While it hasn’t been too long since we’ve seen a ballad A-side from Rina, HANABI actually sounds relatively good (especially given her last few albums been sounding). The arrangement sounds amazingly powerful that has a mix of guitars, piano, and strings. It’s always a great thing to see and Rina’s vocals don’t sound thin as they usually are which is another plus. Could it be Rina’s best ballad since “Nemurenu You ni”? I think so.
The B-side is also a ballad which isn’t as surprising I guess, but it kind of sounds like a nostalgic run-through to her other ballad that’s well known, “Kaze no Nai Umi de Dakishimete”. It’s alright, but it doesn’t hold as strong of a candle as “HANABI” did, but I did like the music box segments.
After having such a bad single with “MAGIC”, I think she came back quite nicely with HANABI which is a pretty strong ballad from her (and that’s saying a lot because her ballads aren’t at this calibur). That’s why we have Garden which just comes off as a bit plain, but still a nice listen. Let’s hope she doesn’t rush this era like she did with “THANX”.