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Summer Wars in theatres partout

June 14, 2010

Once again, I benefited from a theatre experience for a non-Ghibli Japanese animation movie. Once again, it was well deserved.

Yes, we finally got around to having Summer Wars on French screens. Given that I didn’t quite follow the news in anime recently, I had just vaguely heard about this movie, always in good terms, so I figured it would be a good way to pretend to work for my Japanese test.

What’s it about ? There’s a boy, a girl, an online community, an evil hacker, frantic typing, a huge mansion in the Japanese mountains, a old woman’s 90th birthday, and baseball matches on TV. Yes, all in the same movie, no, it’s not a botched copy/paste. Here’s my try at a relatively spoiler-free introduction.

The joyful and pretty Natsuki enlists one of her high school juniors over the summer to “help her with her Grandma’s birthday party” – read “play the fiancée so Grandma will be happy”. What sounded like a bad idea, namely bringing a naïve math geek in your family house to try and pass him off as your future husband, may prove to be what’s needed to save the day. That and the help of many, many, many family members of various professions and resources.

Also, of beer.

Why does the day need saving anyway ? Because something or someone has decided to mess around seriously with everything inside the online world that is Oz. Which is actually everything in the real world. Oz permits you to do everything online, from shopping to playing games or filing your taxes. With the highest security of course. Let’s see how this ends…

I am in your network, stealing your accounts

This movie is playing a lot with sharp contrasts, which I enjoyed a lot.

High-tech/traditional Japan

As I wrote before, part of the movie takes place online, with all the avatars, 3D graphics, outlandish design it implies. The other part takes place in the country, in an old house laden with history and samurai lore (and armor). When you’ve got phones, laptops, or else, what’s the difference anyway ? And, well, the last battle is a tribute to this duality. I’ll let you discover it 🙂

Everyday life/Apocalypse

You don’t really get the impending doom atmosphere in the movie. Natsuki’s family still gets on with everyday life, cooking, eating dinner, watching the baseball pride of the family on TV, fooling around… but that doesn’t prevent them from being here when it counts of course.

ALL of them.

Opposites do work well together.

The other strong point of Summer Wars is the fighting spirit of the whole family (and hence of the whole movie) which comes from the mightiest head of the family ever.


For the anime fans, it does play on high school romance (and overbearing family) codes, but not too strongly. It’s not a big part of the movie at all, so don’t be scared 😀

Yep, you basically have no excuse to miss this movie. Get your hands on it or go see it if you can.

P.S : Also, a kick-ass rabbit avatar. Which is not the main guy’s for a change.

Yeah, definitely going on my dvd wishlist.

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