College student Hana falls in love with another student who turns out to be a werewolf, who dies in an accident after their second child. Hana moves to the rural countryside where her husband grew up to raise her two werewolf children.
The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.
Clinging to an unfinished letter written by her recently deceased father, young Momo moves with her mother from bustling Tokyo to the remote Japanese island of Shio. Upon their arrival, she... See full summary »
Upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside, an emotionally distant adolescent girl becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion and infatuated with a girl who lives there - a girl who may or may not be real.
Kenji Koiso, an eleventh grade math genius, agrees to take a summer job at the Nagano hometown of his crush, Natuski. When he arrives, he finds that her family have reunited to celebrate the 90th birthday of the family matriarch. His job is to pretend to be Natsuki's fiancé. Meanwhile, his attempt to solve a mathematical equation causes a parallel world's collision with earth. Written by
Summer Wars is one of the most ambitious animes to exist, ambitious doesn't always equal greatness on film as a result of being over-ambitious but Summer Wars is one of those that gets it right. Some characters are better developed than others, the main family members are very compellingly real but some of the side characters are sketchily written. If the film had less characters than it did the character development would have been even better.
The animation is just wonderful though and stylistically unlike any other I've seen, the colours are eye-popping and the backgrounds are so richly detailed and textured. None of it felt confusing to me. The cyber-battles are particularly strong in this regard, the action itself is thrilling and the visuals positively dazzle. Summer Wars has a music score that is both rousing and ethereal, and luckily mood-wise when matched with the animation and the tone of the storytelling it never jars. There is also a thoughtful script that handles its emotional themes very touchingly and remarkably maturely, while the story covers a lot but despite exploring several themes it doesn't feel too much. The family themes are ones that really resonate and charm, and while the message is not the most original it's a truthful message that doesn't patronise. The lead characters are engaging and the voice acting, both in Japanese and dubbing, is dynamic and expressive.
All in all, a beautifully executed anime and shouldn't disappoint anybody who likes Wolf Children and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. It's ambitious but apart from the writing of some of the characters it doesn't feel too much so. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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