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2011年4月14日 (木)

Summer Wars (2009)

This is a Japanese animation film. I really would like to recommend this film to the earthquake victims in Tohoku and also people abroad to introduce "quiet but strong" character of Japanese people. We are in the difficult situation, but we will never give in, nor will the characters of this film.

A high school student Kenji joins Natsuki, his female friend's (in fact his crush's) great grandmother's 90th birthday party in Nagano prefecture. There, he will be in a difficult situation sorting out the problems in the virtual reality world called "OZ".

"OZ" is not only just a virtual reality world but is heavily related to the real world in this film. People's car navigation system is controlled by OZ and people's utility payment is controlled by OZ. Nearly everything is controlled by OZ in fact.

When an evil hacker "Love Machine" started destroying peace and quiet OZ world, Kenji and Natsuki's (and her relatives who gathered in Nagano home to celebrate her great grandmother's birthday) war against Love Machine begins.

This film was made in 2009, but actually there is a great amount of similarities between the situations in the film and those in the real life caused by earthquake aftermath.

Similarity 1: donation from all over the world

Kenji (and his "fellow soldiers") was struggling of attacking Love Machine. Once Natsuki was fighting with Love Machine in Hanafuda (Japanese card game) , she didn't have enough accounts and at that moment, members of OZ around the world donated their own accounts to her to enable her to continue fighting with evil Love Machine. Incredible amount of accounts were exactly like the donations which were collected from all over the world and also within Japan in the earthquake situation.

Similarity 2: Love Machine's vice to try to let the artificial satellite to fall down to the nuclear power station

"Love Machine" was like  "Tsunami" of March 11... No one can stop the nature. Fortunately, in the film, Kenji and his colleagues were able to change the falling direction of satellite and it did not crash into the power station.

At the end of the story, Kenji and Natsuki's family were able to save the world. Each member of the "soldiers" seems so "ordinal". They are just ordinal people. However, quiet and ordinal don't mean "weak". A lot of journalists abroad have been continuously describing Tohoku people's (and Japanese people's) dignity. Yes, I think we are calm people, but at the same time, tough people.

By the way, Natsuki's great grandmother's voice is played by Sumiko Fuji. A great actress and at the same time, the mother of Shinobu Terajima, another great actress who won the Best Actress award for the film "Caterpillar" at the last year's Berlin International Film Festival.

Reviewed by Keiko SASAKI

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