Fire Force’s Nether Mission Sets a Surprisingly Grisly Tone

Fire Force’s investigation into the Nether yields a gruesome fate for many Fire Soldiers.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 20 of Fire Force, “Weapon of Destruction,” now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Fire Force has never shied away from featuring death throughout the series, including Joker’s violent revenge against his abusive former commander. However, as the 2nd and 8th Companies set out on their joint investigation of the Nether, things get particularly gruesome for the inbound Fire Soldiers against the White-Clad’s Knights of the Purple Haze.

The investigation has tense beginnings with Detective Takigi Oze — Maki’s brother — clashing with Lieutenant Hinawa. One crewmember from the 2nd aptly compares the Nether’s eerie calm to that of a zombie movie. Split into multiple groups, the combined teams each explore different areas of the underground tunnels and quickly run into varying degrees of danger.

Ritsu’s Frightening Necro Pyro Ability

Confronted with explosions and a sea of Infernals, the Fire Soldiers do their best to put them to rest, but sheer numbers have an immediate impact. As members of the 2nd are brutally killed, even torn apart by Infernals, we see their lives flashing before them. From tender moments with loved ones to one man’s desire to try on a new pair of sneakers, these glimpses add a level of connection to people we see killed.

Ritsu leads the Knights of the Purple Haze — a division of the Evangelist’s forces — against the Fire Force and uses their dead against them. Aside from the countless bodies abandoned in the Nether from the Great Cataclysm, Ritsu also uses her Necro Pyro ability to resurrect the recently deceased Fire Soldiers to attack their friends, forming an undead army.

The Surprising Death Of Hajiki

One group includes Tamaki, Juggernaut and the forgetful Hajiki, whose crosshair-like eyes act as a thermal scope. Armed with a pair of rifles, Hajiki quickly takes down the massive collection of Infernals who swarms them. As the trio looks to regroup with their lost squadmates, they encounter a strange hooded White-Clad member, Orochi. Imperceptibly, Orochi cuts Hajiki’s head in half, instantly killing him in front of his stunned friends.

While Fire Force has killed characters before, the series’ second season continues to escalate some of its darker themes of death and sacrifice. The deeper Shinra and Company 8 delve into the Evangelist’s plot, the more violence and insidious machinations come to light.

Tamaki steps up against Orochi since Juggernaut is too distraught, having just witnessed his friend and mentor killed right in front of him. Orochi fights with her eight-tailed Medusa Whip, which she uses to lash at Tamiki, whose naturally higher resistance to flames protects her. Unfortunately, much like in Season 1, Tamaki is brutalized and forced to cry for help.

Juggernaut’s Resolve

Juggernaut, finally confronting his cowardice, takes aim at Orochi to both protect Tamaki and avenge the fallen Hajiki. Orochi’s whip continually cut Juggernaut, but the Fire Soldier’s multiple layers and small frame cause him to seem hollow to the White-Clad knight as she hacks away. While Juggernaut eventually starts taking substantial hits, his perseverance keeps him in the clash as his ballistic barrages slowly chip away at Orochi’s defense.

In a valiant stand, Juggernaut feeds all of his pyrokinetic flames into a powerful missile, creating the episode’s titular “Weapon of Destruction.” Though the ensuing explosion seems to defeat Orochi, the eruptive fire also engulfs Juggernaut, who triumphantly smiles at Tamaki before being consumed in the blaze.

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