Summer Wars is the latest anime to be directed by Mamoru Hosudo, who happened to also direct the award winning film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. That animated film was one of my favourite in recent years. Now Mr Hosudo has done it again with Summer Wars.It is very rare for a film to have that feel good vibe. I remember mentioning it to a few friends of mine and even blogged about it that there are only a small handful of films that i have watched over the past 5 years or so that truly made me feel good after watching the entire film. Remember when the whole world was buzzing with excitement on Slumdog Millionaire? Well, just like that movie and, The Pianist, The Girl Who Leapt Through time and now Summer Wars has joined the list of movies that is truly heartfelt, inspiring and feels good after watching it.
I totally did not expect it to be this good, hell, i wasnt expecting Summer Wars to be even better that the previous film directed by Mr Hosudo.
The story starts off by introducing the viewers to the world of OZ. In OZ, it is a huge virtual reality realm where you can do anything and everything down there. Users will create an avatar, and with that you can do your daily activities there, from paying taxes, to government administration, to your job, to shopping and beyond. Its like a mega cloud computing in its full realisation, to the point where even mega corporations are depending it for the smooth operations of their companies. In short, it has became so intergrated with people’s life that an abruption to these services may have a dangerous impact to human activities in the real world. Much like social networking and the Internet, this OZ has taken one step further.
So here comes a normal teenager, Kenji Koiso who is a genius in mathematics and was asked by this sweet girl, Natsuki Shinohara, to accompany her back to her family to celebrate her granny’s birthday. Little did he know that Natsuki had set Kenji up, by telling him to pretend that they were a lovely couple, just to appease her grandmother during the trip back home.
While at their granny’s home, Kenji was introduced to the entire family, a very huge one and he learned that her family is kinda noble and deep rooted in traditions, in a good way, such that he could see the tight family bonds and have held this family for generations. Days passed and he starts to enjoy being in the company of her family because he came from a broken family and feels lonely most of the time. This family bonded made him feel warm and attached and attached to them.
So one day, he received a mysterious email from his cellphone in the middle of the night containing numbers. He solved it and craked the code contained within and sends it back to the mysterious person. But the next morning he found out that he was a wanted man for breaking the world’s toughest security code: The OZ security infrastructure.With his account and avatar being hacked and hijacked by a mysterious A.I. it began wreaking havoc in the virtual world, literally grinds the world to a halt, from traffic lights, to emergency systems to government administrations that the people have come to depend on.
Love Machine as the A.I was called, began hijacking more and more account to become more powerful to the point that he gains control of a satellite and targeted a nuclear reactor to send it crashing down to cause a nuclear fallout.
Kenji, together with Wabisuke, the bastard child of the family ( and who also created the A.I. but the US government responsible for deploying it in OZ) and the rest of Natsuki’s family members tried very hard to avert this disaster. Thus a great online war took place during summer. Hence, Summer Wars.
The film may look futuristic, but it is deep rooted with a central theme: Family. Throughout the film, this theme is repeated many times, the strong bond of family, the power and the strong willed granny that so many of them came to respect over the years that united the entire family together even in times of crisis and the deep rooted family history of a long line of ancestral Japanese warriors that they have come to honor and respect.
This sense of belonging what made Kenji very uncomfortable at first because he didnt have such a thing in his life back at home, and you see Kenji feel very alienated in the beginning. Although a facade set up by Natsuki to lie to her granny that its his boyfriend, soon they found out the lie still they never doubted him to be a good person. When granny died days before her birthday, the entire family was devastated and divided. Some want to hold the funeral as a number one priority, while other insist that they try to stop the menace in OZ from creating any more damage, saving others to save them, as granny always says. But Kenji, through his timidness, manage to rally all of them together for a single goal, and that is to stop Love Machine in bringing the satellite from crashing down. Everyone tried their hardest and with granny’s wise words and guidance, they managed to defeat the A.I, saving the world.
This movie is almost 2 hours, but i enjoyed every moment it. The animations are fantastic and characters are believable and varied. The virtual world a pleasing to look at and its concepts, are out of this world. I seriously recommend anyone with a love of animation to check this out. Trailer and Theme Song are below: