When I finished watching “Those Connected” last week, I understood fully why this was the point in the story that everyone wanted to get around to. More people should have been talking about that episode, because this arc in general has proven that this series knows how to go to that place where they fully indulge in what these characters are truly capable of. Sometimes you really do have to be patient to find yourself rewarded.
This episode was pretty much all about the battle between Shinra and Sho. I couldn’t argue with the way they focused down this time around because I’m pretty sure most of us are more used to big battles having their own episode without sharing too much screentime with everything else ongoing. It was a great transition from last week’s episode. The style of it all is similar to what you would get from most shonen, though credit where it is due that they still managed to tackle this point in the story without falling into too many of the same traps as other series.
That’s not to say that it wasn’t a bit slow at first, because there was a fair amount of talking of course as the intensity turned up. Where I do give them credit is that the conversation between Shinra and Sho wasn’t for nothing. They wasted very little time getting into what the Adolla is, what makes an Adolla Link, and just how deep the Evangelist has his claws into Sho. It was all very enlightening without going too far into that cliche where the enemy tells you exactly how to defeat them. That point came, but it was organic since it was mainly Shinra being able to connect dots on his own to find a way to increase his power without the same assistance Sho received. At the same time, they made every minute count where Shinra was simply trying to be a good brother in this moment. Now matter how much they were each putting into the fight, he made sure every move was supported by his promise to his mother and intentions as an older brother. It was definitely heartwarming without being overbearing because he wasn’t willing to do whatever it took to save his brother from himself.
Speaking of assistance Sho received, it was worth the wait to finally understand exactly what he could do. I mean, we all pretty much had the right idea that he had to be manipulating time to be able to move the way he did, but it goes a long way to get their explanation of how people who control fire can push their abilities so far as to break the laws of physics.
Now the writing for Litch left me with a lot of feelings. First of all, things could have actually gone very wrong with the way they kept cutting to his perspective of the battle between Shinra and Sho. One pet peeve I always have is when something needs to be completely explained away. While part of me appreciated the way that he was able to dissect what Sho’s abilities actually were versus what Shinra’s powers were evolving into as the battle progressed, part of me would have also loved less cutting into what should have been them simply trying to show off how far they could really go with the animation quality. With that said, his reactions were still on point. This was a brutal battle, it was also fairly impossible, and it could have been terrifying if both pushed themselves to the point that Litch feared from their abilities clashing.
As for the other spectators, I did feel as though we could have done without their word on events unfolding. It didn’t add too much to the story aside from introducing someone who could potentially be just as troublesome to deal with as Sho down the road.
Overall, Fire Force “A Brother’s Determination” is a successful test for what we should be able to continue looking forward to in terms of Shinra’s progression and involvement in bigger battles. If you are someone who fell off of the series, what are you doing? Jump back in! Fire Force may not be as crazy and flashy as some of the other series which came out this year, but that does not take away from what is both genuine and wholesome about the emotion and action that they put into it.