The series is set in the Edo period, during a time when the city magistrate decrees a rule of soberness -- all luxuries are forbidden. Which is a bit of a downer for Seikichi Tamaya, who makes fireworks -- he doesn't have customers anymore! This does not prevent him from secretly improving his recipes and trying them out at night, even though he has to be careful not to be caught by the constable who is always hovering around the 'row-house' where he lives.
And then one day, Seikichi meets Sora -- a girl who wants to go to the moon, and who asks Seikichi to build a firework that can reach that high. Of course, Seikichi can't turn a request like that down, and so the whole row-house is mobilised to help Sora.
But secretly, Sora is an alien who is sent from the base on the moon to apprehend a criminal -- also an alien. The criminal alien needs blood, and so there are lots of mysterious murders all around... Sora keeps her true identity a secret from Seikichi, but in the end she is found out after all -- by the leader of the magistrate's secret squad who lives in the same row-house! And the constable falls in love with the criminal alien and hides her, and then the magistrate catches everyone! And then a working space ship is found, which would allow the aliens to return, and the plot climaxes...
And then the series is only halfway. The plot just sort of runs out, and we get some episodes that feel like fillers -- except they're not fillers but sort of 'tacked on' to the end. And then the episodes were running out and so they needed a resolution -- and they came up with a complete deus ex machina 'solution'...
The comedy has its moments, but it's not laugh-aloud funny most of the time. In fact, I think the series would have been a much stronger offering if the comedy had been taken out and the writers had concentrated on the plot. But then again, it has to be said that things like a race over the waters of Edo with jet-powered barges makes for a couple of pretty cool scenes.
Visually, the series is kind of a mixed bag. There are some really detailed character designs (Sora, the aliens, Seikichi's younger brother) but most of the secondary characters are drawn really simplistic, which is kind of jarring if you see them next to eachother.
The music, what of it there is, is pretty cool -- especially the ska-like opening theme.
- Very interesting plot during the first half;
- Main characters are decently animated;
- Pulls off quite a few spectacular stunts.
- Completely putters out in the second half.
It's not a bad series, but I liked the first half much better, when they still had an actual plot and some intrigue. I'll give it a 6.5 -- the second half kind of kills the excitement.