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SaitoHajime101's Summer Wars Ova Review

Summer Wars Summer Wars Screenshot The World of OZ Summer Wars Screenshot The OZ (Part 2) Summer Wars Screenshot Kenji & Natsuki Summer Wars Screenshot The Jinnouchi Family

Summer Wars ova Review

Story & Playability

Sigh no selection for movie, oh well. On with the show!

[2 hours later...]

Whoa, what a trip. No I'm not talking a shroom trip or anything, pssh. No this movie was an emotional trip of a lifetime. Ah yes, I could continue rambling without giving any of you the statisfaction of actually knowing what the hell I'm talking about. However, I'm not that cruel. I'm talking about Summer Wars, the animated film that came out in Japan back in August 8th of 2009.

Before I begin actually giving you a review I shall provide a short overview of what this movie is about. The title is somewhat misleading as its not really a "war" per se. It really depends on your perspective of the overall plot of the movie. Anyhow, we start of at the beginning of this film being introduced to the "World of OZ". In this place you'll meet the Wicked Witch of the West and the Munchkins...no actually not really. The "World of OZ" is the internet, way beyond the internet we know today. Its hard to describe without seeing it for yourself, but it's definitely an internet thats very possible (I believe) if our technology keeps proceeding as it is. Now beyond this, unlike my past reviews where I kind of talk about the first episode, its very hard to talk about scenes in the movie without getting specific. I guess I can leave it as the world infrastructure comes crashing down and our two main protagonists Shinohara Natsuki and Koiso Kenji find themselves in the middle of the mess. I would say more so Kenji then Natsuki. I won't say anything more than that because that will start giving away plot twists and devices. All the plot twists and devices are so intricately interwined that even a little bit can give away a lot of the story. Now I'm sure someone could do better and actually talk about some of the movie without giving away more, but I'm not going to give it try here.

We have a nice set of characters to support Kenji and Natsuki in the endeavor, however at times it seems like Kenji or Natsuki aren't the main characters. The supporting roles stand out. I don't just mean one or two of them make a bigger impression than normal, I literally mean all of them. And they make way more than just a simple big impression. I will say maybe one of them (the woman who's always cheering for the Ueda High baseball team) is probably the only one who doesn't have much of a big role as the others so its probably the list likely to be remembered. Its an up or a downside, but to me this worked out good. I'll explain this part when I talk about concept in the final area.

Overall this series was very realistic in the sense of reactions, actions, speech, and such. Throw aside the fact that this takes place many years in the future and technology, as that doesn't really matter. There are no flying cars, there's no floating cities, or robots. No this isn't a future 300 years in the future, this is one thats maybe 20 years if our current technology gets better quickly. In actuality this story takes place in present time even though the technology is more advance. I really, really enjoyed it and I wanted more when I was done with it.

Rating: 8

Graphics

Oh man was this a treat. We had pretty smooth 3D rendered graphics meshed with 2D characters and it was difficult at times to point out which parts were 3D and which weren't. Our technology isn't quite there yet to completely blur the line, but its definitely getting there. I was impressed by how much detail was there without sacrificing in animation. Typically when you get really fine detailed work, especially in backgrounds, you lose a bit in animation quality, but not in this case. The character designs for this movie were actually done by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki-san (the same person who did the character designs for such works as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo). The character designs are probably one of my favorites (tied with ABe Yoshitoshi-san). Another treat was the ever better speech to voice matching. In this film you can see actual distinguished words coming off each characters. Now of course this is a movie, so the production value is going to be many times higher than an basic anime series but thats why I love anime films more than series. To be able to see lips moving to match words like they're suppose to is definitely a highlight in films.

Rating: 8

Sound

Surprisingly this was probably more low key than in any anime film I've seen to date. Usually I expect a massive soundtrack to accompany such a well put together film, but they forgone your typical huge soundtrack and probably put the money elsewhere. Now I'm not saying the soundtrack is bad, actually it was good, but its definitely not the highlight of this film as one would usually find in an anime. The only lyric-based song you can find is in the ending credits, which the song actually makes sense and better fits in that place. One would expect music to come at its highest during the most dramatic points, but I was so focused on the emotional scenes so much, I didn't really notice the background music. Not sure whether it just blended in the scene so well or it just wasn't loud enough to register for me, past all the emotion I was feeling. This section really has me on the fence. I want to say it was good but I honestly can't recall the background music aside from the beginning and ending, because I was too engrossed into the story. I guess that means the director and writer have accomplished their job. I'll probably update this part of my review when I get a hold of the CD itself.

Rating: 6

Fun

I have to say I think this film went by too quick. Thats definitely not a bad thing for me. If this movie dragged and felt like Lord of the Rings, then I would say this film was horrible in presentation but it wasn't. It maintained a quicken pace throughout majority of the film, aside from when you reached that "intermission" point. Its an obvious point because it happens after a major climatic point and ends right before some rising action at another point. Thats probably the slowest it got, but even then you were being pumped full of information regarding certain events that some of you may not even notice. I took that time myself to pause and take care of some things before I went back at it. Unfortunately I lost some emotional connection I had to the movie by doing that, so I suggest if you watch this film, make sure you're not interrupted at all.

Now the overall concept of this film is family. For those who recall Clannad, no this isn't like that exactly. Its similiar in aspects but shows a new face to the concept of family and presents it in a different way. I really enjoyed it however at times it went a bit over the top when it came to dramatics. Now with that being said, when I talked about supporting characters, if you actually look at the character list most of them have the same last name. In fact 95% of the characters are all from the same family, with about 3 characters (including the main character Koiso Kenji) being non-related. This helps when it comes to the emotional aspect of it all because us as viewers will seem like we're Kenji, the outsider, who is privy to the inner workings of the family and how they interact between each other. In fact there's a specific scene where Kenji is "eavesdropping" on a situation and the camera angle is just right at points that we as viewers also seem like we're on the outside looking in. Its pretty nice that, for once, we don't have all the information. Now on the downside, we lose track of a couple characters during the process of the story, but fortunately, the director and writer saw this and made sure that we're informed as quickly as possible to other characters and their status during the situations.

There's alot I want to talk about, but unfortunately I don't want to give away anything. I'm not going to say this is a masterpiece, because I'm sure many will argue that point but I do find myself putting this at the top of my anime film favorites list for now. An emotional rollercoaster but filled with plenty of action. The slice-of-life anime everyone can enjoy.

Rating: 9

Final Verdict

8.00 (good)

Reviewed by SaitoHajime101, Mar 10, 2010

Comments

  1. Warpten29 Mar 19, 2010

    This great!

    merged: 03-19-2010 ~ 01:33pm
    i think this review is fine. its just simple

    merged: 03-25-2010 ~ 05:06am
    Well you did your best.
    So i guess its fine

  2. lordryo Apr 19, 2010

    Good review!

  3. SchRita May 01, 2010

    Thanks for the review!

  4. rukasu04 Mute Member May 15, 2010

    Nice review :D

  5. emina07 Mute Member May 28, 2010

    ...

  6. SchRita Aug 27, 2010

    I wanted to watch it but I totally forgot it. Thanks for the review again!

  7. angelxxuan May 23, 2012

    good review, have to admit I gave it about the same. it's one of those strange, yet refreshing anime that you really don't get bored with, you just sort of keep on watching due to what's going to happen next.

  8. back07 Sep 26, 2012

    thanks for the nice review
    :)

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