Initial Release: July 31, 2019 Licensed by: Madman AU Runtime: 111 Minutes Studio: Trigger Directed by: Hiroyuki Imaishi
Thanks to Madman Australia, in May this year audiences were treated to an early showing of Trigger’s latest feature length Japanese Animated smash hit Promare, showing for a limited time on Australia’s Premiere Anime streaming service, AnimeLab. The endearing aesthetic of this insanely vibrant cyberpunk overture had Anime fans encapsulated by its masterful display in seamless animation, which has come to be expected from such a studio held in high esteem. Trigger have built a incredible legacy with astounding adaptations from popular Mangaka’s including those of recent noteriety; Darling in the FRANXX, Kill La Kill, Little Witch Academia, and the studio’s own original concept in SSSS.Gridman. As a fan of everything Trigger, I found myself overjoyed when the concept of an original in-house animated feature was set to be written by legendary Japanese Screenwriter and Novelist, Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann, Batman Ninja) partnering with well renowned Lead Animator and Director Hiroyuki Imaishi (Neon Genesis Evangelion).
Immediately coined a spiritual successor to Gurren Lagann, this would mark the first time Nakashima and Imaishi – both credited for their work on the critically acclaimed mecha anime – had teamed on a project together since Kill La Kill’s Anime adaptation in 2013. Announced back in 2017, both Trigger and CGI Animation company XFLAG, had teased the concept of an animated series with their respective studios working in tandem for over four years, with the initial concept of a new franchise behind its established cast of characters. It had later been revealed in October of 2018 that Imaishi and Nakashima decided to turn the foundation of what was Promare the anime series, into an original feature length film. Met with resounding joy from fans globally, the highly anticipated feature became the highest-grossing Japanese Animated feature of of 2019, grossing over $18USD million.
We were fortunate to attend an early screening of the film, in its first international showing at Madman’s Anime Festival last year. The ovation the film received was overwhelming, and had fans buzzing for its localisation and release on DVD and Blu-Ray. With the ongoing global pandemic, AnimeLab provided a lifeline to their loyal supporters in an exclusive showing from the comfort of their own home, throwing a community viewing party following the hashtag #PromareNight on social media. Having already viewed the film, we covered it in its entirety on our Anime Analysis column, before its streaming premiere. It would come to no surprise in stating that I absolutely adored it, immediately placing it in my Top 5 favourite feature length Japanese Animated movies. Comparing the title to the 1991 Katshuhiro Otomo classic Akira, would immediately label Promare as a modern masterpiece in its own right, but this of course is a debatable statement; its all a matter of opinion but would be hard to argue.
For the unacquainted, here is a brief synopsis of Promare’s solid narrative taken from our Analysis earlier this year; Set on an “Alternate Earth” sometime in the distant future, the planet suffered a catastrophic disaster known as the Great World Blaze. The human race was facing extinction from spontaneous combustion, and had eliminated half of Earth’s population. The calamitous occasion was thought to be a bio-terrorist attack as survivors of the ordeal had obtained special abilities that would enable them to harness and control any fiery outbursts with pyrokinetic skills; these citizens are known as the Burnish. Possessing such power only divided the population further, and created subsequent anarchy over complete control. Years after these events, we’re introduced to Galo Thymos, a Burnish living in Promepolis and serving as a member of Burning Rescue, a firefighting rescue response team who respond to Burnish terrorist attacks that are conceived by resistance organisation, the Mad Burnish. The rookie firefighter’s ambition to seek the approval and respect of town Governor, Kray Foresight is burdened by rebel leader of the Mad Burnish, Lio Fotia.
Galo leads his team to victory after defeating Fotia, and curbed any additional attacks the group may have outlined. Calling for Lio’s arrest, the Freeze Force – Promepolis’ Police Unit – detain the resistance fighter and place him into custody. While Galo is praised for bringing justice to Promepolis, Lio had orchestrated his escape from prison. Lio’s attempt to flee is thwarted, by Galo with the two engaging in combat. Lio successfully incapacitates the firefighter, while the supposed terrorist resuscitates a fatally wounded Burnish. Failing to save the dying detainee, Lio then explains to Galo that Governor Foresight is not the man the town’s patrons glorify him to be, but instead the real terrorist. In disbelief, Galo confronts Kray in which the town leader informs Galo, that Earth will be destroyed in another ruinous event. This suddenly transforms Kray from leader to dictator, as he reveals his devious plot against humanity and the remaining Burnish who were to survive.
What’s in the Box?
Madman has distributed an exquisite Limited Edition release of the film, accompanied by a sleek foil case that reflects the title’s gorgeous display, along with key artwork featuring its prominent cavalcade of zany characters that take you on this awesome action-adventure. Included within this must have for Trigger fans, is a collector’s guide that manifests Promare’s entire development, from conceptual artwork to creating each character’s own backstory, giving some clarity to their respective personalities. The guide itself gives great insight into how the overall feature came to prominence, and explains each set-piece carefully with illustration to enhance its comprehensive plot line that had been translated on screen. With how vibrant its cyberpunk aesthetic was, we’re also given an in-depth look into how the studio decided on the palette used to enrich its futuristic world.
There are dispositions of neutral colours mixed with highlights and shadows that offset Promare’s dynamic universe. Given its rich nature, Promare’s setting has been widely praised as an exemplary demonstration within the industry as a monumental masterclass in stunning background imagery, conceptualised by established Art Director, Tomotaka Kubo (When Marnie was there, The boy and the Beast). We’re given some insight into why Imaishi appointed Kubo as Art Director within the Extras that are included in the Blu-Ray release. Additionally, we’re spoiled with an entertaining Round Table discussion between Imaishi and producers of the film, along with a Behind the scenes look hosted by the English cast. “Side: Galo” and “Side: Lio” are two short films that were exclusive to the Japanese theatrical Premiere, but have also been localised for this release.
Simply put, Promare is a must have for Anime fans. The film itself will carry a legacy that redefines Japanese Animation. Its prominent cast of creators attached, with their extensive history prior to Promare, only speaks for the title’s potential estate within the medium. Promare will no doubt be held in high esteem within the animation industry, alongside some of our modern greats, such as Your Name, Summer Wars, Weathering with You and Penguin Highway, for its seamless display in silky smooth animation, and expeditious flow in narrative and sequence arrangement. Promare’s offering bestows one of the best representations of modernised artistry-in-motion, and sets the ultimate proposition in raising the bar to its industry counterparts. While it may be an introduction to how we see many Shonen style, action-adventure series or feature length Japanese animated films going forward, it certainly will inspire a new generation of animators for years to come.
The first feature-length film from the acclaimed studio TRIGGER, creators of KILL la KILL and Little Witch Academia, and director Hiroyuki Imaishi (GURREN LAGANN), Promare is a blistering action-adventure that will set your soul on fire!
Thirty years has passed since the appearance of the Burnish, a race of flame-wielding mutant beings, who destroyed half of the world with fire. When a new group of aggressive mutants calling themselves Mad Burnish appears, the epic battle between Galo Thymos, a new member of the anti-Burnish rescue team Burning Rescue, and Lio Fotia, the leader of Mad Burnish begins.