‘Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop’ explores poetry and love in the digital era

Looking for something to cheer you up?  “Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop” is Japan’s newest animated film, simultaneously released in the country’s theatres and via Netflix worldwide last July 22. This whirlwind summer romance is exactly what you need to chase those clouds straight away.

Set in a provincial city, Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (サイダーのように言葉が湧き上がる)  tells the story of two teenagers who frequent the local mall. Cherry, a shy boy seen to be always wearing headphones, works at the mall’s care facility for the elderly. Smile, a mask-wearing streamer who hates her buck teeth, has her dental appointments at the local mall as well.

Due to a small incident, the two accidentally switch their phones. This begins their series of interactions that eventually bloom into the first spark of young love. But what happens to this newfound spark if one of them has to move far away?

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop

“Yamazakura, I like the leaves that you’ve hidden.”

This anime gives a unique take on teen romance as it joins poetry, modernity, and the small-town life together into one brief summer. The male lead uses haiku (Japanese poetry with three lines divided into 5-7-5 syllables typically about nature) to express his feelings due to his timid demeanor. He posts his haikus on his social media account. The poetry in this film complements the story, showing how Cherry’s feelings develop.

Since their fateful meeting, both characters mostly grow their interest in each other online. Cherry looks forward to watching Smile’s livestreams, while Smile continuously likes the poetry that Cherry posts. The hesitant interactions slowly build up their untold affections until the climactic scene, which would explain the film’s title.

“There are so many looking down below. Summer has arrived.”

The most captivating quality of the anime is its bright and fun art style that is definitely something to look forward to. Giving off sweet summer vibes, the colors that they used really pop and make the film full of vibrant, youthful energy.

“Words Like Soda” (shortened form) also incorporates a lot of camera movements in its animation, adding a different quality in terms of realism. With the colors, it gives life to the otherwise lowkey, slow-paced storytelling.

“The shopping mall melts in the evening sun.”

Aside from the main characters, there is also a good amount of interesting background characters in the mall that viewers will meet. One of which is Mr. Fujiyama, one of the elderly that goes to the facility Cherry works in. The old man shares the same love for haiku, and seems to be quite forgetful because of his age.

He carries around an empty record jacket, looking for the record supposed to be in it. This serves as the catalyst in the film, as it leads to Cherry and Smile working together closely to find it. Mr. Fujiyama’s story will surely tug at your heartstrings so you might want to prepare for that.

“Words bubble up like soda pop.”

All in all, “Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop” is a slowburn teen romance that follows the uncertainties of falling in love. Both of the main characters struggle with their own insecurities, yet they brave it nonetheless. Its subtle storytelling provides a foreground into the eventual bursting of feelings that will let the viewers feel exactly what the title means.

Hopefully, this anime will inspire the viewers, especially the youth, that love might just be worth taking a chance.

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