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Friday, February 26, 2010

Summer Wars (Mamoru Hosada)

Well.... peeps.... this movie might make history.... In the future.... it could very well be known as the calling card of Miyazakis Heir....


Prints available right now are crappy (by my standards.... Blame all the Blu Ray Rips I have been watching recently...) and have audio and subtitle syncing issues... The English ones are hardcoded on top of the other subs... so sometimes it gets hard to read... but these are transient problems... cant wait for a better version!!!

PLOT SYNOPSIS: (Sourced from various sites and embellished)

At first sight, the world of Summer Wars looks practically identical to contemporary Japan. But there's one big difference: the existence of Oz. A mix between social network and virtual world (think of it like some kind of Facebook taken to new and radically extreme heights), accessible via phones, computers, televisions and practically any electronic device you can think of. A user can find anything inside Oz, ranging from the typical chat rooms to every kind of entertainment, shop, business and even government services like traffic, police and fire departments. Everything is connected to this massive worldwide network, all you have to do is register, create your own virtual avatar and log in.

Kenji is a shy and awkward man, his only real gift - at least as far as he's concerned - an aptitude for math, a subject in which he is skilled enough that he was very nearly Japan's representative for the global math Olympiad. With school out of session Kenji has taken a job as low level tech support for OZ, a job he quickly jettisons when Natsuki - the most popular girl in school - asks if anyone needs a job for the summer because she needs someone to accompany her to her family's traditional home to help out preparing for her great grandmother's ninetieth birthday party. Seeing an opportunity, Kenji jumps at the chance.

And things seem great at first. Natsuki is beautiful, smart and outgoing - exactly the kind of girl that Kenji would never have a chance with and he has clearly been idolizing her from a distance. The train ride is great. But then he finds out what Natsuki is really up to. With the family matriarch in failing health, Natsuki has promised to bring home her boyfriend to meet the family on this visit. But the thing is Natsuki doesn't actually have a boyfriend and so she has solved the problem by hiring Kenji under false pretenses. Once the pair arrive Kenji learns his true job: He must spend the next four days pretending to be Natsuki's boyfriend. But the panic he feels at that is nothing compared to the panic that sets in when what he believed was a math problem emailed to him by an anonymous source turns out to be an identity theft scam that cripples OZ and leaves Kenji framed for the chaos.

Watch as Kenji enlists the aid of Natsukis family tries to fight back and prove his innocence and save the world from the ensuing chaos!



The concept is brilliant... and the execution is even better... Mamoru creates an intricate network of characters (Natsukis large family)... and while he does not invest much time in developing them.... you still end up loving them all... with only the interactions between them to work with... He still manages to make it so that the viewer can walk away feeling like he somehow knows every member of the Jinnouchi clan...

The plot is great and 'clean' as well... making the movie perfect for family viewing... There is a little bit of everything in the movie... budding romance... comedy... some tragedy/drama... action.... and a peek into the lives led by members of large cohesive families... something that you very rarely get to see in an anime....


What really astonished me was how effortlessly... almost seamlessly... he merged CGI with the traditional cels.... You would expect the transfers between the realms of animation to be jerky.... interrupting the flow as it were... but this is not the case...

The plot premise allowed the design teams imagination to run wild and they made full use of it... with creativity that can easily be likened to Miyazaki... Mamoru creates the strange and beautiful world of OZ and the various Avatars of the users.... The final fight scene took my breath away....

Personal Note:

In short... I believe that the successor who will take up Miyazakis mantle has just sent in his application... Fans of Toki Wa Kakeru Shoujo can expect to be pleased if not outright thrilled by Summer Wars.... and everyone can/should expect great things from this man....

Overall Score:

I dont ever give perfect scores out to anything I watch or read... cause theres always something that can be done better... but this one comes damn close to deserving one... as close as only a few others have...



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