REVIEW: ‘Fire Force,’ Episode 17 – “Boys, Be Weak”

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Fire force episode 14

Fire Force is a shonen anime produced by David Production. With Nataku trapped in the body of a colossal fire construct, the three-way battle comes to a halt as all present must attempt to stop Nataku from unleashing a terrible power upon the city. But can even the combined efforts of Station 8, the White Clads and Reaper stop this confused child from lashing out at everything around him?

We’ve all known those parents. The ones who lean on their children to succeed way too hard. Where every B grade is a failure. Most genuinely want their child to have the best. To succeed so they can have all the things they will need/want in life. But there can be a terrible cost to such pressure. Many people, especially children, are not capable of dealing with that expectation. And when all a person hears is “you can” even if they know they can’t, that conflict can become internally catastrophic. Or, if the kid happens to be a third-generation pyrokinetic, outwardly calamatis.

The bulk of Fire Force Episode 17’s time is split between the conflict in the present and Nataku’s struggles in the past. Even before he was getting exposed to firebugs by unhinged Fire force soldiers Nataku didn’t have it easy.

Nataku grew up with parents who demanded perfection from their son. When this expectation was met, he was showered with praise. When he was found wanting in the slightest, it was treated as the most abject of failures. This impresses upon Nataku an extreme fear of failure and a need to succeed, lest his parents are disappointed. This driving force for the young boy comes to a boiling point as he sees Shinra, Charon, and Reaper stand as opposed to him. They are trying to beat him, which means he needs to beat them. The fact that there is no objective for him quickly gets lost in the haze of his desperation to succeed. He will succeed. He must succeed.

Fire Force Episode 17

Nataku’s struggle is heartfelt, and heartbreaking, and fuels the entire narrative of Fire Force Episode 17. As he delves deeper into what he can do, viewers are treated to some the most impressive displays of raw power yet seen on the show. And possibly the most impressive moment doesn’t even come from someone with an adolla burst. I won’t spoil who does what, but it is a moment that stands out as one of the more memorable of the show thus far.

The ultimate conclusion to the situation is one I never could’ve predicted, and continues to shine a spotlight on how creative the writing in Fire Force is. Just like at the beginning of the season, Shinra’s basic appeals to Nataku fall on deaf ears. It requires something more personal to stop the child. And while there are some big issues with the general motivations behind what eventually calms young Nataku, keeping him from destroying everyone, it makes a profound amount of sense for why it gets through to him. Kindness, like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder.

The final success that Fire Force Episode 17 brings with it’s ending is that it is indeed an ending. Avoiding the overdrawn conflict that opened the season, this confrontation wrapped up in a time frame I feel is much better. Especially given how we are approaching the end run of the season.

When all is said and done, Fire Force Episode 17 delivers a great addition to the story. It has memorable action, heartbreaking reveals, and a unique twist to the ending that lands in a perfect, if slightly twisted way.

Fire Force Season 2 Episode 17 is streaming now on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

Fire Force Episode 17 
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

Fire Force Episode 17 delivers a great addition to the story. It has memorable action, heartbreaking reveals, and a unique twist to the ending that lands in a perfect, if slightly twisted way.