Of all the brand new anime at present airing within the Winter 2023 season, hands-down probably the greatest of them is The Fire Hunter (additionally identified by its Japanese title, Hikari no Ou). Right out of the gate, the present is notable for a large number of causes: it’s based mostly on a collection of literary novels reasonably than on a manga, recreation or gentle novel collection; it’s a fantasy title however under no circumstances an isekai; and its story and characters are totally freed from the same old sorts of tropes and stereotypes that appear inherently “anime” in scope. Complete with a particular plot, solid and setting, Fire Hunter simply stands out from among the many crowd.
However, audiences is probably not flocking to look at this anime, and never solely as a result of it lacks the forms of codes and conventions that followers of the medium are so used to seeing, no matter style. Fire Hunter’s power is that it tells a singular and compelling narrative with beautiful worldbuilding and intentionally sluggish, tense pacing. Nonetheless, mentioned narrative can be uniquely miserable, forming a collection that could be appreciated as an artwork type however isn’t essentially pleasurable as a viewing expertise.
Based on a novel collection written by Hinata Rieko and illustrated by Yamada Akihiro (the latter of The Twelve Kingdoms and Record of Lodoss War fame), The Fire Hunter takes place within the distant future, in a time the place humanity has misplaced the power to make and even have a look at pure fireplace with out bursting into flame. There are few main settlements, because the world has turn into enveloped by darkish forests through which monstrous Flame Fiends lurk, preying on any people who dare to cross their path. Only the elite Fire Hunters are geared up to struggle these spirits, harvesting their blood to create a brand new form of fireplace that folks can use. After witnessing a Fire Hunter’s dying by the hands of a Flame Fiend, 11-year-old Touko is compelled to go away her village and journey to the capital to return the hunter’s instruments and hound to his presumed residence.
The Fire Hunter doesn’t simply set itself aside by dint of being a non-isekai fantasy anime that steers away from the frequent plot and character tropes related to the medium. The story itself is phenomenal sufficient to face out by itself, and its foremost solid members come throughout as each sympathetic and sensible, with clear motivations that make sense within the universe they inhabit. The worldbuilding particularly deserves consideration; whereas many anime wrestle to introduce fantasy or sci-fi settings in a manner that feels pure and well-paced, Fire Hunter not often will get slowed down by awkward exposition or unnatural-sounding dialogue, and it maintains a sluggish however regular tempo that enhances its tone and extremely detailed atmosphere.