SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Cervelli, Filippo (2022) 'Saved by the Nerd: Otaku and the space of family in Summer Wars.' Exchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 9 (3). pp. 203-225.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0).

Download (508kB) | Preview


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.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: nerd, otaku, anime, Summer Wars, Mamoru Hosoda, family
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > SOAS Japan Research Centre
Departments and Subunits > Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
ISSN: 20539665
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2022 13:30

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item