Promare is everything everyone wanted it to be: a bombastic, in-your-face action movie that kicked logic to the curb and did the impossible. In the movie’s balls-to-the-wall opening scene, there are crazy fights, stinging neon colors, dynamic cast introductions, and an overload of geometric shapes. Hell, even the lens flare is made of squares. This movie tells you what it’s going to be in its first 15 minutes and, after one slower and more poignant scene, it never stops. This movie is deliberate and consistent in its scale and hilarity, constantly raising the bar of its hype to almost Gurren Lagann levels. You know, it basically is Gurren Lagann but with firefighters. The guy even eventually fights with a drill. Why? Because it’s Trigger so why the hell not? Who the hell do you think I am? But there is one thing that separates this movie from Gurren Lagann that, in my humble anime opinion, keeps Gurren Lagann as the city on the hill for Trigger/Gainax works.
Promare has no substance.
Now, hear me out. I added “in my humble anime opinion” for a reason. Promare doesn’t need substance to be enjoyable. The movie is extremely entertaining; the theater I was in was filled with a laughing, yelling and enthused audience that knew what they were in for. Let’s just say when some deus ex machina comes into play, the entire theater lost it. These Trigger fans (myself included) got exactly what they wanted. But for me, personally (this is a personal blog so HAH, here I go), I like a little meat with my fanfare. A little substance and emotional resonance to keep me invested until the end. Even I lost my mind with the addition of the deus ex machina (if you’ve seen the film, you know what I mean), but that was also the moment when I gave up on the movie a little bit. It was the scene when I came to realize Promare was going to be a fun ride, but nothing more.
Promare has so many opportunities to be more than just an action movie. It could have had an interesting perspective on racism and the treatment of minorities with the ousting of the Burnish. We could’ve had a nice character arc between the two sisters. Lio was a cool character, all we needed was a little more of him to make him shine. Even the scene at the lake, although cliché, was beautiful and could have been more emotionally resonate if what was said there was developed throughout the film. But these opportunities were thrown to the wayside for the stellar action. And the action was super stellar. I really enjoyed this film. I just needed something a more to keep me engaged with it.
Take Gurren Lagann. Bombastic action- check. Fun characters- check. Amazing visuals and out of this world concepts- check. But at the end of the day, Gurren Lagann made me feel something. It shows the power of the human spirit in times of hardship and cruelty. It made me happy to be a human, to exist as a being with endless possibilities. Gurren Lagann is fun but it also does something. Promare was super fun, but I walked about of the theater talking about its use of geometric shapes while trying to remember the main character’s name. And that was all.
It's hard not to give Promare an 8 out of 10. It did everything it set out to do beautifully; it was an out-of-this-world action movie. It didn't have substance because it wasn't supposed to. I just like an extra dimension in my anime that this film wasn’t giving me. But man, aren’t giant robots and flames and ice guns and EPIC music just so fun? Good job, Promare! Just make me feel something besides hype next time.