And now for the final round of the Shounen Showdown. It’s time.
EvilBob: Let’s get ready to rumble!
Voyager: Things heat up, big time, this week.
EvilBob: In more ways than one.
Voyager: Now it’s time to see which series burned hotter.
EvilBob: On to the opening thoughts!
EvilBob: Well this episode did not go the way I thought it would. The gunpowder was made and the plan was set until they all got found out because they got distracted by the discovery of more survivors. And that ending… I’m pretty sure Senku isn’t dead, seeing how he’s the main character. Not even Tarzan can break plot armor. It was a splendid episode with a lot of funny moments sprinkled in.
Voyager: I’ve been waiting for this arc. ‘Cause man is it gonna get good. That said, this setup episode was great. It introduces a fairly interesting moral/ethical dilemma. Maybe not in this particular case, but on a grander scheme. It was really good buildup that also gave us a lot to admire about Shinra’s character. Compassionate but not dumb. It also introduces us to Princess, who is just a fun antagonist. And let’s not forget about that action. Hoo, is it smoothe.
EvilBob: So. Shinra’s shining pretty bright, huh?
Voyager: Actually, yeah! He really is! Having him wrestle throughout the episode with what to do about an infernal with a sense of self. Having him show mercy to that infernal, then revoke it when it turns out to be a trap he was fully prepared for. I love seeing that he’s compassionate but not naive. Trusting, certainly, but he has his wits about him.
EvilBob: And the others?
Voyager: Uh… well… they’re… funny together.
EvilBob: Oh. That’s nice. But I’ve got four characters, over here, all of them really standing out in their own ways. Like Yuzu standing up to Tarzan? And Senku showing his own humanity by choosing her life and Taiju’s happiness over his own wellbeing. Even Tarzan’s own pretty remorseful and honorable character. And let’s not forget Taiju’s resolve when he and Yuzu talked about whatever they were saying before all of this began.
Voyager: Yes, yes, you’ve made your point.
EvilBob: Oh, good. I’ll take my point now.
EvilBob: Yeah, you can have this one.
Voyager: Cool. Next.
EvilBob: All right. This one’s gonna hurt.
Voyager: Yeah, it’s… it’s gonna take a while, i’nnit?
Voyager: Fire Force is in a weird spot. It’s done a lot of setup, thus far. Most of this episode was setting up little plot points and character hooks that we’ll see getting paid off very quickly, pretty soon. The plot’s been thickening and pressure is very much being applied to the characters, making them react in interesting ways.
EvilBob: Yeah, but Dr. STONE is pretty much barreling through this stuff. The setups are really short and the payoff, while usually pretty small, is almost instant. But because of that, we’re seeing a lot more out of the characters, a lot faster. The series is just constantly “going.” So they’re basically playing entirely different games, here.
Voyager: Perhaps. But that’s kind of the nature of Shounen Jump. At least it’s been their flavor lately, with a few exceptions. It’s a style that Dragon Ball basically popularized and it’s used by more or less all of their biggest hits. Except maybe Bleach. There’s a payoff at the beginning of a chapter (episode, in this case) and a setup at the end to get you invested in the next one.
EvilBob: But Fire Force isn’t really doing that. It’s betting on you being invested in sort of this overarching idea. Which is all good and well… buuut this competition is built to reward instant gratification.
EvilBob: So… I win?
Voyager: Huh? Oh. Sorry. I was just surprised that you knew the word ‘gratification.’
Voyager: I hurt ’cause I care.
EvilBob: Well, I’ll cry my way all the way to the winner’s circle.
EvilBob: That’s another win under my belt.
Voyager: But… that means these two are even.
EvilBob: Wait… huh? Then… how do we decide who actually wins the bracket?
Voyager: How else? A tie-breaker, of course!
EvilBob: Oh! Now you’re talkin’!
Voyager: Right! So we’ll decide on the rules for that and square off for real! In the meantime, folks, who are you pulling for? Fire Force or Dr. STONE? Let us know, down below! Thanks for reading, as always, folks.
EvilBob: And for letting us waste your time.
Voyager: Keep up the Awesome!
EvilBob: And Keep it Classy.
Voyager: Take Care.