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The Big Problem Some Fans Have With Fire Force

In 2015, Atsushi Ōkubo debuted his manga "Fire Force," a series that presents firefighters in a completely different manner only the world of manga and anime could deliver. The series focuses on Shinra Kusakabe, a third-generation pyrokinetic who can ignite his feet with fire, who has an unfortunate smile that gives the impression of evil deeds. Yet Shinra is every part a budding hero. He battles against supernatural threats looking to bring about the second coming of an apocalypse the world barely managed to escape the first time. The manga, which sold over 15 million copies (via Fire Force Anime Twitter), also spawned a hit anime adaptation in 2019 that still has fans wishing for a possible third season.

"Fire Force" has earned accolades thanks to its intriguing world, some amazing characters, and the overall unique concept it presents. Ōkubo took the idea of fighting fire with fire and blazed it down a wholly original path no one has dared travel before. Still, it isn't without its share of criticisms. As anime fans on Reddit discussed the series, they couldn't help but pinpoint one big problem they have with it.

Fans feel Fire Force is unbalanced thanks to its placement of humor

When it comes to memorable action scenes or profound moments that are ripe for deep reflection, "Fire Force" follows the Shonen genre blueprint of going heavy with the fights and drama. But as some fans pointed out, it's just too bad that these intense scenes are often interrupted by ill-timed humor. As Redditor u/MrEverything70 said, "My main problem with this show is that there are a lot of serious moments where I want to take the plot seriously, and the tension is quickly ruined by a joke of some kind. I found this happening a lot as I kept watching, and it kept annoying me over and over."

Other fans like u/thrallath agreed while also comparing "Fire Force" to Ōkubo's previous work "Soul Eater." They wrote, "I think Fire Force's main problem is that Ōkubo did try to make something more serious than Soul Eater but struggled to find those right moments to add the humor, which is why it can be so jarring at times." It does make sense why some fans would compare "Soul Eater" to "Fire Force," as both shows rely a lot on humor. However, it's arguable that "Soul Eater" pulls this off more organically, as its dark, grim reaper aesthetic meshes so well with the light moments that some critics have even compared the show to Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

Some fans also have an issue with the characterization of Tamaki

While it was noted that "Fire Force" doesn't implement its comedic moments too well, some fans also got more specific to the point of singling out one character. Tamaki Kotatsu may be a skilled Fire Solider in the series, but as some Redditors complained, she's also often a magnet for fanservice in the series. What's worse is these ecchi moments with the character significantly interrupt the show's flow. One of the most notorious examples is probably in the episode "The Spreading Malice" (via Crunchyroll) when Shinra battles against Rekka Hoshimiya. At this point, Tamaki experiences a painful betrayal and a gratuitous assault from Rekka, only for Shinra to finally come in and fight. The ensuing conflict is immensely intense, yet somehow Tamaki's outfit burns away during the middle of the battle, and Shinra is momentarily distracted by her scantily clad appearance.

It's one of many examples of Tamaki moments that mess with the show's pacing while also performing a disservice to the character. Perhaps u/ScyllaIsBea puts it best, as they said, "Everything else about her is a lovable character hidden behind a mountain of ecchi jokes that go too far and often at the wrong time. It's unfortunate because I love her as a character other than the stupid joke, and she could be so much better." And u/theforlornknight seems to agree, while also noting, "Add that all her best scenes were used early on to facilitate someone else's growth, and she just kinda feels like an afterthought in the script most of the time. She deserves better."