*Warning: Spoilers Ahead!*
Episode 20, ‘Wearing his Pride’, of Fire Force is not shying away from giving the members of Company Eight their moment to shine brighter than any flame. Not only do we get to witness more characters in harsh combat, but we also get to see certain individuals reap fruits of their labor from all the training that they’ve been doing. “Wearing his Pride” is a call to Lieutenant Hinawa, and his devotion to Company Eight; more accurately his commitment to Captain Obi. This episode starts off with a bang, literally, and continues the awaited confrontation of the White Clad and Company Eight.
As we start off with Lieutenant Hinawa approaching his surroundings with caution, he is confronted by Arrow. The two exchange a few words about Shinra while displaying their flame marksmanship, barely kindling the intense shootout that’s about to come. As the scenes cut to Shinra, also walking about cautiously, he finds Licht held captive by a White Clad member. After a quick tutoring lesson from Licht, Shinra remembers about his propulsion attack, via Tiger Kata, and knocks out the enemy. There is some slight comic relief as Shira tries to name his new move, and it’s also important to point out his childish ideology when it comes to saving his younger brother. Shinra is acting like everything is going to go smoothly, but one can’t help but feel like Sho has different plans in mind.
Lieutenant Hinawa is shown taking cover from Arrow’s shots, and returns fire, but neither is getting a direct hit on their target. This is where learn about Hinawa’s ricochet control, and how he uses it to make bullets bounce off the walls to cover more area. As Hinawa is desperately running around dodging Arrow’s shots, Mirage and Yona are seen hiding in the shadows ready to assist Arrow in killing the Lieutenant. The situation goes from bad to worse as Hinawa traps himself in Arrow’s line of fire and take a full blast directly. Both Arrow and Hinawa are trying to gauge each other verbally, and the White Clad member keeps talking about how an individual’s feelings are pointless in this vile world. She claims that Shinra’s Adolla Burst is needed for the White Clad’s plans, and how he is going to help them achieve their goals; regardless is he wants to or not. As Hinawa lays on the ground in exhaustion, he can’t help but mutter, “My death won’t change a thing.” He understands that everything Arrow is saying about feelings and self-significance may have some truth to them, but what kind of a Lieutenant would he be if he allowed himself to die, and leave the responsibility of Company Eight solemnly to Captain Obi?
Hinawa understands the ideals of being an insignificant cog in society, but he has the obligations of a lieutenant to uphold. He cannot let his team down, nor will he allow himself to fail this current mission. As he takes one last shot, he uses Arrow’s own flames to add more speed to his bullet and put an end to her malicious attacks. The pride of being a Company Eight member is definitely strong with Hinawa, and as he rests upon a pillar, he bares the gazes of Mirage and Yona. They take the cowardice route in killing Hinawa by taking advantage of his exhaustion. Out of desperation Hinawa takes one last shot at the villains but misses as he hits the ceiling. The villains feel cocky in their attempt to kill Hinawa, and even joke about his missed shot. Little do they know, he hit his target with great accuracy.
As we see Arthur make his heroic entrance out of the rubble from the ceiling, the dunce literally has not clue to what’s going on. In typical Fire Force style, Arthur continues his monologue about being a great knight, and how he will be Hinawa’s savior. Luckily, we get a rematch between Arthur and Mirage, which leads to some major character development. Arthur was once fooled by Mirage’s tricks back in episode 17, but now he shines as a disciple of Konro and Benimaru when he displays his concentration and new battle tactics. Arthur is one of the goofier characters in Fire Force, but it’s good to see that he has been putting in the work to become a knight worthy of praise. He even gives himself the multi-class of samurai knight, and he deserves it as he fends off Mirage’s unsuccessful attacks. While Mirage is distracting Arthur, he goes for the attempt on Hinawa’s life, but Arthur detects the villain’s breath of life and takes him out with one grand slash of his sword.
After getting a quick catch up with Maki, Iris and Tamaki, we are left off with Vulcan and Captain Obi. The two are confronted by Dr. Giovanni and Lisa, and through all the confusion Vulcan slips in some flirtatious words to Lisa; their bond is still as strong as ever. This is the first time we witness Dr. Giovanni get in Lisa’s head, and threaten her about her alliance to the White Clad. She snaps out of her infatuation, and reveals that she is known as Feeler, Knight of the Ashen Flame. Dr. Giovanni also tries to provoke Obi by telling him how the White Clad know all the secretes of spontaneous combustion, and how Shinra is also known as the Flame of Perdition. Obi’s desperation for the truth has him rearing to go, as the two prepare to take on Feeler’s massive flame creation and Dr. Giovanni.
Lieutenant Hinawa’s devotion to his team, and Arthur’s skills continue to display how formidable Company Eight’s team members are. The episode does not let up on action sequences and delivers a deeper understanding to how the world is seen through the lens of the White Clad. Each member that has been given the spotlight has not disappointed, and the anticipation for the climatic clash is desperately craved. As the episode leaves the non-powered members preparing for battle, one can only hope to see more impressive fighting styles displayed by Company Eight.
As more characters get their moment to shine, the story continues it complexity while still leaving room for plenty of surprises.