The Steep Learning Curve

This Mike Toole article on the crazy history of Detective Conan in North America…it brings back memories of struggling against things I didn’t know.

It’s a fact: some series have notoriously large learning curves and anime itself requires a learning curve if you’re not already familiar with the tropes and storylines of the medium. However, whatever effort you put into joining a fandom, you get rewarded with by understanding the talk.

The learning curve is particularly steep with obscure subjects Japanese people are expected to know, such as the history of Japan (meme not withstanding), things where you must jump the language barrier to Japanese to participate (which is potentially mitigated by a large/growing Japanese fandom) or things that are just obscure in general…

Obviously the nature of the learning curve will be different depending on past experiences and so on, but…hey, let’s prove those who said “anime is not educational” wrong, okay?

  • Touken Ranbu – Japanese swords? Basically no one knew about those except select people within Japan and now they’re a lot more known, which is aided by an active wiki and fandom. Considering I learnt how to play while my Japanese was a lot weaker than it is now, it’s safe to say the learning curve was pretty steep.
  • Fate/ was a particularly daunting one because its fandom and its facts are so insular, to the point where I learnt spoilery details simply because I thought trying to understand it all was a pointless task…Welp, past me was wrong, although understanding did require 4 cours’ worth of effort….then again, I still don’t understand the entire series of Fate/, but at least I know a lot more than I used to.
  • As I’ve proven time and time again, everything from psychological mysteries to quirky comedies has potential to teach you about tangentially-related topics. Sakaido and associates are named after different types of alcohol (as if the thinly-disguised name of “John Walker” wasn’t enough), while some of Iruma’s friends share their names with fearsome demons of lore.
  • Hypnosis Mic is my latest den of sin and, having jumped into the fandom in its infancy, it’s still got a lot of potential. It doesn’t sound like it requires knowledge of other things aside from Japanese language/wordplay (for whatever lyrics have that), but to be honest it’s teaching me a lot about things I never thought I’d need to learn because…well, I’m just not that much of a rap person. Furthermore, the characters’ themes tend to be around their occupations – since there’s a manzai comedian, a former sergeant, a yakuza and a Buddhist monk among their ranks (and the doctor has a pseudo-religious theme going on, to the point where some more crack-like posts make jabs at it), there’s more than enough to learn.

I could go on and on, but it’s strange things like this that make a person more worldly. So what’s the weirdest thing you’ve learnt from an anime?

3 thoughts on “The Steep Learning Curve

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  1. I don’t know if you would think of it as quirky, but I’ve learned some very niche bits of information. I am a horse crazy girl, and Silver Spoon introduced me to Japanese horse breeds and the uniquely Japanese sport of Ban’i racing. My love of folk lore and early introduction to anime with yokai have led to a considerable knowledge of both. And overall anime is what sucked me into learning Japanese and that is forever leading me off into obscure branches of lore, custom, religion, history and so on. And people think we’re “just watching cartoons”…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure how much I learned directly from anime but it’s inspired me to learn more about stuff on my own. Like after I watched the Fate series I ended up reading The Once and Future King by T.H. White because I wanted to learn more about Arthurian legend.

    Liked by 1 person

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