Despite the baffling title, Fireworks, should we see if from the side or bottom? is very much a simplistic tale about two young star- crossed lovers with a magical gimmick thrown into the narrative. Though it's essentially a remake of a 50-minute live-action TV movie made in 1993 by Shunji Iwai (Love Letter), fans of last year's megahit, Your Name will be curious to check this one out. Norimichi (Masaki Suda from Gintama) and Yusuke (Mamoru Miyano) are two best friends who both developed a crush on their classmate, Nazuna (Suzu Hirose from Let's Go, Jets!). With the intention of eloping with the one she loves on the night of the annual fireworks festival, Nazuna has quietly chosen Norimichi to be the fateful one. However, Nazuna's plan is thwarted by her mother and Yusuke until Norimichi figured out the only way to escape is to make use of the strange orb which Nazuna has picked up from the beach earlier. Last summer, Makoto Shinkai's hit body-swapping, time-travelling animebrought a new viewing experience especially to non-anime fans. Your Name was funny, throughlyengaging from start to finish and utterly touching. No doubt, Fireworks attempt to embark on the same formula though this time, the narrative is tedious, repetitive and mostly frustrating to last a mere 90 minutes. The title refers to a running gag by Norimichi and his group of class buddies, a pointless argument about whether fireworks are round or flat when see from the side. It's very much a side gag just like the one about their form teacher's bust and her underground relationship with a fellow colleague. The gist of the story revolves around Nazuna, the torn teenager who refused to move to a new place with her mother who is remarrying for the third time. The strange magical orb is an unexplained gimmick or device to allow Norimichi to relive the day with Nazuna else there wouldn't be much of a story to tell. By throwing the orb into the air, Norimichi is able to turn back time and changed their ending. The time spent with Norimichi and Nazuna however happened to be the most meaningful aspect of the anime as we get to learn more about the struggle and backstory of Nazuna, an angst teenager who dreams of leaving her current state to be a pop idol and wondering if she is following in her mother's shoes as she eloped with Norimichi. Unfortunately, the narrative makes little effort to delve more into it and instead of giving the story a more rounded emotion feel, the anime is contend in delivering outstanding visual and breathtaking effects and colours especially during the fireworks climax. It's definitely a good thing for SHAFT Studio which is renowned for their acclaimed technicalities though not anyone will appreciate the blending of 3D objects and traditional 2D animation. After two recent satisfying animes, Your Name and A Silent Voice, Fireworks turned out unexpectedly to be a huge disappointment. Suzu Hirose is pefect as the voice of Nazuna, Masaki Suda on the other hand sounds way mature for a junior high student. I for one have no problem with the sometimes photo-realistic often visually striking animation and the mesmerizing theme song by DAOKO. It's the somewhat disjointed and unfulfilled message that disappoints.
Animation / Drama / Fantasy
Animation / Drama / Fantasy
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Schoolchildren Norimichi, Yûsuke and Jun'ichi want to know if fireworks look round or flat from the side. They make a plan to find the answer at a fireworks display, while Nazuna schemes to...
April 8, 2020