[Anime] Summer Wars

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[Anime] Summer Wars

Postby ANIMENIAC78 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:09 am

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Summer Wars
Release date: August 1, 2009
Director(s): Mamoru Hosoda
Animation Studio: MADhouse Studios
Run Time: 114 Minutes

Overview:
From the staff of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time comes a story of generations, and the advantages, and disadvantages of technology.

Story: 10/10
In the near future, the world is connected through an online community system called “OZ.” Within OZ, people can chat, conduct business, compete in martial arts tournaments, and more through the use of personally created avatars. OZ has become so popular, that even municipal services, like trains and GPS systems, use OZ for navigation.

Our story revolves around Kenji Koiso (a 17-year-old high school student with the ability to easily decode any puzzle, and a part-time system manager for OZ) Natsuki Shinohara (Kenji’s one-year-older senior) and her family (which has members all over Tokyo). One day, Natsuki invites either Kenji, or his friend Takashi Sakuma (also a part-time system manager for OZ), to undertake a “part-time job.” After a game of rock-paper-scissors, Kenji wins to take the job, but finds out that the job is to pretend to be Natsuki’s boyfriend as she returns to her family’s home for her grandmother’s 90th birthday. But, things go wrong as Kenji is sent a mysterious text message on his cell phone containing a code with the title, “Solve Me.” After Kenji solves and sends it, the message turns out to be an AI virus that immediately infects OZ, and Kenji is blamed for the mishap. Who exactly sent the message? And how will OZ be restored to its normal state?

Although my summary focused on the technological aspect of the movie, Summer Wars is truly about the difference in Japanese generations, and how one has its advantages over the other. On top of that is the closeness that families share, not only in Japan, but around the world. This movie truly had touching moments, which I don’t want to spoil, but it almost brought me to tears at times. There are definitely things that are for Japanese audiences only, like Koikoi (an ancient Japanese card game usually played around New Years).

Animation: 8/10

Character designs are provided by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (The Girl That Leapt Through Time, Neon Genesis Evangelion). The backgrounds and character designs are great, but there were times of QUALITY here and there. However, each character on the screen has a different expression showing off individuality, which makes it easy to distinguish between characters, since there are a lot of characters. That being said, it was still hard to tell the difference between who was who, as Sadamoto uses similar face designs for all his characters. Kenji definitely looked like a male version of Makoto Konno (the main character of The Girl That Leapt Through Time). I also wish that the virtual world of OZ had a little bit more characteristics. For a system that connects the entire world, there didn’t seem like much to do, or that many avatars floating around.

Sound: 7/10

The sound is very natural to everyday life. However, there were sounds that I found were ominously missing for it being summertime in Japan, mainly the chirps of the cicadas, which we hear at the end of the 1:51 trailer. The area around the Shinohara family’s house is very quiet.

Another problem is lip-synching, which was off at a lot of times. It’s pretty much inexcusable in this day of age for a feature-length movie of this caliber to have problems in lip-synching. That being said, the voices were spectacular, and captured the characteristics of everyone perfectly. Kenji Koiso’s voice is provided by Kamiki Ryounosuke (Garden Breeze), and Nanami Sakuraba (Threads of Destiny) as Natsuki Shinohara.

Final Word:

Although enjoyable, Summer Wars falls short of the expectations put on Mamoru Hosoda and crew after the success of The Girl That Leapt Through Time. There were issues with voices synching to characters now and then, few animation stumbles, and some cultural differences that only one with knowledge in Japanese background will understand. However, the message of family and the changing generations is universal.

Final Score: 8.3/10
Last edited by ANIMENIAC78 on Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Anime] Summer Wars

Postby Tsuyoshi » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:30 pm

This is why I give you folks unlimited storage in the gallery. >_>
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Re: [Anime] Summer Wars

Postby ANIMENIAC78 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:06 pm

DFarthing wrote:This is why I give you folks unlimited storage in the gallery. >_>


Sorry, I was really lazy to upload since I wrote this at midnight, and was really tired.
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