*Warning: Spoilers Ahead!*
We’re bringin’ your brother home, Shinra?”
Episode 19, ‘Into the Nether’, begins the exploration of a new region in the Fire Force world, but those who stand out in the episode are the females of Company 8. The episode’s emotional start is easily overshadowed by the intense fight sequences that take place in the later half. “Into the Nether” reminds us that Company 8 is made up of fierce team members that can get any job done; no need for a hero to make a dramatic entrance.
The same cinematic has been going on for the second half of the season, but no new information about Raffles the First is shared as Iris narrates the intro. The next scene takes us to a dark chasm where the White Clad members, Dr. Giovanni, Lisa, Arrow, are assembled around Sho. The mood seems eerie, and a bit of confusion take place as there is a flash back to baby Sho and young Shinra spending time with their deceased mother. Young Shinra is being teased by his mother about being taken to the Nether if he doesn’t pick up his mess in the house. Then we see Sho reaching out to his older brother from his crib, and as Shinra locks his finger with his baby brother, he makes a vow to never allow him to get taken to the Nether. After this heart felt moment the scene cuts to Shinra, as he looks like he’s day dreaming, and Company 8 discussing that the location of the White Clad is in the Nether.
It’s important to point out that the flash back started with Sho, and ended with Shinra. Does that mean Sho still has some bottled-up feelings for his older brother, and does that also mean that the two remember everything about their past? The interaction of the two brothers from the flash back and their present is a clear distinction of how they coped with the loss of their mother, and how they were raised through the years they’ve been apart. A last detail to point out is the strange dream Shinra has involving Iris. They seem to both be engulfed in some kind of flame, and even share an Adolla Link, weird right?
Captain Obi’s determination to find the White Clad is easily displayed throughout the episode, and everyone seem to be on board with the new mission. Even Tamaki, from Company 1, is willing to put her life on the line for Company 8’s mission. Obi has the cloak of father figure shroud him as he discusses with Hinawa how their group is starting to look like a team, but one can’t help but feel like he is actually referring to them as appearing like a family. As they approach the Nether, everyone starts to get more nervous; acting like little children scared of the dark. With their arrival, Sho sends Yona, Flail, Arrow, and Assault to confront Company 8.
The episode likes to play with one’s emotions as we started with some emotional connections, followed by comical relief, to now some intricate fight sequences. When Company 8 enters the Nether, they are quickly separated by the White Clad’s devious actions. For the moment, we are only shown Captain Obi with Vulcan, Iris with Tamaki and a Tamaki imposter, and Maki by herself. Make sure to pay attention to Vulcan’s sloth snout goggles, those are going to be a killer accessory one day! Yona is able to change a person’s physical appearance, hence why there is a Tamaki doppelganger. Iris and Tamaki go through a series of comical interactions to prove which Tamaki is real, but at one point it gets a bit annoying to see how gullible Iris can truly be, but somehow, it’s adorable too. After the real Tamaki is exposed via her special nudity powers, the scene cuts to the star of the episode, Maki!
Maki is confronted by several White Clad members, including Flail, and is startled at first because she thinks they are ghost. Her uncertainty is quickly shifted to determination for victory. The White Clad grunts begin their ambush on Maki, but she is easily able to hold them off, and knock them out one by one with the help of Tekkyo, Sputter and Flare’s hover units. Maki’s true combat skill is magnificently displayed throughout the fight sequence, and she only surpasses our expectations as she defeats Flail with her overwhelming tenacity as she says, “Who are you calling…gorilla cyclops?!” If Maki was not your favorite character before, guess what, she is now!
Who are you calling…gorilla cyclops?!”
The final battle of the episode take place between Iris and Tamaki versus Assault. The White Clad’s assassin easily over powers Tamaki, but the fire cat shows her own resolve for never giving up. After getting beat around by Assault’s fire bullets, she remembers what Shinra told her, and reassures herself of her worthiness for being a fire soldier. As she starts to dodge and deflect Assault’s attacks, Tamaki cannot help but display her luck for unnecessary nudity. Luckily, her ecchi powers distract Assault long enough for Iris to deliver a devastating blow to the head, and they both finish the assassin off together. This would not be a great episode if it did not end in typical Fire Force fashion.
‘Into the Nether’ delivers a combination of mixed emotions and comical intense action sequences. Different bonds are exposed, and certain characters get the light shined on them for once; long awaited exposure! The episode ends on a satisfying note, and leaves some high expectations for future episodes. We get to see familiar faces own up to their dire situations, which give the series a fresh take, while adhering to the Fire Force style for storytelling.
The characters that get the spotlight shine brighter than any flame, and set an engaging mood for future episodes.