Promare anime movie cover art

Movie Overview

Promare (PROMARE(プロメア)) is an original anime movie created by the animation studio Trigger. I’m sure Trigger needs no introduction for most people, but it’s the studio behind series like Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia, and the newly released BNAwhich I finished watching last week, so expect a review of that soon.

The first thing you need to know about Promare is that it’s probably the most visually stimulating anime I’ve ever seen. I love the angular art style used for the vast majority of the movie, and the colors are extremely vibrant. This clip from Bojack Horseman sums up what it’s like to watch this movie.

Moving on from the visuals, we have the music. I didn’t realize this was the case until I started watching the movie, but the soundtrack is done by Hiroyuki Sawano. You probably know him from his work on Attack on Titan, but he’s done a lot of great soundtracks over the years — this one included.

The Mad Burnish boss from the anime movie Promare
The Mad Burnish boss

Of course, I have to touch on the “controversy” surrounding this movie and the Fire Force anime series. Yes, they both involve “fire people” and a group of firefighters who oppose them, but other than that they have absolutely nothing in common.

Trigger began working on Promare in 2013, and it wasn’t announced until 2017. Meanwhile, the Fire Force manga didn’t begin until 2015 which is after production on Promare began, but before it was announced. There’s no way these anime were influenced by each other.

Throughout the rest of this review I’ll be discussing the main and side characters, as well as what I think the moral of the Promare story is. With that said, there are going to be major spoilers from this point on.

Main Characters

The three main characters are Galo Thymos, Lio Fotia, and Kray Foresight. They each represent a different worldview, though their views also overlap with each other at points.

Galo is the protagonist of the series and a key member of the so-called Burning Rescue team. Basically he’s a firefighter who uses a mech-suit and freezing weapons to fight fires and rescue those who are trapped within them. His way of life is all about rescuing anyone who needs help no matter who they are.

Galo Thymos from the anime movie Promare
Galo Thymos

Lio is the leader of a terrorist group known as Mad Burnish. Burnish is the name for those who can control fire, but it’s important to keep in mind that they’re also still considered human. Because of this, while there is an “us vs. them” mentality going on in the movie, it’s more gray than black and white.

And because Lio (and Galo) was raised up as some sort of LGBT+ icon when this movie was first announced, I need to point out that’s not the case. It’s possible that Lio is gay, but that never comes up. And it’s pretty definitive that Galo is straight due to how he responded to giving Lio CPR.

Finally we have Kray, the governor of Promepolis — the city in which the movie takes place. He’s initially held up as this decorated hero, which is how I knew from the first time I saw him that he was going to end up as the main antagonist. Spoiler: He did.

But Kray isn’t necessarily all bad. He leads a genocide against the Burnish, but he does so because he believes it needs to be done in order to save the human race. This genocide he causes is also the reason Lio forms Mad Burnish.

Supporting Characters

The supporting characters of the movie fall into the same three groupings as the three main characters. There’s Burning Rescue, Mad Burnish, and the government/Freeze Force.

Of the Burning Rescue supporting characters, the only one who really matters is Aina Ardebit. She’s a regular member of the team just like Galo and seems to almost be a love interest — but Galo is married to the job so he has no time for Aina.

Also I like Aina because she looks like an older version of Nonon Jakuzure.

The other Burning Rescue members are Ignis Ex (the chief), Lucia Fex (the mechanic), Remi Puguna, Varys Truss, and Vinny (a literal mouse). None of these characters have any real impact on the story and are basically just there to round out the Burning Rescue team.

Aina Ardebit from the anime movie Promare
Aina Ardebit

Gueira and Meis are the Mad Burnish lieutenants who serve directly under Lio. Like Lio, they’re completely dedicated to creating a world in which the Burnish can live in peace, and they’re even willing to sacrifice their lives to achieve this goal. These two play a bigger role than the majority of Burning Rescue.

Finally we have those who work for the government, including Heris Ardebit (Aina’s older sister), Biar Colossus (the governor’s second in command), and Vulcan Haestus (the leader of the Freeze Force).

The Freeze Force is essentially Promepolis’ version of ICE in the United States. Their job is to go around and capture any and all Burnish who commit even the smallest of crimes (and even those who don’t). Their name comes from the ice-based weapons they use.

And I want to point out that a lot of these characters have pretty good names referencing fire. Ignis Ex, Vulcan Haestus, and Deus Prometh are a few examples.

What was Promare About?

It’s interesting to think about the moral(s) of the Promare story because they appear to be more relevant today than they would have been back in 2013 when production began. For example, I already mentioned the parallels between the Freeze Force and ICE — an organization most people had never heard of until the past few years.

Obviously the Freeze Force is based on many similar state organizations like the SS in 1930s and 1940s Germany. But you have to admit the fact that it’s called the Freeze Force and in the US we have ICE is a 10/10 unintentional gag.

So, I’ve read a few short reviews of Promare and I’ve noticed a lot of people saying how this is an anti-racism story. While I agree that it does have anti-racism undertones, I don’t actually think that’s the focus of the story, though. As far as Trigger anime go, BNA is much more focused on that.

Lio Fotia using a sword from the anime movie Promare
Lio Fotia using a sword

The major moral of the story I saw while watching this movie is that we need to take care of and fix our planet. I know that may be a bit difficult to understand at first, but that really does seem to be what the movie is trying to say.

Consider the following: in Promare, the Earth is going to be destroyed specifically because the normal humans aren’t taking care of their fellow man (the Burnish). This is basically the same as the Earth being destroyed because humans don’t take care of it.

Then, rather than attempting to fix the problem and save the Earth, Kray decides it’s time to abandon Earth and save a small segment of the population while leaving everyone else to die. How is this different from, say, heading to Mars to start a new colony there rather than saving the Earth from being destroyed by human activity?

I think the point this movie is trying to make is that it’s easier — and generally better — to solve our problems than to run away from them. Saving the Earth is obviously easier and better than terraforming a new planet and letting the vast majority of humanity die.


Last week I gave KonoSuba: Legend of Crimson a perfect rating, and I think I need to do the same for Promare this week. As far as I’m concerned, Promare is a 10/10 movie. I would have rather seen the supporting characters play more of a role, but aside from that I really don’t have any complaints.

This may seem like a cop-out, but I really think the visuals of this movie are enough to make up for any downsides it has. This movie looks, and sounds, so good that not much else about it really matters. But that’s also not to say that those are the only good things about the movie. The three main characters are also all great.

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