GKIDS announced on Thursday, March 15th that they have acquired the North American distribution rights to the anime film FIREWORKS, SHOULD WE SEE IT FROM THE SIDE OR THE BOTTOM. They plan to release it theatrically this summer. 


FIREWORKS, the hit summer 2017 anime film, is finally coming to North America. The film is based on Shunji Iwai’s 1993 live-action tv movie of the same name. Though largely similar, the animated feature is longer than the original film, which critics believe allows the film to develop its characters better.

Norimichi and Nazuna stand holding hands | Image: Japan Curiosity

The faithfulness of the adaptation is no coincidence. Hitoshi Ohne (live-action BAKUMAN) worked with Iwai to write the new animated film’s script.  The director of the FIREWORKS anime is Nobuyuki Takeuchi (key animator on SPIRITED AWAY). Though he is famous for his work in animation, this is the first feature-length film Takeuchi has directed. Akio Watanabe (NISEMONOGATARI, BAKEMONOGATARI) designed the characters, and Satoru Kousaki (LUCKY STAR, THE MELANCHOLY OF HARUHI SUZUMIYA, WANDERING SON) composed the music. FIREWORKS was produced by Shaft and originally distributed by Toho. 

GKIDS describes the story like this:

“Producer Genki Kawamura follows up his mega-hit YOUR NAME with another tale of star-crossed teenage lovers with a sci-fi fantasy twist. Shy Norimichi and fast-talking Yusuke are goo-goo-eyed over the same elusive classmate, Nazuna. But Nazuna, unhappy over her mother’s decision to remarry and leave their countryside town, plans to run away and has secretly chosen Norimichi to accompany her. When things don’t go as planned, Norimichi discovers that a glowing, multi-colored ball from the sea has the power to reset the clock and give them a second chance to be together. But each reset adds new complications and takes them farther and farther away from the real world – until they risk losing sight of reality altogether.”

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Will Success in Japan Translate to North America?

The film opened last year on August 18 in Japan, earning 170 million Yen, which is about $1.56 million USD, on its opening day. The film debuted at #3 in the Japanese box office. Since that date, it has become available in a number of countries around the world, even receiving a theatrical premiere in the UK as part of the annual Scotland Loves Anime film festival on October 15th, 2017. FIREWORKS has earned about $26 million USD worldwide and is the sixth highest earning anime film of 2017. 

While the film has reached commercial success, it has a mere 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, with twelve reviews. It makes one wonder if the film will translate well to an American audience. Though this score isn’t great, there are plenty of movies which are critically panned at first which become genuine classics. Perhaps this will be the case for FIREWORKS as well.

Although we’ll have to wait until summer to find out, it is exciting that so many great anime films are coming to American shores in the near future. With some mixed reviews, hopefully FIREWORKS will live up to its commercial success.

Does this movie sound interesting to you? Excited for the summer release? Check out the movie’s trailer here:

Featured image curtsey of Anime UK News

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