Fireworks is a romantic drama anime film that is produced by the famed anime company Shaft and released by Toho. It is equally famous for its weird names when translated into English, though the Japanese name doesn’t make much sense either. The whole film is based on the live-action film of the same name released in 1995 in Japan. This anime film is directed by Nobuyuki Takeuchi and written by Hitoshi Onne, while the soundtracks are created by the veteran Satoru Kosaki. Without further ado, let’s delve into the review below!
The basic premise is about a group of young teenagers who are having a debate on whether the fireworks would look round or flat if seen from the sides. At the same time, a girl who is forced to move away from her village asks one of the boys to leave with her and to escape. Within all these events, a single mysterious glass ball seems to alter their world according to their ‘if only’ wish. However, would they gain the wish they had hoped for?
The fireworks premise is a big weird mixture of drama, youth, romance and also a bit of sci-fi mystery. I am pretty surprised to see that it involves a sort of ‘time travel’ setting that is also slightly different from the usual. Instead, it’s more like the time changes according to what the main character has wished upon, and the time travel back does create different scenarios from the original timeline. In fact, the whole narrative is weird in itself, and you shouldn’t take it seriously. Until the end, none of the mysteries of the glass ball is revealed and you are just supposed to accept things as they are, which is another characteristic of Shaft’s anime films. Fortunately, it has a pretty decent pacing and good usage of the time travel mechanic.
The animation quality is a mixture of weirdness and also quite an inconsistent one. For some scenes, you will have the beautiful hand-drawn type that you would expect, and then suddenly the characters are drawn the 3D way which can look out of place. The same can be said for the background which is a mixture of both 3D and hand-drawn and they are not even made to blend with one another. Even the character movements are weird but this becomes great comedic moments instead.
For the characters, they are pretty cliche and are almost the stereotypes of many anime nowadays. None of them seems special except maybe the main character. The other characters are pretty shallow, however, this doesn’t pose a problem to the enjoyment of the film as it is meant to be the case. It’s like the film itself knows about this and is making us focused more on the narrative and the whole theme of the film instead of the characters. In a way, I quite like this unique approach, but for some, it may seem too weird and shallow in character developments. Also, the characters create plenty of laughs with their actions and animations or some quirky lines.
Finally, the soundtracks are actually pretty good, though it’s not at the level of Kimi no Na. There are English and Japanese version of the songs sung in the film, and both are quite well done and I like them.