WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 2 of Fire Force, "Heart of a Fire Soldier."
Having completely sold us on the slightly bonkers premise of a firefighting/exorcist emergency service in its series premiere, Fire Force looks to hook us deeper in its second episode. In addition to introducing a brand new recruit to Special Fire Force Company 8, the show's central Infernal-fighting squad, and a new, mysterious side character, the anime offers some interesting clues as to the wider workings of its fiery, theocratic world; specifically concerning the reality of exorcising Infernals and. the public's perception of what exorcising Infernals is.
Newbie, Arthur Boyle, styles himself as a "King Knight," and comes equipped with his own righteous weapon -- Fire Force's own twist on the mythological Excalibur. Arthur's version has a plasma blade forged by his third-generation pyrokinetic ability, which allows him to create and manipulate fire. Shinra, last week's new addition, also gets his own weapon (as if rocket feet weren't enough for him).
The catchily named, "Seven-Style Fighting Battleaxe" takes after one of the standard tools any real-world firefighter might use. But, given the non-real-world of the series, this isn't something you'd just use to chop wood. It's essentially an axe-gun hybrid, swapping bullets for "sacred spikes."
Naturally, both Arthur and Shinra are chomping at the bit to try out their weapons when the Infernal alarm bells sound. With both in hand at the scene of the incident, the normally jovial Captain Ōbi pulls them to one side and firmly instructs them to sheath their arms. The pair, confused, point out that there are no regulations against them having their weapons out in public. "Our duty as Fire Soldiers is to fight Infernals and put them to rest," the Captain clarifies. Infernals were once human. While we might be calling it 'putting them to rest,' what we're really doing..."
The scene cuts away to a wide shot just then, returning to the exchange just in time to hear Shinra gasp. It's unclear if the Captain finished his sentence or just left the end of it unsaid. Either way, the implication, evidenced by the Force's heavy-duty arsenal, is that "resting" an Infernal is a far more brutal affair than it sounds. In short, the Captain not only has real fires to contain but possible PR catastrophes, too.
Unlike the previous two Infernals we saw in the first episode, which came across like wild, burning demons, this one -- who takes after Marvel's Ghost Rider in appearance -- sits quietly inside his home, waiting for afternoon tea to be served. We discover that the same fate befell his wife, and his corruption will leave their daughter, crying outside the house, an orphan.
The tragic nature of the case is why Captain Ōbi stresses the need to handle the situation sensitively. It also promises a more interesting and varied viewing experience: The monster-of-the-week formula is saved from going stale by the heroes' being forced to use more creative problem-solving.
Just before they enter the house, Company 8 sees floating embers form a grinning face before fading away, which the Captain dismisses as the Infernal's doing. After the eerily calm Infernal is quietly exorcised by Arthur with Excalibur, what looks like gunpowder comes flooding in, causing the place to collapse. Outside, a conspicuous-looking smoking man with long, dark hair, an eye-patch and a Witch Finder General-style hat near the scene lurks near the scene, carrying a jar of the same substance.
Though he appears to be the one behind the destruction of the house, it's unclear what other business he had there, or what his role will be in relation to the team (though manga readers will no doubt have the answers to these questions already). Captain Ōbi mentions that while a Fire Soldier's job is a holy burden, and that there are those that "take pleasure" from battling Infernals. We could well have just been introduced to Fire Force's first vigilante exorcist.
New episode of Fire Force are released every Friday on Crunchyroll, and on FUNimationNow as SimulDubs.