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If Anime Can Save Science Outreach, It Will Look Like This

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Guilty © Yuumei - shown here under the guidelines set out in her FAQ page.

Guilty, by Yummei a.k.a. Wenquing Yan is simply a stunning and extraordinary work of art in an attempt to raise ecological awareness about pollution in the oceans.

Painted in a realistic and anime blended style, the lighting, complicated colours create an almost idealized version of reality. Yuumei says about the piece,

“Education is the best cure. Many people don’t watch what they eat simply because they’re unaware of the environmental damage humans are causing. People need to understand that helping the environment is simply helping themselves.”

It’s not often in the riotous, delightfully chaotic community that is deviantArt that you see an artist post a list of ecological problems and solutions, with links to sources. The links range from Greenpeace, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, to Scientific American’s own Extinction Countdown, among others. From Yuumei’s bio page, she describes herself as, “a Practice of Art major at UC Berkeley with a focus on environmentalism and cyber activism.”

While some readers may wonder why any focus on anime style is appearing on a science blog, it could not be more appropriate for science communication. One of the most powerful avenues for bringing people closer to scientific information is in the visuals. Anime’s conquering not only of North American culture, but the world is a perfect way to engage many people of all ages. Imagine an issue of Scientific American, Discover, or Nature with an anime cover. When science communicators look for new ways to broaden outreach, tapping into one of the most potent artistic styles of the last 50 years should be on the table.

If you’re not sure I’m right about that, consider: Yuumei’s work has over 9 million pageviews on deviantArt, and this piece alone has been favourited over 48,000 times and commented on over 2,500 times in the year since it was posted. That’s a lot of potential to click on the links to science sites that Yuumei included.

And besides, just look at this piece. Stunning.

Find more of Yuumei’s work on


Every day in September, we’re bringing you new posts from the world of SciArt. On this day last year, Kalliopi posted Cuckoos, Nightjars and Pootoos…yes, Pootoos! with artwork by Roger Tory Peterson that was up for auction.

Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite and is on Instagram. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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