Sparks fly with this much-maligned piece of pyrotechnics.

Summer is fast approaching in Japan which means it’s time to break out the fireworks and light up the sweltering night sky. Our writer Masanuki Sunakoma agrees, but when it comes to buying something he can’t help but browse the dregs of Amazon Japan to find the lowest-rated products around.

This time it led him to a peculiar item: the Rokumaru Damashi launching fireworks. Among the over 2,000 fireworks for sale, this one seems to be deemed the worst. The name “Rokumaru” means “6-0” and alludes to the promise that it “fires 60 red, greed, and yellow sparks in succession to a height of about 20 meters (66 feet),” and is “a force that will shake your soul.”

That all sounded good and even the package seemed to exude a certain level of quality. And yet on the Amazon page, there were reviews claiming “it only fired nine shots” and “half of them didn’t even fire.”

After buying his Rokumaru Damashi for 2,050 yen (US$14), Masanuki decided to do a little research on fireworks to see what he should expect. He learned that with these kinds of consecutive fireworks, the larger the number of shots, the smaller each burst tends to be. Also, since it’s essentially dealing with explosives, it’s hard to predict how many shots you can get with accuracy.

Even the package had a disclaimer that read: “Because the sparks are designed to shoot up at the same time, it might be difficult to confirm 60 shots in a row.”

Still, nine out of 60 was pretty far out of the realm of expectation, so he could understand why other customers would be upset.

This was going to be one of Masanuki’s hardest product reviews to date. Even the product itself was telling him that he probably wouldn’t be able to count the number of shots accurately, but he was going to try anyway…

He set his Roumaru Damashi up in an empty lot even more secluded that his normal product-testing empty lot and lit the fuse…

Masanuki: “Oh crap!”

Masanuki: “What the…”

Masanuki: “Dammit!”

Masanuki tried to take as many photos of the launch as he could, but they were all firing off a lot more rapidly than he expected and he couldn’t snap photos fast enough to keep up. He fumbled with the settings to switch to video partway through.

Just based on his gut instinct from watching it, he’d have guessed that around 37 to 40 rockets had gone off.

However, reviewing the video at a slower speed, he noticed that there were some additional shots that he couldn’t catch with the naked eye.

So, in a part where he had counted seven or eight shots at the time, he saw 10 go off in the video because two went off at once. This meant that 60 shots was probably not an exaggeration at all.

Meanwhile, Masanuki had been so focused on the launch port that he never had a chance to actually look up at the fireworks in the sky. There could have been a gorgeously sparkling array of red, green, and yellow 20 meters above him, but he wouldn’t have known.

It was a reminder that we shouldn’t get hung up on technical details like the specific number of shots the Rokumaru Damashi fires on average. In doing so we might miss out on something beautiful happening right over our heads.

Masanuki hopes you agree, because then you wouldn’t be too upset that he botched this review and couldn’t get an accurate count of shots or a good look at the results. It didn’t seem like a bad firework though, and probably better than the reviews suggest. It was certainly better than Pop’s Fart-loon, but that isn’t saying much.

Related: Amazon Japan / Rokumaru Damashi Launching Fireworks
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