Film in 500: Promare Review

Certificate: 15
Director: Akira Amemiya, Hiroyuki Imashi
Production: Studio Trigger
Distributor: Aniplex
Platform: Viewed on Blu-ray with both English and Japanese Audio
Release Date: Out Now!


Ridiculous, fun, and determinedly deep, Promare is a thrill ride of sight and sound that doesn’t relent throughout the near two-hour runtime. Such traits are not unexpected from Studio Trigger, the company behind the gloriously over-the-top Kill la Kill (which I just finished watching)!

Promare maintains the appeal of outfit transformations so prominent in Kill la Kill (as well as the delightfully in-your-face typographic intros), albeit in a more mech/Gundam situation. We are shown that in the not-too-distant future some humans start to spontaneously combust, causing worldwide catastrophe. The Burnish, as they are called, are treated with disdain by others, partly due to the destructive Mad Burnish faction. In the city of Promepolis, we meet Burning Rescue, containing multiple main cast members. Think of them as a mix of firefighters and Power Rangers – no, really!

We see Burning Rescue respond to a Mad Burnish attack, and immediately apparent are the striking visuals of Promare. It employs bold, vibrant animation with palpable 3D depth and a fast pace; lines are defined, colours are bright, and the direction embraces both detail and exaggeration. The film format allows Trigger to refine every frame, resulting in a cathartic sensibility unlike anything else I’ve watched.

Subsequent to the opening, Promare starts showing that the apparent sides of right and wrong are not as they initially seem. Focus soon moves onto the hot-headed but endearing Galo Thymos (Ken’ichi Matsuyama/Billy Kametz) of Burning Rescue and Lio Fotia (Taichi Saotome/Johnny Yong Bosch) of the Mad Burnish, and how their different trajectories meet in a way where each can learn from the other. Amidst all the bombastic action, there is a poignant story here. However, whilst the leads are well-developed, many side characters end up taking too much of a back seat. In particular, the rest of Burning Rescue are sadly reduced to bit-part roles, with maybe one exception in calmly confident pilot Aina Ardebit (Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld/Ayane Sakura) and her dynamic with mysterious scientist sister Heris (Ami Koshimizu/Erica Lindbeck).

One aspect that must be talked about is the audio. Trigger knock it out of the park, weaving together lyrical and instrumental music that impressively matches the joyously intense visuals; it gets the blood suitably pumping without descending into noise. Furthermore, sound design is clear and hard-hitting whether it be a sword strike or ignited flame, and voice acting is emotionally raw without being condescending – note that I actually preferred the extra level of intensity in the English dub compared to the Japanese track.


Final Thoughts

Rip-roaringly stylish, Promare is pure entertainment without losing an emotional core. Even as the plot somehow gets more and more over-the-top, it remembers it needs engrossing characters to keep us invested in the varied, exceptionally choreographed action. The focus on certain characters disappointingly pushes lots of others into the background, and I’ll add that the climax wraps up a bit too quickly given the scale of events prior. Indeed, Promare does not completely stick the landing, but the ride there was riveting and oh-so-entertaining.

8.5/10

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

4 thoughts on “Film in 500: Promare Review

  1. This is a great review! What you say about the music weaving together with the action is spot on. I was blown away by the audio within about 5 minutes of it starting when I first saw it in the cinema and was super happy when I found out that it was the composer of one of my favourite video game scores who did the music.

    I agree about the supporting characters not getting enough screen time/development. If I’m honest I thought Aina was one of the less interesting members of Burning Rescue, although because of the subplot with Heris it makes sense she got focused on more than the others.

    Really feel like watching it again now 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah even the Blu-ray menu screen, which starts up with one of the lyrical tracks, got me excited before I had even pressed play aha! I am super tempted to get the vinyl that is currently on sale…

      I don’t know if the film could have gone closer to the full two hour mark and given some of those other members of Burning Rescue a bit more time, they all seemed to have the potential for more than they got. I guess Trigger were focusing on maintaining the fast pace they are known for.

      If you are going to watch it again, I can say that in my opinion it holds up! Also the opening scenes have a different dynamic once you know how other parts of the film play out…

      Liked by 1 person

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