test Infernal subjects under the radar to better understand where they come from. She shares her findings with Haijima Industries which is how she encouraged them to make her captain of the 5th Brigade.
Now that I’ve tediously summarized their backstory, I think it’s safe for me to say that Enen no Shouboutai surprises me yet again. This episode was cheesy but they did it so well. I enjoyed Hibana and Shinra’s confrontation, and I appreciated the elaborate and detailed backstory that came after he gave her a killer K.O. Her relationship with Iris was so colourfully expressed and included a lot of emotion hidden in the smallest of details: her flaming floral patterns, her sakura tree, and the affectionate ‘head pat’ she so familiarly gives Iris. My heart fluttered a little, and the truth is, I never expected this shounen to create such a reaction in me.
I will add, however, that I wasn’t a very big fan of Shinra’s “Let me be your hero” moment. It was tacky and I was prompted to give him a K.O. of my own reminding him he’s no Batman or Superman. Heroes shouldn’t boast. Or at least, not the heroes I’m a fan of. I’m not convinced I dislike this M.C. but I do know I’m not yet a fan. Regardless, his aggressive punch and less than humble demeanour seems to have ignited Hibana’s flame for him. If you aren’t sure what I mean, don’t forget to watch the post-credit scenes!
That said, Hibana is a fantastic character and she’s got me wrapped around her sadistic/masochistic little finger. I do hope she remains part of the regular cast and returns as an aid to the 8th’s cause.
Speaking of the 8th’s cause. Captain Obi never made it in time to the showdown because he was settling matters with someone over the phone. Who exactly was he talking to and who is this third party who wants the 8th Brigade to investigate the Fire Force at large?
The conspiracy is turning into a network of lies and deceit. Can I trust Obi? I’m crossing my fingers here because I definitely want him to be the good guy – the one who helps Shinra and the world uncover the truth about their predicament.