High school is a common backdrop in anime, serving as a familiar and relatable setting for many viewers, particularly those in their teenage years.
While numerous slice-of-life comedy and drama series populate this genre, there are remarkable examples that surpass the norm. The anime industry’s inclination towards high school narratives is intentional, catering to their target audience. However, these stories need not be predictable or mundane. Some high school anime transcend expectations, delivering exceptional storytelling experiences.
High school anime possesses an irresistible charm, enveloping viewers in heartwarming tales brimming with humor, making them ideal for newcomers to the anime realm. These captivating stories immerse students in a whirlwind of academic responsibilities, formidable educators, tormenting adversaries, blossoming affections, and extraordinary scenarios like magical girl harems or robotic classmates.
37. The God of High School
Mori Jin, a 17-year-old martial artist hailing from Seoul, South Korea, assumes the role of the primary protagonist. His journey commences with an invitation to partake in a prestigious Martial Arts competition named “The God of High School” (or GOH).
Orchestrated by a dubious corporation, this event unites students from numerous South Korean high schools, commencing at the regional level and escalating to a national scale, ultimately determining three representatives for the esteemed World Tournament. An enticing incentive accompanies victory as the hosting corporation pledges to grant the winner’s heartfelt desire, without any probing queries.
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36. Daily Lives Of High School Boys
With a focus on three second-year students and their close companions, Daily Lives of High School Boys is renowned for its comical observations of the “everyday” experiences of high schoolers who prioritize other activities over serious studying.
What sets this anime apart is its relatability to anyone who cherishes fond memories of their own high school years, making it an absolute delight to behold. Moreover, the series steers clear of unnecessary drama, elaborate romantic storylines, or any other complex arcs, instead providing a pure and authentic portrayal of ordinary yet enjoyable high school life. So why not indulge in this refreshing watch when you find yourself a tad weary?
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35. Shikimori’s Not Just A Cutie
Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is a delightfully charming high school anime series that appeals to fans seeking lighthearted romance with an endearing charm. The pink-haired protagonist, Shikimori, effortlessly excels in academics, commands immense respect, and showcases impressive athletic prowess while cherishing her everyday life.
But what truly captures Shikimori’s heart is her soft-spoken boyfriend, Izumi Yuu, whose mere presence fills him with boundless joy. Amidst the unfolding narrative, Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie delves beneath Shikimori’s seemingly flawless facade, delving into her relatable insecurities and allowing her character to evolve into a more well-rounded individual.
34. Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible
Exclusive to HIDIVE, “Kubo’s Unseen Love” weaves the captivating story of Junta Shiraishi, a remarkably unassuming dandere who seems practically imperceptible to those around him. Junta anticipated a solitary journey through high school, but everything changes when Nagisa Kubo enters the picture.
Radiating warmth and cheerfulness, Nagisa amicably befriends Junta, playfully coaxing him to embrace his true self and make his presence felt. From this tender bond emerges an innocent, blossoming romance, where Kubo, too, becomes a shy dandere as she grapples with her heartfelt emotions for the world’s most unnoticed boy.
33. One-Week Friends
While One-Week Friends may not be considered among the top-tier high school anime, it remains an endearing series with a distinct twist on the dandere archetype. The protagonist, Kaori Fujimiya, goes beyond the typical quiet and insecure persona, as she grapples with the extraordinary challenge of losing all memories of her friends every week.
Kaori had resigned herself to a solitary existence, forsaking the prospect of companionship and a thriving social life. However, her world took a heartwarming turn when Yuuki Hase, her male classmate, noticed her plight and extended a helping hand. Despite initial hesitation, Kaori warmly embraced Yuuki’s offer of friendship, ushering in a newfound sense of joy and contentment that had eluded her for years.
32. The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya dominated the high school anime scene in the early 2000s, leaving a lasting impact. Kyon, the male protagonist, gained notoriety for his witty remarks that fueled Haruhi’s peculiar actions.
Yearning for more than mundane interactions, Haruhi grew disinterested in “ordinary” individuals, sparking her pursuit of contact with supernatural and extraterrestrial beings. Assuming the presidency of her school’s SOS Brigade, a club dedicated to exploring paranormal phenomena, Haruhi embarked on a captivating journey. The timeless essence of The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya endures, making it a must-watch for all anime enthusiasts.
Hyouka revolves around Houtarou Oreki, a disinterested youth who strives to conserve energy at all costs. However, fate always thwarts his intentions. To prevent the dissolution of the Classic Literature Club, Houtarou’s sister enrolls him in its ranks.
It is there that he encounters Eru, a girl captivated by his remarkable deductive abilities. Eru stands out as one of the few individuals Houtarou can genuinely endure. Hyouka’s captivating storyline, centered on its characters, delivers a remarkably poignant and emotive narrative.
30. Classroom Of The Elite
While most high school anime strive for brevity, humor, and sweetness, Classroom Of The Elite fearlessly confronts the realities of the educational system. This remarkable anime keenly observes the inherent flaws of high school and casts them in a ruthlessly competitive light. Koudo Ikusei Senior High appears deceptively ordinary but harbors a distinctive degree of liberty.
Renowned across Japan, this esteemed institution conceals a brutal hierarchical structure. The apex students enjoy unparalleled privileges, while those at the bottom are disdainfully labeled as outcasts. Alas, class rankings are fluid, yet ascending within this formidable system proves arduous, as it deliberately conspires against those within its grasp.
29. Welcome To Demon School! Iruma-Ku
High school proves challenging as is, but becomes an even greater feat for the lone human student attending a school teeming with demons. In “Welcome To Demon School! Iruma-Kun,” the eponymous character, Iruma Suzuki, enrolls at Babyls, a netherworld high school catering exclusively to demons. His neglectful parents, driven by monetary gain, callously traded him to a demon named Sullivan.
Adopting Iruma as his own grandson, Sullivan offers him a dire warning: under no circumstances should he unveil his human identity to the other students, for they may perceive him as delectable prey. Despite his harrowing circumstances, Iruma astonishingly thrives in the netherworld, and, to his surprise, manages to blend in seamlessly with his demonic peers.
28. The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K
The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K. is a must-watch for comedy enthusiasts. This anime revolves around Saiki Kusuo, a teenage psychic endowed with an extensive array of magical abilities. The series maintains a rapid pace, with each episode contributing to the show’s already extensive repertoire of running gags.
Saiki primarily engages in internal monologues and maintains limited dialogue with other characters. He effortlessly demonstrates that high school is arduous on its own, but as a psychic capable of reading minds, it becomes even more challenging. He perceives both his powers and other individuals as equally troublesome. The show embraces a non-linear narrative, which contributes to its undeniable allure.
Horimiya, a high school anime series, defies the norm of most romance anime by delving into the aftermath of a confession. It not only explores the evolving bond between its main characters, Miyamura and Hori, but also expands on the romantic connections among its supporting cast.
Miyamura and Hori’s relationship follows a familiar trope but presents a fresh twist. These two individuals demonstrate the magnetic pull of opposites. Initially, their stark differences suggest an unlikely pairing: Hori, a popular and vivacious girl, contrasts with Miyamura, who exudes introverted geekiness. However, a serendipitous encounter reveals the hidden depths beneath their exteriors.
26. Komi Can’t Communicate
Komi Can’t Communicate swiftly emerged as one of Netflix’s anime sensations, captivating audiences worldwide. The series centers around Shoko Komi, a teenage girl burdened by profound social anxiety, unbeknownst to her classmates. Enter Hitohito Tadano, who keenly perceives her communication challenges and pledges to help her forge 100 friendships.
With its captivating narrative and endearing ensemble, this high school anime resonated deeply with fans for myriad reasons. Many viewers found solace in Komi’s relatable portrayal, while others reveled in the delightful, gradually blossoming romance between Komi and Tadano.
25. My Dress-Up Darling
My Dress-Up Darling features Wakana Gojo, an endearingly introverted and devoted dandere high school student. He possesses a deep passion for tailoring and hina dolls. However, destiny intervenes when Marin Kitagawa, an exuberant and spirited girl, enlists him as her personal tailor to elevate her cosplay to new heights.
What follows is an enchanting tale of youthful love set in high school, where the enchantment of cosplay, the magnetism of opposites, and the power of true affection take center stage. Through the art of costume creation, Wakana embarks on a journey of self-expression and unspoken emotions, while Marin finds herself irresistibly drawn to her kind and supportive new companion in the realm of cosplay.
Sometimes, adults ponder what would unfold if they were granted a chance to start anew. Enter ReLIFE, a gripping 12-episode series, where an exasperated job seeker named Arata Kaizaki encounters an enigmatic young man who presents him with a miraculous pill, capable of regressing him by a decade and placing him right back in the corridors of high school.
This intriguing offer is part of an elaborate experiment, and Arata, driven by curiosity and a longing for change, wholeheartedly embraces the opportunity. As he embarks on this extraordinary journey, he acquires invaluable insights into life, while gradually unraveling the clandestine mysteries harbored by some of his classmates. Astonishingly, a few among them also bear the weight of adulthood in their teenage frames, albeit for reasons entirely distinct from Arata’s own predicament.
23. Angel Beats
In this unique high school anime series, the seemingly ordinary setting takes an extraordinary twist. Yuzuru Otonashi, the male protagonist, unexpectedly finds himself in an unfamiliar school, where a mysterious, petite girl with ethereal white hair becomes the target of relentless gunfire.
Caught in the midst of the chaos, Yuzuru discovers that this high school is, in fact, a purgatory-like realm for students who passed away with unresolved issues. Surprisingly, the enigmatic Angel, the source of their initial apprehension, might not be the true antagonist after all. To find solace and progress further, our characters embark on a profound introspective journey, delving deep into their souls to seek inner peace and ultimately move on.
22. My Hero Academia
In the world of My Hero Academia, Izuku Midoriya stands out as one of the rare Quirkless individuals amidst a society where 80% of the population possesses extraordinary abilities. Despite enduring incessant bullying from his peers and facing discouragement from doctors, Izuku’s unwavering determination fuels his aspiration to become a hero like his idol, All Might, and secure admission to U.A. High School.
A fateful encounter with a villain introduces Izuku to All Might, who bestows upon him his own Quirk and assumes the role of a guiding mentor. As Izuku enters U.A. High, he quickly realizes that the path to heroism is far more intricate and demanding than he ever envisioned.
21. Oresuki: Are You The Only One Who Loves Me?
Most high school anime is uproarious and exhilarating, and Oresuki is no anomaly. Any individual anticipating a captivating love triangle is in for an absolute treat. In Oresuki, the protagonist, Joro, is summoned for private conversations by two equally stunning girls. He eagerly anticipates receiving love confessions from either one.
However, both girls are enamored with his friend, Oga, leaving Joro hopeful that he might have a chance with the girl Oga rejects. Unexpectedly, the reserved bibliophile, Sumeriko, reveals her feelings to Joro, while Oga becomes intrigued by her. From this point onward, the situation only grows increasingly intricate and enthralling.
20. We Never Learn: BOKUBEN
This heartwarming high school anime shares a similar premise to The Quintessential Quintuplets, another beloved high school series. We Never Learn revolves around Nariyuki Yuiga, an intelligent yet unassuming young man who takes on the role of a private tutor for three girls: Fumino, Rizu, and Uruka. Initially focused on enhancing their academic abilities, Yuiga quickly finds himself entangled in a myriad of captivating experiences and unexpected adventures.
The story delves into the realm of deep friendships, academic pursuits, and an engaging harem dynamic, with even one of the teachers potentially joining the fray.
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19. Aharen-San Is Indecipherable
Aharen-San is Enigmatic is an underrated yet charming anime series set in high school, centered around the enigmatic kuudere archetype. Reina Aharen, a petite girl, possesses a kind and supportive nature that unfortunately goes unnoticed due to her barely audible voice.
However, fate takes a turn when Aharen’s stoic classmate Raido catches sight of her, and an instant connection sparks between them. Without exchanging many words, they forge a bond as quiet but unwavering companions who comprehend each other effortlessly. Their shared love for video games, arcade thrills, and genuine gestures becomes the language through which they express their affection, solidifying their unique relationship.
18. After The Rain
At its core, “After the Rain” is more than just a teenage girl, Akira Tachibana, developing feelings for her older, divorced boss. It blossoms into a captivating animated series that delicately explores themes of personal growth, restoration, and rediscovered self-assurance.
Akira, an ardent runner, finds herself forced to halt her beloved sport due to a debilitating injury. As a means of finding solace and rejuvenation, she seeks comfort in her boss’s presence. In an unexpected turn of events, his unwavering support, accompanied by his young son’s unwavering encouragement, becomes instrumental in lifting her spirits. With their earnest assistance, Akira embarks on a transformative journey, nurturing the hope that one day she will reclaim her ability to soar, just like the wind.
Kakegurui boasts a thrilling essence that sets it apart from typical high school anime, eschewing mundane slice-of-life escapades. Instead, it immerses viewers in an exclusive academy where privileged offspring of affluent families and influential magnates gather to master the art of gambling.
Within these hallowed halls, students of unparalleled intellect, cunning, and audacity assemble, captivating audiences with riveting displays of high-stakes poker, blackjack, and roulette. Our central figure, Yumeko Jabami, thrives on the adrenaline of gambling, defying conventions and exhibiting an unbridled recklessness that will leave an indelible mark on everyone’s psyche.
Nisekoi is a captivating anime rendition of the timeless tale of Romeo and Juliet. However, this rendition takes a thrilling twist by introducing the son and daughter of rival crime families as the star-crossed lovers. Raku Ichijo, hailing from a fearsome yakuza clan, finds himself entangled with Chitoge Kirisaka, a member of a powerful mafia lineage, when she transfers to Japan from the United States for high school.
In an orchestrated effort by their families, Raku and Chitoge are forced to meet, leaving both bewildered by the sudden spotlight and the façade they must maintain. Amidst the chaos, a flurry of love rivals emerges, intensifying the complications they face. Adding to the intrigue is the mystery surrounding the identity of the girl who gifted Raku the cherished locket he now wears around his neck.
15. Rascal Does Not Dream Of Bunny Girl Senpai
In “Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai,” Sakuta, a high school student, encounters his senior in the library wearing a bunny girl costume. Together, Sakuta and his senior, Mai, embark on a mission to assist their classmates afflicted by the enigmatic “adolescence syndrome.” This syndrome manifests as supernatural afflictions rooted in their personal insecurities.
Along their journey, Sakuta aids his younger sister, Kaede, in conquering her anxiety toward the outside world and reclaiming her rightful place in society.
14. Yamada-kun And The Seven Witches
Yamada-kun And The Seven Witches is a renowned harem anime. However, it transcends the average harem genre by introducing an extraordinary group of seven enchanting maidens. Naturally, this anime delivers a whirlwind of electrifying high-school escapades, ignited when Ryu Yamada stumbles and accidentally topples his fellow classmate while descending the stairs.
Upon regaining consciousness, they make a startling discovery—they have inexplicably exchanged bodies, akin to the premise of Makoto Shinkai’s masterpiece, Your Name. As fate would have it, their school harbors seven mystical witches, and a mere kiss grants them access to the witches’ extraordinary powers! Thus, Ryu finds himself navigating the challenges of body-swapping, mind-reading, invisibility, and a myriad of other supernatural phenomena.
In the chilling horror anime titled “Another,” cheerful scenes are a rare occurrence, as it delves into the gruesome. The story unfolds in the year 1998, where the protagonist, Koichi Sakakibara, finds himself enrolled in the notorious Class 3-3. Within his class resides a girl named Mei Misaki, whose pallid complexion renders her unnoticed by all.
Driven by curiosity, Koichi embarks on a relentless quest to uncover the truth behind the supposed “curse” afflicting this class. Unimaginable horrors await them, and survival becomes uncertain for Koichi and his friends. Yet, amidst the terror, Koichi discovers that Mei Misaki, despite her unsettling appearance, may hold the key to unraveling this nightmarish mystery.
Nichijou defies expectations, even within the realm of anime. Every episode of this whirlwind series offers unpredictable surprises, and none of the characters are as straightforward as they appear—except, perhaps, Yuuko, who mostly responds to the madcap antics surrounding her.
Within Yuuko’s circle of classmates, we encounter Mio, a vibrant aspiring BL manga creator, and Nano, a robotic girl burdened with an enormous crank on her back. Let’s not overlook the prodigious child prodigy Professor and her articulate feline companion, Sakamoto.
Haikyuu!! is a thrilling sports and high school anime series centered around Hinata Shoyo, an ambitious, vertically challenged student aiming to rise as one of Japan’s premier volleyball players. Despite the setbacks of losing both his first and final middle school matches to Tobio Kageyama’s team, Hinata joins Karasuno High School, embarking on his quest for volleyball greatness.
However, the plot thickens when he discovers that Kageyama has also enrolled in Karasuno due to subpar test scores preventing him from joining a superior team. Together, Hinata and Kageyama navigate the intricacies of teamwork, learning to synchronize their abilities and evolve into an indomitable duo ready to challenge the strongest high school squads in Japan.
10. Azumanga Daioh!
Azumanga Daioh! exudes a quaint charm amidst a sea of more audacious school anime series, yet it remains ever-endearing. The core ensemble comprises six girls, each capable of getting under one another’s skin, engaging in whimsical escapades, indulging in whimsical reveries, and occasionally finding themselves in perilous situations. Sakaki, the statuesque and reserved one, harbors a tender spot for feline companions, while Chiyo, the child prodigy, retains a touch of innocence despite her prodigious intellect.
Their homeroom instructor, Yukari Tanizaki, proves to be more petulant than even her own charges, and Mr. Kimura continuously spouts inappropriate remarks. Nevertheless, witnessing these girls mature in unison is heartwarming, and Azumanga Daioh! bids each character a nostalgic adieu upon their graduation.
9. Romantic Killer
Romantic Killer is a whimsical rom-com spoof anime featuring Anzu Hoshino, a reclusive redhead who adores three things: video games, chocolate, and her cat. Unexpectedly, a mischievous wizard creature named Riri materializes, casting a spell that transforms Anzu’s reality into an otome game.
Though Anzu resists every step of the way, she begrudgingly admits that it’s enthralling and enjoyable to meet new individuals and truly understand them, regardless of whether they become her shojo-style love interests. While Anzu’s primary objective is to merely meet Riri’s demands and reclaim her former life, the potential rewards extend beyond her initial aspirations.
8. Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club, a cherished comedic shojo series, is an iconic high school anime. Taking place within the prestigious Ouran high school, Haruhi Fujioka unintentionally shatters a priceless vase. In her quest to rectify the situation, she becomes a member of the host club, an enclave of attractive young men, thrusting her into a world commonly referred to as a reverse harem.
This series flawlessly balances amusement and wit, fearlessly poking fun at the prevailing conventions and stereotypes of the shojo genre. The delightful female protagonist has garnered an immense following of admirers, both male and female, who adore her endearing nature.
7. Assassination Classroom
The educational institution in Assassination Classroom diverges from the ordinary. While devoid of curses, body-swapping, or gambling, it harbors an enormous yellow extraterrestrial entity known as Koro-sensei. This peculiar invader harbors intentions of dooming the entire Earth, yet paradoxically possesses a fervent desire to educate.
Consequently, the onus falls upon the students of this class to employ meticulously engineered weaponry in their attempts to assassinate Koro-sensei. Nevertheless, this endeavor proves to be far more formidable than mere words suggest within the realm of this high school anime series. Furthermore, the students grapple with the weight of academic responsibilities such as lectures, homework, and exams amidst this unconventional milieu.
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6. The Quintessential Quintuplets
The Quintessential Quintuplets is a captivating harem anime, where enchanting magical girls are replaced by a quintet of strikingly similar sisters with contrasting personalities. Our protagonist, Futaro Uesugi, a modest yet exceedingly intelligent young man, is entrusted with the task of tutoring these five Nakano sisters, who grapple with academic struggles.
Amidst the uproarious chaos that ensues, Futaro valiantly strives to navigate the unruly nature of these vivacious siblings. However, he eventually finds respite as they begin to recognize his invaluable presence and the myriad benefits he brings into their lives. Furthermore, a tantalizing veil of mystery shrouds the ultimate question of which sister Futaro will ultimately choose as his future wife. While early hints are dropped, viewers are perpetually kept in suspense, uncertain of the eventual outcome.
Toradora! stands as a beloved school anime series, acclaimed by numerous fans. The show revolves around Taiga Aisaka, a petite yet formidable girl known for her fierce nature. Unexpectedly, she develops a profound friendship with Ryuji, a seemingly intimidating presence but truly gentle at heart.
Initially, Taiga and Ryuji strike a mutually beneficial agreement as they harbor feelings for each other’s closest companions. However, this intricate love square becomes even more entangled as Taiga and Ryuji gravitate towards one another instead. Eventually, they embark on a journey together, seeking solace and the chance to unravel the complexities of their own lives.
4. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War!
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War! is an exceptional romantic comedy anime that surpasses its high school counterparts in maturity. It skillfully delves into the complexities of love by employing psychological strategies as weapons. Within this battle of wits, the one who dares to confess their feelings first inevitably succumbs to defeat.
Within the esteemed halls of Shuchiin Academy, where education spans from preschool to college, the main protagonists Shirogane and Kaguya reign supreme as student council members. Their peers unanimously recognize their compatibility, acknowledging the undeniable cuteness they would exhibit as a couple. However, both fiercely guard their hearts, refusing to exhibit any sign of vulnerability towards one another. Yet, the intensity of their affection remains palpable and impossible to ignore.
3. A Silent Voice
A Silent Voice blends humor with a poignant and gripping narrative centered on bullying, redemption, self-acceptance, and more. The film delves into the profound struggle of two misunderstood individuals, desperate to establish clear communication for the first time, despite their stark differences.
During their sixth-grade year, Shota Ishida relentlessly tormented his deaf classmate, Shoko Nishimiya, leaving him now burdened by overwhelming guilt and self-revulsion. However, Shota refuses to surrender; he is determined to make amends, regardless of the obstacles. The film intimately explores whether Shoko can summon the strength to forgive her former tormentor, illuminating the depth of their journey.
2. Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket, a manga series with an enduring legacy, also received an anime adaptation in the 2000s. However, it has since been revitalized with a remarkably faithful retelling of the original manga. Toru Honda, an orphan girl with a kind and empathetic nature, experiences a stroke of misfortune until she finds refuge in the enigmatic and reclusive Sohma family. Unbeknownst to her, they bear a peculiar curse tied to the Chinese Zodiac, causing them to transform into animals.
As Toru strives to navigate her high school life, she becomes entangled in a complex tapestry of blossoming relationships, all while grappling with the weight of the Sohma curse and the tyrannical presence of Akito, the ruthless family head. Fruits Basket stands as a timeless shojo series, an essential watch for enthusiasts of high school dramas infused with romance.
1. Great Teacher Onizuka
Great Teacher Onizuka stands as a timeless masterpiece, for its age only adds to its allure. Through the eyes of Eikichi Onizuka, a formidable gangster turned high school educator, we embark on a journey like no other. Initially driven by self-interest to attract attention from the fairer sex, Onizuka swiftly transforms into a paragon of friendship and mentorship for his countless students.
Disdainful of the condescending and inflexible educational system, he takes it upon himself to forge genuine connections with his pupils, nurturing their intellects on his own uncompromising terms.