A Month of Japan – Summer Wars

A Month of Japan blog seriesBecause A Mortal Song is set in Japan, in the month leading up to the book’s release I wanted to celebrate some of the amazing media out there by Japanese creators. I’ll be highlighting my favorite books, TV shows, and films (as well as some snack box services—you need something to munch on while you’re doing all that watching and reading!). You can find a full list of my faves and other resources here on my website.

Animated Film Rec – Summer Wars


What it’s all about: Kenji is your typical teenage misfit. He’s good at math, bad with girls, and spends most of his time hanging out in the all-powerful, online community known as OZ. His second life is the only life he has until the girl of his dreams, Natsuki, hijacks him for a starring role as a fake fiance at her family reunion. Things only get stranger from there. A late-night email containing a cryptic mathematic riddle leads to the unleashing of a rogue AI intent on using the virtual word of OZ to destroy the real world, literarily. As Armageddon looms on the horizon, Kenji and his new family set aside their differences and band together to save the worlds they inhabit in this near-perfect blend of social satire and science fiction.

Why you should watch it: Calling this a blend is right on the nose. I didn’t know much about the movie going in, and thinking it was a science fiction adventure, I was a little confused by the (nonetheless enjoyable) family dramedy elements it begins with. But the false fiancé story quickly becomes tangled with a virtual reality war that ends up involving every member of this colorful cast. The contrasting elements are woven together seamlessly, the action and twists will keep you on the edge of your seat, and the ending is incredibly satisfying while feeling well-earned.

What’s your favorite VR storyline? Let me know in the comments.

Join me tomorrow for my next rec! You can read more about A Mortal Song in the meantime:


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