Hiroyuki Imaishi is well known in the west for his bombastic, over-the-top mecha anime Gurren Lagann (2007). I must admit I am not big on the “Go beyond impossible” direction the show takes or the aesthetics that complement it. Following this success Imaishi created his own animation studio – Studio Trigger and ‘Promare’ is the first feature length anime at the studio. However, ‘Promare’ certainly seems an improvement in the right direction without completely abandoning the carefree illogical that made ‘Gurren Lagann’ successful. This film is set in a near future where the fire department rescues people from ‘Burnish’, a raging force, portrayed as flames, that seems to emanate from the frustrated in the society. As it goes on there seems to be something else harming the society at large and the fire department must face it.
‘Promare’ just like many anime does a good job of never really spoon feeding the flames as a metaphor. It is visually presented in brief. The opening action sequence will keep you in awe of visually stunning and smoothly animated frames. It is a feast of splendid character designs amidst colorful environment on fire. This is where its strength lies. On the other hand, the characters and the plot are not only cliched but also weak. The complete embrace of denial of characters and plot for unrelenting action would have at least resulted in something unashamedly fun. The moments where it slows down to let the characters or the plot breathe is when it becomes uninteresting. The action remains exciting though and through even though it embraces the similar “Go beyond impossible” theme. However, the zany aesthetics at play complement the theme here unlike its 2007 predecessor. While the background music is just fine most of the time, it is distracting and overdone quite a few times. The substance here simply does not work on the creative level that the art style does.
To put it in short ‘Promare’ is at its best when everything is invincible, morphing, in motion and on fire.
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.