'Element Girls' Pretty Up the Periodic Table

Chemistry can be a tough subject for students more interested in games and girls, which makes "The Periodic Table: Learning Basic Chemistry through Moe" a bright idea indeed. Which element do you love the moe-st?

Lest you think one of The Three Stooges is somehow involved, "Moe" is a Japanese term that describes the feminization of inanimate objects. Most commonly used in video games, anime and manga, applying so-called "moe anthropomorphism" makes most anything cute, girlish, flirtatious or all of the above. Even a topic as dry and factual as the Periodic Table of the Elements, nyuck nyuck!

The original idea for "The Periodic Table: Learning Basic Chemistry through Moe" (in Japanese, Gensoshuki: Moete Oboeru Kagaku no Kihon) came to Miyuki Mitsuda, a chemistry teacher at Tokyo's Musashi Institute of Technology (left).

We can only guess at the trials and tribulations Mitsuda went through trying to sell her idea to PHP Interface Publishing Co., but the end result features the work of 33 anime illustrators and sells for 1,995 yen (about $22). And sell it has, with 17,000 copies purchased since October 31 of this year!

"It describes each element's properties very well, makes the subject easier to approach and understand," comments Mitsuda on the purpose of the new study guide.

Though the images are occasionally over-the-top, there is plenty of descriptive text to go along with them - sort of a "carrot & stick" approach.

As Mitsuda explained, the cold hard facts of chemical elemental properties are illustrated by the moe characters: Fluorine hefts a Teflon frying pan, Sodium is baking bread and Chromium, er, looks amazing. Ahem... anyway, remembering 118 different elements just has to be easier this way. Sort of like getting to know 118 new girlfriends! (via Amazon Japan)