Just below the surface, a mighty anime ally was waiting.

Japan’s juku, or cram schools, are a pretty good metaphor for many of the country’s societal values. Education is important, and there are no shortcuts to self-improvement and success. You simply have to buckle down and work hard, because cutting corners is the surest way to fool yourself into thinking you’re ready for life’s challenges when you’re really not.

But that’s not to say that cram schools are relentless or heartless in their approach to education. Obviously, they want their students to acquire the knowledge they need to succeed in their academic endeavors, particularly in passing the entrance exams for the school of their choice when it’s time to move up to the next strata of formal schooling. Rinkai Seminar, one of Japan’s largest cram school chains, is even kind enough to give students a good-luck-charm pencil, with “Hoping you’ll pass your exams – Rinkai Seminar” written along the shaft.

But Rinkai Seminar student Suzuhika (@hikarucinnamon on Twitter) noticed something odd about the pencil he’d received. Although it was green with gold lettering, the coloring had started to flake off near the unsharpened tip. Curious as to why there should be a hidden layer of blue underneath, Suzuhika started scraping off the rest of the green, only to discover…

characters from anime franchise Dragon Ball!

Specifically, it was a licensed pencil for Dragon Ball Super, the most recent TV arc of the franchise (and the one that’s soon getting a theatrical feature). So it would seem that rather than starting from scratch, Rinkai Seminar somehow came into possession of some unsold anime merchandise, then refurbished it to use as its good-luck charms.

Some might say that’s a chintzy move that’s lacking in the integrity one would hope for in an educational institute for young people. But as Suzuhika’s tweet has racked up over 150,000 likes, many commenters are saying that it’s actually kind of cool that the by taking the pencil with him to his entrance exam, Suzuhika would actually have a superpowered anime hero by his side providing moral support.

And regardless of its writing instrument subterfuge, Rinkai Seminar delivered on its educational promises, as Suzuhika also tweeted that thanks to what he learned from the cram school’s program and instructors, he was able to get into the school of his choice. “I’m very grateful to them,” he says, and the rest of us can all feel indebted for the laugh the school has given us, and now we can’t help wondering what’s under the pencils other Rinkai Seminar kids have received.

Source: Twitter/hikarucinnamon (1, 2) via Hachima Kiko
Images: Twitter/@hikarucinnamon

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he fondly remembers taking notes in high school with his Oh! My Goddess Skuld hammer pencil.