Blu-ray Review: Fireworks

As you get older, you keep looking back at events and relationships and wish you had a mulligan to try everything over again. What if you had gone on the Spring Break to Florida with classmates instead of stayed home to work on your thesis paper. What if you saw Nirvana at the Cat’s Cradle instead of using you one favor to see the Psychedelic Furs on what was supposed to be their final tour forever? What if you had realized that friend really wanted to hook up with you instead of merely hang out? Life is full of decisions we wish we could chose the opposite. But even the smallest changes would change our lives in ways we can barely fathom. Fireworks is a Japanese animated film the explores what happens when we can go back and make the other choice.

Norimichi and Yusuke working their after school job at the pool. They’re cleaning up the place when their classmate Nazuna drops by for a swim. She dares the two boys to a race. The winner has to do with what she wants. Yusuke wins and she asks him to the fireworks. She has a bigger plan because her mother is remarrying. She doesn’t like her upcoming stepfather and doesn’t want to move with them. So she packs a bag and plans to runaway. She doesn’t have to worry about her date since Yusuke bails on meeting up. She does bump into Norimichi. She confesses that she wanted him to win. But before anything develops her mom grabs her. As a parting gift Nazuna gives Norimichi a mysterious glass ball she found on the beach. He goes home and so wants her back in his life. He wishes he knew she wanted to be with him sooner. In his frustration he throws down the ball. Instead of shattering, the marble makes time slip backwards. He has a chance to make the past events different. But can he get it all right for him and Nazuna.

Fireworks was adapted from a live action TV movie. But being animated brings something deeper out of the story. It gives it an enchantment that makes it more than a cartoon version of Groundhog’s Day. There’s a majestic grace to Nazuna as she does her best to escape to a future no longer dictated by the whims of her constantly divorcing mother. The fireworks are on the screen and dazzle as artwork. The story works because when you play the “we should have been together game,” you have to figure out what massive changes would happen to the past you’ve lived. All choices have consequences and Fireworks goes through the little things that can derail a happily ever after life. Fireworks is a sweet film about time travel and making simple changes.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the beauty in the images. The audio has a choice between the original Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD and the English dub in 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Both are fine depending on your mood. The subtitles are given in English for both the Japanese and English dub. There’s also French subtitles.

DVD with all the features from the Blu-ray.

Behind the Scenes with the English Cast (10:40) gets into how important things are to cast the right voices and make sure the new voices add to the story and not just read lines. They cast young kids.

Trailers contains both the long version for the US release and a teaser trailer in Japanese.

Shout! Factory and GKIDS present Fireworks. Directed by Akiyuki Shinbō, Nobuyuki Takeuchi & Seimei Kidokoro. Screenplay by: Hitoshi Ohne. Starring: Suzu Hirose, Masaki Suda, Mamoru Miyano & Shintarō Asanuma. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 90 minutes. Released: November 20, 2018.

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