Monday, July 15, 2019

Fire Force Simuldub Review

It’s a new season, and with a new season comes new simuldubs from FUNimation! In a tradition I’ve come to love, I’m watching new dubbed anime every week. Every season I at least have one, usually 2-3 shows I watch. So far the break out for me this season is Atsushi Ōkubo’s  Fire Force.
Fire Force is the story of Special Fire Force Company 8. In recent years people have begun to spontaneously combust in elevated numbers. So much so, that special firefighter units have been made to deal with this problem, though that is likely more due to the next interesting aspect. Those who spontaneously combust turn into monsters, known as Infernals, who completely lose sense of themselves and wreak havoc everywhere. The only way to stop them (and save the trapped soul within) is to destroy their cores, which are where their human hearts used to be.

That's what you get for eating Taco Bell!

Seriously just ow my soul
If the setting details don’t get you going, the main character Shinra Kusakabe’s story just might. Known by the code name of Demon, due to being blamed for the death of his family. He is innocent of this, but due to a strange quirk where he exhibits a wicked looking grin when anxious, nervous, or socially pressured, and his strong third generation pyrokinetic ability he is assumed guilty. He had made his mother two promises as a child, one that he would always protect his family, and the other that he would become a hero. The former having been made impossible, Shinra is determined on becoming a hero to honor his family by becoming a hero as a member of the Special Fire Force.

Do NOT mess with Maki
A promising start for the protagonist for sure, but the rest of the main cast are also pretty damn awesome - notably Maki Oze who is able to create spirits within fire to do her bidding, and is generally nice until she is pushed too far. Then she becomes the biggest badass fighter I’ve seen in ages and I adore her so much for that. The animation is gorgeous to look at using Ōkubo’s amazing art style (he is also the creator of Soul Eater) and fluid animation to make an extremely visually pleasing experience.

Christopher Wehkamp seriously amazes me in this role
But you probably knew that much. No, what you probably want to know, since I’m focusing on the simuldub, is how good the simuldub is. Well, it’s mostly fantastic with great performances from Derick Snow (Most notably Rigur from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime) as Shinra, newcomer Sarah Roach doing a stellar job as Maki Oze, Eric Vale doing some of his best work ever as Arthur Boyle, and Christopher Wehkamp (Shota Aizawa from My Hero Academia) doing a fantastic job as Special Fire Force Company 8’s leader, Takehisa Hinawa to name a few, but pretty much EVERYONE was great.

I REALLY wish I liked this scene
I say pretty much, because, sadly, I do have to levy a complaint against one particular performance for whom I don’t actually know did the job. Whoever did the flashback scenes as young Shinra really failed to hit the mark, there was no emotional range or weight to the voice, it came off like the were focusing all their energy on a cute kid voice but were almost monotone, not having any feeling behind things they were saying, like they were just reading the script or something. It was reminiscent of some 90s dubs I grew up with, which really is antiquated in modern dubbing. I really hope we’re done with flashbacks as those scenes really are damaged from their otherwise strong emotional weight due to poor voice acting.

Aside from that one sour note though, seriously, Fire Force is a delight to watch as a simuldub and I cannot recommend it enough, the rest of the dubbing is top notch stuff that will blow your socks off. Fire Force is destined to be a great simuldub, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going next!

The action in this is gorgeous!

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