So the other day my brother asked me to go see a movie with him. I shrugged and said sure, thinking it was going to be something stupid. I was right. And yet oh so wrong. He had decided to surprise me with tickets to Promare—a movie I had totally forgotten was going to be in theaters in December. But see, my brother is a huge fan of Studio Trigger and was on top of it. So I was delightfully surprised to watch this movie that I’d heard people praise. I was SO ready.
Promare was, like I said before, really stupid—but not in a bad way. When I say stupid, I really mean that it didn’t try to take itself too seriously (not to say it wasn’t serious at all). But a great example of how serious it took itself was the reveal of the final mech suit which was aptly named the Deus ex Machina. A little too on the nose for something that wasn’t poking fun at itself. The main character Galo was also literally an idiot. This is something that everyone said throughout the film, and while even he agreed to it, the guy had a crazy heart that made him super lovable. And I think the fact that this movie didn’t make itself too serious worked for it.
Honestly, I’m usually wishy-washy with Studio Trigger. They have some good stories, but often those stories never get as fully realized or deep as they could be. Which works in their favor. I think when things get too serious, viewers will expect a much deeper and possibly slower story. The fact that they leaned into some light-hearted moments for Promare meant that the action sequence after action sequence was kept entertaining opposed to drawn out and tedious. What coupled nicely with the entertainment value was the moments of seriousness. The moments that slowed down to take time to observe the Brunish felt impactful–real–and most importantly made the audience sympathize with them just as Galo found himself doing. These moments were profound in a way without being too long (and believe me the movie knows how to hold scenes too long—more on that later). Still, the movie managed a combo that was both entertaining and thought-provoking without being too heavy. Does this mean I think the plot was without flaws? Oh hell no. There are many more ways they could’ve handled it better and more cohesively, but it was still good for what it was and it was certainly sure to leave you walking out with a satisfied smile on your face while you thought about the deeper moments of the plot and how it could relate to our world. The Burnish struggle, when first introduced, has a strikingly similar premise to many real-life migrant stories. Particularly, it hit home for me, being a Mexican American and knowing the current border and migrant problems in America. It was heartbreaking to see and definitely reminded you that these things in the movie are happening in real life too. I also really appreciated the real, but slightly horrific, depiction of the Freeze Force who are pretty similar to ICE and who raid innocent people just like them.
Visually, Promare was eye candy. Straight up eye candy. If you needed a new young animation to hang off your elbow, this is it. The colors are gorgeous—filled with pastels/neons that compliment dark blacks lines. And the animation as a whole is more square than round (if that makes any sense) and geometric. To me, who truly hadn’t seen trailers for this, the animation was a surprise and one that I rather liked. I did hear some people next to me in the theater thinking that the geometric anime threw them off, and I can definitely see why it might. Where some scenes the square lens works well (using it convey fire embers was nice in my opinion)—it can kind of throw you off other times. An example being when Galo is at the ice lake and the sun’s glare is square. Still, I think it’s animation is unique. I also heard that some people found battle sequences hard to follow. To that I can really see where they are coming from, but also I found myself more in awe than wondering what was happening. There are moments of action where the camera follows an attack, such as flame as it moves its way through the battle. The camera, is a fluid motion, which can occasionally ping pong back and forth to where you don’t know where one attack begins and another ends. It can be dizzying. But the way that it’s so uncontrolled and constantly moving, actually reminds me a lot of fire. Which I’d like to think of was intentional, and a good choice. Plus the camera angles steady out towards the end of the movie (or maybe by that time I just didn’t even care or notice anymore).
Then there was the music. OH MY GOD THE MUSIC. It was phenomenal. I really don’t have much to go in-depth here, but it was great. I was watching a round table of the movie’s makers and they were saying that each song was written so specifically as to fit particular scenes. And the composer did such a great job if putting each track to each moment. Also, I have definitely listened to Inferno way too many times already. For a week straight it was the song I listened to pump myself for a stressful day of work.
The last thing I want to talk about is the characters—especially our MCs, Galo and Lio. But before we get to them, I will say I wish we had seen more of the side characters. The rest of the Fire Force were all actually pretty interesting in their brief moments on screen. They seemed like fun characters so I would’ve loved to see them more. But that’s okay. That just meant more battle scenes and more Lio and Galo. And now, yes. We may get into our boys now. So Galo, was single-handedly the most loveable dumbass ever (legitimately god’s perfect idiot). And this was no surprise as every character called him an idiot. But he has this *fire* to him that just makes it so you can’t hate him. The dude has got crazy heart. He’s also certifiably insane, which makes his antics entertaining if no eye-rollable. To counter him is Lio who is certainly the brains of Mad Burnish, but who too has a surprisingly resound heart that makes it easy to sympathize — even early on. The way they play off each other is, typical. Not to say that’s bad but it is typical. But really what I want to talk about with these characters beyond their dynamic is how shippable they are. Not just for their generic compatibility as brains vs. brawn (or smart dumbass vs. traditional dumbass), nor for their conversation about getting naked in the beginning, or even their stare down that made fans everyone think “now kiss!”, but for that actual kiss that the makers put in there. You know. The one that lasted for like a full ten seconds (yes I counted) that brought Lio back. It’s funny because the whole movie I spent wondering why I saw everyone shipping them (aside from just generic queer baiting dialogue) but then. Oh then the kiss happened and I suddenly got it. And yeah…as a certifiable fujoshi and lowkey queen of yaoi…I ship it.
Basically, if you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed Promare for a lot of reasons. I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. My only wish for this movie would’ve been more screentime for the other firefighters! I loved them. So who else saw it? What was the general consensus for this movie…and also do you ship Galo x Lio? Let me know! I’d love to talk to people about this movie (or have an Inferno sing-a-long).
Til next time!