- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
- Subtitles: English
- Rating: PG
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Funimation
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 15, 2011
- List Price: $34.98
Director Hosoda Mamoru (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) has created a fantastic and original piece of anime in Summer Wars. The film easily mixes genres, combining sci-fi, fantasy, and at its heart, a family drama. Added to the effortless genre hopping is magnificently rendered animation with beautiful backgrounds and enticing colors.
The story follows the teenagers Kenji Koiso and Natsuki Shinohara through there unexpected adventures in Natsuki’s hometown in Nagano. After volunteering to work for his high school crush Natsuki over the summer, Kenji learns that his job is to pretend to be her fiancé at the family’s large get together in honor of the matriarch’s 90th birthday.
All is seemingly going well, until Kenji, a mathematical genius, solves a mysterious equation sent to his cellphone that has apparently crippled OZ – an all powerful network and virtual world that everything electronic is run through, including the phone system, power grid, and military satellites. Soon, Kenji and Natsuki’s family find that they must work together to defeat a malevolent AI (Artificial Intelligence) that is running loose in OZ and stealing crucial user accounts. Will they all be able to put aside their differences to save the world from imminent destruction?
Summer Wars switches between the real world of Nagano and the virtual world of OZ, where some serious video game-type martial arts battles take place. In the real world, it is a heartwarming family drama and love story that can be easily identified with by just about anyone.
The native HD AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement of Summer Wars is a pleasant one with the two differing “worlds” offering slightly different color palettes. The virtual world of OZ is colorful with lots of primaries and the “real world” offers softer colors, blending pastels and earth tones.. The image is basically clean, although some of the color fills do show some video noise. Overall, detail is strong, but there is a soft diffuse look to the image, almost like a thin translucent veil has been placed over it. This sometimes makes the line art appear not as well defined as it could be.
Both the original Japanese and English soundtracks are provided in lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes. I used the Japanese track for review purposes. It is one of the best sounding mixes I have ever heard from Funimation. It is lively and quite aggressive throughout the film with plenty of action in the surround channels. Voices come from, seemingly, above your head, off to the sides and dead centre. Dynamic range is wide without having excessive swings in overall volume, low frequencies are deep, and highs are easy on the ears.
I like the supplements offered up on the Summer Wars Blu-ray and fans of the film should as well. There are interview segments, albeit in standard definition, with the Japanese voice cast and director Mamoru Hosoda, in addition to trailers and TV spots. As a special treat, Funimation has provided a collectible set of cards featuring the characters’ OZ avatars in the package.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Interview with Ryunosuke Kamki (Kenji Koiso) (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:06.14)
- Interview with Nanami Sakuraba (Natsuki Shinohara) (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:02.21)
- Interview with Mitskui Tanimura (Kazuma Ikezawa) (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:04.57)
- Interview with Ayumu Saito (Wabisuke Jinnouchi) (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:03.19)
- Interview with Sumiko Fuji (Sakae Jinnouchi) (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:05.32)
- Interview with Mamoru Hosoda (Director) (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:13.04)
- Teaser Trailers (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- Teaser TV Spot (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- Original Trailer (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- TV Spots (1.33:1; 480i/60)
- Coming Soon:
- Black Butler
- Soul Eater
- Spice and Wolf
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Dragon Ball Z Kai
- Hero Tales
- Collectible Avatar Cards
The Definitive Word
Summer Wars is inventive and enticingly fun. It has strong character development and absolutely stunning animation that, combined with a brilliant, reference-quality soundtrack, make it a perfect release to own on Blu-ray.
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