A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fireworks is an anime teen romance that's available both dubbed in English and in the original Japanese, with subtitles. Made by the producers behind the very popular anime film Your Name, Fireworks follows two teens who end up repeating the same day over and over again thanks to a magical orb. Expect a couple of kisses and a few suggestive comments and jokes, mostly at the expense of the teens' attractive school teacher. Language includes a few insults and comments like "pissed off," "damn it," "what the hell," "stupid," etc. A minor character is portrayed as the town drunk (he's shown drinking and acting inebriated). Although it's fairly common in anime for girls and young women to have exaggerated features, the film's focus on a main female character's body and beauty (as well as her role as a "damsel in distress") could be interpreted as stereotypical or even sexist. On the other hand, the movie also offers messages about being selfless, helping those you care about, and showing people you love how much they mean to you.
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What's the story?
FIREWORKS tells a familiar story with a teen twist: Norimichi (voiced by Ryan Shanahan in the English-dubbed version of the film) has a crush on Nazuna (Brooklyn Nelson), but so does his louder, arrogant best friend, Yasuke (Aaron Dalla Villa). When the boys compete in a pool race and Norimichi is too distracted by Nazuna's presence to win, she ends up asking Yasuke out on a date. But it's the day of an annual festival in the town, and Yasuke would rather hang out with the other boys, who have an ongoing debate about whether fireworks are round or flat. So Norimichi ends up spending time with Nazuna and discovers that a mysterious ball she found by the sea has magical properties -- to rewind time and replay the day again, so he can be the one she asks out on the date. Norimichi continues to use the magical orb again and again until his day with Nazuna is practically perfect, while Yasuke and the other boys continue to fight about fireworks in anticipation of the festival's big display.
Is it any good?
Despite beautiful visuals of fireworks, flowers, beaches, and fluttery first love, this teen romance suffers from an uneven, unnecessarily convoluted plot and some iffy stereotypes about women. There are a few jarring, unexpectedly crude comments -- like about the teacher's "bouncing" breasts, a girl being a "dog," and jokes about betting over a woman's panties -- that will throw some viewers off. And then there's the constant focus on Nazuna's leggy, long-haired, wide-eyed beauty. She doesn't have much of a distinct personality other than being sweet Norimichi's ideal crush. While he gets to relive the day to win her over, woo her, and even save her from a forced move with her mother and new stepfather, she has little agency over the proceedings except to encourage and excite Norimichi. She may not be a pixie, but Nazuna sure is a dream girl.
That said, the movie's Groundhog Day-style romance, while familiar, isn't nearly as flat as the parallel plotline about the boys' bromantic debate about the shape of fireworks and their teacher's hotness. The boys are played for comic relief, but their ongoing debate about fireworks simply isn't that interesting. What is worth seeing, however, is the animation, which is topnotch and includes some lovely, dreamy landscapes, as well as realistic spaces like Norimichi's home, the kids' classroom, and the pool. Unlike the producers' runaway hit Your Name, Fireworks is neither as memorable nor as dynamic as its title suggests.
Talk to your kids about ...
Some critics have called this movie sexist in the way it relies on the "damsel in distress" stereotype. Do you agree?
Talk about the romance in the movie. Is the love story believable? Why do you think love triangles (or best friends liking the same person) are so common in popular culture?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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