Not gonna lie, I’m pretty disappointed with this episode. Considering how abrupt it was for the 8th to storm into the 5th’s headquarters I really shouldn’t be surprised that this had a rather abrupt conclusion. We finally get into Iris’ and Hibana’s backstory and it didn’t hit me as hard as I expected. Yes it was sad, but I guess I expected more from how much they teased it. Honestly, it felt kind of contrived that everyone BUT Iris and Hibana transformed into infernals. I also wasn’t really convinced of Hibana’s motives and why she became the way that she is. Everything just felt so shallow.
The fight animation was pretty neat but the overall meaning to the fight just kind of fell flat. Not to mention the fact that the conflict was resolved rather quickly and all too easy. I think the thing that bothered me most was that there wasn’t that much interesting choreography that went into the actual fight. Shinra was just mostly standing still and getting pelted by attacks until the first/final punch. From a special effects perspective, it was gorgeous. But other than that it lacked substance. Especially since I wasn’t convinced of how Shinra was able to power through Hibana’s attacks through sheer willpower.
I also feel like the more I watch this series, the more detached I feel towards Shinra. His story was so strong in the first episode, but then it kind of left him at a stalemate with his character development since they literally have not touched on his motivations since then. Yes they revealed that his brother might still be alive, but he hasn’t even thought back to that conversation since it happened. You’d think that piece of information would be something he’d think about CONSTANTLY. But I think it comes down to the rather clunky pacing this series has as it loves dropping and picking up plot points when it’s convenient. Not to mention when he keeps dropping the lines of “I’m a hero!”, I just can’t help but cringe. It’s like he’s overcompensating for what he was called in the past and it’s becoming too much.
I will admit that Iris and Hibana’s bond back when they were younger was really cute and seeing them rekindle that bond was also cute. However, it still doesn’t make Hibana’s turnaround any less abrupt and it kills me that I just don’t care about their circumstances. Honestly, all of the characters are lacking proper development. I want to care more about them, but this series just can’t seem to get it’s crap together. Also, was it just me, or was the censoring in this episode worse than usual? I couldn’t even tell what was happening at one point since they blacked out the faces and upper bodies of the infernals during Iris and Hibana’s flashback. I couldn’t even tell that there were infernals there until closer inspection.
This episode was extremely anticlimactic and I’m disappointed the build ups didn’t have a strong payoff. And while Hibana’s powers were very pretty and unique, the whole sequence of events just didn’t deliver. Not to mention that the 5th was hyped up to be this big and powerful group, only to be taken down by a four man army. The impact this confrontation was supposed to have just wasn’t there and it left me feeling indifferent. Though I admit that Hibana’s newfound crush on Shinra is hilarious. Especially when the flowers in her eyes turned into hearts. I was a bit disappointed that Obi essnetially just left behind and was too late to join the raid. But it was pretty funny how he had so many things prepared only to find out everything was over. I’m still holding onto this hope that this series will get better. Come on Fire Force, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND MAKE ME CARE ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS.