nziff ’10: Summer Wars (サマーウォーズ / Samā Wōzu)
Dir. Mamoru Hosoda | Japan | 2009 | 110 mins.
Essentially an episode of Digimon writ large, this anime is a visual extravaganza on par with the director’s first film, The Girl who Leapt Through Time. Filled with technical flights of fancy offset by an obtrusive amount of melodrama, the film centres on a gargantuan “Second Life”-like computer world which controls most of the world’s commercial and social transactions. The protagonist is a teenage boy who takes a summer job in the hometown of the prettiest girl in his class, who also, of course, happens to be the object of his adolescent affection. The film is fun, colourful and above all a delight to look at—stills wouldn’t look out of place on gallery walls—but, like many anime, is hindered by a shallow narrative.
Summer Warswill be released on DVD next year, probably through Madman.