Summer Wars (サマーウォーズ)

All posts tagged Summer Wars (サマーウォーズ)

The main male protagonist, refusing to become the main female protagonist's boyfriend.

When writing my previous post in this blog (the review of Black Jack 21), I discovered a teeny weeny relationship between the Black Jack series and the anime movie I will review today, the highly-rated (by others) anime movie titled Summer Wars. I have read somewhere in the internet that this movie has won many awards (alongside K-On! to be exact), and considering that I have it in my extremely long queue, I decided to take the movie for a spin. Not only I can scare the current ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ title holder for a little, I can also confirm one of my suspicions that I have after watching the two season of Black Jack anime series.

And this is his avatar in the said MMORPG. The avatar that has gone bad!

Our nerdy main male protagonist was offered a part-time job by the his high-school idol to………………………………………………………………… become her boyfriend during her grandmother’s birthday bash. Disgruntled at being forced to do unexpected things, his problems vastly multiplied when, literally, the world and its dog starts baying for his head for hacking and vandalizing the biggest casual MMORPG in the world. His cover blown away, he has to work hard against time to save the world from a renegade AI that wants to destroy it, hmmmm…… where did I heard about this before?

Yeah right, the .Hack//G.U. multiplatform series, which prelude anime was reviewed by me here and the video-game-trilogy-condensed-into-a-movie reviewed here. I have also played the Playstation 2 trilogy for at least 200 hours or something. This movie shared so many similarities with the game series when it come to the storyline, but then again there are major differences as well.

While the game series is pretty much shounen, this movie’s storyline has a heavy dose of slice-of-life elements infused into it. Unlike the game which focused almost exclusively on the in-game storyline, this movie divides its focus upon the online world and the world outside it pretty much evenly. That’s why while the renegade AIs of each respective series do wreak major destruction upon their real world, you can actually see it (the actual disasters) happens in this movie while the destructions in .Hack//G.U. trilogy are only implied in bulletin boards and private messages. The game trilogy also has better romance story arc than this movie too, which will be explained below.

For what its worth, this movie’s storyline is quite good. But what makes the movie stands up to its hype is its presentation. The flow of the story is excellent and the pacing is just perfect. For a movie to has this kind of perfect pacing is truly a rarity. It is even better than the likes of The Sky Crawlers and the venerable Spirited Away. The awesome presentation more than covered the unavoidable lack of nuances seen in this movie’s story.

Character developments. the bane of all things movies without a sequel, is predictably patchy. Only two characters has done anything remotely well in the regard: the main male protagonist (also the best character in this movie) and the main female protagonist's grandmother. The huge cast of characters really didn’t help. And the main reason why this movie’s romance subplot is inferior compared to the .Hack//G.U. trilogy’s is because of the main female protagonist’s weird character development strategies. Someone care to explain to me how on earth she fall in love with the main male protagonist?

And this is him in deep trouble after being framed by the scheming main female protagonist.

Character Design:-
This movie’s seinen-like character designs are excellent overall. Lack of black hairs is forgiven; I’m convinced that those who doesn’t have black hair dyed theirs. A positive aspect for this movie.

Voice Acting:-
Unlike character design, voice acting in this anime is just average. And unfortunately for this anime, no one stands out from the rest in this aspect. The grandma comes close, but not close enough.

The main reason why this movie is related to the Black Jack series is because they shared the same composer for the soundtrack of both titles. The composer hasn’t done the work of Osamu Tezuka any justice it deserves, and 3 years later, nothing changed for this anime either. Therefore, it is safe to say, the OST of this movie is just mediocre. I don’t know if he composed the ED theme, but the theme is not very good either.

The animation in this movie is superb, with no decrease in quality in fast-paced scenes too. Beauty is everywhere, whether in online world or outside it, comparable to what Makoto Shinkai’s works. Choreography is also awesome, comparable to what you can see in the .Hack//G.U. OAV and not too far behind what you can see in Avatar – The Last AirBender. The director also has done a very good job presenting the movie to the audience with the aforementioned excellent presentation. A positive aspect for this movie.

9 out of 10.
This movie lives up to its hype, but not good enough to dethrone Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei as the best anime of 2009. How on earth K-On! managed to get toe-to-toe with this movie anyway?

Quoted for Truth!