Fireworks, Should we see it from the side or bottom? (2017) by Ariyuki Shinbo

Fireworks is a unique, if deeply flawed twist upon the idea of a temporal paradox.

The film is set over the course of one summer's day in a picturesque harbor town in Japan. A group of school friends plan on seeing a fireworks display together from a lighthouse out of town. This is to settle an argument the group of friends have had: are fireworks flat or round? In the midst of this very tranquil place in the world is Nazuna, the class idol, who plans on running away from home after her mother re-marries for the third time.

Standing on the shoreline, Nazuna finds a mystical sphere in the water. One of the group of friends planning on heading to the lighthouse is Norimichi, who has a crush on Nazuna and after she picks his best friend to elope with, Norimichi throws the mystical sphere and somehow rewinds time. He uses this new found time trick to rectify the mistakes he's made with Nazuna and help her escape her mother and step father.

"Fireworks" is a slow paced anime with some witty dialogue. The film does suffer from a feeling of repeating itself a little too much at times. The characters (in the main) were linear and in their hour and a half run didn't do enough to truly stand out from each other. Yes, the group of male friends do on occasion share moments of levity, and the discussions also have moments of mirth for the audience, but not enough to be memorable. Or make you feel anything, emotion wise, for the characters.

In the middle of this quite bland and unemotional film, there are some points of serious interest, one being Nazuna. She is an engaging character because she brings a darkened shadow to the proceedings. No matter how cherished she is with the other students, no matter how many boys desire her, she is down about herself, her life, she is lonely in a perfect place.

Another interesting part of the movie was Nazuna's motives. What she was attempting to achieve by luring this boy (Norimichi) away with her? Was it a cry for help? Or just attention? The character shows the impact on a child when a father leaves and a mother re-marries. Nazuna has the best lines in the movie and is the only character that stands out. But alas, this was all too little, too late. `Fireworks` becomes forgettable and uninteresting to watch all too soon.

"Fireworks" is an anime and the art is important to touch upon. Through the film's many flaws in character building and attaining a level of emotion, it does look beautiful to the eye. Is it groundbreaking? Is it a revolution in anime? No, no it's not, in-fact, its slightly dated to look upon. I've seen anime movies from the 1990's which I would class in higher esteem than `Fireworks.` None of this changes the fact the film is well animated, if not spectacularly animated.

"Fireworks" is released in UK cinemas by Anime LTD, from Novemeber 15th

A huge flaw in the art was the mix of CGI (if I saw one CGI wind turbine spinning I saw twenty) and classical styles. It does not blend at all well and stands out in a bad way, visually. This has been something I've noted happening in many anime movies, not just this one, since the 1990's. The visuals do have beauty to them, no doubt, but the over use of CGI it detracts from the more magical moments in the film.

The soundtrack to `Fireworks` is quite superb. It is the film's redeeming quality. Gorgeous piano that sets the scene beautifully. The songs are each played to perfection.  A score I will remember longer than I do the story or characters.

Overall, I can't hide my disappointment with `Fireworks.` The movie felt generic and dare I say, rushed. It needed longer to grow and develop than the 90 minutes allowed. The film needed to delve deeper into the characters and their growth rather than concentrating upon the scenery and visual effects we've already seen in other anime, but better. The concept of the movie is unique and could have been executed more competently. `Fireworks` is far from a disaster. It has a certain charm, but it's not a classic anime.

Characters that go nowhere, a pointless circle of events and an over-use of CGI make `Fireworks. Should we see it from the side of bottom?` an average drama with solid, if not impressive animation, that will in time will be forgotten



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Asian Film Vault: Fireworks, Should we see it from the side or bottom? (2017) by Ariyuki Shinbo
Fireworks, Should we see it from the side or bottom? (2017) by Ariyuki Shinbo
Fireworks is a unique, if deeply flawed twist upon the idea of a temporal paradox.
Asian Film Vault
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