Summer Wars is Mamoru Hosoda‘s follow up film to his hit, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Like that film Hosoda mixes teen/family drama with science fiction elements. Is Summer Wars as great a film? No, but it is still pretty good.
What is becoming an apparent theme in Hosoda’s work is his merging of a fantastic element in an otherwise normal setting. In Summer Wars we are presented with the world of Oz, a cyberworld in which everyone in the world interacts similarly to the Oasis in Ready Player One. It has become such a mainstay of the world that even the trafficking system is connected for some reason.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an anime adapted of the Japanese novel of the same name. It was directed by Mamoru Hosoda who has done work on DBZ, Sailor Moon, and was the director of Howl’s Moving Castle before Miyazaki took over. This is his breakout film though, and he has gone on to direct two films since.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a charming story in the vain of Groundhogs Day, in that the movie takes place over a few days, that are repeated again and again with different results.
Our hero Makato, who is effortlessly cute and charming, wakes up late on “nice day” and the rest of her day things go horribly wrong for her. Her day ends with her crashing headlong into a train as the breaks on her bike were dysfunctional. Luckily for her, she somehow gained the ability to “time leap”. She wakes up that morning again and is able to avoid all of the problems of her previous day.
The film goes on like that. Makato starts using her ability to time leap for pleasure and convenience. But as the film goes on she learns that her actions have consequences on those around her. Sounds like Groundhogs Day doesn’t it? Well it differs in that Makato is not “stuck”; all the time travel is from her own free will, and in that the primary setting is Makato’s high school. But like Groundhogs Day there are a lot of funny moments because of the time travel.
Time travel is the gimmick, but it is not the heart of this movie. The film is about Makato growing up. She must learn about others feelings, and her own. Makato’s two best friends are her constant companions, and the film spends a large amount of time exploring the ups and downs of their relationships. At its core you have a high school movie. But it is full of awesome moments, and relatable characters. In other words there aren’t wacky Japan-isms like jaws flung open or bloody noses. This is a good film for people who don’t usually watch anime.
Visually the film is very impressive. The animation is top notch, and the characters have clean memorable designs. The film is mostly traditional, but the time travel scenes are digitally animated.
The english version is great. It is one of the best dub’s I have seen(although not an expert), and the translation from what I could gather was the same for subtitles. Therefor I would recommend watching the english version.
The music deserves a special mention. It has a great score. It is mainly piano, although there are strings and another few instruments occasionally. The music is jaunty when it needs to be, and haunting when it needs to be. Pitch perfect.
The Bottom Line: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is more than the sum of its parts. It has wonderful style. The characters are all great. It is just a fun movie. Personally I think it is a better film than Groundhogs Day and that it is a much watch if you are a fan of a fun time. And again if you are not an anime fan I think this would be a great place to get your feet wet. It’s very western in sensibility and the production values are great.
Last time we looked at some pretty crazy anime. But I think this list holds the craziest of the crazies. Make sure you stay till the end.
Brandon Heat returns from the grave to defeat Millennion, a mafia organization with hordes of undead enforcers. Packing his handguns and a coffin full of heavy weapons, Heat won’t stop until Millennion’s leader, his former best friend, is destroyed.
I chose this one because it sounds kind of awesome. It sounds SUPER cliched(I mean of course the bad guy used to be his best friend) but it sounds like it could be dumb fun too. I mean come on the dude’s name is Brandon Heat. That’s just bad ass.
Queen’s Blade: The Exiled Virgin
Based on the Queen’s Blade series of visual combat books, this action-packed anime series centers on the ferocious — and often bloody — tournament of women warriors held once every four years to determine who will become queen of the land. High-born Reina enters the contest despite her inexperience and is aided by veteran fighter Listy. They fend off dangerous beasts and treacherous opponents to reach their goal.
I love that these are based on “visual combat books”. What does that even mean? I imagine they teach people how to fight in revealing armor that hugs your…curves very tightly. The reviews assure me that pretty much the only reason to watch this is to see busty anime women fight, and occasionally lose their armor(if it can be called that) in the process. Apparently good animation too, they payed attention.
A couple weeks ago near midnight me and Tim were browsing Netflix. The anime section caught my eye, and I started reading all of the crazy titles and descriptions. There’s a certain magic to anime descriptions that you won’t find any where else. Without further ado, the craziest anime descriptions on Netflix, GO!
A rock ‘n’ roll psychedelic romp often compared to Yellow Submarine, Fooly Cooly (or FLCL) is a mind-bending visual rocket ride using anime aliens as allegory for teen angst. The protagonist, 12-year-old Naota, has his life changed forever when he’s run over by a guitar-wielding woman on a Vespa. The woman, Haruko, causes a horn to grow from Naota’s forehead, but that’s just the beginning of adventures for this slightly cynical, lovesick hero.
I may have to check this one out. There are only 6 episodes and according to a netflix review it, “references Led Zeppelin, Lupin the III, The Ramones and Richenbacher guitars. The characters break the fourth wall.” I like Led Zeppenin, and Lupin the III, those other 2 not so much but even if it ends up not being my cup of tea, I’ll only have watched 6, 20 minute episodes.