Rant: Anime can be Educational

Although anime is first and foremost a platform for entertainment, there’s no rule saying it can’t be educational too. Whether or not you learn something from an anime is up to your personality, circumstances, and level of desire to learn, but some people don’t even think it’s possible to learn anything from anime. Well, you can, and in this post, I’ll give you some guidance on the topic. I will examine examples of anime where you can learn just from watching, and examples of anime that tend to encourage people to do their own learning.

(By the way, I will not be discussing the topic of learning moral lessons from anime– not in this post. I mean “learning” in the more educational sense.)

(Spice and Wolf)

Cost versus Benefit. Investment. Inflation. Negotiating and Haggling. How small, local markets work. If you didn’t do so well in your economics class, try watching Spice and Wolf (both seasons). It teaches audenices the basics of buying, trading, and all the other economics topics I mentioned above. There are many other things this classic series has to offer– like the sexy wolf goddess Holo– so stop right now and put Spice and Wolf on your must watch list. (You can also learn a little bit of history from this show, mostly how rural towns in medieval Europe were made to switch from Paganism to Christianity.)

Fact: many different cultures around the world eat strange, fermented food. One example is the way Inuit people would stuff dead seagulls inside a seal carcass, bury it, let it ferment, and then eat the fowl. Wherever did I learn this bizarre fact? From an anime called Moyashimon or Tales of Agriculture. This anime includes a lot of information about microbes, bacteria, and fermentation, including the process of making sake (Japanese liquor).

(Moyashimon)

Go to Anime News Network, look up any favorite anime, and look at the, long list of staff (not including voice cast). What is a key animation director? What does the producer do versus the director? What about asssitant directors? Sound directors? Paranoia Agent (Mousou Dairinin) has an episode about the main staff of an anime, what they do, and how they pull a series together one episode at a time. That’s only one episode, and the rest of the series is far less education and far more psychological, but it may be worth a watch.

I’m sure there are various other anime series, too, which teach the viewer about what it’s like to make an anime or similar forms of short media production. I can’t think of a good list of them at present, but my suggestion would be start by watching The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. It has a ton of insight on a variety of creative outlets. Also try a bit of New Game! for information the different elements of making a video game.

(K-on! Light Music Club!)

Aoi Bungaku features 6 stories from Classic Japanese Literature, and if you learn them, you’re guaranteed to feel more knowledgable. Skull Face Bookseller Honda-san talks a lot about how bookstores, retail businesses, and merchandising work. Food Wars lets you learn a little about gourmet food and methods of cooking. Hibike! Euphonium, K-on (Light Music Club), and Your Lie in April instruct you a bit concerning music. Sports shows sometimes help viewers understand a sport better. For instance, I learned about volleyball from Haikyuu!

Next are some cases of anime that is likely to inspire people to learn more. Though they are from another world, not that of humans, The Devil is a Part-Timer features characters like Satan, Lucifer, and Archangel Sariel, very loosely based after characters in ancient Jewish and Christian myth and sometimes in fortune-telling. This show is a solid comedy and has lovely animation, but in addition, it can inspire people to learn about Judeo-Christian mythology.

(Sariel from The Devil is a Part Timer!)

I am the kind of person who still loves to hand-write stories and essays first before they go on computer most of the time. I’ve never been good with computers, despite being of the generation that’s supposed to be most familiar with PCs and how they work. Though it wasn’t much, I did learn a little bit about computers and the concepts of coding and hacking as a result of watching Steins;Gate. This anime is a masterpiece of the sci-fi, thriller, drama, and comedy genres.

Computers, hacking, and coding languages are topics only very briefly touched on in the anime, and that’s also the case with neuroscience and physics. Still, the elements are there; they were enough to make me ask my computer science friends about coding, learn about the large hadron collider online, and review my knowledge of how memories are stored in the brain.

(Rainbow)

I’m nearing the end of my rant energy now, so I’ll speed through the next few examples. Shows like Gintama, Inuyasha, and Rainbow encourage learning about the different eras in Japanese history. The Fate franchise teaches a bit about hero mythology and history from countries all over the world. I recommend looking into any or all of the Fate stories, including the lower-budget but still good ones like Fate: Apocrypha.

One of my favorite laidback, feel-good anime series is Natsume Yuujinchou, which enouraged me to learn about Japanese mythology and the many kinds of youkai. Two of my ten all time favorite shows, Psycho-Pass and Monster may inspire viewers to study abnormal psychology, criminal psychology, or philosophy. On a somewhat random note, there are also anime series that teach you something about anime and otaku culture. These include Kiss Him, Not Me!, Wotaku ni koi wa Muzukashi, I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying, and Lucky Star.

So, as you can see, anime can teach you a lot of interesting facts! I hope you’ve enjoyed this anime rant. Jya, ne!

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