“Boring isn’t necessarily bad!” – A whole new look at Summer Wars.
A lot of people love Summer Wars. Apparently, the reverse is also true.
I’m one of the few people who think that the show is wonderful, but didn’t do anything for me. (Partly because the week before, I watched Kiki’s Delivery Service dubbed and I thought that was a pretty good movie, all things considered.)
Overarching theme of how people are able to put aside their differences and work together for a common goal? Check. Wacky-esque family who are good people at heart? Yes. Badass grandma? Check. Super-talented male lead who initially is a bit of a whiny wuss but ends up being a real character? Check. Having redundancy, even for a super-jawsome global FaceBook-esque VR world with reportedly uncrackable security, is important? FUCK YES. The Endoh Maasaki cover of Butterfly? Waitaminute… … …
Now, I’m aware of how some people think Mamoru Hosoda is some kind of genius, but well, compared to real geniuses like Tomino (King Gainer and XABUUUUUNLE), Imagawa (G Gundam, SHIN Mazinger ZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETO SHOUGEKI!) and the ever-lovable troll Kawamori (Macross :3c), in my opinion, Hosoda feels more like a very skilled artisan, rather than a real genius. You can’t help but think, “Hey, this is a pretty good work of art!” rather than “HOLY SHIT THIS IS JAWSOME” when it comes to Hosoda.
Worse still, I got bored in the middle of watching it. In most cases, losing interest in the middle of a show hurts the show plenty, especially for TV anime and sometimes, in most movies. But still, I kept watching. After all, roleplaying over IRC is partly patience and I had the entire day.
And boy did it deliver. Outside of kiddie merch shows, I’ve never seen a card game duel THAT INTENSE. It’s probably the best thing about the show I can say that really got me.
But to be honest, a movie is the sum of it’s parts, and Summer Wars is a really pretty show. Subtle touches like character development and fleshing out, the scenery, and the settings were done with a master artisan’s touch, the kind I might actually associate with Hosoda after this. Then again, I’m a Super Robot geek and I’m probably biased about a good bit of the show.
But to be honest, while the show did feel rather railroaded at times (dude, seriously, are you going to complain about how expected everyone pitching in to kick the face of the evil programme was? About the badass old grandma telling her family to welcome the prodigal back with open arms was expected to happen? POSTHUMOUSLY?) and your interest does drop off halfway through the show before it picks up with the extreme ridiculousness of someone getting military-grade satellite comms equipment and a SUPERCOMPUTER and FUCK YEAR HUMANITY, it one one enjoyable ride, and sadly, one that seems to have faded away until I read some of the discussions.
Summer Wars: It’s probably a little superficial and boring, but it’s one hell of a ride.