Enen no Shouboutai [Review]
- Source Material: Manga
- Studio: David Production
- Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Shounen
- Synopsis: “In the year 198 of the Age of the Sun, Tokyo is a crowded cosmopolis. But the world’s most populous city is threatened by devils that cause people to burst into flame at random. The only ones who can stop it are the Pyrofighters, a team of specialized firefighters. The young Shinra, blessed with the ability to ignite his feet and travel at the speed of a rocket, wants nothing more than to be a hero, and knows that this is the place for him. But he’s not the best at following orders.” – Enen no Shouboutai (manga)
Fire has also been an integral part of human life from warming up our food, protecting us from the cold, or lighting the darkness. It can also be destructive, destroying everything in sight. Shinra experienced this destructive power first hand, losing both his mother and little brother to the devilish flames, which is where this story begins. One of the great things about Enen no Shouboutai is how the story unravels, starting with Shinra’s strong desire to become a “hero” to the discovering of the Evangelist and the purest flame also known as the “Adolla Burst”. The seemingly meaningless story elements slowly start to come together as more pieces are collected creating a sinister story about the darkness that lurks beneath.
Artwork & Animation:
My personal favorite aspect of Enen no Shouboutai (can you tell that I really like typing the whole title out?) is of course the ridiculously immaculate animation. The base design and artwork translated quite well from the manga to anime, but what really made the show so exciting to watch was the animation! The fighting animations bring the extraordinary powers of the Fire Force to life with dynamic cinematics. I also love the little details throughout the show such as the static filter that’s applied when there’s a hint of the Adolla Burst or the change in the color palette where things get dire in the show. It’s little details like that really immerse you into the story and the characters and I can’t get enough of it!
While the spotlight is on Shinra most of the time, that doesn’t mean the other characters are forgotten. The relationship between the characters is complex and interconnected and it’s very apparent. This results in interesting character development for the whole cast in a way that one doesn’t outshine the other. Such as Shinra joining and interacting with the 8th division not only does he develop but the rest of the division develops as well, kind of like a give and take relationship. Shinra’s initial goal of becoming a hero slowly starts to form into something bigger throughout the show because of the people he’s interacted with and other characters are also influenced by Shinra in a similar way. Another big factor of why the cast of Enen no Shouboutai are so successful, in my opinion, is how each of them takes on multiple roles in the show, for example, Arthur is a member of the 8th Division, Shinra’s rival, the one and only knight, and the comic relief of the show. Each character is so jam-packed with unique assets that it makes it extremely easy to remember and establish them in the world of Enen no Shouboutai.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
Much like a flickering flame, the soundtrack of the show doesn’t have a set shape or form. Kenichiro Suehiro does a solid job with it by making something that’s expansive yet still comes together to create a harmonious picture. I think the following three tracks will show you the variety that the soundtrack has to offer:
- Call of the Soul – Kenichiro Suehiro
- Devil Beat – Kenichiro Suehiro
- Bonds Connecting Friends – Kenichiro Suehiro
The setting of the story focuses heavily on the occupation of firefighting and religion (something that is close to a form of Christianity). Call of the Soul pulls forth the religious side of the Enen no Shouboutai with vocals that are similar to Gregorian chants of the church. Devil Beat comes off the opposite direction and emphasizes the edginess that the show brings from it’s dynamic and intense nature. It is an atmospheric track combining the sounds of an electric guitar and string instruments to create a fast pace song that’ll keep up the energy throughout the scene. Bonds Connecting Friends is the much calmer orchestral piece in the soundtrack that brings the melancholic feels that we’re sure to have throughout the show.
I also want to point out the incredible openings that the show had.
- Inferno – Mrs.GREEN APPLE
- Mayday – coldrain
Inferno was a hit the moment it was released, giving Fire Force a solid opening and grabbing the attention of many as Mrs.GREEN APPLE is a popular band. Mayday by coldrain caught me off guard (in a good way!) and gave me chills/goosebumps when I saw the opening for the first time. Being a fan of JRock bands (such as SiM and One Ok Rock) coldrain was actually the band that I was looking for when I saw Masato (the lead singer) perform alongside One Ok Rock during their “Mighty Long Fall” Tour at Yokohama. This is a song that most anime fans will not be into and that’s understandable, but I also want to point out that this is a big deal and for an anime to have a song of this caliber is groundbreaking. I hope that more shows continue the show! Wow, this section ended up being a lot longer than I planned it to be!
As you may know already, Enen no Shouboutai is my favorite show of 2019 and it’s well deserved. Everything from the concept, to the execution, to the soundtrack and art, came together in a way that blew my expectation out of the water!
Fire has also been an integral part of human life from warming up our food, protecting us from the cold, or lighting the darkness. It can also be destructive, destroying everything in sight. Enen no Shouboutai is one of those shows that tend to flow underneath the radar of the mainstream audience in my opinion. A wonderful show with a unique setting, creative and complex characters all bundled together with great artwork and a fitting soundtrack.
Best Girl: Kotatsu Tamaki
I liked Tamaki’s design from the start but seeing her throughout the show made me like her more and more. The turning point was the conflict between Rekka and Shinra that had me over the moon for Tamaki. The tsundere attitude is also a plus!
Honorable Mention: Oze Maki
We can’t forget about Maki now! Her caring older-sister personality and insecurity about her incredible muscles not only make her a cute character but also one of the most memorable and entertaining!
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