***Spoiler Warning, Obviously***
With the anime calendar moving into the summer phase, many series have already seen their season ends in the past couple weeks. That easily leaves a void for some viewers like myself. Especially one who tends to need a push in order to take on something new. So imagine my surprise when there was all of this hype to the anime debut of Dr. Stone and Fire Force (Enen no Shouboutai). From the trailers alone these looked like shows I wanted to give a shot, and surprisingly I was not disappointed one bit from what each had to offer.
Dr. Stone is about the world after a light suddenly petrifies all of humanity, with every human on Earth turning into stone. The first episode centered around introducing us to our two main characters, Senku and Taiju. I instantly loved these two characters because their dynamic felt like Pinky and the Brain. In essence, that is exactly what they were, and that made their dynamic very entertaining. From there they jumped into that sudden light, the years all of these people spent petrified, and then the mysterious circumstance that allowed both Taiju and Senku to awaken first. As far as first episodes go, they wasted little time showing us exactly what we were getting ourselves into. Even giving us enough information about this situation to allow us to maybe form our own theories about why this coincidence came for these two.
For me? I thought that the people who broke apart were likely those people who were not able to maintain their consciousness for the all those years. For all the time we saw Senku and Taiju petrified, they had to constantly fight against losing consciousness. That one person we saw freaking out? That was probably someone who did not make it. I think that the people who broke apart are people who failed to maintain consciousness, and thus have no hope of ever awakening. It should make for an interesting actuality if it is the case.
As for Fire Force, the story is that it’s year 198 of the Solar Era in Tokyo, special fire brigades are fighting against a phenomenon called spontaneous human combustion where humans beings are turned into living infernos called “Infernals”. Off the bat I loved this. Under normal circumstances people might have their reservations because they might ask “Why should we care about firefighters?”. However, this one grabs your attention because it adds a flair to the story, no pun intended. Little time was wasted showing us the kind of battles these firefighters engage in, and why you would require someone on the squad who has a talent for fire manipulation. Which brings us to our main character, Shinra Kusakabe. His backstory was captivating. Not the first time we have seen one who has to prove himself for a situation in the past that was out of his hands, but still hit you for the execution which matters most.
What you also come to like about Fire Force is that this was made by Atsushi Ohkubo, who also made Soul Eater! I didn’t even have to finish the first episode to know it’s gonna be wild and fun for even just the animation alone. I mean, from the minute that first person transformed into an Infernal, I was sucked right in because that fire effect was on point. I was vibrant, fluent, and not to mention explosive. Everything else after that was also impactful whether it was the full range of motion from these characters, the detail, or the excellent use of perspective to better engage you in their actions.
I enjoyed this main character also for the fact that he was powerful, vulnerable, had plenty of room to grow, and full of aspirations. I always count it as a perk as well when the character isn’t a brat or spending more time than necessary yelling, rather than just talking. The biggest plus about Shinra Kusakabe was definitely the way he uses his powers. Not too common that you will have someone who excels in expelling that kind of fire from their feet.
I do only hope that in the coming episodes we are given more of a reason to invest in the rest of the cast. They look like they have potential, but you were mostly seeing their personalities which at the time wasn’t enough. Fortunately, our main focus for this being the anime premiere, was getting to know the main character above all else.