Okay, so Promare isn’t technically my first experience with anime. I did grow up on Pokémon after all. I’ve also watched a few episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena. But this is the first anime production I’ve seen in full, so I say it counts.
The only reason I went to see this movie is because my sister really wanted to go, and I’m a good big sister so I said I’d go with her. I went in with no expectations, but tried to be as open-minded as possible. And you know what? I really enjoyed it.
Granted, I had some problems with it. The first part of the movie was filled with info dumps that took me out of the story and all of the supporting characters are one dimensional. Plus, it took forever for the protagonist Galo Thymos to grow on me. He’s basically a himbo dialed up to eleven.
But by the end of the film, he’d grown on me quite a bit. Everything about the movie grew on me. The cheese became charming and the dumb humor became hilarious. The animation, while always impressive, really kicked it up a notch as the movie went on. In the end, I had a really good time with this film.
My favorite character is easily Lio Fotia. I always love an antihero who does what it takes to protect his people. My second favorite character is probably Lucia, that creepy little mad scientist. I only wish characters outside Lio and Galo had any semblance of character development.
Promare is a not-so-thinly-veiled callout to the billionaires and corporations who do nothing to prevent climate change. The solution is not to flee the planet and doom those who can’t— it’s to save the planet and protect humanity. Obviously, this is completely relevant.
It also tells a story of racism and genocide, something else that is relevant today. Look at how we use and discriminate against minorities. Look at what’s happening on the U.S./Mexico border. The plight of the Burnish is not unlike what many minorities go through every day.
All right, let’s talk about the gay elephant in the room: the Lio/Galo ship. A lot of people ship these two and it’s easy to see why. They’ve got a great dynamic where they learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. Also, as I said on Twitter, Lio is clearly morosexual and Galo is the moro. It’s a cute relationship.
The problem is that it’s not canon. I’ve seen some praise the film for offering more than subtext but… did it, though? The dynamic is clearly homoerotic, but could just as easily be interpreted as friendship. Hell, they end the movie with a fist bump! I hate to say it, but this film isn’t as canonically gay as fans make it seem.
Even so, I had fun seeing this movie. In a weird way, it reminds me of Star Wars. Both stories are able to balance the serious and the silly remarkably well. I haven’t decided if I want it on my year-end best list yet, but I do think it’s a movie I’ll be taking with me in 2020. And hey, maybe I’ll try some more anime. If all anime is as fun as Promare, I’m sure I’ll love it.
Have you seen Promare? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss in the comments!