Summer Wars. Best. Anime. Movie. Ever (for 2009)
Having been a fan of the director Mamoru Hosoda and the studio MadHouse for their work on The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (時をかける少女, Toki o Kakeru Shōjo) I had heard about the anime Summer Wars and vowed that I'd see it... yet, totally forgot about it until last week.
To help warm you up, here's the trailer:
I saw the movie in a cozy little theater in Ikebukuro observing that each viewing of it was quickly sold out. This surprised me since I wouldn't consider this to be as mainstream as, say, Ghibli.
I went in with only having seen the trailer and, for the most part, I thought it was just going to be some anime about a kid in the country and the troubles he faces there. BOY was I wrong :O. The main setting takes place in a virtual world unlike anything I've ever seen before. The world looks so well done that it's almost surprising to see we don't have a virtual world available right now. (Anyone want in on the development of the future's biggest thing?? I know I'm all for it :D. *cough* sorry for the shameless plug >.>)
The movie takes place in your typical Japan setting. The only thing extremely different is the virtual world that the characters use throughout it. Let me attempt to describe it the best I can. (I've included a video of it as well.)
First, they call this virtual world Oz. Creating an account is easy; you just register and create your avatar from an ENORMOUS selection of eyes, styles of hair, body shapes, accessories... pretty much ANYTHING you can imagine and when you're done you end up with a creature that looks like it's something that came straight out of Pokemon / Digimon.
With this creature, you can explore the Oz world and go shopping, perk up your virtual living place, get a job, participate in sports and fighting tournaments... heck you can even do your taxes!! Not only that, but pretty much everything in the real world is reliant on this virtual world. GPS maps for your car, train times, fire alerts, emergency calls and everything vital to our daily life all function with Oz, so much so that if Oz were to stop working... for instance, there could be a fire somewhere and no one would know about it or whether it's a prank (i.e., it only exists in the virtual world) without having to go to the real world location and checking. (Now you can see where problems might arise in the movie...)
You can access this network by signing in through your cellphone, computer, DS, PSP or anything with an internet connection. While connected, you gain control over the real world areas you are in charge of. Say for instance, if you were one of the higher ups for the Japan Rail lines in Japan, you would have access to the JR related areas located inside OZ which actually control the trains in the real world! Anyway, I'll stop there and let you check out the first 5 minutes:
Because Warner Bros. is the distributor of the movie, I'm thinking there will most likely be an English release of this film. If it gets released in your area, I strongly urge everyone to be sure to watch it! Actually, I like this film so much that perhaps we'll have a contest when it's released and have the movie sent to the winner :). But yeah, I'll keep you posted ;).
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