Review: The Day-Glo fantasia of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s ‘Promare’ shuns realism for bright action

Galo Thymos in the animated movie “Promare.”

In contrast to the detailed realism of many recent American animated features, Hiroyuki Imaishi’s “Promare” explodes onto the screen in a dizzying burst of flamboyant color, stylized designs and over-the-top action.

“Promare” takes place on a future Earth that was partially incinerated when some humans mutated into the “Burnished,” who could wield powerful flames. The ensuing conflict ended with the Burnished being relegated to the impoverished fringes of society.

When elegant Lio Fotia (Johnny Yong Bosch in the English-language version) organizes the surviving Burnished to fight their oppressors, he comes into conflict with the Burning Rescue Fire Department and ace firefighter Galo Thymos (Billy Kametz). Like Kamina in Imaishi’s popular series “Gurren Lagann,” Galo charges headlong into action, loudly proclaiming he’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.

Much of the film is devoted to the frenetic battle between Lio and Galo, until a more insidious villain is unmasked. The story takes some odd turns, but most viewers will be too mesmerized by the Day-Glo colors and bizarre visuals to care.

Lio suggests a blond Prince Valiant in punk boots; Galo boasts an enviably fat-free angular physique and a cockatoo’s crest of blue hair. The mechanical devices and even the explosions are equally stylized and graphic. After seeing every leaf on every bush in so many features, it’s fun to sit back and enjoy a film that pushes its look and palette beyond mere reality to create a fantasy world that could exist only in animation.


In Japanese with English subtitles; also dubbed in English

Rated: PG-13, for some violence and language

Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Playing: Starts Sept. 20, AMC Citywalk Stadium 19, AMC Galleria at South Bay 16, Redondo Beach; AMC Ontario Mills 30, Ontario