Summer Wars is a science fiction story, but at its core it is also a slice of life story. The two stories coincide beautifully and come together for an uplifting ending.
The story starts out with the main character Kenji being asked by Natsuki to attend her family’s big birthday celebration for her 90 year old grandmother. Kenji agrees. When he arrives Kenji is surprised when Natsuki introduces him as her fiancé with an impressive college resume. Kenji is still a high school student.
We are then introduced to the science fiction part of the story when Kenji receives an encryption in an e-mail late at night. Kenji uses his strong math prowess to crack the code. Not knowing he was cracking the encryption for the on line virtual world of OZ. This virtual world is used by everyone from children who play games to government officials that run Japan’s infrastructure.
The true hacker of OZ is an AI program called Love Machine, which was created for the soul purpose of infiltrating networks. We discover later on Love Machine was written by Wabisuke, the family’s black sheep. He sold Love Machine to the U.S. who turned it loose on OZ for a trial run.
With control of OZ Love Machine is able to create chaos across Japan. Emergency Service Teams chase around on bogus calls. Traffic is brought to a standstill across the country. The biggest danger comes when Love Machine takes over the nuclear weapons and a satellite. The nukes are set to launch, while the satellite is set to drop on Natsuki and her family.
While all of this goes on Natsuki’s grandma, Sakae, has a blow out with Wabisuke. Then during a friendly game of Hanafuda Sakae asks Kenji to take care of Natsuki. The rest of the large family goes about making plans for Sakae’s birthday celebration, watching one of the sons play in a high school baseball national championship, talk about their ancestors’ conquests, and eat together.
In the finale Natsuki’s young cousin, Kazuma, wages a fight with Love Machine in an all out battle for control of OZ and ultimately to regain control of the nuclear weapons and the satellite. The entire family rallies around Kazuma with any help they can provide including a supercomputer, ice to cool it, and a fishing boat for energy. Sounds a little crazy, right? Well, that’s the sign of a good anime. Don’t worry it’ll all make sense when you watch it.
It is a fun show to watch and it has plenty of feels in it as well. I highly recommend Summer Wars.