WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 12 of Fire Force, "Eve of Hostilities in Asakusa."
Fire Force returns for after a two-week hiatus, picking up after the fight between Company 7's Captain Benimaru Shinmon and an Infernal that sprung up in his home district of Asakusa. Although the destructive toll wasn't exactly light on the surrounding infrastructure of the town -- and the victim was a well-known and well-liked local -- spirits are unusually high; celebratory, almost. Clearly, as the members of Company 8 note, the 7th lead a very different way of life to the rest of the city.
In order to try and endear themselves to Benimaru, Shinra and the rest of his crew pitch in to help with the clean-up efforts. They're relying on the 7th being cooperative in their continuing investigation into the artificial Infernalization incidents, something which they now know definitively, thanks to the arrest of a traitorous Lieutenant in the 1st, stems from corruption within the Special Fire Force itself.
Benimaru seems disinterested in any of this, content to just keep fighting fires his own way and stay out of the bureaucracy and in-fighting happening elsewhere. Unfortunately for him, the problems Company 8 have been grappling with in the organization are brought right to his doorstep. Looking to throw a spanner in the works of a potential alliance between Companies 7 and 8, the White Clad -- a group of cloaked agents who work for the mysterious Evangelist, the source of the artificial Infernalizations -- send two of their members into Asakusa.
The agents disguise themselves as Captain Ōbi and Lieutenant Hinawa and deliberately have a conversation within earshot of Benimaru that leads him to believe they were behind the Infernal manifesting in his district. In an effort to protect his home, the Captain flies into battle mode.
We got a taste of what Benimaru can do when he took out the Infernal with relative ease in the last episode. We also know that he's supposed to be the most powerful Soldier in the whole Force, thanks in part to his unique blend of both second and third generation pyrokinetic abilities. This time around, Benimaru's skills are showcased more extensively as he takes out each and every member of the 8th all by himself.
First, Shinra goes down after not getting a single one of his powerful kicks in. Then, Tamaki, Maki and Arthur try and fail to put a scorch on the hardened Soldier. He even stops Hinawa's special bullets mid-air -- Matrix-style -- though Hinawa admits he only fired them to put Benimaru's blended abilities to the test. Finally, Ōbi steps up to the plate, covered head-to-toe in protective gear, which surprises his fellow Captain given that the 8th's leader has no special powers. However, as Ōbi soon proves, this doesn't mean he's powerless.
This is Ōbi's first moment to really shine in a combat situation and his fierceness in the face of a fire-powered adversary as mighty as Benimaru almost stops the 7th Captain in his tracks alone. He even lands the first and only hit on Benimaru -- catching him off-guard with a headbutt after bearing the brunt of his flames. Given their superpowered vs. non-superpowered status, as well as Ōbi's black battle suit, the brawl is reminiscent of Batman taking on Superman.
But don't worry -- there's no Martha moment, here. Though, like Lois Lane in Batman v Superman, the fight does get interrupted before any permanent damage is doled out by Konro Sagamiya, Benimaru's doggedly loyal second-in-command. Konro suffers from Tephrosis, a condition also known as Overheat that, as the name suggests, can develop from excessive use of third generation Ignition abilities. The tell-tale signs are ashy patches of skin, which are caused by using too much oxygen from the body to create fire.
Though it causes him severe pain, Konro draws on his power to stifle what might have been a devastating attack on Ōbi by Benimaru, pleading that he allow Company 8 to explain themselves before passing judgement on them. Shocked by Konro exerting himself so much, Benimaru agrees, thus opening up a war of words between himself and Ōbi, rather than fists.
New episodes of Fire Force are available every Friday on Crunchyroll, and as SimulDubs on FUNimationNOW.