The fourth episode of Fire Force has come out and, as per usual, I will provide my review and recap. I’ve also noticed this episode had some differences from the manga adaptation so I’ll also be covering that as well. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
The fourth episode opens with a somewhat chaotic scene of events as we see the mascot character of the Squad 1 staring off at a figure flying in the air, Squad 5 monitoring a situation with their captain basically domineering several of her members (they seem to like getting stepped on, so I guess they’re fine with it), and Shinra is heading towards the location of an Infernal as fast as he can. So, how did these events come about? Fortunately, the episode answers that after the OP rolls.
You see, earlier in the day Shinra and Obi note that Joker’s actions weren’t reported on the news and it adds to their suspicions about the other companies covering things up. However, the Lieutenant then pops in and reveals the ashes that Joker used were made from the remains of Infernals. That is naturally blasphemous, so they both get pissed but can do nothing for the time being as Sister Iris visits a church and prays.
After that, Shinra and Arthur get sent to retrieve a dog stuck up a tree. They note that it wasn’t something fire soldiers do, but regular firefighters would, and Maki explains they get calls mistaking them for one another all the time. However, since they have nothing better to do, she sends them off to help anyway.
When they arrive they find that the dog in question is actually the mascot guy from Squad 1 stuck up a tree. Some college kids pitched him up there because there was a murderous firefighter who was supposed to be sentenced for killing 4 people today and rumors had it he was going to get away with it due to an insanity charge. People are naturally displeased with this and, since they keep mistaking them with normal firefighters, decided to just be dicks to him instead.
The day gets from bad to worse as the murderous firefighter gets the not guilty verdict and then become an Infernal. Normally, this would be karma as he suffers and burns. However, because he managed to retain his self-awareness you have an actively murderous Infernal who immediately torches the judge.
Squad 8 and Squad 5 become aware that the Infernal is self-aware, so they both mobilize. However, due to Maki not telling the Lieutenant that she gave them permission to go out, he threatens to discipline their two newbies. Fearing the punishment awaiting them, Shinra and Arthur race to the scene as fast as possible and get there in time to stop the Infernal from killing his own lawyer.
The Infernal cites how jealous he is of the fire soldiers since they get to kill without being judged as the other members of Squad 8 arrive. Since he’s outnumbered, he decides to surrender since he’s confident they won’t kill him due to being let off for murder while alive. However, the Lieutenant immediately shoots him and points out he’s not soft enough to pardon him, so he runs away to kill as many people as possible.
Shinra, being faster than the others, naturally gets sent to dispose of him. He has some reservations, but that doesn’t stop him from walking all over the Infernal and kicking his arm off after he faked surrendering again. The only reason he didn’t die right away was because Squad 5 arrived with the intention of capturing the Infernal despite it not being their district and their captain managed to immobilize Shinra until the rest of Squad 8 arrived.
The two leaders, Hibana and Obi, ultimately come to an agreement to let Squad 5 take the Infernal as long as they share their findings as Hibana notes that it could be the key to unraveling why Human Combustion happens and that they don’t have a science division because they are newly formed. However, one of Hibana’s fire soldiers makes the mistake of insulting Obi for just being a normal human and gets a punch to the gut by Maki for the trouble, much to the Lieutenant’s approval. Hibana then basically gives Obi a warning not to dive too deeply into things or they’ll get put down, but he’s confident his squad won’t be so easily taken out of the picture.
Right, so this episode is something of a mixed bag for me. It serves well enough to introduce Squad 5 as a unit and the contrast between the two companies is made abundantly clear from the start. But the opportunity to explore the question of whether or not it was justified to kill a self-aware Infernal was squandered because the dude was a murderous scumbag and getting away with it because the judge didn’t have the balls to sentence him to death since he was a firefighter. It also didn’t help that most of the threat he presented was hampered by the adaptation.
In the manga, the moment he became an Infernal he immediately started torching people. When they took the fight outside of the courtyard, he went for a woman who was only saved when Maki showed up and the woman begged them to kill him for what he’d done. Likewise, when he escaped to the street he went after a child with the intention of breaking him, and then sent that car flying towards two more people with the intention of crushing them.
Shinra demonstrated his speed and strength get getting in front of it and kicking the car that high despite being over a ton, leading to him being called a devil by the guy. Then, when Squad 5 arrived with the intention of capturing him and Hibana had Shinra restrained, the kid he saved (who actually is somewhat important for a future plot) spoke up for him and told them not to harm him. Toru, acting like an asshole, pushed him intentionally and earned that punch Maki gave him for just being a dick.
So, they cut some things but kept the general points in showing how Squad 8’s member all respect their duties and treat laying the Infernals to rest as something that has to be done as an act of mercy. They respect their captain for his compassion and bravery, not his power. And they are naturally abhorrent to the idea of using Infernals in any sort of experiment or exploiting them like how Joker uses the ashes of the dead to fuel his powder explosions.
In contrast, Squad 5 immediately jumped on the idea of a self-aware Infernal to experiment with, noting both the rarity of the situation and the fact that as an Infernal he is essentially a walking corpse who has no rights. Their Captain is a dominatrix who has very little respect for others, and their other members show very little care for the people they’re supposed to be protecting to even joke about burning someone. They are assholes in general, though if you’ve watched the ED you can pretty much tell that Hibana has a connection to Iris that will be covered soon.
It’s still a decent episode, but the manga makes a stronger case of being the superior version I have to say.