Firefighter! (Action Edition) Vol. #09 -

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: 190
  • ISBN: 1-59116-634-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Firefighter! (Action Edition) Vol. #09

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 22, 2005
Release Date: December 01, 2004

Firefighter! (Action Edition) Vol.#09
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
Firefighter Daigo Asahina and fellow Medaka-ga-hama teammate Taira find themselves beneath an inferno when they barge into a burning auditorium alongside Chuo Rescue. Their mission is to locate the victims trapped deep inside, but first they must cross room flooded with electrified water!

Just as the rescue team begins to inch its way back through the hazardous lake, Daigo glimpses an ominous flash in the rafters high above them. Peering up into the blackening smoke, he senses that something is about to go horribly wrong!

The Review
Viz uses the same cover art as the original here. The image is slightly larger, and it features an interesting image of Daigo and Captain Gomi. The image is perfect for this volume as presents the contrasting personalities of the two major players in this volume. This is one of the better covers for this series, as it looks nice with Viz's framing. The back cover features Firefighter's trademark small pump truck under the volume blurb framed in bright red and yellow (real contrast to the nice looking front cover presentation.)

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

Inside the printing is solid. There is a lot of tone and heavy use of inking but they all look good without aliasing problems. This volume includes a review of the previous volumes and all of the original volume headers.

Soda's art 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 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 scenarios 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 of similar sizes) the layout never raises the pace or slows it down. Those panels just stay back and let the drama do its job. And there is so much drama, nicely laid down by Soda’s great concept of perspective that frames scenes clearly.

This title has its 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 solid job with the translation for this series. 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.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
What determines right or wrong when it comes to survival?

Asahina Daigo just got back from the first part of his rescue team exams. There he impressed everyone by becoming one of the 50 that qualified out of 300 after that one day fireman's decathlon. Because of his success he was singled out to backup the local rescue team as they took on an assignment at a large arena. What initially appeared to be a two alarm fire requiring the quick rescue of very few people in an almost empty building, almost turned into a disaster. Size of the building, building engineering problems and poor foresight resulted in the rescue of the rescue team!

Chance placed Daigo immediately behind the rescue team working the hose that was to help bring the orange team back safely. The hose and water from the sprinklers system ended up trapping his mates inside with no easy way out.

Regulations say Daigo has to back out and abandon the mission. He is only a rookie fireman, so he has no authority over his orders. But he was a part of the problem and he cannot abandon anyone. Daigo is going to learn that you have to break the rules sometime. He is also going to learn what it means to be a department and the responsibilities that come with it. What Daigo does to learn all of this was the right thing to do at the time. He used all the tools he had available to him to save those in need. In essence he did what a member of the rescue team would do, but did he have the authority? Did he have the right? Did he have the proper state of mind to do that without risking safety of those on the site and compromising the integrity of the fire department?

There is no need to be a hero Daigo, especially if someone is still going to get hurt.

We are right at the turning point of this series and Soda-sensei has earnestly begun the maturity of Daigo as the young man moves closer to becoming a member of the rescue team. And we are also at a turning point in Daigo’s fortune. Daigo has been under fire before because of his actions, but each time the blame went directly to him. Sure, he has been an embarrassment to his department, but his results spoke enough to keep him in uniform. Now he has gone too far. He has involved those who had nothing to do with his actions, but according to the chain of command others were responsible for Daigo’s “errors in judgment.” His comrades will have to pay the price of Daigo’s reckless actions. So, as Daigo continues to work towards joining a group that has much more responsibility, but it also expected to risk their lives on a regular basis.

Soda-sensei finally does it. After building this young man to super-human status by rescuing people from fires and accidents, after having him go through the trails of a firemen’s exam Daigo is finally going to get what his reckless nature has had coming to it since the start of this series. Daigo is going to have to struggle personally for what he has done. Up to now Daigo has done what he was able to do with the resources he has available to save lives. His actions were similar to those of what a rescue team member would do, without the responsibility. It is not easy for readers to dislike someone like Daigo, but in this volume we have to. He has gone way out of control and he has jeopardized his entire company. Eventually, he co-workers forgive him, but should the readers and should Daigo forgive himself. With responsibility the fear of losing someone kicked in. Then came the fear of losing control. Then came the fear of losing the respect of others. Maybe leaving his company is the best idea. Maybe he is not ready for rescue yet, either. One thing is certain; he is forced to grow up a lot in this volume, not because he did anything wrong. He has to because he never stopped to think who would be responsible for what he does.

Soda understands that every hero has his downfalls and Daigo has had a few, but this is an all-time low. Where he goes from here will determine his future with Company M, but it will also decide what kind of person he will become. With every new volume Firefighter continues to develop into a must read title. The drama is rich with character development and as the rest of the cast gets more panel time, the story becomes much more personal. This has resulted in a title that is not only exciting but challenging. At the end of this volume my feelings for Daigo were confused, but I was glad to feel that way because of the connection I got to him and the rest of the cast.

Great stuff. Easily the best volume so far, in terms of action and drama.


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