Summer Wars follows a high school maths prodigy – Koiso Kenji as he was invited by his crush – Natsuki Shinohara on a summer trip to the countryside to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. After briefly arriving at her house, he received strange codes and deciphered them all in the middle of the night. Little does he know, he did something that could change the Oz forever, a virtual world that connects reality to them and to put the whole world at sake.
Summer Wars, has the spirit of avatars to fight back against enemy and the similar concept of virtual world to Oasis in Ready Player One where daily activities are done through it and the uprising of artificial intelligence due to the over-dependant on technology from Terminator:Genesis.
The theme of the story however is, unity is power and it’s portrayed through the teamwork of a family, with extensive relatives working together to control the chaos ensued. It also depicts the unity of all the Oz gamers, to fight back against the evil AI in virtual world, saving the real world from it. But perhaps the center of it all is the important family values, to never give up on each other how matter how much you despise them, to trust and to support with your best effort and most importantly, to listen and accept.
With that being said, it’s also packed with action of fight between the avatars chosen, emotional moments of celebration with family, moments makes them stronger, and the immense unity of the gamers around the globe joining forces to reach the same goal. There is this little concept which may be overlooked most of the time, but if one person starts to fight against injustice, no matter how anonymous they can be, with just the tad bit of the courage to be the first to fight back, others will stand by your side and fight along you. Because after all, no one likes to be a loser and no one will ever laugh at those who never quits trying.
As for the characters part, well, there are a HUGE ensemble of them all together, with five lead characters that moves the story to different stages. The male protagonist, Kenji has his charm as an introvert and shy but intelligent characteristics that is matched with the extrovert and active female protagonist, Natsuki and her whole family with their own eccentricity. Kenji and Natsuki don’t show their love to each other by words, but rather by action that reminds each other that they will always be side by side to support each other, both emotionally and physically. The interaction between them and the realistic overlapping of voices when the whole family talk is very well illustrated that further emphasized on how close the family is.
The art is quite good, down to the details of the background of the virtual world, Oz with its cyberspace environment and the enormous avatars with different forms and features inside the world. The sound added blended nicely into the scenarios, making the scenes more intriguing and interesting to watch, which boosts up the merit points and added many bonus values to the story.
Overall, despite the criticism it has on it and the many themes that it tried to tackle, it’s the power of unity that stood out the most, from the calls that the grandma made, all the way to the final showdown with the whole family and the Oz players in the cards battle. It’s not flawless nonetheless, but with some dose of romance and comedy, it makes the story more entertaining.
Thanks for reading!
My personal rating: 8/10