Fans Went Wild at Promare: Live Inferno Cheer Screening, Live Music Event
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Promare first opened in Japan in May last year, and it's still playing in theaters there. It's been able to maintain such a long run thanks to the support of its die-hard fans, who keep going back to the cinemas for repeated viewings. As a thank you to those fans, XFLAG (one of the co-creator studios for the film) was able to hold Promare's first live music event called "Live Inferno", featuring a live performance of the songs from Hiroyuki Sawano's soundtrack and a talk show with the film's creative staff and voice cast.
The event first began with a screening of the film itself. Unlike a regular cinema screening, this was a "cheer" screening, where fans are encouraged to bring out their penlights and cheer along to the film. Also, during key moments, the venue would shoot out colored smoke to complement the action onscreen. Cheer screenings are a really unique way to experience a film in a communal and interactive way, although naturally it's better for fans who have already seen the film before.
Since it was my first time watching a cheer screening (and my second time watching the film overall), here are some observations: Every character, even the minor ones, drew cheers the first time they appeared onscreen. Naturally, it was Lio who got the most cheers overall. Aina drew a lot of support as well, with many members of the audience yelling out "cute!" during her tender moment with Galo. Also, the pacing of the film feels like a musical, especially when the audience is bopping along enthusiastically to every number. Every fight scene (and there are many of them) is underscored with music, many of them with vocal tracks.
After the screening, director Hiroyuki Imaishi, screenwriter Kazuki Nakashima, composer Sawano, and voice actors Ayane Sakura (Aina Ardebit), Ami Koshimizu (Ellis Ardebit), Tetsu Inada (Varys Truss), Mayumi Shintani (Lucia Fex), Katsuyuki Konishi (Meis), and Nobuyuki Hiyama (Gera) appeared briefly to talk about the film. The voice cast would take turns rolling a die with lines from the film written on it, and then talk about their impressions of those scenes and anecdotes from the recording booth.
One thing that stood out was how much Sakura and Koshimizu enjoyed acting as sisters. Throughout the show, they ad-libbed some lines while in-character, capturing the professional older sister and excitable younger sister dynamic. On stage, they got close and praised each other's cuteness. Also, the voice actors brought along a Lio nesoberry plush, and the audience couldn't stop cooing over how cute it was, even when the topic of conversation changed. This made Nakashima laugh and say, "You guys think everything is cute!" So naturally the audience started calling Nakashima cute as well.
The voice actors also read out some fan letters and thanked the fans for their support. It was striking how much the fans emphasized repeated viewings of the film as a form of support - one letter read: "As soon as I finish watching Promare, I want to watch Promare."
After the talk show, the live music event started. Vocalists Benjamin&mpi, LACO, and naNami all performed new songs, showing off their talent. These songs were book-ended by performances of Promare's main theme "Inferno." During the encore, Imaishi, Nakashima, and the voice cast all came back on stage with penlights, and confetti got shot out at the audience. It was very over-the-top and felt like a grand climax, befitting the energy of Promare.
XFLAG is also celebrating Promare's long cinema run with a fresh batch of character merch and Promare-themed café items at its official stores in Shibuya, Shinsaibashi, and Haneda. More information can be found at XFLAG's website. At the event, it was also announced that Promare was getting new LINE stickers, which launched on the same day.
Overall, the Live Inferno event was very exhilarating and satisfying to experience. So far, the story of Promare is contained entirely within one film; fans have shown their support by watching that film again and again. However, the act of watching the film has become a special experience. Many fans showed up in cosplay, making the audience just as colorful as the people on stage. The music was loud and rocked hard, and it clear that all the artists and actors involved were enjoying themselves as well. All in all, this event felt like a tribute to the fan culture that Promare has birthed.