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In Summer Wars, Dorothy Can't Hack This OZ

Updated on July 20, 2014

I realize that for many people, it's difficult to get into a feature-length animated film. If it's not Disney or Pixar, and you're not with your children, then what's the point, right. But the truth is, anime is more than just cartoons. With Japan's economy and culture, they've developed an entertainment mecca that revolves around anime. And if you believe they are all written with the same tired fantasy and sci-fi story lines, and zero plot and emotional value, you'd be dead wrong.

If that's what you were thinking, Summer Wars is exactly the kind of a movie to change your mind. It's the story of a world that's wrapped around an internet application called OZ, which has become the virtual expressway for everything across the world, such as power, water, emergency services, military, medicine, food, travel, television and games. OZ is basically the lifeline of the world.

An awkward math genius named Kenji is brought, under false pretenses, to the home of the most popular girl in school, who's name is Natsuki. While there, he receives an incredibly complex math problem on his phone, and because of his nature, he immediately solves it, sends in the answer, and then returns to bed, only to find out the next day, that he solved a formula to crack into OZ's security.

The story continues partially in the real world, and partially in the virtual world, as OZ is under attack by some kind of artificial intelligence. All the while, society crumbles as the lines of communication break down and basic necessities begin to dry up. People are forced to rely upon their family and friends for more than they otherwise would.

The finale is more or less what you'd expect. It's a battle to the death in a sci-fi style arena, but the real story behind the movie goes a lot deeper than that. It's about people coming together under crisis, and the emotional toll it can take on everyone. One of the major themes is that, in good times, simple things bother people, and it's easy to see a small disagreement between two people become a huge rift. But when a bigger problem hits, old woulds are quickly forgotten.

What's really ironic about this movie, is in the beginning, most people are defined, and viewed, as whatever their avatar is in OZ, but later, it doesn't matter. Each person's true worth begins to seep through. This is the same way I feel about anime movies in general. You can't be put off by the drawings as just cartoons. You have to let them work on you, and allow the story to seep through for what it is. If you can get past that, I know you'll have a great time watching Summer Wars, just like I did.

Background Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Artisphere1101

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What makes an anime movie memorable?

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    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @sierradawn lm: Thanks so much! I'm glad you got something out of it. I'm hoping more people will give anime a try, and realize it's more than just cartoons.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 

      4 years ago

      Your review is so informative and well written! I have learned a lot about anime here!

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @TerriCarr: Thank you! I'm glad you got something out of it. I just wanted to convey that anime is a little more than just cartoons. Not always, but many of the titles are as intimately character driven as anything coming out of Hollywood. It just takes time to get passed the colors and lines to let the movie do its magic.

      Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it!

    • TerriCarr profile image


      4 years ago

      I love your title for this page. I also like your thoughtful explanation of anime. It makes me much more likely to watch some anime. I have watched very little (maybe none) but I also didn't feel very drawn to it. I will give it more consideration in the future.

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you! I wanted to convey that this movie, much like a lot of anime movies, had a lot more depth to it, than just your average cartoon. I'm glad that came across. Thanks for the kind words!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I really liked your review, especially the last paragraph. I already understand anime better than ever before. Great job!

    • boneworld profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackson Thom 

      4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @Elsie Hagley: Thanks so much. I glad you feel that way. I wanted to write a review that showed that anime wasn't just the ordinary stuff that most people think of when they think of cartoons. I wanted people to get the picture that anime movies could be actual movies with plots and character development, and something that makes you feel something. Anyway, I really appreciate your kind words, and I hope you enjoy the movie.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      4 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice review, you have made this movie look very interesting, will have to make a point of viewing it.

      As for you poll I would loved to answer that question, but I have no idea as I haven't watch any, will have to come back when I have watch it.


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