Film Review: Promare

Energetic anime flick Promare is a treat for the eyes, but is that enough to make it an enjoyable experience?

Anime creators Studio Trigger are no strangers to international acclaim – now, their first full-length movie has made its way to UK screens, but not everyone will be happy with how it turned out.

Studio Trigger’s first feature film, Promare, is directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi and written by Kazuki Nakashima, who previously collaborated on the celebrated sci-fi series Gurren Lagann. Their latest work feels immediately familiar to long-time fans, as it follows bombastic giant robot-piloting firefighters who are tasked with protecting the world from a race of fire monsters known as the Burnish.

Within the first few minutes, the film is a plunge into anime heaven, with stunning animation drenched in the most gorgeous colour palettes. The action is dizzyingly dynamic and care has been taken to make every scene as awesome and over-the-top as possible, making expectations high from the get-go even for those unfamiliar with Trigger’s past productions. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for viewers to realise the film is severely unbalanced, with seemingly all of the creativity poured into visuals with none left for the story itself. The plot lacks almost any substance as we’re shown a story that has been told over and over, populated by a cast comprised solely of cut ‘n’ paste anime archetypes.

It’s not unbearable by any means – the story still makes sense, moves at a decent pace and has its fair share of fun moments, but there’s an unshakeable feeling of how much better it all could have been. Even if Promare was intended to be a parody of popular anime tropes in the vein of Imaishi and Nakashima’s previous collaborations, it simply doesn’t come across that way.

Ultimately, Promare is a movie for the animation buffs who can look past the bare-bones plot and just soak up the fantastic visuals. It’s still a blaze of a film in its own right, but Trigger’s first big-screen outing could’ve burned much brighter.

By Jamie Morris

Feature image credit: Studio Trigger

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