Season 1, Episode 3: The Fire Rookie Soldiers Games
Normally the ‘tournament arc” is done far later in an anime series than the third episode. Of course this wasn’t a full tournament so maybe I shouldn’t count it. Regardless, we are introduced to another villain, although we don’t get his name. We learn that Company 8 Captain, Akitaru Obi had twice earned awards for heroism and twice had them removed for disobeying orders by being a hero when he saved lives. I initially got the impression that the 8 Fire Force Companies worked closely together but it seems that they operate independently of each other.
Shinra and Arthur get a look at the mascots of the Fire Defense Agency. Called the Wone Wone Nyine, two of them are cute, but one is a “dog faced human.” Shinra recognizes the fire fighter that saved him as a child. Leonard Burns doesn’t recognize Shinra because, it was a fire over a dozen years ago. Shinra suspects that Burns is hiding something. Maybe it’s because the series is new, but I though the new character Tamaki Kotatsu was Maki (their names are similar too). This may be intentional but so far it feels a bit lazy. Tamaki is a third generation of the first company.
She seems to be this series main fanservice source, as Shinra had manage to somehow “accidentally” groped her. Anyway, the competition is for the participants run into a large burning building, while rescuing those in need and defeating a fake infernal. As the competition starts, Shinra uses his ability to fly to the top of the building. He quickly runs into the man named the Joker. He offers Shinra information on what happened 12 years ago. Shinra attacks Joker, with Joker using ashes that explode. He makes the surprising revelation that Shinra’s brother Sho is still alive.
The Joker asks Shinra to join him. Shinra attacks Joker again this time he uses more power impressing Joker with his ability. Arthur and Tamaki arrive. Shinra attempts to inform Arthur of the situation. Arthur thinks he’s lying and tries to capture Joker. Tamaki and Arthur fail to defeat Joker, who releases all the ashe he has setting up the building to explode. Shinra, Arthur and Tamaki work together to escape. This encounter leaves Shinra more suspicious of the Fire Force, only for Obi to confirm that he too is suspicious.
Each, Fire Force Company operates independently and are supported by different factions like the Holy Sol Temple and Hajima Company. The 8th Company acts as a investigation force of companies 1-7. This larger conspiracy is very intriguing. We haven’t seen many of the other companies. It’s unlikely that all of them are bad, but in investigating the 8th Company could make enemies of all of them.