Homura: Say that one more time.
Touya: We want a magician in our Exploration Club.
Homura: Youre talking about some game, right?
Touya: Thats what youd normally think. But this isnt about a game. Its real.
Homura: Youre aware that youre saying something strange, right?
Touya: [Laughs] But, you know, the Exploration Club is fun! I think youll like it too, Hinooka.
Fire Girl is a Japanese light novel series published under the famous visual novel company Type-MOON written by Meteor Hoshizora of World Conquest Zvesda Plot and Girls' Work fame with art and character designs by BUNBUN.
Homura Hinooka is just your average girl in school: she's cute, friendly, sociable, and highly popular with the boys. But at heart, she's the type of person who finds things like thinking deeply - a skill that she's weak at - really bothersome, is a bit of a goofball to boot, and is someone you just couldn't bother giving schoolwork to since she'll just sleep it off. Even club activities are something she finds troublesome. After all, why would you participate in something that would just tire you out anyway when you already have your hands full with the snoozefest known as school? The idea of it all was so absurd to her that she puts it in herself not to join in any school clubs in her first year of high school in Seiran High, a famous university prep school widely known to have a high rate of participation in club activities. Homura's first year of high school life since then has been dull, boring, and uneventful.
One day, as she was walking home alone from school, a boy in her grade, Takumi Touya, suddenly stops to invite her to join UNPIEPnote , or their school's Exploration Club, a club dedicated to exploring the uncharted planet known as Imaginary Earth: Nutella, a world that's twice as large as Jupiter, urging her to be their club's resident magician. Homura reacts as well as you'd expect.
Initially wary of the invitation at first, Homura readily accepts and she finds herself thrust into a grand adventure of a lifetime. Along with Touya, the beautiful club president Mayo Misasagi, and the golem girl Ameno, Homura sets out with her newfound friends to investigate the uncharted planet. But, being an investigator for the club isn't an easy task. What dangers await her and her friends in the mysterious planet Nutella?
The first volume was released alongside Fate/Apocrypha during the Winter 2012 Comiket. The novels have three volumes with seven books (two per volume for the first two volumes and three books in the last one) and are released as separate parts, with Parts 1 following Homura and her friends' lives in school, and Parts 2 detailing her adventures as she explores Nutella.
An ongoing translation for volume one can be found here.
Fire Girl contains the following tropes:
- Acid-Trip Dimension: The trip to Imaginary Earth when teleporting there is...trippy to say the least. You know it's that intense when you can hear the grains of your skin grate against each other.
- Action Girl: Misasagi-senpai, Homura, and Sachi Kamikoma from Hiyoshi High's Exploration Club are the main examples from volume one. Other female characters who pop up in later volumes are this as well.
- Action Hero: You have to be this as a requisite to be a member of the Explorations Club, since its members brave the dangers found in exploring an uncharted planet. If you aren't one from the beginning, you grow to be one thanks to the Exploration Club's activities.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Plenty of ruins and remnants of a lost civilization are found in Nutella, and UNPIEP exists to studying and exploring these remains by sending in Investigators from various Exploration Clubs in different schools.
- Adventurer's Club: UNPIEP's Exploration Club, natch, with different branches from various schools.
- Alliterative Name: Let's see, we have our heroine Homura Hinooka, her fellow club member Takumi Touya, and their senpai and club president Mayo Misasagi.
- All Planets Are Earth-Like: Imaginary Earth looks a lot like Earth from the ancient times.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Orie Kujou, Homura's classmate since middle school, comes across as a cold person towards everyone she speaks to, especially towards Homura.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Tsuyu Hinooka, Homura's younger sister, to Homura, but it's also inverted as well.
- Another Dimension: Imaginary Earth Nutella.
- Badass Crew: The Exploration Club of course. And it's not just limited to the Seiran High group either.
- Beach Episode: The main setting for the first book of volume 2 is on a tropical island primarily reserved for the Explorers as part of their training camp. In an interesting spin of this trope however, there are two versions of the tropics used here: the main one on Earth, and the one on Nutella where selected first years and subsequent novice Explorers are coerced by Nanakubo to come to as part of an annual club tradition.
- Big Bad: Subaru-hime for the first volume's second book. She has a HeelFace Turn after she's defeated however.
- Big Labyrinthine Building: The Exploration Club's building, or their "club room", is huge. The building houses a variety of facilities for the club members to use: a training room, an astronomical dome on the roof deck, and even a hot springs room. And that's only some of the rooms mentioned.
- Bookends: Volume 1-A begins with Homura chasing after Kujou and trying to ask her to go home together with her at the end of school and failing. Volume 1-B ends with almost the exact same scenario...except this time, with newfound confidence and resolution, it's Homura leading the way while Kujou follows shortly behind her after Homura succeeds in convincing her to do so in her own way.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: This line when Misasagi was about to hop in the bath they made on Nutella:Homura: I forgot about your changing speed, senpai. Y-You should be a bit more conscious of service for the viewers and such, you know
- Call to Adventure: The plot kickstarts when Touya gives Homura an invitation to join the Explorations Club as their Magician.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Spirit Stone Misasagi gives Homura. Also counts as a Macguffin.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Remember that woman from the station who was handing out "missing" flyers in an attempt to find her missing baby that Homura met back in Vol 1-A? Her missing kid shows up as an important character later in Vol 1-B.
- Children Are Special: Apparently, due to their stronger IE reactions compared to adults, only kids aged between 9-19 are capable of traveling to Nutella. Thanks to the UN's intervention and rules, only high school teens aged 14/15 and up are allowed to do interplanetary travel to Nutella, hence why the Exploration Clubs in high schools exist.
- Cooking Duel: Homura competes in one in the first volume under Fujimori-sensei's insistence that she needs to win in any contest in their School Festival so she'll approve her admission in the club.
- Custom Uniform: The Explorer Club's Investigator outfits are basically just the students' winter uniforms with a few differences in design plus traveling gear. According to Misasagi, the reason their Investigator getups resemble their winter uniforms is due to Imaginary Earth having colder temperatures at night.
- David vs. Goliath: Homura the new, rookie apprentice Magician of the Exploration Club vs Subaru, the powerful witch and princess of Nutella.
- The Ditz: Downplayed, but Homura has a tendency to be a bit goofy at times. Touya has some shades of it too, but in a different way.
- Deadpan Snarker: Homura, Orie, Touya, and Tsuyu are the primary contenders for this trope.
- Dismotivation: Homura starts out as a disinterested girl who had no goals to look forward to in her high school life. That all changes when she's invited to the Explorations Club.
- Dual Wielding: Touya's main method of fighting is dual wielding two kendo swords.
- Dude Magnet:
- Homura is really popular with boys no matter where she goes. Lampshaded by Kujou much to her annoyance.Kujou: I hate how boys gather around when Im with you even though they have no business with us.
- When Touya's friends heard that he was having lunch with Homura,they all strangled him and flipped him over for being so lucky as to get to eat lunch together with her.
- Homura is really popular with boys no matter where she goes. Lampshaded by Kujou much to her annoyance.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Ameno appears briefly in one chapter being dragged away by Fujimori-sensei in Book A of volume 1 and is featured along with the Seiran Explorer Club trio on the book's cover. Apart from that one scene and a couple of mentions later, Ameno herself doesn't appear afterwards nor gets to interact with any of the characters until Volume 1-B.
- Easing into the Adventure: The first eight chapters of volume 1 part 1 delve into Homura's normal life and relationships when she got the call. It isn't until chapter 9 that the plot starts to turn its heels for Homura.
- Expospeak: Chapter 15 of Vol 1-B dedicates itself to Homura reflecting on the things she learned so far about UNPIEP and the history of how Nutella was discovered and the complications it created between nations who wanted to explore it for their own purposes. The same chapter also explains why only young adults can go to Nutella and how the magic system works in their universe. The infodumping here isn't as boring as it sounds though like in most cases.
- Fantasy Character Classes: Used by the Exploration Club's Investigators to classify their specialties. Homura is a Magician Class, Touya is a Light-Weight Warrior class, Misasagi is a Magical Warrior Class, and Ameno is a Thief Class.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Homura and Tsuyu respectively, despite Homura being the older sibling, it's Tsuyu who carries most of the responsibilities at home while Homura is satisfied just lounging around.
- Foreshadowing: When Homura, Touya, and Misasagi discuss protocol over what to do if they encounter wild animals, Touya comments that he'd rather not encounter something like a bear since "fighting a lump of muscle like that is no joke." Guess what they eventually encounter in Volume 1-B.
- Mentions of wolves and stories about a witch were dropped during Volume 1-A before their actual debuts.
- Homura's uncanny ability to come up with several vivid Imagine Spots in a rapid manner actually end up becoming very important later.
- Furo Scene: Two occur on separate instances:
- The first one happened during Homura's first night on Nutella. She, Misasagi, and Touya create a make-shift bath on their own using a couple of tools on a nearby spring. Once built, Misasagi and Homura take the first dip in it...then Misasagi decides to invite Touya to bathe along with them, much to Homura's horror and Touya's embarrassment. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for both of them, all three were wearing modesty towels that time.
- The second one happened when the Explorer Club girls from different schools bond together in a bath house along with Subaru on her castle on Nutella in a chapter during Volume 2 part B. This time, without the aforementioned Modesty Towel and with Fanservice to boot.
- Imagine Spot: Some chapters contain vivid and detailed descriptions of Homura's wild imagination. The best instance of this trope was her initial image of the Exploration Club's president before she met her in person: she thought her to be a giant first, then a mountain gorilla for some reason, then there was her reaction when she actually sees her...
- In a turn of events, this trope actually ends up becoming an important plot point for Homura's character sometime later.
- Info Dump: A whole chapter was dedicated entirely to this both as a quick recap and to cover the things that weren't explained previously. See Expospeak above.
- Japanese School Club: The Exploration Club. Seiran High, Homura's high school, is particularly known for hosting a variety of different school clubs, with student rate participation being an all time high.
- Large Ham: Takara Rokujizou, the Student Council President of Seiran High. When she appears, expect her to chew the scenery. Fujimori-sensei is also this too at times, but in a more zen way.
- Last-Name Basis: Nearly everyone refers to each other by their surnames only.
- Lethal Chef: Homura. Justified in that she's an inexperienced cook.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to the other Type-Moon works. Though that doesn't mean it doesn't have any dark moments either.
- Meaningful Name: Homura's first name literally means "flame", plus she specializes in Fire Magic, hence the title of the series.
- Mum Looks Like a Sister: Homura's mom is said to have often been mistaken for being Homura and Tsuyu's older sister.
- Plucky Girl: Homura. Despite being somewhat lazy, she isn't the type to give up on getting what she wants and quickly rises to challenge the occasion.
- Punny Name: Admit it, Imaginary Earth's official name being Nutella probably brought out a few snickers. Even better, one of its planetary rings is named Bagel.
- Refusal of the Call: Homura had initially planned to turn down Touya's invitations for her to join the Exploration Club due to lack of interest and motivation on her part, but one epiphany later she changes her mind and gets gung ho on joining (though with doubts still on her mind).
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Ameno. While she's officially called a Golem, she's a humanoid android powered up by a spirit stone found on Nutella, and definitely looks and acts like a regular human on her part, even if she's a little eccentric at times.
- Savage Wolves: Homura's party encounters sentient Savage Wolves in the 2nd half of volume one, much to their dismay.
- School Idol: Homura. While it's slightly downplayed due to her being a little Book Dumb, Homura's definitely a popular student thanks to being considered as the cutest girl among the first years (though she herself says that she can't compete with someone like Misasagi-senpai), and while she doesn't join in any sports clubs herself, her fitness training with Touya shows that she can easily adjust to strenuous activities.
- School Festival: The Shinryoku Festival in Seiran High, where lots of contests take place.
- Shipper on Deck: Homura's mother and father both approve of Touya being the one for Homura. Notable for her dad since out of all the boys she brings home with her, Touya is the only one he actually likes. Tsuyu doesn't seem to like him all that much though.
- Shout-Out: The Seiran Exploration Club has copies of Tsukihime, Mahou Tsukai no Yoru, and Fate/stay night on their clubroom's bookshelf. Based on the number of copies they have of Fate Stay Night there, it's likely that instead of being a visual novel, Fate Stay Night is a light novel series in the world Fire Girl is set in. That, or one of the members (likely Ameno) is such a hardcore fan of the VN that they simply bought more than three copies of the game to play with.
- Sibling Rivalry: Implied between Homura and Tsuyu as both sisters want something the other has.
- Slice of Life: The first halves of all three volumes.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Nutella, New Terra, or Nuterra? Translators can't seem to agree on which spelling they should use to name the enigmatic planet.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Sisters Homura and Tsuyu are said to each resemble their mother and father respectively.
- Student Council President: Takara Rokujizou
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: UNPIEP monitors its members due to the classified nature of the Exploration Club.
- Teleportation Sickness: Touya became briefly afflicted with this during Homura's first trip to Imaginary Earth. Can't blame him though.
- Teleporters and Transporters: The Exploration Club members use a Transport Ring to directly teleport themselves to Imaginary Earth.
- The Legend of Chekhov: Kamikoma warns Homura about a witch near the end of volume one's first book. Misasagi later explains that the witch was a superstition previous club members came up with among themselves whenever something mysterious happens and casually dismisses it as such. Of course, later on they really do meet a witch...
- The One Guy: Played With in that while Touya definitely is the lone male member of Seiran's Exploration Club, other male characters who are members of the Exploration Clubs from different schools begin appearing in later volumes.
- Training from Hell: Homura and other members of the Exploration Club from other schools go through one of these when they were all sent to Antarctica for training camp to prepare them for a snowy trek on Nutella. While the novel glosses over the details of what they went through there, it was apparently strenuous enough that Homura and Akiho were beyond relieved when they got back from it. However, the training was effective enough that even someone like Homura begrudgingly admits that it was a necessity she's thankful for as she's more than prepared for the expedition she trained for in the first place.
- Two Girls and a Guy: Before Ameno and Inari officially join the club (rejoins in Inari's case), Homura, Touya, and Misasagi comprised Seiran High's team of explorers on Nutella for the entirety of volume 1.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Played straight during the Shinryoku Festival Bento-making contest. Homura makes weird-looking udon as her contest entry, and is the last one sampled by Rokujizou, the Student Council President, for not being as eye-catching or delicious-looking enough compared to the other entries. When she and Misasagi tried it however, they both declare it to be the best tasting dish presented and Homura wins first prize as a result.
- Would Hurt a Child: Strangely enough, Homura and Touya don't seem to have much of a problem with attacking Suzuran who is only about 12 years old in Nutellan time, that is. She's supposed to be only around two-three years old in Earth time.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time moves faster on Nutella than on Earth. Homura's first trip alone cost her two days and a night there while only six hours had passed on Earth.