The anime community has been ignited with excitement over GKIDS’s U.S. theatrical screening of Studio Trigger’s Promare. I was personally cautious going into Promare, consider I have a very a hit or miss relationship with Tigger’s works.
Where It All Began
Is this Deja Vu? Am I seeing things?
Studio Trigger was born out of animation staff on Gurren Lagann, which gained praise for its dazzling visuals, mecha designs, and frenetic pacing. These traits are common in Studio Trigger’s other works like Kill la Kill. Trigger gained a devoted following by being more active with their fans at conventions and through social media. They’ve also worked with American studios such as Wayforward, developer of the Shantae franchise, and Williams Street, producing the opening animation for Black Dynamite Season 2.
My main issue with Studio Trigger is that often times their artistic choices tend to focus on visuals over pacing, thus taking time away from character and story development. For me, this choice works well in 3-to-5-minute shorts, which is why my favorite Trigger works are Space Patrol Luluco and Inferno Cop. Frenetic pacing in a 30-minute show can rush character and story progression, which makes it harder for audiences to get to know the characters, in turn, making it harder for audiences to care about the story.
Thankfully, Promare‘s story has been more deliberately paced compared to Trigger’s other filmography.
Great! But what’s Promare about?
Promare‘s story (without going into too heavy spoilers) is similar to Fire Force but better executed.
One day, the world is engulfed in a massive fire as hundreds of thousands of people combust into flames for seemingly no reason. Thirty years later, the world is divided into two social classes; normal people and the Burnish, people who can control fire.
Our main character is Galo Thymos, a brash member of the Burning Rescue squad. They are tasked with arresting Burnish terrorist groups and putting out Burnish fires.
My synopsis may read as simple but Promare has some great twists and turns, paired with some poignant social commentary.
Character, Character, Character
My favorite aspect of Promare, besides the visuals, is the villain.
A great villain has dimensions to their actions. Promare‘s villain thinks their actions are for the greater good, even if that means death and destruction for others around them. The villain isn’t just after power or wealth, they have complex layers to their thought process. Plus, any villain that is willing to play the long game to their goal is going to score some kudos from me. Galo’s Burning Rescue squad members are also a bright spot. Unfortunately, similarly to Fire Force, the squad dynamic takes a backseat to Galo and the Burnish leader’s growing relationship, which is a shame. The brief time we have with the rescue squad is fun and entertaining. I hope since Trigger loves callbacks to their previous work, the underused supporting characters of Promare will get more time in the spotlight if the decide to expand Promare into a franchise.
What About the Visuals!!!!!!!
Trigger once again knocks the visuals and character designs out of the park. Fellow Third Impact Anime member Tobias put it best:
“I could take any frame of this movie and it would be the greatest wallpaper ever.”
And he is right. The visuals and world are colorful and the use of lines everywhere provides a dynamic visual scope. The use of angular and geometrically designed buildings and landscapes are incredibly pleasing to the eye.
And it wouldn’t be a Trigger production if there weren’t mechs! If you’ve seen Evangelion or Gurren Lagann and liked those mecha designs, you’ll like Promare‘s mechs as well!
By the time this review gets posted, Promare‘s theatrical run will be over. But don’t be discouraged! Knowing GKIDS’ previous theatrical runs, the Blu-ray of Promare will undoubtedly be coming soon.
It is definitely worth the wait, with its eye-popping visuals and engaging story. Promare is Studio Trigger and director Hiroyuki Imaishi at their essence, and at their most focused.
- If you liked Promare or Studio Trigger in general, I recommend checking out Redline. If you love crazy anime visuals, you will love Redline!!!!!
- The other members of Third Impact have been loving Promare‘s soundtrack but it didn’t really stick with me. Maybe it was over-stimulation from the movie?
- Please don’t have dialogue scenes overlap with a vocal song, it’s very distracting!