The second volume of Fire Punch improves on the first volume in every way. Tatsuki Fujimoto completely subverts so much of what he set up in the first volume. From how volume one ended you expect Agni to have to fight through a bunch of people on his way to get to Doma, but instead a new character, Togata (who was briefly introduced in the first volume), takes care of everyone very quickly and frees Agni. She has one mission and that’s to make a film and she wants Agni to be the hero of the story.
The volume starts with Togata, who later only wants to be referred to as director, looking for Agni and killing the people who are keeping him active. The fight sequence is very messy and I found it quite hard to follow. I think that is intentional, as immediately afterwards Togata checks her camera, hoping that she caught the fight only to find it blurry and hard to follow, which is a good joke as fights are often hard to follow in manga. For the next fight the camera is turned off and the manga skips it and we only get to the see the outcome of it. There’s quite a few moments where Togata comments on and deconstruct how stories are developed and put together in specific ways. She films most of her interactions with Agni, but edits it to make it more interesting, as the manga is edited in the same way. Fujimoto is a brilliant writer and it’s almost like he’s showing off in this volume with the meta humour.
Togata is a brilliant character and to be honest is a lot more interesting than Agni. She’s been alive for three centuries, and is blessed with regeneration like Agni is. Having lived so long Togata shows next to no empathy for the people around her, and is only interested in old American movies. Since she can’t watch them anymore, she sets out to create her own, and finds excitement in following Agni around and chronicling his journey. While she promises to help him, Togata isn’t quite trustworthy and it’s hard to tell if she’s actually helping Agni or just looking out for herself.
It’s still a very dark story, but it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be edgy and shocking like in the first volume. Maybe it’s just a more restrained part of the story, but it seems a lot more mature and a lot better written than the opening chapters were. I’ll definitely be reading volume three as soon as possible.
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