Fireworks Review

Fireworks Review

On the day of the fireworks festival six-grader Shimada Norimichi watches helplessly as his classmate Oikawa Nazuna is whisked away by her parents, leaving town and transferring away without notice. The abrupt removal of Nazuna from his life forces Norimichi to realize just how important she was to him. But it is all too late, for he could not stop the events that unfolded on that day.
But what if he could? As Norimichi stumbles upon an artifact with the power to reconstruct space and time he rewinds the day of the fireworks festival again and again in a desperate attempt to intervene with fate.

Change can be difficult to deal with, especially for a child with little to no choice in the matter. To circumvent this truth in “Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?” Norimichi is given a magical artifact with which he can change reality on a whim. The power to revert time seems more than fitting for changing one event, but as Norimichi soon finds out life-changing events can be hard to manipulate. On top of that the power he uses seems to break reality if handled incorrectly. Norimichi verifies if reality is still intact by watching the fireworks at the night of each rewinded day. If the fireworks explode in an unnatural way (for example, completely flat) then he knows he broke reality and must retry. Using this cunning mechanism the movie keeps things in check, and reality withing boundaries that even a little kid can comprehend.

Despite the above-mentioned fantastic premise “Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?” is far from groundbreaking. It deals with a simple event, on a small scale, and does so by resorting to the power of one’s imagination. As such the movie takes a lot of logical shortcuts. These make sense considering the story is being told from Norimichi’s point of view, but they also cause the movie to become too simplistic (at times even abstract) and prevent its story from being coherent and satisfying. Scale and cohesion notwithstanding, Norimichi’s time-alterations are still interesting to behold. There is a distinct escalation in his attempts to change the day. The further he tries, the riskier his attempts are, and the more abstract and extravagant the world around him becomes. Since Norimichi is the only one who’s able to transcend time the people surrounding him are unaware of his attempts. This leaves little to no space for their characters to development in any meaningful way, and so Norimichi becomes the only character in the entire story to witness any growth.

Visually the movie leaves a lot to be desired. Backgrounds are either drawn or built completely in 3D, but these two types are easily distinguishable and don’t blend in meaningful ways. Character models are simple and lackluster. To add insult to injury the kids, which are supposed to be in elementary school, were drawn to look like they are in high school. Their behavior is also inconsistent – in some scenes they act like adults, while in others like little kids. Ultimately, the questionable character designs, coupled with the children’s ambiguous behavior, end up break some of the immersion. The music is the movie’s saving grace. It is rich and quite varied for what is a relatively short movie. Sound effects are crisp (especially the sound of fireworks) and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the sound track features more than one fully voiced song.

At its core Fireworks is a movie about one kid’s attempt to cope with a heartbreaking reality. But for a movie that allows one to alter reality as one sees fit it is too simple and unimaginative for its own good. Fireworks feels toned down, both in its scope as well as its execution. While the movie does shine during a few scenes, it falls short in almost every aspect and doesn’t hold a candle to other, more mature, media that deal with similar subjects.


  • - Rich and varied music.


  • - Questionable character designs.
  • - Oversimplified and limited plot.

Final Score: 5/10 (Bad)

Product Information: Screened in cinemas as "Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?". Released on physical media under the name Fireworks. Release Date: November 20, 2018

Review Equipment: Viewed at the cinema.

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