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Fireworks

Shout Factory // Unrated // November 20, 2018
List Price: $26.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted January 15, 2019 | E-mail the Author



http-equiv="content-type">
Fireworks Blu-ray Review


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Fireworks
is a charming slice-of-life anime film from producer Genki Kawamura
(Your Name, Wolf Children). The story revolves
around the
friendship between Norimichi (Masaki Suda) and a girl he meets over a
sunny afternoon: Oikawa Nazuna (Suzu Hirose). The young pair start to
become friends with one another and begin to spend time by the sea.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">As
the pair start to hang out, they discover a magical silver ball which
might have supernatural sci-fi powers: events start to blur with
Groundhog Day-eque events which give them new
possibilities.
They deal with their real-life problems (Norimichi's ordinary
struggles in school) and Nazuna's acceptance of her mother's divorce.
Nazuna decides she might run away with Norimichi because of her
problems. The characters also spend time with another friend,
Jun'ichi (Shintaro Asanuma), who is a bigger goofball in the story.
The film is a slice-of-life coming of age friendship story intermixed
with science fiction fun.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
animation in Fireworks is truly exceptional. This
is a truly
beautifully animated film with gorgeous background designs,
interesting character designs, and a terrific color pallet which
excels on so many artistic levels. The artwork in the film is a huge
reason why this production is so charming to behold. You can almost
sink into the animation with it's warmth and charm.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
film has some other strong production elements which help to carry
it's many charms. style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">The
m
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">usic
score by
Satoru Kosaki ( style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Bakemonogatari style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">)
is a breezy, fun score which keeps the story appropriately amusing.
The style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">cinematography
by Takayuki Aizu (
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Ground
Control to Psychoelectric Girl
color="#333333"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">)
and Rei Egami (
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Nisekoi color="#333333"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">)
befits the animator's hard work and helps the film have many stunning
sequences.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Based
on the original teleplay by Shunji Iwai ( style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Love
Letter
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">,
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">April
Story
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">),
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Fireworks style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">
is an anime adaptation of the original Japanese live-action
television production released in 1993. With a screenplay by Hitoshi
One ( style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Bakuman. style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">,
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Love
Strikes!
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">)
, the story is convoluted and all over the place. Yet it's weakness
in storytelling refinery is simultaneously complimented with good
characters and a charming style which makes the filmmaker's
storytelling efforts more affecting.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Directed
by Akiyuko Shinbo (Nekomonogatari) and Nobuyuki
Takeuchi (key
animator on
Spirited
Away

and
Howl's
Moving Castle
),
Fireworks color="#333333">has
a way of breathing fresh air into it's routine story concepts. The
direction is never dull or rushed; it feels organic and original. The
film works largely because of the strong directorial vision of these
filmmakers. The end result is an anime film which is entertaining and
charming from start to end. It might not break any new ground in the
medium but it's charms are bountiful and sometimes that's all one
needs to have a worthwhile trip to the cinema.


size="3">The Blu-ray:


size="3">Video:


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Fireworks
arrives on Blu-ray with a 1.77:1 widescreen 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded
presentation. It preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio. It's
a very similar ratio to 1.85:1 but doesn't quite fill the edges. This
is a lovely presentation of the film with pleasing color
reproduction. The image quality is terrific with good clarity and
detail for the source animation.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">
There
is minor banding in a few scenes which may be inherent in the source
(as is sometimes the case with anime) but for the most part this is a
quality presentation which gets the job done. It looks even better on
this release than when I went to see a Fathom event special
theatrical screening of the film. The film has a colorful energy
which is well replicated on this release.


face="Times New Roman, serif">Audio:


The audio on this release
is presented
with lossless English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio at 24 bit
depth. This is a strong HD audio offering with good dynamic range and
clarity. Dialogue is easy to understand. The Japanese dub is my
preference between the two dubs as I felt the English dub was not as
engaging as the original language version on this film. The film has
some interesting surround sound sequences as well and it's a more
enveloping mix than expected.


Subtitles in English,
English SDH (for
the deaf and hard of hearing) and French




size="3">Extras:


color="#222222"> face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="font-weight: normal;"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Behind
the Scenes with the English Cast
color="#222222"> face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="font-style: normal;"> style="font-weight: normal;"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">
(HD, 11 min.) is a short featurette with the English dub
voice-director and the two young lead voice actors discussing their
respective roles and the film and dub production. The casting
director also chimes in with their thoughts on casting the film's dub
cast.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Theatrical
Trailers
(HD, 3 min.) promoting Fireworks
release are also
included.


size="3">Final
Thoughts:


style="font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Fireworks
is a charming slice-of-life anime drama with a romantic
coming of
age story-line mixed into the proceedings. It's a wonderful delight
which is heartfelt, entertaining, and memorable. The artwork on
display is fantastic and enriching. It's a sure-fire anime hit which
fans of the medium should not miss. Fireworks is
worth a
watch.


style="margin-bottom: 0in; font-style: normal; line-height: 100%; widows: 2; text-decoration: none;"
align="left">
face="Times New Roman, serif"> style="background: transparent none repeat scroll 0%; -moz-background-clip: initial; -moz-background-origin: initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: initial;">Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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