On the week of July 5th, Studio Shaft debuted their latest film, Fireworks (Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miru ka? Yoko kara Miru ka?), across the United States for three days.
The ninety-minute animated feature, based on the 1993 live-action television play of the same title, takes place on the day of a firework festival in the town of Moshimo. The film opens with Norimichi Shimada (Masaki Suda) and Yusuke Azumi (Mamoru Miyano), two close friends, pining for Nazuna Oikawa (Suzu Hirose), a troubled girl determined to run away from home. As the events slowly unfold, Nazuna’s feelings for Norimichi is revealed, and her choice of Norimichi over Yusuke sets Norimichi up for a world of trouble.
Like its predecessor, Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name), Fireworks toys with the idea of time travel and how shifting time can create second chances. Throughout the film, Norimichi wills himself do-overs to not only help Nazuna escape from home but to spend time with her as well.
While the idea of a young boy rescuing his crush through time travel seems great, this film lacked the development to bring the idea to life. The characters weren’t fully fleshed out and many of them lacked motive. By the end of the film, I was left with more questions than answers. I was left wondering, why did Norimichi want to save a girl he barely spoke to? Why did Yusuke initially ignore Nazuna’s request to see the fireworks? And why was Nazuna so hell-bent on running away with Norimichi?
I do understand that it isn’t necessary for films to answer every question an audience member may ask, but it feels like the lack in characterization and the lack of clarification in the film made it difficult to empathize with the characters. If anything, they’re some of the least memorable characters I’ve seen in an animated film this year.
Get tickets here :