|Mamoru Hosoda Director||previously directed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time|
Kenji takes a "job" helping out Natsuki at her family's house. Things begin to get out of hand when a nefarious A.I. starts reeking havoc in OZ.
|Ryuunosuke Kamiki||Kenji Koiso|
|Sumiko Fuji||Sakae Jinnouchi|
|Mitsuki Tanimura||Kazuma Ikezawa|
|Ayumu Saitô||Wabisuke Jinnouchi|
|Tia Lynn Ballard||Kana Jinnouchi|
|John Burgmeier||Tasuke Jinnouchi|
|See Full Credits|
Summer Wars is a cyber punk anime dealing with A.I.'s and humanities dependence on the internet virtual world of OZ.
Wars bares a striking resemblance to one of Mamoru Hosodas early works, Digimon: Our War Games. Wars falls into multiple genres from family dram to cyber punk.
Mamoru Hosoda and Madhouse annouced the film in 2008 at the Tokoy International Anime Festival. For this film he reteamed with Satoko Okudera for screenplay and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto for character design. They previouly worked together on Mamorus last film The Girl Who Lept Through Time. Mamoru drew inspiration from Second Life and the Japanese site mixi for creating the world of OZ.
Kenji Koiso is you typical highschool, having just lost the chance of being Japans representative at the Math Olympics he toils away at his job as a moderator on OZ. His friend Takashi tries to cheer him up with talk of summer and plans but to no avail. When Natsuki Shinohara barges in offering a part time job that wouldn't even be a job Kenji takes it. This Job entails helping out during Natsukis Grandmother, Sakae 90th birthday party.
When he arrives at Sakaes estate Natsuki introduces him as her finance much to Kenjis surprise. Natsuki lied to her grandmother about having a boyfriend and is using Kenji as a stand in. With no way out Kenji plays along and meets the rest of the Jinnouchi clan.
After dinner lost in the big estate Kenji runs in to one of Natsukis many cousins Kazuma held up in a closet on his laptop.On the otherside of the estate Natsukis long lost adopted Uncle Wabisuke returns home after disappearing 10 years ago. Wabisuke had sold some of Sakaes land and used it to run off to America and wasn't heard from sense. Tired and unable to sleep Kenji gets a mysterious text message with numbers, that is a riddle which he spends all night solving.
When he awakes Kenji finds his face on TV with broadcasters claiming that he is responsible for hacking OZ and causing chaos and mayhem within the virtual world. Shocked he runs to Kazuma to use his laptop and get onto OZ. Unable he gets Takashi to create a new account and tries to straighten this all out. His avatar now being controlled by someone else attacks him and is only saved by Kazumas avatar King Kazma, a major fighter in OZ. Kenjis avatar mutates into a more powerful fighter and easily defeats King Kazma forcing them to retreat. Takashi has figured out the mysterious user is in fact a A.I. named Love Machine, that is taking over various OZ useres accounts and using their privileges to make things in the real world go haywire.
Most of the real worlds infrastructure is run through OZ. Government matters such as water,power and emergency calls. Love Machine is using these accounts to cause traffic jams and false alarms all over the wolrd.
The rest of the Jinnouchi clan eventually find out about Kenjis apparent crime and is arrested by Shota, Natsukis second cousin. Shota takes him away in handcuffs but is stopped by all the traffic caused by Love Machine and is forced to take Kenji back to the estate. Sakae seeing all the chaos caused starts to call all of her old friends and family members encouraging and making certain that they talk to each other. Eventually with Sakaes help the chaos begins to lessen. Latter that night during a game of Hanafuda she makes Kenji promise to look after and protect Natsuki.
Wabisuke emits to creating Love Machine but shirks responsibility. The U.S. Military bought it from him and are the ones who unleashed Love Machine on OZ as a test drive. Sakae, having none of it attacks Wabisuke with a spear forcing him to run away again.
In the morning Sakae has died unbeknownst to anyone sense OZ would have notified them of a problem. The women of the family begin to plan for Sakaes funeral while Kenji and the men begin a plan to finally kill Love Machine. Using the families considerable reach they pull together a supercomputer and enough electrical power to fight it. This plan fails though and turns Love Machine into a giant mass of avatars. In retaliation he sets a satalite on a collision course with a nuclear facility that would cause massive destruction.
Natsuki while planning the funeral finds Sakaes will. This will implores them to except Wabisuke back into there lives since he is family. This plea leads to Wabisuke returning and helping to defeat Love Machine. The new plan of attack involves having Natsuki play games of Hanafuda with Love Machine for the accounts it controls. If they can get the account that controls the satellite they could change its coordinates.
After some early success they lose a hand and can no longer meet the minimum betting requirement. Random OZ useres though come in and offer their accounts as betting material. Now with new betting chips Natsuki is able to strip Love Machine down to his original avatar that he stole from Kenji. Not liking defeat Love Machine sends the satellite instead crashing to the Jinnouchi family estate. This forces Kenji to use his math skills to quickly crack various passwords blocking him access to the satellites GPS system. With little time left Kenji is able to deflect the satalite to a open field.
With this behind them the Jinnouchi family finally celebrates Sakaes birthday as a family. Natsuki also admits she likes Kenji,who also likes her, and kisses him on a cheek.
Production on the film lasted three years and is among the longer productions for Madhouse. The president of Madhouse Masao Maruyama said that this was due to the large amount of Jinnouchi family members that Mamoru wanted to include in the film. Masao said that Mamoru had promised only two main characters and two years of production.
Summer Wars received generally positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has it at 72% out of 18 reviews, 13 fresh 5 rotten.
Peter Debruge of Variety said "It's no coincidence that the Second Life-style virtual universe thrown into turmoil in Summer Wars goes by the name of Oz. This spectacular anime entry from Mamoru Hosoda echoes that 1939 classic."
Nick Schager of the Time Out New York said "Celebrates togetherness and bravery as much as binary-mathematics expertise."
Other critics where not as praising.
Amy Nicholson of I.E. Weekly said "The story's been done better (and balder) in Die Hard With A Vengeance".
Chris Barsanti of Filmcritic.com called it "candy-colored anime"
Summer Wars also did very well on the international festival circuit nominated for best picture and other top honors in various festivals.
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