It’s almost Christmas time and with dazzling Christmas decorations including lights, we thought it appropriate to mention an incredibly important factor of festive cheer: fireworks. With the vast array of celebrations and festivals in Japanese culture, fireworks are an essential part of festivities, perhaps as important as the celebrations themselves! That being said, we would like to relive some of our favourite fireworks scenes in anime featuring everyone’s favourite night sky decoration. Guaranteed to both set the mood and go out with a bang – so let’s set them off!
Be careful though, there are some heavy spoilers!
10. Bleach – Gotei 13 Invading Arc Aftermath (Ep 342)
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 2004 – March 2012
15-year-old Kurosaki Ichigo has always been able to see ghosts. One day, a woman named Kuchiki Rukia, clothed in black appears in his room, claiming to be a grim reaper-like entity known as a Shinigami, a being tasked with guiding human souls to the afterlife and purging the world of evil spirits known as Hollows. After her appearance, one such Hollow attacks Ichigo’s home, severely injures his sisters and fatally wounds Rukia. In dire circumstances, Rukia makes a life-changing suggestion: she will transfer her Shinigami powers to Ichigo so he may slay the Hollow in her place. So begins Kurosaki Ichigo’s life as a Substitute Shinigami.
In the aftermath of the battle of the Gotei 13 Invasion, where Ichigo and the rest of the Shinigami fought against their cloned counterparts, Ichigo suggested that the gang get some R and R by heading out and having some fun with activities like ice-skating at a nearby skating rink. What Ichigo did not know, however, is that the skating rink was close to an amusement park which has a beautiful daily fireworks display. Despite being taken aback by the spectacle, Ichigo and his friends greatly enjoyed it, with Ichigo commenting that it is nice to spend some time like that for a change, drawing the battle against Kageroza to a close.
9. Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru (Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation) - Asahi Bridge Irregulars (Ep 6)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2015 – December 2015
Tatewaki Shoutarou and Kujou Sakurako become an unlikely duo when Tatewaki comes to realise Sakurako’s talent of analysing bone specimens. Having initially thought her responsible for a disappearance, Tatewaki accompanies Sakurako on a plethora of unsolved cases which usually involve decomposing bodies and with several incidents happening around them, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to come to the conclusion that a much larger mystery is at work behind the scenes…
On her way to a summer festival, Yuriko sees a woman on a bridge who suddenly disappears, leaving behind a diamond ring in an envelope and a suicide note. Worried that the woman might’ve attempted to take her own life, Yuriko and her teacher Isozaki Itsuki search for her alongside Utsumi. Yuriko later runs into Sakurako who, upon seeing the ring, makes the observation that it is a mourning ring, one made from the bones of the mystery woman’s deceased husband. According to Sakurako’s own conjecture, the woman may have found a new life partner and therefore intended to throw the ring into the river, symbolic of the woman’s intent to send her deceased lover to the afterlife and as a result, Sakurako shows her support of that decision by throwing the ring into the river herself. At this point, the fireworks begin, seemingly in celebration of the mystery woman’s former marriage and her supposed new lease on love.
8. Isshukan Friends (One Week Friends) – At the Beach (Ep 8)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2014 – June 2014
In Hase Yuuki’s class, the general consensus is that Fujimiya Kaori is a bit of an enigma, and due to her reserved nature, not many people like her. One day, he finds her eating by herself on the roof. Curious to learn more about her Hase decides to try his hand at befriending the oh-so-cold Fujimiya and meets her on the roof every day, but after a week of making progress, his warm and friendly greeting one morning is met by the same cold Fujimiya he met one week prior. It turns out that Kaori has a condition where her memories reset every week, an unfortunate reality which led her to make the conscious decision to cut herself off from everyone. Determined to be her friend regardless, Hase goes out of his way to befriend Kaori every single week.
With several ups and downs in their friendship, Hase and Kaori enjoy a trip to the beach with their friends Saki and Shougo. Kaori mentions to Shougo how unfamiliar feelings arise in her whenever she sees Hase speaking to other girls. Knowing that Hase harbours certain feelings for Kaori, Shougo suggests that Hase try harder to get Kaori to notice his feelings. Afterwards, Hase and Kaori enjoy a long walk on the beach and as the day draws to a close, the four of them light up some fireworks, a reflective Kaori wracks her brain trying to identify the new feelings she has begun to experience.
7. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru (Oregairu) – Yui & Hachiman’s Summer Festival Date (Ep 12)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2013 – June 2013
Hikigaya Hachiman is a pessimistic high schooler with no friends who, as punishment for an essay he wrote mocking modern relationships, is forced by his teacher to join the Volunteer Club, where he meets the cold and beautiful Yukinoshita Yukino. As a members of the Volunteer Club, Yukino and Hachiman have their hands full trying to deal with the requests of other students; a position in which Hachiman never imagined he’d find himself. Will Hachiman’s dark view of the world be detrimental or beneficial to the Volunteer Club?
As thanks for saving her dog on the first day of school, Yuigahama Yui invited Hachiman and his little sister Komachi out to the annual summer fireworks festival, but Komachi decides to decline the offer to give Yui and Hachiman some time alone. In order to dispel some of the awkwardness between them, the two go looking for a gift for Komachi, when the fireworks begin and they search for a nice spot to view them from, when they run into Yukino’s older sister, Haruno, who gets them into VIP seating. As the fireworks reach their climax, conversation turns to Yukino’s future, at which her sister comments that Yukino is always “matching”, “always hand-me-downs”, which gives their previously light-hearted conversation a slightly darker tone.
6. Plastic Memories – The Fireworks I’ve Never Seen (Ep 8)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2015 – June 2015
Mizugaki Tsukasa is an 18-year-old school-leaver who failed his college entrance exams. However, with a stroke of luck, he managed to land himself a job in Terminal Service One, a branch of the Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation (SAI), a company responsible for incredibly human-like androids called Giftias. Since Giftias have a maximum lifespan of 81 920 hours, Terminal Service One exists to safely dispose of Giftias that have run out of time, before they lose their memories and become hostile. On his first day, Tsuakasa is paired up with Isla, a beautiful Giftia who is quiet and reserved and the most experienced at Giftia Retrievals. Smitten with her, Tsukasa must come to terms with his feelings while learning the tools of the trade, no matter how emotionally demanding it may get.
Having met a marksman from Terminal Service No. 3 named Andie, Tsukasa is exposed to the idea of the recycling of a Giftia, after he’s told about Eru’s experience with her childhood Giftia Olivia, who is now Andie whose OS was replaced to cut costs. Eru met Andie at a carnival once and as a result, Eru no longer visits the carnival due to her memories of Olivia. She tries to get Tsukasa to take Eru to the carnival instead, but Tsukasa later convinces Eru to accompany him and Isla to the carnival. There, Isla gets lost in the crowd and Tsukasa goes looking for her, eventually finding her cowering on a walkway from the exploding fireworks. In the midst of exploding fireworks, Tsukasa confesses his love for Isla. How romantic!
5. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – I Love… Fireworks (Ep 12)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
Cheerful high schooler Chiyo Sakura is harbouring a massive crush on her fellow classmate, the oblivious Nozaki Umetarou. A failed confession of her love sees Sakura receiving an autograph from her crush. As it turns out, Nozaki leads a double life as the author of a highly popular shoujo manga under the pen name Yumeno Sakiko. Their relationship eventually develops, but not in the way Sakura would’ve hoped, as a series of misunderstands lands her a job as one of Nozaki’s assistants.
Nozaki and Sakura attend a summer festival together; not because Nozaki wanted to go with her, but rather because he sought to use the experience as material for the next few chapters of his manga. Despite being obviously disappointed at his lack of intent where she’s concerned, she goes with him, dressed appropriately in a yukata. After a night of their usual wacky shenanigans with their friends, the night sky is illuminated by a beautiful display of fireworks. The sight was breathtaking and set a fairly romantic mood before Nozaki uttered the words “I love” under his breath, which got her heart beating several ticks faster, but… the “you” never came. Instead, Nozaki was taking his time in saying that he loves fireworks. Well that moment lasted as long as a firework, didn’t it?
4. Black Cat – Saya’s Death (Ep 6)
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: October 2005 – March 2006
Chronos is an organisation that works in the shadows and controls a third of the world’s wealth, using highly trained assassins known as The Numbers to express their influence. Among them, is the one bearing the number 13, the notorious Train Heartnet, also known as Black Cat. Black Cat is the most skilled of the Numbers; however, after meeting a sweeper named Saya, he decides to leave the life of an assassin behind him and together with sweeper Sven Vollfied, he begins his life as a bounty hunter.
In the days following Train and Saya’s first meeting, Train’s self-proclaimed partner, Creed Diskenth, noticed significant changes in Train’s behaviour and eventually traced it back to the sweeper, Saya. Convinced that Saya is an “enchantress” who has placed Train under a
“hex”, Creed takes it upon himself to win Train’s “freedom” from the curse. Saya, having asked Train to accompany her to the festival under the pretext of getting an ice-cold ramune. She heads over to the festival, to be joined by Train later, only to meet up with Creed in a secluded location. Creed begins a relentless onslaught that leaves Saya slowly bleeding to death and a late Train finds Creed standing over Saya’s near lifeless body. As Saya dies slowly in Train’s arms, she comments on the beauty of the fireworks, before she, like the fireworks, is extinguished as well.
3. Barakamon – Handa’s Departure (Ep 10)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
Handa Seishuu is a calligraphy prodigy who, because he punched the curator of at a competition who dared call his work “boring”, was exiled by his parents to the remote Goto Islands. There waited for him a vastly different life to the one he had become accustomed to in Tokyo, with rambunctious and wacky neighbours, especially the precocious six-year-old Kotoishi Naru. Now Handa must find his own style of calligraphy all while dealing with the day-to-day adventures that come with being the member of rural community as well as an up-and-coming calligrapher.
Upon seeing Handa’s latest project inspired by the starry sky he had seen, the director of the Naruka Institute exhibit decides to call Handa back home. Handa then calls Kawafuji to inform him of his return before heading out to a local festival with his neighbours and enjoys his time there, never having gone to one before. When Handa finally manages to muster up the courage to tell the group that he’ll be leaving, the fireworks begin, cutting him off and killing the chances of Handa telling them. Unable to tell anyone, Handa leaves the next morning.
2. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April) – Sneaking into the Pool Area (Ep 12)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Arima Kousei is a musical prodigy who after the death of his mother who was also his teacher, lost the ability to hear his own piano playing. Ten years after his mother’s death, Kousei avoids the piano at all costs, until he meets the passionate violinist Miyazono Kaori, who aims to force Kousei out of his rut and back into the world of music. Will Kousei be able to recover and find the passion for music he lost many years ago?
On the night before the Gala concert where Kousei and Kaori would be performing, Kashiwagi, Tsubaki, Watari, Kousei and Kaori sneak into the pool area to light firecrackers after Kaori exclaims during her afternoon practice that she wants to see fireworks. Kashiwagi, as the three of them are holding sparklers, makes idle chat by asking both Kousei and Kaori if they intend to go into the musical career track after school. At which point Kaori’s somewhat crestfallen face is put into focus, her sparkler dies and she says “I’m not thinking about the future just yet.” Official death flag? Perhaps.
1. Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name) – Itomori’s Destruction
- Episodes: 1 (film)
- Aired: August 2016
Miyamizu Mitsuha is a high school girl who lives in the countryside who had always wished to live the city life in Tokyo. Meanwhile, a boy her age named Tachibana Taki lives a fairly ordinary life in Japan’s capital. One day, Mitsuha wakes up in an unfamiliar room and comes to the realisation that she is in Tokyo as she’d always dreamed, but in Taki’s body! It turns out that every so often, the two of them swap bodies and live each other’s lives. In order to find out exactly why this body swapping phenomenon occurs, the two begin to search for each other within the twisting, convoluted fabric of time.
Itomori Village, where Mitsuha lives hosts an annual festival where villagers come together and enjoy themselves, and this year’s festival bears special significance in that it coincides with the time at which an upcoming comet will be the most visible in the night sky. While not a firework in the traditional sense, the comet illuminates the night sky in true firework fashion… before breaking into two parts and decimating the entire village of Itomori, killing the majority of the villagers. At least they went out with a bang!
Fireworks have become a necessity in human society as they have a strange ability to set the scene and hold people’s attention as they climb, illuminate the sky in dozens of pretty colours before disappearing from view entirely. In anime, fireworks are often used as a plot device, especially in romantic settings in order to set the scene for the characters. That being said, such scenes are in abundance and as a result, it is simply impossible to mention them all. That’s where you come in: drop a comment below on your favourite fireworks scenes in anime; you never know, they may one day be used to illuminate Honey’s Anime too!