Fireworks

Fireworks

Fireworks anime movie cover art featuring Nazuna and Norimichi
Fireworks Cover Art

Overview

Over the past few weeks I’ve had people tell me that I should watch the anime movie Fireworks, officially titled Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? None of these people said the movie was good, simply that I should watch it and that it’s made by Shaft.

Some of you may be aware that Shaft is my favorite anime studio, they made two of my favorite series after all, the Monogatari series and Madoka Magica. However, just because Shaft is my favorite doesn’t mean they can do nothing wrong (although I really don’t think they did in this case).

But before I talk more about Shaft’s role in this movie, let’s take a brief look at the plot. Some middle school kids want to know if fireworks are flat or round.

Those who believe they’re flat suggest that they appear round because they’re always viewed from the front, but when viewed from the side, all they would see is the edge of the disc. Those who believe that they’re round simply argue that the others are idiots, explosions are round after all.

Now, although that’s a pretty major point of the movie (and the title), that’s actually not what this movie is about. The real plot, if you can even call it that, is that a girl wants to run away from home, and a boy has a marble which lets him reset time when he throws it and makes a wish.

I know that what I just explained there probably doesn’t qualify as a plot, and that’s why I hesitate to even use that word to describe what happens in this movie. Basically, there is no plot.

We get to watch essentially the same chain events happen three times with slightly different outcomes, and then the movie pulls an End of Evangelion and ends without really making much sense or solving anything.

Okay, so the story is bad, but going back to Shaft, they’re an animation studio so that’s not their fault. In their defense, the movie looks amazing, and it probably would have been if the story had any real substance.

My only potential complaint about Shaft’s part in the movie is that the character designs look like they came straight out of the Monogatari series. One might argue that it’s their art style, but I know that Shaft isn’t tied down to one particular art style. Madoka Magica, Monogatari, and March comes in like a lion all have drastically different styles.

The thing that reminded me the most of Monogatari, however, were the close up shots of characters’ eyes. The only thing they were missing was the camera shutter click when they blinked.


Characters

Norimichi Shimada is the protagonist of the movie. He’s a 14-year-old boy (or at least somewhere around that age) and runs with a crowd of other trouble-making boys from his class. He doesn’t really have much going for him as a character other than the fact that he has a glass ball which resets time when he makes a wish and throws it.

The female lead of the movie is Nazuna Oikawa, basically middle school version of Hitagi Senjougahara from Monogatari. It’s not that these two characters act that much alike, but seriously, just look at them. Nazuna wants to run away from home because she doesn’t want to move away with her mother and her mother’s new husband.

At one point in the movie, Nazuna even does the “Senjougahara fall” as I’ll call it. If you’ve seen Bakemonogatari you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s the scene where our protagonist, Koyomi Araragi, first meets his future girlfriend, Hitagi Senjougahara.

Those two are really the only important characters of the movie, but I also want to mention Yuusuke Azumi, one of Norimichi’s friends and possibly romantic rival (that part isn’t really too clear). In some timelines he is, and in others he’s not.

However, the main reason I wanted to bring him up is because he also looks very similar to the protagonist of the Monogatari series, Koyomi Araragi (although with lighter skin). From the beginning, I couldn’t stop seeing him and Nazuna as Koyomi and Hitagi.

Nazuna Oikawa from the anime movie Fireworks
Nazuna Oikawa

Conclusion

Now, before I get to my rating of the movie, let me mention a few other things about it which I feel are important. You may have heard of a little anime movie that came out a year before this one called Your Name., which quickly became the highest rated anime movie of all time.

Well, as it turns out, Fireworks and Your Name. have a lot in common. In fact, if I had to describe Fireworks in a single sentence it would be this: Fireworks is a watered down, Shaft version of Your Name.

If you like Shaft as I do, you’ll still probably want to see this movie, but unfortunately I can’t bring myself to say that it was actually “good.” I honestly got more enjoyment out of watching Ordinal Scale, which isn’t something I thought I’d end up saying when I started Fireworks.

In the end, Fireworks is a 6/10 as most anime movies I’ve watched seem to be. If the plot was a little more developed it could have been a 7, and if it was actually emotional in any way it could have been an 8, but it simply failed to deliver where it needed to most.

I think my favorite parts of the movie were Shaft’s visuals, and the song that played during the ending credits. When those are the main draws of a movie, that just goes to show that the plot needed some serious work.

As a final note, the subtitles on the version of the movie I watched were terrible, but I didn’t allow that to sway my opinion or rating of it. I’d recommend finding an official sub if you plan to watch this movie, because it seems like all I found was a fan-sub.

The trailer for the movie Fireworks is available here.

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