Cover Art Comparison: Summer Wars

Knowing that Hosoda has a new film coming soon(ish), I thought I’d do a quick comparison of some posters from one of his previous hits: Summer Wars.

It’s obviously clear that you’re being told this movie will feature an ensemble cast from both images, but Natsuki seems a bit less capable in the poster for the left, compared to the right. Technology is clearly important in both images, but the real world setting on the left is clear too.

To me it feels like the ‘original’ poster on the left places emphasis on romance, comedy and maybe drama, whereas the ‘international’ one seems to be more about action and science fiction, due to the avatars. (Of course, I don’t know whether each region got two variants etc so ‘original’ and ‘international’ here is probably not accurate).

There’s also this one – which was maybe a ‘coming soon’ poster, based on my (admittedly poor) memory, which I also like:


Sort of covering similar ground as before – showing an ensemble cast, hinting at drama and action maybe, but no hints of the technological elements (at least visually).

Similar ‘determination’ pose from Natsuki and here, Kenji is a bit ‘lost’ in the crowd.

So, how about you – do you prefer one over the others?

Summer Wars (Samā Wōzu)

Summer Wars (Samā Wōzu) 2009

One of my favourite things about this film (which is suddenly ten years old!) is that it manages to tell a really compelling family drama at the same time as its external ‘plot-based’ action storyline.

Of course, the two do intersect but it’s always impressive to me that Hosoda found time in the film to charactarise a good portion of such a massive cast. And maybe it shouldn’t be surprising, considering the budget and talent behind it – I remember some of the hype leading up to its release actually.

No doubt that after the success of The Girl who Leapt through Time Madhouse was happy to give Hosoda and writer Satoko Okudera a fair bit of leeway 🙂

There’s a lot going on with our team of ordinary heroes (math-nerd!) trying to take out a rogue AI that wreaks havoc in the real world via the internet, including redemption arcs, first love, jealousy, death, defiance and comedy – in a way, it’s very much a family movie, since it never stretches beyond the bounds of the PG rating, as much as it’s a science-fiction film. And like most big budget anime films, the art is beautiful and vivid – especially setting of the Jinnouchi estate itself.

Although, part of the fun upon watching Summer Wars after its release can be seeing how accurate some of the predictions from the writing team were about the near-future – though what I tend to think of most when I put the film on now, is the way that while action and fighting feature in the final battle, part of that struggle is actually played out via a game of Hanafuda, which enabled the film to not only channel Yu-Gi-Oh etc but also to tie it in with the traditional aspects of the Jinnouchi family.

As with almost all Mamoru Hosoda films, there’s a couple of parts where you might tear up and a few good laughs as well, great pacing and plenty of surprises too.

5 Stars