Marketed as a project from a producer of “Your Name” — Japan’s highest-grossing film of 2016 — “Fireworks,” as anime features go, plays more like a slot-filler than a movie destined to set the sky ablaze. (The movie credits two directors in different capacities: Akiyuki Shinbo as chief director and Nobuyuki Takeuchi as director.) Though the premise is taken from a live-action television film, the story seems well suited to the free-form possibilities of animation. The unrealized potential makes the rote line style and stagnant backdrops seem all the blander.
The plot is as old as junior high school: Two schoolboy friends, Norimichi (Masaki Suda) and Yusuke (Mamoru Miyano), have a crush on the same girl, Nazuna (Suzu Hirose). She asks Yusuke on a date but ends up spending time with Norimichi when Yusuke stands her up.
The pair’s time together is disrupted, though, and could never last long, anyway: Nazuna is about to move away. But at the beach, she has found a magic orb (described in the subtitled version as a ball, though it looks like a marble at first). Norimichi discovers that if he throws it and makes a wish, he can turn back time to earlier in the day to relive events with improved outcomes.
But “Fireworks” doesn’t turn into “Groundhog Day.” After a few second chances, the couple begin to appreciate the time they have and perhaps recognize the importance of perspective in defining how we see the world. (In a subplot, the schoolboys argue over the basic shape of fireworks.) Both morals are too trite to qualify as revelations.
Not rated. In Japanese, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.