DIRECTOR: HIROYUKI IMAISHI / SCREENPLAY: KAZUKI NAKASHIMA / STARRING: KENICHI MATSUYAMA, TAICHI SAOTOME, MASATO SAKAI, AYANE SAKURA, HIROYUKI YOSHINO / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 26TH 2019 (SUBBED), NOVEMBER 28TH 2019 (DUBBED)
In the near future, a mysterious incident has caused humans to spontaneously combust and wield devasting fire abilities. After the 40 year-long Great Fire War, rookie firefighter Galo Thymos and his fellow Burning Rescue teammates are trusted with saving civilians whenever the "Burnish" attack - but when Galo comes face to face with Mad Burnish leader Lio Fotia, he soon begins to doubt who the real enemy is.
Promare is the first feature-length anime film from Studio TRIGGER (Gurren Lagann, Kill La Kill) and is easily their best work to date. Director Hiroyuki Imaishi and his team have always been known for creating anime that balances realistic scenarios and themes with absolutely bonkers ideas to devastatingly entertaining effect - and Promare is no different.
From the opening frame, the world of Promare comes alive in a vibrant burst of colour and sound. The first scene which features Burning Rescue called to a blazing office building is ferociously energetic with wild fights between the team and the Mad Burnish accompanied by the sublime score by Hiroyuki Sawano which hooks the audience in. From there onwards, not a single frame is wasted for the entire runtime of almost two hours.
Although the story beats do make you reminisce about anime that has come before it, it still remains engaging with all of its colourful characters and twists and turns (no matter how ridiculous they are) - however, the rather large exposition dump around two thirds in does slightly lessen the overall shine of the film. Even with that said, Promare never lets go of the gas peddle and never bores you.
The performances by the voice cast led by Kenichi Matsuyama (Galo Thymos) is most certainly in the same spirit as what is transpiring on screen whilst also perfectly presented the emotional story beats when the time comes. The chemistry between the characters oozes brilliance and makes you hope that there is more to explore within this world.
With all that said, Promare possesses a special equilibrium between realism, emotion and an utterly insane concept that creates a truly unique anime experience and shows that Studio TRIGGER and Imaishi-san have an undeniable burning passion for this wonderful art form. Everything falls neatly into place from start to finish and it's up there as one of the best cinema experiences of 2019 for anime fans new and old alike.