It’s the two-year anniversary of Fragglepuss Anime Reviews!
Well, here we go again. It’s been another year in the life of Fragglepuss Anime Reviews. I’d like to thank my fellow Anime Happy Hour podcasters / panelists / family: Breanne, Brittany and Lindsay. You three have been so wonderful and I’m so grateful we’ve been able to go on this anime journey together. Thanks to the SLC Anime group and all the anime recommendations we’ve been through over the years. There have been several anime I love that I learned about through a recommendation in the group. Thanks to all the readers of the Fragglepuss reviews, I hope I’ve been able to recommend some decent anime over the past two years. Lastly I want to give a special shout-out to Alec Unsicker. You’re awesome Al and we can’t wait to have you as a special guest for our next panel! Alright, enough of the mushy stuff, on to the reason you’re all here.
Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Reality vs Virtual
First Released: August 2009, 114-minute film
Summary: Welcome to the world of OZ. OZ is a virtual world that can be enjoyed by people from all over the world. You can easily access OZ through a personal computer, cellular phone, or even your television. Customize your avatar’s appearance, clothing, hairstyle, or even a tail. Your personal information is all securely stored with OZ’s high-tech encryption system. You can go shopping, study, play sports, and conduct business in OZ. Many businesses and government agencies have a large presence in the system. Practically everything in the real world can also be handled in the OZ virtual world.
On a day like any other high schooler and math prodigy Kenji Koiso is asked by fellow student Natsuki to come with her to her family’s Nagano home for a summer job. Natsuki’s family, the Jinnouchi clan, are all meeting at the family home to celebrate the 90th birthday of Sakae, the grandma and matriarch. It is only when Kenji arrives in Nagano that he discovers the true purpose of his summer job. As if this isn’t stressful enough, Kenji receives a strange math problem on his cell phone that he can’t resist solving. It’s only after he finds the solution to the math problem that the real problems begin! The real world and the world of OZ are all about to be in serious danger.
Summer Wars is directed by Mamoru Hosoda, director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast. His style shows in the animation. I like that the animation is realistic with normal hairstyles and proportionate body sizes in the real world. I appreciated the contrast of style between the real world and the OZ virtual world, with outrageous avatars and an explosion of color in the latter. The plot is another positive of the film, which is well-paced and provides several conflicts between the virtual and real world. It left me pondering how real the virtual world can be, especially in our time of rapid technological advancement.
You might enjoy this if: You have enjoyed Hosoda’s other work. Summer Wars delivers a healthy mix of drama and comedy set to a sci-fi tune.
You might not like it if: You are an “off-the-grid” person that has sworn off a virtual life.
Note to the Viewer: Mamoru Hosoda was originally commissioned to direct the Studio Ghibli classic Howl’s Moving Castle, but was taken off the project early on.
Summer Wars Trailer