Firefighter! (Action Edition) Vol. #06 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 196
  • ISBN: 1-59116-137-1
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Firefighter! (Action Edition) Vol. #06

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 16, 2004
Release Date: March 01, 2004

Firefighter! (Action Edition) Vol.#06
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Soda Masahito
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
Adapted by:

What They Say
Rookie Daigo Asahina is shaping up to be an impressive firefighter, but all the training and experience in the world wouldn't be enough to prepare him for the orgeal he's about to face. Daigo finds himself alone on the roof a high-rise building undergoing construction. The massive steel crane that is perched up there is toppline over and is about to come crashing down onto an oil tanker truck parked below. How in the world is a lone firefighter going to prevent this disaster from happening?!

The Review
Going through the backlog again and this time I picked up Viz's Firefigther. After reading this series, I can only wonder why certain themes like firefighting, police and military do not come over that often. Well sports manga is starting to come over maybe Daigo can help with those other genres.

Viz uses the same cover art as the original here. The image is slightly darker but it feautres a shot of Daigo in full gear in front of a larger image of Lt. Kanda. The art is full of reds shades of grey surrounded by a lot of black. This is one of the better covers for this series and looks nice with Viz's framing. The back cover features Firefighter's trademar small emergency vehicle under the volume blurb is framed in bright red and yellow (real contrast to the nice looking front cover presentation.)

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs).... Viz's logo is just wrong. First of all, why call it "Firefighter!"? Daigo of Fire Company M is the original title and its completely overshadowed by this large looming red shadowed techno font.

Like a lot of Viz's recent works the printing is sharp with hardly any alignment issues. There are no omake but this volume does feature ads for Tuxedo Gin, Excel Saga, and Flame of Recca.

Soda's art is in many ways is perfect for this series. The character designs are a little sloppy. Lines are a little weak. They look a little sketchy and tend to loose detail in certain angles. Characters also vary from kinda realistic to completely comical. I do not mind that in a comedy but this series has so much suspense and drama that some characters look a little out of place. Fortunately, Soda makes up for his silliness with detail in regards to fireman culture. He uses brands that are known in the business and his costumes have a decent amount of detail.

Background art is usually pretty good. Soda turns it off and on in relation to the scene. Dramatic scenes are full of detail. Every exit, every light, the items in a room if they could play a part in the drama they are drawn. It makes the reader think of scenerios that could come up in an emergency and keeps readers active with anticipation. The layout does a great job presenting these scenes. Even though the panels are often laid as simple as can be (almost always 7 to 9 panels a page. consistent sized panels) the layout never raises the pace or slows it down. Those panels just stay back and lets the drama do it's job.

This series is presented right to left in a tall B6 book.
This title has it's SFX translated in a glossary. I tend to like this technique the best as I do not get to lose manga art but I can understand how some readers can get annoyed after having to check a few dozen times each chapter.

Viz does a decent job with this volume. I did not notice any issues with typos or poor grammar. Everything seemed to flow very well and the tension was always never compromised. Honorifics are not used at all in this series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a lot of build up of Daigo's character, Soda-sensei goes back to a few supporting characters that were introduced earlier in the series.

Work in the fire department is distributed by location. Closest firehouse to the scene should get there first and they are usually in charge of handling things. There are times when regular methods are not enough; no matter how many firemen are on site. As hard as it might be guys like Daigo, or in this case Akamatsu, have to leave it up to the Special Rescue Unit. Possibly the fire department's finest, the SRU as the skills, technology and funding to tackle the most dangerous of situations. Seargent Kanda Kei is known as the best in this region and after seeing him in action Akamatsu cannot get him and the SRU out of his mind.

The way they just come in and take command. The authority, their presence, and the way they can shut everything out to save lives while not risking further endangerment is everything someone like Akamatsu can hope for. But at the moment it's a dream that is still far away. With that in mind, better to start soon if that goal is to be obtained. With a regional joint excercise coming up what better time to get attention from those higher up and experience the members of the SRU firsthand.

Some members of the Special Rescue Unit have a different outlook for these sessions. They already have someone in mind and want to test him out firsthand. This person has become someone of legend. This man has risked his life on quite a few occasions; sometimes at the risk of endangering victims. Despite having a reputation as being reckless this man has successfully saved countless victims by using unbelievable methods. But from his results in this excercise have laid a cloud of doubt to his skill leading some to believe that he has been struck by luck all this time.

Obviously with Daigo being the main character, he is Kanda's man. And if he was not able to find some life form in the excercise (this time he found a family of cats; first birds now cats) Kanda may have completely given up on him. All of this was not taken well by Daigo, of course. He made a decision ages ago to be a fireman not some stuck up superhero and he was just getting used to Fire Company M. He was not going anywhere.

Fate, for some reason, seems to wants him in an orange suit, though. Soon enough Company M is called out to support an extreme situation. The scene is so bad most of the heavy work is left to the SRU (brought in by helicoper, no less) and once the SRU is done the fire companies would then begin most of their work (prevention, clearing, cleaning and returning the scene, this being a freeway, back to use). But with the SRU being limited in what they do they were not able to scope out the whole picture. Daigo somehow could. His skills single-handedly saved the lives of the fire fighters beneath. It is quite possible that no one could have found what Daigo sensed without extensive inspection of the neighborhood but this is why Kanda is so curious and so infuritated with someone like Daigo. He is almost inhuman - sensitive in regards to danger, able to risk his life, and able to always have results where lives are never lost. Yet, there he is completely clueless to the gravity of the situation he put himself into. Daigo is someone to watch out for but is he really interested?

After a few volumes building up Daigo's character and working on his talent, this most recent volume wraps up what was being worked on and finally brings in a plot. Firefighter was fine a suspense and thriller manga, but now their is a level of drama in the writing that was not there before. So while Daigo goes about his business (as dangerous as it is when he is involved) while everyone else around him is worrying about his future in the department. On a personal level that type of concept feels so real it is scary. Still, Soda-sensei sticks to his guns by using many of the techniques that got Daigo all the attention that he is finally getting recognition for. It is also keeping the pace up, the action fresh and the thrills high! How does Daigo get out alive each time? (He is bound to come to earth some time, right?!?)

Firefighter would work nicely as a seinen title - most characters are adults, not much comedy and the action can get pretty intense - but as a shonen title readers can easily gravitate to Daigo as an unexpected hero for a no-name department in a no-name town. Relating to Daigo is very easy: young, inexperienced and initially only motivated when something either interested him or if he felt something was being overlooked on the scene. Fun, fast paced and exciting Firefighter is not your standard shonen and I really appreciate that. On the other hand those looking for your typical shonen work might be disappointed - no fanservice (unless you like hosing techniques), little comedy, and there are no young or cute characters. This series is shonen cause it was in Shonen Sunday Magazine; it could have easily been featured in the pages of Big Comics Spirits or Business Jump along side police dramas, fire boat rescue teams comedies and hospital thrillers. Keep in mind that shonen does cover a large audience as Dragon Ball and Ranma 1/2 fans cover the whole spectrum of otaku, as well

This volume turned my opinion of the series completely around. For the longest time I felt this was an entertaining work of fiction that had its share of laughs and thrills but was going nowhere. As a short series that would be fine, but I questioned it's strength for twenty volumes. Add some drama and my faith in this story has returned. These personalities are so intense, so aggressive towards each other and yet they all have same goal - protecting people. Having them all pull and push each other the sometimes to their breaking point is very entertaining added another level to these already complex but mis-used personalities.



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