Updated: Sep 20
Promare is the debut film of Studio Trigger, an animation studio with a stellar track record from shows like Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia. The film follows a firefighter named Galo Thymos, whose main purpose in life is to fight fires and the Burnish, a race of people who start fires. However, Galo’s beliefs are questioned when he meets Lio Fotia, the leader of the Burnish who introduces life from the Burnish’s point of view.
Before anything else, this film is gorgeous to watch. Colors are used in creative and innovative ways. The flames the Burnish use have mixes of purples, pinks, yellows, greens and blues. The releasing of said flames is exciting to watch as well. When they are spreading across landscapes, they move so fluidly and, at one point when Lio gets an insane power-up that transforms his flames into a dragon, there is no denying how powerful minds at work crafting the animation are. The mix of 2-D and 3-D animation flows seamlessly throughout Promare. There is no point in the film where the word “boring” can be applied. The mechs Galo and other characters use have a different feel than the giant mechs you would see in other anime productions. The weapons shoot ice and mechs carry swords, making every fight scene even more entertaining to watch when mixed with the color scheme. All of this makes for a special never-been-seen before experience.
The story of Promare is blissfully strong, making it more than just an awesome action film. Galo and Lio’s journeys, which inevitably intertwine, make for an experience for the moviegoer not particularly one worthy of being a tearjerker, but it is deeply moving. In an interview with MyAnimeList, director Hiroyuki Imaishi stated his intent behind Promare’s themes were not to make a message or story about the current times, but to reflect on the present condition. He wanted the film to be fun and let viewers walk away with their own takeaways from the film. The interview brought up a good point which I agree with. There is a story about the oppression of other groups. Lio makes a point several times throughout the film about the Burnish being human even though they have differences from people who cannot wield fire. The Burnish may start fires, but they never kill anyone, a fact they are proud of. Despite this, they are viewed with prejudice and scorn. In one scene, a Burnish whose only goal was to make pizza in a shop as an assistant to the owner is outed and taken away. Once people discover a Burnish was making their pizza, they find it disgusting and spit it out. Seeing scenes like these and how they affect Galo’s growth throughout the film makes him someone worth rooting for from beginning to end.
The music featured in Promare is composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, who composed music for Blue Exorcist, Kill la Kill and Attack on Titan. The energy he brings to this project matches the action and colors he is presented with. Whether the atmosphere is relaxed, or high stakes buck wild action, he has the perfect companion piece to what is going on. Of course, it will be most clear when you go see the movie, but type (copy and paste) "燃焼ING-RES9" into YouTube and you will get an idea of what you are getting in to.
The only drawback of the film is its tendency to cause confusion at certain points. These confusing points are always clarified at some point, but it may take some people out of the experience for a short time. Luckily Promare always manages to draw the viewer back in.
Promare will be in theaters September 17th and 19th. Get tickets at fathomevents.com or through your movie ticket app (Cinemark or Regal in the Asheville area).