High school anime shows are common. At least every season you can expect to see a new high school anime one way or another.
Usually blended into genres like:
And sometimes horror or fantasy.
With the school genre being one of the 5 or so biggest anime genres it’s no surprise.
Here are some anime I’ve watched that you should give a go for different reasons.
1. The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K
Saiki K is where I’ll start because I don’t know too many school anime that surpass it.
It’s about a psychic who’s introverted and wants to be left alone to do his own thing. But one way or another people are drawn to him.
The funny thing about this slice of life/comedy is Saiki K speaks telepathically, without once using his mouth. But no one pays it any mind because he’s causing them not to with his abilities.
No outrageous fan service, lewd episodes or dumb over the top humour that tries its best to make you laugh.
Everything flows naturally in Saiki K, and it’s special considering how clean it is in general.
Toradora is an anime I started out hating. The constant physical abuse from the main female character to the male character was irritating. I even dropped it.
Later I came back to it and gave it another try, and haven’t regretted it ever since. That’s what makes Toradoraspecial.
It’s the type of anime that has characters who will piss you off, and episodes that will raise your blood pressure. But the comedy, the feels, the story and how it develops are priceless.
It takes a lot for an anime to force you to like it, regardless of how it starts and how the characters’ personalities fit into the plot.
3. School Rumble
School Rumble is an old school classic by today’s standards. Made in the early 2000’s. Even now the comedy is still refreshing and the characters are legit.
You have Tenma, who’s an air head, simple, but has a big heart and makes the comedy light up.
And there’s Harima, a manga artist who evolves from being a delinquent in his past life. And he loves Tenma.
Misunderstandings, daft humor, character progression, twists, it has it all. And with 2 seasons with a 3rd in need of adapting.
Hyouka is a reflection of the boring things you can get up to in school. Except Hyouka makes those “boring” topics interesting and entertaining.
The main characters turn the silliest sh*t into mini investigations they all work together to uncover and find out the truth of.
One character: Eru Chitanda is extremely curious, and the other: Oreki is the mastermind.
Hyouka is one of Kyoto Animation’s best anime. And it has a unique plot a lot of anime don’t explore. Especially not with the same style.
5. Daily Lives Of High School Boys
Daily Lives Of High School Boys is about the dumbest sh*t boys get up to in school. And that’s obvious from the first episode. the 2nd episode and everything beyond that.
The comedy is gender specific, after all, it’s about high school boys and how they live their daily lives. But that’s not to say you can’t see the humour in it if you’re a woman.
I’d call it the “male” version of something like K-On, but without the Moe and Kawaii designs and episodes.
6. Kill La Kill
Dragon Ball Z. With the other major difference being it’s based in school, but the action is just as flashy. If not better animated and detailed.
Ryuko Matoi is on the hunt for her fathers killer. It’s her motivation and purpose in life. And that’s how she ends up at the school of Honnouji Academy.
Studio Trigger outdid themselves. It’s one of the best action/school anime of the last decade.
7. Kaguya Sama
Kaguya Sama shares similarities with Compulsive Gambler. But it’s nowhere near as crazy or extreme.
It’s an anime about love, romance, and the war between the main characters. A war that ends up being comical, witty, and in some cases: thought-provoking because of the strategies and tactics.
K-On is just a classic at this point.
It’s one of the major “Moe” anime that started the trend off in a big way. And even “Kawaii” characters as well.
Definitely Kyoto Animation’s best work of art (one of). And with no plot to speak of the anime goes in random directions that end up:
- Making you laugh
- Questioning what you’re watching
- Warming to the character’s personalities
- Anticipating what will happen next
It’s a daft slice of life/school anime. The humour is underrated.
9. Assassination Classroom
Assassination Classroom is a school series you don’t come across too often.
For the main character for one (the teacher) isn’t human, to begin with. And he’s one of the best teachers a student could ask for.
The story is focused on training students to KILL and assassinate their teacher because in a certain amount of time he’s gonna “destroy” the planet.
That might sound contradictory to the point of Koro Sensei being a good teacher, but that’s why you need to watch it if you haven’t. The beauty in finding out will surprise you and you’ll walk away impressed with the anime’s plot.
Relevant: 12 Of Greatest Anime Teachers You’ll Ever Meet
10. My Hero Academia
So far I’ve watched 3 seasons and am waiting for the 4th to finish. But the anime is solid and has refreshed the Shounen genre like no other anime has.
The school aspect is only one element of My Hero Academia. But the way characters work together, and the life lessons that show up throughout the anime make MHA a solid anime.
It’s one of the greatest school anime if you wanna be specific.
Related: The BEST Life Advice You Can Learn From 53 Anime Characters
11. Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends
Haganai, as the title implies is about friendship and loneliness. Being a teenager in high school and not being the best at socializing.
How do you make friends? How do you talk to people and get to know them?
The main characters start a group called The Neighbours club to fulfil that goal.
The anime shows:
And has strong profanity (F bombs and what not) plus some Ecchi elements to it as well.
It’s the type of slice of life that’s mature and doesn’t shy away from it.
Charlotte is another superpower/school series. The power system in this anime isn’t typical of these types of shows.
Anime characters aren’t:
- Too strong
- Over the top
Or anything like that. Each ability has its limits, and that’s what makes Charlotte more grounded and even realistic in some ways.
The story is about teenagers with superpowers, and how the main characters patrol the city to stop other teenagers with powers from abusing those abilities.
13. Engaged To The Unidentified
Not the best anime title I’ve come across, but the anime itself (produced by Doga Kobo) is a slice of life/comedy. With school being a smaller part of the plot and main theme.
It’s about Kobeni Yonomori who’s pressured to “marry” someone she’s never met before. But the plot starts to change and reveal secrets the more you get into it.
Romance is subtle in this anime, but the wild mix of personalities and relaxed episodes is something slice of life fans can appreciate.
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Danganronpa, adapted from a video game is a psychological series about students locked inside of their…. school.
It’s not a facility for education, but a sick twisted prison-like school where the characters’ lives are on the line.
Not a gory anime like other shows that are similar, but the main theme is brutal. And the biggest highlight is the psychological damage and games that play out from the start.
It’s the perfect example of what happens when people are forced to do what they have to, just to survive. Even if that means working against each other, instead of with each other to achieve the same goal.
ReLife is about getting another chance at life. And having the opportunity to start over again.
That’s the long and short of what this anime is all about.
The main character: Kaizaki Arata is a NEET and is struggling in life financially. Plus he hates his job with a passion, morally.
He meets a guy who’s able to give him a “magic” pill so he can relive and start his life again – 10 years younger (18-19 years old). So you can imagine the episodes focus a lot on life lessons, personal development and self-improvement.
For this reason, ReLife is a mature school/slice of life with characters who are older than the usual ages you tend to see.
Gamers is all about misunderstandings, and the comedy that comes with that. Made in 2017 by Pure Jam, a new studio with a small catalogue.
To this day it’s still one of my all-time favourite comedy anime, and it’s only 12 episodes long.
If you’re into Gintama, My Bride Is A Mermaid, Nozaki Kun or similar shows then try this one.
Nichijou, made by Kyoto Animation is a comedy series almost everyone knows about, or you’ll know someone who’s recommended it.
For an anime made by Kyoto Animation, the approach to comedy is a lot different to their usual style. As well as the art style.
Expect extreme comedy and some of the most ridiculous episodes, silly characters and dialogue you’ve ever seen.
18. Himouto! Umaru Chan
Himouto! Umaru Chan is made by Doga Kobo. If you’re familiar with their style of anime you’ll be familiar with Umaru’s art style and themes.
Umaru Doma is two-faced.
In school, she’s the perfect student and inspires others. But at home, she’s a lazy little sh*t who plays video games, eats potato chips, drinks coca-cola and annoys her older brother.
19. Food Wars
Food Wars is in a league of its own when it comes to school anime. Nothing about it is similar or comparable to the average.
It’s an anime that takes food, adds a little Ecchi, and throws in Shounen to make it competitive and entertaining. There are plenty of life lessons you can take from it if that’s your thing.
The food, the dishes, and each meal in Food Wars look gorgeous and there’s nothing as stunning as far as quality.
Relevant: 37 Delicious Anime Food Photos That Will Make You Drool
Kakegurui is like Food Wars in the sense that it’s different and in its own lane for these types of anime.
It’s about gambling in school, which means a lot of people lose money and some students make money. But one main character does it all for the f*ck of it and doesn’t care about how risky it is.
This is what makes Kakegurui a little more dramatic and tense during battles between relevant characters. And the consequences that come with losing.
21. Maid Sama
Maid Sama is a classic rom com by J.C Staff. And one of the earlier anime to influence certain tropes and designs we see in these types of shows.
The main protagonist: Misaki Ayuzawa comes from a family buried in debt. And she’s doing whatever it takes to pay it off to take the burden off her mother. It gets to a point she works herself to exhaustion.
Usui Takumi, the male protagonist is the guy who brings humour to Maid Sama. And balances everything out.
Shimoneta is an Ecchi with class. And I say that because it’s clever about the way it delivers fan service, and doesn’t do it just for the sake of it.
The anime is about an SJW society that’s against anything “unclean” like dirty jokes, sex, or perversion And that’s where the comedy comes into play.
Easily one of the freshest Ecchi anime shows in the industry, with some of the best content and themes ever done (made by J.C Staff).
Haikyuu is a stellar sports series, and one of the latest ones to hit it big in the success department. And it manages to do it all without following Kuroko No Basket (and using fan service).
You get your typical main characters, one of them being energetic and hype. With dreams, goals and a serious work ethic.
And the other protagonist is the opposite in some ways, which gives them both a healthy balance. Making their roles dynamic.
Haikyuu is nothing like most school anime and for good reason.
Nisekoi is made by Studio SHAFT, the studio known for:
- Madoka Magica.
- Arakawa Under The Bridge.
And other anime.
Nisekoi has the familiar “shaft” art style that I love more than any other comparable studio. It knows how to make its characters shine artistically.
It’s about two main characters with family members who are gangsters. And their “relationship” that’s forced on them to because of the rivalries of each family’s gang.
25. Monthly Girls Nozaki Kun
Monthly Girls Nozaki Kun is about a manga artist and the girl: Chiyo Sakura who falls in love with him.
Sounds like a cliché Shoujo doesn’t it? And the irony is Nozaki Kun (the manga artist) makes a lot of Shoujo Manga.
It’s a bit of a gag anime with stupid comedy and dramatized humour. With some misunderstandings but at the end of the day – good characters that keep you entertained.
Depending on who you ask, fans either LOVE this anime or hate the comedy. But that’s for you to decide.
Related: 12 Of The Funniest Rom Com Anime That Are English Dubbed
Another is a horror series produced by P.A Works, and is an anime genre they’re not known for trying too often.
The anime focuses on a calamity, a mysterious issue in school where people are dying at random. Usually in the most savage way possible and it’s beyond their own control.
It’s not just students, it’s teachers as well.
The horror at times might seem dramatic and overdone, but Another is a decent show when all is said and done.
Related: 8 Of The Greatest P.A Works Anime You Should Consider
27. How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend
Saekano: How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend is about Tomoya who wants to build a dating sim game. And along the way “cute” girls help him on his journey of creating one.
One of the main characters: Megumi Kato is a literal cliché character, and the anime is self-aware to it. That’s what makes it appealing and gives it more flavour.
Not your typical harem. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
28. Kokoro Connect
Kokoro Connect is one of the most complex school series on this list. And in general.
What’s more surprising is how it’s not even labelled as a psychological anime when it should be.
Each of the main characters is forced into situations against their will. Like having them act on their instincts by force, even if that means violence, sex, or anything you can imagine.
Throughout these trials and tribulations there’s:
- Friendship problems
And by the time you finish the anime you’ll understand why this anime is a lot deeper than it looks.
More so on a psychological level.
The characters are relatable.
Oregairu is an anime with undertones, hidden messages that go deep, and complex characters. You can tell an effort was made to create and write each character.
The usual tropes and characteristics of rom-com and slice of life anime aren’t here.
Each episode and the story being told are with quality in mind.
The plot itself isn’t simplistic but the running theme of Oregairu is about friendship, society, and everything that falls in between.
Orange doesn’t get a lot of shout-outs, mostly because it’s not a popular or mainstream romance/Shoujo. But the meaningful plot and story helps it stand out from an average school series.
The main character is depressed and has suicidal thoughts. And he keeps pushing away his friends because of the depressed state he’s in.
This character’s name is Kakeru Naruse.
It’s a short anime and you can expect deep episodes with emotional themes that many people can relate to, and understand.
31. Sukitte li Na Yo
Sukitte li Na Yo is a recent Shoujo I watched in 2020. And like a lot of Shoujo – it has elements to it that are likeable.
No brainless fan service, or unnecessary tropes (unless it’s in context). And the main theme involves friendship, and loneliness to an extent and relationships have layers to them anyone can relate to in school.
The characters will either piss you off or you’ll warm to them. It depends on how you view what’s happening.
32. Gakkou Gurashi
Gakkou Gurashi is another unique school series with horror and comedy when it’s within context.
It’s about 4 girls who are some of the last survivors after a zombie apocalypse breaks out.
Each one of them is stuck inside a school with some rations, food and supplies to help them survive.
It sounds and looks like a gentle anime but that’s until you come across themes like:
- Mental Illness.
- Emotional breakdowns.
And similar circumstances that push the characters against the wall, leaving them with no option but to adapt and persevere.
Other Relevant Anime:
- Little Witch Academia.
- Classroom Of The Elite.
- Prison School.
- High School DxD.
- The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya.
- My Bride Is A Mermaid.
- Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto!
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