Kenji Koiso, a teenage math prodigy who spends most of his time in OZ, which is a virtual world that has become extremely popular worldwide called OZ. OZ was known to possess a near impenetrable security, ensuring all personal information was kept safe in order to protect those who used it and because of that and it’s convenience, the majority of the society became highly dependent on OZ. Millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control, to nuclear launch codes and national defense.
At the beginning of summer vacation, Natsuki asked him to help act as her boyfriend to celebrate her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday and he agreed and went to Nagano Prefecture with Natsuki, where her grandmother lived to celebrate her birthday. However, one night, he got a text from an unknown number challenging him to solve a math riddle. When most people gave up or were unable to solve it, he solved it within minutes and sent the answer to the sender. Little did he know, what he sent was the password to OZ and his actions just put the world in grave danger.
This movie was one of the first Japanese movies that introduced me into anime world. Before watching this movie, I didn’t even realize that there was such a big and vast world of animes out there that I have never even heard of. I watched Summer Wars when I was about 10 years old, and I remember at the time I thought this was the best animation movie I have ever watched. And now, even after years and years later, I still stand by my decision. Summer Wars is and will always be one of my most favorite animation movie out there.
The movie started off by introducing the characters, Kenji Koiso. He was the typical nerd, he was really good at math and when he wasn’t doing anything related to it, he would be a moderator on OZ alongside his close friend, Takashi Sakuma. Kenji, being the shy guy that he was, would always only appreciate his crush, Natsuki Shinohara from afar. Natsuki’s great grandmother, Sakae Jinnouchi, has been bugging her to introduce her boyfriend and to bring him home. And when out of nowhere, Natsuki asked him to be her fake boyfriend for her great grandmother’s birthday, he was shocked and timidly agreed to the offer.
When they arrived in Sakae Jinnouchi’s house, it was very crowded with Natsuki’s relatives all over the house, preparing for a birthday party. Some were changing the lightbulbs, the children were watching and cheering over a baseball game, and the women were in the kitchen cooking and preparing for the birthday feast. Few animated movies, much less Japanese ones, focused on families so I really enjoyed that aspect of the movie. Natsuki’s large and cheerful family carry the movie themselves.
And one night, Kenji received a message from an unknown number asking him to solve a math riddle. Being a math prodigy that he was, he solved the riddle in the matter of minutes and sent his answer to the sender. The next morning, the television and internet was bombarded with the news that OZ’s top notch security was hacked overnight. The hacker, who goes under the name Love Machine, started by taking over Kenji’s OZ account and then would feast on users’ avatars in order to get stronger. And as Love Machine’s strength grows, so does his reach. He was eventually able to control the GPS, water pressure, messing with the emergency alert and fire alarms, causing havoc all around the world.
At first, people take this lightly because they did not know why everything is messed up. However when they eventually started to realize that this was all because of the hacker Love Machine, Sakae decided to take this to another level and fight back. She started by contacting her close friends and relatives, who mostly working in public sector to restore things back into order. It was very interesting to see how they all worked together, even those who wasn’t on good terms, to restore back order. They didn’t give up even when Love Machine defeat them over and over again.
Summer Wars was one of the rare anime out there that is very technology related, yet it doesn’t make it out to be something only computer nerds would enjoy. It balanced itself very well between technology and how everybody has an OZ account–leave it for a few those who doesn’t. It doesn’t only focus on the fact that they are trying to get OZ back from the hacker, but the movie also focused on how family comes together in times of hardship and how they support and protect each other through thick and thin.
And towards the middle of the movie, I feel like they added some characters that wasn’t really important to the show and also wasted a lot of time just trying to make the show more exciting when it did the opposite.
Some might say that the would like some more spice in between Kenji and Natsuki’s relationship, or some might want Kenji to be more outspoken and be a little bit more out there rather than being so timid most of the time. And I must say, I personally also do not enjoy a character that is spineless or timid, but somehow, Kenji’s character works out in this movie. I honestly do not mind at all about how he acted in this movie, I actually find it really adorable. Although, I must say, I did have a hard time trying to connect with Natsuki. Natsuki to me, just seemed like a pretty girl, who was loud and energetic but doesn’t really have a lot of depth to her. It was more like, even if she wasn’t in the movie, it would still be a kick-ass and awesome movie. And to think that she was a main character, it was just a bit baffling that her presence didn’t do much to elevate the show.
But despite all that, I love Summer Wars with all my heart. This is the kind of movie that is suitable for all ages, and regardless how old you are, you will definitely enjoy this movie. I highly recommend this movie, especially to watch it with your family on your free time.