Fire Force or Enen No Shouboutai is a Japanese Shonen Manga that has been running since 2015. It's created by the same genius that made the widely beloved Soul Eater, Atsushi Ōkubo. Thankfully, it is also the same sort of insanely-stylized, action-packed, and incredibly unique sort of tale than Okubo is known for. And now, with the recent anime adaption, it seems like we all agree! Fire Force is a story about Firefighters that fight fire...with fire? Basically, Spontaneous Human Combustion is real in this setting and firefighters are its enemy. But, the mystery is secondary to the diverse, unique, and frankly refreshing characters Fire Force has to offer, so let's go through and introduce the best of them.
10 Arthur Boyle: One Trick Knight...King
Now keep in mind the anime only just released its second episode so this will really serve as a sort of "who to get excited for" to fresh fans. But at the bottom of the list is Arthur Boyle, the so-called "Knight King" with a frail grip on reality. This chivalric buffoon trained with Shinra at the academy and is assigned to Brigade 8 as well. He's incredible in a fight as long as he's fully immersed in his knightly delusion. But the reason he's at the bottom of this list is...he's sort of predictable. He only has three interactions, talking about being a knight, acting like a fool, or fighting with Shinra. And that gets old, real quick.
9 Shinra Kasakabe: A Refreshing Shonen Protagonist
Shinra on the other hand, is a bit less trope-y then the standard run-of-the-mill shonen protagonist, both mentally and appearance-wise. Most protags tend to act how they look, but Shinra is the exact opposite. The more demonic he looks in the moment, the more the readers can be sure he's actually incredibly conflicted.
Shinra Kusakabe can be hard-headed, but most of the time he's respectful, realistic, and a quick-thinker. Which are three traits that are not easily found in shonen main characters. But, at the end of the day, he's still the poster boy.
8 Vulcan Joseph: The Mechanic Obsessed With Animals
Vulcan is the future engineer of Fire Brigade 8 and a total animal lover. The setting of Fire Force takes place long after a fire-based global calamity. And Vulcan's family has passed down the knowledge of all the species of animals that were lost in said calamity. As such, all of Vulcans inventions are animal-based, and an absolute delight to see. Vulcan himself is a rather standard eccentric dude, with a gift for invention. But, what propels him above the rest is the strength of his personal design, the designs of his animal contraptions, and the charm of his creations.
7 Benimaru Shinmon: The Not-So-Standard Lone Wolf Powerhouse
On the surface, Benimaru Shinmon seems to be another example of the "sulking bad boy" trope. A character that seems apathetic and rude, but is too powerful to teach a lesson to. But, the more time he spends on the page, the more readers see that Shinmon is actually quite the relatable character.
Sure he's a powerhouse Ignition-user with a weird right pupil, but he's also a charming leader who has quite the dedicated following. Plus, he's self-sacrificing, unapologetically kind, and weirdly confrontational. All this adds up to making Benimaru one of the characters we're most excited for people to see.
6 Ogun Montgomery: Just An Overall Great Guy
It's a shame to say, but anime-only readers won't see Ogun Montgomery until at least Season 3 of Fire Force. Ogun was the neutral party to Shinra and Arthurs constant bickering and is by far the most mature of the three. He's kind, impartial, and has a great design. Plus he is entirely themed around the craft of blacksmithing, which is a theme not-too-many creators attempt. Ogun starts showing up more frequently once Shinra visits Brigade 4, and here's hoping that he will stay as a reoccurring side-character throughout the rest of Fire Force's storyline.
5 Viktor Licht: The Wackjob Scientist
Around the same time that Vulcan joins the crew, Viktor Licht shows up. He's the scientist or researcher of Brigade 8 who obviously has an ulterior objective. But, despite lying to everyone, Viktor is weirdly charming? He's not an Ignition user and isn't really even a firefighter, but he shows up to all the battles regardless. He's constantly around to explain complicated fire-based science to the readers, and even works as a tertiary comedic relief. Licht is just an all-around positive addition to the dynamic the Brigade 8 eventually falls into and is completely dedicated to solving the human combustion mystery.
4 Maki Oze: The Kick-Butt Female Mage
Maki Oze is one of the best characters in Fire Force, hands down. First of all, she's a female character that actively contributes to the fights in a Shonen series, something that doesn't happen as often as it should. Secondly, she's muscular and has served in the military, another two things that again, isn't seen in female characters often.
And lastly, she's unique! Maki isn't the serious veteran stereotype one would think she is. She's funny, vulnerable, and uses her powers to create cute little characters! Basically, the "Mage" of Brigade 8 is highly adept at bringing readers under the spell of her charms.
3 Karim Fulham: Apathetic Trope Done Well
In Fire Force, the firefighters are split off into different fire "Brigades" 1 through 8. And the one that's closest to the Church of the Holy Sun is Brigade 1. These are apparently the most pious and devout of the Fire Brigade members, but Karim seems to defy expectations. On the surface, he's just an apathetic "soldier," but the more time he spends around Shinra and crew, the easier it is to see how likable he is. Karim is conversationally repetitive, apathetic, and sarcastic. Which isn't the best defense of his charms. But, he's also a hero, reliable, and is always there to help. Plus his Ignition ability is so interesting that fans are always clamoring to see more of him.
2 Akitaru Obi: The Buffest Firefighter In History
Akitaru Obi is absolutely, without a doubt, 100%, the model firefighter. A man who started as a normal firefighter, and worked his way up to captain of Brigade 8. Obi is tenacious, kind-hearted, and a total musclehead. If Obi isn't working out, then something must be wrong. But honestly, his obsession with fitness ties back to a devout need to help others. Akitaru is a great leader, a kind captain, and is honestly quite funny. People tend to find these sort of "good guy" leaders boring, but Obi is an exception to the rule. Plus he contributes to fights despite literally having no fire-based abilities!
1 Takehisa Hinawa: The Complete Package
And finally, it's time to talk about Takehisa. It was a rough time trying to figure out who should rank first, Takehisa or Obi. But, at the end of the day, Takehisa Hinawa is a more diverse character. Hinawa is lieutenant of the 8th directly under Akitaru, but he acts more like the leader himself sometimes. Honestly, Takehisa is just hilarious! His thousand-yard stare is somehow both intimidating and charming, his lack of social awareness makes for some great punchlines, and his obsession with ruining Maki's fire-creations is the sort of slapstick humor that will keep us laughing for hours. Oh and also, he can control bullets. Might've forgotten to mention that.