Thursday, March 3, 2011

Summer Wars: An Anime For All Seasons

The gang's all here n' lookin' fer a fight!
Credit: Madhouse, Warner Bros, Funimation

                                  Summer Wars: An Anime For All Seasons


                                                                  Jay Agan

      On the way home from visiting the folks I stopped at the Best Buy on Polaris Parkway. Nothing in the movies section caught my eye so I gave the anime shelves a look see (Hmmm. Chrono Crusade? Naww. Nuns without guns are scarey enough!). Finding nothing there either, I got to getting. On the way out I passed the New Releases rack & saw the last two copies of Summer Wars on the bottom shelf (Hey! I heard of that one!) & snapped up a copy. I've now viewed it twice this week & have enjoyed every minute.

      Summer Wars, from the three guys who created The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, is a roller coaster combo of Disney, Wargames, & Casino Royale. What starts off as a delightful animated romance comedy morphs into an even more delightful cyber-terror armageddon.

      Time: The near future. Most of the worlds' population is "plugged" into "The Land of Oz" (No ToTo. Not THAT one!). A humungous social networking "realm" of business, communication, & gaming taking up most of the internet. Sorta-kinda a Yahoo cum Facebook on steroids & habaneros.

      A hostile artificial intelligence, code named Love Machine, is slipped into this cyber world by the U.S. Army for testing & immediately gets out of control. With its ability to hijack accounts/avatars of VIPs the world over, it accesses the military & civilian infrastructures of whole nations, causing chaos across the globe.

      It's up to the various protagonists to put a stop to what amounts to be a cyber-war waged by the runaway AI. With various ingenious methods, technological & otherwise, the seemingly invincible AI is countered then lured into a wagering match (It has a "thing" for games.) of Koi-koi (An involved game using Hanafuda cards), using the millions of stolen accounts/avatars as "chips". With control of the net wrested from the monster, it decides in a fit of pique, to drop a several ton satellite on the estate where its' opposition is coming from.

      The "backdrop" to the story is the PROLIFIC Jinnouchi clan. A former warrior caste family with many members as entrepreneurial professionals, emergency service & military personnel. Into their midst is dropped Kenji Koiso, a shy math genius/computer whiz "dragooned" into posing as the fiance of "the most popular girl in school", Notsuki Shinohara (Her mother is a Jinnouchi.).

      Kenji is tricked into "solving" & originally implicated in giving the 2056 digit security algorithm  for Oz to "Love Machine" but is later cleared. Then the fun starts.

      With Kenji, various members of the Jinnouchi clan fall on their familys' history & pool their resources to battle the menace. How they do it will have you rivetted & marvelling at their intelligence & drive to excel in conquering a seemingly unstoppable enemy (Granny Sakae uses her influence & a rotary phone!).

      Get this film. Watch this film. (You will) Enjoy this film!

      Go fish! ..... er ..... uh ..... Koi! Koi!

                                       Article copyright © 3-3-2011 Jay Agan

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