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Edutainment-tastic Anime

I love to watch anime that can teach me something about an interesting topic that I know very little about. I already use some anime as I window into Japanese culture, and of course as reinforcement of the Japanese language study that I do, but there are anime that go above and beyond that to teach me about sports and games, professions, and art. Here is a little list of some of the most educational shows that I have watched.

Food

They'll brew you fun and science class

  • Anitque Bakery and Yumeiro Pâtissière: These two entries have different levels of sweetness, but each delivers reliable information about the world of cake. I would differentiate them this way: Yumeiro is strongest when focused on the pastry itself, and AB shows the interaction between cooking and business that must take place in a shop for it to succeed.
  • Yakitate!! Japan: This show knows it is edutainment, and it does well to lay strong foundational knowledge grounded in a reality that most people share before allowing the characters to take those theories to their comedic limits. Watch after the credits of each episode for the seed of knowledge segment to take this shows learning potential to the max.
  • Moyashimon: Also known as Tales of Agriculture this show delivers more than you think could be entertainingly taught about microbes and the fermentation of food and drink. The Microbe Theater segments also teach about food-borne pathogens and a variety of other microbes that are on and near us everyday.
  • Honorable mention; Cooking Master Boy: This show gets bumped down to honorable mention because it doesn’t always ground in the real before the food that the characters make starts emitting light, but for all of that provides a delightful glimpse in to the world of Chinese cuisine (an in particular the differences in the regional cuisines of China)

Culture

  • Nodame Cantabile: While I had already been a fan of classical music, Nodame’s various shows introduced me to new (to me) composers like Ravel and allowed me to gain a new appreciation for both the music and for how that music is made.
  • Gallery Fake: Though the main character does run a gallery specializing in forgeries, the show delivers the real thing when it comes to providing lessons on both Western and Eastern art. Famous artists are given biographical sketches and a variety of artistic techniques are explained.
  • Spice and Wolf: This show’s educational nature has been well recorded by others more skilled than me; allow me merely to say that this show allowed me to finally grasp what my economics teacher in high school was trying to get me to learn about commodities markets.

Sports and Games

There are too many to list in this category, but here are some that I think teach their subject well:

Hajime no Ippo, Ookiku Furikabutte, Major, Whistle, Hikaru no Go (the Go! Go! Igo! teaching segments are excellent), Akagi, Saki, Prince of Tennis (fancy battle manga moves aside), and Over Drive.

Honorable mention entrants

  • Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei: strangely informative and entertaining rants about subjects as varied as the stars in the sky particularly about modern Japanese culture.
  • Manga entrants: They are dinged because this is an anime blog, but I couldn’t let it go without mentioning With the Light: Raising a Child with Autism and Addicted to Curry. I mention the former not only for the helpful essays and free talk sections but because the story itself helped me understand a little better my own family. Addicted to Curry includes the recipes that the characters use in the story, and anything that adds curry to my life is a very good thing.

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