The summer's new anime releases are practically upon us, and on top of the pile is a series that makes demon-slaying an actual emergency service. With its oddball premise, slick production value and some lauded industry talent stoking it up for sure-fire success, Fire Force, which assembles a "superhuman firefighter force" to "deal with supernatural fire incidents" could give more recent (and arguably more run-of-the-mill hits) like Black Clover and Rising of the Shield Hero a run for their money.

Exorcist-focused, action-adventure stories are an oddly prevalent subgenre in manga/anime. Most have either period settings, like D.Gray-Man, or present-day ones, like Blue Exorcist, but Fire Force opts for a more sci-fi, alternate world. Considering the fire-and-brimstone nature of demonic entities, this peanut-butter-and-jelly combination of firefighters with exorcists -- two things you'd never think to put together -- is a promising twist on what we've come to expect from this storytelling niche.

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If you're looking for something to fill the void left in the wake of Attack On Titan and One-Punch Man's departures from the air, Fire Force could well be it. Here's everything you need to know to get you prepped for the series premiere.

A three-minute preview of the show gives us a generous taste of its premise. The voice-over narration, which fans have compared jokingly to Avatar: The Last Airbender's, relays some key history:

"About 200 years ago, the Earth was engulfed in a sea of flames, a result of a catastrophic fire that broke out suddenly, and most continents were burned up in the conflagration.

Meanwhile, around the world, the phenomenon of spontaneous human combustion began occurring, whereby people ignited and became rampaging flame monsters -- 'Infernals.'

The people who survived ended up determined to live on, while fearing the sudden appearance of Infernals, and spontaneously combusting."

The story picks up in Solar Year 198 in the Tokyo Empire, where the Fire Force are called to action -- like any firefighting team -- by the ringing of a siren. Like your average exorcist, their mission is to "rest and save the souls of both humans and Infernals" before too much damage can be caused. Special Fire Force Company 8 is the Fire Force division that the story follows.

The flame-related superpowers of this world vary with each generation. The first generation were the widespread cases of spontaneous human combustion mentioned in the preview. The second generation users create start fire from nothing but they can control it, demonstrated by Maki Oze (third from the left in the image above) in the preview.

Third generation users can make flames shoot out of their bodies and manipulate them to incredible degrees of power, as our main hero, Shinra Kusakabe (first on the left), can do with his flaming feet. His "Ignition" ability, also known as the "Devil's Footprints" allows him to rocket around at incredible speeds. He's even able to surpass lightspeed with his "Adolla Burst," at which point his body temporarily melts away.

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As well as serving on Special Fire Force Company 8, Shinra aims to unpick the mystery surrounding his mother and brother's deaths in a fire 12 years prior.

Adapted from the manga of the same name, the author behind Fire Force is Atsushi Ōkubo, whose previous work, Soul Eater, and its spinoff, Soul Eater Not were also adapted into popular anime series'. Produced by Studio Bones, Soul Eater was something of a single season wonder in the late '00s; Harry Potter by way of Tim Burton in premise and style, with a hip-hop/electro-metal soundtrack as frenetic as its characters' personalities and fighting techniques.

Ōkubo's distinctive aesthetic has once again been translated with recognizable faithfulness in Fire Force, particularly where character design is concerned. Taking the production reigns is David Productions, the studio behind the hit revival of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and director, Yuke Yase, whose most well-known directorial work includes a couple of episodes of the genre-bending magical girl series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

The preview alone is a dazzling display of how well this combined talent pool has mixed together, particularly in regards to the effortlessly shifting art styles, from impressionistic, painterly strokes to smooth and solid combat choreography.

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Fire Force premiers Friday on Crunchyroll and FUNimationNow, with the latter releasing a SimulDub (English language version) on the same day.

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