Studying is much more exciting when you can imagine yourself dating one of the textbook characters.

It’s easy to get discouraged and lose interest when learning a second language, especially when you have to grapple with boring points like grammar and archaic phrases that don’t seem to have any practical use in real-world situations outside of the classroom.

Anything that can hold a student’s interest through a lesson is going to increase their potential to learn, though, and that’s exactly what Japanese publishers Sanseido is looking to do with their upcoming range of New Crown textbooks.

Designed for young learners of English as a second language in Japan, the new textbooks are set to become available for use by junior high schools across the country from next year. And it looks like they’ll be grabbing the attention of young teens with no encouragement from teachers, thanks to some help from Taro Minoboshi, an artist who previously worked on the dating simulator LovePlus for gaming giant Konami.

Minoboshi was in charge of designing the characters for the new textbooks, and he was clearly overjoyed to finally share details of his recent collaboration, taking to Twitter with a video showing his character designs in action.

Minoboshi also shared a sample page from the upcoming release, which shows the characters leaving school for the day and waiting for a bus at the bus stop.

The four main characters appearing in the textbook are:

Katherine Jones (“Kate”), who hails from Australia. Her hobby is taking photos and she’s a member of the cooking club.

Hana Tanaka, from Japan, who likes English and is a member of the soccer club.

Riku Kato, from Japan, who’s a member of the music club and likes manga and anime.

Mark Davis, from America, who likes basketball.

Jing from China, who likes anime and is learning to dance.

▼ Left to right: Kate, Riku, Mark, Jing…

▼ …and Hana.

▼ There’s also another student in the textbook named Dinu, along with teachers Ms Brown and Mr Oka.

The character intros and the background history of the artist could easily fool students into thinking they’re about to start vying for the affections of one of these characters in a dating sim. It’s a pretty good incentive to learn, actually, because if a student does develop a crush on one of the characters, learning English would certainly be one of the quickest ways to earn their love and affection.

People online loved the idea of studying with characters created by a dating sim artist, leaving comments like:

“Whaaat? I used New Crown at school – wish we had this version of the textbook!”
“I’m not at school but I’m still tempted to buy this book!”
“I’m so jealous that kids at school get to learn English with this!”
“Such a great tactic to get students interested in studying.”
“I prefer this to Ellen Baker!”

Ellen Baker, or “Ellen-sensei” as she’s more commonly known to students past and present, has long dominated the English textbook scene in Japan. Appearing as an anime-style character in New Horizon textbooks in junior high schools over the years, the blonde-haired, American-born English teacher has been so popular she even stepped out of the pages of her storybook world and into a real-life classroom for a moment back in 2016.

If the new cast of characters from New Crown prove to be just as popular, who knows what the future holds for them? AI, VR, VTubing and live-action are just some of the possibilities for their future careers.

Source: Hachima Kikou 
Featured image: Pakutaso 
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