Trigger, But With FIRE! – Promare Review

Trigger, But With FIRE! – Promare Review

So on my birthday, my brothers and I went off to watch Promare dubbed and enjoy what is probably the most Trigger thing I’ve seen in my life. Since we saw the intro trailer and panel from Trigger at Anime Expo in LA last year, Kenny and I had been hyped for it and I’m glad it didn’t let down. This was the first anime movie I’d seen since Sword Art Online – Ordinal Scale and while that was a movie with some issues but overall good, I loved Promare. The entirety of the movie had some strange moments but in essence served as what I’d expect from a movie done by Trigger.

Unlike what we had originally been trolled with, Promare was not in fact about fighting nightmares in mechs, but was about fighting fires, specifically fires made by people called the Burnish. We have the movie start out with screenshots and exposition explaining that bouts of spontaneous human combustion led to an uprising of individuals who could utilize and manipulate fire leading to an event called the Great World Blaze. 30 years later, we have the special Burning Rescue responding to a massive fire in the metropolis of Promepolis, equipped with specialized anti-Burnish mechs that are reminiscent of modern day fire fighter equipment with a bit of Trigger influence.

We are introduced to the team members, Aina Ardebit, Remi Puguna, Varys Truss, Lucia Fex, and rounding out with plucky sentient small animal companion Vinny, and Captain Ignis Ex voiced in English by the fantastic Steve Blum (Spike Spiegel of Cowboy Bebop, Mugen in Samurai Champloo, and Roger Smith in The Big O). The protagonist is hyped up and high-energy not-Kamina, Galo Thymos, voiced by Billy Kametz who is the VA for Naofumi in Rising of the Shield Hero and Josuke Higashikata of JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable.

Strutting on scene and fighting off the leader of Burnish terrorist Mad Burnish Galo shows off his Fireman’s Burning Spirit and defeats the generals and square off with the leader of this group, Lio Fotia, voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch, former Power Ranger and VA for Nagai in Ajin, Jonathan Joestar of JJBA: Phantom Blood, and Vash the Stampede of Trigun. This fight really set the tone for the animation style which honestly I at first thought was very disjointed and jarring with the buildings appearing too CG and more in line with 1990’s 3D animation like Reboot. At this point you really see what they were going for in the fire animation with the fire not really acting as true fire, but as something more, forming armor and weapons as extensions of the user’s bodies opposed to merely fire.

After defeating Lio, Galo is awarded a medal by the city’s governor, Kray Foresight, voiced by Crispin Freeman, Winston in Overwatch and Alucard from Hellsing. Kray is revealed to have saved Galo as a child form a burning building at the cost of his left arm. This fame brought attention to Kray’s inventions of anti-burnish tech that led to the current world state of peace. Throughout the first part of the movie we see the antagonistic Freeze Force and their leader Vulkan, as they abuse and heavily handle the Burnish even though not all of them are terrorists.

Afterwards, Galo and Aina run away to a frozen lake and Lio and his men escape from the Burnish prison, to a cave nearby the aforementioned lake. At this point, Galo and Lio have another altercation, with Galo being slightly more sympathetic to the Burnish plight. After revealing that Kray has been conducting human experimentation on the Burnish, Galo then confronts him and to his horror finds out the planet is going to explode in 6 months and that the Burnish are being used to fuel an ark ship to escape with 10,000 people abandoning the rest of the Earth. Galo being the idealistic protagonist that he is, cannot stand by this, and is arrested. The Burnish are subsequently arrested by Freeze Force after being betrayed by an old man working with Vulkan. Lio is barely able to escape as his generals sacrifice themselves. At this point Lio goes on a rampage to demand Kray release his people and is only at the last minute stopped by Galo who was freed by Lio’s rampage. After being thrown into Aina’s ship, she drops them off in the frozen lake, instantly vaporized by Lio’s heat and the three of them all find an underground lab, later revealed to be the lab of Dr. Matoi Deus Prometh who really created the anti-burnish equipment and was killed by Kray. After the AI copy of Dr. Prometh explains the truth about the fire used by Burnish is really sentient fire from a mirror universe and that the activation of the warp drive would cause the planet to explode, Garo and Lio fly off in the last creation of Dr. Prometh, the Deus Ex Machina.

Tl;Dr The Final Fight

The last 30 minutes or so is just a series of Trigger tier fights complete with crazed action, furious fight scenes, and of course the Gainax Pose. The movie honestly hit all the best points of trigger action and story telling that have been refined, with the mechs being very reminiscent of Gurren Lagann, including a drill segment, the fights being on par with Kill La Kill, and the art being as beautiful and colorful as Kiznaiver. The music being made by Hiroyuki Sawano (who also did Attack on Titan) had me cheering and happy the entire time as well. I can see why the comparisons between Promare and Fire Force have been drawn given the theme of human combustion and manipulating fire, but the two are actually pretty distinct, especially if you listen to the creator commentary from both and that even the direction taken creatively is pretty divergent. Honestly if you like Trigger content I highly recommend this and if you don’t then I still recommend it but understand if you have issues with their style, you will likely not like this. Let me know what you think if you watched it and hopefully you enjoyed it!

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