#1 Excessive us of color
Regardless of your taste in anime, Promare is interesting to watch just to experience its visual splendor. The team at studio Trigger went all out and succeeded in creating one of the most colorful anime I have ever seen.
Purple is very much the dominating color throughout the movie, mixed in with abundant pinks and blues to create interesting blends. The sharp line-work and lack of gradients make each color stark, and gives the anime a cool, rough look. Even fire—something traditionally animated as smooth and fuzzy—is here turned into clusters of jagged shapes with clear, flat colors.
It’s not unusual to have the entire screen coated in bright color. It got to the point where I found myself taking extra screenshots just to admire how cool it all looked. At the same time, the skillful directing keeps the art controlled, so it doesn’t turn into an over-saturated mess like in No Game, No Life.
#2 Two protagonists at different moral extremes
The story is set in a world that was devastated by the sudden awakening of the “Burnish” people. One day, all around the world, people attained the power to channel wild flames from their body. This resulted in countless initial accidents, followed by panic, ultimately culminating in civil wars and widespread disaster.
In time, the Burnish were subdued and some semblance of peace returned. 30 years after the initial disaster, we meet up with Galo Thymos, a member of an elite firefighting brigade who also deal with Burnish-related terrorism. One day he and his team end up battling Lio Fotia, the last-remaining leader of a Burnish extremist faction, which sets up a rivalry that defines much of Promare.
Lio is a terrorist who recognizes that his people have done bad things in the past, but can’t abide by the ongoing oppression and persecution that are inflicted upon his people by the government. He has reforged his people into a community that he is desperate to protect, even if that requires (preemptive) violence. He doesn’t want to hurt innocents specifically, but he has to put them in danger to lash out at their government, which he accepts as a necessary evil in the defense of his ideals.
Galo, meanwhile, is an idealist who values the safety of people over anything else. He wants to protect his city and the citizens within it, so while he doesn’t hold a grudge again Lio or his people, he staunchly opposes their methods. He’ll always oppose any action that needlessly puts people at risk, even if in doing so he contributes to the ongoing persecution of The Burnish, further fueling Lio’s rebellion.
There’s a lot of development between these two fierce rivals as their ideologies clash, but also sometimes find common ground. Exploring moral questions from such wildly different angles is really clever and I commend the writer for making both characters genuinely heroic in their own ways.
#3 A Trigger-worthy story
If the above gave you the impression that Promare is philosophical and artsy, then you may have missed the part about it being made by studio Trigger. A studio renowned for their hyperactive, crazy action series, of which Promare is one of the finest thus far.
Everything you love about Trigger anime and 2000’s Gainax is here in abundance. It’s a wacky plot that frequently goes completely off the rails, made entertaining through its eccentric characters that themselves benefit from fantastic writing and spot-on performances. The action scenes are as cool as they are preposterous, continuously raising the limit of just how big the explosives, weapons, and robots can become.
Promare also pays homage to this legacy. Galo is already a Kamina look-a-like, but throughout the film there are many visual and spoken references to the likes of Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, and more. Personally I was very fond of the recurring casting decisions. Mayumi Shintani is one of my favorite voice actresses and getting to see her in damn near every Trigger anime these days is fine by me.