“Promare” Review: Anime at its most Ridiculous and Finest

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Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi

Starring: Kenichi Matsuyama, Taichi Saotome, Masato Sakai, Ayane Sakura

The best way to describe just how silly and ridiculous Trigger Studios’ new anime film “Promare” is there is a giant flame-throwing robot in this film literally named Deus Ex Machina.

But that’s part of the charm of director Hiroyuki Imaishi and other classic anime he has worked on with Trigger Studios. Whether it was “Gurren Lagann” or “Kill La Kill” the studio has always been about pushing even the base level of silliness of anime to cartoonish levels of ludicrousness and the result is often relentless entertainment and over the top humor in the best way.

(I mean do expect anything less from the guys who made this scene with complete sincerity spoilers)

But despite this, Trigger’s work is not without sincerity as much of the appeal of these anime have been their ultimately positive characters and themes and “Promare” is no different.

Like its predecessors “Promare” is a crazy, over the top take on the far future where humanity is at odds with a cataclysmic event (or regime in the case of “Kill La Kill”) and use the power of their wills to triumph over the towering odds. It’s a relentlessly funny and entertaining romp that ultimately tells a positive tale of never giving up, even if you’re squaring up against a giant robot with a death laser in its chest.

“Promare” tells the story of a “firefighter” named Galo Thymos who fights flame-wielding mutants called Burnish in the not too distant future. After fighting off a group of Burnish terrorists their leader, Lio Fotia, makes him aware of a government conspiracy concerning his kind and Galo quickly mobilizes with his team to help cancel the pending apocalypse.

If you’re even little aware of how incredibly dire the world is right now, positivity can feel like its in extremely short supply. Pending climate disaster, stagnant wages, suppressive corrupt regimes both here and abroad, it’s easy to feel powerless and the only thing we feel we may have in many case is simply hope and the will to survive.

(At least South Park hasn’t gotten better through it…)

Director Hiroyuki Imaishi and Trigger Studios has taken this desperation and blown it up into a model of extreme positivity and will in the face of often apocalyptic odds and the philosophical framework of all their most famous anime.

Whether it was Kamina in “Gurren Lagann” or Mako and to a smaller extent Ryuko in “Kill La Kill” these characters have all been about triumph through sheer, sometimes foolhardy, willpower and Trigger Studio’s newest anime “Promare” follows in these same footsteps.

(Don’t talk to me unless your protagonist has blue hair and is relentlessly stupid and courageous.)

Galo, played by Kenichi Matsuyama, is our new fool hardy but good hearted, blue-hair protagonist who refuses to give up and it’s easy to immediately feel drawn to the natural charisma of the character the minute he and his loud mouth appear on screen. Matsuyama pours incessant energy into this character making him an instant classic among fans of Trigger that won’t be soon forgotten.

His counterpart Lio Fotia, played by Taichi Satome, play off each other in perfect, even at many times opposing, harmony and form an energetic and powerful, heroic duo for anime fans to immediately fall in love with.

(I already know what you people on Tumblr want though…)

Alongside the quirky cast of characters these two heroes create magnetic, frenetic energy throughout the film that makes the film feel fast and fun from beginning to end. You’ll be rooting for them like crazy through the entirety of the film’s positive, if not absurd, final act and it’s pure joy to watch.

Like its predecessor’s too “Promare” has a great soundtrack with a showstopping tune by Japanese pop-rock singer Superfly and “Kill La Kill’s” Hiroyuki Sawano’s original score providing plenty of inspirational music motifs alongside some unique tunes. The music adds to the fun of the film by giving the action a unique and energetic rhythm that will have you hopping along to it from beginning to end.

(This has been my jam all week)

What’s truly most impressive about “Promare” however is the animation which is on par with some of the best feature length anime of all-time.

You know a Trigger Studios anime almost immediately when you see it. The already cartoony levels of anime are upped to 11 bringing in an almost Looney Tunes vibe to their animation style as characters and the way they act toward each other are often hyper exaggerated and move with the kinetic energy of a hurricane. The color, especially with this film, is often eye-popping and “Promare” does this to even greater extremes with its neon and cell-shaded style and result is a visual feast from beginning to end.

Whether it’s the film’s over the top violence or even its calmer more somber moments the film is pure eye candy in the best way and will please animation nerds everywhere.

(Now that’s how you make an entrance. Note: I did watch this in Japanese not English)

“Promare” is not without some short-comings, of course. It’s unfortunate that an interesting premise such as this wasn’t stretched out to a 12-24-episode structure as Trigger has done in the past. Some interesting background characters could’ve greatly benefited from it and the backstory of the world of “Promare” could have been more fleshed out too. But it still doesn’t take away from the energetic fun of the overall story and anime fans everywhere will find something to love about it.

“Promare” is a great anime movie for fans of the most ridiculous parts of the genre. It’s relentlessly fun from start to finish and provides a visual feast that will last in the audience’s memory for a long time. But ultimately, like its predecessors, “Promare” is an extremely positive film too that shows again the power of never giving up in the face of overwhelming odds. A not unique trait among anime of course but the style in which its done through Trigger is what makes it different and nonetheless memorable.

It’s this kind of sincerity, even with such a silly premise, that makes this movie and Trigger Studios’ work so memorable in the end and worth the watch each time.

So, the next time the apocalypse comes knocking on your door in your day-to-day life remember your will and your positivity is a power as well. Even if it means going up against a giant robot with a city-busting chest cannon.


4.5 out of 5

Now on to that little indy flick that came out last week. Oh boy… #Joker

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