We live in a world where almost everything we do is connected to the Internet. From our phone numbers, to personal messages so much of our lives are out there for people to see at websites like Facebook. So what would happen if we put that all in one place?
What if the Internet was it’s own world that everyone interacted and lived their lives in someway in? Everything would be fast and efficient.
But what if everything went wrong? What if someone was able to steal all of our information?
This is the plot to Summer Wars.
Summer Wars revolves around a high school student named Kenji. Kenji is smart almost making it to the Math Olympics for Japan. During his summers he and his friend Takashi due maintenance on OZ, a kind of Internet on steroids.
Everything is done through OZ some how; from banking to important Missile launch codes they’re all somewhere in OZ.
However, when Natsuki, a popular and attractive friend of Kenji asks him for a favour he jumps at the chance to try something different. However he doesn’t really know what he’s in for.
What Natsuki doesn’t tell Kenji is that she wants him to pretend to be her boyfriend to lie to her 90 her old grandmother and the rest of her large family (I smell sitcom!).
The awkward sitcom action doesn’t last for long as Natsuki estranged cousin Wabisuke returns to the dismay of the family.
Later that night Kenji is texted a math program, being a nerd he solves it and goes back to sleep. When he wakes he finds that the math problem and his avatar was used to take over OZ. From there the program starts to eat up all the data it can and planes to drop a satellite onto earth.
Kenji, Takashi and a couple members of Natsuki’s family work to fight the evil hacking program called Love Machine from taking over and destroying the world.
If this sounds kind of familiar it’s because it is. Not only is it similar to the 80s classic War Games but the plot is very similar to the Digimon movie Our War Game, also known as the only good part of Digimon: The Movie.
Both the Digimon film and Summer Wars have the same director Mamoru Hosoda and the plot is used in both movies but in different ways.
While the Digimon film was used to extend the adventures of the DigiDestined this story is more about family values and lose. Summer Wars uses the plot to make a much better product.
All of the family members have their own character traits and seem different from each other. Sure some of them are useless but some of them are generally interesting and we learn to like them over the course of the show.
The voice acting is solid, as most of the English cast has been featured in other anime titles.
The films animation is great, as both the world of OZ and the real world both have their own distinct looks.
Every person in this movie has their own OZ avatar, and each of them looks different. While some are very obvious, such as the firefighter having a firetruck, they all look interesting.
The fight scenes are fluid and large in scale. However, the idea of switching from a seven-foot tall rabbit fighting a Dragon Ball Z reject to a character typing on a keyboard is a bit odd.
Making the fight scenes epic, is the movies score. All of the action scenes feel epic and large. Even the final battle that is a game of Koi-Koi (a Japanese Card Game) is intense.
A complaint that I have with the movie deals less with the technical side of things and more with it’s pacing. While the film’s beginning is fast and the ending is intense the middle parts can kind of drag as the plot more or less stops for periods of time.
The cool part of the Digimon version was that the story and action were tight and fast. While Summer Wars needs slower moments to kind of build back up and show us some more human moments, the film feels a bit to long in the middle.
Those human moments are interesting as writer Satoko Okudera (a frequent collaborator of Hosoda) makes most of the characters interesting.
In the end, Summer Wars is a fun and flashy anime film. It has some funny and heart warming moments that can be enjoyed by otuaku and non-anime fans alike (in fact the movie almost $20 Million Dollars during it’s international release), I highly recommend this film.
Summer Wars was produced by Studio Madhouse and Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and Funimation.