I can’t believe there’s an anime so related to my major! I’m not exactly doing agricultural sciences, but rather Food Science and Technology, of which microbiology and nutrition are large components of, so this show interests me even more than mecha. Rather than the usual anime which seeks to entertain, Moyashimon is more like an educational programme masquerading as anime.
This anime is about a guy who can see all microbes. By see, I mean he visualises them as 10 cm tall cute avatars who can talk and play games. With this talent, he enters the microbiology department of a Tokyo agricultural sciences college. It mainly focuses on veterinary and plant sciences, so you see lots of animals, crops, microbes and mud. It’s quite a stark contrast to Honey and Clover, which is an arts college. The arts are really fun and cheery, with bright colours and aesthetics in abundance. Arts students engage in much love-making and emotional journeys. However we science students sit in labs and take readings from spectrophotometers, count colonies and titrate random stuff. And once in a while, some get to go into the jungle and catch animals or collect mud. In Moyashimon, we sciencies finally have an anime FOR US!! I weep tears of joy.
I highly doubt Moyashimon is going to get subbed (or licensed by Odex for that matter) since it seems rather difficult. The Japanese scientific terms are hard to understand even for native speakers, much less weeabos. For the benefit of all, I have translated and made easy-to-understand all the key terms used in episode 1.
This is some insane shit. Or rather, it’s a dish native to Greenland’s Eskimos, where they ferment an Auk (a sea bird) INSIDE a seal (or its skin) and buried underground until the decomposition is advanced. It is allegedly (and probably) extremely pungent in aroma. The weird thing is that the best website for this dish is in Japanese. Once the bird has gotten really rotten, the seal hide can be cut open and the juices SUCKED FROM THE ASS of the bird. Seriously. Another way is to use the juices as a sauce. The Eskimos used to eat raw meat to obtain their essential vitamins, but as cooking caught on, they started to suffer from vitamin deficiencies due to these being broken down during the heating. Thus, kiviak is their means of solving this problem.
Prof Itsuki drinks rotten bird juice from its ass.
Aspergillus Oryzae -tan
These cute guys are the mould (as in, fungus) used for fermenting soybeans into miso and soy sauce. I bet some of you guys didn’t even know miso isn’t found in nature. This is commonly used in China and Japan. As a mould, this is way larger than bacteria.
Oryzae-tans only miso culture
I’m sure most people know yoghurt. But most people think yoghurt is some sort of icecream!! It’s more similar to cheese than to ice-cream really. The latter is essentially an emulsion and a foam, with fats, proteins, water and air all combined when they would normally be in separate phases. Yoghurt is however, a product of fermentation, where certain bacteria convert the lactose (milk sugar, which many people are intolerant of and shit their pants after eating) to lactic acid when they respire (as in, produce energy without oxygen). Lactic acid is the reason why yoghurt tastes sour, and the increased acidity levels denature proteins and cause them to coagulate (clump together) into a more solid form. It is very very good for you.
Lactococcus Lactis -tan
In Moyashimon, L. Lactis is actually spelt the old way (as in, it was classified as Streptococcus previously). The term lactococci basically means that it is used in the milk-related industries and are absolutely safe. Anyway, this is just a bacteria used in dairy products like cheese and yoghurt to increase the amount of lactic acid. These are the good guys.
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus -tan
These are like the brothers of Lactis-tan, in that they serve the same purpose in yoghurt. LB-tan is a picky feeder and can only metabolise lactose, but they add acetaldehyde,CH3CHO, which has a fruity aroma. Acetaldehyde is also the compound which causes hangovers. LB-tan is named after Bulgaria, the country of its discovery. As for the difference between bacillus and coccus, the former is rod-shaped while the latter is spherical.
Lactobacillus Yoghurti -tan
Yoghurti is considered a probiotic. You know how Yakult and Vitagen always boast about how their bacteria are good for you? Those are probiotics, where you are drinking living bacteria. To put it bluntly, Yakult is bacteria juice. L. Yoghurti is commonly used in Japanese drinks.
Lactobacillus Plantarum -tan
This is a very common bacteria found in many fermented foods such as sauerkraut, sourdough, kimchee etc. Most interesting point is that it has a weapon – hydrogen peroxide, to drive away other competing bacteria.
Vinegar is yet another product of fermentation. The key ingredient in it is ethanoic acid, which is what you get when ethanol is oxidised (the key ingredient in alcoholic drinks). There are a trillion uses of vinegar (flavour, preservative, cleaning agent etc) and just as many different types of it. The raw materials which were fermented generally decide what the vinegar is, like rice vinegar is from rice and balsamic vinegar is from white grapes.
Acetobacter Aceti -tan
This is an aerobic bacteria which oxidises ethanol to make ethanoic acid which is why your wine gets soured. It is a a major cause of spoilage for many foods.
A type of rice wine, but used for cooking and flavouring instead. It’s sweet and you probably know it for teriyaki sauce.
Bacillus Halodurans -tan
A bacteria commonly found in soil and water, but in Moyashimon’s case, it was in the toilet. It is used industrially to produce various enzymes including proteases (which digest proteins) and xylases (which break down xylose obviously).
Bacillus Subtilis Natto -tan
A particular strain of Subtilis that is used to ferment that shit which is natto, those gooey smelly beans you see Japanese people eat. I puked once in Japan when my host offered me it for breakfast. Lol.
Saccharomyces Cerevisiae -chama
An yeast, very important industrially! Most science people will know this, for it is the same yeast bakers use to leaven bread! Leaven as in, to make the bread dough rise. This happens when the yeast respires anaerobically (without oxygen), digesting the sugars in the dough and producing ethanol and carbon dioxide as byproducts. Ethanol! This is why Muslims cannot eat leavened bread and most of them eat flat-breads like pita and roti prata and naan. But there are some very tragic Muslims who do not know this and have committed great sins. Anyway, cerevisiae-chama is also used in wine and beer making, as it produces ethanol as stated.
The fungus which cases athelete’s foot and ringworms. Hehe, the sexy grad student in this anime has it on her feet, which is why she wears open-toed shoes in a lab (not allowed because chemicals might spill and burn your feet).
In the two short comedy sequences at the end, Oryzae are talking to Chrysogenum (which is in fact a penicillin mould commonly found on foods as a contaminant). As we all know, penicillin kills many bacteria, which is why the Oryzae kids all fled when they realise who they were talking to. Cute.
Whew, that was long. I know many people are looking forward to this anime, and perhaps this post could be helpful for English fansubbers. So if you guys know anyone who is planning to sub this, just pass this link to them.