Summer Wars (2009) Poster

Summer Wars (2009)

  • Rate: 7.6/10 total 4,179 votes 
  • Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
  • Release Date: 1 August 2009 (Japan)
  • Runtime: 114 min
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Summer Wars (2009)

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  • IMDb page: Summer Wars (2009)
  • Rate: 7.6/10 total 4,179 votes 
  • Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi
  • Release Date: 1 August 2009 (Japan)
  • Runtime: 114 min
  • Gross: $78,182(USA)(6 February 2011)
  • Director: Mamoru Hosoda
  • Stars: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba and Mitsuki Tanimura
  • Original Music By: Akihiko Matsumoto   
  • Soundtrack: Bokura no natsu no yume
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Birthday | Parallel World | Math | Matriarch | Kimono

Writing Credits By:

  • Mamoru Hosoda (story)
  • Satoko Okudera  screenplay

Known Trivia

  • Warner Brothers originally considered localizing the film themselves before licensing it off to FUNimation Entertainment.

Plot: A student tries to fix a problem he accidentally caused in OZ, a digital world, while pretending to be the fiancé of his friend in her grandmother's 90th birthday. Full summary »  »

Story: Kenji Koiso, an eleventh grade math genius, agrees to take a summer job at the Nagano hometown of his crush, Natuski. When he arrives, he finds that her family have reunited to celebrate the 90th birthday of the family matriarch. His job is to pretend to be Natsuki's fiancé. Meanwhile, his attempt to solve a mathematical equation causes a parallel world's collision with earth.Written by Chris Evans  

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Justin Cook known as producer: FUNimation
  • Gen Fukunaga known as executive producer: FUNimation
  • Carly Hunter known as producer: FUNimation
  • Shinichirou Inoue known as executive producer
  • Takuya Itô known as producer
  • Mike McFarland known as line producer: FUNimation
  • Seiji Okuda known as executive producer
  • Yuichiro Sato known as producer
  • Nozomu Takahashi known as producer
  • Takafumi Watanabe known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Ryûnosuke Kamiki known as Kenji Koiso (voice: Japanese version)
  • Nanami Sakuraba known as Natsuki Shinohara (voice: Japanese version)
  • Mitsuki Tanimura known as Kazuma Ikezawa (voice: Japanese version)
  • Takahiro Yokokawa known as Takashi Sakuma (voice: Japanese version)
  • Mieko Nobusawa known as Mariko Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Mutsumi Sasaki known as Kazuo Shinohara (voice: Japanese version)
  • Takashi Kobayashi known as Tasuke Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Yôji Tanaka known as Yorihiko Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Kiyomi Tanigawa known as Yukiko Shinohara (voice: Japanese version)
  • Hashiya Nakamura known as Kunihiko Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Sakiko Tamagawa known as Rika Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Kaori Yamagata known as Naomi Miwa (voice: Japanese version)
  • Takuya Kirimoto known as Riichi Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Mitsutaka Itakura known as Katsuhiko Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Tagame Tamura known as Kiyomi Ikezawa (voice: Japanese version)
  • Eiko Kanazawa known as Noriko Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Chigusa Takaku known as Nana Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Yutaka Shimizu known as Shota Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Naoto Adachi known as Ryohei Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Riisa Naka known as Yumi Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Sumire Morohoshi known as Mao Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Yuki Imai known as Shingo Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Rikito Ota known as Yuhei Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Hinano Minagawa known as Kana Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Ayumu Saitô known as Wabisuke Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Sumiko Fuji known as Sakae Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version)
  • Michael Sinterniklaas known as Kenji Koiso (voice: English version)
  • Brina Palencia known as Natsuki Shinohara (voice: English version)
  • Pam Dougherty known as Sakae Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Todd Haberkorn known as Takashi Sakuma (voice: English version)
  • J. Michael Tatum known as Wabisuke Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Maxey Whitehead known as Kazuma Ikezawa (voice: English version)
  • John Swasey known as Mansuke Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Shelley Calene-Black known as Mariko Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Lydia Mackay known as Naomi Miwa (voice: English version)
  • Mike McFarland known as Shota Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Monica Rial known as Yumi Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Barry Yandell known as Mansaku Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Chuck Huber known as Riichi Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Cynthia Cranz known as Rika Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • John Burgmeier known as Tasuke Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Christopher Sabat known as Katsuhiko Jinnouchi (voice: English version) (as Christopher R. Sabat)
  • Robert McCollum known as Yorihiko Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Brittney Karbowski known as Yuhei Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Alison Viktorin known as Shingo Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Patrick Seitz known as Kunihiko Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Colleen Clinkenbeard known as Noriko Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Jennifer Seman known as Kiyomi Ikezawa (voice: English version)
  • Cherami Leigh known as Mao Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Caitlin Glass known as Nana Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Bill Jenkins known as Kazuo Shinohara (voice: English version)
  • Anastasia Munoz known as Yukiko Shinohara (voice: English version)
  • Jason Liebrecht known as Ryohei Jinnouchi (voice: English version)
  • Tia Lynn Ballard known as Kana Jinnouchi (voice: English version) (as Tia Ballard)
  • Alexis Tipton known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Joel McDonald known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Phil Parsons known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Liza Gonzalez known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Trina Nishimura known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Maeghan Albach known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Anthony Bowling known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Scott Freeman known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Mary Morgan known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • R. Bruce Elliott known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Chris Ayres known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Kara Edwards known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Chris Cason known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Sonny Strait known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Clarine Harp known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • John Gremillion known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Eric Vale known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Mark Stoddard known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Grant James known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Chris Burnett known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Greg Silva known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Stephanie Young known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Dave Trosko known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Jim Foronda known as Additional Voices (voice: English version)
  • Tobias Diakow known as Kenji Koiso (voice: German version)
  • Shin'ichi Hatori
  • Ichirô Nagai known as Mansuke Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version) (uncredited)
  • Tadashi Nakamura known as Mansaku Jinnouchi (voice: Japanese version) (uncredited)

..

 

Supporting Department

Art Department:
  • Anri Johjo known as chief art designer (as Anri Jôjô)

..

 

Company

Production Companies:

  • Madhouse
  • Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV)
  • Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co.
  • D.N. Dream Partners
  • Warner Bros.
  • Yomiuri Television
  • Video Audio Project (VAP)
  • FUNimation Entertainment

Other Companies:

  • Continental Far East  Dolby consultant
  • Dax Production  post-production sound services
  • Imagica  prints
  • Kodak Japan  film stock supplied by
  • Q-Tec  digital intermediate
  • Q-Tec  post-production facilities
  • Real-T  Avid editing facility
  • Shinshû Ueda Film Commission  film commission
  • Sound City  music recording studio
  • Studio T&T  sound recording studio
  • Suwara Production  foley design studio
  • Toei Audio Visual Art Center (TAVAC)  sound recording studio

Distributors:

  • Warner Bros. (2009) (Japan) (all media)
  • Cathay-Keris Films (2010) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Encore Films (2010) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Eurozoom (2010) (France) (theatrical)
  • Gkids (2010) (USA) (theatrical)
  • FUNimation Entertainment (2011) (USA) (all media)
  • Finnkino (2011) (Finland) (all media)

..

 

Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Digital Frontier (visual effects)

Release Date:

  • Japan 1 August 2009
  • Switzerland 12 August 2009 (Locarno Film Festival)
  • South Korea 13 August 2009
  • United Arab Emirates 10 December 2009 (Dubai International Film Festival)
  • Germany 16 February 2010 (Berlin International Film Festival)
  • Singapore 25 February 2010
  • Argentina 10 April 2010 (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema)
  • Netherlands 16 April 2010 (Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival)
  • Belgium 18 April 2010 (Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • Portugal 28 April 2010 (IndieLisboa International Film Festival)
  • France 9 June 2010
  • Canada July 2010 (Fantasia International Film Festival)
  • Japan 10 July 2010 (Miyazaki Film Festival)
  • Australia 8 August 2010 (Melbourne International Film Festival)
  • Germany 12 August 2010
  • Finland 17 September 2010 (Helsinki International Film Festival)
  • USA 13 October 2010 (Anaheim International Film Festival)
  • USA 13 November 2010 (Denver International Film Festival)
  • USA 20 November 2010 (New York City, New York)
  • USA 10 December 2010 (Los Angeles, California)
  • Germany 5 February 2011 (Japanische Filmwoche Düsseldorf)
  • UK 12 February 2011 (Keswick Film Festival)
  • Finland 25 February 2011

MPAA: Rated PG for action violence, some suggestive content, language, mild thematic material and incidental smoking

..

 
 

Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , , , , .

9 Comments

  1. 8thSin from Tokyo / Toronto
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    "Summer Wars" is an interesting anime movie, but lacks inspiration andmagic like "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (2006), which was alsodirected by Hosoda Mamoru and produced by Madhouse.

    Animation, voice acting and music were all above average, but none weretruly exceptional. The story and setting were all too common inmainstream anime, a zero-to-hero plot where kids excel over hapless andstubborn adults. Also, "save the world" situation with satellite seemedlike a deliberate plot device to raise the stakes. In addition, therewere too many unlikely and unnatural setting and story developmentsthat were simply too convenient.

    Another fatal flaw is the headcount of characters, far too many toproperly develop in a movie, with everyone being cardboard cutouts. Thecharacters do not feel real, predicaments seem superficial. It isimpossible to connect with the story the way you can with "The Girl WhoLeapt Through Time".

    One thing that really impressed me about this movie though, was theCGI. There were many truly breathtaking 3-D scenes in 'World of OZ',yet these scenes still retained the "anime qualities" that weren'tprotrusive against characters and 'real world' 2-D cel style animescenes.

    "Summer Wars" is an OK movie, but cyberspace is a common theme inanime, and this film fails to stand out. Those expecting a masterpiececomparable to "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" will be disappointed.

  2. siderite from Romania
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    If you can imagine the easy going yet fascinating Hayao Miyazakistories, with their kind heartedness and deep Japanese roots beingmixed with Denou Coil, you will get Summer Wars. It has good animation,a really cute story and features a cyber battle between a Japanesefamily and a malicious A.I. inside something that can be seen as thefuture of Facebook.

    What I found really nice in the film is that traditional family valuesare mixed with modern views of the world, a beautiful countrysidescenery is mixed with the virtual cyber world of OZ. There are bothmoral values to be learned from the story as well as the excitement ofa crisis and how giving your best can get one past it. I foundbrilliant the way the scenes of cyber battle were intertwined withscenes of Japanese baseball, birthday then dying rituals, theindividual traits of all of the members of the family, all withoutlosing anything, just adding more and more depth to each scene.

    I highly recommend it for all anime fans and for people who mightbecome so, after watching a masterpiece like Summer Wars.

  3. robert heinrich from Germany
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    There are some anime masterpieces which can be recommended as amust-see to virtually anyone, and not only fans of the genre. Movieslike Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, The GirlWho Leapt Through Time, etc.

    If you know them you will understand what I mean. In addition to beingvisually compelling these also have an original plot with some twistshere and there, and will leave you with the feeling that you have justwatched something really awesome.

    Let's be honest: Summer Wars will not enter this eternal hall of fame,mostly because the plot is far too conventional and straight-forward.

    On the other hand, a solid plot is not necessarily a bad thing, andmakes this movie suitable for a broad audience. While a real fan ofanime will probably be disappointed by the lack of weirdness andoriginal ideas, Summer Wars might be a real good starting point for anewbie.

    And if you are willing to excuse the fact that the plot won't knockyour socks off, apart from that Summer Wars is a really good movie. Itdoes quite an excellent job in introducing literally dozens ofcharacters and still managing to give every single one of them a uniquepersonality.

    The story unfolds on parallel levels (the action part about saving theworld, the part about the values of a family, the dangers of relyingtoo much on technology, a little bit of teenage love story, …) -while each level is too obvious and shallow on its own, they blend intogether nicely. Reminds me of a virtual chop suey – nothing special,yet very tasty.

    The visual presentation is quite good, too. The scenes in the realworld are well done, and the cyberspace world is amazing.

    In conclusion, Summer Wars is OK. Not really original and far frombeing excellent, but good nevertheless. No unique masterpiece, yetsolid work, and if you won't set your expectations too high, you willenjoy it.

  4. ihrtfilms from Australia
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    Student Kenji is a maths wiz; he's also a member along with millions ofothers worldwide of an online world called OZ, a online social networkthat makes Facebook look like a damp squib. Within OZ, people createavatars and can do pretty much anything; socialize, date, play games,purchase anything, but there's more to it than mere social elements,most major companies around the world operate through OZ all of whichshould be a hackers paradise were it not for the impenetrable securityof OZ.

    When Kenji is asked to work at his crushes house during the summer, heleaps at the chance only to find out he has to pretend to be Natsuki'boyfriend for her family including her aging Grandmother. Kenjireluctantly goes along with it, but his fortune changes when he answersa mystery text message holding a maths problem and seemingly helpssomeone break into the security of OZ, crashing it and causing mayhem.The hacker, an artificial intelligence, soon takes control of much ofOZ causing havoc with train services and power among others and thenmanages to take control of a satelitte and redirects it to crash into anuclear plant. It is up to Kenji and Natsuki, her family and the othermillions of OZ members to try and take control.

    This anime film is from the director who gave us The Girl Who LeaptThrough Time, which I disliked, but Summer Wars had gotten ravereviews, so why not? And what a vast improvement on the previous film.The story, as far fetched as it is, actually does have some relevance(to a certain extent) in today's Facebook/ Twitter obsessed world. OZis a fantastic creation and entering into this world is nothing shortof amazing. It makes you want to go there immediately. The real worldelement is mostly enjoyable as well, with the dynamics of Natsuki'sfamily playing out among the drama of the online dramas. The family iswonderfully real and the death of the Grandmother is tragic andemotional. This real world element does start to drag the film downduring it's second third, but the film picks up again as the world goesto battle within the parallel universe of OZ.

    It's perhaps this last third of the film that really shines andhighlights another excellent factor to the film; the animation. Whilstfrom the start it looks amazing (and I watched this on DVD, so in thecinema it must look incredible), it is during the battle of OZ that theanimation really stands out with the A.I. known as the Love Machinebecoming a gargantuan black monster that is made up of millions ofavatar characters and is a spectacular creation. The animation issimply mind boggling, jaw dropping stuff, with impeccable detail andshows a very different side to animation than the equivalent we seefrom Hollywood.

    Whilst the story drags at times and the story is a bit too fantastical,even if this is anime, this is a sublime film, that is brimming withstyle, emotion, humour and is brilliantly captivating.

    More of my reviews at my site iheartfilms.weebly.com

  5. dee.reid from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    If you liked 2006's "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time," you're going toabsolutely love "Summer Wars." Mamoru Hosoda's new film is an oddballmix of science fiction, cyber-punk, teen romance and familycomedy/drama, all rolled up into one beautiful, lavish-looking Anime'that also somehow manages to throw in a pretty chillingend-of-the-world fight for the future of humanity. This has to be thebest animated film to come out so far this year, or was it last year (Ihonestly can't remember). All I know is, I would have passed this filmhad I not read "The Washington Post's" "Style" section early onemorning.

    Regardless of how you feel about Japanese animation, "Summer Wars" isone film that the whole family can enjoy. Unlike most family films,however, this one doesn't insult the intelligence of the audience, nordoes it treat its characters in a half-a**ed, perfunctory fashion.Every character in this film is alive and brimming over the top withpersonality, poise and humor, a rarity in most films these days -whether they be animated or live-action. But you know how most Americanaudiences are here: they're pathologically afraid of anything foreign(i.e., not American). And then there's also all those negativestereotypes that Japanese animation is violent and full of sex.

    Not true here.

    It all just shows the marvelous degree of attention to detail thatHosoda paid to this project. It definitely has the makings of a laborof love for the Japanese filmmaker. "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time"was an enjoyably light-hearted sci-fi/comedy romp in its own right. Iliked it well enough (I rated it a 10/10), yet I still something feltmissing from it. I didn't find anything missing from "Summer Wars," abrilliantly inventive and highly original movie that combines elementsof the online virtual world Second Life, "The Social Network" (2010),"The Matrix" (1999), "Meet the Parents" (2000), and "The Simpsons"together with a bunch of other stuff I can't really remember.

    17-year-old high schooler Kenji Koiso is a mathematical genius who likemost high school geniuses, is shy, uncoordinated, and inarticulate inthe area of girls and love. Things become even more complicated for himwhen the girl of his dreams (and fellow classmate) Natsuki Shinohara"hires" him out to be her fake fiancé to please her ailinggreat-grandmother at an upcoming family reunion. Cue the familydramatics. Cue the crazy and/or obnoxious relatives. Cue all-outfamilial craziness!

    Sakae Jinnouchi is the 90-year-old family matriarch of this motleybunch of oddball relatives. The Jinnouchi clan fought bravely againstthe army of the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled all of Japan for nearlythree centuries. The spirit of the Jinnouchi clan lives on to thepresent day, as poor Kenji finds out first-hand. His feelings forNatsuki will have to take a backseat when he receives a random textmessage one night that contains a 250-character algorithm. Kenji solvesit with little difficulty.

    The next day, Kenji finds out that he is responsible for bringing downOz, the film's online equivalent of Facebook combined with MySpacecombined with a world-wide chat room/business center. Additionally,when Kenji solved the algorithm, he also gave a malevolent A.I.(artificial intelligence) called "Love Machine" instant access topretty much everything in the online world. And it isn't long before"Love Machine," using Kenji's online avatar to hack into accounts andsteal information, sets its sights on also conquering the real world,even if it means killing all life on Earth as we know it. Thisapocalyptic showdown between man and A.I. unfolds amidst the familydrama at Sakae's hilltop estate – Will Kenji get the pretty girlNatsuki? Will Natsuki return the affection? Who will stop "LoveMachine's" online rampage?

    "Summer Wars" is very easily one of the greatest Anime' films evermade. The film is a dazzling display of vibrant, pretty colors,computer-generated backgrounds/scenery, and lively three-dimensionalcharacters. I honestly haven't been this in love with a group ofcharacters in animated form in a very long time. Every single member ofthe Jinnouchi family is alive & well and have their time to shine withfamiliar family theatrics in carefully written scenes of familycomedy/drama. And the battle scenes in cyber-space are brilliantlyanimated and executed, and are appropriately edge-of-your-seatthrilling.

    You have to give praise to a movie that starts out like something off"The Brady Bunch" and ends with an apocalyptic showdown like in "TheMatrix." Now in today's filmmaking industry on both sides of the ocean,that's what I call originality.

    10/10

  6. jmaruyama from Honolulu, HI
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    Hosoda Mamoru's thrilling and surprisingly touching anime movie "SummerWars" is this generation's "War Games", a cautionary tale that whilewarning of humanity's over-reliance on technology (especially the newemerging cellular, virtual, internet and personal/portabletechnologies) also celebrates the human spirit by showing theimportance of family and how those bonds triumph against any and alladversity however insurmountable. Hosoda once again delivers the goodswith a timely, winning, intelligent, and very poignant anime/cartoonthat will appeal both to adults and kids.

    The story begins rather innocently – high school computer geek Kenji(voiced by Kamiki Ryunosuke) and his classmate Takashi (voiced byYokokawa Takahiro)spend their free time doing grunt coding/programmingwork to help support the global social network system known as "OZ"."OZ" isn't just a place for people to meet and socialize, play gamesand do research but is also tied into virtually everyone's daily lives(every single business, government, public service including themilitary are linked together — think a Super World Wide Web). One daythe high school's most popular girl, Shinohara Natsumi (voiced bySakuraba Nanami) visits their classroom to ask a favor. Natsumi has togo back to her hometown in Ueda Prefecture to attend an annual familyreunion and wants one of them to accompany her as support, as she saysthese gatherings are often uncomfortable. While both volunteer, it istimid and bashful Kenji whom she picks to go with her. Kenji soonrealizes that things aren't exactly what they seem as he soon learnsthat the real reason Natsumi asked him to go with her is so that theycan pretend to be a couple and to reassure her relatives that she isdoing well in Tokyo. Natsumi wants to especially impress herinfluential grandmother, the resilient and authoritative JinnouchiSakae (voiced by the wonderful actress Terashima Junko) who is not onlythe matriarch of the family but who seems to know just about any andeveryone in town.

    As with most family reunion films, the Jinnouchi Clan is quite aneclectic band of people including your atypical oddball relatives,noisy aunts and uncles, bratty grandchildren and mysterious cousins.One of those relatives is Natsumi's 13 year old cousin Kazuma (voicedby Tanimura Mitsuki), a social misfit who has been bullied at school inthe past but who has found Internet fame via his online fighting alterego and avatar "King Kazuma" (think a animorphic version of the "Kingof Fighters" character Terry Bogard). Another relative, the enigmaticWabisuke (voiced with cool smoothness by Saito Ayumu) has also comeback for the reunion after cutting ties with the family years earlierand who now lives abroad in the US. Much to Kenji's chagrin, he learnsthat Natsuki has always had a school girl crush for her handsome"uncle".

    The real story however unfolds when Kenji inadvertently breaks thesecurity code/password for the "OZ" network (Kenji just so happens tobe a mathematical prodigy who is able to crack complex computer code inhis mind in a matter of minutes) thus allowing a super computervirus/artificial intelligence program called "Love Machine" to infectthe network and cause all sorts of havoc both in the virtual world andin the real world (Love Machine uses OZ to crash major city energygrids, divert military satellite orbits, arm nuclear war heads andtakeover/hack the information and Avatars of billions of OZ users). AsLove Machine gets stronger and brings the world to total chaos, Kenji,Takashi and Kazama struggle to save the OZ network while Natsumi andher grandmother Sakae gather their friends and family together to helpsave their community from all the technological mayhem.

    As with many of the recent Pixar films, Hosoda's film succeeds attranscending the "cartoon" medium to deliver a story that is just asthrilling and poignant as any live action film.

    At the heart of "Summer Wars" strength is its likable cast of eccentriccharacters who make the audience care for them. The characters ofKenji, Sakae, Wabisuke and Natsumi are all very well developed and itis a credit to the talented voice actors that portray them that theyare able to flesh these characters out so well and make them work on somany levels.

    Okudera Satoko's brilliant story celebrates the advancements that havebeen made in computer, internet and communication technology while alsocriticizing the over-reliance on those technologies to take care of ourcomplete needs. As with Pixar's recent film "Up", Okudera's storycelebrates the human spirit of individuals especially our elders andshows that despite their age, they bring a wealth of experience, worldknowledge and tenacity that is absolutely invaluable.

    Enough can't be said of Hosoda's inventive direction and storytelling.As with his first anime film the "Toki O Kakeru Shojou" Hosoda has aknack for telling interesting and engaging stories. Never once is"Summer Wars" at all boring. Hosoda is able to mix both comedy anddrama well and in fact there are also some genuinely tearful scenesthat were really very touching.

    The animation work by the famed Madhouse group is stunning andbeautiful to behold. While not as elaborate as some of the computergenerated works of Pixar they are still quite effective at creating abelievable world – from the lush backgrounds of the Ueda countryside,to the ultra detailed city scenes of Tokyo, to the imaginative virtualworld of "OZ" they were able to do it all. Sadamoto Yoshiyuki'scharacter designs were also quite good and he gave each character aunique and appealing look which seemed to match their personality well.

    "Summer Wars" is not just a great "anime" movie, it is just a greatmovie period and one that will have you appreciating your relatives andextended families however odd they may be.

  7. jjnoahjames from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    Summer Wars coasts like a Masterpiece. The opening sequence is awesome,and the lead characters, Kenji and Natsuki are highly likable. Directedby, Mamoru Hosoda, the same director that made The Girl Who LeptThrough Time Summer Wars is a story about a social network site causingthe world to end!

    The most notable part of this movie besides the fact that theyconstantly play Coy Coy a Japenese card game throughout is the factthat every character has an Avatar making each character more unique ina duplicate kind of way. This is great except they should have broughtthis in to the movie earlier because it's one of the best ideas goingon. This is a big problem in my opinion. More Avatar scenes would havemade the movie more fun and given it more depth, but you really don'tsee them until it's time to fight.

    All the critics are saying that Summer Wars lacks a magic but I stillhaven't heard a good answers as to why. Well I'll tell you what it is.The beginning is too long. That's it. From the second half of the movieon it's great. Everything that makes an Anime great is there; great,unique characters, emotional daydreaming, teamwork, action. Beforethat… well…the intro is awesome but than I started to get board.

    Either way this small roller coaster ride is worth it! It's mostdefiantly fun to watch in the end!

  8. Matthew Stechel (mateob25@aol.com) from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    Solidly put together film answers the long unanswered question what iffamed Japanese director Ozu had lived long enough to tackle the foiblesof internet hackers in his films??? What starts out as both a quietdomestic family drama about a college girl who needs to find a boy toescort her back to her grandmother's 90th birthday celebration lest herfamily think she isn't being cared for…turns into a movie about thishacker's attempt to overtake well everything in cyberspace more orless. (References are made to how many people's identities are beingstolen, and a reference is made as to how the hacker could conceivablyimpersonate the president and get access to nuclear launch codes.) Thechaos that the hacker brings ends up wrecking havoc in the real worldand ends up infringing on the supposed to be quiet family togetherweekend–as it becomes more and more clear that the stuff happening incyberspace may just have a couple of things to do with the familygetting together that very weekend. (The boy of course whom we know ispainfully shy, and great at math will figure prominently of course inthe saving of the world soon enough.) That's about as much plot as I'dwanna give–but its also as much as I think i could possiblygive–because to go into specific details about what or how all of thischaos happens–and what the people in the film do to combat the hackerin cyberspace would prob be hard for me since i knew so, so littleabout what they were actually doing. I got the broad ideas and i alwaysknew what they were doing…but i could not begin to tell you exactlywhat it was they were doing…and yet it did not hamper my enjoyment ofthe film overall much to my relief.

    Even if you know next to nothing about the going ons in cyberspace, itis definitely still possible to enjoy this film as a cute film about anextended family reuniting for their beloved grandmother's birthday.There are the usual family arguments, tragic back stories, and quirkycharacters that generally occupy these kinds of films, and the 2 mainprotagonists are quite appealing characters as presented here. It canalso be seen as how the family unit pulls together in times ofcrisis–even in this crazy internet era we live in where entire livescan be lived out in a virtual world, and chaos can be wrecked as easilythere as it could in the real world, the family dynamic is the mostimportant one, and that whole pulling together of the family even bymembers who don't quite understand exactly what's going on–just thatsomething monumentally important is going on, and that they have toband together or risk their potential last moments on earth being splitapart. The film's gentle humor and humanist spirit are pure andtraditional recalling the various family dramas of Ozu even if thetechnology and lingo are modernistic cyberpunk.

    Koi Koi. The film has a good sense of humor to it as well—gettinglaughs out of good old fashioned awkwardness or certain juxtapositionsof different things happening at the same time. (this entirecybercrisis is happening at the same time the younger members arewatching this much beloved local baseball team playing for thechampionship–and both the baseball game and the cybercrisis go down tothe wire and into extra innings if you will.) Its a good look at modernlife versus traditional life and how the two can (and should) existwith one another. (the traditional family and lifestyle is big andaccepting enough to adept to any new style of living so long as thepeople within the family can still band together at the end of theday.) The only thing about the film is that in the last half hour or sowhen the heroes are putting their plan to save civilization intoaction–i had little idea what they were actually doing in order tosave everything–however i knew it had something to do with a bigshowdown involving the card game Koi Koi (???) which to someone whodoesn't know anything about the game itself reminded me more or less ofmy grandmother playing mahjong's when i was much much younger. it justgoes to show you that the film's embrace of traditional values is evenincluded within the way civilization is going to be saved—it ends upbeing saved by a game learned by your grandparents as a youngster.

  9. charlie_ishiyama from Tokyo, Japan
    30 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

    The story begins with a math genius high school boy Kenji and hissecret idol Natsuki going back to her hometown Nagano to celebrate hergreat grandmother's 90th birthday. One night, Kenji unintentionallyhelped crack the security code of a second life net community called"OZ" where billions of users communicate and live. Eventually a singlepassword crack in virtual reality caused an enormous disaster to thereal world. And young hero and heroin, and heroin's families are unitedand determined to fight against their overwhelming enemy.

    The characters, designed by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, including a young heroand heroin, are all vivid and adorable enough to make me feel that Iactually want to be with them and related to the family. Also I thinkit was a right decision for a casting director not to use popular TVpersonalities for commercialism because I often witnessed theirunexceptionally poor voice acting destroying masterpieces into pieces.Here the voice acting by the experienced actors or actresses enlivenedall the characters, especially the great grandmother's affectionate yetdignified voice was just awesome.

    The script woven by Satoko Okudera involved me into the story from thebeginning to the end. The advanced internet technology and thetraditional large family of Japan are cleverly integrated into onecloth, not contradicting to one another. The main plot of the movie isthe fiction, however, I read and watch similar types of accidents onthe paper or TV now and then. And the fact, I think, added the realityand impact to the story.

    In 2006, Mamoru Hosoda proved himself a promising animation director in"The Girl Who Leapt Through Time". This time he proved himself a trulytalented story teller who is capable of entertaining anyone regardlessof age, gender, or culture. In this movie, he successfully had avirtual network and a real life coexist and interact with each otherseamlessly in order to make the 'save-the-world' type main plot astangible as possible and let it roller-coaster on. The reason why Icalled this a masterpiece is that this is not a mere roller coaster; heelaborately described the family tie, the growth of youths, and theromance between the young hero and heron, too.

    Up until today, the avatars on the internet were just 2D/3D images orcomputer programs for me. But after the end roll of this movie, I'vebecome aware that he or she actually lives behind avatars and I am"connected" to them in some way through the internet. It is a highlyrecommended animation film!

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