Friday, February 18, 2011

Summer Wars

Summer Wars

Original title: Samā Wōzu

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda

Release Dates:

August 1st, 2009 Japan

December 3rd, 2010 U.S.

What do you get when you mix Facebook, Tron, and familiar elements of a rom-com? You get Summer Wars, the award winning anime from Madhouse Animation and the director of The Girl who Leapt through time.

In the near future, social networks have evolved into a system known as “OZ”, where everyone is online and everything is done through “OZ”; the system is so popular that users are known through their cartoonish avatars rather than by name. An “OZ” systems operator, Kenji Kioso, is a brilliant mathematician but would rather spent all his time through his online avatar. Kenji’s plans soon change as Natsuki Shinohara makes him a proposal to come with him to her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday in Nagano, Japan. What turns out to be a simple request spirals into a mess as it turns out Natsuki has claimed Kenji as her fiancé. At the same time, a mysterious AI program known as Love Machine is wreaking havoc on OZ and it may be up to Kenji and Natsuki’s eccentric family to save the online world!

Summer Wars is a fun, engaging comedy with some great moments peppered through that speak about the importance of family and finding one’s inner strength. I have to applaud the animation team for making each Jinnouchi clan member visually different from one another and to make all the aunts, uncles, and cousins vibrant and unique characters that the audience can fully enjoy. On to the story: it’s not for everyone, but it definitely applies to the current popular culture devoted to how much convenience and ease technology has on our lives. For example, the film cuts between moments in the real world and OZ with relative ease, as if both worlds coexist without much deliberation. Some may find the film’s frantic pace between a comedy of misunderstandings and a technological adventure strange, but I found the story to be very rewarding and that the balance between OZ and the real world adventures to be entertaining and rewarding to anime fans. Speaking of Oz, I genuinely must commend the animation staff for their innovative, mystifying design of the computer world. The cartoonish, exaggerated world of OZ is so beautiful to look at, it’s no wonder the whole world loves to log on.

Rating: * * * * ½ of 5

Click here to buy
Summer Wars

Summer Wars [Blu-ray]

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