The movie reviews just keep flowing, folks!
This time around, I’ll talk about Promare: a 2019 anime film that went straight to the theaters, and on February of 2020 it finally became available on DVD/Blue-ray. Some countries were lucky and got to see the movie in theaters way before that; I, naturally, wasn’t that lucky. My socialist country wouldn’t allow me the luxury.
Before I start, something you must know is that the movie was co-producer by Trigger and XFLAG. Now, I’ll be honest and say I don’t know XFLAG, but I do know of Trigger Studio. Trigger may be relatively young studio opened in 2011, but they have done some interesting original works.
To name a few titles produced by Trigger Studio: Kill la Kill, Kiznaiver, Little Witch Academia, Darling in the Franxx. All of them, sans Kiznaiver, were pretty trendy in the anime world and still are. Although, ironically enough, I do believe Kiznaiver was the best out of the mentioned works. Perhaps because it didn’t feature aliens, mecha or supernatural elements, yet I found the plot execution pretty interesting.
Anyway. True to my word, Promare delivers with mecha-incorporation and a space twist.
The movie kickstarts showcasing a worldwide tragedy known as the Great World Blaze, wherein a mass spontaneous human combustion killed half of the world’s population. Anyone who knows the basics of the X-men franchise can guess what follows: some humans have mutated, segregation ensues, chaos rules. However, unlike the X-men, all the mutate display pyrokinetic abilities– the only remarkable difference is the power each one has. For this reason, they were dubbed as ‘Burnish.’
Eventually, the Burnish either hide within society or join the Mad Burnish, a supposedly terrorist organization that actually is just a motorbike gang that goes around committing arson. Reasons for that are a key plot point that I don’t plan on spoiling, so go check the movie yourself if you’re feeling curious.
Finally, we have the Burning Rescue team– a group of firefighters, because logic. I’d like to point out that they’re mostly a rescue team that responds to cases in which Mad Burnish is involved, yet, as the name suggest, they focus on the rescuing part.
Now, introducing the characters…
The rookie of a certain unit of the Burning Rescue, Galos Thymos, is one of the main characters the narrative focuses on. Galo is endearingly stupid to a just-right degree– enough to laugh at his antics and dissipate the ongoing tension, but not enough to put others’ at risk. As a matter of fact, Galo is (surprisingly) the type of character aware of the way his actions reflect on others. And while he may be a tad reckless on his own, he reminds his teammates to prioritize according to the situation; Galo is also up for taking a beating if that buys time during rescuing operations.
Galo also displays a healthy amount of doubt when proof is brought before him, even if it is towards people he admires. I like that he’s stubborn and righteous, but not a ‘there’s only white and black’ kind of guy. Galo is also a good role model for many people, because he’s an adult person who knows when an apology is due, and doesn’t shies away from it.
Next we have Lio Fotia, the second character the narrative puts a major emphasis on. A very complex character, which, you know– it’s normal, considering he’s a freaking mutant persecuted by the government for the sole fact of existing. Oh, he’s also a full-time terrorist, but once you get to know his motivations… you’ll start rooting for the Mad Burnish. Unless you lack a soul.
In case you’re one of these “There’s no excuse for his behavior!” characters, there is. Plenty of reasons justify Lio and Mad Burnish’s actions, actually. Like automatically losing their human rights for a random mutation they clearly didn’t chose, getting abducted to be experimented on regardless of their age and status (whether they’re a mad burnish, or just a burnish trying to incorporate into society while hiding their status as such). They’re persecuted, shot and imprisoned even if they haven’t lit a small bonfire.
Heck, even people who stands up for innocent burnish and help them to incorporate to society, are imprisoned for showing basic human decency. Lio, who leads the Mad Burnish, is more aware of this (and mad) than anyone else. It is only natural to retaliate after being systematically abused, used and disposed, and overall wronged over and over again.
Eventually, Galo and Lio who stand in opposite sides at the beginning of the movie, come to understand each other and join forces. Although, it is mostly Galo (who already sympathized with innocent burnish, just not the arsonists) who realizes how fucked up the system is and reaches out to Lio, helping the later to free his people. Of course, not without a common threat coming into play, thus creating the opportunity for the unlikely combo.
Things I LOVED about this movie, but haven’t mentioned in the paragraphs above:
- The movie touch strong topics: racism, police violence, illegal experimentation and government corruption. All through a well-executed script and a bomb-ass badass soundtrack composed by the genius, truly yours, Sawano Hiroyuki.
- The Deux Ex Machina in this movie is literally called DEUX X MACHINA. I cri.
- Galo and Lio are two idiots with a shared braincell.
- Aina, who has a crush on Galo, is a character on her own rather than another victim of the Mary Jane syndrome.
I, however, don’t recommend this movie if you…
- Are uncomfortable with skin display. We get equal fanservice in Promare, so if you cant stomach two adult female characters with miniskirt/tiny shorts and tops that cover the essentials (even though the camera doesn’t even focus on it), I’m assuming you won’t be keen on seeing topless guys as well. Unless you got double-standards, of course.
- Get nauseous easily. The animation flow can be a tad overwhelming during action scenes (and there are many), so there is a 75% of probability your stomach back-flips while watching Promare. It actually happened to me during the first sequence, but I got used to the animation style and was able to overcome it.
As for me, I enjoyed this movie and recommend it.