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Anime / Summer Wars

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"Always protect your network!"

"The worst things in this world are being hungry and being alone."

"Technology is only as good as the user."

Summer Wars is a 2009 anime Science Fiction and Slice of Life film. The film focuses on a timid eleventh grade math genius named Kenji Koiso (voiced by Ryunosuke Kamiki) who has been falsely implicated in the hacking of a virtual world and, with the aid of classmate Natsuki Shinohara (Nanami Sakuraba) and her extensive family, must prevent the real and computer simulated worlds from colliding. It was produced by the Japanese animation studio Madhouse and was directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The film also stars Mitsuki Tanimura as Kazuma Ikezawa and Sumiko Fuji as Sakae Jinnouchi.

The project was first announced without a title at the 2008 Tokyo International Anime Fair, and the first trailer of the film was released in April 2009. Audience interest was fueled primarily through word of mouth and Internet publicity. Two manga adaptations of the film were published ahead of the film's release in Japan and South Korea. Funimation acquired the distribution rights to the film, and has set it up with some of their biggest names in ADR dubbing. FUNimation also set up a theatrical release in select cites starting in December 2010, and a DVD and Blu-Ray release in February 2011.

The film is similar to the same director's earlier work, the Digimon feature film Our War Game! (2000), released in English as part of Digimon: The Movie. The premise of an internet virus causing real world problems is similar and the artistic design of The Metaverse is shared between both films, depicting the virtual realm as a white void decorated with floating two-dimensional shapes in which all characters have red outlines, as well as with "Superflat Monogram," a Louis Vuitton promotional video also directed by Hosoda.

It has a manga spin-off: Summer Wars: King Kazma vs Queen Oz, a prequel which focuses on Kazuma.

Summer Wars contains examples of:

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  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The story is set in 2010 and supposedly by then a colossal virtual city full of corporate users is will be released and become widespread.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: At the climax, a game of Hanafuda is played with avatars as currency. If Love Machine wins, it plans to use a hijacked satellite as a ballistic missile to blow up a nuclear plant, causing untold collateral damage.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Kenji hacks into OZ's unhackable systems because he thought the numbers he was sent that night was a mathematical equation. Subverted when it turns out he got one number wrong.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The tie-in manga, which basically acts as the movie's Novelization, includes some scenes that were cut for time. Most notably, a few key scenes centered around Kenji and Natsuki have been added to flesh out their Character Development and their relationship.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Kazuma gets this around 4 times during the Third Act, twice by Mansuke, once by Kiyomi, and, at the end of the movie, once by his dad.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Love Machine, a privately created AI who escapes from the army and starts a war with the real world. Subverted in that it was released intentionally, and was following its programming the entire time.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Implied for Kazuma when his mother comments on he was bullied when he was younger.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: The Jinnouchi family have strong vibes of this. Especially in the ending with encouraging Kenji and Natsuki to kiss.
    • Also of note is when three of Natsuki's aunts grill her after they discover her scheme and they realize that the CV she gave Kenji is pretty much Wabisuke's CV, leading them to remember a few events from her childhood that directly point to her crush on her uncle. Natsuki then bursts into hysterical tears and begs them to stop and forget everything!
  • Armies Are Evil: The U.S. Deparment of Defense was the one who released Love Machine on Oz in the first place. On a lesser note, while the Japanese government isn't nearly as antagonistic, they still show shades of this along with some major incompetence what with Shouta's impulsiveness and the fact that an elderly woman with a land line was better able to organize a response to the cyber attack than they were.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Sakae: Are you man enough to die for her (Natsuki)?
    Kenji: Yes.
  • The Assimilator: Love Machine works by absorbing avatars and their associated accounts until the bulk of OZ is part of it.
  • Back from the Brink: Love Machine ups the ante on everyone several times over the course of the film, including two instances where its cheating makes victory seem all but impossible.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Kazuma (shy teenage martial artist) is the one controlling King Kazma (A bunny that looks like a street-fighter)
    • Natsuki's cute dog-girl avatar playing the game of Hanafuda from hell.
  • Badass Bookworm: Kenji cracked the uncrackable code several times.
  • Badass Family: The Jinnouchi family is extremely close knit, warm, and hospitable... and will stop at nothing to keep a rogue AI from taking over The Metaverse and dropping a satellite on a Nuclear reactor.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: King Kazma fights bare handed and so does Love Machine after he transforms.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: King Kazma's second form goes shoeless thus implying that he is more powerful this way.
  • Becoming the Mask: By the end of the film, Kenji and Natsuki begin a relationship for real.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Shota shows a lot of this towards his young cousin, Natsuki, when he show suspicion of her supposed boyfriend.
    • Kazuma breaks down after being defeated by Love Machine a second time feeling like he failed to protect his mother and unborn sister.
  • Big Fancy House: It's best described as a manor; it used to be a castle. Despite Kenji's first impression, it's all that remains of the family's wealth.
  • Big Good: Sakae is the matriarch and the cornerstone of the family. If Love Machine started a "summer war" with the Jinnouchi clan then she is the Commander in Chief. This role arguably goes to Kenji after Sakae dies.
  • Big "WHAT?!": The Jinnouchi family when Tasuke points out that Love Machine's countdown timer is still counting down after Natsuki defeats the latter in the hanafuda match.
  • Birthday Episode: More like a birthday movie, as the family gathers for Sakae's birthday.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: The scene of the family mourning Sakae's death begins with a shot of her body, followed by a shot of Aunt Yumi breastfeeding her baby.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sakae is still dead, but her family managed to save the world and the Jinnouchi estate from Love Machine. Wabisuke is making amends for his actions. Kenji and Natsuki are apparently a couple by the end.
  • Black Sheep: Wabisuke, who is the illegitimate child of Sakae's late husband, and who ran off with much of what family money they had left to try and make it big in America.
  • Blue with Shock: Kenji when he found out that the math problem he solved was Oz's 256-digit decryption code.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: The younger kids. Part of the reason Kazuma loses his first fight with Love Machine is because they're dicking around with the computer during the fight. Then (in the manga at least) they have the nerve to say "Aw, you got hit!" Yeah, that tends to happen when you're distracting him.
  • Breakout Character: Kazuma, along with his avatar King Kazma. They get their own spin off manga.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: When everyone's cell phone and internet access becomes unreliable, 90-year-old Sakae breaks out her trusty old dial phone and gets in touch with people through an address book and old-fashioned land lines.
  • Butt-Monkey: Shota gets mocked and hit by the others constantly.
  • Canine Companion: The family is close to Granny Sakae's dog, Hayate, and they're even more so, after her death.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Love Machine. Lampshaded: "Has bad guy written all over him." Probably a bit of self-awareness on his programmer's part. Something of Truth in Television - black-hat programmers have fun with malware designs.
  • The Cavalry: Towards the end of the movie Natsuki challenges Love Machine to a cyber card game in which the stakes are her avatar and her family's versus the over 400 million the virus has claimed. The game goes well for awhile, but Natsuki is momentarily distracted by the clock and loses a critical hand. She doesn't have enough accounts left to place the minimum bet, and all hope seems lost... until a horde of people from all over the world give her their accounts so that she can cover the bet. A very nice twist on this trope in that the Cavalry is saving the day by putting themselves entirely into the hero's hands — far from taking the glory away from the hero, these people are giving Natsuki what she needs to win one last hand with her own skills.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The asteroid explorer satellite in orbit.
    • The Hanafuda card game.
    • The cousin's conversation during the train trip implies that some of the people Sakae rallies in the crisis are prefectural and national government ministers.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Kazuma, who we see fighting other avatars earlier in the movie. He repeatedly fights Love Machine cyber-physically and is responsible for giving it the Falcon Punch of a lifetime.
  • Chekhov's News: There is a news report in the beginning about a satellite hurtling towards the Earth, but will land safely. After everything has gone down, the satellite has been hacked and is now hurtling towards the Big Fancy House everyone's living in.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Natsuki's Hanafuda-playing skills are necessary for gambling later.
    • Kenji's mathematical genius.
    • To a lesser extent, every member of the extended family's respective skills come in handy.
  • Children Are Innocent: The younger children of the Jinnouchi family, especially Kana.
    Kana: What's a war? (To Granny Sakae)
  • Chubby Mama, Skinny Papa: Yumi and Katsuhiko respectively.
  • The Clan: The Jinnouchi clan is perhaps 90% of the cast.
  • Colony Drop: Love Machine tries to drop a satellite on a nuclear reactor. After losing the match, it redirects it to crash on the house.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: An in-universe example. Love Machine will go by the rules until it's about to lose, then it fights dirty.
  • Contrived Coincidence: When you think about it, it's a pretty big coincidence that a.) the person whom Love Machine is framing, b.) Love Machine's creator and c.) OZ's strongest fighter all happen to be in the same house this weekend, isn't it?
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Averted. When installing a supercomputer (intended for a cooled server room) in the family's home during a heat wave, they pack it tight surrounded by ice and seal the room to keep heat from the outside from seeping in. Even that doesn't work thanks to Shota, and even then, Shota himself had this trope in mind by moving the ice from the alcove to Sakae's bedroom to keep her corpse from decomposing in the heat.
  • Cool Old Lady: You do not pull a fast one on Granny Sakae. The only reason she died is because Love Machine had disabled Mansaku's heart monitoring equipment while she was sleeping.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Kazuma's first attempt to stop Love Machine with King Kazma devolves into this due to it absorbing other avatars to increase its strength. In short, the computer is LITERALLY a cheating bastard.
  • Cyberspace: In the far-flung future of 2010, the Internet has been supplanted by Oz, a somewhat whimsical cyberspace setting that nevertheless gets plenty of use from government agencies and businesses. It's mentioned that there are almost as many Oz users as there are cellphone owners.
  • Dark Is Evil: Love Machine's massive, multi-avatar body looks like wriggling darkness. Yet it still manages to invoke Light Is Not Good, with the angelic wings that form OZ's main building on its back, and the Deva Halo Rings re-appearing when it absorbs King Kazma
  • Dead Man Writing: Grandma Sakae leaves a note to the family with her wishes on how they should carry on after her death: welcome the prodigal son Wabisuke back into their home, stay strong together as a family, face what has to be done without fussing or complaining, and eat a good meal before you get started.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: The fighting events and Hanafuda games are played from the perspective of the avatars. When King Kazuma faces a giant Love Machine demon formed by million of stolen accounts, Kazuma acts as if he's facing it himself.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: OZ looks like it was designed by a cartoonist.
  • Determinator: No matter how bleak the situation is, Kenji Koiso always solves mathematical problems to help the Jinnouchis.
    "You can't solve an equation by giving up."
  • Disney Owns This Trope: It flashes by insanely quickly during the opening credits, but apparently Kazuma has trademarked King Kazma.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • So a weapon set loose by America onto Japan threatens nuclear fallout, eh?
    • Is it just a coincidence that a movie that's being distributed by Warner Bros. features two scenes of a badass rabbit kicking the ever loving crap out of an evil looking kid in mouse ears?
    • Ryohei's baseball game parallels the conflict of Jinnouchis vs. Love Machine perfectly.
  • Dynamic Entry: King Kazma performs this little manoeuvre to stop Love Machine from devouring Kenji's squirrel avatar.
  • Eagleland: Mixed overall. A fair share of Americans pitch in at the climax, just like everyone else. However, the Department of Defense deliberately chose to unleash Love Machine on Oz as a test, making them directly responsible for everything that followed. All in all, it portrays the people as good, but the government itself as amoral.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Even the dead Granny Sakae's memorial photo is making a chuckling face at the end.
  • Everything Is Online: Oz has over a billion users for which it functions like ones entire OS based on a single social network structure. Imagine if getting your Facebook account hacked was literally the same as getting your personal computer, cell phone, and workplace account hacked because they were all the same account in the first place. While this makes its chaos more justifiable it is an improbable monopoly of service.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog:
    • Hayate can detect evil from orbit,. It also alerted the family about Granny Sakae while everyone was sleeping.
    • The first time we see Wabisuke, he's petting the dog and asking if he's forgotten him. It's a hint that in spite of his bastard demeanour and strained relationship with grandma, he's not so bad after all.
    • It also whines when Shouta takes Kenji away, a hint that Kenji is not as bad as the family thinks.
  • Evil Laugh: Love Machine. Shi shi shi...
  • Exact Time to Failure: The film's countdown to destruction stops with fourteen minutes to spare, subverting this. Only to become a double subversion, as Love Machine realises it didn't bet the probe guidance account, causing the countdown to continue.
  • Expy: The movie is this to the aforementioned Digimon movie, which had a similar plot but different setting, characters, and the focus of the films are different, with Summer Wars being about the real characters and the other film being more about the digital aspect.
  • Fake–Real Turn: The plot starts when Natsuki convinces Kenji to come with her to the family reunion where she tells her family that not only have they been dating, he is her fiance. Turns out she impulsively lied about having a boyfriend to give her granny some good news when she fell ill and must retain the ruse. By the end of the film, they nearly kiss with her family goading them into it, implying an actual Relationship Upgrade.
  • Family Business: Not exactly their business but all of Mansaku's sons are firefighters.
  • Family Theme Naming:
    • The endings of Mansaku's sons' end with "hiko".
    • Katsuhiko carried on this tradition with the endings of his sons' names being "hei".
  • Fat and Skinny: A family version. Tasuke (father) is the Fat and Shota (son) is the Skinny.
  • Fiery Redhead: Naomi's hair has a red tint to it. As for personality, Naomi plays with it: at first, she can be calm, but the next second she's more wild.
  • Flower Motifs: Morning glories in particular hold special sentimental value to Sakae. They were in bloom the day she met and took in Wabisuke.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The numerous mentions of the satellite.
    • Natsuki wanted Kenji to pretend to be her fiance because she's afraid that this will be Sakae's last summer. A few scenes later, Sakae dies.
  • Forgiving the Accidental Pervert: When Natsuki comes out of the bathroom to try and retrieve one of the smaller children who is running off without getting dressed, she is spotted by Kenji. She ducks back into the bathroom, positions a Modesty Towel, and sheepishly tells him that the bath is free if he wants to use it.
  • The Four Loves: Storge (familial love) at its fullest. Clan power and unity is the key to fighting Love Machine.
  • Frameup: Love Machine initially uses Kenji's avatar and account, causing him to be blamed for hacking Oz. Eventually, he gets exonerated.
  • Freudian Excuse: Illegitimate son Wabisuke sells off his portion of grandpa Tokue's inheritance in order to fund his computer science education in America. His family believes he did it selfishly but it was actually so he could land a contract with the US military to bring wealth back to his family. Self-conscious about his bastard origins, he was just looking for a "Well Done, Son" Guy moment from his adoptive mother Sakae.
  • Funny Animal: King Kazma is a bipedal bunny.
  • Funny Background Event: The three Bratty Half-Pint cousins provide quite a few, like in the travel montage where one of them never looks up from his Nintendo DS no matter what happens.

  • Genre Savvy: Sakae clearly sees through the fake fiancé ruse, and just as clearly realizes how that kind of thing usually ends.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: King Kazma's goggles are really just an avatar accessory. Kazma 2.0 keeps them but has them around his neck and changes his hair to a golden version of Kazuma's.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid:
    • Grandma Sakae's epic use of her address book and a rotary dial phone to bring order to the entire nation of Japan after Love Machine starts sowing chaos.
    • When Love Machine gets the upper hand in the Hanafuda battle and Natsuki doesn't have enough accounts to bet with, the whole world, who was watching the battle, starts sending their accounts to help her out.
  • Gone Horribly Right: One suspects that the US military did not expect Love Machine to be able to cause quite so much real-world damage in its attack on OZ.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Good, in the case of King Kazma. He gains a scar from forehead to jaw over one eye after being thrown into the cloud barrier surrounding OZ by Love Machine.
  • Good with Numbers: Kenji is good with numbers and math, and at the film's climax he solves a 256-bit encryption in his head.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: After swallowing Kazuma's avatar, Love Machine grows bunny ears. It doesn't make it any less scary at all.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: After the first fight with Love Machine, there's a cut where some of the family are practicing this song. After surviving family trauma, averting a cyber-apocalypse, and surviving the satellite equivalent of a nuclear bomb, the next day, all of the family, bar Wabisuke, and including Kenji, sing this, with weird props, like plastic wands, party hats, a taiko drum, and even a puppet, to the deceased Granny Sakae.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Kazuma wears headphones while on his the same time being distant from his family.
  • Heroic Bastard: Through the "heroic" part is a bit of a stretch until the climax of the film, Wabisuke is the illegitimate son of Natsuki's great-grandfather but was adopted by Sakae anyway.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Kazuma, after Love Machine version 3 breaks out of his prison, transformed in to a massive monster made of avatars when Kenji and company had thought they had successfully trapped him. Kenji shakes him repeatedly, trying to snap him out of it, but he only does so after its too late to save King Kazma from getting hurled in to the cloud-wall surrounding OZ.
    • Still later, it's subverted, as Kenji's faced with a third re-encryption from Love Machine after frantically solving the first two on paper. He stares blankly at the screen for a long moment — and then, as he starts to slowly type out the solution one key at a time, it becomes clear he's trying to solve it entirely in his head.
    • Natsuki enters one after Sakae's death. First she's numb and then she breaks down crying.
    • Natsuki verges on one when she loses too many accounts to ante up for the ultimate hand of Hanafuda, but rallies when hundreds of thousands of Oz users offer up their accounts for her to use.
  • Hikikomori: Kazuma is rarely seen out of his room for a portion of the film.
  • Holding Hands: There's a prominent scene where Kenji takes Natsuki's hand to comfort her after Sakae's death. It quickly shifts into Intertwined Fingers.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Better then one might expect, Love Machine functions much like a real hacker would:
    • Love Machine begins by crowd-sourcing an encryption to break a password to gain high level admin privileges making it effectively the legitimate owner of Oz. Stealing accounts which are evidently able to command computer resources allows Love Machine to act as bot-net. Additionally most of Love Machine's mischief comes from abusing other legitimate access from accounts it has stolen. All of this is very much real to life in concept, and possible given Oz's bizarrely powerful yet insecure structure, a 256-digit number is not a long enough master password for controlling such a network OS that for can't be manually shut down and restored by the owners.
    • On the other hand, simulated combat as a distraction to lure a program/bot-net into some undescribed structural trap or betting accounts on a card game, is purely this trope. Lots of Rule of Cool.
    • The spamming encryption passwords is plausibly a form of numerical CAPTCHA for the support team. In general, nobody who didn't know the formula to crack the numbers would be able to do anything with the mess of numbers in front of them on the screen.
  • Hot-Blooded: Shouta is regularly shouting about something or running somewhere. His relatives basically tell him to chill.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Inverted. Kazuma and Mansuke actually are quite skilled at martial arts in the real world, and they are somehow able to apply these skills inside Oz. note 
  • Important Haircut: Kazuma gives his avatar, King Kazma, a blond version of his own haircut when he decides to get serious and challenge Love Machine to a rematch.
  • Internet Incorporated: All information on the internet goes through Oz servers and everything is connected to the internet.
  • It Amused Me: The characters note with some disgust that Love Machine isn't doing all this out of malice. It thinks of everything as a game.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Not explicitly stated, but we have a good look at a photo of the young Granny Sakae as she rallies the entire nation of Japan.
  • Jerkass:
    • Wabisuke is rude to most of the clan but over the course of the film, it's revealed he wasn't so much of a jerk after all.
    • Shouta is a dick, but a dick with some integrity to him.
    • Love Machine, the world's greatest internet troll. Willing to hit your house with a satellite out of spite for beating it at cards.
  • Karmic Death: Love Machine is killed by King Kazma, one of the avatars it tried to absorb.
  • Kick the Dog: At the climax of the film Love Machine is shown guiding a falling space probe, zeroing in on the family dog while doing so.
  • Kung-Fu Kid: Kazuma's grandfather taught him Shaolin as a means of protecting himself from school bullies; it's commented that his real-world martial arts skills are likely the source of his prowess as King Kazma.
  • Lady of War: Granny Sakae is certainly handy with a naginata.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: Those who don't know all of the rules of Hanafuda shouldn't expect any substantial explanation, since the game is really convoluted.
  • Light Is Good: Natsuki's upgraded avatar has a white priestess outfit that has angel wings and shines with white light.
  • Light Is Not Good: Love Machine's second avatar invokes this trope, with a Deva-like appearance and a golden halo (which he uses to store hijacked avatars) floating behind him. Seen in full horrific detail when he consumes King Kazma—the halo, now a repository for half a billion avatars, emits a light so blinding it negates the ambient lighting of OZ itself.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Kunihiko lampshades this towards Katsuhiko about his son, Ryohei.
  • Look Behind You: Kenji does this to Love Machine to rescue Kazuma's avatar.

  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Kenji and the entire Jinnouchi family get this when Love Machine redirects the Arawashi towards Sakae's house.
  • Meaningful Name: The "Natsu" in Natsuki means "summer."
  • Meet the In-Laws: Something of a variation since Natsuki and Kenji aren't actually dating and it's Natsuki's extended family rather than her parents.
  • Megaton Punch: Kazuma does this to a random opponent early in the movie; a giant armoured crab that he destroys by punching one of its claws so hard that all of its armour is blown off. Later he does it to Love Machine after he gets his avatar back, and after Love Machine's been sufficiently weakened.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Grandma Sakae becomes this towards Japan by calling everyone and motivating then to stopping the chaos. Love Machine takes notice and is implied to cut her heart monitor, leading to her death.
  • Missing Mom: The mothers that are missing from the entire film:
    • Kenji's mom. See Parental Abandonment.
    • Shota's mom (the wife of Tasuke).
    • The mother of Mansaku's three sons.
    • Wabisuke's mom (the woman who had an affair with Granny Sakae's husband).
  • Mission Control: Sakuma co-ordinates the Jinnouchi counter-attack on Love Machine from his dorm room because he's a minor OZ admin.
  • Modesty Towel:
    • Natsuki emerges from the bathroom like this to chase down one of her little cousins running out of the bathroom, only to be seen by Kenji. She quickly darts back in the bathroom while Kenji averts his eyes, insisting that he didn't see anything.
    • Kenji has one as well when going in for his own bath.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Love Machine. Avatars that he has assimilated gain this quality for the creepy/evil factor.
  • Multigenerational Household: Averted. The clan is gathering for Sakae's birthday. Mansuke laments this and talks much about the days when family was consolidated.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Scribbling on notepaper and rapidly tapping keyboards have never been so epic.
    • The Hanafuda match for the fate of the world starts out pretty awesome already, but then John and Yoko grant Natsuki a rare angelic kimono for her avatar and it gets crazier from there, culminating in a meteor strike-esque (with an explosion of Cherry Blossoms upon impact) slamming down of the last card.
    • Epic use of a rotary dial phone and an address book!
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Upon realizing Love Machine's involvement in Sakae's sudden death, Wabisuke returns to the Jinnouchi estate and helps the family stop the program for good.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: After Love Machine transforms, he becomes able to overpower King Kazma.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Although he's only her second cousin, Shota is very opposed to Kenji's apparent relationship with Natsuki and loudly voices his disapproval right up to the end of the movie.
  • New Media Are Evil: Averted. See page quote. Even Love Machine isn't an example — he was expressly designed to be a weapon of war, which means that he fit firmly in the "technology used for evil means" category.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Grandma Sakae is a tough old broad.
  • Never My Fault: Wabisuke insists that the American government is at fault for Love Machine's attack on Oz because they chose to test it out there, regardless of the fact that he designed the AI. At least, until he finds out that it indirectly killed Sakae.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers and posters for Funimation highlight the scenes in OZ, when in fact these only take up 20% of the radically down-to-Earth rest of the story.
  • Nice Guy: Kenji is shown to be shy, polite, even-tempered, and not easily angered.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Twice family members inadvertently sabotage attempts to defeat Love Machine just as it was on the verge of defeat, first the kids piling in and distracting Kazuma, then Shota taking the ice blocks, causing the supercomputer to fry just as Love Machine had almost been contained.
    • Kenji initially thinks it's his fault that Love Machine acquired access to OZ's mainframe because he cracked the code.
    • Wabisuke was the one who developed Love Machine and sold it to the military so his family would be wealthy once again. Then the military decides to test Love Machine out on OZ, and...
  • No Name Given: The name of Kazuma's father wasn't revealed. Even when the guy showed up in the end.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Virtually no OZ avatar is similar to another, with some having Thick-Line Animation, overly stylized designs (both human and animal), or composed of pixels like Sakuma's.
  • Nosebleed: The mental-stress variety happens when Kenji gets a breakthrough and is able to do 256-digit decryptions in his head, but the standard variety happens in the ending as a result of both said mental strain and a kiss from Natsuki.
  • Not So Stoic: Kazuma on two occasions; the first, when Shota causes Love Machine to get away again by stealing the ice cooling the supercomputer they'd been using (resulting in Kazuma getting angry enough to punch Shota in the face), the second when his final effort to try and take Love Machine down is thwarted, causing him to break down crying.
  • Novelization: There is a three-volumes manga that acts as a retelling of the movie, though they take advantage of it to add the deleted scenes which were cut from the movie.
  • Official Couple: By the end of the film, Natsuki and Kenji are no longer pretending to be a couple.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Kenji's look when he sees that not only has Love Machine stolen his avatar, it's also hijacked a bunch of others. Then his temporary avatar gets punched in the face.
    • Kazuma gets one (reflected by King Kazma) when Love Machine goes One-Winged Angel on it and grabs him before throwing him into a wall. It's also combined with a Heroic BSoD, as Kazuma is so shocked that no amount of shaking from Kenji can get him to react and move out of the way.
    • Wabisuke gets one when he realizes that Love Machine inadvertently caused Sakae's death.
    • Natsuki gets this when she momentarily gets distracted during her Hanafuda match with Love Machine and consequently loses too many accounts to continue her match.
    • Love Machine also has one, represented by its pupils shrinking in size, when Kazuma, having regained his avatar, charges at it and punches it so hard it shatters.
  • Old Maid: Mansuke lampshades this towards his daughter, Naomi and his niece, Rika, by calling them "the spinster club".
  • Old Master: Mansuke (Kazuma's grandfather) taught Kazuma (and thus King Kazma) everything he knows about martial arts, attacked Love Machine (by this time an extremely strong martial arts master) by himself to buy Kazma time to recover, and he has a NINJA SQUID for an avatar. He does it all on a Nintendo DS!
  • One-Winged Angel: Love Machine does this twice as he assimilates more avatars. It's almost a literal example, as at one point he has actual wings. Admittedly he has two, but one is standing considerably higher than the other.
  • Overly Long Gag: Natsuki introducing her extended family, though this is Truth in Television for many people having dinner with extended family. At those times you are lucky if you get a rudimentary explanation AT ALL before everyone settles down and eats.
  • Parental Abandonment: Kenji's parents's jobs leave them with no time for him; they're never seen during the movie's whole duration. Staying with the Jinnouchi was the first time he experienced what family's really like.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Implied to be this to Yumi because of her Red Sox jersey and how she cheers on her pitcher son, Ryohei.
  • Peacock Girl: Natsuki's avatar gains a peacock tail and angelic wings when John and Yoko, the virtual guardians of Oz, grant her a rare kimono for her avatar to give her the strength to beat Love Machine at Hanafuda.
  • Please Wake Up: The family's initial reaction to finding Sakae dead, even the adults.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: In a story that revolves around the theme of family, there's no surprise that the 'war' the titles refers to is waged by pooling all the various family member's resources and skills each member has. Who would have thought being good at card games, math problems, and fighting games would be so critical for survival? It's more believable than most examples. They are a fairly large family and one of the members invented the AI so they know how to beat it. They are obviously choosing to combat the AI on their own terms. For example, they could have challenged Love Machine to any game, but chose a specific card game the family was good at. Furthermore, the use of a fisherman's boat as a power source, a salesman's super-computers, and a trio of firefighters' skills come in handy at multiple points during the movie.
  • Police Are Useless: Shouta himself is a cop, but is often too impetuous to be of any great use.
  • The Power of Family: A major theme of the film. The Jinnouchi family all have their quirks as well as their disagreements like any family. But when the situation with the A.I Love Machine begins to escalate to the point it becomes personal when the family's matriarch, Sakae, is inadvertently killed by the A.I keeping her heart monitor from signaling her heart failure, the family slowly starts to come together to help bring it down. Bonus points for including the film's main character, Kenji, a friend to family member, Natsuki, as much of a factor as the rest of the family to the point by film's end the consider him one of their own. Likewise poignant with Love Machine's creator, Wabisuke, who was considered a bastard child within the family and acts like a bad egg, but he loved his grandmother all same that his actions in making the A.I were to actually try to help her despite the family thinking he was doing it for selfish purposes and instantly helps the family destroy the A.I after being informed of Sakae's death. Even when they have a row in the middle of the film, it's very clear Sakae still cares for him and pleads with the family in her final letter not to push him away.
  • Precocious Crush: Uncle Wabisuke was Niece Natsuki's "first love."
  • Product Placement: Surprisingly the English version didn't wipe these out. You got Dr. Pepper, iPhones, and Dell Computers to name a few.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Kenji suffers one after being forced to crack the third encryption in a row while trying to divert a runaway satellite from crashing into the Jinnouchi's house.
  • Rage Quit: After losing a game of Koi-Koi to Natsuki, Love Machine decides to blow up the computer that was used to fight him.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Used extensively and Kazuma is especially good at it. When you're using a keyboard for a real-time battle, you gotta be fast.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Shota may have not liked Kenji at first, but he only arrested him because he thought (along with Kenji and others) that the teen did something illegal. When there was evidence to disprove the accusation, Shota lets him go.
  • Red Is Heroic: King Kazuma wears red gloves and a red vest.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: A family version. Tasuke (father) is the Blue Oni and Shota (son) is the Red Oni because the latter is more Hot-Blooded and less rational than the former.
  • Righteous Rabbit: King Kazma is a bipedal rabbit who serves as the main muscle for fighting Love Machine.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Natsuki and Kenji begin the story in a fake relationship for her grandmother's sake but become a real couple by the end of the film, and her entire family (bar one) ships them.
  • Rousing Speech: Comes post-mortem from Sakae in the form of a letter that serves as the major turning point of the film due to the way it finally unites the family- Natsuki convinces the prodigal son to come home, the men put aside the war long enough to have a meal and mourn their loss with everyone else, and the women are finally convinced to help fight the war against the virus.
  • Rule of Cool: There's no practical reason that Natsuki needs the upgrade from the OZ admins, since it just pretties up her avatar. BUT IT'S AWESOME. And then you realize that they gave it to her "for luck", which was probably literal.

  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Kenji and Natsuki. In this case computer savvy and "silly goose" antics. This is especially the case after the two become an Official Couple.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Wabisuke's revelation on selling Love Machine to the US Government to restore the family wealth does not go down with Sakae.
  • Scrub: Like the Computer Is a Cheating Bastard example above, this one is in-universe. Kazuma identifies Love Machine as one by name; loves games but has no skill at playing them, and compensates with an overpowered character, cheating, and flipping the board by way of attempting to bomb the family's house.
  • Serious Business: Hanafuda, koi-koi version.
    • Justified with the final match since people's lives are depending on it.
    • Sakae uses a Hanafuda game to analyse Kenji's character, and implies that Natsuki chose well despite herself.
    "Of course this family would bet everything on Hanafuda..."
  • Shaming the Mob: Kenji unintentionally does this to the entire family after Shouta arrests him for "breaking the internet" by sincerely thanking Sakae for the chance to participate in a real family for once in his life.
  • Shipper on Deck: After Kenji saves the day, the whole family (sans Shota) literally pushes Kenji and Natsuki together and says they should be engaged for real.
  • Shotgun Wedding: More like "shotgun engagement based on a lie (by Natsuki)". Mansaku believes this is the reason why Kenji is going to "marry" Natsuki.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Oz from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
    • Oz's virtual guardians are two whales called John and Yoko.
    • The first encrypted message begins with "The magic words are squeamish ossifrage", the text of a famous cryptography puzzle.
    • The storyline is similar to the 1983 film WarGames: a young man takes up a challenge from a rogue AI, releases it upon a vast network of computers and almost brings about the destruction of the world. Furthermore, the original creator of the rogue AI finally has the chance to repent for his sins.
    • The Nakama Punch from One Piece movie #6 shows up and it's as awesome now as it was then.
    • King Kazma is a likely reference to Cave Story. King and Kazuma are two characters from the game. The anthromorphic rabbit design supports this.
    • The satellite photos and coordinates of the nuclear power plants were real. For example they show the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant (China), Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant (France), Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (USA), and Limerick Nuclear Power Plant (USA). Some of the coordinates have typos in them though.
    • The list of people other than Kenji that managed to solve the code from Oz's security system have names slightly modified from the names of noted mathematicians. For example, Andrey John Wiles = Andrew John Wiles, famous for proving Fermat's Last Theorem.
    • Love Machine's body language during its first fight with King Kazma is highly reminiscent of the Evangelions in Berserker mode. It helps that Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, the character designer for this movie also did Evangelion before this.
    • The face of Love Machine's second form very strongly resembles that of Mazinger Z.
    • The visual style of OZ, especially the large centrepiece in the middle, is highly reminiscent of the works of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
    • "You have to protect others, in order to protect yourselves." This one's admitted as a shout-out.
    • The book Pieces Of Earth which Love Machine crashed into.
    • Love Machine, using Kenji's hijacked avatar, dons a blue cape with stars on it and stands atop a rocky point waving his arms about directing his stolen avatars, strongly resembling the scene in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" where Mickey directs the stars in the sky. Love Machine's final form of a great dark shape with two protrusions on its head, shown from the waist up coming out from atop the ruins of the prison it broke out of, also bears a very strong resemblance to Chernobog in Night on Bald Mountain. For that matter, the music sounds like Night on Bald Mountain.
    • Love Machine is most likely named after the disco piece by The Miracles.
    • On the other hand Love Machine could be named after the Morning Musume which is considered to be their signature song.
    • Kenji's hijacked avatar carrying an enormous key is a blatant reference to Sora.
    • Summer Wars continues to reference Digimon, taking the time to reveal Sakae's birthday is August 1st - the date that the events of Digimon Adventure begin.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: When Sakae tells politicians and CEOs to put their big boy pants on and get stuff done, she is very polite and encouraging. She might have "raised a little hell" in the process, but she wouldn't know anything about that.
  • Slasher Smile: Love Machine's only expression is ax crazy violence.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Definitely on the side of idealism. Despite bad blood, misunderstandings, and tragedy, this family pulls together and saves the day.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Tasuke wears glasses and is an expert when it comes to computers.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Naomi is seen smoking when talking to the other female Jinnouchi members.
  • Smooch of Victory: When the day is saved, the family invokes this trope with the leading guy and leading lady. She is glad to give it.
  • So Proud of You: "Good job, son." Courtesy of Kazuma's dad to his son.
  • Sore Loser: While Love Machine is programmed to love games, it apparently wasn't taught anything about sportsmanship. When Kazuma beats it, it turns itself into a Game-Breaker to take it in the second round. When Sakae used her connections to help Japan cope with all the carnage he unleashed he disabled her heart monitor, allowing her to die of a heart attack. Finally when Natsuki beats it in Koi Koi, Love Machine tries to nuke her house and kill her entire family with a falling satellite.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Kazuma might've been able to beat Love Machine shortly after he took over Oz and totally avoid all the chaos he unleashed but just as he had the program in a headlock, his cousins began to climb over him, allowing Love Machine to absorb some other avatars.
    • The "flood the castle" strategy might have worked had Shota not taken all the ice blocks being used to cool the supercomputer.
  • The Stoic: Kazuma. When everyone else is rejoicing he barely smiles when they manage to get most of the accounts back from Love Machine. Shown to be Not So Stoic a few scenes before because he feels he failed to protect his mother and unborn sister.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Nana's daughter, Kana could be the "mini Nana".
    • Mansaku's sons could be confused to be triplets. There are some small, physical differences to tell them apart- Kunihiko (slightly brownish hair), Katsuhiko (combed hair), and Yorihiko (hair is slicked to the left side).
  • Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom: Love Machine isn't nearly as pleasant a program as its name would lead you to believe. Justified in that it was named by a Japanese programmer with an odd sense of humour.
  • Teen Genius:
    • Kenji is a math genius.
    • Kazuma has knowledge about computers.
  • Time Bomb: Love Machine eventually sets a two-hour countdown on OZ's worldwide clock. When it hit zero, it was supposed to crash a Japanese satellite, which it had recently taken over, into a nuclear power plant. Once Love Machine is thwarted, and the timer stops, it starts up again, this time with the satellite aiming right at the house the main characters are sitting in.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Love Machine's hacking should affect the whole world, especially when it wants to crash a satellite onto a nuclear plant of its choosing, but seemingly, only our heroes in Japan are the ones doing something about it. Granted, no one else has Love Machine's creator under their roof. It's a big headstart.
  • Totally Radical: Someone on Sakuma's chatroom says "holycow".
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Nearly the entire family until it's explained just how high the stakes are in their situation. One particular example is Shota taking the computer's cooling ice blocks to keep Grandma Sakae's body from overheating. This almost leads to their death. It's justified in that the family is in mourning over the loss of their matriarch. While some members of the family are focusing on getting revenge on the virus that caused her to die, most of them are simply dealing with the loss and focusing on all the work for the funeral. When that sort of thing happens to people, their instinct tends to be to turn their focus inward.
    • The U.S. military deciding to test out Love Machine by releasing it into Oz, which is used by most world governments.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kenji went from spending all night solving Oz's 256 bit encryption key using pencil and paper to solving it in minutes using one sheet of paper to to solving it in his head in a matter of seconds.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mansuke has a liking towards squid. He has three whole crates of the stuff. The rest of the family does not share his favouring.
  • Tron Lines: Love Machine, second avatar onward, has a lines going up and down his body to signify power.
  • Unlucky Everydude: Kenji's a typical student and teenage boy who gets pulled into both a family drama and a cyber war. Nothing goes right for him this entire weekend (until the end).
  • Virtual Danger Denial: Most of the family doesn't realize how serious the problem of the internet being taken over by a rogue AI is, inadvertently sabotaging attempts to defeat it twice- first when the AI still possessed only a single avatar, and again by removing ice that was cooling a supercomputer when it was on the verge of containing it. Only after it aims a space probe at a nuclear power station do they realize the magnitude.
  • The Virus: Justified — Love Machine is explicitly a botnet, a program designed to be this trope. His evolution even mirrors the progress of a worm — he starts off as an "evil" version of Kenji's avatar — the initial infection-but gradually gains more menacing forms as he assimilates more computing power.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Wabisuke through and through. Going to America, developing Love Machine, selling it to the American Government, all of it was an attempt to gain enough money to make his adoptive family wealthy again so they would accept him.
  • The Worm That Walks: Love Machine's second One-Winged Angel form, consisting of millions of avatars. Used like that, they certainly become "creepy things".
  • Xanatos Gambit: Love Machine pulls one off during the final Hanafuda game. Its bet is designed so that, even if it loses, it still has two accounts left to its name - Kenji's (i.e., itself) and the GPS program. Win or lose, it can still carry out its plan. The only thing that stops it is that it's so pissed off over its loss it decides to take direct revenge.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Sakae is an old-school Japanese lady in a kimono. In addition to the polite "hell raising" scene, she makes sure her family stays fed and wields a naginata.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Two attempts to stop Love Machine fail due to internal sabotage, leading to the climax.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Love Machine's plan to smash a satellite into a nuclear power plant is thwarted ...then it aims the satellite at the house instead.


Video Example(s):


Love Machine

An AI created by Wabisuke, Love Machine is released on Oz by the American government as an experiment, and begins causing havoc online and in Japan's systems. It has an ability to assimilate other Oz avatars and change its appearance.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ComputerVirus

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