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Alethea & Athena
Fire Force volume 9 
30th-May-2018 07:33 pm
tadah
We disappeared for a little while as we went to visit family for Memorial Day weekend. I had vague intentions of maybe posting while we were there, since we did bring the Chromebook, but it just didn't happen. Whenever we did have some time to ourselves, we wanted to spend it unwinding and playing with apps on our iPads.

Anyway, we got back and recovered from the journey just in time to post a review for Review Rednesday! There will probably be some reporting on the trip in the future, but it depends on whether or not we have the brain energy. Anyway, here's our review of Fire Force 9! Spoilers ahead!


This is our favorite volume so far because it has Vulcan on the cover. Okay, I'm kidding, but we do really like Vulcan. I'm sure I must have talked about that in a previous review, but there's no possible way to remember what I said without rereading them and I'm much too lazy for that right now.

Anyway, if you've been a fan of Atsushi Ohkubo since Soul Eater and you've been lamenting the lack of weird creepy art in Fire Force, then boy is this the volume for you! Like, oh my gosh. The adolla link in this volume is WOOOOOOOOO trippy. And of course it makes sense that Shinra is seeing demons because that's like a thing in this series, but the horns growing out of the eye sockets is not something I would have thought of. It's not practical, for one thing. How are they supposed to see? Through the adolla link, I guess. There was also something that was said to indicate that the demon was Shinra's mother, which really makes sense if you think about it. There was a fire, Shinra got powers, Sho disappeared, and their mother died. And there was a demon on the scene, so it had to be somebody. On the other hand, Burns is in the flashback/dream thingy, too, and there's literally fire coming out of his eye, so maybe the eye-socket-horn demon would be him. But continuity-wise, as far as dialogue and panel arrangement... Well, it doesn't matter right now, and I'm sure we'll find out eventually. In the meantime, I have gotten way ahead of myself.

Because this volume starts with Vulcan! And we heart Vulcan. We decided that when this series gets animated, he's the character that will be played by Yuki Kaji, as if we had any say in the casting. And I don't know why we decided he would be Vulcan instead of any of the other very likely characters he could play; it just clicked, I guess. Maybe because we just like Vulcan so much. But one of the reasons we like Vulcan so much is that we imagine him being played by Yuki Kaji, so it's just kind of a weird cycle or something. We...think we'll still like him if he's played by somebody else...because he has that whole family thing and the whole making things that won't break thing and especially the whole animal thing...

But anyway, now we get confirmation that he mostly joined the Fire Force so he could find Lisa and put his family back together. Awww, isn't that sweet? We also find out that Lisa's Ashen Flame name is Feeler, which is annoying because her powers are obviously tentacles, not feelers, and of course it's the same word in Japanese. So we've been using tentacles, and now they're using feelers, so we're like, "Well, okay, we'll just use them alternately," but it really just doesn't work, because they're not feelers, they're tentacles. But on the other hand, Tentacle would have been a hecka weird name for her, so we definitely understand the choice. I'm just going to say whatever about it because Dr. Giovanni is weird and creepy anyway, so if he wants to use a weird name for her it's fine. Either way, the potential for double entendre is there and annoying. I mean, I don't think it's supposed to be so full of innuendo, but you never know.

Anyway, all we really get from this encounter is that Giovanni thinks the Evangelist knows all the secrets behind the current state of the world, but he's not going to tell Company 8. Well, gee, thanks, let's go see what Tamaki and Iris are up to. Tamaki's battle is...just...Tamaki. I actually kind of liked it. So what happened was, this big scary knight named Assault comes along and says hey, I'm just gonna wrap this up real quick 'cause I got stuff to do, and then Tamaki remembers Shinra being all white knight on her and saying just let me know if you need any help, you poor weak woman, and Tamaki's like, "Shut up, I can take care of myself and others, too!" And then she does! ...In the most ridiculous way possible. But what I really liked about it is that Ohkubo-sensei took the "lucky lecher lure" thing and actually made it lucky. Like, I don't know how hard it would have been for her in a normal fight, but her condition definitely made the fight a heck of a lot easier. And Assault's reactions were funny, too. ...Except there was the mairu thing. But we wouldn't like our job so much if it wasn't challenging.

Okay, so Assault's thing, which was probably invented solely for this battle and may not have existed when he first came along, is that he humbly goes to fight whatever battle is assigned to him. The word for "to humbly go" is "mairu." "Mairu" is also what people say when they're at a loss as to how to deal with something, because it can mean "to be defeated," so they're like, "Well, it beats me." And that's how Assault felt when faced with Tamaki's special condition...after saying over and over again in a series of flashbacks that he was humbly going. And then he took it one step further and said he wouldn't be literally defeated, but still used the same word. So read the book to find out how we dealt with it! Note to us: the way we dealt with it could also potentially work for "hiku."

So now that Assault is beaten and Tamaki and Iris are safe, let's go check in on the Lieutenant. I always like him more than I remember I did. He's just such a great character. He also gave us some trouble by bringing up the "mind over matter" thing, which seems like it has different connotations in English than in Japanese, even though technically it means the same thing and has the same repercussions. For that one we just wrote a note. But anyway, Takehisa is wandering around through the Nether when the sniper, Arrow, finds him. So they face off and we learn more about Takehisa's powers, and one of the things I especially like about these scenes is that Takehisa's eyes are still all weird and stressed out looking, but because of the camera angles and other aspects of his expression, they look more normal and it's very kakkoii. And after a stunning display of explosive power (literally), he defeats Arrow, but uses up all of his own energy. As he lies there dying, Mirage and Jonah come to finish him off, so he uses the very tiny amount of energy he has left to fire one last shot...and it goes right through Mirage without hurting him, because it was actually a mirage. And he's all like, "HA ha, you missed!" and Takehisa's like, "Nope."

And then! Arthur falls from the ceiling! It was pretty awesome, especially with his little cowlick poking up over the rubble. And then we learn again that Arthur is just too good at fighting for his own good, but Benimaru and Konro helped him fix it. It really is astounding just how powerful Arthur is. And Athena just reminded me that they used the word "baka-jikara," which is the perfect word for Arthur, but they didn't use it for him. That was later, when we get back to Captain Obi. But the important thing to remember here is that Arthur comments on Jonah's face, asking, "Is it even human?" The Lieutenant is like, "What else could it be?" But then we remember that back in Asakusa, it was Arthur who could see what people really looked like even after Jonah sculpted their faces, so you really have to wonder what s/he looks like. Based on how everything works in this series, a demon makes the most sense.

...And in that vein, we go back to see Akitaru and Vulcan, and Giovanni, still bragging about the Evangelist, says that the Evangelist is not human. Obi's all, "So what, s/he's like a god or something?" I guess the Evangelist and Jonah are probably the same species, whatever it is. And as for the Evangelist, I'm starting to think that this person is a woman, mostly based on the dream that Shinra had in the last volume, and Sho's description of her as a mother figure, but the mother figure thing isn't conclusive, because we've come across about a million anime/manga mother figures who were male, including, but not limited to, Lieutenant Hinawa. So really it's mostly based on Shinra's dream in the previous volume. That made it tricky to deal with when Giovanni and Obi would not shut up about the Evangelist this, the Evangelist that. We have very little else to go on, so we couldn't even really choose nouns to use instead of pronouns. So they said "the Evangelist" probably an inordinate amount of times. Or our editor fixed it.

Anyway. Speaking of Obi and Vulcan and Giovanni...well, Company 8 wins, but you all knew that, right? It was a really cute thing, though, and the way Akitaru ripped up the train tracks and used them as a ladder... That's where they used baka-jikara, by the way. It also reminded us of the one cover flap where Ohkubo-sensei said he wanted to have pro-wrestling style battles. I think there was plenty of that kind of thing back in Asakusa, but obviously it wasn't enough. At any rate, it makes the action more interesting, so I'd say it's a good thing. We tend to get bored by too much action.

And then we finally check in on Shinra and Licht. ...Okay, so we did see them a few times earlier, which was funny, because it almost seemed like just an excuse to have someone explain Hinawa's powers, since Hinawa was all by himself and they needed somebody to explain it to the readers. But it was like, "Oookay, why are you bringing him up?" I think we managed to make the segue sort of reasonable, but I don't know. Maybe Licht is just constantly in awe of everyone's powers. I really like him, by the way. I'm liking him so much that I don't even care what side he's on; I'm probably still going to like him even if he betrays everybody. Unless he kills Vulcan or something, but we don't think he's that bad.

But let's talk about Shinra. Or I guess we already did. They're just walking around talking about finding everybody when suddenly Shinra has an adolla link! Dun dun DUN! And that's where all the weird creepy art comes in. The one with Shinra's giant face was the trippiest, I think. It definitely reminded me of Soul Eater, and made me think that main characters with some sort of mental connection to evil power are a staple of Atsushi Ohkubo's work. But I like the theme of overcoming inner demons, so it's cool. After Shinra comes out of the link, he sees the devil's footprints leading him to Sho. Dun dun DUN!!!

And then they have a battle. The end. I mean, not the end end, but the end of the volume. I feel a little bad for Shinra, wanting so badly to get his brother back, and his brother hating him so much. If it were me, I'd be like fine, have it your way, and just let him be with the evil knights. So I admire characters like Shinra in that sense. And it was super cool that Shinra was managing to keep up with Sho. And then! Sho stopped time! And I'm glad that Viktor is so observant. And he asked the same question I was wondering: how would fire powers help you to stop time? Well, that question is the last thing said in the chapter, so we won't find out until the next volume! But that will just keep us coming back for more, so it's all good. I think. I don't know. But I am curious. I would say I can't wait for the next volume, but I have to wait, and even if I didn't have a bunch of work between now and the next volume, I'd still be able to wait because I'm tired and want to take a break from translating. But I do love my job, so I know I'd want to get back to it eventually! And I'm excited to see what happens when I do!


Oh man, Fire Force. What a great series. The thought of it makes me tired right now. But then, the thought of just about anything makes me tired right now. Fortunately, the one thought that doesn't make me tired is doing a first draft for Beasts of Abigaile, because that's what we're going to do next! If we're lucky, we'll have time to watch an episode of something before we go to bed!

Anyway, we had a release this week! What was it again? Oh yeah! Waiting for Spring 6! ...I think we just reviewed volume five last week. Wow, maybe I should start doubling up on reviews. Hmmm...

Anyway, tune in next week for our review of In/Spectre 7! You won't want to miss it! (Or maybe you will. I don't know.)

Today I'm thankful for making it back safely from our travels, so far having time to accomplish today's to-do list, Page leaving a little bit of space for me on my chair, having more mug cake (one of the to-do list items was grocery shopping), and having our costumes for Anime Expo.
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