Japan anime film Promare's graphic brilliance is a fantastic visual treat despite its cliché storyline
While the story itself might not hold up to scrutiny, the artwork of the movie is what makes it a truly rewarding watch. The cool colors and simple, minimalistic designs turn 'Promare' into a visual spectacle rivaling works like 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'.
This review is spoiler-free
Studio Trigger took quite a bit of risk when they decided to bring their first feature-length anime film 'Promare' to the United States. Anime is still a mostly niche interest in the U.S. and though the film was very popular in Japan, there was no guarantee it would do as well in the West.
But now that the first round of screenings has been completed, we can see why 'Promare' has a universal appeal that would make it a hit in any market around the world. The movie picks up decades after a devastating attack by a group called Burnish left half the world in flames.
The Burning Rescue Fire Department is an elite group of firefighters specifically trained to take on mutant flame-wielders using specialized suits of armor. They are forced into action when a new group of mutants, calling themselves Mad Burnish, threaten to finish what their predecessors started and plunge the whole world into flames.
As far as the story goes, there's nothing particularly special about 'Promare'. The plot is pretty straightforward and often gets quite predictable. The characters, while interesting, are mostly just the usual archetypes that you might see in anime productions.
There's the over-enthusiastic young hero Galo Thymos, the villain with a seductive vision of the world Lio Fotia, and a highly-stylized battle between the forces of good and evil, here represented by the Burning Rescue Fire Department and the terrorist group known as Mad Burnish. The philosophical conflicts between the film's characters are pretty simple once you get into it.
Galo thinks the world is black and white while Lio sees things in shades of grey and if at any point you feel that the motivations of the characters are a little unclear, they immediately clarify things by shouting out every single thought that passes through their heads. However, while the story itself might not hold up to scrutiny, the artwork of the movie is what makes it a truly rewarding watch.
The cool colors and simple, minimalistic designs turn 'Promare' into a visual spectacle rivaling works like 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' and 'Kubo and the Two Strings'. The fight scenes, in particular, are beautifully crafted and detailed and each of the movie's mecha warriors is a work of art in itself. This is not the sort of film you watch for good storytelling but the graphic brilliance exhibited by the animators more than makes up for its cliche plot.
'Promare' is coming to select theaters in the United States with the first round of screenings having been completed on September 17 and the second round coming up on September 19, building up to a nation-wide premiere event on September 20.