Hanabi / 花火: “fireworks”
This year, Oku Hanako released a re-recorded version of her indies single, “Hanabi”, in honour of her 10th anniversary as a major artist. This brings “Hanabi” up to three versions: the original hikigatari version, the arranged version, and this one. Not counting live versions, the only other song that I can think of that has this many versions is Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星.
The music video is nice to look at and it helps visualize the song’s meaning. I find it interesting how it combines traditional watercolour drawings with computer-made effects. It makes the video seem like it’s in 3D space, but at the same time, it still retains that 2D feel. What stood out for me were the numerous fireworks (for obvious reasons) and how the two met up in yukata (as is customary for watching fireworks, but it stood out for me because of Rosanne’s translation notes).
How does this version compare to the original hikigatari and arranged versions? I would describe this as the hikigatari version with strings. It retains the basic feel of that version and fills in the “gaps” with extra instruments. As expected, Oku Hanako restricts herself a little more with her more “cutesy” voice, but it’s not as striking as it was for the new version of Gekkou / 月光 and I don’t think it’s detrimental at all to the song.
To those who like the hikigatari the best, the arrangement may be somewhat distracting. While I think that some of the arrangement could be toned down a bit (e.g. some strings parts could be less fancy), I think the arrangement carries the emotion well and provides some really nice counter-melodies. However, I will agree that I think the emotion was best expressed in the hikigatari version. Perhaps the best example to highlight the difference is the part coming out of the interlude and into the last stanza.
Overall, I think it’s a very nice version and I’ll continue to enjoy it alongside the others.