Disclaimer: I don’t really have a plan for this post. Usually, I set out to write something with a bit of an overall message or something interesting to consider. This week, I’m going to talk about a meme that I like, for the exclusive reason that I like it. Hopefully that won’t bore anyone too much.
If you haven’t heard of “Ellen Baker” yet, check out this post on Crunchyroll. For those of you that were too lazy to actually read that whole article, allow me to summarize. Essentially, a Japanese twitter user tweeted that the English teacher character in a certain English textbook was extremely cute. And over the last few days, the internet has exploded with fan art and memes of Ellen Baker, Japan’s new favorite teacher.
And I mean, come on, look at some of those character designs. More importantly, compare them to pictures of the characters from the Genki textbooks, which we use here at Cornell. Not that a lack of detail stops students in Cornell’s Intro Japanese class from enthusiastically shipping the characters. Also, maybe this makes me weird, but I’d totally watch an anime about Ellen trying to teach her students English (it’d have a sort of Kiniro Mosaic feel to it!). Which, for some reason, makes me think of an absolutely hilarious show called “Nihonjin no Shirani Nihongo” (something like “Japanese that Japanese people don’t know”). I highly recommend it.
Returning from that tangent, the whole Ellen Baker meme has a couple of (in my opinion) hilarious variations that I want to point out. First off, there’s the stuff that’s been plastered all over Reddit’s “awwnime” community (best subreddit no exceptions). The interesting thing about Ellen Baker posts on Reddit is the way they list the source as “New Horizon” (the name of Ms. Baker’s textbook), which is just the same as if they’d listed the name of an anime or manga. In addition to the cutesy stuff on awwnime, there’s also a surprising number of 18+ fanart coming out – and moreover there are even posts making fun of this fact. Aside from the fanart, there’s some photoshop work that I find especially amusing. Most of them use a picture of Ellen pretending to use a baseball bat because “she’s a Red Sox fan.”
What really amazes me is how many dimensions this meme has taken over the course of only a few days. I’m hopeful that people will keep it up, but honestly it seems likely to vanish as quickly as it appeared.
Michael Mauer is a sophomore in the college of Arts and Sciences majoring in Computer Science. His favorite anime is Neon Genesis Evangelion and he never leaves home without his Homura Akemi necklace. He can be reached at [email protected]. Alternatively, just hunt him down on Facebook or Google+.