Fire Force manga’s ending is a Soul Eater prequel

Enen no Shouboutai manga ending
Shinra Kusakabe’s story has come to a close in the Fire Force manga by opening a new beginning for Soul Eater. Pic credit: Atsushi Ohkubo

The Fire Force manga’s ending has finally come out in February 2022. But what shocked some fans is that Fire Force Chapter 304 was a direct Soul Eater prequel since it directly states, “Next is Soul World”.

If you didn’t happen to know already, Fire Force creator Atsushi Ohkubo also created the Soul Eater manga. It ran from May 2004 through August 2013 and ended in Volume 25. Studio Bones released the 51-episode Soul Eater anime in 2008.

A Fire Force sequel (or at least another new manga series) also seems to be possible since the final page of the manga states that fans should look forward to Ohkubo’s next work. Does this mean he is not retiring as he previously claimed? (See below for more details.)

The shared connection between Fire Force and Soul Eater was always obvious to fans of Ohkubo’s previous works, but most assumed up until the Enen no Shouboutai manga’s ending that they were merely references (like the creepy comical moon and how Shinra’s face was exactly like Soul “Eater” Evans). Instead, the Fire Force sequel is literally Soul Eater since it’s the exact same world.

Warning: The following contains major spoilers for the Fire Force manga’s ending.

Everything you saw on Soul Eater, such as soul resonance, Lord Death, and the cartoony moon, are all explained in Fire Force 304 and the previous chapters leading up to it.

To summarize the Fire Force manga’s ending, the whole planet became a new Sun, and only Shinra, Sho, and Arthur survive by being in space. Shinra resurrects earth and every human, even those who died a long time ago. In doing so, the Shinigami took away all the fire powers and now they obtain power from their soul.

Yes, that means Shinra even creates Lord Death himself. In a weird way, that kinda makes Shinra the grandpa of Death the Kid. Notably, Shinra was part of Company 8. The number 8 is symmetrical and can be divided by two.

Please read our exclusive interview with the Fire Force manga creator. He discusses his earlier plans for the series ending and how Shinra’s name is relevant to the central mystery of the story.

It should be noted that the ending ties into Shina’s name itself and the overall mystery of the story. His name was derived from the Japanese word “shinrabanshō” which can be translated as either “all creation” or “all things in nature”. Now that we have seen the ending, Shinra’s name makes perfect sense.

The ending also jumped into the future. At one point, there is a 25-year time leap so we get to see 42-year-old Shinra. A chibi aka young Death the Kid is seen talking to Lord Death. There are also brief cameos by Black Star and Soul Evans.

More importantly, Fire Force’s final chapter even revealed Maka Albarn’s mom! The final page takes place years in the future (the final page doesn’t say how long) and a young girl is sitting with her parents reading about the tale of Shinra Kusakabe from a history book. And, yes, that young girl seems to be Maka!

While the ending doesn’t establish exactly how much time passes between Fire Force and Soul Eater it’s possible to make an estimate since Excalibur also exists in Fire Force’s ending. According to Soul Eater manga Chapter 72, Excalibur is at least 800 years old during the events of Soul Eater.

The Soul Eater OP “Resonance”.

Fire Force 304 release date celebrated by the creator

Fire Force’s final chapter was released in Weekly Shonen Issue 13, 2022 on February 22, 2022. Fire Force creator Atsushi Ohkubo, who also created the Soul Eater manga, released art to celebrate this achievement.

“In the magazine released today, the mission of serializing the Fire Force for about 7 years has been completed successfully,” he tweeted.

The Enen no Shouboutai manga’s ending began with the final story arc in October 2021. Weekly Shonen Issue 46, 2021 confirmed that Fire Force Chapter 287 of Volume 33 was the beginning of the final arc.

In Japanese narratives, there is a four-act structure known as Kishōtenketsu.

  • Ki : Introduction
  • Shō : Development
  • Ten : Twist (complication)
  • Ketsu : Conclusion (reconciliation)

During the Twist phase, the story turns toward an unexpected development, and it contains the yama, or climax, of the story.

Fire Force sequel possible since Atsushi Ohkubo is not retiring anymore… maybe?

Some fans have interpreted the statement “Next is Soul World” to mean that a Fire Force sequel would be based in the 800-year time gap between the ending of Fire Force and the beginning of Soul Eater. Originally, that was not supposed to happen since the Fire Force manga was supposedly Ohkubo’s last before his retirement from the manga industry.

Yes, that’s right, the real shocking news is that the Fire Force creator previously announced that this story will be his final manga series!

In the author’s notes section of Fire Force Volume 23, Ohkubo hinted back in May 2020 that the manga’s story is in its “final stage” but he also claimed he was planning on retiring from his manga career after finishing the Fire Force manga. He’s asking that fans join him “until the very end” of the story.

In early 2022, the Fire Force creator also discussed how finishing the story made him feel unemployed.

“At the end of Soul Eater, I already had a news story for Fire Force in the magazine, so I didn’t feel like I was done with the final chapter. But this time I have no plans to draw a new story, so I really don’t feel like I have a job,” he tweeted. “I’ve been thinking for a long time that if I make a schedule for this number of chapters to be finished on this day, everything will be finished exactly as I planned. I never let anything cool happen like the story going in an unexpected direction and messing up my schedule. My family background is in finance and legal work, so I guess I wasn’t the type of person to be a manga artist after I tried it. But outside of work, things rarely go as planned! Like the PS5 thing lol”

But the final page of Fire Force 304 may have changed things completely. A note from the editors states that manga fans should “look forward to Atsushi Ohkubo’s next work” in contradiction to what Ohkubo previously said.

Keep in mind this is a standard phrase used whenever a manga finishes its story. Ohkubo has only talked about being retired on Twitter, but perhaps something caused him to change his mind in the last month after finishing drawing the final chapter.

Or, it’s possible the magazine is simply leaving an open door for the manga creator in case he ever chooses to return.

Regardless, the magazine issue also stated that there will be an “important announcement” soon concerning the Fire Force series. It’s possible this announcement could be manga-related, but it could also be the Fire Force Season 3 anime TV series or another spin-off.

Fire Force 31
The creator has already surpassed his original target for the final chapter. Pic credit: Atsushi Ohkubo

It wasn’t always the plan to have the Enen no Shouboutai manga ending in 2022

Serialized weekly since 2015 in Weekly Shonen Magazine, the Fire Force manga is up to Volume 32 as of December 17, 2021. Fire Force Volume 33 should come out in late Winter 2022.

The final story arc(s) for a manga series can sometimes stretch out for quite a while. For example, the Demon Slayer manga’s ending story arc was more than a third of the chapter count.

By contrast, the final story arc of Fire Force is going to be relatively short. But the overall manga series is still longer than Ohkubo had planned out in advance.

In the July 2019 Fire Force interview with Monsters and Critics, Ohkubo said he was originally aiming for Volume 30 containing the ending of the entire story. At the same time, this stopping point was flexible, and “it could change,” but there will be “no more than 50” volumes.

“I did have an ending in mind from the very beginning of the creative process, but it was not anything too set in stone,” Ohkubo explained. “As I’m creating I’ll come up with different ideas to make the series interesting and fun. It is flexible, but my older manga stories also lead to the ending I had in mind from the beginning.”

Considering that the Soul Eater manga ended with Volume 25, Fire Force ending with more than 30 volumes isn’t too short. At the time Ohkubo gave the exclusive interview, he considered Volume 16 to be “past the midpoint” of the story.

On December 31, 2021, Ohkubo revealed during a Dark Souls live stream that he was planning on finishing the manga series in a few chapters. At the time, he only had two chapters left to draw and he was expecting the final chapter to be contained in about two volumes, which should be Volume 34.

On January 12, 2022, Ohkubo announced on his Twitter account that he would be drawing Fire Force’s final chapter next week. On January 25, 2022, he tweeted, “The final chapter has just been submitted. I still have a lot of work to do.”

As previously stated, the Fire Force manga’s ending came out on February 22, 2022.

Enen no Shouboutai Season 3
The Enen no Shouboutai Season 3 anime will likely not adapt the Fire Force manga’s ending. Pic credit: David Production

How Enen no Shouboutai Season 3 could handle the ending

Anime fans might be wondering what the Enen no Shouboutai manga’s ending means for the Fire Force Season 3 anime TV series.

The first season adapted the first 90 chapters, while the second season ended in Volume 20: Chapter 174.

Considering that the anime needs to adapt 130 chapters it seems unlikely that Enen no Shouboutai Season 3 will contain the ending. Even if the third season has 24 episodes again there’s still too much ground to cover in only two cours without overly condensing the story.

The only question is if Fire Force Season 4 will contain the ending or if the anime production committee decides to end the series with a Fire Force movie.

Let’s just be glad Ohkubo did the Fire Force manga’s ending justice by reinvigorating Soul Eater fans. Stay tuned!

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