For many, December is a time for celebrating human kindness, generosity, and miracles. Peppered with various religious festivals celebrating miracles and the bounty of nature, December is often a very festive time. Many of the holiday narratives in this season revolve around miracles. Humans, it seems, love to tell stories about miraculous happenings. Some of these miracles come from benevolent otherworldly beings taking pity on humans during a crisis. Others, however, are the handiwork of ordinary humans like Summer Wars’s Sakae Jinnouchi.
Welcome to December’s OWLS Blog Tour
Every month, I join the voices of the Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-respect (OWLS) blogging project. The OWLS bloggers and vloggers use anime and other pop culture works to discuss a central theme promoting diversity, respect, self-acceptance, and equality. I feel proud to work with the OWLS team, so keep an eye out for future posts exploring important social issues. If you’re interested in these topics, be sure to check out the other OWLS blogs for each tour, or consider becoming an OWLS blogger or vlogger yourself!
In the spirit of the many miracle-based holidays of December, the OWLS dedicated December to discussing miracles in pop culture. Miracles take many forms, small and large, and can come from both ethereal beings and everyday people. Whether or not a situation is interpreted as a miracle depends entirely on the individual.
A City in Crisis
Before delving into Sakae Jinnouchi’s miracle, let’s take a pause for a brief overview of the film for anyone who is unfamiliar. Summer Wars is a 2009 science fiction anime film produced by Nozomu Takahashi, Takuya Ito, Takafumi Watanabe, and Yuichiro Saito. The story is set in a future where a social media platform called OZ has revolutionized many facets of public and government communication, monitoring of city infrastructure such as water mains and traffic lights, medical systems, and many other types of systems, both large and small. Nearly every person in this movie’s world seems to have an OZ account, where they can control their finances, purchase digital content, play games, and participate in many other activities.
The story follows college student Kenji Koiso to an old Japanese mansion, where he is supposed to pretend to be his classmate, Natsuki Shinohara’s, boyfriend. While he’s visiting her extensive family, a criminal hacking program called Love Machine hijacks his OZ account and uses it to begin hacking the massive social network turned social infrastructure. Its hacking results in chaos as it gains control of personal bank accounts, employee security codes, streetlights, water mains, alarms all around the city, and military weapons. Naturally, finding a way to stop the powerful hacking program falls on the shoulders of Kenji and Natsuki.
Rallying in Times of Crisis
Natsuki’s grandma, Sakae Jinnouchi, proves herself to be a strong, determined woman and a force to be reckoned with. She is the head of the Jinnouchi household and proudly presides over their giant family and guides them with decades of wisdom. Everyone holds her in a high degree of reverence.
When the Love Machine program attacks OZ, the resulting chaos leaves the city in a gridlock. Emergency services are required all across the city, responding to false alarms and real life-threatening crisis. Unfortunately, they can’t get through because the roads are choked by civilian vehicles trying to follow erratic traffic signals. Water mains and other sensitive infrastructure add danger to the chaos as well, as the hacking virus is able to increase temperatures and pressure to explosive levels on a whim.
In the face of these happenings, Sakae remains calm and determined. After observing the situation, she gets to work calling every member of her family (and perhaps various family friends and acquaintances) and cheering them on, reminding them of their strengths and how much the city needs them in that moment. Her inspiring calls work wonders, and everyone she speaks to manages to pull through and work hard to help with the city-wide crisis. Her efforts were a human-made miracle, appearing just in the nick of time and offering strength to those who needed it most.
Thanks for joining me for this month’s blog tour exploring miracles in pop culture. On the 25th, Matt of Matt in the Hat wrote about miracles in Final Fantasy XV. Tomorrow, be sure to catch a post from Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews.
Do you have a favorite example of a miracle from pop culture? Share it in the comments! You can also connect on Twitter at @Popliterary, or send a message on the “contact” page. And as always, if you have a literary device or grammar rule you want to know more about, or a game, comic, show, or movie that you want to see make an appearance on the blog, leave a shout-out in the comments!