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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Anime Review: SUMMER WARS

Kinda late post for my review of this Anime movie. Well, here goes...

SUMMER WARS Movie posterSUMMER WARS

Format:
Movie
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Art Direction: Youji Takeshige
Character Design: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Screenplay: Satoko Okudera
Music: Akihiko Matsumoto
Animation Studio: MAD HOUSE
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Japan
Date Shown: August 1, 2009

SUMMARY:

What if your Social Networking site controls everything that you do, meaning your average daily life, your daily activities, everything until the system goes haywire by a hacking AI program is on the loose and destroying everything, affecting our way of living in the real world. This is the story of SUMMER WARS.

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SUMMER WARS tells the tale of Kenji Koiso, a math genius who is part time working as a moderator of OZ; a world class virtual Social Networking site that controls most of the everyday lives of people who are registered online on OZ. One day, he was offered a "part-time job" by his senior and crush Natsuki to accompany in her hometown of Ueda, Nagano Prefecture to celebrate her great-grandmother Sakae's 90th birthday. Kenji is shocked when he learned about the part-time job Natsuki offered: to pretend to be her fiance in front of her grandmother and her family. While Kenji is pretending and adjusting to Natsuki's extended family and jealousy at Natsuki's crush and uncle Wabisuke, a mysterious e-mail was sent to him; a math problem which he able to solve it. A sudden turn of events which lead Kenji to be framed for the responsible for hacking into OZ; stolen millions of accounts and caused a major catastrophe to the user's real-world activities connected within the OZ network. Kenji's friend Sakuma learned the haywire was caused by a hacking A.I. called Love Machine which has an ability to gain knowledge. With a threat increasing within OZ affecting the real world, Kenji stands up and convinces Natsuki's family to fight back Love Machine before it gravely affects the real-world.

REVIEW:

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Directed by Mamoru Hosoda (Digimon Adventure The Movie 1 & 2 and The Girl who Leapt Through Time), SUMMER WARS tackles with the popularity of Blogs and Social networking sites such as Facebook, Friendster, Myspace and others. Hosoda visualized this movie as if our social networking sites now interacts with our business and daily activities in the real world. Though he used the same theme of having a hacking program on the loose wrecking havoc, Love Machine's role is similar to Diablomon's role in Hosoda's previous work, Digimon Adventure Movie 2: Our War Game.

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Most of the entire movie was in 2D animation, it also has CG animation in it especially the OZ virtual environment scenes, the CG in the movie is absolutely stunning as if you're traveling in a virtual world of OZ. The 2D animation background isn't left out either, it is remarkably drawn beautifully. Character designs are done by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion, FLCL, .hack//SIGN). The characters in the movie well-drawn and fits to each character's role. Interaction with the characters though sometimes a little overacting, but overall its okay and enjoyable to watch, mostly the comedic scenes.

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SUMMER WARS screen caps 03Though the overall plot of SUMMER WARS focuses on the popularity of the internet and Social Networking Sites, it also focuses on a boy from being shy to becoming a hero who stood up to do what is right. Family is also focused in the storyline as well. Kenji learned from his summer trip to Natsuki's home the joy and warmth of a family; a thing he never had on his own parents. It deals rivalry and issues within Natsuki's family as well; no matter how many times they fought one another, the bonds of a family stays strong. Every scene in SUMMER WARS is well balanced: from light comedy to heartwarming drama to action, it will not bore you in fact its fun and enjoyable to watch especially the hilarious and cheesy moments of the movie.

THE VERDICT

I would highly recommend this film not just for people who loves going to Social Networking sites but also for the whole family. I now know why this film is critically acclaimed and won several international awards, it is an enjoyable experience in watching it. Hosoda's directing in this movie is rather innovative and entertaining.

I would give SUMMER WARS a rating of 9 out of 10 stars.

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FUN FACT: SUMMER WARS used a lot of popular brands throughout the entire movie. Sony, DELL, Microsoft, Isuzu, Apple's Iphone, Nintendo's DS Lite are a few brands that can be seen.

To view larger images, kindly click on the screen caps.

2 comments:

Boris said...

I haven't watched Digimon Adventure Movie 2: Our War Game yet but what I do love Summer Wars.

And it is well balanced. A movie for the whole family :D

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