Stunningly skillful creations have some saying they look like they’re projection mapped, but it’s all master-level pyrotechnics.

Having grown up in the U.S., before I came to Japan I was used to fireworks being a sideshow, a little bit of extra fun after professional sports games or a day at the county fair or an amusement park. But for hanabi taikai, as fireworks festivals are called in Japan, the fireworks themselves are the main attraction.

The biggest summertime fireworks draw hundreds of thousands of spectators, and with so many people in attendance, a fleeting flash of color in the sky isn’t going to cut it. Japan’s fireworks makers want to give them a show to remember, which brings us to this amazing video from Twitter user @takoyakioko.

After the initial pop, a ring of contrasting color makes its way across and around the sphere of sparks, almost making them look like they’re being projection mapped as they light up the summer night. The most impressive ones show up at the video’s 20-second mark, with a secondary core that light up before dissipating just as new colors flash along the outer edge of the explosion.

@takoyakioko shot the video at the Akagawa Fireworks Festival, which was held last Saturday in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture. The jaw-dropping fireworks themselves, though, come from Yamanashi Prefecture, home of fireworks manufacturer Marugo. The company specializes in staggered luminescence-style fireworks (jikansa hakkou shiki hanabi), and while it’s mum on the exact materials and shell-packing techniques it uses to produce the animated visual effect, the video has won Marugo plenty of new fans, who’ve quickly given the brief clip nearly two million views.

Also taking part in the festival was Tamuraenka, a fireworks producer from Chino, Nagano Prefecture, which showed off an incredible creation of its own, called the Moving Star.

@takoyakioko’s video had other Twitter users gushing about the fireworks, leaving comments including:

“It looks like they have LEDs inside them.”
“I went to the Akagawa Fireworks Festival a few years back, but I didn’t see these then…going to have to make a point of going next time!”
“It’s like there was an update for fireworks.”
“You can also see them at the Shinmei Fireworks Festival in Nagano, where Marugo is based.”

▼ A longer video of the 2018 Akagawa festival

Sadly, with summer winding down most of Japan’s fireworks festivals are done, but there’s always next year to look forward to.

Source: Twitter/@takoyakioko via Jin
Top image: YouTube/hiramu55bocaboca

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he could watch fireworks every weekend without getting bored.