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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Summer Wars Rating and Review

Series: Summer Wars
Animation Studio: Madhouse
Original Run: 1 movie
English Licensor: Funimation Entertaiment
Adaptation of: N/A

Summary: The Internet is the key to the world. Well, that may depend on person to person but never the less, it has had a major impact on today's society. In the movie "Summer Wars", there is a system (or more so a virtual reality world) known as Oz, and it is connected to many aspects of the real world like navigation systems, and most computer systems. The story focuses on Kenji Koiso, a high school student who is gifted in mathematics and works as a low grade moderator to Oz. The story takes place during summer when Kenji's crush and upperclassman, Natsuki Shinohara, offers him a "job" to come with her to her family's place to help celebrate her grandmother's birthday. He agrees, but she has other things planned besides this. When they arrive, Natsuki introduces Kenji to her grandmother stating that he is her boyfriend. Kenji is utterly confused but goes along with it. She tells him that it's only temporary and she'll make up a break-up story later on. Kenji eventually meets the rest of her crazy family and discovers they have quite the history.

One night, after a lot of family drama and with quite a bit to think about, he gets a message on his phone that contains a very cryptic mathematic problem. Being a whiz at math, he solves it and types in an answer which he in return gets an oddly disturbing response. The next day things are getting chaotic in the world of Oz as something has hacked Kenji's account is is causing major problems in both the virtual and real world. As a result, Kenji is now a prime suspect is the developing case. The actual hacker isn't human but rather an A.I. known as "Love Machine", which was surprisingly created by Satsuki's computer expert uncle, who is the illegitimate son of her grandfather. With things going wrong across the country, everyone is in a panic but Natsuki's grandmother keeps a level head and decides to call up acquaintances that are high up in the Japanese society, as well as family members who serve in emergency services, to cheer them on, telling them to do their best. This helps calm down some of the chaos but in the meantime, Love Machine has stolen several million accounts, and takes notice to the Grandmother's deeds. It cuts off her heart monitoring system as she sleeps, by hacking into the account behind it.

Enraged with this, the Shinohara family, Kenji, along with his fellow moderator friend (Takashi), and Natsuki's cousin Kazuma Ikezawa, attempt to take Love Machine down in order to prevent any similar cases from happening. Doing so, Kenji discovers that Kazuma is actually a legendary fighting user on Oz known as "King Kazuma" (and looks like a rabbit). After a failed attempt to trapping/defeating Love Machine in an online fight, it sets a course of a satellite to fall to Earth on a nuclear power plant which would probably cause life on Earth cease to exist due to the after effects alone. King Kazuma attempts to fight Love Machine, which now has over 400 million accounts, again but fails and is absorbed into it.

Kenji observes that Love Machine sees everything as a type of game, and Natsuki challenges it to a Japanese card game called "koi-koi". She wagers her family's and other users' accounts, and ends up winning thus ceasing Love Machine's reign of terror over most of the accounts. However, as revenge, Love Machine sets the course of the satellite for the Shinohara home. Luckily, they have Kenji on their side, as he is a moderator and the mathematician. After racking his brain several times in attempt to hack into the satellite's system, he finally breaks through and changes the course to fall away from the house. In this time, the freed King Kazuma defeats Love Machine, thus deleting it. The family celebrates this great victory in honor of their grandmother and they suggest that Kenji and Natsuki get married in the future. The two are embarassed and attempt to kiss but the movie ends with Natsuki kissing Kenji on the cheek due to his nosebleed.

Great movie for both kids and adults, girls and guys, and so on. It is definitely a family movie and is expected to be released in the U.S. sometime this December in theaters (or so rumors go).

 A.I.'s Rating: 10/10

A.I.'s Review: I just recently saw this movie this past summer and I must say I was impressed. Usually, anime movies don't catch my eye or interest (besides the Miyazaki movies), but this one was definitely a good watch. The animation was gorgeous and the story was wonderful. I actually was entertained throughout the whole movie. The family's bond with each other was a driving force in the film and also its source of tension as Love Machine was created by an "illegitimate" family member. The Shinohara family reminded me of my mother's side as that's pretty much how it is big, and we're loud when we get together. 

What really impressed me though was the art. The design for the world of Oz and the avatars in it, impressed me to no end. Everything was so detailed and creative I literally said, "This would be awesome if the Internet looked like this." I also felt that the film provided several lessons. One being the importance of family and accepting everyone in it, even those relatives you can't stand. The other lesson I felt was taught was the all famous lesson on what could happen if humans rely on technology too much. I have to say I'm on the side that says, "Yeah, technology is great but don't rely on it too much." I mean, look what could happen when everything in the real world is connected to the virtual world of the Internet. 

"Summer Wars" has also been nominated for several film awards and won the 2010 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. I was also predicting that because of all the praise it was getting from around the globe, that it would be picked up by some English company, which I was right on, as it was announced at this year's Otakon that Funimation Entertainment got it. I'll probably go see it and be amazed again just by watching the scenes unfold on the big silver screen as opposed to my computer monitor. In all honesty, my summary doesn't even do the film its justice. In order to really get the story, you have to watch it as so many other details happen in it. I included a link to the movie's trailer on youtube with English subtitles below.

So I hope you guys will keep an eye out for this film and check it out if/when it comes to theatres. And I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did~! I'll see you guys next time!  

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