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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to (not) break the internet - a Blu-Ray review, 28 Mar 2011
By 
P. Kennard (Worcestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I've had chance to actually sit down and enjoy the blu-ray release of 'Summer Wars', and 'enjoy' is definitely the right word.

The story is simple enough: high school maths-geek is persuaded by girl he secretly loves to do some 'work' for her, which he discovers far too late is actually pretending to be her boyfriend/fiancé in front of her entire extended family. Cue humorous confusion/embarrassment etc., before the truth is revealed and boy is arrested for 'breaking the internet'(!) He then has to save the world (and the girl) from the AI now controlling everything. So far so normal (for anime).

But while the core concept may lack originality, the film excels in both storytelling and in the way it is populated by solid, entertaining characters. Kenji is a likeable lad who suffers from neither guilt-ridden angst or misplaced arrogance, while Natsuki, a potentially two-dimensional character (how many 'popular' girls would pay someone to pretend to be a boyfriend?) manages to join him in coming across as likeable and plausible. The whole cast comes across as ordinary people in an extraordinary situation, rising to the un-winnable challenge. And this is what has been one of the things pulled over from this team's previous film The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [DVD], along with the animation style and overall attention to detail. I would encourage anyone who has seen TGWLTT to get 'Summer Wars' without delay.

The film does genuinely live up to its name, it is light, 'summery' and features a rather strange 'war'. The more obvious CG elements are appropriate and blend well with the film as a whole, while the storytelling is handled far more effectively than with TGWLTT. In the previous film, there were distinct lumps in the story, where everything seemed to stop and readjust, whereas 'Summer Wars' flows neatly, everything handled elegantly and effectively; with a simplicity rarely found in some of the more popular anime (Mononoke & Spirited Away come to mind).

The film is not without faults, I would challenge anyone to be able to NAME all of Natsuki's family on one viewing, let alone understand how they're related to each other, but minor issues like this do not detract from the overall enjoyment of what has to be one of the most mainstream-friendly animes of recent years. Think Whisper Of The Heart [DVD] by the TGWLTT team and you probably have the spirit of 'Summer Wars'.

Technical Review.
While the film was never likely to overstretch the format, it is clear that some care has been taken in mastering the Blu-Ray edition. The image is crisp, clean and pin-sharp: a flawless transfer that does justice to the animators. The audio is again very good, with the English dub being well-written and performed, comparing well to the Japanese original. The use of the American term 'math' instead of 'maths' is a minor quibble I could live with. The extras are predictable but interesting, with various teasers, trailers and some interviews.

Overall, an excellent presentation and a good overall package.

'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time' appears to have a similar package to its DVD release, just higher quality. I'll update this review when I have had chance to check out the whole disk
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Blu-ray, 5 Sep 2011
By 
Mr. Roger Dane "Dilettante" (Carryduff, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I bought this boxset of two anime blu-ray discs on a bit of a whim since I'd heard of neither but was impressed by the favourable reviews and the quantity of awards jointly garnered by the two films. I have to say I was not disappointed.

I decided to watch them in chronological order and so first sat down to 'The Girl Who Leapt Through Time'. This was a good high school time travel romp that was very enjoyable. It did get it's plot tied up in knots here and there but in a complex time travel story that's very hard to avoid. Well worth the time spent watching it though. Probably worth 4 stars.

Summer Wars was a different kettle of fish. A very stylish looking film with some great design work. The plot was engaging and the characters entertaining. It's a cliche to say "I laughed, I cried" etc. but in this case I genuinely did. The story is by turns touching, funny, sad, sweet and really exciting in places. The director, Mamoru Hosoda, does an excellent job of moving the story along, staging some superb set piece scenes and still keeping a large cast of characters defined and interesting. Highly recommended, 5 stars.

If it was an option I would've combined the scores and given the boxset 4.5 stars overall but the rating system doesn't allow that. Suffice to say it's excellent and well worth purchasing at this price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Technical review, 1 Mar 2012
This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Let's get the two movie reviews out of the way..... both are original and good, and not at all your average teen demolition anime, but something completely different. Both are different from one another as well.
Imbd will enlighten you some more, better than I can :)

As to the nitty gritty:

Summer wars:
English and japanese audio
English subtitles. For some unfathomable reason, those are plain yellow. Now I can see them just fine but if you're colour blind, you might be in for a world of pain.
Extras: 6 shortish interviews with the japanese cast and director, as well as trailers.

The video quality is nice and crisp; the colours are vibrant. It's well done and very nice quality.

The girl who leapt through time:
English and japanese audio
English subtitles. White with black outlines
Absolutely no extras.

This one is older and the blu-ray quality is ....not really blu-ray quality. This is a much cheaper transfer that frankly looks like a repackaged upscaled DVD (couple of blocks here and there, very little. Not so much bad quality as visibly lower resolution). If you already own the DVD, you might think twice about getting this one [unless you're OCD or possibly the DVD is VHS quality]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movies!, 25 May 2011
By 
Stian (Gressvik, Norway) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I had already seen these two when I bought it and already knew they were great, really felt that I needed to buy something this good,and I am not regretting it, at least at such a good price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good story for teens, 16 Mar 2014
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Product arrived within 4 days. Well packed, no damage. I bought these DVD for my 13 years old daughter who is half Japanese. She loved japanese taste of animations. She watched it in Japanese. It is a fun way of learning Japanese language and culture for teens.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Glorious Pair of Anime Brilliance., 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Right now director Mamoru Hosoda (MH) is the rising star in the anime industry. Sure, there's room for a lot of other writers, directors, producers, artists and musicians, but, as of this moment, there's no one out there who's got it together as crisply or as sweetly. In the space of three films, the two covered in this review and the even more recent, Wolf Children, MH is the go to guy for when you want a slice of pure Nipponese narrative culture.

So, what is it that makes the man's works such an enjoyable experience? Well, from my purely subjective viewpoint, it's that MH has an absolute grasp when it comes to storytelling. The man understands the beats within a script in a manner which other directors have seldom ever managed. If I were to compare him to an American or European director it would probably be Howard Hawks. Like Hawks, MH knows exactly how ring all that is available to him out of any given tale and if that means letting a scene play out in a way which, at first (and occasionally second, third and fourth) sight would appear to be clichéd and, sometimes, it is clichéd, but it isn't wrong.

The first of these two features, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (TGWLTT) is from a series of short novels by Yasutaka Tsutsui which were published between November 1965 and May 1966. The film diverges somewhat from these volumes and could be seen as a loose sequel to the original stories. Certainly the time frame is updated.

The protagonist, Makoto Konno is a seventeen year old girl who to her shock discovers that she has the gained the ability to, as the title tells us, Leap Through Time. Initially she has a blast, using her power to enjoy petty pleasures and these sequences are both beautiful and deeply ironic. However, as the story develops, both the implications of she's doing and the hitherto hidden limitations to her abilities begin to surface and so the shape and tone of the plot grow in depth and seriousness.

Which is all I'm prepared to say about the story , for to say more would be a crime for any of you who might read further, learn the films secrets and then not be able to jump back and correct this mistake.

What I will say is that MH's direction and the beautiful, clean, vibrancy to his animation are a joy to behold. TGWLTT is simply a lovely film to watch. At no point are you shown a screen which anything less than interesting and some, such as the time jumps themselves, are visual master pieces.

TGWLTT is a gorgeous film and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who as an interest in Science Fiction, morality tales or romances, the story covers all three and does so with out strain.

Which brings me to the second of these two films, Summer Wars.

Summer Wars(SW) was MH's present from Madhouse for having done such a good job adapting TGWLTT. Apparent the producers at Madhouse did something almost unheard of from a big studio, they gave their artist license to do what he wanted. What we got was a fantastic, fascinating, fabulous film, which I personally could watch over and over again.

The plot for SW has an interesting history, in as much that it's bares a certain resemblance to Didgimon Our War Game. Well more than a resemblance, the plots are similar, extremely similar. Oh hell, Summer Wars is Digimon Our War Game with some extra stuff thrown in for good measure. But, you what? I'm fine with that. For two reasons. Digimon Our War Game was MH's own early work and, besides, here he got a chance to do that story right and boy did he ever grasp that opportunity.

Seventeen year old, shy, high school nerd Kenji Koiso has a serious crush on his upperclassman, Natsuki Shinohara. However his shyness is particularly acute around girls and he's barely able to open his mouth in her presence. Fortune however finds him Natsuki bursts into the room where Kenji and a friend are working on the Summer jobs as code monkeys for an online service provider called OZ. (and if you think that the name is a touch suspicious... well you'd not be wrong.) It seems that Natsuki needs a guy to go off to the town of Ueda where her samurai line family and family estate are situated and pretend to be her boyfriend for a few days in order to please Natsuki's Great Grand Mother, Sakae Jinnouchi. Once there it seems that Natsuki feels the need to raise the stakes and declares that Kenji is in fact her fiance.

Kenji nerves are made no better by this pronouncement which might be why he was so careless when a maths problem arrive in his phone. Careless enough for him to solve it. It seems it the sort of problem which only fifty or so people in the world can solve. Kemji is a maths genius of the highest calibre. Unfortunately this allows a vicious A.I. to hack into OZ account and so the plot proper gets under way.

Which is all I'm going to say about that, as with TGWLTT I have no desire to ruin the surprises for anyone. What I will say is that is that this is a story which focuses on family and how important family is. How important it is that people who live together have to learn to love and have tolerance of each other. When the film focuses on those elements it works beautifully. That sentence might seem to suggest that the portions of the movie which focuses on the rogue A.I. are, by comparison poor. They aren't, it is an extremely strong, and gripping thriller in that sense, with moments of humour interspersed with drama and at least one image of complete horror. This is an all round beautifully made movie. The parts where the art focuses on the OZ are wonderfully fantastical and you will be endlessly engrossed in the details. Where as the pure naturalism of the off line world is where the true depth of the stories emotions play out and appropriately enough that naturalism allows the characters fill out in a manner where you truly come to believe in them as people.

If it weren't for two tiny problems I'd be left with nothing else to say about Summer Wars. However the two problems should be addressed. The first is that late on in the film Natsuki is pushed into a position where she need to step up and act on behalf of everyone else and, at no time in the film, does it tell us why it should be her, other than the fact that she's pretty and the protagonist's love interest. As it happens there is a manga which was brought out soon after the film which slightly expands upon some of the details in in that there is a page, a single page, maybe four panels, where this is explained and, frankly, in the film it could have been addressed in a single sentence. That they fail to do that is awkward.

The other problem is in the post-dramatic end of the film, where for a few seconds the careful and clever emotional nuancing goes right out the window for a cheap laugh. It's not funny, it's not clever and quite frankly, the manga version of the same scenes did it a hell of a lot better.

Still these are desperately small nitpicks in what is otherwise glorious good film. I happily recommend it to everyone.

It's just that good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 2 amazing films, 10 Dec 2013
This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Two beautifully animated movies. My viewing pleasure along with friends and family was nothing short of exciting and refreshing. Highly recommend to all to purchase and experience two compelling stories of friendship
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, 25 July 2013
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Summer wars is one of the best anime movies of the last 5 years and worth the price of teh box alone. The Girl who leapt through time is a nice added bonus
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4.0 out of 5 stars For every anime fans (BD review), 23 Nov 2011
This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Two very nice anime films from same creator. I whould love more extras, but I'm not complaining. Top quality of the discs too in sound and picture (they are HD in sound and picture). I think these are anime movies that despite the taste you got should be in any collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent discs, good service, 18 Sep 2011
By 
C. Hogg (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Summer Wars / The Girl Who Leapt Through Time [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The films are excellent, and arrived in good condition and very fast. Box set is simple but nice. Image quality is very high, sound is amazing, has both sub and dub included.
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