Summer Wars Review

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Synopsis

Koiso Kenji is invited by her dream girl Shinohara Natsuki to help her  celebrate her great-grandmother’s birthday party at the countryside. Not knowing that he will actually play as her fiancée, he follows along rather happily. One night, he receieved a mail consist of cryptic code numbers and quickly solves the code without any hesitation. His action leads him to become a suspect of hacking into OZ, a virtual reality world. In order to clear his name, he must fight against the true hacker in any way possible.

Review

After watching ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’ and ‘Wolf Children’ and hearing many positive feedbacks about the director Hasoda Mamoru, I think I might want to see some of his other works. So this led me to this anime which is pretty good. I really enjoy watching it. It has some great moments.

The first thing that you have to know is the virtual reality world called OZ which is introduced to you in the very beginning of the show.  OZ is a place where  people can do almost everything from as trivial as buying stuffs online or chatting with friends to as crucial as having an important meeting with a president of a country. In the world of Summer Wars, almost everything is done through OZ since people give their legitimate identities to the system thinking that it is safe as OZ has the most advanced inscription system known to man.

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We follow a guy named Kenji who is ‘invited’ by Natsuki to help her celebrate her great grandmother’s 90th birthday. He does not know at first that he will be playing her fiancée. Only after arriving at her hometown does he know that. At this point, there is nothing much going. We get to see Natsuki’s large number of relatives and how close she is with them. I love it when the anime shows how close each member of the family is to one another. I mean, They are very close. It is clearly portrayed when the whole family have dinner together and talk with each other quite frankly and bluntly as they all know each other for so long. This really reminds me of my own relatives when we celebrate something big such as the new year. My family is almost the same as theirs adding some extra members and some electronic gadgets, we play FIFA and Call of Duty multiplayer. Oh, and also some other indie games that are very fun to play. Honestly, go check out Castle Crashers.

Then comes another plot which involves Kenji and the world of OZ. he becomes one of the prime suspects of hacking into OZ’s security after manages to solve the code he receives the night before. For me, this is where the best part starts. Kenji finally finds out who the real hacker is and it turns out that he is… a badass!!! I can’t really describe it in detail because that would spoil you.summer_wars_2

You’ll experience many emotions watching Kenji trying to clear his name particularly sad emotion. Since everything basically revolve around OZ, its malfunction after being hacked brings chaos to every part of the world. It brings misfortunes to everyone including Natsuki’s family. Some of the misfortunes are a bit shocking while some are nearly tear-jerking. It’s not exactly that sad but it’s terrible to see the characters deal with difficulties after difficulties after difficulties. All of it are totally unexpected.

Now, we go to the characters. We have the male lead, Koiso Kenji who is a genius mathematician who works as a programmer in OZ with his friend Takashi Takuma. Of course he is delighted to get the chance to follow Natsuki to the countryside but when he knows that he will play her fiancee… that’s even better!! He is usually not good around strangers and that can be seen explicitly when he eats with her family. To me, I just see him as a normal anime lead character who is a little bit shy than usual which is kinda a bad thing. I mean, his character is bland to an extent. One thing about his character design though, he looks exactly like Makoto from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. The only difference is he’s a guy.

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Shinohara Natsuki, the female lead, is just the popular and beautiful girl in school. Her character doesn’t stand out in the first half. She starts to shine only when the tragic moments begin and towards the ending where she helps Kenji and Kazuma defeating the ‘real hacker’ in a card game of ‘Koi Koi’… which I don’t understand a single thing about the game.

The most badass character in the show to me is Ikezawa Kazuma, Natuski’s younger cousin. He is the best martial artist (or actually a fighting game) in the world of OZ. He will usually stay in his room an play his game all the time. In the latter part of the show, he tries to defeat the real hacker by paying a fighting game. Knowing that he won’t win without much effort like he always does with other players because the hacker is well, a hacker, he practices and trains Shaolin Shorinji kempo, a martial art with his grandfather before going for the final battle. Though, I don’t really know what’s the connection between martial arts where you need to have the skills and be strong physically and fighting games where you need to just press the keys.

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Natsuki’s large family is one of the standout of the show. The interaction between each members feel genuine and like I said, it really reminds me of my own large family. The little kids would be running around the house (and outside the house) very noisily and happily. The babies would cry all the time making the surrounding more noisy. The adults would be chatting about things that I don’t understand. I would… play video games with my cousins of course!!

So overall, this anime is pretty good. The story is emotional at times and I like the fact that this anime has two plots. One is very different than the other. The characters are very likable and to me personally, nostalgic. Most if not all characters have some development to them. I say give it a watch.

~4 over 5 stars~

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