WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 17 of Fire Force, "Boys, Be Weak," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
After Fire Force turned its three-way battle over Nataku into a rescue mission from the boy's radioactive Ignition Ability, the resulting heroics leave everyone at their limits. Each side initially aims to recruit the Sixth Pillar into their ranks until Kurono proves to be the only one capable of quelling Nataku's anxieties, leaving all in agreement to have him remain at Haijima Industries. However, this explosive fight comes to a surprisingly tame conclusion.
Nataku Son struggles with the pressure mounted on him from his family and the expectations of those at Haijima Industries, which are thrown into overdrive after the White-Clad's Haumea uses her Motorhead ability. Adding to the stress, Nataku continues suffering from pervasive visions of Rekka, the former Fire Soldier responsible for using an Infernal bug on him. The culmination of these anxieties fuel Nataku to prove his worth by unleashing an attack that could level most of the city.
Charon Shines as the Protector of Pillars
A great deal of attention has been given to the White-Clad's pillar and protector system. Each of the pillars is assigned a specific pyrokinetic to look after them -- who in Haumea's case is Charon, Sho's is Arrow and Inca's is Ritsu. While Charon is primarily Haumea's protector, he views his purpose in life as keeping all pillars safe, including Shinra and Nataku. With multiple of his protectees in danger, Charon showcases his steely determination and insanely impressive reflective power by absorbing Nataku's approaching blast and reflecting it safely into space.
Charon's heroics save hundreds of lives but leave him unable to move, having put everything into deflecting Nataku's attack. A deflated Nataku, still embedded in the chest of a massive Infernal, is stunned by Charon as Kurono approaches. Kurono's unsettling obsession with fighting those weaker than him was threatened when Nataku almost obliterated the city, prompting him to step up and put an end to the rampage.
Kurono's Surprising Determination
Kurono forms a katana from his Black Smoke ability and easily dismantles the Infernal, removing Nataku from its center. The two then share a heartfelt conversation that, at its core, is convincing Nataku not to grow up so fast or be weighed down by unreasonable expectations. Veiled as Kurono's strange fixation on weakness, he tells Nataku to remain weak for a little longer so he can continue bullying him.
With Nataku relieved to hear acceptance, albeit strange, the radiation from his Ignition Ability subsides, and the White-Clad decides to pull out, with Charon recognizing Kurono as the Sixth Pillar's protector. The three-way battles aftermath leaves Shinra pensive over another personal failure since he was again unable to protect a fellow Adolla Burst user.
A candid, tense meeting between Haijima's president -- Gureo Haijima -- and the 8th's Shinra, Obi, Licht and Vulcan results in a partnership being struck between the two groups. While this includes facing the Evangelist, it's also to fund Vulcan's plans to construct a superior generator that doesn't require sacrificial needs like Amaterasu. With the Adolla Burst monopolizing Evangelist as a common enemy, Gureo offers Company 8 Haijima's full backing.