A new recruit comes to Special Fire Force Company 8. Arthur Boyle, a boy Shinra’s age who believes he is a knight…king. Knight king. He and Shinra attended the Academy together and are at odds with each other in a friendly way.
Obi reveals that the Rookie Fire Games are coming soon and that Shinra and Arthur will be competing in them. Because of this, Takehisa has the two rookies fight against Maki (who we find out is RIPPED) and they give up after quickly realizing that she could kill them both, especially after they refer to her as an ogre.
Afterwards, a mission comes in. Company 8 has to suppress an Infernal in the Iriya district. The Infernal is the father of a young girl whose mother also became an Infernal a few years ago, so this case has to be handled with care. Arthur dispatches the Infernal and the episode closes with Shinra and Arthur being kind of friendly with each other as they go to sleep.
As I said in my first review, the design work is stunning. As this episode is a lot less battle heavy than the first, there are a lot less dynamic moments that fully display the beauty of the style used. However, I’m still enamored by how well this show is done.
This episode did two very important things in my opinion. One, it establishes that Shinra has few relationships outside of Company 8. Two, it gives us further insight into what it means to be a part of Company 8.
Establishing that Shinra has very few relationships outside of the Company and any friends he made during the Academy is important because it adds to the nature of the character. Shinra strikes me as the kind of person who has existed in a state of loneliness since the accident that took his mother and brother from him. However, despite this, he never lets it overcome him and chooses to have good, friendly relationships with others. While he does seek some type of vengeance for his family, it is not his primary goal. He desires to be a hero through being on the Special Fire Force as his primary goal, and his vengeance as a close secondary goal.
As for the second point, Obi is where we get the majority of the information in regards of how Company 8 operates. When he tells Shinra and Arthur to keep their weapons hidden out of respect and caring for the daughter the Infernal left behind. He also says that it is their duty as fire soldiers to fight Infernals and put them to rest (kill them), but acknowledges that they are someone’s relatives and even goes so far as to threaten the two rookies with expulsion from Company 8 if they show their weapons in front of the next of kin.
I think this creates a beautiful contrast between duty and human emotions. Even if what you’re doing is your responsibility or your job, it does not give you the right to discard the feelings of others. This draws a clear line in the sand between Company 8 and some of the other Companies we will see in the future.
I have to say that this episode is an excellent sequel to the first. The writers of the show have done a good job with showcasing the relationships between characters, introducing new characters, and providing exposition that tells the viewer where the main cast stands in terms of their ideology. It is my hope that they can continue doing so without getting lazy with the writing in favor of cooler fight scenes as I’ve seen with many other anime.