Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Wars [Anime / Movie Review]

Like a lot of my anime movies, this one has been on my 'to be watched' list for far too long. I recently picked up and read the manga, so the movie got a boost. I finally watched it.
It was not something I should have put off for as long as I did.

Our protagonist, the dark haired youth, named Kenji.
Probably the biggest 'what the' moment occured almost as soon as the blu ray began to play. A Warner Bros label came up. Yeah, that is right, this was distributed by WB. Weird.

4.5 out of 5 stars
I could at this point gush about the awards this movie has won. So I will.
Now that is a gated house!

- Best Animated Film, Japanese Academy
- Best Animated Feature, Anaheim International Film Festival
- Best Animated Feature, Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2009.
And more...

No that is not super impressive, maybe it should be, but there are so many awards that it's not unexpected for quality movies to win some.

That is a big family. And not all of them are on screen.
This is not the most gorgeously aniamted movie, but it is well done.
 This is not the most original story, in fact it has been done before.

However this movie combines typical movie elements and anime elements into a wonderful emotionally powerful story.It is social commentary, satire, science fiction, and even a touch of romance all wrapped into one neat little package.

And now for something I've not done in a while. A bit of plot and a bit of spoilers. Don't read on if you want to be surprised by everything in the movie.

Kenji Koiso is a math wiz and moderator for the online computer world of OZ (kinda like facebook, amazon, and some administrative tools all combined into one virtual world). Kenji is offered a short term job by Natsuki Shinohara, an older friend(?) of his. He takes it an travels with her to her ancestral home where her entire extended family is preparing to celebrate her grandmothers 90th birthday. Kenji just thinks he's there to assist and help Natsuki out... but he's wrong. She wants him to pretend to be her boyfriend... scratch that, fiance.  And she wants his to lie about his age, education, and world travel experience. 
My internet does not look like this. I'm okay with that.

That was not what Kenji thought he was in for. Which of course causes some problems, since he has something of a crush on Natsuki.

Not all avatars are created equal... or sexy.
That whole ordeal would be bad enough... but of course Kenji's woes don't end there. He gets an email asking him to solve a complex math problem. Which he does... and in doing so he ends up on the news the next morning. The reason, he broke the internet... or, well, in this case, OZ.

Things just keep getting more and more complicated for Kenji.

This is a powerful and moving movie about family, responsibility, duty, and emotions. It has some whimsical bits, and some odd bits of science fiction. It also serves as a bit of a warning about how interconnected with the internet our lives have become. The best science fiction almost always touches on some aspect of reality and manipulates it just enough to heighten our awareness of it. Summer Wars is no exception.

Final word. Certainly worth your time and money. This movie was excellent. I loved it.

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