Summer Wars is another must-see Japanese animated movie. Its animation, music, and voice acting are exceptional. It’s about Kenji, a math genius, who agreed to accompany his crush Natsuki to her hometown. When they got there, she told Kenji to pretend to be her fiancé.
This is not an easy task because her family is celebrating the family matriarch’s 90th birthday. This means he needed to fool a lot of people into thinking that he is her boyfriend. Plus, he had to lie about his status to make him more suitable for her.
Then there’s OZ, an online virtual world that in reality controls the real world. Everything is incorporated into it – traffic lights, banks, cable TV and a lot more. Then one day OZ got hacked and everything was blamed on Kenji. Now it is up to Kenji and a bunch of Natsuki’s relatives to save the world but first he must make them believe that he was not the hacker.
Takashi Sakuma: Please tell me you didn’t break the internet.
Love Machine must be inspired by the ILOVEYOU Virus that managed to infect millions of computers in 2000. In Summer Wars, the Love Machine is an artificial intelligence program designed by the military. It was an experiment gone very wrong. The real hacker used Kenji’s avatar and account, which caused the authorities to go after him.
Summer Wars has a lot of minor characters that were conveniently placed in the story as a solution for a problem that would be encountered as the story progressed. Too bad that some of the characters are poorly developed, which makes the viewer less connected with the movie.
There are lots of lessons to be learned from Summer Wars. One of which is that gamers should be taken seriously. Without Kazuma’s King Kazma then the Love Machine could have destroyed OZ immediately. It also teaches one not to give up. No one can solve a problem by being a quitter. This was embodied by Kenji who didn’t lose hope and manage to beat Love Machine with the help of King Kazma and Natsuki.
Summer Wars also shows us the dangers of being too dependent on technology. It doesn’t say that technology is evil but it gives out the warning of what can happen when computers get too smart for our own good.
Mamoru Hosoda could have shortened the first third of Summer Wars. Then I could have considered it a masterpiece. The two-thirds of the movie had better pacing than in the beginning. But overall it is a good movie that the whole family can enjoy.