Motivating Us All To Study With Cute: Nanami’s English Lessons

By Eugene . September 29, 2013 . 3:30pm


Learning English for the Japanese is considered a rote chore for many—especially those living in rural districts which might see a foreigner maybe once a year, if ever. But with renewed emphasis on the language from the Government, more than ever books and guides on how to score on the TOIEC test sell like hotcakes.


Enter Nanami in Let’s Learn with Nanami! English Improvement Tips. Developers Media5 have already carved out a niche for themselves in the handheld department with more straight-laced TOIEC test titles, but their Let’s Learn With Nanami! series is uniquely set to motivate the geek cred crowd with the tried-and-tested method of… more costumes. The game (can we still call it a game?) itself is almost exactly like its more mainstream compatriots. Users will have to pass through levels of sample questions and texts from the TOIEC exams such as reading and translating passages, stringing together sentences correctly, listening comprehension and so forth.


Doing well in the Nanami series, however, lets players unlock costumes to dress up their English-teaching android. If the ears have not given it away, Nanami is an android made to revitalize Japan. The game’s background story is set in the (pretty near) future of 2031, where Japan faces massive unemployment due to the collective feeling of apathy that’s swept the nation, and Nanami is here to try to motivate everyone to get out, get moving and, well, learn English.


In the video above, English Improvement Tips boasts it has some 4000 English words and 1000 sentences/passages for users to get through, which will progressively unlock players costumes such as china dresses, school uniforms and swimsuits. Players can also set it to read out passages (for when it gets too crowded on the train) to listen in on, and even take part in real-time national ranking fights to prove who memorized their English better (Japan-only, on the Next Revolution social network service)


And, yes, Nanami is voiced by Kana Hanazawa, famed voice actress who was recently in anime shows such as A Certain Scientific Railgun and The World God Only Knows.


If you want to pick her up Chobit’s style, you can buy the game on Amazon Japan right now.

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  • Kelohmello

    Only thing I think when I hear hear her voice is “Tuturu~”

    Voice actors playing other roles with similar voices somehow always make me imagine other characters in that role and it’s always funny for me.

  • X14

    If only there was some sort of reverse version with a cute girl to motivate me to learn Japanese, especially the Kanji.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Well there are plenty of games with cute girls you can play if you learn Japanese. Would be nice to have cute girls WHILE learning Japanese though.

    • TheExile285

      Man I wish…

    • Linhua

      … I came down here to say exactly this.

    • Altin

      Use Anki

      • refrain

        But Anki isn’t cute…

    • Bacon_n_Lettuce

      Well, there is this, granted it’s only useful for starting out:

    • Same here. My Japanese Coach is a good place to start, but not a good place to finish.

  • Chaos_Knight

    Bawt mai engrish iz faineh.

  • Shiki

    Original Nanami = Mizuki Nana. Bringing us Win7 delight.

  • Aoshi00

    I’m not sure how efficient these language games (or Rosetta Stone tapes) are.. it might help in reading, but from my experience, to be orally fluent one just needs to keep practice speaking it in everyday life, day in and day out, preferably forced to speak it by living in that country (after learning the fundamentals in a class setting first of course).. I guess a cute seiyuu voice could motivate some not to be a mikka bouzu lol..

    • Shippoyasha

      In my personal experience, it really works. I went from not being able to speak a speck of English (or even know what alphabets were) to perfectly speaking-level fluent in 2 years. In about 3 or 4 years I was up to speed in terms of writing/reading as well. I’m not a very talkative person so I couldn’t really practice speaking it too much but I learned all about oral speech from all the American cartoons and movies I watched.

      And cutesy and what some may see as gimmicky language tools was very instrumental for my language growth because it kept the experience fun and not something I dreaded tackling. I’m sure a ton of anime fans in the western nations have the same attitude with anime as well, where they are able to pick up a lot of oral language simply watching anime even if they may have to work a lot harder for reading/writing aspects.

      • Aoshi00

        yeah, the most important thing is how interested or eager the person learning is and the amount of exposure to the language. One has to keep at it, which is why the class setting is the best place to start since it’s reinforced by a teacher and homework.

        The thing is many people from Asia have been learning English in class for a big part of their life, but they can’t speak it at all since there’s rarely a chance to put it to practical use. We were taught English in Hong Kong since kindergarten and all our text books were in English since middle school, but it still took me a while to adjust and be able to speak Eng. well after I came to the US in high school. In some countries English is not taught until middle school. I grew up w/ American movies in HK too, but depended on Chinese subtitles then. For learning Eng/Jpn, movies and anime certainly help to an extent, anything that keeps you reading and listening.

        For my Mandarin as well, I didn’t get good at it until I keep speaking w/ people from Taiwan or China at work.. same for Jpn, I’ve been reading it all my life and took it in College, but I’m still far from good in terms of speaking it naturally. It’s important to put what you learned into daily use, like many US students took some form of Spanish in high school, but could hardly speak it.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    Well….that’s certainly one gaudy, saccharine-filled trailer.

    That said, while I’m not sure how much software like this actually helps with language skills, I’m all for it if it means less statements like…well, this:

    • Hound

      Dougram! <3
      I was watching Panzer World Galient & Space Runaway Ideon recently. Can't wait to re-watch Dougram & Votoms.

  • Learii

    make a game that us USA learn Japanese please

  • Detrimont

    Nadeko Sengoku spotted in the top right


    i hope this helps the guys who made the captions of this scene
    Ready? is that so?
    edit: random fact: in the japanese version BB CS2 portable, some achievements have GALLARY instead of GALLERY in the text box

    • Hound

      But Squid Girl is right. Taking over the world would be such a piece of cake with poor English. And here comes Nanami to save the day!

      Love the plot for this game XD

  • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

    That Kana Hanazawa.

  • Kyosuke Yoshino

    They should make a Let’s Learn with Nanami! Japanese, for foreigners, I’d buy it that’s for sure :p

  • Jonathan Tse

    i think games that teach you an different language could do really well, especially using this kind of method with some sort of mascot (doesn’t necessarily have to be moe) to help encourage learning as a sort of tutor AI. voice recognition can also help bridge the path, forcing users to really utilize their knowledge (Love Plus had an interesting thing going on)

  • JNT

    Nothing better than a cute anime girl to motivate them

  • almostautumn

    I fear by the time I finish up my Masters in two years Japan will no longer desire ESL teachers, but instead have mobile Moe-professors.
    If only they’d let me in with a Bachelors, before it’s too late!!!!!!!! (well, in a position I could actually make a living on, I mean)

    • Hound

      No technology has ever been able to surpass the guidance of a teacher. Otherwise, you could say, all college professors are doomed. haha.

    • Göran Isacson

      … Now I’m imagining a great battle between ESL teachers and moe vocaloid-esque teachers. It is a tremendously entertaining picture, if also very silly.

  • Prinnydoom

    Suddenly i want to learn how to speak english…..uh i mean…..plötzlich will ich lernen, wie man Englisch sprechen.

  • Göran Isacson

    Games can be a pretty good teaching tool- I for one pretty much got my first start in English by playing Sam and Max Freelance Police when I was around five years old.

    Granted, it was my brother who explained most of the jokes, but it’s where I got my start nonetheless! So maybe this too can work… even if it lacks psychotic lagomorphs and laconic noir-style freelance police dogs.

  • I am glad they are changing the old ways to learn the language…

  • ShadowDivz

    Let’s be honest. Half of these sales will just be because Nanami is cute.
    Hell, i’d buy it just for that.

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