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Learning aid looks like it could be a hit animated series.

Publisher Tokyo Shoseki’s New Horizon series of English textbooks is incredibly common in Japan, having been used by middle schools across the country for decades. While the fundamentals of the English language haven’t changed signficantly in that time, culture itself is always evolving, and so the series sees periodic updates to account for new vocabulary and daily life scenarios that come into being.

New additions also get refreshed layouts and redone illustrations, in order to keep the characters having New Horizon’s sample conversations from looking like relics of a bygone era. And given how animation is more popular than ever in Japan, it’s no surprise that the cast has recently gotten an anime-style makeover.

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The snazzy new character designs are the work of illustrator Denchubo, and while they all look closer to what you’d expect to see in the Spring anime season than the Spring semester, the most attention online is going to Ellen Baker, the Boston-born, baseball-loving expat who works as an assistant language teacher at the text’s fictional Midori Middle School.

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Ms. Baker’s appearance is far more otaku-oriented than the artwork that appeared in older versions of New Horizon.

As a matter of fact, she’d be so at home in an anime series that she wouldn’t look at all out of place during a “New Year’s” breather episode between major arcs of a TV series.

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Of course, anime appeals to a wider range of ages than the three years of middle school. Because of that, Tokyo Shoseki also publishes a book titled Try Studying English Once Again with Future-Style New Horizon, a “next-generation textbook for adults,” essentially a light novel that teaches readers English.

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The book opens with Japanese-born Ken returning to Japan after working in Canada, upon which he reconnects with old friends.

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There’s also a cool augmented reality function, in which character’s will appear on your smartphone’s screen and speak their dialogue aloud.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the plot also looks to include some alcohol-fueled hijinks and dramatic romance.

▼ While Twitter user @megpoid0626soya initially refers to the book as a self-published dojinshi, he later clarifies that it is indeed an official release from Tokyo Shoseki.

If you’re curious to see how Ken’s story plays out, or looking for some unique teaching material to use in your conversational English lessons, the New Horizon for adults can be ordered here from Amazon Japan for 1,512 yen (US$13.50).

Sources: Jin, Hachima Kiko (1, 2)
Top image: Twitter/@haiyore_audio (1, 2) (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: Twitter/@haiyore_audio (1, 2), Amazon Japan (edited by RocketNews24)