Anime high school stereotypes, cliches, and tropes are typical for a reason. People like it.
It’s a source of:
And setting up a plot which later becomes more creative or unexpected because of the setup.
Either way, let’s talk about it.
Here’s a list.
High school stereotypes and cliches in anime:
1. Overly excited character
Akiho Senomiya is a good one. She’s the female MC in the school anime Robotic Notes, where building a giant robot is the initial goal before the plot gets darker and more mysterious.
She’s full of energy.
Koro Sensei from Assassination Classroom is another high-energy main character from a school series.
There’s also Bakugou Ktasuki from My Hero Academia.
This stereotype is common in school shows, regardless of whether it’s paired with Shonen or not.
2. MC sitting by the window in the corner
Death Note even shows this, if I’m not mistaken. Light Yagami is seen sitting in the corner by the window in typical high school fashion.
Other anime, like Aharen Is Indescipehrable, shows this.
Plus, anime like:
- It’s YOU Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular.
- Tamako Market.
- Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto!
And too many others feature this high school stereotype.
3. Childhood crush
Nisekoi is the anime that comes to mind. Kosaki Onodera is the childhood friend of Raku Ichijou, the male MC. She’s too shy, introverted, and self-conscious to say it straight.
She’s too thoughtful of others to her own detriment at times.
The anime series Boarding School Juliet shows this as well. Hasuki Komai, the black-haired female childhood character, doesn’t have things the way she wants them with her love interest, which she took too long to confess to.
Related: Why The Best Girl Tends To Lose In Anime
4. British/European transfer student (or regular transfer student)
This happens so often that it can’t be denied. The anime Azumanga Daioh, released in the early 2000s and responsible for the moe genre, shows this high school cliche in a standard way.
Osaka, real name Ayumu, transfers into the school and is from Osaka. And they stereotype her, expecting her to eat certain foods, and speak a certain way, etc.
But more commonly since the 2010s, you have anime like Kiniro Mosaic, where a blonde girl named Alice transfers in.
This is repeated to death in so many anime.
5. Double agent lifestyle
Umaru Doma from Umaru Chan is a good example. She goes to school where she’s seen as the perfect student. She’s kind, smiles a lot, seems happy, helps others, and every other cliche.
She’s glowing while walking down the hallways.
At home, she’s lazy as F, is a slob, and expects her brother to do everything for her (this is who she really is).
You see this in the anime that probably inspired Umaru Chan, called His And Her Circumstances.
You also see it in the classic series The Gokusen, where the female teacher is a Yakuza but hides it and plays the role of an airheaded woman who knows no better.
6. The quiet Dandere
Kotomi Ichinose from the classicromance anime Clannad is a good example of the quiet dandere girl who may or may not be smart and intelligent as well.
She minds her business and is in her own world, and this is a cliche seen often.
Naru Sekiya from the anime Hanayamata also is like this and is then approached by someone who’s more “outgoing” and forms a relationship with the dandere character in question.
7. The main character gets bullied and saved by someone
Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple, a classic anime from the early 2000s, shows this in detail. Kenichi Shirahama, the MC, is bullied and is so used to it that he accepts his reality.
It’s not until Miu Furinji, an expert martial artist who grew up around martial artists, “protects” Kenichi and welcomes him to her dojo where she lives.
This is where Kenichi is trained by the best martial artists around and becomes strong enough to defend himself and stop the bullies.
It’s a typical high school anime trope. Even MHA has an element of it.
8. Romantic interest sits next to MC’s seat in the corner
The currently airing anime series, The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses, shows this perfectly. Komura Kun, as he’s called, is the male MC of the show.
Mie-San, as she’s called, is the romantic interest, and they sit next to each other, with Komura sitting by the window in a typical high school cliche fashion.
This is repeated in dozens if not 100s of anime like Aharen San Is Indecipherable, a 2022 anime series.
9. Perfect student that excels at everything
We see it all the time. There’s “Angel”, or more accurately, Shiina Mashiru from the anime “The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten”.
She’s the perfect student who excels, is pretty, is liked by boys, is loved by girls, is kind and helpful, etc.
Touko Nanami is another perfect student from Bloom Into You, where everyone admires her and thinks she’s the perfect ideal in every way possible (which is far from the truth).
The anime Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto! takes this to an extreme, making it almost a parody.
10. Substitute teacher
Substitute teachers are so common it’s funny. Take the anime Rokudenashi as the perfect example. This series has a substitute teacher called Glenn Radars, who other principals in the school aren’t happy about.
He’s lazy, laid back, hilarious,s sarcastic, and too easygoing. But he is smart when he tries.
The anime The Ultimate Otaku Teacher follows this cliche with Junichirou Kagami becoming a substitute teacher. He USS gaming analogies to stir his students’ imagination and help them connect the dots on boring subjects.
This is repeated in the 2000s anime series The Gokusen and many others.
The substitute teachers, in a lot of cases, are main characters, relevant characters, and have a deeper impact on the students than the “regular” teachers would have otherwise.