Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Aug 1, 2009
1 hr. 54 min.
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.501 (scored by 51874 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisWhen 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 (1336 to 1573), 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 fiance 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 Oz, the program that controls nearly every aspect of life to be hacked into, it's up to Kenji and his new "family" to stop the hacker before it's too late.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Summer Wars
Characters & Voice Actors
As far as family entertainment goes anime is rarely high on the agenda, especially given the numerous offerings from Disney, Dreamworks, and other such movie studios. Generally their features appeal to children and adults alike, and in order to compete with them Japanese animation studios have had to shake off their habitual approach and focus on making films that are more accessible to Western markets. The undisputed king of this is Miyazaki Hayao, however there have been several challengers to his throne, the latest being Hosoda Mamoru.
Now those of you who have watched the latest anime incarnation of Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo (The Girl who Leapt Through Time), will be familiar with Hosoda's work as a director, and as good as that movie is, his latest effort, Summer Wars, would have been at least equal to it except for one thing.
It's been done before.
The story follows the brief summer "holiday" of a high school maths prodigy called Koiso Kenji as he travels to the countryside with his senpai (and secret crush), Shinohara Natsuki, ostensibly to celebrate her grandmother's 90th birthday. During his stay he receives a strange e-mail containing a sequence of numbers, and thinking it simply another maths problem, he solves it and sends it back. The following day all hell breaks loose (but in a quaint manner, this is rural Japan after all).
Summer Wars has a lot to recommend it in terms of its plot and story. The pacing and progression is very good, and the numerous events that take place are justifiable to a certain degree. It's just unfortunate that while watching Summer Wars, I couldn't help but think of a certain 1983 movie called War Games.
If one disregards the settings in the real and virtual worlds for a moment, then what's left, ironically enough, is a high school kid who unwittingly begins the end of the world through something nuclear, and all because he broke a code. It's even more ironic that the computer in War Games was developed from a simple Tic-Tac-Toe playing AI, and that it believes it is simply playing another "game" (if you can call global thermo-nuclear war a game that is).
Even with the parallels between the two films, Summer Wars is a good enough story in its own right, and like War Games, is very much a movie of its time. The use of online social networking is something that only a few shows have touched upon, and even though the application of it is somewhat unbelievable (everything from traffic management to emergency services is part of the OZ network), it's a purposeful device that makes the story much more relevant to this day and age, and it doesn't really impinge on one's enjoyment of the movie.
Summer Wars is distinctive in its looks, regardless of which world is on screen at the time. The settings, backgrounds and characters are very similar to those used in Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, but there is far more creativity and diversity in the design of this movie, an example of which is skin tone, with several characters being tanned to various degrees. Alongside this is the look of the characters themselves, and it's truly nice to watch a show that takes a more realistic approach in this area. The people in the movie literally do come in all shapes and sizes, with no two characters (in the real world), sharing anything more than the resemblance that close relatives would have.
The one aspect of the design that is surprising is that of the virtual world, but not in the way that most people would think. The CG used in the movie is extremely well handled, and each avatar is completely unique, yet also reflective its real world user. That said, those who have seen another of Hosoda's directorial works, Superflat Monogram, may experience some bemusement as the design of Summer War's virtual world has been adapted from that featurette. While the art and animation are very good throughout the movie, it would have been nice if Madhouse had avoided cutting corners by using things that have been done before, but that's just a personal preference. As far as the virtual world goes, the majority of viewers will find it inventive, original, and more than a little amusing at times.
A big plus for the movie is its cast, and although most are relatively unknown (including the two leads), this doesn't preclude them from providing some very good performances. Kamiki Ryonosuke is very good as the bumbling, introverted and ever so slightly love-struck Kenji, while Sakuraba Nanami provides an excellent balance to this as the spirited and precocious Natsuki. One of the biggest surprises in terms of acting though, is Tanimura Mitsuki, whose portrayal of Kazuma has all the foibles and gripes one would expect from a 13 year old with a game addiction.
In terms of music, the various pieces on offer serve the movie very well, and Matsumoto Akihiko (who also provided the music for Resident Evil Outbreak: Files 1 & 2), really shows his talent as both a writer and composer. Strangely, the ending theme, Bokura no Natsu no Yume, is the only track composed by someone else (in this case by Yamashita Tatsuro), and is actually a rather appropriate lilting ballad that rounds things of nicely.
So where are the problems with the sound? In truth, the majority of issues stem from the effects as there are several notable occasions where the music, speech and effects clash quite badly. The majority of the movie is relatively well choreographed so that the noise is kept to a manageable level, but this is not always the case, and when events get out of hand, the effect on one's ears can be a little tough.
The one area where Summer Wars really excels is in its wealth of characters. While most of the focus is on Kenji, a good amount of time is spent observing Natsuki's extended family, and it's this aspect of the movie that makes it such an enjoyable film to watch. Anyone with slightly dysfunctional relatives will appreciate the numerous minor clashes, feuds, loyalties, gripes, trials and tribulations that go into making any such gatherings a "success", and it was an absolute joy to see Natsuki's family bounce off each other like peas on a drum (which probably makes this required viewing at Christmas time). The entire family structure and their relationships with each other are handled in a very intelligent manner, and viewers may be surprised to find themselves relating to certain situations, and finding a degree of familiarity with certain events in the story.
As far as actual development goes, there isn't really any aside from Kenji, and even that takes time to progress (although he does "man-up" in the end). Aside from that, there isn't much in the plot that encourages the rest of the characters to grow, but then again, each is an individual to a tee, and therein lies the true strength of this movie - characterisation. It's the power of their personalities (thanks to some great acting and scripting), that allows the viewer to relate to the characters in a way that many other shows would envy, and it's for this reason that development isn't really a necessity.
Summer Wars is a very enjoyable romp in the realms of absurdity that has the benefit of being relevant to a degree. The exponential growth of social networks is having an increasing impact on society, and it's this phenomenon that is satirised the most, hence the inclusion of so many societal controls and services within the confines of OZ. While the story itself may not be new, one could consider this a more up to date re-telling of the theme - kind of a "War Games 2009" so to speak.
Whatever you think of the movie, at heart it's only meant to do one thing - entertain - and it does that very well. read more
As one of the directors responsible for making Digimon: The Movie happen, I guess it makes sense for Mamoru Hosoda (also did The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) to infuse elements of his past work into future projects. Such is the case for Summer Wars, his latest and quite possibly his most ambitious film to date. Even if you’re not a fan of anime, you’ll find something to like in this sci-fi/comedy/romance spectacle that is both awfully heartwarming and very pleasing to watch.
Kenji Koiso is a high school student/math genius who works part-time with his best friend, Takashi Sakuma as moderators for the massive, widely popular virtual world called OZ, where the norm consists of virtual shopping, business, and much more (Second Life, anyone?). One summer Natsuki Shinohara, Kenji’s senpai (who he also has a crush on) invites him to her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration in the Jinnouchi clan estate. But Kenji is immediately caught up in Natsuki’s desperate request to act as Natsuki’s husband-to-be, much to his chagrin.
Kenji spends the initial parts of the movie getting acquainted with the rest of Natsuki’s relatives, and receives a mysterious email soon after. The message contains a huge numerical code, and, being a math whiz, Kenji opted to crack the code right away; he does so overnight. But as soon as he sends the solution, a virus - named Love Machine - successfully hacks within the OZ mainframe and causes turmoil in many parts of the world. As Kenji is deemed the culprit, it is up to him and his newfound family to solve the problem before more lives are put in danger. So, this is basically Digimon: The Movie adapted to a newer version, minus all the ‘mons making up that particular movie. While that thought might pull you away for whatever reason you might bear, Summer Wars’ narrative is more than just games and cyberspace. This movie touches on important themes, with family being one of its central points.
Okay, I lied. This movie is all about games and cyberspace. For as much of a silly thing it is to base your movie on the inner workings of the Internet and social networking, it actually makes you feel weirdly sympathetic for those things. Perhaps Summer Wars teaches and/or reminds us that family can stretch beyond bloodlines, and we all can potentially build unbreakable bonds with total strangers even across the entire world, both real and virtual. Also, when it may seem that all the chips are down, there’s always hope, and it’s a hope we could always hold on to.
While the story’s great and all, Summer Wars would probably be nothing without its outstanding cast of characters. Stretching from the shy, introverted Kenji to the rest of Natsuki’s spunky, quirky, and empathetic family members, it truly feels like watching an ensemble cast bring their A-game to the table. Though it’s a lot of characters to take in immediately, seeing them once or twice is enough to make you remember them. Hell, I only remember a few names out of all the characters introduced, to be honest. There is a good mix of funny and sincere banter in-between, which really makes each character’s presence seem imperative and convince you to care about them. The main characters as well as the supporting ones play integral roles in bringing Love Machine down, and the movie does a good job making their strengths shine through.
But I think the best character out of all--and I think everyone is in unison on this--is Sakae Jinnouchi, Natsuki’s grandmother. Despite having minimal knowledge of the virtual world, she’s pretty much the one inspiring everyone to fight the infection and teach them the value of what family is. I also think it’s her courage and pretty much her overall personality that drives the story forward, as well as motivate the characters to do what they must.
Summer Wars is perhaps one of the best examples of an ambitious visual splendor, animated or not. The production values are all top-notch, with the near-perfect blend of CGI and cel-shaded effects bringing a lot of vibrancy to the movie’s cyberspace environment, the real world, and astounding attention to detail. Just thinking about the unimaginable number of sprites and avatars interacting in the entire virtual space is just insanity, and shows how much incredible amount of work was done to make this visual masterpiece happen. The animation style is no pushover either, as it is both breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Action scenes are all incredibly exciting, intense, and amazingly crafted that kept me at the edge of my seat for most of the movie. Character designs are also sharp and well-designed that all the more makes this one of the most magnificent-looking animated movies I’ve seen in a long while.
I don’t usually pay attention to movie soundtracks that much, mainly because most of them are so forgettable and barely intriguing; Summer Wars’s musical score is an exception. Top that with an excellent Japanese voice cast that brings much needed emotion and invokes life through the characters they play. I haven’t heard the English dub of the movie yet, but after seeing this movie, I’d be glad to that version when I finally get the chance to, all while reliving this grand adventure again a second time. Hell, I wouldn’t mind seeing it for a third go. Or a fourth. Who can blame me, really?
Summer Wars is definitely one of the best anime movies I’ve seen in years. It’s as enjoyable of a watch as it occasionally tugs on the heartstrings. For all its eye-popping, superb visual presentation, it’s also got a well-written, thematic, feel-good storyline and a fantastic cast of characters that will surely please the audiences of both inside and outside of the anime realm. In short, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you’re definitely missing out. read more
They both deal with people trying to save the world after a threat appears on the net. They also share the same director.
Same director, similar settings. The cyber world is compromised and causes great effects on the real world as well. The characters battle the villain that caused the attack to recover control over the network.
It is hard to believe that the story of Summer Wars is that disturbingly similar to a digimon movie. The entire story revolves around fighting a "virus" that went rampaging around the internet.
Very similar style, artwork and story. The worldwide computer network is taken over by an A.I., he wants to destroy the earth and uses a countdown, the characters try to fight him, and they get help from people all around the world. Kenji even has a lot of similar face expressions with Tai.
Awesome kick-ass fights to save the digital world (and the real world by extension)
Summer Wars is a modern version of Bokura no War Game, without the digimons.
basicaly same plot, and even the digital world look the smae, this would bee god for some one who has not seen digimon.This feels verry ripped off, yet this is a good movie and if you liked digimon bokua no War Game (also know as the first have of the digimon movie released in North Amarica.)
The digital getting controlled by an AI/Virus and it immediately affects the real world, Kids saving the world. I have nothing to say anymore because when I watched either one of these movies, I immediately think 'it looks like digimon/summer wars!'.
I'm sure you'll enjoy both
pretty much the same story line without the romance
-race against time
-same art style, same producer
The plot is EXACTLY the same and I'm not exaggerating here. It's not even just the basic plot elements, even the way it plays out is extremely similar.
Summer Wars = "Digimon: Our War Game" without Digimon
Summer Wars is practically a copy of this Digimon movie, but in a much more epic/animated scale without the Digimon. You might even find the movie to be entirely predictable if you saw Digimon Adventure - Bokura no War Game. The problem presented on the plot of both movies is exactly the same.
Similar villain motive, similar plan used to defeat said villain, and very similar art style used to illustrate the digital world in both movies.
The plot is exactly the same, and the art too.
virus in the wired, threaten the real world,,
epic story, epic battle, epic moment,,
this two have that similarities,,
i love them !
These movies are set during the summer where the peaceful lives of the protagonist's family and friends are interrupted by a mischievous digital being. Deviance and destruction ensues causing the net and world to fall into chaos. Nations are soon under threat as projectiles of destruction are launched. The heroes must band together in order to defeat the being and save the world before time runs out.
These two stories flow and progress similarly and will constantly remind viewers of the other movie. The digital setting is especially similar with avatars and Digimon being counterparts.
Though Summer Wars is more refined and mature, both movies are "feel goods" and are very enjoyable.
good drawing/animation, unique story, similar main girl character
More obvious reasons would be same director, dynamic pace and art while less obvious both mix typical scfi elements with adolescent slice of life.
Both films have the same director and art style and incorporate sci-fi themes to a modern setting. Both are brilliant, clever fun films.
Both of them are amazing movies with unique story and similar art
Both are great movies done by the same author and studio.
Similarities include romance between the main characters and science fiction.
Similar atmosphere and style.
the story line is just fabulous and the animation is great.
maybe the animation director is the same person,
anyway these two animes excite me very much
Same director. Story focuses on how time travel can negatively impact your surroundings, which is similar to how Summer's Wars' plot revolves around the internet being connected to the entire world and how it can impact society if in the wrong hands.
Same director however still different, harkens back to his previous works.
Both movies are "must watch" masterpieces! Both share similar animation and style, as well as "wide" and entertaining stories full of creativeness! Some other elements like comedy and romance also exist in both movies to add some spice! In general, the 2 movies have a lot in common and deserve such high ratings, so don't miss them!!!
The story aren't really the same but both movie are amazing and the story is interesting....
Opening ThemeNo opening themes found, add themes.
Ending Theme"Bokura no Natsu no Yume" by Tatsuro Yamashita.
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