Some Thoughts on Fireworks (2017)

At this moment, it seems like this movie exists to only be compared to Your Name. Based on the promotional wording used to lift up Fireworks to viewer’s eyes and the cover that focuses on the male and female protagonists with some form of cosmic event happening in the background, it’s clear why. Even if the original material behind Fireworks was brought to life in the 90’s, I do think that Your Name’s popularity had something to do with altering how this movie came into being. The little bit of science fiction Deus Ex Machina wasn’t in the source material, so maybe that was the hook this story was going for. That feels wrong because If I had to compare this movie to any other movie that exist it would be The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The only difference here is that Fireworks isn’t as dark/dramatic and it’s focused on a male protagonist who just wanted to spend time with a girl he likes. I feel you dude, I feel you.

Before I talk about this movie more, let me talk about my movie theater experience. I watched this film in theaters through Fathom Events. I am so happy to have a place to watch anime films on the big screen close by. Especially since this movie theater has nice, comfy, and reclining leather seats. You guys probably have some idea on wonderful this is and you are absolutely right. That and these seats are reserved are why I love this theater so much. Nothing about this event was special at all. There was no effort into advertising the Fireworks showing as special and the audience (there were 30 other people) weren’t in any cosplay or anything. We were just anime fans there to watch a movie. Maybe not as exciting, but that’s what we did. Since the crew I was with was sitting all the way in the back, it was a great movie theater experience all around because nobody was noisy at all.

Like A Place Further Then the Universe, Fireworks is a movie focuses characters capturing adolescence while they still have it. The series itself is focused on a girl named Nazuna Oikawa about to move due to her mother getting married again. She just wants to spend as much as time as she can with a boy that she likes named Norimichi Shima before she leaves. The science fiction element is Norimichi bending time and space to allow that to happen. The two are a beyond adorable couple and they have great chemistry with each other that I wish could have been explored more. It feels like the two of them just had a passing attraction with each other at first, because neither of them knows each other very well at the beginning. Still, the two of them proved to have some solid chemistry with each other and both of them helping each other out in different ways. Maybe Nazuna wanted to run away, but she knew that she and Norimichi wouldn’t make it to Tokyo. Still, the little moments of “I could make it to as an idol” were extremely powerful and charming. I hope those two get together after the movie.

That’s not the only thing centred around youth though. Norimichi is surrounded by teenage boys that do dumb things that teenage boys would do. Still, their interactions were more playful then harmful. Norimichi and his friend Yusuke spend a lot of time just playing video games in Norimichi’s room and I know that was something I did when I was younger. Also, the teenage boys obsess over their attractive teacher and our school girl when they bike to school and use a possible photo of their teacher’s panties as a tool in a bet. That bet was centered around the dumb wondering of whether fireworks are flat or round, which is another dumb teenager thing. I mean the group of boys illegally walk to the top of a light house just so the fireworks. Who hasn’t done something like then when they were younger? Anyway, these scenes are extremely short, don’t waste any screen time, and it’s not like they were going to get a shot of their teacher’s panties anyway. It was framed as one of those impossible bet results that never end up happening. It can be problematic, but who hasn’t been attracted to one of their teachers when they are younger. I know I was at some point. Oh, the joys of youth.

This film can be both beautiful and ugly from a visual perspective. Besides the Madoka Films, this is the first Studio Shaft Film that I’ve ever watched and my resume isn’t that big when it comes to works I’ve watched from them. The backgrounds are amazing. With either the conventional, photo realistic backgrounds that movies should have or the usual Unique Shaft Backgrounds that they are known for. Each of them is wonderful to look at for either the spectacle or the joy of comparing them to reality. The character designs are great, but I do have some problems with the female character designs. Why do we get all these unique, distinctive male designs while all the females of different ages look like super models of the same age? I know that is an anime thing, but it would be nice to see some diversity in their own designs too. Also, the animation was kind of on and off. There were moments of solid brilliance, but scenes that revolved around characters riding scooters or bikes downhill were obviously cg. Every little bit of technology like trains and cars were cg as well. Does Shaft just not have the resources that other studios have for films? I didn’t think that cg should be prevalent in a ninety-minute film.

In the end, Fireworks was a set of what if vignette situations that didn’t gel well together without a concluding note and….

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  1. The advertising for this, while I totally get, really damaged the movie’s reputations. I didn’t get to see it, unfortunately, but this really sounds like a Shaft work. That comparison to Your Name would never have lived up for people going in with that kind of expectation. Despite how lackluster some of this film sounds, I still really want to see it. Maybe one day?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hopefully lesson learned and things get advertised on their own merits. People definitely would have still gone out for this without the Your Name fame, had a lot of good going for it outside of that.

        That’s good then. Just gotta wait for it to roll around somehow for me to see.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fireworks… At the end I felt like I’d been watching a series of highlights on a sakuga website with all the dull bits (read: all the plot) left out. There were hints and glimpses of a serviceable plot, but they never actually did anything with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never even heard of this one! I love a decent to good anime movie though so I might have to check this one out. Sounds like some fun romance and an interesting take on the time manipulation thing(I mean nothing beats a walnut that sends you back in time…) which is a trope that I LOVE.

    That Haruhi movie, Girl who Leapt Through Time, Your Name, it is always such an interesting mechanic to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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