Annecy 2019: Promare Is Gurren Lagann Meets Kill la Kill
by Tito W. James
Promare is the first feature film by Studio Trigger that acts as a spiritual successor to Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill. In the near future a mutation causes human anger to manifest as destructive flames. These mutants are branded terrorists known as Burnish. The protagonists fight the flames in the most Anime way possible… With giant robots!
The films opens with a surprisingly nuanced premise that unfortunately goes up in flames by the end of the first act. The Burnish are analogs for terrorists and the government causes even more problems by persecuting civilians accused of being terrorists.
This poignant premise gives way to Trigger’s patent for over-complicated plots with double-crosses, parallel universes, and interstellar travel. Trigger isn’t known for being serious or subtle but the film’s plot was a missed opportunity.
Promare is one of the few anime is use CGI in a way to enhance the esthetic appeal. While not perfect, the use of cell-shaded backgrounds and vehicles adds an extra layer of volume to the action. The film’s use of bold flat colors is a great stylistic choice that helps unify the two animation styles.
As fans should be aware of by now, Studio Trigger has excellent character designs. There are some plenty of in-jokes and homages to previous Trigger anime that always got a good crowd reaction.
Studio Trigger’s brand of crazy isn’t for everyone and has way more style than substance. However, if you’re already a fan of Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill this film was tailor-made for you. During my screening the audience applauded during the film several times. I’ve never had a cinematic experience like it before and I look forward to the cosplay and fan-art this film will inspire.