Fire Punch is a series that’s one part superheroics, two parts apocalyptic tale, and three parts depressing. It’s a story about a world where super-powered people emerge and make things very bad for everyone. The world is covered in ice due to an “Ice Witch” and everyone is having a hard time just staying alive. Enter Fire Punch, a hero who wants his misery to end but cannot die.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
After receiving Togata’s upgrade, Agni heads to Behemdorg to exact his vengeance on Doma, unaware that Togata has flipped the script entirely. There, instead of finding Doma, Agni is to be pitted against the worst, most violent Blessed that Behemdorg has to offer. But on the way, Agni’s heart fills with a new resolve, ruining Togata’s much-anticipated climax!
Why does this matter?
This is part of Viz Media’s Signature series getting the extra-sized format and laying on the adult themes rather thick. The series has been twisted in the best of ways so far and it continues to deliver an adult-themed supernatural story.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This volume focuses exclusively on the big match-up between Agni (aka Fire Punch) and a pack of super-powered villains. It was all formulated by Togata, a girl who wants to film a movie because she has nothing else to live for, whose powers allowed her to do it all. Agni has convinced himself this last battle will be the end for him and once he wins he’ll end it all. As you can tell it’s a very depressing sort of story where there is almost no hope and the lead characters are all cynical and hope for death’s sweet release. These themes can be interesting though, and creator Tatsuki Fujimoto explores them the best he can.
This is the most superheroic volume yet in the series, with a lot of action-packed punch. We’re talking Agni being shot through buildings that crumble around him, uppercut fire punches that crack impossibly strong steel, and the good guys overcoming the bad. The action looks great in its hyper-detail and the scenes, which are epic in nature, hold the weight of the conflict.
This volume also ends on an interesting cliffhanger that will make me come back for more. It’s a good thing too, because the depressing stuff was weighing on me!
It can’t be perfect can it?
So the depressing story, yeah, it’s pretty sad. You probably won’t feel good reading this collection. You don’t often see the hero of a story smiling with glee because he might be able to die already. This extends to the slaves and common people in this work who have no hope or any reason to live, really. Fujimoto is crafting a story here that suggests there is sometimes no way out. That can make turning the pages difficult.
Agni’s internal struggle continues to be rather vague, too. He wants to kill himself, but then later doesn’t and he’s conflicted but it’s very unclear why. The plotting of this volume and previous ones seems to be wishy-washy with its approach. Stuff sort of happens and then we move on; there are no consequences. One such example in this volume is when an entire community gets destroyed. The characters move on and forget about the terrible things they do or experience.
Is it good?
I’m intrigued by this manga series mostly because it’s so vague in its purpose. Its psychological probing can be interesting, but the characters largely seem confused and uncertain. The premise of the series keeps things moving and the cliffhanger should get fans excited, but if you can’t endure a depressing tale you will want to steer clear of this series.