What it’s about: Kenji receives an invitation from the most popular girl in school, Natsuki, to take a working vacation with her to her family’s home over the summer. What he isn’t told is that the “job” involves pretending to be her successful, brilliant boyfriend. At the same time, the online world of Oz is facing a grave crisis as a hacker seeks to topple the system from within.
Why you should watch it: It’s a fantastic family film; both in that it’s got appeal for a wide demographic base and that family serves as the central theme to the whole work. The “real-world” scenes are full of charm and fun, while the “online” scenes pack in gorgeously fantastical visuals and a strong soundtrack, as well as some very unique character designs. The writers tie in the two halves of the film brilliantly, with tension building and crossing between the two until it all comes together in the finale.
Caveats: The “online” world makes absolutely no logical sense whatsoever, so it’s probably best to pretend that it’s just straight-up magic rather than a vision of the future of the internet. You’ll have less of a headache and enjoy the spectacle a lot more if you just roll with it.
Themes: Social networks, both online and offline. The importance of both family and tradition.