Starting the second day with the now twenty eight year old anime film Venus Wars is still a little baffling to me. Perhaps there’s a hidden theme hiding somewhere in its staff. Perhaps Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s (Dirty Pair et. al.) designs… Maybe animation director Toshihiro Kawamoto who also worked on Cowboy Bebop… Or maybe it’s like Jonathan Clements mentioned in his opening notes about Joe Hisaishi who went on to score for Studio Ghibli… Whatever the connection with the rest of the festival, the cinema was full and evidently ready for a dose of lovingly animated 80’s science fiction.
What if? It’s a question that innumerable other films have explored from Sliding Doors to Groundhog Day and now SHAFT have taken their pop at it with Fireworks. A remake of of a 1993 TV film by Shunji Iwai - best known recently for The Murder Case of Hana and Alice - and not to be mistaken for the 1997 Beat Takeshi film, especially so as this film directed by Akiyuki Shinbo.
The setup is that a group of school children including friends Norimichi and Yuusuke argue over the absurd question of whether fireworks are round like a globe or disc shaped. Amidst this is Nazuna, a quiet but beautiful girl that becomes entangled with both Norimichi and Yuusuke over the winner of a swimming race.