ZURICH, Germany — The long-debated topic of whether or not you can actually learn Japanese from watching anime has been challenged by a group of language acquisition researchers at the University of Zurich. These researchers have recently published a new report that suggests the existence of an average amount of anime viewership, a “golden number” of sorts necessary to achieve conversational fluency in Japanese. Anime Maru sat down with Luca Neumann, a Professor of Linguistics, and head of development on the research team, to find out more.
AM: Mr. Neumann, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. We understand you’ve been rather busy with the announcement of your research as of late.
Neumann: Yes, it’s been a little crazy these past few days. Many people have contacted us speaking in broken Japanese attempting to thank us for our work.
AM: Trust me, we get that all the time at the Anime Maru office too. Could you explain the findings of your research, though?
Neumann: Certainly. In essence, we surveyed thousands of anime viewers and their proficiency in speaking the Japanese language. This included a measure of control over grammar, vocabulary, expression, and other variables. We also tested the control people have of listening and interpreting the language and its various dialects. The results were interpreted into a “proficiency score” that we simply ran through a regression compared to the number of episodes and series viewed by the participants.
AM: Just that simple, huh? And what were your findings?
Neumann: We found that proficiency comes around 200-250 completed series, or about 3200 standard 23-minute episodes.
AM: But wait a sec Mr. Nuemann, I’ve watched about that much and don’t know much Japanese.
Neumann: Did you watch any dubs?
AM: I think I watched both Fullmetal Alchemist series dubbed…
Neumann: Well then that’s like 100 episodes you’re behind! Now get out of my office and go watch something in an actual language instead of filthy English-dubbed shit.
Although our crew was forcibly ejected from the Language Research institute and had a copy of the subbed Fullmetal Alchemist Blu-ray thrown at us, we were able to find the truth behind learning Japanese from watching anime. Anime Maru would like to remind you readers, however, that learning a language takes a lot of dedication and concentration! Put your figures and hot glue guns away when you watch anime if you expect to learn anything!