Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
The final episode of Fire Force, “The Burning Past”, ends the season with some huge jaw drops, and continues the momentum of a slow burn from previous episodes to leave the viewer off in a somewhat anticlimactic ending. Fire Force ends its first season with a big reveal that will make your heart sink, while having the anchor point for the episode be the conversation between Shinra and Burns.
The episode begins with an optimistic Vulcan trying to cheer Shinra after getting picked up from Company 6’s hospitality. Shinra’s depressed state is a new look for him, but luckily, Vulcan snaps him out of his depression with his witty charm. With Shinra absent, Company 8 has been hard at work filling out reports, and maintaining the status quo of a Fire Force team. Everyone is relieved to have Shinra back, and it almost seems like nothing has change amongst the fire soldiers.
The scene cuts to Shinra having an all-out battle with Burns. As the two exchange powerful blows, Lieutenant Hague urges Shinra to get more rest, but Lieutenant Onyango reassures her that this is the best method for the two heated soldiers to have a proper conversation. This is the second time in the anime we get to witness Burns’ devastating pyrokinetic powers. Shinra must prove to Burns that he has gotten stronger, not only physically but mentally, and put his limits to the test. Burns is analyzing Shinra’s devotion to the cause, and ultimately is gauging the young soldier to see if he can handle the news to come. As Shinra surpasses his limits, and brakes Burns flame surge, the Captain remembers the day of the fire from 12 years ago. Burns acknowledges Shinra by saying,
That tiny, sputtering flame you had…has now grown into a raging inferno.”
The scene then takes us to the solar year 198, 12 years in the past, where we witness a young Haumea and Charon staking the site for the birth of a new Adolla Burst. The site is the old home of Shinra and Sho, and Burns tells Shinra that the Evangelist knew about the birth of the new Adolla Burst from the very beginning. We then see baby Sho begin to burst in flames, for his Adolla Burst has awaken, and as his mother tries to save him, she is turned into a horned infernal. The demon that has been haunting Shinra in his memories has always been the manifestation of his own mother after she got exposed to the flames. In that moment, young Shinra’s powers were also awaken, and they lift him to safety away from the flames and horned infernal.
Shinra’s mother, the horned infernal, it looking for Sho, but when she finds him, the baby is being held by some kind of angelic figure, who’s assumed to be the leader of the Evangelist. As their mother looks upon the figure, she begins to cry in pain, and pulls her horns from her forehead to where her eyes are. The scene quickly cuts to Charon explains to Haumea why they must keep their eyes covered, and she utters back that one must never look directly at the sun, for their eyes will get burned.
Company 1 is shown arriving at the scene, and the first person they rescue is an unconscious Shinra. Captain Burn’s eye begins to let off a light trail of ash, always seen prior to when an individual becomes an infernal, and worries about the whole situation taking place. Before he runs into the burning home to save Shinra’s family, Haumea is shown sending signals to control the horned infernal. Burns enters the inferno, and witnesses the horned infernal holding a baby, but before he can save young Sho, the horned infernal escapes to rendezvous with Haumea. When the horned infernal arrives with Sho, it seems as if Haumea loses control for a bit because the demon runs away with the baby. The strange part is that neither Haumea or Charon seem too worried about the infernal escaping. Before the scene ends, Burns makes the comment that he lost his eye in the past by viewing the flames of the other world, referring to the ‘hell’ that Sho and Shinra visited when they were experiencing Adolla Links in prior episodes.
Now in present time, Shinra is devastated by the news of his mother being the infernal and Sho being the main cause for the fire. Shinra is more upset over the fact that Burns never told him the truth, but after all the information given, Burns’ decision seems right in hindsight. Shinra was never powerful enough to do anything about his family’s disappearance, and even now he lacks the strength to get them back. Burns wanted to protect Shinra, and make his hate for the flames grow. Unfortunately, Shinra was lead to the flames by faith, but despises them and wants to bring an end to the Evangelist. Burns’ doubt about Shinra’s devotion seems to have cleared as he look upon the young soldier’s determined face.
The season ends with Shinra giving his report to Captain Obi back at the base. After explain the whole situation, Shinra wants to learn about Adolla Links, and remembers seeing an image of Captain Hague, from Company 4, in the other world. He believes there is a connection between Hague and Adolla Links, and ask Lieutenant Hague, from Company 6, if she can set up a meeting with her grandfather. Obi likes Shinra’s plan, and ask him what he’ll do if they find his infernal mother. With a determined face and confident voice, he tells Obi he’ll save his mother, no matter what.
For a season finally, there is no big epic battle, but rather a devastating reveal. After Shinra learns the truth about his traumatic past, he is more determined to save his brother and Mother. The clash between Burns and Shinra leaves us in a slight satisfaction, making us want to see more from the Captain’s power, but for now our emotions will only be played with. With “The Burning Past” being the last episode, the stage is set for season two, but the cliff hanger is not big enough to feel like a season ending surprise, nor is there an astonishing event that adds more to the story. Overall, there is much to look forward to in the next season, and hopefully we get to witness more intricate battle scenes, while having the anime do justice to the manga.
As a season ending episode, it feels like it lacks in clause, but the moments of conflict make up for its shortcomings.