By in Anime

Anime as a Teaching Tool

My oldest daughter's best friend is a huge fan of anime. She watches the programs, writes fan fiction, cosplays, sews her own chibi versions of the characters, and just generally celebrates anime in every area of her life. One of Roxy's favourite shows is Hetalia , an over-the-top satire of world events and relations between countries with some really hilarious characterizations of countries large and small.

When MamaOzzy and Roxy started talking about Hetalia I didn't pay much attention. I'm not a huge fan of anime or manga, so I kind of tune out when the kids get into a lot of detail about the stuff. I started to pay attention when I realized my eight-year-old was really getting into the show, but I really sat up and took notice when the girls began asking me questions about historical events, geography and international relations.

What was going on?

The girls were learning about world events through this animated series that portrays countries as characters and deals with real events in history in terms of the interactions between these characters.

All right, Hetalia! Now you've got my attention. Any anime series that can get the kids so excited about the events of WWII, relations between Russia and the Baltic states, or the existence of micro-nations such as the Principality of Sealand has got to have some substance to it! And even Roxy's social studies teacher was convinced to include a few of the episodes in his curriculum last year.

Hetalia is the creation of artist Hidekaz Himaruya, who started it as a webmanga. When it became clear how popular the comics were, an anime was produced by Studio Deen in Japan. The videos are now distributed in North America by FUNimation.

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Image credit: Roxy (Homestuck) and MamaOzzy (Hetalia) cosplaying during the town's carnival weekend in spring

© Kyla Matton Osborne

N ote: This content was migrated from Bubblews, where it was originally published/.

Image Credit » Kyla Matton Osborne

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paigea wrote on November 16, 2014, 9:32 AM

Now that sounds like an interesting anime. Thank you for the information.

Ellis wrote on November 16, 2014, 9:57 AM

Anything that helps children learn without realizing it is to be welcomed...

iwrite28 wrote on November 16, 2014, 11:09 AM

Using anime or cartoons or any other technique to teach children and make it fun enough to pique their interest is so welcome.

Ruby3881 wrote on November 16, 2014, 1:40 PM

I hope you'll check it out - if only to see the cute way the artist has personified the different countries :)

Ruby3881 wrote on November 16, 2014, 1:41 PM

You know, it's not really aimed at kids at all! The humour is rather risque at times! I think most of that goes right over my youngest's head, but the teenagers get it... :P

Ruby3881 wrote on November 16, 2014, 1:42 PM

What's even better is seeing them find the learning tool themselves! This was definitely the case with Hetalia .

iwrite28 wrote on November 16, 2014, 1:59 PM

That is so true. Which means if you make it fun, children will seek knowledge out by themselves :)

Kasman wrote on November 16, 2014, 2:48 PM

Anime as a teaching aid! Who'd have thought! I assumed it was just another cartoon series to keep bored kids amused. Maybe I should investigate further.

Ruby3881 wrote on November 16, 2014, 4:04 PM

Hetalia is definitely not aimed at younger kids! I have to assume the intended audience was the 15-35 crowd, judging from the type of humour the kids tell me about.

Ruby3881 wrote on November 16, 2014, 4:07 PM

Again, I don't think the intended audience was the kids! I think their interest was probably rather unexpected...

BarbRad wrote on November 17, 2014, 5:18 PM

Sounds interesting, but I hope it's accurate instead of just what someone wants kids to believe about history.

MegL wrote on November 18, 2014, 3:23 PM

That's the best kind of learning!

bestwriter wrote on December 2, 2014, 8:27 PM

Nice way to teach kids something they would have otherwise found boring.

rana199426 wrote on December 21, 2014, 4:16 PM

Yeah i know, things as such can be great inspirations for a lot of people

GayleStorm wrote on January 1, 2015, 4:37 PM

I'm not sure how I randomly found you, but I did and for that I'm pretty impressed. But, Hetalia! I haven't watched all of it but Will did get me to watch a couple episodes. I'm surprised the teacher liked/approved of it enough to allow it to be shown in class. I think it's great to incorporate things that kids are really interested in into scholastic environments.

MStarDutchess wrote on January 2, 2015, 12:48 AM

I love that anime. I've introduced it to the people I tutor in history and it's done wonders for sparking their interest.

soupdragon wrote on January 12, 2015, 12:03 PM

It does seem to me that a lot of the most creative, bright kids seem to have an interest in anime.

peachpurple wrote on January 14, 2015, 10:52 PM

thanks for the information, might check it out at youtube