When timid eleventh-grader and math genius Kenji Koiso is asked by older student and secret crush Natsuki to come with her to her family’s Nagano home for a summer job, he agrees without hesitation. Natsuki’s family, the Jinnouchi clan, dates back to the Muromachi era, and they’ve all come together to celebrate the 90th birthday of the spunky matriarch of the family, Sakae. That’s when Kenji discovers his “summer job” is to pretend to be Natsuki’s fiancé and dance with her at the birthday celebration. As Kenji attempts to keep up with Natsuki’s act around her family, he receives a strange math problem on his cell phone which, being a math genius, he can’t resist solving. As it turns out, the solution to the mysterious equation causes a hijacking of the social networking site through which most of the world’s social and business traffic flows.
Warnings – there may be spoilers ahead. I don’t think I have the talent to ramble about an anime without providing references to it.
This is another great piece from Hosoda Mamoru. His first work posted in this blog is The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The guy really knows how to connect his work with the audience. I’ve seen three of his movies to date. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island, and this – the highly acclaimed Summer Wars.
The war mentioned in Summer Wars probably refers to the online war fought in August. August is in summer right? I live in a country with tropical climate so I’m not really familiar with the goings of the four seasons. Tee-hee! Anyways, that’s a wild guess. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I’m always open to suggestions.
This is definitely a family movie. Tons of stuff happening in here reflects unity of family. In this case, Natsuki’s large family. There are a lot of coincidental events which leads to Summer Wars. It’s a coincidence that the creator of “Love Machine” is Natsuki’s uncle, Wabisuke. It’s a coincidence that the Math genius, Kenji won the rock-paper-scissor game for the part-time job with Natsuki. It’s a coincidence that King Kazma, the mighty warrior in Oz, is related to Natsuki. It’s a coincidence that the satellite will fall right on top of Natsuki’s home. Because all these coincidences, Natsuki’s family is able to fight the war. Any less of them, they’ll definitely not make it. If I were to put it in another perspective, I’d say – either Natsuki’s family is lucky or they are damn unlucky. Since they get all the excitement, so I’m guessing it’s lucky. Alright, cut the crap. But I should repeat this – if there are no such coincidences, perhaps Summer Wars wouldn’t be as interesting.
I’m certainly fascinated with the Oz concept introduced here. I think the real world pretty much will have this sort of virtual interaction soon or we may already have it. It’s quite similar to Second Life no? I’ve never personally played the online game before so I don’t really know. Honestly, this movie it sort of tell us the danger of over-relying on Internet for our daily activities and the danger of disclosing too much personal information online. It showed the negative side effects Internet had when things start going out of control. If pre-cautions from the government or anyone, for that matter, aren’t good enough for people to take it seriously, perhaps watching Summer Wars can help bring to light what they couldn’t comprehend. It’s no fun getting hacked. That’s for sure. I’ve been there. I felt my entire moves are being watched and controlled. Bleh!
As mentioned earlier, this anime can be seen as sending out the message of the importance of family. Natsuki’s family is huge. There are a lot of members and is very traditional by how they run the family. It’s probably matriarch since some of the male relatives felt themselves unappreciated and undervalued in the family. It’s also a very powerful family. Grandma has a strong network of contacts while the men seems to be playing important roles in their respective fields. Speaking of Grandma, she’s quite the character. She carries herself well and is very encouraging to others. She’s very positive and only thinks for the benefit of her family and others. She’s very forgiving too, seeing how she’s willing to accept Wabisuke despite of what he had done.
It’s overwhelming to see the unity displayed by Natsuki’s family. Together they play, together they fight. Together they laugh, together they cry. Yes, Wabisuke included, and even Kenji. I find her family extremely cute at times. I chuckled a few times when I saw how they do things together. The will of doing everything together is just wonderful, and perhaps a trait that is diminishing amongst us.
I think I’ve said enough about what I think of the plot and the characters. But what about other elements that also contributes to a good anime movie? The art is good except for the character designs. They’re well-developed, of course. It’s just not my cup of tea. I gotta say the music is fascinating!! I bet a lot of effort has been invested in the music department. So yeah, the whole package is quite excellent!
Looks like I’ve showered Summer Wars with nothing but praises. Not so fast! Summer Wars has its share of boring scenes. It’s about two hours and had a lot of “pause” moments. I guess these isn’t big a deal when the movie overall gave me a certain fulfillment in watching it. In conclusion, Summer Wars – A-OK!