Exploring the Label of Devil with Shinra Kusakabe
A question is posed to Shinra by the villain Joker is a cloud of smoke: Hero or Devil? It’s an interesting question to ask our protagonist. Shinra has been labeled by others as a devil his whole life, but consistently up to this point in Episode 3 of Fire Force Shinra has called himself a hero. Shinra has not had an easy life due to his label that has stuck with him through all stages of his training and the beginning of his career. Being labeled as a devil is not an easy thing to live with, especially if it’s accompanied by a creepy smile. A devil is a self-serving creature, a trickster, and something to be avoided at all costs. Despite the terrible reputation Shinra wants to be a hero that does good for the world and people around him.
To be posed the question so early on is something that the writer had intended to draw interest to the protagonist Shinra. Do we really believe the words of the protagonist? Does he really intend to be a hero? Or do we believe the words of peers and those around our protagonist? It would be hard to believe the side characters and others in the show would call him a devil as a term of endearment. And even with all the time he has spent with those other characters before this point, he is unable to dispel the term devil that follows him around.
Others might be discouraged by the word devil that would follow them as a label, but Shinra is able to persevere and work towards his goals as a Fire Force member. At the Rookie Fire Soldier Games Shinra finds himself confronted with the character known as the Joker, who looks like he is only here for the fun of it all. After a short fight with Shinra, the Joker decides to share information that Shinra wants to know. Shinra is told his brother has survived a fire that killed his mother. He can’t easily digest the information because he believes that his brother and mother died in the fire. The Joker and Shinra are interrupted by the fact that other participants of the Rookie Fire Soldier Games appear.
The Joker puts additional pressure on Shinra and tells him that if he wants to be a hero that he will need to save the 4 people in the room with him. It isn’t a threat, it’s a reality that if the mysterious black powder explodes everyone in the room will die. Through teamwork Shinra is able to find a way to save the lives of everyone in the room. That action is heroic, and Shinra is even called a hero by his boss Akitaru Obi.
Shinra is working hard to develop his reputation as a hero, even if no one believes him. Even if those around him call him devil, he doesn’t give up because a name or a label doesn’t make a person. Shinra is courageous in the face of danger, making him heroic. And sometimes, as in the case of Shinra, that even if you do heroic things people might still think the worst of you. Doing a heroic act is not a guarantee that you will be rewarded. Being called a devil might be something you have to endure by society even if you have done heroic deeds. The label of devil stays with Shinra far longer than he would like. Shinra has already taken the most important step forward knowing that labels don’t define who you are or what you are capable of. Despite being a devil, Shinra has already proven he is a hero after all.
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