[Mamoru] Hosoda and his team, including animation director Hiroyuki Aoyama, action animation director Tatsuzo Nishida and character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, have produced scenes of animated spectacle that, in their dazzling fluency of motion and untethered brilliance of invention, makes the usual SF/fantasy animé look childish and dull. At the same time, the film’s universe is thoroughly grounded in reality, with all its fantasy confined to the online sphere (though some of the wackier visual gags push the boundaries of the possible).
Besides being a family-friendly entertainment, “Summer Wars” is an incisive commentary on the ongoing transition from the grandmother’s analog world of handwritten cards and letters to her heirs realm of digital devices, in which the human touch is attenuated — or nonexistent. Will we succumb to our gadgets and machines? The film’s “wars” are no fiction — and our victory is not yet certain.
You can watch the trailer here.
I liked Hosoda’s previous film — The Girl Who Leapt Through Time — quite a bit. It wasn’t perfect, but it was one of the more interesting animé films I’d seen in a long time, and it showed a lot of promise. Suffice to say, I’m very eager to see Summer Wars, though I’ll probably have to wait for the DVD.