From the director of “Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo” brings you Summer Wars! I thoroughly enjoyed Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo and it is one of my top favorite movies. Now as for Summer Wars, I’ll make it clear. For me, I did not like it as much compared to Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo. The storyline was definitely intriguing, and Summer Wars virtual world concept was definitely interesting. It reminded me of a certain Digimon movie where they also had to fight through a network. That was so nostalgic, and I thought that the art was also similar to those digimons. However, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo was far superior because it managed to pluck a few heart strings in me, and the romance and story was definitely much more interesting. That doesn’t mean that Summer Wars was bad though, and it is definitely not a waste of time to watch it. It is merely a preparation for those who expected Summer Wars to top Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo.
Summer Wars take place in a time where there is a virtual world named Oz, which is used world wide for almost everything: GPS, internet, battle, games, classified information, etc. You make your own avatar and explore the virtual world, living kind of a second life. The story beings with Kenji being invited by his senpai, Natsuki, for a summer job. He then takes the train to go to Natsuki’s family house. It was Natsuki’s grandma’s 90th birthday and as he went into their house, he meant many of Natsuki’s relatives. Apparently they are an old and reputable clan back in the 1300s and were called the Jinnouchi Clan. The grandma invited Natsuki and Kenji into her room, and Natsuki told her grandma they were dating. That was Kenji’s job: to pretend he was a Tokyo U graduate, from a reputable clan and traveled aboard.
As the family was eating together around the table to celebrate Natsuki getting a boyfriend, a man named Wabisuki came, which startled the family. Apparently he had left the family ten years ago and they haven’t heard of him since. He was the adopted child of the grandma’s husband, and he apparently took the lands of the clan and sold it to get money. However, apparently Natsuki likes Wabisuki and really favors him, despite what the other relatives say.
One night, as Kenji was sleeping, he got a text mail from his phone. It apparently was a math code and him being the man that loves math, attempts to solve it. When he solved it, he got a prank mail and then he went back to sleep. The next morning Kenji sees himself on the news as the man who sent Oz into chaos. Apparently the code he solved was the master key to all of Oz’s networks and someone hijacked it, using Kenji’s avatar. Apparently one of Natsuki’s relatives was King Kazma, the best fighter in the Oz. He fought with the avatar that hacked into the system, but he had an ability to absorb other avatars to increase his power. Unfortunately, the hacker overpowered King Kazma, but he managed to escape due to Kenji’s avatar dragging him out.
Soon, the whole family of relatives saw that Kenji was a “criminal” and found out his fake background. He got arrested and then drove away. However, inside the world of Oz, the hacker started messing up every network in the country, which made huge traffics, water pipes exploding due to pressure, fake fire alarms, etc. It caused chaos throughout the country. Grandma saw what was happening and immediately called every contact she knew to put the chaos into order. With the efforts of everyone, the chaos died down and order was restored. However, many people’s avatars were still stolen. After that, everyone went to have a little party to celebrate the chaos being died down. However, Wabisuke admitted to having created Love Machine, saying it was an A.I. thirsting for knowledge, and he sold it to America for a lot of money. Apparently America were doing tests in Oz with Love Machine. The grandma realized what he had done and threatened him to leave.
Later that night, the grandma invited Kenji into her room. They played a card game called Hanafuda. They talked about how the grandma wants Kenji to take care of Natsuki and to take care of her, giving him the approval to basically date Natsuki. After that, in the morning, the grandma passed away. Apparently the Oz system was messed up and failed to inform the doctor of her condition. Everyone felt sad and the relatives all wondered what to do, like setting up the funeral and inviting/informing other relatives. The men in the family wants to fight the Love Machine to prevent things like what happened to them from happening.
All the men gathered gathered everything they needed to fight Love Machine, including a JSDF satellite network system, a super computer, and a boat which can serve as an outlet for the supercomputer. They then sent an invite to Love Machine to have a duel against King Kazma. During the duel, they managed to lure him into a trap that trapped him inside a stage. However, due to a stupid action that one of their relative cop did, their supercomputer overheated and it caused Love Machine to escape, this time taking on a huge avatar comprising of all 410,000,000 avatars he stole. King Kazma was then defeated, and the network went haywire, issuing a countdown for basically a bomb.
Kenji thought of a plan and said that since Love Machine likes to play games, if they challenge him to a game, they might be able to get the avatar back that has the key to stop japan’s planetary probe, Arawashi, from dropping down on a nuclear power plant and causing a disater. Natsuki and the rest of the family challenged Love Machine into the card game Hanafuda, and they wager avatars. Natsuki was winning, but due to one mistake, she lost the tides and didn’t have enough avatars to bet against him. However, the people around the world started supporting her, and she gained enough avatars and a special avatar to beat Love Machine. In the end, Love Machine lost all his 410,000,000 avatars, making Natsuki victorious.
All the coordinates to the Nuclear Power Plants got canceled, except for the coordinates to their house. The Love Machine plans on sending Arawashi to collide with their house. Kenji quickly tried to change the coordinates, but Love Machine kept giving him codes to solve. In the end, he managed to solve all the codes thrown at him, and King Kazma managed to kill Love Machine to stop his further hindering. In the end, they managed to avoid the crisis. They all celebrated grandma’s birthday happily and in the end, Kenji and Natsuki went out.
Art (1.6/2): The art definitely reminded me of Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo. It was pretty nostalgic since I really enjoyed that movie. I didn’t mind it, although it was kind of an old style; however, the virtual world art was definitely amazing. The animation and choreography for some of the fight scenes were also amazing. The art also reminded me of Digimon, like I mentioned earlier. However, although it was the same as Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo’s art, I would of liked the animation to be a bit better.
Story (0.8/2): The story was good at the start. I felt like it would turn out really well. However, I felt that the conclusion was lacking and most of the storyline was kind of slow. I also felt like the main character felt really useless in this anime. He didn’t really do anything significant. If he wasn’t there, nothing else would of happened except for some of the romance between him and Natsuki. Also, to have it end as a card game to save the world seems to be like what Yugioh would do. I felt disappointed at the end of the movie, which is its biggest downfall.
Sound (0.1/1): There were rarely any amazing BGM in this anime. In fact, there were very few BGM. I felt some of the voices felt out of place, especially the person who played King Kazma. The voice actor clearly made him sound like a girl. At first, I thought he was a girl due to the voice. I totally didn’t expect it to be a boy until later on. Also, the ED was definitely bad, so the sound was definitely it’s worst aspect in this movie.
Characters (1/2): The characters were ok. There is the usual cowardly main lead, Kenji, who… steps it up during crucial moments. He also felt really useless in this anime. There’s Natsuki, the weird, average girl. I didn’t think she was any special. The rest of the relatives were ok. The fisherman guy was pretty cool. However!!! The grandma was definitely the strongest and coolest character in the anime. I loved her and she was definitely a very strong character.
Enjoyment (2.5/3): I enjoyed the anime, despite its flaws. I didn’t feel bored or anything, and it was a good anime to watch with the family. I felt some of it was kind of corny, but it was definitely worth the time. The strong part of this anime is probably the huge cast and the virtual world. I have always liked things dealing with the virtual world since it gives me ideas of the future. Things like living your life in the virtual world, how does it feel like, what can it do, etc. I have always been fascinated by the internet and expansion of technology. It was quite an enjoyable ride overall.