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Anime Reviews

Review: Tokyo Ghoul – Season 1

Producer: Studio Pierrot
Director: Shuhei Morita (mangaka), Chuji Mikasano (screenwriter)
Writers: Sui Ishida
Starring: Austin Tindle, Brina Palencia, Christopher Sabat, Todd Haberkorn
Distributors: Funimation
Genre: Action, Horror
Rating: TV-MA

In the Geeks Under Grace community, Tokyo Ghoul has come up many times in discussions on favorite anime. I never picked up too many details on why, only common praise about how it was “so good” and I “needed to watch it.” Tokyo Ghoul has been on my list of anime to watch as I continue my journey exploring various genres. Horror films and television shows are not something I see very often, so with my little knowledge of the series, I wanted to know how much horror is really in Tokyo Ghoul. With the recent release of Season 3 (a.k.a. Tokyo Ghoul:re), I decided it was time to dive in. After watching the first season, Tokyo Ghoul is possibly one of the most unique anime I have ever seen. In this review, I will dive deeper into whether that is a good or a bad thing.

Content Guide

Spiritual Content: A scene takes place in a church where a woman is placed on the altar to be eaten by a ghoul. A fight also breaks out during this scene, causing interior destruction as pews and other parts of the building are damaged as a result of the fight. This shouldn’t be taken as especially disrespectful, as old Catholic churches tend to be a common setting in horror/gothic-themed media.

We do not know the origin of ghouls, at least as of this season, so any spiritual element in this regard is still uncertain.

Violence: Throughout the season there is an obscene amount of blood. Heads and limbs are severed often, with character impalement being just as common. In one instance, a character smashes in the face of another from across a coffee shop. A character is tortured in one scene, though the act itself is not shown directly. However, in that same scene we do watch a deadly centipede enter the victim’s ear and cause them excruciating pain. There is so much violence that it’s impossible to mention every single instance.

Something that should be noted is how battles are fought. Ghouls have a special organ in their bodies that gives them unique abilities. This organ is called a kagune. What makes this worth mentioning is that an anti-ghoul task force called the CCG encases the organs of a deceased ghoul in order to utilize a kagune for their own combat purposes; these modified kagune are referred to as quinque.

The topic of cannibalism comes up a few times. Some ghouls only view cannibalism as consuming one of their own. This comes up when a ghoul is thrown into an arena and served up as “the main course.” The actual devouring of bodies and corpses takes place off-screen, but characters do get bitten, and its usually somewhere on the shoulder. One character has a severed hand forcefully shoved in his mouth as a means of sustenance.

Language: Tokyo Ghoul seems to be fairly light on the language front. However, words like “ba***ard,” “d*mn,” “a**,” “sh*t,” and “son of a b**ch,” still come up during various parts of the season.

Drug/Alcohol Use: A discussion between ghouls takes place in a bar, but they are not actually drinking anything because normal food and beverages taste terrible to a ghoul.

Sexual Content: There are quick shots of two fully-clothed characters making out as a female sits on the male in a chair. A character walks in on them, and the woman runs out of the room as a result. The male later asks the character who walked in what he saw. One character has an obsessive pseudo-fetish directed towards the protagonist.

In the another scene we watch a woman throw herself on the back of a clothed man. She is wearing no clothes, and though her breasts are not fully exposed, they are still mostly visible during that moment.

Some shower scenes occur, all of them featuring a male character. At one point all that is exposed is his upper body, but in another scene he is fully nude and sitting on his knees. The angle of that scene keeps any genitals from being exposed.

Other Negative Themes: It’s probably not a good idea to watch this when children are present.

Positive Themes: This anime may hold a super dark tone, but it does well in touching on a few deep topics. For example, the morals of being a ghoul. Does being a ghoul mean you must kill people for food? These topics lead into a discussion of morals and what ghouls do to survive—both the good, and the evil.

Review

Before I get too deep into the review, I want to further stress how violent the show can be, on top of our content guide. The first episode is not afraid to show the audience what to expect. Throughout the season there are moments where I could feel the intensity, stress, and dread these characters were feeling. The fact the show had me feel all of those things means it certainly lives up to its genre.

In Tokyo Ghoul, humans live among a species known as ghouls. The biggest difference between the two is that ghouls do not eat regular food. Human flesh, blood, and organs are the only thing that satisfies their hunger. In that way, the comparison could be made to zombies, except ghouls aren’t “undead.” They possess an extra organ that grants them enhanced abilities when they feed.

The direction of the show is one of my favorite things about Tokyo Ghoul. I’m going to give my best shot and discuss the basic plot without giving major details, because I want readers to experience it for themselves if they decide to watch. In the first episode, we join Ken Kaneki as he lives out what he thinks will be a normal day. Due to a series of events that take place, he wakes up in a hospital bed no longer a complete human being—now partially ghoul.

From the beginning to the final moments of the season, the audience takes that journey with Kaneki. We experience all the terror, fear, and confusion he does. The interesting thing about Tokyo Ghoul is that the world begins to feel slightly less horrific as Kaneki becomes acclimated with the culture of ghouls and his new way of life. He finds himself with a group of ghouls that seem to be unlike the rest, the ones perceived as monsters. In this way, it’s a little like Twilight.

Tokyo Ghoul has a way with characters that I have not seen with any other anime. All of them are very well-written, which had me invested in them whether they were good or evil. There were even a few I assumed we would be done with after a few episodes, but returned to give an encore. For example, there was a character I didn’t expect to like due to his opposing nature, but we end up learning more about who he truly is and the burden he carries. In that moment, he became an important addition to cast. In terms of performance, all of the voice actors did a great job in their roles, though there was one which stood out to me the most.

Christopher Sabat plays a character who goes by the alias of “Jason.” Within Sabat’s work, he is commonly known as Vegeta and Piccolo from Dragon Ball, Alex Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist, and All Might from My Hero Academia. Those roles are great examples of the kind of characters he plays, but his role as Jason is so much deeper here. His presence brings terror when he is on-screen, and that’s even before we learn his backstory. As the Big Bad of the season, Sabat takes this role and gives a standout performance.

We learn pretty quickly that ghouls have special abilities, except I never actually knew where they came from until I researched it. These abilities are called kagune, and come from a special organ of the same name, found in the body of a ghoul. Kaneki’s comes from his back and is very tendril-like, while another character has crystallized wings which allows her to shoot shards at her enemies. To counteract these abilities, an anti-ghoul task force developed a way to steal kagune and modify them into quinque. I could have missed an explanation to both of these at some point, but the fact I had to look them up becomes an important misstep in world-building which shouldn’t have occurred.

Another key issue I have with the world-building is that we never learn the origins of the ghouls. I’ve come to appreciate the mystery behind this, but I would still like to know at some point. It seems strange this information is still undisclosed, since the ghouls have adapted and been almost “accepted” as a part of society at this point.

Even with those issues, I enjoyed how we learn more as Kaneki adapts to his new life. The pacing was especially well-executed and takes its time to build to the final events of the season. The first few episodes start off slow, but pick up as the season progresses. Tokyo Ghoul has the typical hero trope where the main character is more special than the rest, but it’s written into the show in such a way that he is not super overpowered among the rest of the gang.

The production value stands out among other anime I’ve seen. It feels as though some shows take inspiration from other, previous works to utilize recognizable and popular art styles, but Tokyo Ghoul seems different. The animation is fluid, along with a clean visual style that could rival some feature anime films. I’m looking forward to seeing how this style will evolve in future seasons.

One of my favorite intros in all of anime

Tokyo Ghoul is one of the most violent anime I have ever seen, which tells me that not everyone will stick with it. The characters and writing are what kept me moving forward through the season. The backstories are so well-written that the world-building might have taken a slight hit as a result. High production value in the animation and visual style are also a huge plus for anyone who is willing to watch through the bloody mess. As a final point, I couldn’t consume Tokyo Ghoul without watching at least three episodes at a time. It kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last minute of episode 12. I can’t wait to see what future seasons have in store.

 

 

Categories
Action/Adventure Animated Anime DVD/BluRay Movies Reviews Reviews Sci-fi/Fantasy

Review: Summer Wars

$T2eC16Z,!yQFIi5S4)1yBSZcZ2dco!~~60_1 bigDirector: Mamoru Hosoda
Writer: Satoko Okudera
Composer: Akihiko Matsumoto
Starring: Michael Sinterniklaas, Brina Palencia, Maxey Whitehead, Pam Dougherty, J. Michael Tatum, Todd Haberkorn
Distributor: Funimation, Warner Bros. (USA)
Genre: sci-fi, drama, adventure, comedy
Rating: PG
Following the reception of his critically-acclaimed animated film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Japanese film director, Mamoru Hosoda began work on a new project—one that promised viewers an imaginative and heartfelt experience, told through streamlined, colorful animation.
After its successful theatrical run to Japanese audiences, Summer Wars made its way to America through Toonami where it was watched by some 1.36 million households. The same year, Summer Wars was officially released to English-speaking audiences through Funimation on Blu-ray and DVD.
Crafted by a director that critics are comparing to Hayao Miyazaki, does Summer Wars live up to its enormous hype? Or is this digitized adventure packed with game-ending glitches?

Storyline

The future has taken social networking to the next level—a digitized metropolis known as OZ. Protected by the most powerful encryption code known to man, OZ is a safe haven for everyone—from the government, to businesses and hobbyists, tstand by your mano individual users. The virtual network does everything previously handled by humans—from protecting sensitive information, to regulating hospital patients and school schedules; from buying and selling property and goods, to planning vacations and delivering breaking news. Real-time, automatic translators bridge the language barrier between users of different nationalities, and many users participate in OZ for the variety of competitive, videogame-based sports available therein. In more ways than one, OZ is a brimming Utopia for users and their customized avatars—providing a safe, secure way to connect to others and maintain the world’s systems.
Enter Kenji Koiso, a teenaged protégé who can calculate anything mathematical… but can’t even begin to decipher the way into a girl’s heart. In the midst of his day job as a maintenance checker for OZ, Kenji is approached by his classmate, Natsuki Shinohara, and invited to attend her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday party.
But when Natsuki unexpectedly introduces Kenji as her fiancé, the mathematical genius knows he’s in far over his head. Natuski claims it’s for the sake of her great-grandmother who is growing old, and Kenji reluctantly agrees to play the part.
summer-wars-screenshot-2As the Jinnouchi family gathers from all across Japan for the celebration, tragedy strikes. A mysterious equation appears on digital devices across the world, and Kenji, believing it to be yet another mathematical challenge from OZ, spends an entire night cracking the code. The next morning, his face is broadcasted across television screens throughout Japan as the man responsible for hacking into OZ and crashing the system.
With the world thrown into chaos, Kenji must do more than merely prove his innocence. OZ must be repaired, and with his ingenious knack for equations, he may be the only one capable of destroying the malicious program that has infiltrated the virtual network… and being there for Natsuki when she needs him the most.
An ominous, world-wide clock begins counting down to zero. The race is on. And family is on the line.

Content Guide

Positive Elements
Summer Wars advocates the importance of family. The Jinnouchi clan consists of over twenty-eight on-screen members, each with their own values, beliefs, and personalities. More often than not, these personalities clash, arguments are had, and heated words are exchanged. Despite their spats, though, the Jinnouchi family shows deep love for each other—sharing meals together, helping each other, and encouraging others when tragedy strikes. When OZ is hacked, the family bands together, combining their unique talents to combat the threat and fearlessly staying behind to try and stop it, even though it means risking their lives. Kenji is moved by the Jinnouchi’s togetherness, commenting that his parents are always away and that being able to eat with the clan “like a real family” means so much to him.
Great-grandmother Sakae Jinnouchi empowers her family and others through genuine encouragement and praise. She lives by the mantra that anyone can do anything so long as they put their minds to it, and that everyone can make an enormous difference, regardless of their personal circumstances.
grab126816On the subject of family, Sakae says, “Never turn your back on family, even when they hurt you. And if you remember nothing else, remember to find time to eat together as a family, even when times are rough—especially when times are rough. There’s no lack of painful things in this world, but hunger and loneliness must surely be two of the worst.”
Forgiveness and acceptance also have important roles to play in this film. Sakae’s husband cheated on her, having an illegitimate son with another woman. Despite her husband’s disloyalty, however, Sakae holds nothing against the son, Wabisuke, and adopts him into the family, telling him that “he would be their child from that day forward.” Even after Wabisuke plays prodigal son and steals the family fortune, only returning for Sakae’s birthday ten years later, Sakae again forgives him, despite her disappointment. There’s a feeling of reconciliation between them by the film’s end.
The Jinnouchi family lives by a series of mantras, such as “People’s lives can’t be replaced” and “Helping people is the best way to spend your time.” There’s an enormous sense of honor in the family’s lineage; they uphold virtues of courage, selflessness, and kindness. “There’s more to valor than only fighting when you think you’ll win or sitting out when you think you’ll lose,” says one member when the odds of beating OZ seem overwhelming.
Kenji is very respectful to the elders of the Jinnouchi family, as well as to Natsuki. Despite their “fiancé act,” he never takes unfair advantage of her. Initially, he doesn’t believe in his ability to take care of Natsuki, as great-grandmother Sakae requests, but he none-the-less agrees to honor her wishes and tries his best. By the end of the film, Kenji gains confidence—staying at Natsuki’s side when she needs him the most.
Spiritual Content
A Japanese funeral alter is shown. A temple is mentioned. A character beseeches a deceased relative to “watch over” someone. One character is said to have had their “love fortune” told when they were young.
Violence
vlcsnap-2010-07-02-09h47m48s31Within the realm of OZ, digital avatars can engage in various competitive sports, including cage matches. A few snippets showcase these battles as characters kick and punch each other with solid, powerful blows that shatter armor and pummel their opposition. One cartoon character emits a stream of liquid blood from his nose when a rival punches him in the face.
Things get a bit less competitively friendly when one of the avatars (the virus program) goes on a rampage, devouring other users’ avatars and attacking any avatars who try to stop it. The film’s climax involves a lot of hand-to-hand, fantastical fighting between avatars and the virus program.
Of course, the chaos in OZ affects the real world, leading to bugged communication, spewing sewage systems, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and general frustration and frenzy. The virus goes so far as to send satellites homing in on nuclear factories across the world, leading to some rather tense, threatening moments. A satellite does indeed crash to the earth, sending out a shockwave that rips apart and upturns buildings and nearby structures.
Conflict between family members can sometimes get intense, particularly between Sakae’s illegitimate son, Wabisuke, and the others. The most extreme scenes involve yelling, seizing characters by their clothing, breakinvlcsnap-2011-03-23-01h46m28s222g drinking glasses, upturning furniture (and sending perfectly good food flying in the process), and even lashing out at a family member with a nearby oriental spear.
For all its violent moments, though, Summer Wars steers fairly clear of blood. In a fit of rage, a boy punches an intrusive family member in the face, causing his nose to bleed. Nose bleeds occur during a couple other occasions, with the ending scene climaxing in an exaggerated, nasal fountain (in Japanese animation, nosebleeds are often used to signify that a character is smitten with another and embarrassed about it).
Language/Crude Humor
Fourteen uses of d***, six uses of h***, two uses of bast***, and one use each of bullsh*t and a**. “Oh my God!” is exclaimed three times. Other noteworthy words are “suck” (used three times), “jeez” (used three times), and “idiot” (used four times).
Sexual Content
As per Japanese custom, Natsuki is shown bathing with some of her relative’s children and helping them wash up. All characters are nude, with Natsuki’s chest being covered only by her arm. One toddler’s nude backside is shown. Later, when Natsuki steps out of the bath, covered only in a towel, she and Kenji run into each other and share an awkward moment.
Kenji is also shown nude when his bath time comes around, with only his groin area covered by a towel and his backside bare. He pauses outside the tub, contemplating that, “Natsuki just soaked in this very water” and proceeds to take a deep whiff of it. Moments after, something startles him and he tumbles to the ground as the towel flies off. Private parts are obscured only by careful leg positioning.
Though Kenji is forced to act like Natsuki’s fiancé, no sexual encounters result. There’s a lot of blushing, reddening, a nosebleed or two (a Japanese visual gag meaning that a character is embarrassed by “sexual arousal”), and an innocent kiss on the cheek, but little more. One of Kenji’s friends encourages him to “get nice and cuddly” with Natsuki since they’re apparently sharing the same room (this is never actually shown, however).
One family member asks Kenji when Natsuki’s due date for the baby is, assuming that Kenji “got her in a family way” because he’s a “college man” so he’s obviously “done it” with her. Another relative tells the unwanted questioner to “Stop being a perv.”
Within OZ, a female, anthropomorphic character transforms, outgrowing her clothes. For a few seconds she is shown nude (from the side), with her backside bare and her breasts barely covered by her hair.
It’s discussed that Wabisuke is his father’s illegitimate son. The virus program’s male avatar is shirtless. A mother is shown breastfeeding a baby. Wabisuke tells an intrusive niece that he’s looking at “ladies with big boobs” on his mobile device (he isn’t really). It’s implied that Natsuki has had a long-time crush on her uncle.
Drug/Alcohol Reference
summer-wars-screenshot-10Sake and beer are both mentioned. Alcoholic beverages are a common sight at the dinner table and many of the family members drink from them. One is shown a bit tipsy, as he begins asking intrusive questions to Kenji.
A few scenes show characters casually smoking cigarettes.
Other Negative Content
Natsuki lies about Kenji being her fiancé, and, despite his qualms about doing so, Kenji agrees to act the part. Natsuki claims that it’s for the good of her grandmother.
Several heavy, emotional moments may be upsetting to younger viewers. Summer Wars does not shy away from realism, and the death of a significant character is an especially emotional moment; onlookers try to revive said character with CPR, while others weep and yell desperately, but it’s clearly too late.

Presentation

Interweaving two separate stories is no easy task, particularly when the topics are so diverse. Summer Wars combines one plot about coming-of-age, celebrating a great-grandmother’s life, learning to understand each other, and joining together as family; with a seemingly unrelated storyline about virtual avatars, network-wide cyber warfare, and impending nuclear doom.
Admittedly, it’s a bit jarring at the onset. As I watched colorful avatars bounce through the film’s beginning, showcasing a digital world of fun and fancy (all the while wearing naïve grins plastered on their pixelasummer-wars-screenshot-3ted faces), I had to wonder exactly what this pleasantly cheesy opening had to do with a film advocating the importance of family. Following its lengthy, anesthetic narrative, detailing the workings of OZ, Summer Wars brings viewers back to the real world for a solid twenty minutes, leaving the virtual reality completely out-of-the-picture (perhaps even forgotten) by some members of its audience.
For this reason, Summer Wars starts out with semi-flimsy filmography. Yes, the animation is captivating. Yes, the characters are quirky. Yes, the humor hits home with nearly every attempt. But the initial segregation of these separate worlds and plots feels a tad unsettling, which throws viewers off at the onset and detracts (at least partially) from the enjoyment of the next twenty minutes. It isn’t until OZ is reinstated into the story and given some genuine, plot-based reason for existing within the narrative that the film really begins to gain ground.
To ensure that these two worlds mesh significantly, the director is wise enough to create strong, personal incentives for the real-world characters to become involved with the goings-on within OZ. Kenji accepts responsibility for unleashing the virus, seeing it as his personal obligation to destroy it. Ironically, several members of the Jinnouchi clan also hold significant ties to OZ (one of whombzero-raws-summer-wars-bd-aacmp-snapshot-king-kazuma-345259143 controls the most powerful avatar in the game, and another who is responsible for writing the virus program), and when the failings of OZ result in a system crash and family death, the Jinnouchi are given plenty of reason to get personally involved. These gradual revelations do much to build intrigue in the film towards a satisfying, if not predictable, conclusion.
Perhaps Summer Wars’ biggest flaw is its predictability and reliance on irony. The plot does hold a few surprises, but they’re often so far-fetched or easy to see coming that they lose most of their shock value. The truth about the virus program and why it was unleashed on OZ unravels through, at best, careless storytelling; some have gone so far as to dub it a “cop-out” on the director’s part, and I’m inclined to agree. The ironic fact that so many of the characters are unbelievably talented is another hard pill to swallow, particularly when it’s revealed that one of them created Love Machine (the virus program) without any real foreshadowing of the fact.
With over twenty-eight on-screen players, two separate worlds, two central plots, and several sub-plots, Summer Wars is a complicated fabric of interwoven strands. Unfortunately, many of those strands resusummer-wars-screenshot-9lt in frayed loose ends, as there’s bits of plot scattered all over the narrative and simply too many characters to develop significantly within a two-hour timeframe. While the central cast does get more screen-time than the rest, only two or three of them receive any character development whatsoever, and it feels predictable and minimal at best.
That being said, the characters resonate with reality. With twenty-eight family members, some very noticeable personalities come into play, and viewers are likely to draw parallels between the fictional family members and some of their own. It’s truly difficult not to feel a semblance of hominess while observing the Jinnouchi family—the rowdy banter and storytelling over the dinner table, the mischievous antics of the family children, the old family traditions of playing hanafuda… These all culminate into a nostalgic appeal that brings a bit of magic to the story.
Kenji is an especially charming lead. Much like his contemporary, Hiccup (of How to Train Your Dragon fame), Kenji is a bumbling misfit with astonishing technical intelligence but zero social skills. Watching him mesh into the Jinnouchi family is an uncomfortable process for both Kenji and the viewer, making him an overall easy character to connect with early on in the film.
screenshot_1_6584Anime buffs (and animation buffs, too) will find plenty of colorful eye candy throughout the film. OZ, in particular, seems to be a showcase of Hosoda’s digital, animated splendor, disguised as a pretty plot-point. Digital animation blends seamlessly with traditional 2D artwork to bring the exciting, computerized world of OZ to life. Hand-to-hand combat, pulse-pounding chases, and breath-taking showdowns against titanic foes, all play a significant role in the world of OZ with few breaks for a breather. By contrast, the “real world” is animated with acute attention to detail and realism. Characters move and tumble with a fallible believability that’s oddly refreshing, and the animators go a long way to keep these motions proportionally and physically accurate. At times, it’s difficult to say whether the characters are propelled by hand-drawn animation or motion-capture animation, though it’s most certainly the former disguised as the latter.
Much like Pixar, Summer Wars is able to capture little moments of life in blunt, natural ways: a character hears the dog barking long before they wake up; a mother apologizes and ducks out of a room filled with silent, grieving people in order to tend to her crying baby; and kids play handheld videogames inches away from their faces as they tumble around in the back of a bumping car. These little slices of reality bring genuine humanity to the film and go a long way to generate relatable humor, emotions, and personalities.
The voice acting is a blend of anime’s traditional vocal rhythm and punctuation, coupled with a more Disney-esque, naturalistic sound. The result is a rather satisfying mix of Eastern and Western speech patterns that feels loyal to both Japanese and American animation. There are points where the actors strain a bit in order to compensate for an emotion. Veterans of anime will feel at home with these vocal deliveries; hsummer-wars-3762owever, newcomers unfamiliar with customary, anime speaking patterns may find the same deliveries slightly off-putting.
The music uses precise timing and volume to add levity and anticipation to the film’s most comedic and epic moments. No, not every soundtrack in the score is memorable, and instrumentals fade modestly into the background more often than not. That being said, Summer Wars features a thrilling climax that stirs the blood as much as the heart, backed with a powerful, choir-led anthem that guides the heroic characters to victory during the final battle.

Conclusion

Like Hayao Miyazaki before him, Mamoru Hosoda is setting out to make a name for himself in the field of Japanese animation. While many will draw parallels between Hosoda’s and Miyazaki’s abilities to create exciting fantasy worlds, tell original stories, and capture day-to-day life in honest, down-to-earth ways, it’s clear that, with Summer Wars, Hosoda has (to quote The Japan Times) “stepped out of Miyazaki’s shadow” with his own brand of storytelling.
Summer_Wars_2Summer Wars is a contemporary tale with an age-old heart. Family, love, honor, and good ol’ fashioned heroism are the pillars that support this vivid, animated feature. This is an anime that makes full use of its genre, captivating the audience with life-like, traditionally-rendered characters and creative, wide-ranging, semi-CG sequences.
Despite its strengths, however, Summer Wars suffers in many areas—most prominently its story-telling, which is pocked with coincidence, plot-imperative irony, hard-to-swallow romance, general predictability (some of which is due to clichés), and undeveloped (or under-developed) characters.
Christians (and parents, too) should be aware that Summer Wars may hold multiple parallels to Studio Ghibli’s work, but it’s not nearly as “kid friendly” as the majority of those films. Profanity is fairly frequent, and coarse discussions and sexual content are more prevalent. That being said, Summer Wars does pack in a lot of wholesome messages about the importance of family, love, encouragement, kindness, and forgiveness in ways that may cause more emotionally invested viewers to tear up.
Plenty of viewing alternatives exist through Studio Ghibli, given that viewers find Summer Wars’ negatives to outweigh its positives. Providing that you take little (or no) issue with the film’s content, however, Summer Wars is a poignant, vibrant, action-packed flick to add to your anime viewing list.

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