Saved by the Nerd
Otaku and the space of family in Summer Wars
Keywords:nerd, otaku, anime, Summer Wars, Mamoru Hosoda, family
This article analyses Hosoda Mamoru’s anime film Summer Wars (2009) through its rearticulation of the lonely male otaku. A highly debated issue in and outside of Japan, the otaku community of fans shares with nerds associations with obsessive interests, technology, and lack of social skills. Summer Wars provides a counternarrative to such discourses by setting up a story of interpersonal ties with an otaku at its centre. Furthermore, the film displaces this story to rural Japan, thus recontextualising the otaku’s typical highly technological urban environment by relocating one of them amidst a large family and historical continuity. Through this emblematic shift in space, in opposition to the city at multiple levels, Summer Wars takes a novel approach in representing the otaku’s potential for sociability, while still retaining the very features that may categorise him as an otaku; at the same time, the film uses otaku themes to create an imaginative reflection on the importance of interpersonal familial bonds, recuperated through the space of the native place.
Editors note (March 2023): Please see the Errata file, for minor typographic corrections to article as published.
Copyright (c) 2022 Filippo Cervelli
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY), which permits use and redistribution of the work provided that the original author and source are credited, a link to the license is included, and an indication of changes which were made. Third-party users may not apply legal terms or technological measures to the published article which legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
If accepted for publication authors’ work will be made open access and distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license unless previously agreed with Exchanges’ Editor-in-Chief prior to submission.
Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. (see: The Effect of Open Access)