WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 4 of Fire Force, "The Princess and the Hero."
In the previous episode of Fire Force, Captain Ōbi revealed to rookie recruit, Shinra, that Special Fire Force Company 8's ulterior motive is to investigate the other, possibly corrupt factions of the Infernal-fighting organization. Following suit, in "The Princess and the Hero" we get to meet one such dubious group: Company 5.
In the run-up to the encounter, we first learn a little more about the other dubious figure lurking at the fringes of Company 8's activities. The mysterious smoking man who, last week, dropped the revelation on Shinra that his brother secretly survived the fire that devastated their family home 12 years earlier, has been given the name, "Joker," by the authorities. More disturbingly, the gunpowder he's been using as his signature weapon turns out to be Infernal ashes.
As unsavory as that is, those supposedly working in opposition to him are hardly squeaky-clean -- save for the pure-hearted members specially selected by Ōbi for his crack squad -- as we discover when Company 5's domineering captain, Princess Hibana, is introduced. Domineering by nature and practice, too, as we first see her barking out orders to her subordinates from a chair made of ... other subordinates. Later, she tries to force Shinra to lick her high heels: "Gravel should lie spread on the ground like gravel!" (The next episode may well be one long, Force-wide HR meeting.)
Judging from their clothing and Hibana's recognition of Company 8's Sister Iris, she and her Company seem to be in the pocket of the Holy Sol Temple. They're also far more concerned with studying Infernals than with saving people, as Shinra learns when they intervene just as he's about to put an unusually self-aware one to rest. In this case, the corrupted creature's nature is particularly dangerous, given that he was a firefighter-turned-serial killer in his human life.
Rather than lash out at random like the more animalistic Infernals we've seen do, this one looks to continue his targeted attempts on civilian lives. It's even crafty enough to be able to trick Shinra, when cornered, into granting it a more merciful death, luring the inexperienced Fire Soldier into a trap.
That makes nullifying it as soon as possible all the more crucial. Unfortunately, when Company 5 does get involved -- having watched events unfold from the rooftops -- it attacks Shinra, not the Infernal. Restrained by Hibana's "Angels," Shinra becomes increasingly angry when he sees her squad members callously knocking over a child observer.
When tensions have cooled off a little, the 5th and 8th convene to decide who should take custody of the captured Infernal. Captain Ōbi points out that the incident took place within Company 8's jurisdiction and Company 5 stuck its nose where it shouldn't have. Captain Hibana counters with the argument that the rare specimen deserves to be studied under her Company's specialized, scientific division -- a facility that the 8th lacks.
Ōbi begrudgingly agrees, but requests the results of the investigation be shared, which Hibana unconvincingly agrees to do, implying that Ōbi's suspicions about the deliberate withholding of vital information within the Force might well be true.
An Infernal "with a sense of self" isn't the only prize that Hibana and her team have their eyes on, though. While watching Shinra battle the bloodthirsty Infernal from afar, the Captain's elderly companion -- who's genuine name is Conehead -- identifies Shinra's natural firepower as being an "Adolla Burst." Hearing this, Hibana gleefully refers to the third-generation pyrokinetic as "the real jackpot." It seems that Shinra not only has to watch his back for Joker but for his fellow Fire Soldiers, too.
New episodes of Fire Force are available every Friday on Crunchyroll, and on FUNimationNOW as SimulDubs.