Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
The Science of Anime: Mecha-Noids and AI-Super-Bots is a book written by Lois H. Gersh and Robert Weinberg, and it was published in 2005. The book contains an introduction, nine chapters, notes, a bibliography, and acknowledgments.
The first chapter discusses the origins of anime. During the chapter, the authors talk about the birth of comics and anime, Osamu Tezuka, and the history of anime from the beginning to current time.
The second chapter delves into mecha, and it covers giant robots, the history and evolution of mecha in anime, some of the shows that use mecha, as well as some of the other elements associated with mecha.
Chapter three goes into artificial intelligence, talking about the shows and the science of artificial intelligence. The fourth chapter goes into colonies in space, and it focuses very heavily on the Gundam universe. The chapter also delves into the science and theories surrounding space colonies.
Chapter five talks about cyberpunk and cyber-terrorism. The sixth chapter talks about evolution and how it is featured in anime. It focuses heavily on Neon Genesis Evangelion and Akira, and then goes into a discussion of evolution and creationism. This is then followed by a discussion about Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Gaia theory.
Chapter seven goes into a discussion about parallel universes, and it goes into an in-depth analysis of the science that goes into parallel universes. The eighth chapter talks about virtual reality. It focuses on .hack//SIGN, and talks about some of the uses for virtual reality in the real world. The final chapter discusses how the science in anime is plausible but illogical.
The concept behind The Science of Anime is an interesting one, but the execution isn't quite what I was anticipating. The authors obviously have a lot of scientific knowledge, but unfortunately, they really didn't seem to try hard to write a little more in "layman's terms."
One of the best examples of this issue appears in the chapter about the space colonies. In one section of the chapter, the authors go into great detail about the math involved, and even break down the math equations and the steps of the equations. While someone with a genuine interest in math and science might find this interesting, I found it to be rather dry reading.
The Science of Anime isn't a bad book, but it's not a book I can recommend to be in a basic reference library of an anime fan. Personally, I think you would have to have a genuine interest in science in order to get the most out of this book.
In order to write this review, I checked out a copy of this book through the King County Library System.