This week, Mamoru Hosoda
's latest anime masterwork, Summer Wars
, came out in Blu-Ray and DVD. I thought this would make an excellent topic for this new article I call Thinking Out Loud
Summer Wars/Our War Game Fan-Art
Any of you who watched the video review Tom and I recorded for this site know that I gave it a 4.5/5 rating. If you have not seen the video review, I suggest you go watch it
before you continue reading. Watching the movie might also be ideal, since I will be relying on light spoilage. During the review, I heavily defended Digimon Adventure: Our War Game
(Digimon: Bokura no War Game
) as the original source for most of Summer Wars
' plot. Most people are unaware of this, so I decided to show you a comparison of the "Hosoda Wars".
The two movies I'm comparing, Summer Wars
and Digimon: Our War Game
, have a nine year difference and yet a lot of aspects are alike. The first thing I want to talk about is the setting. Digimon, a pre-established franchise, is already based off a digital world where the existence of these creatures called Digimon
inhabit. Using the Internet as the setting for Digimon is not unexpected.Summer Wars
, on the other hand, is set in a realistic present time setting where people use an advance section of the Internet called OZ
. According to the movie, OZ is what social networking will be like in a couple of years. The users can create an avatar that can be used for entertainment, business, gaming, shopping, and even health purposes in Japan's day-to-day life. The look of the Internet and OZ is quite similar also:
While digimon are separate entities than their human partners, their connection to the people in the "real world" is very similar to the avatars in Summer Wars' users. In both movies when the Internet connection resulted to be a problem to continue navigating the internet, the avatar and the digimon "powered down", even though the digimon have a will of their own.
The main villain of both movies is a virus that wrecks havoc for the inter-webs. Digimon's antagonist is a virus/digimon hybrid called Infermon (named Diaboromon when digivolved) who is eating the internet's information that causes streetlights, cell phones, computers, and other electronic appliances to go haywire. Summer Wars' antagonist is not all that different. The virus is called Love Machine
created to take over avatars and eat OZ's digital information as a weapons test drive. Since OZ is connected to pretty much everything, the malfunctions causes chaos for all of Japan. Both villains create impossible situations for the protagonist that not only create repercussions for the safety of the world but makes for a fascinating visual-intake of Internet battles.
The reality of the situation is that while both villains cause chaos, nothing compares to the repercussions that lead to the climax. I guess it is my duty to call it out: Spoiler! The viruses end up sending a nuke (Our War Game
)/satellite (Summer Wars
) hurdling down to Earth, with the coordinates set for the protagonist's location. This is the moment in both movies when we worry for the safety of the characters even more as both villains set a countdown for impact.
The final battle does also bare similarities in both movies. I won't give it away, but in both cases there is a point in the movie when the heroes seem helpless against their combatant. This is the Internet of course, and nothing is kept a secret in the World Wide Web. While this is happening, the rest of the world is watching through their electronic devices. In Our War Game, the overload of onlookers create for a perfect liability and an asset. The e-mails sent in favor of the heroes is brings enough strength to the table to defeat the villain. Summer Wars does not depart too much from this idea. Rather than using e-mails, the heroes are helped by the overload of user's avatars in favor of helping defeat Love Machine.
Summer Wars/Our War Game Fan-Art
Let me make it clear, I am not saying that both movies are identical to each other. The plot of each one is taken into different directions while still maintaining the similar plot devices to move the story forward. The biggest difference between them is the large cast both hold. Digimon
uses pre-established characters that people can not automatically jump in and understand. Summer Wars
on the other hand, introduces a complete new cast of characters, all being developed in front of the viewers eyes. Digimon
, having 50+ anime episodes that allowed the character development needed does not accomplish what Summer Wars establishes in a 90 minute film.
Is one better than the other? I don't think so. These two movies are the result of an exceptional work of double vision. Nine years ago, Our War Game
showcased the characters I know and love. From an outsider's perspective the movie alone would leave a lot to be desired for. As an addition to this large franchise this is the perfect fit. Summer Wars is a contemporary movie that, as we have mentioned before here on the site, would be the best way to introduce anyone to anime. In the end both of these fun-filled, action-packed family films carry that Hosoda stamp that are sure to ensure an exceptional entertainment experience.
-- Geo (sora_thekey) long time user of the Whiskey Media Sites, and 24/7geek! -- Follow me on Twitter: @sora_thekey