Summer Wars: an epic movie
After having been told (a few hundred times) how great this movie was by my boyfriend, we finally managed to watch it together last night. I’ve seen quite a few anime-esque movies before, namely those by Studio Ghibli or the movie versions of fav animes (like Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles: The Movie). This was however the first feature-length movie I’ve watched with subs instead of dubs. While I like to think I’ve been watching anime longer than my BF (I started when in 2004), I’ve watched most of those with dubs. I like dubs. He meanwhile is a sub snob and insisted we watch the movie in such.
(Actually he kind of led me to believe the movie was only in subs, than after we finished it lo and behold he tells me it’s available with dubs off Netflix and I’ve also found it Amazonfor $15. Love you honey <3 )
Anyway, back to the movie. The setting and plot of the movie itself is actually pretty unique even for the typical Japanese movie. The story revolves around a game named The World of Oz which is basically a virtual world where people spend as much of their time as they do in the real world, and control things such as their bank accounts, alarm systems, communication, shopping etc through Oz. The hero is a math-minded, rather nerdy high school boy named Kenji Koiso who is tricked into coming to the family home of his beautiful and popular senpai and posing as her boyfriend. Her family is large, slightly crazy and descended from the powerful samurai and ruled over by an even more powerful (yet lovable) grandmother. When a rogue A.I starts taking over Oz and causing problems that affect the real world, Kenji and his friends, along with the crazy family, start planning a virtual war in order to save the real world before the A.I can destroy it.
While this was obviously a sci-fi thriller, it wasn’t set in a space-age setting. In fact, the setting was an old Japanese mansion complete with all the rice paper walls and gardens. Seeing the characters set up high-speed computers in the middle of the ancient Japanese finery was humorous and gave the whole movie a very unique feel. The characters themselves felt very real without all the extra abnormal powers most anime characters get, which led to a very empathetic story. They were normal people, even Kenji though he was supposed to be a math genius. The World of Oz was very creative and seemed like a real possibility for an online world, adding a bit more to the realism of the movie’s concept.
Here’s the trailer in English: