Christopher Meharg is an American science teacher with eight years of experience working in high school and middle school classrooms. His current posting is overseas in Mongolia, where he has easy access to the home islands of Japan where he spent 3 months traveling the country. While his main background is Biology, specifically all things related to medicine due to two years of medical school, he can teach all aspects of science.
His love of anime began as a small child spending hours watching Voltron and Transforms, although he didn’t know it was anime at the time. This continued with Ronin Warriors among others, until college, when he saw his first anime that he knew was anime, Gundam Wing. From then on he was hooked on all things anime. He enjoys a wide variety of shows from the likes of Black Lagoon and Hellsing to Slayers, and Martian Successor Nadesico. When he isn’t endlessly grading student work or traveling, Mr. Meharg struggles to keep up with all of the new anime being produced each year. Currently he is working his way through Fairy Tail and is always up for new recommendations.
What is Anime Science
The goal of this course is to examine how various scientific concepts are presented in Japanese animation (anime). A new concept will be chosen from a particular show and examined to see how right or wrong the creators of the show were in using it. The three results of the examination will be: Confirmed, meaning the creators got the science right in that instance; Plausible, meaning that while they got some things right, mankind has not been able to replicate the phenomenon or create the device, such as a fusion reactor; or Busted, meaning that the concept as displayed in the show has no basis in reality. Also, since this class is examining particular aspects of a show spoilers can and will occur, and no warnings will be given. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun.
None, but the class can be broken down into four segments:
Biology- Any and all things related to living things or once living things. To my sixth graders this means can we eat it.
Chemistry- The properties of substances and how they react with each other. Also known as does explosive and how big of a boom does it make at least according to my 9th graders.
Physics- All things matter and energy or as I like to say it this is why you shouldn’t look at the sun or stick forks in electrical sockets.
Earth and Space science- Space the final frontier and why getting scientific information from Hollywood is probably a bad idea.
Mr. Meharg is on the lookout for more ideas and series to examine, so suggestions are always welcome.
Why Anime Science
The better question is why not, but in all honesty this first began back in 2009, when I was teaching a 7th grade science class. It began during a lesson on genetics as I was explaining some of the exceptions to Mendelian genetics. One of my students asked me if humans could have pink or purple hair, and a second student asked if it was possible to make genetically superior humans. A final student then asked about cloning people. My first thought was some- one’s been watching or reading too much science fiction, but that’s when it hit me. Pink hair, genetically superior people, and cloning, my students were asking about Mobile Suit Gundam Seed which was still on TV in the States at the time. Cue the following when I said they were talking about Kira, Lacus, and La Cruset.
1/3 of the class- Woohoo our teacher likes anime
1/3 of the class- Our teacher is a dork
1/3 of the class- Oh crap I better write that down it might be important
Thus, the first seeds of Anime Science 101 were born. Over the years I have answered a number of questions about anime, and/or used anime to explain a concept. My personal favorite was explaining how viruses kill cells by citing Naruto blowing up a snake in the forest of death by making numerous shadow clones inside of it. This is the second incarnation of the sight which was originally found here.