"The Dog Days Of Summer" – Summer Wars (movie) – 10/10 Leprechauns


Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation. ~Margaret Mead

Genre: Sci-fi/ Action/ Romance

Review Status
: Complete (1 movie/1 movie)

Licensed
: Yes, this is licensed in the US

Art/Animation: Fabulous. The colors are bright, the animation top-notch, the people all individual and recognizeable (and with a cast this size, that’s very important!), and the scenery and background gorgeous.

Summary: When timid eleventh-grader and math genius Kenji Koiso is asked by older student and secret crush Natsuki to come with her to her family’s Nagano home for a summer job, he agrees without hesitation. Natsuki’s family, the Jinnouchi clan, dates back to the Muromachi era (1336 to 1573), and they’ve all come together to celebrate the 90th birthday of the spunky matriarch of the family, Sakae. That’s when Kenji discovers his “summer job” is to pretend to be Natsuki’s fiance and dance with her at the birthday celebration. As Kenji attempts to keep up with Natsuki’s act around her family, he receives a strange math problem on his cell phone which, being a math genius, he can’t resist solving. As it turns out, the solution to the mysterious equation causes a bizarre parallel world to collide with Earth, and it’s up to Kenji and his new fake family to put reality back in order. (twitchfilm.net)

Review: I’m finally writing this review after waiting quite a few months for the official release. Yes, I watched the fansub WAY before this came out on dvd! Comparison reasons, you know.

In any case, I hadn’t heard about Summer Wars before I saw the torrent of it. A brief look over the synopsis didn’t give me much on whether it would actually be good.

Joy of joys, I found one of the best anime movies out there! Where do I even begin? Okay, the world itself. OZ is a fascinating place, and quite realistic in function. With the advent of internet sites like Second Life, an all-purpose internet world seems less and less far-fetched all the time. Not to mention that the internet is important- even vital- to many companies and corporations, and if something that were to go wrong, things would quickly go haywire all over the world. OZ seems to be in direct contrast to the low-tech, very traditional Japanese home that the characters inhabit for the summer. The home is wide, spacious, old, disconnected from the world at large except for a few phones, tv, and a laptop.

The characters that inhabit these worlds are as varied as the worlds themselves. The main characters are all, well, characters! From the impulsive, in-love Natsuki, to the meek and upright Kenji, to the family matriarch that holds everyone together with love and a firm hand, everyone breaths life and personality. The family dynamics are also fascinating to watch, with the men who are often dominated (or at least put into a slightly lesser place) than the women of the family, and the men eventually doing what’s right with or without the women’s blessing.

The story itself is simple, with some surprisingly complex themes running through it. Something evil is taking over OZ. Kenji and the Jinnouchis must stop it. With it comes hard loss, coming to peace with it and celebrating life, people coming together under adverse circumstances, the importance of family, and forgiveness of those whom we love.

This anime does many, many things right with the story and characters, and I love it. Even so, I will say that there is one thing that brings it down. The dub. Why? Because the people who rewrote the script saw fit to add in outdated slang and changed the lines where it wasn’t necessary (including adding in more swearing than in the original- almost unheard of!). And while the dub had very, very good acting, it didn’t match up to The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

Overall, this is a fabulous title and I am proud to have it on my shelf.

Recommended: 13+. This has some minor violence, some swearing (more in the dub than the original), a bit of sexual innuendo (an uncle asks whether Kenji and Natsuki have had sex), and some partial nudity (important bits are covered up, and it’s non-sexual)

Other titles you might enjoy:
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (anime)
Eden of the East (anime)
Dennou Coil (anime)
Spirited Away (anime)
Fractale (anime

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beneaththetangles
    Mar 07, 2011 @ 13:32:27

    Terrific review! I also LOVED this movie. I think you hit it right on the head.I agree with you about the dub – very good voice acting, but the swearing was wholly unnecessary. It lost a lot of its "family film" vibe with the cursing.

    Reply

  2. Hope_In_Song
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 21:23:44

    Good review, as always!! I still need to get my hands on it. I'll probably rent it from Netflix and then write my own review (I am curious to see how it compares to yours). So they upped the swearing in the dub? How sad! Is it like really bad, or is it the minor swear words such as "h" and "d" running rampid like whenever Edward Elric speaks? XD!! I found that quite odd, since this is dubbed by Funimation, and they lessened the swearing in Tsubasa. Oh well! Your review made me more eager to see it and it'll be fun to review! Which reminds me, I still need to review The Girl Who Leapt Through Time!!

    Reply

  3. Sweetpea
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 01:07:28

    It's not rampant, it's just that the d-word gets thrown out more often. I think there were 3 instances of swearing in the orig., and it was more like 10 in the dub. But it really is unusual for more swearing to be in the dub, no matter who licenses/distributes it! The same amount, yeah, less, yeah, but more…. strange. And rather awkward.And I'm glad you liked the review- I will be watching for yours for TGWLTT!

    Reply

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