Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M made me feel a little silly

February 21, 2010 at 9:15 pm 8 comments

I decided this week that my New Year’s resolution was a bust.  It’s been a couple of weeks since I read anything on my shelf, I wasn’t bothered by not buying new volumes of my favorite series and it felt like I had completely lost interest in manga altogether.  The horror.

The focus of my reading block was falling on the shoulders of one title in particular.  After going through 8 or 9 of my single volumes hanging about I thought I should start on Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M next.  Purchased on a whim over a year ago at a convention because someone I kind of know liked it and it was also ridiculously cheap.  It seemed like a safe bet.

But! I stalled on volume 1.  I got the basics – 18 year old Daigo is the newest rookie at M Station.  He was rescued from a fire as a boy and the heroic firefighter made enough of an impression on him that he decided he wanted to be one too.  So fresh from the academy he shows up at M Station only to find that it’s a relatively quiet post.  The other firefighters seem to spend a lot of time relaxing and playing games, and the captain is a pretty laid back kind of guy.  Daigo is one of those overly enthusiastic types who likes to shout a lot, jump into situations without thinking things through and says “grr!”  I kind of cringed through his outbursts and his incredibly low opinions of his seniors (ie the lack of fires had turned them all into cowards.)

You can see where this is going, right?  It’s a common setup in manga.  Daigo was setting himself up for a huge Lesson to be Learned and it came in the form of his first call to a fire.  He started getting scared in the truck, then angry at the others because they’d infected him with their cowardice.  That’s where I stopped reading.  I figured he’d freeze in the fire or do something equally stupid and have to be rescued.  Or he’d end up humiliating himself in some other way that I really didn’t want to suffer through.  (I have a low tolerance for humiliation which doesn’t help.)  I’ve picked this damn book up three different times recently and I wasn’t able to push myself past that point.

Today I woke up, bleary and disgruntled from the aftermath of my idiotic neighbour’s decision to have a party in a building with little or no soundproofing, with the full knowledge that his downstairs neighbour (that would be me) has very low ceilings.  I figured that since I was in a bad mood from lack of sleep and feeling guilty from breaking my resolution I should just hold my nose and get through the rest of volume 1.  Which I did, but only by cheating.  I skipped the big fire scene.

I have no idea what happened, really, but it looks like he rescued someone in the fire.  Good for him.  Daigo goes on to learn that the other guys have time to play because they’re so good at their jobs and he finally starts settling in.  The last part of the volume introduces his rival from the academy and there is some tension as there’s an arsonist in the neighbourhood who is keeping the local firefighting stations hopping.  Daigo’s rival works at a nearby station and they occasionally get called out to the same fires.  Since they’re rivals, this turns into a competition to see who can snag the best water sources for the hoses.  Daigo ends up learning another valuable lesson.  (He’s still very shouty, though.)

The last part of volume 1 ended up on a cliffhanger (Oh no! Recent construction has moved some of the hydrants around and they can’t find a way to fight the fire!) so of course I reached for the second right away.  Volume 2 also had a pretty gripping story of Daigo coming across a car accident on his day off and he tries to help a family trapped in a car that is balanced on the edge of an overpass, a call to a fire at an abandoned building that Daigo runs into because he feels like something is off, and it ends on another cliffhanger!  A diverted river is overflowing, a nearby bridge that is under construction has partly collapsed into the water and the firefighters have just learned that a kid and his would be rescuer were swept away by the current and are heading their way!

The cliffhanger endings are deadly.  You just HAVE to find out what’s going to happen next.

Daigo turned out to be more interesting than I originally thought.  He’s shouty, lazy and doesn’t seem to be very bright, but when he’s in a fire or other perilous situation he turns into this focused guy who takes really stupid chances based on impulse and intuition.  The reactions of the characters around him help to make him more interesting because most of them seem conflicted about Daigo.  He takes these stupid, crazy chances.  He saves lives and gets results.  But he does it by breaking all the rules, generally abandons his team while he goes off on wild tears (which is a pretty stupid thing to do in a fire) and ends up in the hospital with alarming frequency. People seem to regard him with a mixture of horror and awe.

I started reading at 11:00 in the morning and was done all 9 volumes by 3:00.  It turned out to be pretty entertaining after all!  So in these 9 books, Daigo:

-meets a new member of the company who seems obsessed with fire.  Creepy or just really good at his job?  Daigo finds out!

-learns about the importance of fire prevention.
-fights a tiger. (Seriously.  And the whole time he keeps thinking, “I’m a firefighter!”  Like that means he has to tangle with tigers.)
-faces a terrible dilemma in a mall on fire. Does he trust the regulations or his gut? People might die either way!
-gets smeared in the newspapers, but fails to notice.
-goes on vacation with the other station members, but of course a fire breaks out!  Daigo gets trapped on an upper floor with no equipment and a group of civilians he must get to safety.
-works with the EMS crew which seems easy until they’re trapped on a mountain road with a patient who needs to get to a hospital before his heart give out.
-meets the Rescue Unit!  The elite of the firefighters and the first ones in when there’s a disaster.  But in the middle of an accident Daigo is the only one to notice a construction crane about to fall on an oil tanker.  (And of course he runs off by himself, the idiot.)
-decides to train for the Rescue Unit test, but only to prove that regular firefighters can handle anything that they can.
-is stuck working on an all night mountain fire the night before the grueling physical exam.
-gets called in to assist a Rescue Unit in evacuting a community centre, but a ceiling collapse leaves the Rescue guys trapped with no way out.  Daigo frantically tries to figure out a way to rescue the men he feels he left behind inside.

Volume 9 ends with Daigo in the interview stage of the Rescue Unit test and he may have just given the worst possible answer to a question!  Cliffhanger!

See?  Deadly.  I really want to read volume 10 now.

Verdict: Firefighter! Daigo of Fire Company M ended up being a very delightful surprise.  It’s just as interesting to watch the supporting characters get pulled along in Daigo’s wake, inspired and horrified at the same time as it is to follow Daigo himself.   I kind of felt the same way myself.

Entry filed under: manga. Tags: .

What happened to January? Resolutions are made to be broken

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. badzphoto  |  February 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I’ve heard great things about this series, glad you like it. I would have checked it out but It seems that some volumes are out of print, esp #20 (the last one!) … maybe in VizBig?

    Reply
    • 2. pajcat  |  February 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      I think the copies I was picking up were remaindered type volumes. I think they were around $4 each. The plan was to force myself to read as much as possible and then donate the books to the library, but I was surprised at how much I ended up liking the series! Hopefully I can find the rest either used or at the library. Good to know I’m almost halfway there already, though. I generally don’t pay attention to how long a series is. I was sad to see that Baby and Me is now done! I read it this morning and got all sniffly all over it. Embarrassing!

      Reply
      • 3. badzphoto  |  February 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

        That’s so true about Baby and Me. I’m so glad that Yuki is back. What a great ending for a wonderful series. I also finish Tower of the future. It was good. The change of character design (to show their growth) threw me off a bit, especially Takeru – I like him a lot. More back log to tackle. Btw, I finally read Solanin, what a great book. Thanks for the rec.

        Reply
        • 4. pajcat  |  February 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

          I’m glad you liked Solanin! I know someone who wanted to get into manga but since she’s into a bunch of indie stuff I wasn’t quite sure what to recommend (out of what I own, anyway!) I ended up giving her Solanin, which she liked. I have about 6 volumes of Tower of the Future sitting on my “to read” shelf. I’m getting to it soon! I also put a *bunch* of manga on hold at the library, but am trying to control when I get it – too much all at once and I’m going to end up with too many overdue fines (again). :)

          Reply
  • 5. Santos  |  April 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    When in life have you felt most alone?

    Reply
  • 6. badzphoto  |  August 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I guess you’ve been busy.
    I don’t know if you are still looking for some volumes of Firefighter Daigo? I went to a local comics bookstore over the weekend, and they have some volumes 15-17, 19-20 for $2 a book – they are closing out their manga section! I can pick these up for you if you are interested.

    Reply
  • 7. cathy  |  August 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Hi! Not so much busy as sick. I had noisy neighbour issues which led to me suffering from exhaustion and being sick all the time. I finally had to move, but then I had a family member get sick… So 8 months after moving I’m finally at the point where I have energy to do more than go to work and try to sleep. Writing anything was definitely impossible, and I was angry all the time (mood swings! yay!) so I was trying to stay away from posting anything. :)

    It’s interesting (and sad) that a comic store was getting rid of their manga! I actually have a stack of Firefighter Daigo that a friend lent me that I have to read so I think I can avoid buying them, though. I usually try to keep my eye open at various BMV stores as the manga there are usually $4 each. I got 7 volumes of Real there which was awesome. I love that series, but it’s too pricey for me. :)

    Reply
    • 8. badzphoto  |  August 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      I’m sorry that you had lots on your plate. I’m glad to hear that you’ve since moved and finally are doing better.

      “It’s interesting (and sad) that a comic store was getting rid of their manga!”
      Isn’t it just? I talked to the cashier and he said because of a near by B&N, and kids can just read manga for free, why would they pay! It’s good that your friend lent you the series then. I recently borrowed lots of library (local and interlib) and cut down a lot on buying :) and trying more series that I wouldn’t otherwise.
      Hope you’re doing well and have a nice weekend :)

      Reply

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