The Good High School Anime

Summer is coming to an end and a small part of me just wants to go back to school! To make up for the fact that I am no longer a student, I’ve been re-watching a few of my favourite high school anime. What I love the most about anime is that you can experience all sorts of different lives merely through the act of watching!

– Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
– Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
– Gin no Saji
– Tsuritama
– Hyouka

So what’s so good about being in high school (in an anime)? You’ll see, you’ll see.


1. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School)

What determines whether or not you are competent or talented? Does the evolution of technology always involve something destructive?

Somber and gory at times, Mahouka is not your average high school anime. It addresses high school issues like bullying, prejudice, and ability grouping, but also showcases the thrill of achieving victory with friends and teammates. Except with magic. And there are also heartless and cold-blooded killings. Sounds intense, right?

Set in the future of our world, magic in the show is not a fantastical force, but one that is developed and programmed through practice and experiment. The writers firmly establish the concept of magic with details like precise magic-activation sequences and a plethora of magic skills. I find it a shame that magic is mainly used to fight or compete in Mahouka instead of being applied more creatively. The wide scope of the use of magic has the potential for contributing to other aspects of society other than military and combat. Since it’s an action-packed anime, I guess that’s what you would typically expect.

Even though Mahouka establishes the science of magic very well, its attempts at humor are weak. The weird dynamic and sexual tension between the siblings implies incest, I guess some people are into that sort of thing. The stellar fight scenes and intriguing story-line were enough to keep me watching, so here, have a 8.1/10.


2. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Can a high school anime be good without cheesy romance?! Your crush is a manga artist, what do you do!?

The subtitle should be “A Short Girl’s Adventure with Her Many-Coloured-Hair Friends.” A slice-of-life of an oblivious manga artist and his number one “fan,” the anime is filled with school activities and manga-related scenes that are bittersweet and whimsical. Lighthearted and sweet, Nozaki-kun will pick you up from a depressing day~

Like a blast of AC on a humid summer’s day, this anime is so refreshing. It takes a different stance on the one-sided romance by portraying an atypical courtship without being sappy. The anime toys with the audience as much as its characters, so it felt like I was also a part of the cast.

Despite having quite a few archetypal characters, the characters’ relationships are unpredictable and spontaneous. The main character and her love interest have a strange relationship that thwarts conventional romantic expectations. Between the laughs, there are still some bittersweet moments~ 9/10


3. Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon)

Do grades truly assess our potential? Is a farm anime going to be interesting enough?

Hiromu Arakawa is the manga artist of this anime. Ring a bell? Yes, the anime classic –Fullmetal Alchemist– is her older work. Gin no Saji captures the coming-of-age story through a boy’s adventures at an agricultural high school. Escaping his authoritarian father, the protagonist endures harsh labour and matures physically and mentally. Even if you didn’t grow up on a farm, you can easily relate to this anime because the characters are developed very well with extensive background stories. The anime might also be encouraging the audience to buy from local farmers, haha.

Warm, soothing, and hilarious, Gin no Saji excels at portraying emotions and conflict. Through an outspoken main character, the audience is able to understand his feelings and struggles on a deeper level because he lets us into his thoughts. Additionally, thorough research has definitely been conducted to produce extremely detailed and realistic settings and plot, like the kind of facilities an agricultural school might have and the day-to-day schedule of a Dairy Science student. Can’t expect less from Hiromu-sensei!

I’ve watched the show three times already, and each time was just as funny and touching as the first. As a pick-me-up anime, Gin no Saji reminds us that even though we sometimes struggle in pursuit of our dreams, as long as we continue to work hard, our efforts will be fruitful! 9.5/10


4. Tsuritama

What are aspects of humanity that even aliens can understand? What makes a friend a friend?

“A fishing anime!? That doesn’t sound very exciting—” Oh, just you wait, it’s so much more than that. Full of surprises and silly scenes, Tsuritama explores the power of friendship (with aliens) and advises us to set aside assumptions and preconceptions. The bold art style is a feast for the eyes and truly captures the creative story-line.

Although it takes 5 episodes to understand exactly what is going on, you will be rewarded if you have a bit of faith. As unconventional as a fishing anime already sounds, the show has its own legends and beliefs that make it wild and bizarre. However, at the center of its peculiarity, the anime is simply about the friendship of 4 boys. The name of the boat in the anime –Seishunmaru (Youth-circle)– tells it all. When you overcome an obstacle with friends, a strong and lasting bond will flourish. And that, readers, is the spirit of youth.

Enoshima-Don! Face your fears; friendship will guide you 🙂 8.7/10


5. Hyouka

Watashi kininarimasu!” (“I’m curious!”). It all started with this girl and her curiosity…

An unlikely protagonist who loves to conserve energy and do nothing has his life turned around when a nosy and gung ho girl enters his life. Incorporating modern detective shorts, the anime presents the mystery within the mystery and often leaves breadcrumbs for the audience to follow. This is one for beginner Sherlockians.

This anime may be a bit slow to develop the story compared to others, but each episode builds up its foundation meticulously for a fuller experience at the end of each arc. Using 4 distinct and complex characters to subvert common characteristics of high school students, the anime truly becomes its own.

Hyouka employs a visual and figurative approach to show the character’s state of mind, which is both poetic and expressionistic. Unlike outright jokes, the subtle humor in the anime does not demand a laugh and also adheres to its mellow style. As a mystery and poetry fan, the show has been an all-time favourite. Soothing and sweet, yet serious and stirring at times, Hyouka is an unforgettable slice-of-life story.9.2/10

There are so many anime based on high school life. I guess it is truly the pinnacle of youth? Now, I will begin my search for good anime set in universities or offices. I’m sure there will be some, right? I mean, it can’t get THAT boring being an adult, right?!

Maybe I will just keep watching high school anime… (Escaping reality).

Until next time!


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