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Exploring this aspect of the Promare Wiki contains heavy spoilers.
It's not about fun. The flames are apart of us. We have to burn in order to live.

—Lio, Foresight Pharmaceutical


Lio Fotia (リオ・フォーティア) is the leader of Mad Burnish and starts off as the false antagonist of Promare. He later acts as the film's deuteragonist.

He cooperates with his generals, Gueira and Meis, to ensure things go accordingly.

Portrayal: Taichi Saotome

Personality

He is the current leader of Mad Burnish, a resistance movement against the experiments on Burnish. To the general public, his resistance is viewed as terrorism. Though he uses his abilities as a Burnish to burn buildings, Lio always leaves an escape route for those inside. Furthermore, he is shown protecting others with his flames. He is adamant that Burnish should never kill without reason and is incredibly passionate about protecting those who cannot protect themselves. Despite his morals allowing for such, he occasionally struggles with hurting others. One such instance was when he attacked Galo with teal flames that weren't "hot at all."

Lio is one of the most powerful Burnish, intelligent, and a reliable leader. However, his passion and abilities may also lead to his downfall due to his heavy sympathy towards his people and fellow peers. He is also shown to mock those in authority, specifically Freeze Force and the Foresight Foundation. This is why he shows distrust with Galo at first, as Galo was affiliated with Kray. His and Galo's aggressive fighting styles end up being very compatible. This is evidenced by their cooperation together with Lio de Galon, Galo de Lion and more.

Appearance

Lio has a slender build and relatively short stature. He has pale skin, and light green-blonde voluminous hair. His eyelashes and eyebrows are the same color. His eyes are a magenta pink, though often reflect purple and orange hues. On his left ear is a noir triangular earring.

On his torso, he adorns a black leather jacket adorned with military-esque cords, zippers, and belts. Underneath he wears a long-sleeved white shirt with frilled cuffs and a cravat. He wears a pair of cropped black gloves and pants that resemble sleek biker pants with built-in knee-pads and multiple fastening belts. His shoes are black with two buckles.

The armor he creates with Promare is jet black, sleek, and tall, with stilted blade-like legs with whitened segments. His helmet's visor resembles jagged pointed teeth and ends in two horn-like flairs. In an attempt to appear more intimidating, the armor is much taller and well built looking than he actually is. This later results in the shock of Galo, who mistook him for being far older than either man is.

When consumed by rage and agony, flames cloak him and his entire form takes on a silhouetted appearance only defined by stark white outlines and his own bright eyes. He also appears to emit two horn-like flames from his head, resembling his armor. After this attempt at revenge, his cravat, waist belts, and shirt are burnt off, leaving the vest of his jacket minus accessories. He eventually abandons it, going shirtless all together as a form of trust towards Galo.

History

Lio-hen

Lio is first introduced during the prologue Lio-hen, where he arrives to save the then lawless Mad Burnish from the Freeze Force. Following their rescue, Lio states that the Mad Burnish's thoughtless attacks are simply making life more difficult for the Burnish and, if they go so far as to kill someone, the government would crackdown on the Burnish ten-fold. When prompted for what they should do instead, he proposes they build a self-sufficient society away from non-Burnish. The former leaders of Mad Burnish agree to his plan and say they will follow him as their new leader.

Promare

Lio fighting Galo with his sword

During the events of Promare, Lio, Gueira, and Meis devise a plan in which the three of them will be captured by Freeze Force in order to free the Burnish prisoners. They start off by causing havoc in the city, which ends up alerting Burning Rescue. Once everyone is rescued by the firefighters, the trio step in to force a fight between themselves and Galo. Despite Galo struggling with them at first, he and his team end up restraining all three Burnish.

As predicted, Freeze Force arrives on the scene to claim them. Once they arrive at the penal institution, they are forced into their cell, where several children, a few adults, and a dying, young woman are. Gueira is made upset by this and attempts to break his locks, which ends up freezing him. One of the elders explains this more, claiming they should give up. Thyma then moves, resulting in Lio and company checking on her.

When the trio are later dragged away for unknown reasons, Lio uses his new-found knowledge to break his hand cuffs, restrain the guards, and free his two allies. The trio proceed to enact a prison-wide breakout as they release as many Burnish as possible. With the exception of Lio, all the escapees take flight via helicopter. Lio uses his flames to fly instead.

Lio looks down on Galo.

Later, Lio's flare is seen by Galo and Aina at the frozen lake. Galo follows it to a local cave where several escaped Burnish are. Before Galo can do anything, Lio knocks him out. As Galo awakens and finds himself to be restrained, Lio reveals himself to him. He appears to of come back from a recent grocery trip, which makes Galo question if Burnish even eat. Lio takes offense to this, stating that the Burnish are still humans. Attention is then brought towards Thyma.

Lio attempts a Burnish form of CPR in which flames are given via mouth-to-mouth. Galo offers to help, but Lio rejects it, knowing normal CPR wouldn't work. Despite his best efforts, Thyma is left to die due to her wounds caused by the Foresight Foundation. Lio confides this to Galo before he leaves with his fellow Burnish.

At another time, Freeze Force manages to track down Lio Fotia and his fellow Burnish to an abandoned complex next to a volcano. While Lio and his other Mad Burnish attempt to stop them, the previously mentioned elder reveals himself to be a traitor and places an ice bomb on Lio, causing him to be partially paralyzed from Vulcan's absolute zero bullet. With this, Guiera and Meis decide to sacrifice themselves by holding off Vulcan and his men as Lio is flung to Fennel Volcano.

When Lio lands and eventually has the ice melt, he removes the bullet and ends up going on a revenge-fueled rampage fueled by the mistreatment and sorrow for his Burnish brethren. He summons a Burnish flame dragon and threatens to destroy the city and Kray Foresight, which goes against his previous beliefs. His dragon ends up destroying the cell Galo finds himself in. Galo manages to escape.

Lio confronting Kray.

When Lio finds Foresight Foundation's tower, he flies to the top where Kray himself waits. A freed Galo then suddenly stops Lio from attacking Kray. He slams his Matoi Tech into him and forces him into Aina's container. They briefly fight inside until Aina opens the container, to which they fall into the frozen lake. From Lio's own flames, all of the lake's ice evaporates, revealing the presence of Deus' lab. Deus' AI then reveals himself to the trio, telling them to come inside to learn the truth. The trio oblige and head on in.

Deus explains to Lio, Galo, and Aina that stuck within the Earth is an energized alien species by the name of Promare. This was the cause of the Great World Blaze and Burnish. Deus briefly looked into the idea of transportation, but found that using this method of saving people would end up speeding up the Earth's destruction. This resulted in Deus' murder by the hands of Kray.

After his explanation, Deus asks Lio and Galo to cooperate together and pilot Deus X Machina, a mecha built with a Burnish co-pilot in mind. The duo agree and head out to the Foresight Foundation. Once they arrive, the transportation plan is already under effect with Promepolis being lifted into the air. Galo is found unimpressed by their mecha, resulting in Lio transfiguring it to Lio de Galon. The duo then attack the command tower. This proves to not be changing anything, thus they begin to dig into the ground to reach the core. Kray is then forced to interfere with his own mecha. A fight breaks out between them in the city.

Lio de Galon's Matoi.

As Kray attempts to destroy the duo, Lio transforms Deus X Machina once more to include a Matoi. Because of this, the fight ends at a standstill, with both mechs frozen in place. Furthermore, the power core was destroyed. After Lio thaws off Galo, he attempts to murder Kray for all his crimes against humanity. Kray, however, is left unaffected as a Burnish himself. Lio ends up being captured by Kray as a source of energy for the machine's core. Despite this, Lio uses the remains of his flame to protect Galo instead.

Lio is saved.

When Lio is seen again, his body begins to deteriorate rapidly from the machine's draining. He nearly dies right before Galo stops Kray and uses a Burnish CPR kiss on Lio. This results in Lio's wounds being healed. The duo then ask for the Burnish's help as they remove the remaining Promare on Earth.

After all of the non-Burnish are protected from the flames, Galo de Lion is formed to a much larger scale than its predecessor. Lio and Galo end up removing all of the aliens from the Earth's core in a teal display. Before they return, Lio watches as the remains of his own flames fade from his body.

Back on Earth, Galo comments on the need for more hands and asks for Lio's help. Lio obliges.

Relationships

Galo

For Galo and Lio's Relationship, go here.

Lio at first sees Galo as another Kray supporter. Galo's ignorance on the Burnish outright offends Lio at some points, where Lio ends up countering his remarks. With Galo correcting himself and insisting he can help save Thyma, Lio slowly begins to trust him.

The aftermath.

In the final moments of Lio's attack on Foresight, Galo slams his Matoi Tech-adorned body into Lio and destroys his dragon's eye as a means of stopping him. Here, Lio is briefly shown using teal blue flames akin to his later protection shield. Lio at this point tells Galo not to interfere and only fights back in Aina's container.

When Deus X Machina is shown to the duo, Deus commands them to work together as allies to save the world. They agree and only struggle to work together when Galo finds the machinery 'uncool.' Lio complies with his wishes by transfiguring the machine into both Lio de Galon and later Galo de Lion as well as making a giant Matoi.

After trying to kill Kray once more, Lio uses the remains of his flames to protect Galo, putting his safety before his own. This ends up resulting in him almost dying from the machine's core. Furthermore, Lio is left devastated by Galo's fall onto the Parnassus, having the young man call Kray a monster. When Galo revives Lio via Burnish CPR, Lio is touched by the gesture and surprised Galo considered saving him. The duo then cooperate together to save the world and are later shown fist bumping.

According to older versions of the announcement page for the official "Kori Ni Tojikomete" PV, the credits song is about an "unrequited love" and is about Galo and Lio. This latter addition was removed for unknown reasons, replaced by a quote by Shiho Ochi, the band's singer[3].

Mad Burnish

As the newest leader of Mad Burnish, Lio is well respected by his people. He believes that Burnish should not unnecessarily kill others to avoid harsher treatment. Thus, he insists that his followers do the same and leave escape routes in the wake of a fire. Lio also creates the plan of having Burnish live in a faraway area where they can live their lives in peace from Freeze Force and the Foresight Foundation. They respect his wishes.

Gueira and Meis are the closest members to him. As the previous leaders, they follow behind Lio whenever they can. They constantly refer to Lio as 'Boss' and are willing to sacrifice themselves for Lio. During the events of Lio-hen, the young biker saves the duo alongside other members. They show great respect towards him for this. In the wake of Freeze Force's attack, the duo launch Lio into a volcano to save him. Lio is the same, as he immediately freed the duo in their short-timed imprisonment. According to Koyama, with the duo's tattoos of Japanese gods, they are meant to act as Lio's protectors[4].

Kray

Lio and Galo fighting Kray

Lio has a deep and utter hatred for Kray. With his constant crimes against the Burnish and him labeling Mad Burnish as terrorists, he has no sympathy towards Kray. This is due to his association with Freeze Force and the Foresight Foundation's Burnish experiments. Lio does not trust anyone associated with the governor.

After Lio forcibly removes Freeze Forces' bullet and summons his fire dragon, Kray was his main target. He is shown threatening to destroy the city and Kray for all his crimes. Lio screaming Foresight's name in anger can be heard throughout. If Galo had not intervened, Lio and Kray would of likely began to fight, as evidenced by Kray's glowing hand.

After the mecha fight in the Parnassus, Lio attempts to kill Kray once more due to Kray taunting him. His attempt fails. This is because Kray himself is also Burnish, resulting in Lio getting captured. Thinking Galo died after Kray's attack, he calls Kray a monster. He is later brought into the promatech engine as a fuel source. Lio is almost killed from the machine, his body rapidly disintegrating.

After the world is saved and all of the Promare flames are removed from Earth, Lio and Kray are briefly shown talking. Kray finds Lio's actions to be "uncalled for."

Thyma

When Lio notices Thyma reaching out to him in prison, he immediately rushes to her side. Despite presumably not knowing her before, he cares for her as a fellow Burnish and later rescues her alongside other imprisoned Burnish. Lio later refers to Thyma by name. It is unknown if this is due to Gueira and Meis or another means.

After his discussion with Galo, an elderly Burnish man directs him to Thyma, whose condition is greatly worsening. He attempts to counteract this by attempting Burnish CPR. As her eyes open, Lio is the only one whose face shows grief, likely due to previous attempts. Her death leaves him feeling bitter towards the foundation.

Aina

At first, Aina does not trust Lio due to his status as Mad Burnish's leader. After Galo decides to stop Lio's rampage in the city and Aina drops the duo into the frozen lake, she becomes an ally to him where she is willing to share Deus' research and recordings to Heris to stop the Burnish project.

Quotes

  • (to Galo) "Get out of my way or you're going to die."
  • (to Galo) "This is over. You're unarmed and naked."
  • (to Galo) "It's Lio. Lio Fotia."
  • (about Vulcan and Ignis) "What a pointless internal power struggle. Public officials are so worthless."
  • "It's just like we heard..."
  • "Gueira. And Meis. Here we go."
  • (to guards) "Burnish will always be free. I won't let the Foundation hold us."
  • (to Gueira and Meis) "Don't kill anyone! We Burnish don't kill without reason."
  • (to Galo) “We can hear them. We can hear the cries of their anguish. Let me burn harder, burn stronger. I want to blaze hotter.”
  • (to Galo) “The flames are alive. They call to us and to answer their cries is the destiny of the Burnish.”
  • (to Galo) “But we don’t kill people. When the Mad Burnish attack a city we always provide an escape route and we take great pride in that.”
  • (to Galo) (about Thyma) "Do you even know what killed her? It was the Foresight Foundation's experiments. You really had no idea? How naive can you be?"
  • (to Kray) "I won't forgive you. I'm gonna make you pay, KRAY FORESIGHT!"
  • (to Galo) "Yeah right! You're the ones doing human experiments on innocent Burnish!"
  • (to Deus) "'Some humans?' You mean the Burnish. So it's the Promare, their voices pushing us to burn harder and stronger. If that's true, everything we've been doing here..."
  • (to Galo) "How about you and I burn the Earth to the ground?"
  • "I swear Galo, you really are an idiot..."

Gallery

For Lio's full gallery, go here.

Trivia

Lio cooperates with Mad Burnish

  • Lio Fotia was made into the leader of Mad Burnish in Lio-hen. He seems to not have any affiliation with Mad Burnish beforehand, as Gueira and Meis are shown introducing themselves to him.
  • Lio's armor has three horns on his head. Meanwhile, when in his alternate form, Lio has two horns sprouting from his hair instead.
    • According to Promare's staff, this is an indication that Lio is the most powerful person in Mad Burnish, as Meis and Gueira have one and two respectively.
  • Between Lio, Gueira, and Meis, Lio is the shortest.
  • Lio is the only Mad Burnish member with a full name. Gueira and Meis' have yet to be revealed.
  • As stated by Promare's staff, information such as Lio's blood type or birthday is not to be given out. This is due to them not wanting to 'categorize' either Galo or Lio. However, in the same panel this was revealed, they were stated to be "entry businessmen age," placing them at their early twenties[2].
    • During Mad Burnish's introduction, Ignis claims that Burning Rescue has been going after Mad Burnish's leader for thirty years. However, according to Lio-hen, Lio is the most recent leader. This is why Galo is shocked about Lio's appearance as they are about the same age.
      • Thirty years is referring moreso to the Great World Blaze's time frame than Lio himself.
  • Kray is shown giving himself bird wings while Lio flies next to a helicopter. He also floats inside the encasing of his fire dragon. This would make him and Lio the only Burnish characters that use their flames to fly.
  • Lio can turn his flames into a variety of weapons. A few examples include a bow and arrow, a sword, scythe, knife, and whip. He appears to have a preference towards his bow, as it is the one shown the most in Lio-hen.
  • For artworks where he is on the left, his earring placement may change to the right one instead.
  • Lio has a heavy interest in motorcycles. Geekboat lore claims that he secretly bought himself a biker jacket[5].

Etymology

  • Lio's last name, Fotia (φωτιά), comes from Greek word for 'fire.'
    • Incidentally, it is also the name of one of Greece's islands.
  • Lio's first name comes from Leo, which is a Latin term meaning 'lion.'
    • Lio’s first name “Lio” (λιο) is also used in the Greek language as a prefix to build up words related to sun (ήλιος) and Helios (Ήλιος). Helios is the god of the sun in Greek who is seen driving his chariot around the world. This would be referenced by Lio who drives a motorcycle.
      • Though the flaming motorcycle may also be a reference to the 2007 Nicolas Cage film Ghost Rider.
  • According to Geekboat and official character booklets, Lio's bike is named 'Detroit.' This trait of Mad Burnish bikes being named after American cities is shared with Gueira and Meis.
    • Geekboat universe lore both claims him to be born from Detroit as well as having British nobility. This latter fact was brought into question by one of the directors, making this questionable[5].

Intertextuality and References

  • Lio's design, as stated in the Collector's Edition booklet interviews, is based on Moto Hagio's work. Hagio is infamous for her influence on modern shojo manga, or girl comics. Koyama also stated he aimed for an "androgynous, glassy quality," thus looking into bishounen characters as well[6].
    • To counteract with Galo's open design, frills and gothic aesthetics were added despite his status as a biker.

Lio's groceries

  • Besides color, Lio's hairstyle bears resemblance to Major aka Motoko Kusanagi from the 1995 film Ghost in the Shell.
  • In Lio's grocery bags for the escaped Burnish, there appears to be cans of Spam, Campbell's soup, a box of Twinkies, and Kraft Mac & Cheese.
  • Lio appears in the Japanese mobile game Monster Strike alongside other Trigger characters. He appears in his armored form, enraged form, and regular form.
  • To promote Brand New Animal, Koyama drew art of Galo and Lio alongside the series' protagonist and deuteragonist. In it, Lio is portrayed as a beastman with cat ears.
  • Both Lio and Galo were featured in a crossover artwork with Sanrio's Little Twin Stars as the movie and characters share the same anniversary. Merchandise would later be made of the event.
  • Skullgirl's Annie is depicted as Lio in one of her color palettes. Furthermore, her parasite Sagan is colored as Galo.

Story Concepts

  • In pre-production, Lio was originally not going to be Burnish, with that role going to Galo instead[2].
    • When it was decided he would be, Imaishi planned on having Lio be a human-shaped flame. Koyama scrapped the idea entirely.
    • Initially, Lio was intended to be the film's protagonist with a personality akin to Gurren Lagann's Simon. This would drastically change up until he was left to be the deuteragonist[7].
  • In an earlier draft, Vulcan was to have fought Lio during the latter's escape from prison. This version has Vulcan be unaware of Lio's plans from the get-go while the final is the opposite.
    • Lio alongside Kray and Vulcan were to also be arrested after the Promare leaves, but this was cut due to its somber nature. Galo also asks if he'd like to join Burning Rescue after serving his sentence.
    • Lio de Galon storyboard released during Promare's anniversary.

      During his attack on the city, Galo was to hold Lio instead of fight with him once he took him away from Kray. Furthermore, he would immediately lose his angered form while Galo would be wearing a more traditional firefighter uniform.
    • Storyboards occasionally depict Lio still wearing his full jacket in Lio de Galon. This was likely changed for both symbolism with Galo and easier work for the animators.
  • Concept art compares Lio's earring to a bread clip.
    • Geekboat claims the idea of Lio having an earring was by Yoneyama[5]. Koyama would later tweet about the bread clip comparison as a joke[8].
    • Some art also depicts him wearing a corset or with no jacket. His hairstyle would also occasionally differ with shorter cuts or longer bangs instead.

Miscellaneous

  • Lio Fotia's Japanese voice actor, Taichi Saotome, has not previously voice acted before. However, in the 2018 live action adaption of Bleach, he plays Renji Abarai in the film.
    • Before his acting career in films, Taichi Saotome performed in Japanese Kabuki theater. As a teenager, he would typically play as young men or in onnagata roles. Saotome would later admit being in more male roles was his main motivation for going into film[9].
  • His English voice actor, Johnny Yong Bosch, also voices Persona 4's Yu Narukami, Jonathan Joestar of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Danganronpa's Hajime Hinata, Popuko from Pop Team Epic, Kei Nagai from Ajin: Demi-Human, Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach, and the Twenty-Fifth Baam from Tower of God.
    • Johnny Yong Bosch was also in the children's live action series, Power Rangers.
  • According to the film, Galo was locked in jail for an entire week. This could mean Lio was frozen in ice for the same amount of time, but this hasn't been confirmed by any staff members.
  • When Lio's Promare leaves him, parts of his fingernails fade away as well. When touch-ups were done to the Blu-ray version of Promare, crew members wished to add dialogue during this scene. Due to time restraints, this did not come into fruition.
  • In the 4DX theatre release of Promare, when Lio's mask breaks off, Lio smells of roses.
    • For an official perfume based on Lio, one of the scents used is roses. Others include bergamot, lemon, melon, cyclamen, muguet, jasmine, musk, moss, cedarwood, and amber [10][note 1].
  • Lio's nendoroid figure has a deluxe version depicting him on his chair and his Promare leaving him.
  • According to staff, Lio slowly losing his clothing represents him becoming closer with Galo, with his belts signifying restraint.
  • In the Memorial art book is a piece featuring Galo standing over a laying down, smirking Lio. When questioned about it, the artist of the piece, Gunyasu Shunpei, merely said it was up to interpretation.
    • In another Memorial art book piece by a different artist, one image reveals that the strap belts on his pant legs aren't actually attached to them.

Blu-ray cover

  • For one of the limited versions of the Japanese Blu-ray of Promare, the holographic cover switches between a normal Lio and his alternative form.
  • Lio-hen was the last short to have appeared in American theatres. While there were plans for a complete showing with both shorts and the movie, the Coronavirus pandemic would cause the event to be postponed[11]. GKids would later reannounce the complete showing for September 2021 on their official accounts[12].
  • One of Space Patrol Luluco's character designers, Mago, created an entire doujin dedicated to Lio titled はたらくリオくん (Hataraku Rio-kun), or "Lio at Work". He is depicted in various work outfits such as a cheerleading uniform, a Burning Rescue jacket, and restaurant cashier.
  • After the movie's release, Black Butler creator Yana Toboso posted fanart of Lio on her Twitter[13].

See also

References

Sources

Notes

  1. It is unknown if this was intentional or a mere coincidence.


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