Critique of Promare: Hiroyuki Imahi’s sci-fi anime

Overall, the review of Promare, both from fans and specialists alike, has been the best. In eight years of existence, the Trigger studio, founded by Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Ohtsuka, has shown that it could not do anything like the others by imposing a visual and graphic touch recognizable among a thousand. Needless to say, all of these ingredients are found in his first film exclusively for the cinema, Promare, directed by Imaishi.

Nevertheless, Promare could have a much more important symbolic value for the studio, because it collects all the tropes of its past productionseven before its creation. And, from the beginning, the tone is set.

The history

When a massive firestorm devastated civilization, a new mutant human species emerged, the Burnish, capable of setting fires at will. Thirty years later, humanity is finally recovering from the disaster and even created a super firefighting unit in charge of neutralizing the fires, the Burning Rescue, before a task force took over the Burnish.

Except that a terrorist group called Mad Burnish has long been wreaking havoc in the city and their actions are calling the new balance into question. It is in this context that Galo Thymos, the strongly idealistic Burning Rescue’s new recruit, embarks on a fight against Mad Burnish leader Lio Fotia before discovering that what is at stake may not be what the speech advances. official.

A movie with energy

Right off the bat Promare sets the tone: put your brain on hold and go into super open mind mode if you want to have any chance of surviving the projection. Because the movie will be, broadly speaking, just a succession of epic and completely mind-blowing fights, animated with great madness, from beginning to end.

The tone is set from its opening: Promare propels us into its supercharged and colorful universe, in the middle of a battle of giant mecha in which we find the claw of its host with the strong accents of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Shapes unfold on the screen, to the point of abstraction, in an incredibly fluid mix of pastel colors. The screen transforms into a giant, hyperactive whirlpool that engulfs viewers to the point of dizziness.

Of course, do not expect here the slightest originality or even the great risk: with Promare, the Trigger studio aims to make a compilation of all the obsessions and clichés that have animated it since its creation. And the worst thing is that this choice is fully assumed.

Of course, savvy viewers will immediately draw a parallel to Atsushi Okubo’s Fire Force manga, but the film quickly veers away from it into a great colorful frenzy in the form of a tribute to an entire section of its creators’ history.

Therefore, the main character, Galo Thymos, is just a decal of Gurren Lagann’s Kamina, either because of its very close design or because of its strongly similar character with this stubborn heroism tinged with an idealism from another era. A fundamental work of Studio Trigger, considering that it is the latest creation of its founders under the aegis of the Gainax studio, as well as a true note of intention about the ambitions of its new structure.

Amazing animation

The animation style is amazing. In contrast, for example, to the hyper-realistic Lion King of Disney Studios. Here, the shapes are mostly geometric, so they are very simple. For example, fire is represented only as triangles. The genius is that these shapes endlessly decompose and recompose, it’s quite fascinating to watch. The animation is ordered with a limited number of colors.

But, paradoxically, this mix works in an explosive cocktail, both concrete and abstract thanks to the multiple animation techniques. Frame in frame, body deformations, split screen, zoom and close-ups, everything goes everywhere. It is also and, above all, the use of movements that makes the action much more dynamic. They go beyond the frame and continually adapt to the settings and characters in a visual delusion..

The stage, for its part, is also very reminiscent of his productions with the antiliberal message that accompanies it, the criticism of single thought and the enhancement of marginality. If the strength of Promare is not in its script, which encapsulates all the expectations of the genre, the film, however, has a decidedly darker political point when it comes to immigration policy and global warming.

Behind his often naive heroism, Promare delivers a tale devoid of cynicism, fully embracing his entertaining appearance until his explosive finale that will leave more than one on the track. We have without a doubt the most ambitious animated film of this year, as oversized as it is generous in what it has to offer.

This thematic classicism is really just the means for the studio to go off in a gigantic graphic delusion., reserving for us impressive and exhausting fight scenes, based on camera angles impossible in real shots, physical deformations that sometimes border on the experimental while imposing a breathless rhythm that runs the risk of leaving some people behind.


When we know that the soundtrack is also signed by Hiroyuki Sawano (Kill la Kill but also Blue exorcist and Attack on Titan) and that we notice that his electro symphonic style is taken to the extreme, we can only prepare the cheeks to receive a good slap. For many, he is one of the best Japanese composers. What I like the most is that he almost always combines the instruments with a chorus of voices. Here, this association works fine.

Quite a show

Promare indeed requires our absolute trust for us to accept our bias and when it is done, the pleasure is total.. We take it all in our eyes, we smile like a fat child, we explode with joy in front of the robots that are smashed in the face by icy rays and we leave the room with the feeling of having spent two hours in the nineties.

However, it is difficult to advise everyone on Promare, the show is sometimes extreme and is aimed at an audience of connoisseurs. Also, if you want to discover Japanese animation, we can recommend Children of the Sea or Penguin Highway. But if you are a guy from the 90s, you appreciate your VHS Manga Video and you came in when Neon Genesis Evangelion hit Netflix, don’t hesitate for a second, Promare is made for you.

Keep reading about which are the best movies of 2020 according to Time magazine.

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