Mamoru Hosoda is well known for another one of his films titled The Girl Who Lept Through Time, which I had the pleasure of viewing previously. Watching Summer Wars reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki and films that he has worked on such as Laputa.
Now let’s look at the story and its characters. I’ll try to not include any real spoilers besides just the basic plot outline.
The main character of this story is Kenji, a 17 year old boy who almost got selected as Japan’s representative in the Math Olympiad. In short, he’s starts out in the movie as a shy math genius. He’s asked by an older classmate named Natsuki to help her out with a part-time job that involved going with her to a large family gathering.
A central aspect of the plot is a virtual world called Oz, where a vast number of people in the world have accounts. From these accounts, they can do your typical things such as making phone calls and shopping online, but more vital aspects of society like controlling the traffic lights and water/gas utilities are also accessed through Oz.
Although I find this virtual universe fascinating and reminiscent of the Metaverse in Snow Crash, it is highly impractical since it would be somewhat comparable to having everyone access their bank accounts, pay taxes, and other sensitive duties through Facebook. For the sake of the film however, the concept of Oz does work well.
The main conflict is that an advanced hacker A.I. has taken over the majority of the accounts on Oz and started to wreak havoc with them. It has that good versus evil feel to it, especially with how the A.I. is represented.
I always like anime to have at least a tiny bit of romance in it, and this film does the job with the building relationship between Kenji and Natsuki. It’s not really the focus though, but still makes it more fun to watch.
Family and family bonds are emphasized, which is something that we can all hopefully relate to. Helping out each other in times of need and also resolving disputes are normal occurrences.
This movie has it all: comedy, action, romance, and moments of sadness. It’s one of those films that make you feel good on the inside after finishing it. Getting the opportunity to watch stuff like this is what makes me continue to stick with anime.
So get together with your family or just solo it, but be sure to not miss out on Summer Wars.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
For those like me that think TL;DR: Great movie, go watch it now!