What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Fire Force “The Ashen Reaper”! Commence ‘Operation Investigate Haijima Industries’! As I said last week, it looks like the corruption runs deep in the Tokyo Empire. And getting the answers to that will require an investigation of Haijima Industries.
Now off the bat, the pacing was perfect for the way that they jumped right into this situation with Licht. From the way the previous episode ended, they almost had you believing that Licht may be someone you can’t trust. However, that would betray a lot of things we have recently come to learn about players like him and Joker. These are people who seek the truth, and the last thing they would do is completely sell out to the people who are doing the hiding. So I admired what came next for Licht, because there’s no way you could be convinced that he would trick Shinra into coming with him back to Haijima Industries. Not without informing everyone of his intentions, and what they should expect from these people who are obviously up to no good.
Which brings us to our first introduction to the scientists of Haijima Industries. This part right here set the tone for everything to follow as the truth to these monsters was tough to stomach. Licht had a lot to say about these people, and none of it good either. I mean there was a difference between knowing that they act like mad scientists and seeing those experiments for yourself. Whether it was the heartless scientists, or even our first encounter with this Kurono. They made us think twice about the struggles which people in this world endure.
What also helped here was seeing things from Shinra’s perspective. I was actually shocked that he had such a connection to this place. At the same time his story filled in some gaps which I didn’t expect to learn at any time. With everything going on in Shinra’s life, it wasn’t hard to forget to ask yourself what happened to Shinra during that period after the house fire, and before the Fire Force Academy. Now we know, and he definitely got all the motivation he needed to see this next step in the investigation through. Especially since this is another situation which involves saving a kid. Right now there is no better motivator for Shinra than trying to save anyone he can from the same fate Sho has fallen prey to.
That said, the best takeaway was seeing what came of Nataku after his survival of the insect Rekka put in him. He definitely awakened a cool ability. Though it was something else which awakened in him which shook things up. Shinra may have entered to investigate and save these kids, but he’s surely going to be fighting to walk away with something else more worthwhile to the mission.
With this new arc comes a new OP too. This one I enjoyed as much as the one before. It feels like with each passing one they are being more direct about what we’re supposed to expect from the next step in the 8th’s mission. This one took us through Haijima and gave us a glimpse of what we should look forward to. New enemies, new troubles, some darker themes too since we are poking around a conspiracy happening right under everyone’s noses. The music was solid too. Not the most notable, but it was favorable to say the least.
In the end, Fire Force “The Ashen Reaper” set us on a chilling start to the new investigation. This right here is going to be unlike anywhere else these fire soldiers have investigated. I think many here are going to find that they asked for more than they bargained for.