From the producers of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Madhouse produced a new Japanese animation along with director Mamoru Hosoda in 2009, Summer Wars.
Like one of the famous Japanese Animation, Spirited Away, the artwork and styles in Summer Wars retain the traditional Anime values, but also impressive art and stunning colors. The storyline revolves around a world where technology is advanced and many digital devices can be used to access the “internet”, which people can create their own character and communicate in this cyber world. The cyber world has become of such great importance in the world, everything from communication, transport, business, satellites and even the military depends on it. However, a virus called Love Machine has attacked this “internet world” and frames the protagonist, Kenji as the culprit. The Love Machine hacks into the informations of the cyber world and plans to destroy the world. So, in order to save the cyber world, Kenji seeks help from everyone his knows to defeat this virus.
What makes this a unique animation is the stunning visuals of the cyber world. The characters in the cyber world are really cute and colorful, which is often attractive to kids and young adults. It shows the power and usefulness of the cyber world, but also its vulnerabilities when the Love Machine attacked. The story itself, also portrays the modern society and moral values in Japan, and it mostly focus on the traditional family values of the older generation versus the outward thinking of the younger generation; order vs freedom.
Image shows the leader of the family, Sakae (Grandmother), chasing his adopted son, Wabisuke, out of anger even though they care for each other.
The cyber world, both accessible by the young and the old, is being brought down by the virus. So, the whole story of this film is to show how the elders and the young break the barrier of keeping their own values, to work together as family; and friends who work together, to save the cyber world. Other than just showing how family should be, the film also adds in spice; where the main protagonist, Kenji, falls in love with his school mate, Natsuki, and the story slowly progress on how Kenji finds his way to defeat the Love Machine and helped Natsuki, ultimately winning her heart.
All in all, Summer wars is a mixture of typical school crushes, family values in Japan, the internet; portrayed in a stunning and attractive fashion in the form of an Japanese animation.