What happens when the world we live in can be hacked? But more importantly how do I deal with my friend pretending I'm her boyfriend (obviously by fainting)
For a close to two hour movie we get more stories than many 13 episode series.
The first is that of young Kenji, a High School student and game tester for the OZ, an Internet game that also mimics real life, where all your needs from shopping and gaming to going to work, can be done. Kenji accepts a summer job with his classmate Natsuki, which he thinks will just be helping her with some chores, but turns into a week of real life RPG at her Great Grandmothers house, all in preparation for her 90th birthday.
Kenji is thrust into this new setting where he has to finally learn to interact with people all while playing his new role.
While in the middle of Kenji's new dilemma we're introduced to the second story line, the world of OZ itself, or rather its destruction. In the middle of the night, after dealing with Natsuki's family, and accidentally seeing her coming out of the shower, Kenji replies to a message from OZ, a complex multi-thousand number code, which he promptly solves (He was runner up in the competition to represent his school in the math Olympics you know) and opens up OZ to a hacker known as Love Machine.
Now Kenji and Natsuki's family must use all their grit and the everlasting Jinnouchi spirit to defeat the hacker and save OZ, which soon becomes a battle to save the entire world.
Interweaved in all the action is the life of the Jinnouchi's, a story of forgiveness and one of loss, also a baseball game.
This really is a spectacular film that can be good for new anime fans and old, it covers many constants in anime, a nerd saving the day, japanese culture and family bonding, but it does it in a way that seems fresh.
Animation - 10/10
The animation of Summer Wars really shown bright in a movie that was nothing but bright spots. From the start of the film we're shown OZ and it's thousands of brilliant colors and intricate details. Every time we return to the internet world we're given a new to impress us, be it the decaying world ravaged by Love Machine, the world covered by Japanese temples or the casino filled with bright lights and hundreds of different little characters.
The main innovation I noticed was that in OZ everything was outlined not in your standard black, but with an almost neon Red, which really made everything pop on screen.
Outside of OZ the animation was more subdued, but still amazing. The clouds in the sky as well as much of the shrubbery look as if they were painted on a canvas, but with your typical animation coloring. They also made sure to distinguish Natsuki's uncle Wabisuke (a black sheep of the family and illegitimate son of Great Grandpa) by drawing him in a darker style, more along the lines of what you would see in Cowboy Bebop or another anime with a grittier story.
Sound - 7/10
The sound was nothing to rave about, but also nothing to complain about. All the voices were well done, including the use of Todd Haberkon one of my favorite character voices. The music supported the story and action instead of taking it over, and it was all nicely edited together.
Characters - 7/10
Being that this was a movie, one with many characters, the is very little character building. You really get to learn about each character by their personality and interactions. You get a basic run through of each member and what they do, but they make you feel like you would if you were tossed into a situation where you're required to learn an entirely new family over dinner, as happened to Kenji.
In the short time you do learn about the past of the family that gives you a good reference for why everyone is the way they are and why eventually Kenji does look like a great fit for the family.
Overall - 9/10
I'm always a but shy on giving anything a 10, especially before it has a chance to grow on me. Having watched Summer Wars for the second time for this review I can see it eventually getting there. But a 10 for a movie, as to reach it for a series you have to hit the likes of GTO, Cowboy Bebop or Trigun, shows with such deep characters and stories, action and comedy. For a movie its tough because you can only build so much before having to move to a conclusion, but SW does as much as I can see possible in the short time it has.