Yes, yes – there are tons of silly things you can learn from anime, like the only way to fall onto a woman is face first into her pillow-y breasts or complicated military machinery is best operated by young children. However, anime isn’t all just fun and games, it really can teach you some things that you can apply in your real life.
It is more than just teaching Japanese, you can learn a series of serious life lessons as well as a few handy things that you might not expect.
Learn to Read Faster
Have you ever watched subbed FLCL or Bakemonogatari? Then you will know you either need to read fast or find another series. Often times, anime series move at a sprinters pace, making it difficult for the people who have to read the subtitles, but it is actually helping you become a faster and better reader. No, really. It is a real thing that teachers use now. By learning to comprehensively keep up with subtitles, you can transfer that skill to other media.
Learn Broadened Cultural Awareness
Japan is probably a little different from the town you grew up in, and not just in terms of its language. They have a different culture that you might not be introduced to otherwise. Certainly it is not expected of most western business men to work 14 hours a day then go out drinking to unwind. You can’t find a can of coffee in a western vending machine to save your life. And a kotatsu? We just don’t know how to live.
Regardless, knowing a little more about the world around you is never a bad thing. Of course, that doesn’t mean everything you see in anime is true, not just in fantasy settings, but in some slice of life shows as well. Always take it with a grain of salt.
Learn How to Talk (and How Not to Talk) To People
Maybe it was just me, but anime helped me with my socials skills. I was the type of person that needed to know exactly what was going to happen in a situation before doing it. You learn how to make small talk, how to talk to shop owners, polite manners for greeting people – you know, all that stuff you’d learn if you went and talked to people on a consistent basis. If nothing else, it’s a confidence builder, shy friends.
Learn New Animation and Story-Telling Techniques
Compare anime throughout the years, and you will see animation is constantly changing. This introduces you to more visual effects, which may only be useful to creative types. However, for the rest of us, it is at least pleasant to look at.
Alternatively, anime often utilizes different story-telling techniques. For example, Fairy Tail takes a lazier route by often giving more mundane world-important information through quick “Oh, you didn’t know?” ‘s or through the narrator. On the flip-side, most anime will tell about the world around them slowly throughout the story as the characters themselves experience it, which is generally considered the good way of story-telling, ala “showing,” not “telling”.
Ultimately, you learn how a story should flow from beginning to end, unless it is an anime that doesn’t have an end like Detective Conan or One Piece. Don’t learn from them.
Learn Actual Information
Anime teaches not just some useful skills and life lessons, but it can also impart actual information. Like with cultural information, a lot of shows should be taken with a grain of salt and fact checked, but some shows do actually teach things. One good example is Silver Spoon. It’s an anime about farming. As a person that comes from a farm, I was pretty shocked by the accuracy of information, personalities of the people, and, most of all, that they made mention of the eternal struggle – not qualifying for pizza delivery.
Another good example is Food Wars! Some dishes you may need to look up to get the full recipe, but you can totally recreate all of those recipes. Of course, because it is anime food, you will totally want to as well and they will never quite stack up.
Contrary to the belief that you can just turn on an anime, any anime at all, and start learning Japanese, it is not quite so simple. You may be able to pick up certain words and short sentences on context alone, but Japanese sentence structure is different. So if you start picking up words and stringing them in the sentence structure you know, you are effectively making some good gibberish.
However, if you are learning Japanese from other sources, anime can be a good way to practice understanding it when it is spoken, especially anime where the characters talk fast, as typical Japanese people don’t speak at a snail’s pace. For those looking to practice, apparently the best genre to do so is romance.
Learn Life Lessons
Anime is filled with good life lessons.
- Never Give Up – When life beats you down, you will never get anywhere if you just give up and go have an ice cream. Save the ice cream as a reward for trying, failing, and trying again until you succeed.
- Be Respectful and Kind – Don’t be a villain by being a dick. People are different from you, and that’s okay. Usually they are pretty nice people. Be like every female and male protagonist in a shojo anime and be nice to people. You’ll go far.
- Don’t be Afraid of Adventure – Where would Luffy be if he didn’t go treasure hunting? What would Lucy be doing if she didn’t go to Magnolia City with Natsu? Where would Gutts be if he never met Griffith? (Honestly, probably better off on that one.) The point is, when new opportunities come knocking, don’t always be afraid of them. They could lead to an adventure of a lifetime. Or hardcore substance abuse, but mostly adventure. You get what I’m saying, right? Be adventurous, but use good judgement too.