What matters most is that our Devil gets stronger.”
Fire Force season 1 episode 18, The Secrets of Pyrokinesis, pulls away from the intense emotional collision from episode 17, and settles down with some routine character development. The episode delivers its usual amount of laughs with the inclusion of familiar faces, while setting up the upcoming calamity.
The episode starts with the similar theatrical curtain opening up, while Iris describes the events from the Day of Cataclysm. This time around, not many details are shared other than the fact the everything was being engulfed by flames, which is something we already aware of. The scene then transitions to Lieutenant Karim, from Company 1, Captain Hibana, from Company 5, and Lieutenant Konro, from Company 7, at the front door of Company 8’s base. After making some witty comments about the base’s poor up-keep, the Lieutenants and Captain meet up with Captain Obi to discuss the events involving the White Clad. The seriousness of the scene is balanced off with some comical moments with Lieutenant Hinawa and Arthur displaying their love for the animal companions Vulcan created for them.
Once the intro song ends, we see the four Fire Force authorities in Captain Obi’s office discussing their own encounters with the White Clad. At first, the scene may seem like it’s going to be serious, but tension is diffused as Hibana claims her dominance over Karim by making him sit on the floor. Immediately following that, they point out how Dr. Giovanni is working for the White Clad, how Haijima has decreased their involvement in everything, and how some soldiers have mysteriously disappeared. This is surprising news, and starts to tip the tide of who the real villains are. Speaking of villains, we then cut to Licht doing some detective work for Company 8, under Captain Obi’s orders, as he tries to find clues to locate the White Clad.
The interesting part about Licht is that Captain Obi has complete trust in him, and defends his reputation with Company 8 when Hibana questions the scientist’s allegiance. As a viewer, there is an assumption about Licht, and the fact that he is looking for clues with Joker does not help his case at all. Yup, Joker is there with Licht, as he searches for clues, and they discuss the capabilities of Company 8 to take down the White Clad, particularly Shinra.
As scenes cut back and forth from the Fire Force commanders and the two villains, their dialogues start to overlap. Captain Obi is stating the urgency for an all-out attack, and Konro decides to offer Company 7’s help to strengthen the rookies. Meanwhile, Joker is explaining to Licht that Company 8 must get stronger if they are to infiltrate the White Clad. Licht doesn’t make any promises, but reassures Joker that he has an idea on how to progress Shinra’s development. The message is clear in terms of what needs to be done, but what is interesting and puzzling about the whole situation is when Joker tells Licht, “What matters most is that our Devil gets stronger.” This is most likely a call to Shinra, but why would the villain want the hero to become stronger? He is obviously needed for Jokers plans, but there is a sense of deception in his word about his true motives for Shinra. Another interesting point is when Licht points out that Shinra might not catch up quick enough to match Sho or Joker, meaning that they are similar when it comes to capabilities. Like any typical anime, more questions are brought up than answers, and the frustrations of wanting to know all the information drives the viewer crazy!
The highlight of the episode is watching the rookies getting to understand their pyrokenesis, and how to utilize their power better in combat. Benimaru, Captain of Company 7, trains both Arthur and Shinra in Asakusa, but focuses on different attributes of their fighting style. The rookies are easily overpowered by Benimaru, but luckily Licht comes to the rescue; strange right? Licht suggest to Shinra that he must change the shape of his flames to achieve a jet propulsion. As Shinra struggles, he notices Benimaru making hand signs before he utilizes his flames, and decides to put that into practice; nice call back to a certain ninja we know. Benimaru teaches Shinra about Kata, hand signs techniques, and how they can be used to channel Ki to certain parts of the body; a nice call back to the energy of saiyans. What stands out from this sequence is Konro questioning Licht about his vibe. We see the scientist feel uncomfortable, and start to pity himself. Regardless, little by little, members of different Companies are not sensing a good vibe from Licht, and one begs to ask the question, what is Captain Obi thinking?
We get a couple of scenes with Vulcan putting his mastery at work. He creates Tekkyo, Twin Hover Units, for Maki so she can utilize her Fire Sprits, Sputter, and Flare differently in combat. Though Vulcan’s time is short in this episode, he is definitely putting in the work to become an asset to the team. As we cut back to Shinra making ridiculous faces, he finally learns how to change his flame’s shape, and produce a jet propulsion. Afterwards, the two rookies spar with Benimaru, and their development is acknowledged; well, Shinra more than Arthur. All Arthur did was get the life beaten out of him, while Shinra practiced Ki control. The light was shining more on Shinra than Arthur; poor Arthur. As we get to see our hero feel good about his development, he suddenly gets an Adolla Link to Sho. The scene then pans away from Shinra as we gaze upon his devilish smile of nervousness, and prepares for the confrontation.
As the title suggest, this episode explored the pyrokinesis of the rookies from Company 8. There was not much action in the episode, considering the acknowledgement of training needed, nor was there any real action taken in terms of exploiting the White Clad. The pace of the series was slowed down, but that doesn’t take away from what is to come. Shinra was the only one who really had any pyrokinetic practice; Arthur, Tamaki, and Maki got outshined. This episode was a missed opportunity in exploring other characters more, but we did get brief promising moments of chemistry developing between team members.
It would have been nice to witness a more diverse character development, but there is promise in the team building.