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Summer Wars
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG (Action Violence, Some Suggestive Content, Language, Mild Thematic Material and Incidental Smoking) 

Running Time: 115 Minutes

Screenplay by: Satoko Okudera 

Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda

 

 

Studio: Funimation

Retail Price: $34.98

Features: Voice Actor Interviews, Interview with Mamrou Hosda, TV Spots, Teaser Trailers, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.78:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Subtitles, Scene Selection (21 Scenes)

Released: February 15th, 2011

 
 


Summer Wars is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The picture quality here is lovely, and does not appear to have any faults. The movie looks bright and sharp: detail in the animation is phenomenal (so much to the point where you can see the outline of the characters), and black levels are solid. The vibrancy of the colors though is the real stand-out: greens and browns look nice in the real life portions, but the movie's bold, neon tones in the online sequences have a remarkable pull — and are borderline trippy. The film itself looks clean, without any image defects. You can't go wrong here: this is pretty much a perfect transfer. 

 


Summer Wars features Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks in its original Japanese, plus an English dub. While the 5.1 is not as involving as the transfer, the TrueHD offers up a great sound experience. Fidelity is rather high, dynamic range is strong and imaging across the broad soundstage is effective. Dialogue is always crisp and easy to hear, while the music from composer Akhiko Matsumoto brings a lot of life to the channels and adds to the ambiance. Subwoofer use is pretty good, and there's an array of sound effects to be had. I was a little surprised that the sound effects are front heavy more often than not, but rest assured, there are plenty of discrete surround effects throughout — especially during the online battles. Even small sounds, such as keyboard tappings and tear drops falling to the floor, are effective. Very pleasing and fitting to the film overall.

English subtitles are included.

 


Summer Wars on Blu-ray features plenty of Interviews, mostly with its Japanese voice cast: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Nanami Sakuraba, Mitskui Tanimura, Ayumu Saito and Sumiko Fuji. Each of these interviews lasts a few minutes each, largely describing their characters. In addition to clips from the movie, feature the actors in recording sessions.

There is also an Interview with Mamoru Hosoda, the director of the film. It runs the longest, at about 13 minutes. The interview takes place at the Locarno International Film Festival, which happened in August 2009. Hosoda touches upon nerves in regards to audience reception and spends a good deal of time detailing the differences between debuting this film at the festival, and what it was like when he debuted his previous feature, "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time." Hosoda touches upon his work atmosphere, as well as the movie's themes of family life and the online world. A tad bit dry, but interesting nonetheless. 

Finally, there is an assortment of TV Spots and Trailers.


Director Mamoru Hosoda is well on his way to becoming a stand-out animation director, and Summer Wars should only help cement his growing reputation. This is an involving and original film, that has a lot to say about the online world and importance of human interactions — all wrapped up in a science-fiction adventure. This Blu-ray edition of the film has a few decent supplements, but sports an outstanding transfer for the movie and robust Dolby TrueHD tracks. Animé fans should add this one to their library, but many should find this to be a satisfying rental.