If the last few years have proved anything, it’s that Anime films have lots of potential outside of Studio Ghibli. There is, of course, Your Name, which took the anime community by storm. Then came A Silent Voice shortly after, a film which showed that Kyoto Animation was more than qualified to take up the task of talking about a serious issue: bullying. Even before 2016 though, directors like Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai have been impressing, with amazing works such as The Girl Who Lept Through Time and 5 Centimeters Per Second, respectively.
More recently, directors Akiyuki Shinbō and Nobuyuki Takeuchi along with the rest of Studio Shaft decided to take up there own original IP: Fireworks. The movie initially had peeked many because the producer Genki Kawamura also worked on the 2016 hit Your Name. So, how did Fireworks turn out? Well, in a lot of ways, Fireworks is a lot like Your Name and The Girl Who Lept Through Time.
Fireworks centers around Norimichi, a middle school student, is living an average life. On the day of his town’s annual firework festival, his friend Yuusuke gets asked out by Nazuna, who Norimichi finds a strange attraction to. Things eventually get weirder as Norimichi travels through time and learns more and more about Nazuna.
While Your Name is still a great film it has a lot of problems. Its visuals are absolutely breathtaking, with Comix Waves putting every ounce of effort into making sure the animation looks visually stunning. However, as a result, the film’s story ends up being lackluster at best. A lot of the story is sort of left up for interpretation, and the hugeness of it all makes the characters seem unrelatable for a lot of the story. These same problems absolutely permeate Fireworks.
Norimichi, the movie’s main protagonist, never really comes into his own as a character, and neither does Nazuna. The two lead most of the story, yet the premise of the show does not give much reason to care about their relationship, other than that Nazuna is being forced to move out of the town due to her mom’s remarrying. Norimichi especially is really vanilla, and never makes it worth caring about the two’s relationship. All of the other side characters, including Yuusuke, are even less interesting, as they are mainly just used as plot inconveniences, instead of feeling like real people.
Despite its lackluster story, Firework’s visuals are absolutely fantastic. Studio Shaft and Akiyuki Shinbo brought there A game when it comes to the animation. The scenes with the time travel device especially make the whole movie worth watching. My favorite part would have to be near the end when the device shatters and Norimichi and Nazuna both get to see the different parts of their memory.
Fireworks is, unfortunately, pretty much the definition of mediocre. The story remains fairly stale and uninteresting, and its Sci-fi elements feel like they have been done before, mainly in films like Your Name. The movie is still worth seeing for sure, but if you were planning on buying a ticket to see it in a local theatre, I would wait.
How do you guys feel about Fireworks? Good? Bad? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!