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02 August 2009

Anime Review: "Summer Wars"[**]---Unsatisfactory Japanese-version of "The Martix"

Several days ago, I watched the newest cinema anime:"Summer Wars".


Here's my short review.
(Note: full-marks is *****)


[Note for readers]
This review contains spoilers.

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[Script/Storyline: *]
(For "Staff/Cast/Production Notes", please refer to the official
(JP-ONLY), Wikipedia-JP or Anime News Network)

The idea is quite cliche. The links between the real world and the virtual world is a familiar concept in many contemporary genre fiction. An exemplary work  is "The Matrix" trilogy. I think Summer Wars is a pastiche of themes from the real/virtual world concept, and there is nothing particularly fresh or original.

Some of the scenes are directed to resemble streaming video from Nico Nico Douga, with user comments crawling/appearing across the screen over the video footage. I don't think it's a great idea, though."

I am only slightly moved by the Hanafuda duel during the climatic scene. But it's not enough.

This script also has some inconsistencies and factual flaws. In this story, a Japanese-made spy satellite plays the role of the main mecha. Technically speaking, almost all of these satellites will burn out upon a reentry into Earth's atmosphere. In addition to that, no one can precisely control the impact point of a falling satellite.

[Characters: **+]
They are all basically ordinary people like those of "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (2006). There's no moe, and not many attractive personalities, I feel.

[Animation (artwork and motion): ***]
Only so-so for an anime movie. Nothing special.

[The performance of Voice-actors/actresses: **]
Both protagonists: Mr. KOISO, and Ms.SHINOHARA are played by non-seiyu artistes. KAMIKI Ryunosuke is an experienced young actor. He was the lead actor in the movie "The Great Yokai War" (妖怪大戦争, 2005)and  TV drama "Detective School Q"(探偵学園Q). His voice-acting experience, though, is still limited. SAKURABA Nanami is an idol actress. SAKURABA's performance need much more improvement.

[Music: **+]
Not bad. But it is not edgy and the music doesn't stand out either.

[Overall: **]
The director Hosoda Mamoru's previous work is the critically acclaimed "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time".  This anime movie was well received in Japan.
Summer Wars, however, wasn't up to my expectations and is not able to match the quality of "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time".

In short, Summer Wars is just a bland piece of work (rather than a bad anime). I can't feel the edge for script, direction, and seiyu's performance. If you are interested in Summer Wars, It's worth waiting for the video streaming and/or packaged media release.


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