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Summer Wars

A colorful anime that marries a family saga with a war in cyberspace



Holy head-spin! Mamoru Hosoda's animated feature is a colorful tangle of cyberpunk, Japanese clan history, coming-of-age comedy, a gentle rebuke of contemporary family life, a cautionary tale about trusting technology, an inspiring tale about trusting technology and a rousing we-can-do-it battle in which a deadly villain is defeated when we all pitch in. Briefly, a teen-age math nerd, visiting a classmate's family reunion in the country, accidentally sets loose a destructive artificial-intelligence bot named "Love Machine" in "Oz," the computer-generated cloud that controls everything from gaming and e-mail to banking and city sewer systems. Then it's up to everybody to pool their talents to take down Love Machine. The artwork in this anime ranges from strictly manga-style narrative and painterly moments of silence and light to straight-up, op-art kawaii-kaleidoscopes of an ever-shifting, rainbow-hued cyberworld populated with cartoonish avatars and flying bits of information. Likewise, the constantly shifting narrative tone is initially jarring. But by the final third, the film has settled into a choppy rhythm of its own, and the conclusion wraps all the disparate threads up into a gloriously colorful, family-positive and brain-beats-brawn finish. Dubbed in English. Starts Fri., Jan. 7. Harris

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