Posted by psgels on 16 October 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Summer Wars is the latest highly anticipated movie from Mamoru Hosoda, the director of Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo. As expected, the movie comes with a lot of ideas, attention to detail and really attempts to innovate. It’s a very nice movie, however I didn’t like it as much as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

The movie basically focuses on two things: slice of life around a really big family who has come together for the birthday of its oldest member who owns a huge mansion. The other focus of the movie is some sort of science-fiction story in which the Internet has evolved into some bizarre world called “OZ”. This eventually gets hacked, and it’s up to our teen-aged lead to save the world from this threat.

And I’m sorry, but as a student computer science I just could not buy this premise. It’s utterly ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever. While I agree that it achieves new heights in the fantasy-ish portrayal of hacking software, and I know that there’s something as artistic freedom, but this movie went completely beyond my suspense of disbelief as it turned the teen-aged leads in this movie into somehow the only ones who were able to save the world. Especially the finale hung together in a string of Deus ex Machinas.

I know I’m harsh, but this is a big-budgeted movie. Take Real Drive, released last year. It’s vision of the future of the Internet was much more creative, realistic, believable and explained, even though it also used a bit of fantasy in its premise. I appreciate the attempts of the director, you can see that he really tried, but he was too torn between creating a good story and appealing to the mainstream in this part.

Okay, so that was the bad part, now the good stuff: the slice of life. What I absolutely loved about this movie was the way the family was portrayed. Every single character was behaving realistically, even taking the ridiculous setting into account. The cast is incredibly large, especially for a movie, and the creators actually developed all the characters a bit throughout the movie. I especially liked the chaos in which a lot of things happened at the same time and everyone was doing something at the same time.

You’re definitely going to recognize the art style from Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, and Madhouse really made sure to breathe life into every single character with some incredibly good and realistic animation. This slice of life makes this series really fun to watch. But yeah, compared to Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, it just isn’t as powerful. The soundtrack is less impressive, and it really gets hampered by that ridiculous setting and superficial climax.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 7/10

12 Responses

  1. Jaen says:

    Did you watch it in Japan or is it somehow getable?

  2. psgels psgels says:

    A korean subbed version has come out, so I watched it raw.

  3. Denizen says:

    I don’t think the concept was ever meant or intended to be realistic in any way – it’s meant to be a throwback to the times when you could depict the internet in crazy ways and not receive too much crap for it. So to see it get bashed for that enjoyable aspect is a bit disappointing.

  4. psgels psgels says:

    Denizen: if the lack of realism was indeed the only problem, then I indeed wouldn’t have minded it at all, but on top of that, it also just feels lazy. There’s no depth, the on-line avatars all look like pokemon-rejects and if you add to that that its only purpose is to have a bunch of teenagers save the world, it just becomes too much for me.

  5. olivia says:

    Ahaa – you should watch “Digimon: Children’s War Game.” You’ll see the parallel themes and issues…

  6. hayama says:

    yeah,its the same as the digimon movie…..its the same director after all.

  7. IcedTea says:

    Biased review.

    “And I’m sorry, but as a student computer science I just could not buy this premise. It’s utterly ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever.”

    So everything have to follow your imagination? People have their own thought and the way to express it. If you don’t like it then too bad. Not everything you don’t like is the worst.

  8. Chan says:

    I’d actually say that you were way too generous. The very premise of this movie as well its story is a blatant rip off of the Digimon Movie Children’s War Game, except that Children’s War Game had the better overall story.

    You should review it next since you’ve already seen the first season.

  9. snic says:

    I really enjoyed the slice of life segments of the movie, but near the end, with the whole countdown thing, it just got really cheesy. Really. No casualties? Even after that huge crash? One thing I definitely got out of this movie: do not put all of your eggs in basket. It was still a good watch though.

  10. Allibaba says:

    I agree, this movie isn’t too spectacular. I guess its pretty good if you weren’t expecting much. The movie is pretty flat throughtout and the art is mediocre. Haven’t seen “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” hope that one is more interesting.

  11. Animegunghoooo says:

    I totally agree with this review…at first i thought he was being a little hard on this movie…but after i watched it myself i began to see what he was talking about……i mean the internet that was portrayed in this movie “Oz” if u will looked soo stupid…. and in the last fighting scene when the girls avatar gets help from the whole world…….she actualy cries…i mean how can the avatar cry…..when its being controlled by a keyboard…i reallly hated that part…….

  12. Disgruntled Monkey says:

    Regarding the comment (#8) about it being a ripoff of Digimon Adventure: Children’s War Game. Yeah well, since it was the same director I guess you’re right, he totally ripped himself off. Anyway yeah, there’s no question this movie required a real suspension of disbelief to enjoy, but if you can get past that, it was a really heartwarming story with amazing characters. Especially the grandmother, she was awesome.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:30 AM)
    You just can’t go to a person that disagrees with you and try to force them to see it your way. And if you do, talking shit and baseless accusations is the dumbest way of doing so.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:29 AM)
    Also no, a critic doesn’t need to “show both sides”; they just need to express their own opinion on the matter. The only times objectivity is required is when dealing with facts, like talking about the talent behind a work or the story, not personal interpretation. If someone wants to just hear their own perspective gratified then they need to search the web for a reviewer that agrees with them, which given the scope of the internet is not that hard to do.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:24 AM)
    @Bam I believe that was Kevin as well.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:21 AM)
    Wait, so who was the moron that chipped his tooth by taking a ball to the face?
  • Mike
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 08:03 AM)
    As someone who has interacted with psgels since 2008, it’s quite clear you’ve never actually read any of his work Kevin. If you care about intellectual integrity, scroll down to the index, randomly go to any of his posts, and you’ll find he’s quite good at what he does after 9 years of it. I suggest you don’t waste any more of your time here Kevin, because you’ve seen for yourself that no one will ever accept your puerile antics.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:37 AM)
    Lastly as for all the accusations of spamming I’ve gotten over the years, yes SOME of it were mine. Only two. I also never spammed the chat besides the ONE TIME I posed as Psgels saying some dumb shit about pregnancy last year. That’s literally it.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:33 AM)
    And now Aidan cries that I’m being a meanie poopy head because I called Psgels a closed minded person who couldn’t be bothered to back up his opinions if his life depended on it. Again, @Aidan you cunt, it had nothing to do with me obviously disagreeing with psgels shitty opinion. I just wanted a damn reason for why psgels thought the way he did.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:30 AM)
    @afgm When you’re a critic like Psgels or Aidan you’re supposed to be able to show both sides, and if they’re going to have an opinion they better make sure they have some reasoning behind it. Being right or wrong is irrelevant. That’s the problem I had with psgels he just said he didn’t like something and ignored me when I called him out.
  • Kevin
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 07:28 AM)
    @Wolfe Shut the hell up, you don’t know what we’re talking about.
    @Afgm I might as well put an end to this fucking nonsense once and for all by destroying you retards. After this I’m either going to stay or leave for good.
  • afgm
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 06:56 AM)
    @Kevin: There are no ‘right’ answers in interpretation. In fact all right answers are essentially the answers that readers want to read. The only way that you can refute an idea is by putting forward ideas people want to agree with. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to have the cognitive capacity for this, resulting in your reliance on criticizing critics. You know how they say that critics are all skillless hacks? What does that make critic critics?

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