Fans enjoy anime for its distinct sense of creativity, imagination, and edginess. Those qualities are expressed through the explosive action sequences of Dragon Ball Z, the vibrant colors of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, the robots of Gundam, the cuteness of Shoujo and moe, etc. However, there are instances that anime can teach you something real. Drifters is a crazy exaggeration of historical figures, and Prince of Tennis can get insane with its matches but delivers the basics across when it comes to the sport.
So what are some of the anime out there that can educate its viewers on something that can apply in the real world? Read our list to find out!
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Oct 12, 2007 – Dec 21, 2007
Taking place in an agricultural university in Tokyo, the school’s latest student has a unique ability to see bacteria and other microorganisms. If you’re a germaphobe like Howie Mandel, then it is best to stay away from this anime or watch it from the safety of a plastic bubble like the young John Travolta because this anime is about all them!
The series shows the good and bad that these organisms do, and how we co-exist with them. Through the post-ending credits known as Microbe Theater, they give you some interesting facts about them. So if you want to teach kids about E. coli, we recommend showing them Moyashimon and they will get a great laugh out of it.
9. Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara (Love is Like a Cocktail)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 4, 2017 – Dec 27, 2017
Homer Simpson once said that alcohol is the cause and solution to all of life’s problems, and that is expressed in Love is Like a Cocktail. Ever wondered how to make a banana cocktail? Egg sake? Want to try a frozen mango? This anime has it all and shows you how to make it with all the ingredients you need.
The series also does a great job of demonstrating the drink you can use based on your mood. If you’re watching a horror movie and need to calm down, then maybe some Irish coffee can hit the spot. Need an energy boost? Make yourself a zoom! So whatever you need, you can find it here. However, please obey the drinking laws of your nation of residence.
8. Yuru Camp (Laid-Back Camp)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan 4, 2018 – Mar 22, 2018
How many of you are interested in the outdoors but haven’t tried it yet? How many of you are experienced at it? If you answered yes to both questions, then you can get something out of Yuru Camp. As the title suggests, you are going to learn about camping and why you can enjoy nature. Through Nadeshiko, who is new to camping, the audience can learn how to camp (especially on a budget). Not only Yuru Camp teaches you about camping, but also where you can camp in Japan such as in the Mt. Fuji area or in Yamanashi prefecture.
While some anime fans want to enjoy the city life, this anime shows that Japan’s nature is equally as breathtaking, or maybe even more appealing. Plus, you can learn how to get the right equipment, how to use them, and what food is appropriate based on a Japanese setting.
7. Long Riders!
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 8, 2016 – Feb 5, 2017
Some of you may want to compete in the Tour de France, or you just want to enjoy a good bike ride. If you ever want to learn anything about that lifestyle, then Long Riders! is the anime you’re looking for. Through Ami, the main character, the series teaches viewers how to maintain their bikes condition, what gear to get, and how it works. It also teaches viewers the health benefits of cycling and the kind of diet you should adhere to so your body won’t cramp up.
Just like how Yuru Camp can expose you to some real places in Japan, Long Riders! can teach you where to enjoy cycling there such as in some places in the south side of Kanagawa prefecture like Miura, just south of Tokyo and Yokohama. The anime perfectly captures those places as if you’re really there. So if you want to learn about not just cycling but just sightseeing in Japan altogether, Long Riders! is your teacher!
6. Initial D
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 19, 1998 -Dec 6, 1998
In the world of illegal mountain racing in Initial D, you really have to know how to properly tune your car in order to be first to the finish line. The series does an excellent job of explaining to viewers how drifting techniques work, the specs of a certain car and demonstrating how creative you can get. Considering there are many corners in Japanese mountain racing, the series does a great job of showing that sometimes less is more. Do you really need a 350hp engine to win? This series shows you don’t because, with proper energy output, you can maintain a certain consistency with your pace in and out of corners. In addition, the mountains featured in the anime are confirmed to be actual representations of the real mountains (such as Akagi, Irohazaka, Tsukuba, and Akina, or Haruna in real life).
Since there are really no rules in a sport that’s essentially illegal, knowing your environment in addition to your car is a key to victory. For example, you’re turning on a sharp corner, the natural instinct is to slow down. However, thanks to the personal advice of Keiichi Tsuchiya, the Drift King himself, there are ways to maintain speed and momentum when approaching certain corners, especially if you’re on the inside. In that instance, you can use your inner tires to grip the gutters for traction to maintain your momentum. But last and not least, despite how helpful and tempting the tips from Initial D are, please obey all traffic laws and just try out those tricks at your local arcade instead.
5. Nodame Cantabile
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: Jan 12, 2007 – Jun 15, 2007
Ever wanted to learn about what it takes to conduct an orchestra? Then Nodame Cantabile is the anime for you! The anime shows how the orchestra is structured with string instruments, percussion, brass, and so on. Sometimes conduction doesn’t have to be through body movement but there are instances of when you can also do it through the piano to set the rhythm.
The anime appropriately uses a lot of classical music and most notably emphasizes on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 so if you want to learn about famous composers and their songs, this anime gives that to you. But if there is one thing that this anime can teach you, it’s that music is a creative endeavor that doesn’t have to be held down by rules and conditions and sometimes, you just have to go crazy and have fun.
4. Yakitate!! Japan
- Episodes: 69
- Aired: Oct 12, 2004 -Mar 15, 2006
Ever wanted to be a baker? Or just want to know how to bake bread for the fun of it? Well, you’re in luck because you can learn through Yakitate!! Japan. There are some bread that the average joe can make, and there are some that are best left to the pros. Considering that bread is not native to Japan, the anime exposes viewers to bread from all over the world, most notably French bread.
The cool thing is, the series at times, will demonstrate how to make it. Want to know how to make some bread from a rice cooker? This series will show you! Considering that many Japanese households don’t have an oven like Western homes do, a rice cooker is a very excellent alternative to making bread.
3. Uchuu Kyoudai (Space Brothers)
- Episodes: 99
- Aired: Apr 1, 2012 – Mar 22, 2014
Thanks to getting expert advice from JAXA, or Japan’s NASA, Space Brothers shows the true realities of what it takes to be an astronaut despite taking place in 2025. If you saw Michael Bay’s Armageddon, it only took Bruce Willis and his drilling team just less than a few days to be an astronaut. This anime show is really ridiculous because it takes YEARS of education and training to become one, and this anime’s length perfectly demonstrates that. The series also portrays the Kennedy Space Center and many people familiar with the actual facility have praised it for its accuracy. While some of the technology portrayed is fictional, it is based on real-life principals.
If you want to learn about rocket engine physics, moon geology, and the whole process from start to finish to be an astronaut for JAXA, this has it all. The anime is full of interesting facts that most of us didn’t know until watching this. For example, the anime actually teaches that the sand on the moon is as sharp as glass! So if you’re really interested in space beyond what you see in your typical sci-fi space opera, Space Brothers can give it to you straight.
2. Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Jul 12, 2013 – Sept 20, 2013
While many high schools in the US have a Future Farmers of America organization (as portrayed in Napoleon Dynamite), there are some high schools in Japan that are dedicated to agricultural education, with many of them in farming communities such as in Hokkaido, the Northern island of Japan. One such high school is portrayed in Silver Spoon in Hokkaido’s countryside. Hachiken, the main character, is just an average suburbia teenager from Sapporo who enrolls just to get away from his family and knows nothing about agriculture or farming altogether.
Through Hachiken, viewers can learn how for example pigs are bred and raised only as produce. While it implies the moral implications of it, it also covers the realities and Hachiken comes to terms with it in his own way of just simply raising his assigned pig the best he can. Beyond that, viewers are also taught how chickens lay eggs, how to make a pizza, and how dairy is processed and handled. So if you’re interested in the so-called simple life, Silver Spoon shows that it’s far from it.
1. Hotaru no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies)
- Episodes: 1 (feature film)
- Aired: 1988
While a large majority of World War II films glorify the US or display the horrors of the Holocaust, Grave of the Fireflies is one of those titles that portray a point of view of the war many Westerners don’t get to see or learn from their own history classes or cinema. Grave of the Fireflies distinguishes itself from other war films because it’s not necessarily about duty and honor, but how innocent civilians were victimized by not just their enemy, but by their own society.
Throughout the film, viewers get a graphic depiction of how famine, disease, and the bombings devastated the people of Japan, and that children were the ultimate victims. Even after the war was over, it doesn’t mean that the dying stopped and that’s where the movie strikes viewers hearts. This movie teaches viewers what it means when the system fails its citizens in favor of nationalistic interests, and with the recent controversies of the Shinzo Abe administration of wanting to re-militarize Japan, this movie is a constant reminder of what such actions could potentially lead to.
A good number of anime can teach you about many things. Some comedy like Gintama uses historical influences in its series but exaggerates it for its own story, but it could spark interest to fans. The original Mobile Suit Gundam is a perfect allegory for World War II and Hajime no Ippo is constantly praised for being true to the fundamentals of the sweet science. While anime has a reputation of going insane, it does have its moments where it can offer you something that can be applied in the real world.
So what are some anime out there that can legitimately teach you something? Leave your recommendations in the comments!