Japanese Animated film, Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop, directed by Kyohei Ishiguro, plays like a serene melancholy. It renders short, crisp, and enchanting frames complemented with stirring poetry (Haiku). At heart, it is a tender love story between two different personalities who fill each other’s voids. The journey is their exploration of love and feeling towards each other.
Smile is a young online influencer who runs a video blog “Orange Sunshine” on Curio Curiosity’s social media app. The best thing about Smile is her Smile, evidently. As she enters the complicated teenage life, she gets conscious of her looks, especially her buck teeth. She gets braces to fix them, but the sight of braces depresses her further. Smile starts wearing a facemask to hide her flaws.
At Oda Nouvelle Mall, Smile accidentally crosses paths with another teenager, Cherry Sakura. Cherry writes short-form Japanese poems called Haiku and updates them on Curio but isn’t as famous as Smile. He is a shy and socially awkward kid who works as his mother’s substitute in an old age daycare center inside Nouvelle Mall. During Cherry and Smile’s accidental crash, their phones get swapped. Fate further designs a bond between them. They together help an old record seller, Mr. Fujiyama, to find his missing Yamazakura disc record.
Do Cherry and Smile find the Yamazakura Record?
The journey to find the Yamazakura Record strengthened Cherry and Smile’s relationship. Smile uploaded the record’s image on her CurioLive and sought help from her followers to find the missing label. One of them informed Smile that the radio tower on the cover is a landmark at Mt. Umafuse on the south side of Oda City.
When Cherry and Smile reached the location, they found out about the singer on the cover through an artifact ward. Sakura Fujiyama was a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Oda City who recorded the label Yamazakura. But the great revelations surprised them when they discovered that Sakura was Fujiyama’s wife. He opened the record store “Fujiyama” to sell Sakura’s records. Still, she died young while giving birth to their only daughter. Before dying, Mr. Fujiyama wanted to listen to his wife’s voice to remember her. At one moment, he spoke in a breaking tone that he can’t remember her, which can be a repercussion of his fading memory and old age.
While wrapping up the records in the Fujiyama store, Cherry found the missing Yamazakura Record. Still, before they could play it, Smile accidentally broke it. Cherry informed Smile that he was moving out of the city and thus, they would never be able to fulfill Mr. Fujiyama’s last wish. His wife’s record was not available anywhere else, and they lost the only missing piece. But Fujiyama searched for it in the mall and not in his store, which meant that another record was hidden somewhere in the mall.
On Daruma Festival Day, a worker at the old age daycare observed the broken Yamazakura Record. She curiously examined the firework artwork on the other side of the record. She revealed that the clock in the daycare had the same artwork. At last, Fujiyama found the missing record. Back in the past, the old age daycare center was a record-pressing factory where Fujiyama worked. Fujiyama had turned the record into a clock as a souvenir. Due to his fading memory, he couldn’t remember it. The record brought Fujiyama and Sakura together, and similarly would bring Cherry and Smile too, maybe?
‘Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop’ Ending Explained
In Yamazakura, “Yama” means mountain, and “Sakura” refers to cherry trees. A fan on Smile’s CurioLive told her that Mt. Umafuse is famous for its cherry blossoms. In his Haiku Trivia book, Cherry read that Yamazakura leaves grow before cherry blossoms, so people with buck teeth are referred to as Yamazakura. Like Smile, Fujiyama’s wife Sakura had the same buck teeth, and hence they were both Yamazakura.
A shy Cherry expressed his feelings for Smile through a Haiku he updated on Curio. He wrote, “Yamazakura, I like the leaves that you’ve hidden.” Indirectly, Cherry indicated that he adored Smile’s buck teeth, the thing she was conscious about. Nevertheless, Cherry was too nervous to confess his feelings directly to Smile.
When Cherry was leaving town with his parents, Beaver and Tough Guy motivated Cherry to confess his feelings. Cherry left the car and reached the Daruma Festival. Fujiyama pushed Cherry to be loud and brave about his sentiments. On the loudspeaker, Cherry confessed his love to Smile and loudly declared that he liked those cute teeth of Smile she had been hiding all along. Cherry’s strong passion influenced Smile to remove her facemask. She smiled and glittered at the void and vacuum between the two lovers.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop is a 2021 Romantic Animated Film directed by Kyohei Ishiguro.