Remember how I was the only one to like either King Star King or Kick Heart? Well, looks like I'm the oddball of these Toonami talkbacks.
Before you send your hate mail and death threats, put away that poison and hear me out. I didn't hate it. I won't say it's bad. In fact, I can't even can't even call it "mediocre". I thought it was good. The world of Oz was creative, the animation was spectacular, the story, though done before, kept me going, and the commentary on internet reliance was well-handled.
So why don't I feel it to be as good as everyone else is saying? Well, here's the thing: the characters. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate any of them. It's just that a lot of them are forgettable, and I don't know about you, but that really drags the movie down for me. Sometimes there's a character who does one or two essential things (like the guy who supplied the supercomputer, another who vouched for revenge against Sakae's death and was a huge supporter of the fight against love machine, and that moron who moved the ice blocks meant to keep said supercomputer from overheating), but for the most part, I wasn't impressed by their interactions, and they all seemed to just be there. All the kids seemed to do was run around and harass Kenji when they see what looks his picture on the news, leading them to think he's responsible for the Oz incident (which I'll talk about in a bit). The girl who's watching baseball turned into a recurrence that got old fast. Kenji's friend (as if you couldn't tell, I can't even remember most of their names) only really caught my attention because he was played by Todd Haberkorn. Even freakin' Natsuki, who more or less kickstarts the plot, and who's all over the promotional material and the posters, seems to function as little more than a plot device, and even importance between Sakae's death and the final battle. Speaking of which, even when we finally get to see her in action in the hanafuda game, it's severely undermined by a lame deus ex machina; apparently, a huge chunk of the Oz users are aware of the rules of a Japanese card game that to the modern layman is only known for laying the foundation of Nintendo. To say nothing of the nuke thing. Straining suspension of disbelief aside, it winds up turning her into an afterthought, turning the writer's proverbial words from "Hey, look what this girl can do!" to "Hey, we didn't forget about this character! Honest! WE SWEAR TO GOD!!". Really, the only truly important characters were Kenji (being the one who both kicks of and solves the plot), Sakae (who actually manages to foreshadow the hanafuda scene, as well as making the plot more dire via her death), Kazuma (whose avatar's fights with Love Machine seem to take up a chunk of the Oz screentime, including near the end), and Wabisuke (being the creator of Love Machine, as well as being a huge part of the moral).
Maybe I went overboard with the last paragraph, but I felt I had to explain my big problem with the movie, which honestly caused the movie to falter for me. But all in all, Summer Wars was a good movie. I won't actively look out for it, but I'm glad I saw it. Maybe I was spoiled by Akira, but hey, these were two different beasts, even if both were flawed; Akira was an eighties cyperpunk classic, while Summer Wars was a more modern, calmer flick. In the long run, I honestly just preferred Akira, but really, this one's more about personal tastes. Take it for what it is, but it's not a personal favorite of mine.