After Makoto Shinkai’s, memorizing ‘Your Name’ and Sunao Katabuchi’s moving ‘In this Corner of the World’, a large percentage of people’s hearts were throbbing to the beat of Anime. At their core they are coming of age stories, young couples discovering new emotions and above all else, feeling like they can take on the world in the process. Director Akiyuki Shinbo presents us with yet another triumphant tale of teens through sparklers and Catherine wheels in ‘Fireworks, should we see it from the side or the bottom?’ – Fireworks for short.

Based on Shunji Iwai’s TV series, this is sure to generate a buzz throughout fans of the source material, whilst appealing to fresh viewers that are very much in love with the tropes of ‘Your Name’.  As Guy Fawkes Night hangs thick with smoke in air these school children have quite the valid argument – are fireworks flat or round? School boys, Yuusuke, Junichi and Norimichi make a plan to settle this debate, the old fashioned way by going to see a fireworks display.

Whilst such discussions are taking place Nazuna, a pretty girl all the boys have a crush on, is planning to run away under the cover of gunpowder after she discovers an enchanting transparent ball in the ocean. Failing on all accounts to escape the grasp of her mother and new father-to-be until Norimichi discovered the glass balls supernatural powers; manipulating time and space in a groundhog day fashion.


Initially, a fun and exciting prospect until the deeply unsettling undertones emerge from the depths. Nazuna’s plan to run away to Toyko and her ideas of earning money are simply heartbreaking. As the story resets itself over and over, the fantasy aspect shines light on such darkness, though one can’t help but fathom how our daring, yet scared of life characters are feeling.

Exhilarating moments fill your mind with happy thoughts, but we along with Norimichi could have done without the cringe-worthy song and out right acid fueled surreal world that this clearly too young to run away girl creates. By the by, such a scene serves its purpose,transporting us on our way to a somehow warm and fuzzy climax.

The first thing you’ll notice here is the truly gorgeous animation. From the lead characters big glistening eyes, to the outstanding, tangible photo-like background illustration to the bright, bold colours of gunpowder exploding; it’s stunning. This isn’t the standard Japanese Studio Ghibli Miyazaki 2D style we have all grown accustomed to – this is 3D that utterly works (fear not). Adding this extra layer accentuates the narratives swelling theme and succeeds in trying something new, which hopefully doesn’t deter enthusiasts. Such a stance, works seamlessly alongside modern verses traditional attitudes those residing in this universe face throughout.

Fireworks will capture your attention and your heart, although sadly will linger in one’s mind for perhaps all the wrong reasons. Don’t lose sleep about it, let’s just leave Google to decide whether Fireworks are flat or round.


Released on the 15th of November, book your tickets over at