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Blu-ray Review: Fireworks

November 20, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Taking place on the day of a commemorative fireworks display in Japan, the anime film Fireworks follows teenaged friends Norimichi (Masaki Suda) and Yusuke (Mamoru Miyano), who both harbour crushes on their high school classmate Nazuna (Suzu Hirose).

With her mother about to remarry and move away from their countryside home, Nazuna has plans to run away, and wants Norimichi to come with her, which puts obvious tensions between him and Yusuke.

Their plans don’t work out, but Nazuna is in possession of a mysterious glass ball from the sea that allows them to go back in time and relive the same events, each time with slightly different results. They keep repeating the night of the fireworks display trying to get it right, but each time loop presents new challenges, and takes them further away from our reality.

The film deftly blends elements of romance, drama, coming of age, sci-fi and fantasy to often interesting effect. The device itself is never explained, but it is merely an element of magical realism that allows the story to keep turning in on itself and be explored from different angles, giving an intriguing quality to the film that is vaguely reminiscent of Groundhog Day and other stories like it.

While it doesn’t quite reach the same heights as the similarly fantastical anime romance Your Name, the stunning smash hit with which it shares a producer, Fireworks is still an absorbing and at times magical film that features an engaging storyline, gorgeous animation, and some beautiful uses of music. It’s worth seeking out for both anime fans and animation lovers of all stripes.

The Blu-ray also includes a behind the scenes featurette with the English cast, as well as the theatrical trailers for the film.

Fireworks is a GKIDS and Shout! Factory release. It’s 91 minutes and not rated.

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