- Alt. Name
- Cider no You ni Kotoba ga Wakiagaru
- Release Date
- July 2021
- 1 hr. 27 min.
- Signal.MD & Sublimation
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is a 2021 Coming-of-age Romance anime film from Japanese animation studios Signal.MD and Sublimation. For viewers who are having a hard time remembering these two studios, Signal.MD has created Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Birthday Wonderland, and Napping Princess. Now for Sublimation, they haven’t made anything remarkable to be discussed. With these two studios combined, can they create something spectacular and entertaining enough to keep their viewers watching? Though when it comes to a coming-of-age story, there will be pitfalls within itself, but will this film aim to improve those or go after the easy cash grab that’s aimed for the early teenagers viewing this film?
Words and music bridge the gap between Cherry, a boy who is terrible at communicating with other people, and Smile, a girl who hides behind a mask. They meet in a mundane suburban shopping mall in a provincial city. Cherry always wears headphones and puts the feelings he cannot utter into his hobby, Japanese haiku poems. Smile always wears a mask to conceal her prominent front teeth, for which she has dental braces. As a famous video star, she streams a video about seeking “cuteness.” Though what they both find is something that they shall never forget.
On paper, this film’s story can be easily summed up in a single paragraph, which usually tends to be negative. Though Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop somehow beat that negative stereotype and created an excellent teenage romance film. The main characters within this film are easily relatable for viewers, young and old, but what makes this story better than what one may expect is that the film spoon-feeds its flaws realistically. One can quickly tell that the writing team behind this film have mastered their craft, which is no surprise when during the credits they see the name Dai Sato whose written scripts for series such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Eureka Seven and so much more.
Another positive within Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop’s story is that even though the film is classified as a romance anime, the story doesn’t feel like one. The film has all the makings of being a generic teen romance anime, but they use those elements sparingly until the end when it’s at its crescendo. While the story is packed with a solid roadmap of events, that map leads to evenly separating each event. Having a well-paced story and its events not loosely strung together is well appreciated for any teen film, animated or not.
When it comes to the negatives within this film, there weren’t as many as one would assume. The writing within this story is less of a romance film and more of a slice of life, so if some viewers were expecting more romance, this might not be the film for them. While the writing is better than many other coming-of-age films, this film can easily be missed due to the slow build-up, which may turn people away. But if they get past the first half-hour mark, they’ll be hooked in the entire film.
When it comes to the art style of this film, the art might turn people away the first time watching. But this film has an exciting and rememberable art style similar to The Night is Short, Walk On Girl with the vibrant colors and less detailed animation. When a film purposely uses a less complicated animation, it can easily backfire on the studio, especially if the project is original. But Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop created something better than ninety percent of original works created within the last few years. This artistic style is the character design, which is also no surprise when the Character Designer is Yukiko Aikei. If their name does not ring any bells, then their character designs likely will; they’ve created designs for Your Lie in April, Accel World, and Aikatsu Stars!
Even more outstanding is that the animation production within this film was almost on another level. The musical tone was undoubtedly one of the most peaceful elements within the film; there is very little music, which tends to be hit or miss with some viewers. However, this film didn’t need a massive original soundtrack; it worked exceptionally well with the minimal original musical numbers. The subtle musical notes add more depth to the many themes throughout the film, which is shockingly unexpected coming from a director making their theatrical debut.
Having a film that focuses on the importance of being subtle with the fine details worked marvelously with them. A slight off-the-cuff quote from one section of the film being used later on is nothing new, but when it’s done without being brought attention to what is going on is what makes Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop so magical and memorable. The team behind this film had shown their craft and dedication to creating something uncommon in the modern era of animation, let alone anime.
When it comes to this film’s cast of characters, they went full force in a good mix of the different kinds of them. Yuki, who’s better known as Smile, is the main female character. She is a sixteen-year-old high school student whose very self-conscious about her teeth. So to counter-react her self-consciousness, Smile wears a mask to hide her teeth. Though she is only a high school student, she is a very popular streamer and one of the most popular on the “Curio Live” platform. Her personality is best summed up as being very bright and talkative, though when she starts to get self-conscious, that personality slowly starts to fade.
Yui Sakura, better known as Cherry, is the main male character. He is a seventeen-year-old high school student who enjoys writing haikus. He is not the best at socializing with people, and Cherry tends to use haiku as an emotional outlet, even posting his work on a platform called “Curiosity.” Since Yui’s last name is Sakura, his friends and acquaintances often call him Cherry, which is a direct translation to ‘cherry blossoms’ in the English language. Unlike Smile’s personality, Cherry often gets nervous and blushes very easily, making it almost impossible to speak to others. He usually is seen wearing headphones but doesn’t listen to anything while wearing them. This is also so people won’t talk to him. He is best described as mature and collected in nature but is still at heart a teenage boy who’s just coming into the world.
Castor, who’s better known as Beaver, is one of Cherry’s friends. He is a bright Latino boy and can read Japanese, but he isn’t too good at writing it and often makes mistakes. To improve his low writing skill, one of Beaver’s hobbies has been scribbling Cherry’s Haiku as graffiti all over the entire city. On the outside, Beaver seems to be a young delinquent who enjoys stealing things from stores and often ends with security chasing him in some way. But on the inside, he enjoys spending time with his friends Japan and Cherry and will do anything to help them or anyone whenever they need help.
Though one of the funnier characters within this film is Mr. Fujiyama, he is an elderly man who attends “Yodamari” and is a haiku master. Due to him being deaf, he speaks extremely loudly, and in addition to this, he is very forgetful. He doesn’t have much depth as some of the characters in the film, howe the viewers will know when it’s his time to shine. However, outside of these characters, there isn’t anyone noteworthy of a mention. Though with this shortlist of characters mentioned, each one of them packs a different punch to the viewers, and they’re all in a good way.
Throughout this film, the viewer will realize that this film looks like a standard coming-of-age teen movie, but once the blindfold is taken off, they see the beauty that this film is. The story is entertaining and will captivate its audiences and keep them in their world until the film’s very end. The art style is unique and colorful, which is a plus, but the characters make this film come alive. Whether the viewer is watching this in the original Japanese language with English subtitles or the English voice actor version, both are equally as entertaining and beautiful. Don’t pass this masterpiece of a film, and you won’t regret watching this beauty of a movie!
Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.