Appearances of MIT in Anime
Dating at least from the days of "God of Manga" Osamu Tezuka's interest in the genre, science fiction has long been one of the major streams of anime. Given the fictional science focus of many anime titles, it should come as no surprise that MIT is occasionally mentioned in anime. Of course, MIT usually is used to fill the role of "generic non-Japanese source of advanced technology", but it is rare for any other American college to be mentioned in anime, while MIT's appearances are frequent and widespread.
Mostly, this prominence is probably just a matter of MIT being a well-established, globally-recognized brand when it comes to advanced technology and science, or educating people who are good at that sort of thing. But MIT shows up in other places as well.
Here are some anime and manga mentions of Mother Institute:
MIT vice-president and dean Vannevar Bush plays a major role in Serial Experiments Lain, particularly in episode 9.
As pointed out in Thought Experiments Lain, Serial Experiments Lain's "Knights of the Eastern Calculus" may be inspired by the Knights of the Lambda Calculus, membership in the outer circles of which has long been one of the privileges granted to survivors of 6.001.
We have to admit that this is a bit of a stretch and is certainly utterly obscure outside the confines of 6.001. What probably happened is two independent sets of people were inspired by a cool phrase from hacker lore (given LISP's long-time popularity at MIT, it's reasonable to suppose that the phrase may have originated here).
Really this entry exists because the web needed a place for the following screenshot of Lain using LISP on her portable Navi:
Uri-P, the lunatic chief engineer of the Nadesico says in episode 12 that he tried to get into MIT. He failed seven times, no doubt much to the relief of the people who would have had to compete against him in the 2.70 contest!
He says he modelled the virtual reality representation of Omoikane, the Nadesico's computer, on MIT's library (and it does look a bit like the view from the mezzanine in Hayden Library):
One of the five sets of Magi supercomputers attacking the Magi at NERV in The end of Evangelion is located in Massachusetts.
We think it's fair to count this. Of course, it's clear that MIT no longer exists in these days after the Second Impact (at least not on the present banks of the Charles).
In the first Patlabor movie E. Hoba, the author of the Labor virus, graduated from MIT, and one or two mentions were made of efforts by people at MIT to eradicate the virus.
The character Alexander Howell from Yuu Watase's Ayashi no Ceres is a graduate of MIT.
The person Vision was hunting early in Bubblegum Crisis episode 7 was an MIT graduate (he got an MD! presumably from the medical school that will be established sometime in the next thirty years). Mention of this shows up on a data screen when Sylvie agrees to have the Knight Sabers act as his body guard.
In the Magical Girl Pretty Sammy Tenchi Muyo manga story-line, Washu graduated from MIT at age 11.
11 seems to be a good age to graduate from MIT. In Paniponi Dash, 11-year-old teacher and robotics genius, Rebecca Miyamoto (recently arrived from America), says that she attended MIT (though she has a great deal of trouble pronouncing "Massachusetts").
In Hanaukyo Maid Tai, episode 13, the character Shinshei goes to a leading, albeit unnamed, university:
Anyone who has seen MIT's Great Court can have no doubt what university it was:
Tech is hell.
In episode 8 there's more conclusive evidence. A few minutes into the episode we see a shot of her desk, on which sits a letter designating her as an MIT fellow.
In Amazing Nurse Nanako episode 4 "Firecrackers'', we meet "Dr. Kyoji.... the youngest foreign student in MIT history'' (younger even than Washu and Becky?) "from Japan.... earned a doctorate degree''.
One of the members of Heroes (evidently a Pillows cover-band), on-stage in the last episode of Beck:
A! My Goddess's Keichi and his sempais go to Nekomi Institute of Technology, but they cosplay as some other institution's cheerleaders.
(Though that looks like a "neko" (cat) design behind the initials, so maybe it's just a misprint. But the image is too good to pass up.)
In Boku no Sexual Harassment Episode 2, one of the characters went to MIT, and the action is set in Boston. There is absolutely no way we will post a picture from this one.
This one is another stretch, since she never actually says which college in Boston she attended, nor which anime club she was a member of while here, but we like to think that Genshiken's Kanako Ohno's Boston-area anime-club membership card looked something like this:
And we miss her presence at our cosplay workshops.
In episode 2 of Kamen no Maid Guy, the masked male maid Kogarashi offers to help his "master", high-school student Naeka Fujiwara, with her math homework. When she disdains his abilities, his fellow maid Fubuki alerts Naeka that:
When Naeka professes ignorance of this "MIT", Fubuki gives a brief explanation of MIT's name, location, and prestige as a parade of Nobelists passes over a shot of Killian Court.
Fubuki finishes by calling it "A gathering of the elites around the world! You can also call it the peak of mathematics."
In episode 10 of Real Drive, which takes place in 2061, an AI named Eliza is causing trouble in cyberspace. And where do AIs come from?
In Toradora!, student council president Kanou Sumire goes to an American university, intending to become an astronaut. We see her get a postcard from Japan:
(Apparently she's living in building 5.)
Gundam Seed's George Glenn, a prodigy aerospace engineer for the Atlantic Federation's Federal Aeronautics and Space Administration, also obtained his doctorate degree from MIT at the tender age of 17. He eventually reveals himself to be humankind's first Coordinator, or genetically-enhanced human being, which may better explain this achievement (which comes on top of being an Olympic silver medalist, an American football player, and an Air Force pilot).
The manga Q.E.D, which has yet to be adapted into an anime (but has a live-action version!), features yet another MIT alumni, Sou Touma, a boy who graduated from the Institute at 15 and returns to Japan to attend high school and solve random mysteries.
Shinryaku! Ika Musume features four MIT graduates Cindy, Clark, Harris, and Martin who dedicate their lives to studying extraterrestrial beings-- and believe that the title character squid girl is one of them. As befitting of MIT students, they're geniuses who have created such innovations as a cure for cancer, and a machine that translates any language, but unfortunately their talents are wasted on their obsession with aliens... which leads to useless inventions and bumbling schemes.
In the manga Liar Game, the protagonist Akiyama mentions a unique circuit, invented by an MIT professor (with a very difficult to romanize name! The closest we've gotten is "Krzysztof Ussirisky"), which does not interfere with medical devices. If you're a circuit expert or course 6er who's wondering why you haven't heard of this, fret not; Akiyama later admits that he totally made it up. It's the Liar Game, after all!
If you know of any other mentions of MIT in anime, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.