Summer Time Machine Blues (2005) is a comedy movie directed by Katsuyuki Motohiro. It follows a group of boys who belong to their high school’s sci-fi club. It’s a hot summer and they value their club room’s air conditioner, until a slow motion domino effect of the gang falling into each other results in a bottle of Coke spilling onto the air conditioner’s remote; a devastating blow leaving the gang in an unbearable summer heat… Until a mysterious time machine shows up. They think it’s a prank at first but then soon find out that it’s real and now the objective is clear: they must travel back in time to replace the broken remote.
The movie starts out innocently enough as the boys play 3-on-3 baseball, although there is a hint of what’s to come late in the film. This is one of the cool aspects of the film; there are many hints and tips that are naturally revealed as the movie progresses and we see the gang traveling back and forth through time. This opens up a world where all the dots are connected throughout the film. It can lead to amusing confrontations and clever plot points. Whether it’s Niimi rushing back to retrieve his treasured Vidal Sassoon from the bathhouse which was missing the day before or Soga’s accidently trip back 99 years, landing in the swamp that used to be the baseball field, while the villagers point and yell at him, dubbing him a dreaded kappa, a legend that was carried all the way back to the present day.
Summer Time Machine Blues is a very fun and humorous movie with great acting, led by Eita starring as one of the less flamboyant members of the crew, shy yet eager to invite his crush to see a sci fi b-movie. The movie also puts great use to the camera, with slow motion scenes and stop motion sequences. I particularly enjoyed the scenes where they show both past and present scenes on top and below each other as they take place in the same location. There’s more to this movie than a simple comedy; if you want to dig further there’s certainly fodder up for analyzing. But for me, I just like to watch this movie and relax. It can be quite heartwarming once the end credits start rolling and you realize you’ve grown an attachment to the characters after all they’ve been through, and thanks to the great directing, all that you’ve been through as well. You feel like you are part of the world that has been crafted right in front of you.
I strongly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a slice of life style, time traveling comedy. It certainly has an anime sort of edge to it; another thing to note for those looking for that sort of movie. Or if you’re a fan of movies like Shaolin Soccer you will be right at home with this one. Time travel movies can easily be bogged down by overly complicated time lines or, on the contrary, have plots that are too easy and explain everything to the audience. Summer Time Machine Blues, I feel, does a perfect job. Warm yourself up with this delightful film.