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Entry updated 30 August 2021. Tagged: Film.

Japanese animated film (2019). Trigger, X FLAG. Directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi. Written by Kazuki Nakashima. Voice cast includes Arata Furuta, Kenichi Matsuyama, Masato Sakai and Taichi Saotome. 111 minutes. Colour.

Thirty years ago, random humans – now called the Burnish – spontaneously developed pyrokinetic (see Psi Powers) abilities, and half the world's population died in the subsequent conflagrations. In the present day, the City of Promepolis's departments include Burning Rescue and Freeze Force: the former saves those caught in the fires created by some of the Burnish; the latter captures those responsible, members of the terrorist group Mad Burnish, led by Lio Fotia (Saotome). However, Galo Thymos (Matsuyama) of Burning Rescue discovers the Freeze Force are arresting all Burnish on the instructions of the revered city governor Kray Foresight (Sakai) – so inciting the Mad Burnish's arson attacks. Foresight explains that Earth's magma levels are rising and in six months will destroy all life (see Disasters); he is therefore building a Spaceship to fly 10,000 people to Omega Centauri (see Colonization of Other Worlds); its warp drive (see Space Warp) is powered by the captive Burnish, who die in the process.

However, the Uploaded consciousness of the Scientist Deus Prometh (Furuta), murdered by Foresight, reveals that the Burnish's flames are the Promare – a life form from a Parallel World, who achieve "life through nuclear fusion and consciousness via electromagnetic field". Thirty years ago a space-time rupture linked the Promare with the Earth's core, also syncing them with some humans – who became the Burnish. When Foresight's ship departs, the Burnish's suffering will provoke the Promare, destroying the Earth. Luckily, the scientist has built a giant Mecha, called Deus X Machina. Foresight has an even larger mecha, intended for Terraforming: they battle and Foresight is, after a few more plot twists, defeated – with the spaceship stopped by Galo, who is fired at it in a large drill. The link between the Promare and the Earth (including the Burnish) is closed and all ends happily, if a little confusingly.

The Anime displays Imaishi's fondness for heroes who get things done through reckless overconfidence (Galo admits he is an idiot) and luck (as Prometh acknowledges, without the accidental arrival of Galo and friends to pilot his mecha, Foresight would have won). Promare is tremendous fun if not examined too closely: aside from some improbable plot elements, having the Burnish's oppressor turn out to be a Burnish himself is a little uncomfortable. Otherwise, this is a fast-paced, action-packed story; boisterous in its Humour and – its greatest strength – visually stunning. [SP]


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