Fire Force vols 1-10
Why did I start reading it?
Mostly because it's the next Manga from the soul eater author and I got Volumes 1-10 in a humble bundle a while ago
What is it?
In a world where spontaneous human combustion is a worryingly common occurrence that turns people into fire beats called Infernals, Tokyo's special fire force are called out to lay their poor souls to rest by fighting fire with fire.
What are the characters like?
I love them. Their character quirks aren't as sharp as their soul eater predecessors which is nice. There are the odd character quirks that just come across super strange sometimes but there are usually other things about the character to love. A few of the silly quirks this time around are, successfully, one of the most loveable things about the character. Everyone has something pretty fun that you can get behind.
Anyone particularly cool?
All of them *clears thoat* So I don't take up all of your time. I'll just talk about company 8:
Our main boy Shinra is a very good boy. His strange little character quirk is that he smiles like a psychopath when he's nervous and uncomfortable. After some flashbacks where you see how this has really worked against him in the past, you quickly warm up to him as a poor misunderstood baby.
Arthur Boyle is mostly the comic relief of the team. Plazma wielding saber with Dumbass skill EX. His silly character quirk is that he's generally delusional. He addresses himself as The Knight King, sees sparrows and griffons and lizards as snakes. He starts off a bit annoying, especially when it's revealed just how much of a dumbass he is but in later volumes it's really interesting how his delusions are used and how he develops.
Iris is the teams Nun, the only character quirk in sight so far is that she's cute af and should never be allowed around buttons. She doesn't have any superpowers but she walks into dangerous situations with the rest of company 8 regardless to offer prayer to the infernals they ley to rest. Cute, brave and kind, you can't help but love her.
Hail the muscley fire witch! Maki is a great character drawn buff and tough enough to take on anyone, though her silly character quirk is that if a man so much as mentions it, she assumes they called her a 'Gorilla cyclops' and punches them regardless of whether they actually said that. I'm hoping for a small bit of backstory on why those words haunt her so...actually now I think about it she's probably the one we have the least backstory on after 10 volumes... Other than that she is a kind sempai to Shinra and Arthur and can make cute a little fireball she's called Sputter.
The straight-laced and imposing Hinawa keeps the team in line. His silly character quirk is stupid hats. He just wears hats with strange slogans on and in general its a pretty inconsequential quirk, which fits him perfectly as he's probably one of those people who just picks up a hat and doesn't bother to read it. He has some very cool powers that are much more subtle than the rest of his team but very flexible and by no means weak. I can't wait to see a particular fight with him. Without spoilers, I'll say when he's in a rundown train car you are in for a treat!
Last but not least Dad/Captain Obi. A pure-hearted firefighter who despite his lack of cool powers runs in to make the world a better place. His silly character quirk is that he over trains, he's constantly seen with weights and sometimes in silly positions balancing too many at once, which is always good for a laugh. When Obi shines is when he is squaring up to enemies he should not be able to beat. It happens many times in the manga where Obi is incredibly outclassed but faces them anyway. He doesn't always come out on top physically but he always gets his heart across.
PS I could talk about literally everyone on those covers (except for maybe Victor on Vol10...) but I don't want a spoil. Look forward to meeting Vulcan though everyone!
What's the bad news?
The pacing is breakneck fast. Character development moments and backstories are breezed through pretty quickly. It's good because you get through a lot in just these 10 volumes but it does feel like some of the softer moments could have had more time. It gets better with this as it goes on though. Also...Lucky Lecher Lure...yeah. I don't mind fan service but I feel like fire force is trying to overcompensate because of the giant coats people wear most of the time. Out poor catgirl's character quirk of accidentally being perved on by everyone is awkward and since even she hates it's cruel to her as a character too.
And the good news?
A great sense of mystery pushed this series forward. What happened to the ruined world they live in and what is the cause of the rampant spontaneous human combustion? Every arc we are drip-fed a little more information and every arc flows nicely into the next as Company 8 follows on each lead to find the answers they need. Also, the art is so clean. You can tell this author already has one series worth of experience under his belt as everything is so clearly put together under a strong and established art style.
How's the anime comparing?
Okay, so at the time of writing the anime is currently at Episode 6 and so far it's been great. Fights have looked amazing, everything they have put in has been pretty much spot on. They have skipped small bits, mostly it's been transition scenes that just made the manga flow a bit better so it doesn't matter too much. There is a character they entirely missed out at one point though...they're not exactly a main character but Shinra helping them that scene leads them to repaying the favour later so I'm not exactly sure why they skipped over it. It didn't feel like the episode would have lost pacing if they did and I'm a little worried what they are going to do when the time comes for the favour to be repaid.
Would you recommend?
Yes! Fire Force is a great read and so far a great watch. Highly recommend it!
This post took the place of a monthly post talking about manga from Shonun Jump! We'll be back to that next month but if you're curious here's the latest post.