“Spreading Malice” gave us one of our most important episodes yet. Through this one encounter, we learned so much than we ever thought we were going to initially from the investigation of 1st company. So far I enjoyed that nothing about this is something you could have seen playing out the way it did. You weren’t prepared for Rekka being the culprit, the reason for him turning innocent people into infernals, the kind of people pulling the strings of this conspiracy, or how Shinra now ties into this madness. If you were someone who just watched the anime like myself, then you definitely looked forward to seeing how the 8th progresses from here.
From the start of this episode they wasted little time diving into what came next. From the look of the photos and promos, it was easy to pick up the impression that this new discovery was going to change everything moving forward. That of course would start with the Fire Defense Agency. With the culprit snuffed out, this meant that it was easier to address this problem to everyone as a whole. I welcomed this development because this was our opportunity to get all of the major introductions out of the way at once. With what we know so far about the structure of these companies, this was automatically going to be one of those episode where we get to see everyone else who is a captain, and the kind of companies they lead given their personalities. Some of them were interesting, some of them didn’t give you too much to go on, and others you could see being a problem just from the way that they interact with the rest.
The meeting turned out to be very informative aside from the introductions. We learned a great deal about the way this world works, the way fire in this world works as a force/source of energy, and most importantly what an Adolla Burst is. That last part was most important to me because it is very easy for a story to lose you because they do not put enough time into fleshing out concepts which aren’t easy to put together on your own.
It was great that with this next episode they were quick to diving deep into what comes next for Shinra specifically. Investigating the 1st didn’t bring him closer to the answers he was looking for, but it certainly got him some answers to why he has become a person of interest to enemies he has never met. This episode got us back on track towards addressing the mystery behind the death of his mother, and the disappearance of his younger brother. At this point we all know he is still alive. Even if you didn’t get the hint, there’s more than enough manga readers out there to spoil that for you because it’s apparently fun to know what comes next. A new goal line was created for Shinra, and this one we can brace more than anything else when it will not be the most heartwarming reunion. That much they assured us by the end.
That aside, I was touched by some of the more subtle moments for the 8th. Since the start of the series, things haven’t slowed down enough to really emphasize connections between the members of this company. All you really knew was of what came before Shinra, and what used to be between Shinra and Arthur. There was no better time than now to actually show us that they do care about one another, give reasons to trust each other, that there’s more to their bond than the mission, and that the hardest among them have hearts.
At the end of the episode, I only walked away with a couple concerns. The first one involved the Imperial King. My concern was that the guy at the top wasn’t anyone too special. This was just one of those scenarios where you just have a mouthpiece who gives out commands out of respect. I do hope I’m wrong, but right now it is hard to see him as anything but that. Then there is Tamaki. A lot that we saw in the beginning episodes, and even the opening sequence made her look badass. Unfortunately we haven’t seen any of that so far from her. They are getting too comfortable with putting her in compromising situations, especially when it is for the sake of humor. That is not what we need from her right now. This should be that point in her character arc where she has a new fire lit in her to find the people who created that version of Rekka. She should be getting stronger and actually be seen as someone who could equal Shinra or Arthur.
Fire Force “The Promise” brings us to the start of a new direction for the story. Things are going to get heated (no pun intended) when the big target is the Evangelist, and everyone is on the move to bring this person down. Right now you only wonder if there are still ways aside from a traitor in which these fire soldiers could possibly get in their own way. If anything, introducing us to the rest of the companies only stirred more trouble than what was already brewing.