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Promare (2019)

In the city of Promepolis, spontaneous human combustion has been the source of fear and terror. After  the Great World Blaze which effectively killed half the world's population, certain humans began to show signs of being able to manipulate the flames they created. They became known as the Burnish, who are compelled to burn everything around them. However, in response to this threat, a new team has emerged to fight the blaze. The Burning Rescue, dedicated to save lives and put out the fires caused by these terrorists.

When the team's most headstrong member, Galo Thymos clashes with the leader of these mutant terrorists Lio Fotio, the cities status quo begins to shift. Who really are the Burnish? And are they really the criminals that they have been made out to be?

Promare is the debut feature film of Studio Trigger, initially released in Japan on May 24th 2019. The film has since been acquired by GKIDS for a wide screen release in the US while Anime Limited and Madman Entertainment has provided special screening events for the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

There is nothing wrong with simplicity. To accept that maybe something isn't entirely spelled out or makes 100% sense. In a world that can be as complicated as it can be depressing, sometimes you need to take a step back and return to those experiences that give you that simplistic, almost childlike joy.

It is for this very reason that I enjoy a great deal of Hiroyuki Imaishi's work. No matter what he is working on, it always seems to be just the right amount of over the top that you can't help but get carried away into whatever spectacle he and his team of animators can come up with. Something that feels grounded in the traditions of anime but at the same time rocketing off into the stratosphere into a brave new world.

Promare, Studio Triggers debut feature film, is no exception.

First and foremost, the idea of creating super team of fire fighters is a novel concept. Some may point fingers it may seem less novel with another anime series, Fire Force, came out roughly around the same time. But, having seen both examples, I would say there are enough differences between the two that you can enjoy both equally (they both have beautiful animation as well!). But what makes Promare work is the unbridled energy of it's characters. Whether is it Galo's headstrong dedication when it comes to his profession, or Lio's determination to see that the Burnish receive the justice they deserve.

This energy is reflected as much in their design (courtasy of Shigoto Koyama) as it is in the animation. Remarkably, a mixture of 2D and 3D animation. With certain anime productions, the use of 3D animation can be a kiss of death to the style, but that is not the case with Promare. Part of the reason why it works is the creative fluidity of the fire and ice effects used in the film. The fire effects in particularly are heart and soul of the film, doing things that definitely out of the realms of reality but incredible to watch all the same (You can't slide on fire, or turn into armor, but damn if it doesn't look amazing).

Make no mistake, this is a beautifully animated film regardless of where you watch it. But in my humble opinion, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't see this film on the biggest screen possible. Not just for the animation, but the adrenaline inducing soundtrack composed by Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan).

There are a few twists in the story, but nothing that anime veterans won't be able to see coming after a certain point in the film. And while there are a few pauses in the action for character development/world building, it doesn't take long before the next action set piece arrives. But in spite of that, I never found myself feeling tired or bored. There characters and their motivations are likable enough that I was invested in the story's outcome.

If you're looking for more of a cerebral story, with complex twists and turns, Promare is not going to satisfy you. But you should know what kind of movie you're in for from just looking at the trailer. A film that doesn't take itself too seriously, but just enough that you can become invested in this fantastic world of fire mutants and mecha fire fighters.

If you like what you see, I highly recommend seeing this crazy movie!


IN A NUTSHELL: A sincere anime film whose soul is ablaze with passion.

** Screener provided by GKIDS Films**