Cosplayer conversation in junior high text features cameos by World Warriors.

One of the challenges in teaching English to kids in Japan is holding their attention. It’s a huge help if textbooks can add anything fun or interesting to keep kids’ eyes, and minds, on the lesson, and so it was a smart move by publisher Sanseido to reach out to Taro Minoboshi to do illustrations for its New Crown series of junior high English texts.

Minoboshi is best known for his work as character designer for the popular Love Plus video game series, and his art can also be seen in franchises such as God Wars, Root Letter, and Exist Archive.

▼ Some of Minoboshi’s illustration work for New Crown

Another key point to keeping kids engaged is framing sample conversations around topics that they can relate to or are interested in. To that end, one of New Crown’s characters is a girl from China named Jing who likes anime and video games…and who in one lesson cosplays as Street Fighter’s Chun-Li!

In her dialogue about her summer vacation, Jing says she attended France’s Japan Expo pop culture celebration, where “Lots of people wore costumes of their favorite characters. I did, too.”

That’s not a suspiciously-close-but-for-copyright-reasons-not-really-Chun-Li, either, as the Minoboshi’s illustration, which also shows fellow fighters Ryu and Sakura, has the official approval of Street Fighter developer Capcom.

It’s worth noting that Minoboshi has no previous professional connection to Capcom or the Street Fighter franchise. When New Crown’s authors asked him to draw a picture of Jing cosplaying as “a fighting game character,” though, his mind immediately went to Street Fighter, which he calls “the most famous fighting game in the world.” When he approached Capcom about the idea, they were immediately onboard, as the above tweet from the official Street Fighter account reveals (with appropriately fighting game-based terminology):

“It is a great honor for our character to be part of an English textbook, so we agreed right away, with zero start-up frames.”

▼ Minoboshi has also helped produce a safety pamphlet for elementary schoolers.

Minoboshi’s Street Fighter illustrations have been putting a smile on fans’ faces, and some online commenters have expressed their admiration for how the artist purposely drew them with less muscularly athletic physiques than their in-game versions, since they’re supposed to be cosplayers, not top-tier martial artists. As for Minoboshi himself, he says he’ll be happy if his artwork makes English class more fun for junior high school students and helps them get better grades. After all, if the World Warriors can master the hadouken, spinning bird kick, and other superhuman feats, surely kids can master English fundamentals, as long as you keep trying.

Source: Inside Games via Jin, Sanseido
Top image: Amazon/Sanseido
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