Fireworks (2017 film)

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Japanese theatrical teaser poster
Directed by Akiyuki Shinbō (chief)
Nobuyuki Takeuchi (co-)
Produced by Genki Kawamura
Screenplay by Hitoshi Ohne
Based on Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
by Shunji Iwai
Music by Satoru Kōsaki
Edited by Rie Matsubara
Distributed by Toho
Release date
  • August 18, 2017 (2017-08-18)
Running time
90 minutes[1]
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office $26 million[2][3]

Fireworks (打ち上げ花火、下から見るか? 横から見るか?, Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miru ka? Yoko kara Miru ka?, lit. "Skyrockets, Watch from Below? Watch from the Side?", also known as Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?), is a 2017 Japanese animated romantic drama film produced by Shaft and distributed by Toho. It is based on the 1993 Japanese live-action television play of the same name, also released in cinemas in 1995, by Shunji Iwai. Fireworks was directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (with co-direction by Nobuyuki Takeuchi), produced by Genki Kawamura, with a screenplay written by Hitoshi Ohne featuring music by Satoru Kōsaki. The film stars the voices of Suzu Hirose, Masaki Suda and Mamoru Miyano.

The film was released in Japan on August 18, 2017, and received mixed to positive reviews from critics, who praised the film for its music and animation. The film has grossed $26 million worldwide, becoming the seventh highest-grossing anime film of 2017 and the highest-grossing Shaft film.

Internationally, it was released in cinemas on October 5, 2017 in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Films,[4] and on November 15, 2017 in the United Kingdom and Ireland by Anime Limited.[5] It was released theatrically on July 4, 2018 in the United States and Canada by GKIDS.[6]


In the town of Moshimo, Norimichi Shimada and his friends, Yusuke, Miura, and Junichi live while harassing their teacher and the former half galvanising over the beauty of their classmate Nazuna Oikawa, who is poised to move to a new town with her family. Yusuke in particular speaks of confessing to Nazuna. After an argument at school, the boys make a bet regarding whether or not fireworks at the upcoming festival would look round or flat when watched from the side.

Nazuna, on the day she is supposed to leave, picks up a small strange-looking glass marble she finds by the sea. After school, she encounters Norimichi and Yusuke who happen to be on pool-cleaning duty. Challenging them to a swimming race, she proposes the winner has to follow whatever she says. Yusuke wins and she asks him to go together to the festival to see the fireworks. Returning home, Nazuna is shown to be struggling with the idea of moving away and does not seem to get along particularly well with her mom and stepfather. Nazuna then changes into a yukata and leaves with a suitcase to meet up with Yusuke.

Yusuke bails on his date with Nazuna and she ends up meeting with Norimichi at the nearby hospital, where she confesses that she had her mind set on asking the winner out on a date but had hoped for Norimichi to win the swimming race all along. She then tells Norimichi of her plans to run away from home. The pair are eventually found by Nazuna's mother, who forcefully grabs her daughter and takes her home, despite Nazuna's pleas for Norimichi to save her. In the struggle, Nazuna drops the mysterious glass marble which Norimichi picks up and, in a fit of rage, throws it, causing time to seemingly jump backward.

Back in time, when the swimming race took place, Norimichi wins this time around. Nazuna asks him out and meets up with him. Now, a jealous Yusuke witnesses the couple. Norimichi and Nazuna get to a train station but they are caught once again by Nazuna's mother and stepfather. At night, Norimichi notices the fireworks are flat and becomes aware he is in an alternate timeline. Again, he wishes for another chance to escape with Nazuna. He throws the glass marble from a lighthouse and reverses time again to the encounter at the train station but now manages to elude Nazuna's parents by boarding the train together with her.

Eventually, they are caught again by Nazuna's mother and Norimichi's friends. An envious Yusuke charges at Norimichi atop the lighthouse, causing him and Nazuna to accidentally plummet to the sea. As they fall, Norimichi uses the glass marble one last time, wishing for no one to see Nazuna and him going away so they can spend one night alone together. Time jumps back again and the train now takes a different route leaving the couple at a beach, this time in a strange reality where the town is encapsulated in a glass dome and objects appear distorted.

A drunk festival worker finds the glass ball and shoots it up in the sky, confusing it with a leftover firework charge. The firework freezes as it explodes and causes small crystals to fall, each shard showing a possible future. As Norimichi and Nazuna see their alternate realities within these shards, they swim in the sea together and kiss. Nazuna wonders in what kind of world they are going to meet next.

The last scene shows a teacher calling the roll in class. When she gets to Norimichi's name, no one replies.



On December 7, 2016, Fireworks was announced with a theatrical release date of August 18, 2017 and is based on the 1993 live-action film Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? by Shunji Iwai. Hitoshi Ohne is writing the script and will add modern elements to the original story.[9] The cast and crew were also announced.[7] The theme song for the film, titled "Uchiage Hanabi", is performed by Daoko and Kenshi Yonezu.[10] The music video for the song currently has over 100 million views on YouTube.[11]

On April 14, 2017, a second teaser trailer for the film was released.[12] A 30-second trailer, the third promotional video for the film, was released in June 2017, and a new poster was also revealed.[10]


The film was released in Japan on August 18, 2017 by Toho.[7] The film premiered in the UK as part of the annual Scotland Loves Anime film festival on October 15th 2017.[13] In July 2017, it was announced that the film will be distributed in 110 countries and regions.[14] Edko Films Ltd will release the film at theaters in Hong Kong on October 31, 2017.[15] Madman Entertainment will theatrically release the film in Australia and New Zealand on October 5, 2017.[16][17] It was released for preview on 15 November 2017 in the United Kingdom.[18] Madness Entertainment theatrically released the film in Mexico on February 16, 2018.[19] GKIDS premiered the film in U.S. theaters on July 3, 2018, with a wider release on July 4, 2018.[20] To promote the U.S. release, GKIDS released a film trailer and still images for the movie on May 23, 2018.[21]


Box office[edit]

On its opening day the film grossed ¥170 million from 133,000 admissions,[22] ¥295 million from 220,000 admissions in two days[23] and then grossed a total of ¥460 million (US$4.2 million) within three days of its premiere across 296 theaters, ranking at No. 3.[24][25] The film placed at No. 4 on its second weekend.[26] It stayed at No. 4 on its third weekend, where it grossed ¥104 million from 78,000 admissions, and earned a total of ¥1.1 billion.[27]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Fireworks has an approval rating of 43% based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1/10. The site's critical consensus states "Fireworks seeks sparks in an ambitious blend of storytelling genres, but this misguided anime effort never truly takes flight".[28] Fireworks has received praise before its theatrical release from several Japanese critics and journalists. Musician Koremasa Uno lauded the voice acting and said the film "doesn't feel like a work from Iwai or Hitoshi Ōne, the scriptwriter. Rather, it feels more like the anime of the studio creating it, Shaft, and its producer, Genki Kawamura."[29] Film writer Tatsuya Masutō wrote on his Twitter account that the "expectations surrounding the film did not disappoint, and the anime could be better than the original live-action drama." He also noted that the anime is "more than just a remake" and the "90-minute run time compared to the 50-minute original helps add to the content".[29]

Kim Morrissy of Anime News Network gave the film an "B" grade and applauded the "great music and voice acting" and the "simple yet emotionally compelling plot" but criticized the film's production values and visuals that "don't really add anything to the film except to broadcast that it was made by SHAFT".[30] Mark Schilling of The Japan Times gave the film a rating of 3½ out of 5 stars and praised the film's "pure-hearted love story". Mark concluded the review by writing, "Fireworks nails it again and again—or maybe that was just me, slipping back into long-ago dreams of the perfect girl gazing into my soul, forever out of reach."[31]

The light novel has sold very well, and as of August 13 it has sold a total of 90,863 copies.[citation needed]


Year Name of Competition Category Result Ref.
2017 41st Japan Academy Prize Animation of the Year Nominated [32]


  1. ^ "Fireworks, Should We See It From the Side or the Bottom?". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Uchiage hanabi, shita kara miru ka? Yoko kara miru ka?". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved August 29, 2017. 
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (December 3, 2017). "Box Office: Coco Surges in China With $44 Million in Second Weekend". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved April 17, 2018. 
  4. ^ Madman (September 27, 2017). "Fireworks – Official Trailer #2". YouTube. Retrieved June 2, 2018. 
  5. ^ "Fireworks". Fireworks official website. Anime Limited. Retrieved June 2, 2018. In cinemas from 15th November 
  6. ^ "Fireworks: Get Tickets". GKIDS Films. Retrieved June 2, 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Ressler, Karen (December 7, 2016). "Shunji Iwai's 'Fireworks' Drama Gets Anime Film From SHAFT". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 21, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Hodgkins, Crystalyn (June 12, 2017). "Shaft, Shunji Iwai's Fireworks Anime Film Reveals 5 More Cast Members". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  9. ^ News (December 8, 2012). "岩井俊二の傑作「打ち上げ花火、下から見るか?横から見るか?」、大根仁×新房昭之でアニメ映画化!". (in Japanese). Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Ressler, Karen (June 27, 2017). "Shaft, Shunji Iwai's 'Fireworks' Anime Film's Promo Previews Theme Song by Kenshi Yonezu, Daoko". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  11. ^ DAOKO (October 26, 2017). "DAOKO × 米津玄師『打上花火』MUSIC VIDEO" [DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu "Uchiage Hanabi" Music Video]. daoko_jp. YouTube. Retrieved January 10, 2018. 
  12. ^ Komatsu, Mikikazu (April 14, 2017). "Shaft's "Uchiage Hanabi/Fireworks" Film 2nd Trailer Introduces Anime Version Characters". Crunchyroll. Archived from the original on August 14, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  13. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (May 26, 2017). "New Film Releases Scheduled in British Cinemas". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 28, 2017. 
  14. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (July 11, 2017). "Shaft, Shunji Iwai's 'Fireworks' Anime Film Reveals 3rd Trailer, Release in 110 Countries". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  15. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (July 28, 2017). "English-Subtitled Trailer for Shaft, Shunji Iwai's 'Fireworks' Film Streamed". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 1, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  16. ^ Bortignon, Tegan (August 20, 2017). "Special Madman Announcements At SMASH 2017". Madman Entertainment. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2017. 
  17. ^ Madman Entertainment [@Madman] (September 7, 2017). "Fireworks, a new romantic fantasy from Studio Shaft, is coming to cinemas across Australia and New Zealand Oct 5th!" (Tweet). Retrieved April 17, 2018 – via Twitter. 
  18. ^ Normanicgrav (October 18, 2017). "Anime Limited Brings 'Fireworks' to the UK Theatrical Screens this November". Anime UK News. Retrieved April 17, 2018. 
  19. ^ Berruecos, Pablo (January 25, 2018). "Luces en el Cielo, un intercambio cultural México-Japón: Elliot Gama". ONE Digital. Retrieved January 27, 2018. 
  20. ^ Ressler, Karen (March 16, 2018). "GKIDS Licenses Fireworks Anime Film, Sets Summer Theatrical Release". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 16, 2018. 
  21. ^ Carson, Rene (23 May 2018). "New photos and trailer for anime fantasy Fireworks". Film Fetish. Retrieved 23 May 2018. 
  22. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (August 19, 2017). "Shunji Iwai's 'Fireworks' Anime Film Earns 170 Million Yen in 1 Day". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 16, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  23. ^ Komatsu, Mikikazu (August 22, 2017). "Japan Box Office: "Uchiage Hanabi/Fireworks" Delivers 295 Million Debut, Ranking 3rd". Crunchyroll. Retrieved August 22, 2017. 
  24. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (August 21, 2017). "Shunji Iwai's 'Fireworks' Anime Film Debuts at #3 at Japanese Box Office". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2017. 
  25. ^ Schilling, Mark (August 22, 2017). "Japan Box Office: 'High & Low the Movie 2' Opens on Top". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on August 22, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  26. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (August 28, 2017). "'Fireworks' Anime Film Ranks at #4 in 2nd Weekend at Japanese Box Office". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 17, 2018. 
  27. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (September 9, 2017). "'Fireworks' Anime Film Stays at #4 in 3rd Weekend at Japanese Box Office". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 17, 2018. 
  28. ^ "Fireworks (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 13, 2018. 
  29. ^ a b Sherman, Jennifer (August 14, 2017). "Early Reviews Praise Shunji Iwai's 'Fireworks' Anime Film". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on October 14, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017. 
  30. ^ Morrissy, Kim (August 23, 2017). "Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  31. ^ Schilling, Mark (August 23, 2017). "'Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?': Will Japan fall in love with another pair of animated teens?". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017. 
  32. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (January 15, 2018). "Fireworks, Napping Princess, More Nominated for 41st Japan Academy Prize". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 

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