A good portion of popular animes are set in high schools, but only a few manage to capture the experience of being a student — or skillfully discard it for a unique approach to high-school life.
And while most of these shows predominantly fall in the slice-of-life or shounen categories, there are other gems that are more suited as horror, supernatural, or even mecha/action.
Today, let's look at some of the best of these animes and find one that you should watch next!
1. God Of High-School
A tournament takes place to determine the best fighter among all high school students in Korea. Mori Jin, a Taekwondo specialist and a high school student, soon learns that there is something much greater beneath the stage of the tournament.
The Masterpiece of High-School Animes
Words can't describe this masterpiece. The entire anime community was taken by storm when this show first came out, and understandably so: it's flawless. The action, the animation and the exciting soundtrack — everything about this anime keeps you grinning with giddy excitement! We only have season one so far, but as someone who's read the manhwa as well, I can tell you that the world is not ready for the rest of this show.
Inspired after watching a volleyball ace nicknamed "Little Giant" in action, small-statured Shouyou Hinata revives the volleyball club at his middle school. The newly-formed team even makes it to a tournament; however, their first match turns out to be their last when they are brutally squashed by the "King of the Court," Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama, and so after graduating from middle school, he joins Karasuno High School's volleyball team—only to find that his sworn rival, Kageyama, is now his teammate.
The Best High-School Sports Anime
Whike Haikyuu predominantly falls into the sports side of the spectrum, it's cast and setting firmly place it in the High-School anime genre as well. And honestly, it tops both categories without much competition. Haikyuu!! is the best anime of our time, and most of its audience could not stop raving about it even if they wanted to. The comedic-dynamic between the characters and intensity of the plot somehow flow so well together, it glues you to the screen. You're only doing yourself a favor by watching this anime.
Unlike many schools, attending Hyakkaou Private Academy prepares students for their time in the real world. Since many of the students are the children of the richest people in the world, the academy has its quirks that separate it from all the others. By day, it is a normal school, educating its pupils in history, languages, and the like. But at night, it turns into a gambling den, educating them in the art of dealing with money and manipulating people. Money is power; those who come out on top in the games stand at the top of the school. Yumeko Jabami, a seemingly naive and beautiful transfer student, is ready to try her hand at Hyakkaou's special curriculum. Unlike the rest, she doesn't play to win, but for the thrill of the gamble, and her borderline insane way of gambling might just bring too many new cards to the table.
Welcome To The Gambling School
Kakegurui is one of the most thrilling animes in existence. The show promises a dizzying level of mind-games at the table, and it might sound like I'm exaggerating, but this show is the best. Everything about this show will leave you orgasmic — from the insane voice-acting to the high-stakes plot that makes your heart pound in your palms. The music and animation is borderline scary, and honestly, once you witness life at Yumeko's high-school, your life might never be the same.
Since the discovery of "quirks," over 80% of humanity has evolved to grow superpowers like shapeshifting and elemental manipulation. However, this has left the rest of the world completely powerless, and Izuku "Deku" Midoriya is one such individual.
But when Deku becomes the inheritor of one of the world's most powerful quirks, he finally has a chance to become a superhero. Enduring many months of grueling training, Izuku enrolls in UA High, a prestigious high school famous for its excellent hero training program, and this year's freshmen look especially promising. With his bizarre but talented classmates and the looming threat of a villainous organization, Izuku will soon learn what it really means to be a hero.
The High-School For Superheroes
BNHA is hardly an anime anybody needs to testify for. One of the biggest shounen titles ever, this anime speaks volumes for itself through the immense popularity it has gained. If you're looking for a classic shounen-esque anime set in a school (for superheroes!), you're in for a treat with BNHA's beautiful animation and inspiring plotline.
When a mysterious creature chops the moon down to a permanent crescent, the students in class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Middle School find themselves confronted with an enormous task: assassinate the creature responsible for the disaster before Earth suffers a similar fate. However, the misfits of 3-E soon find that the strange, tentacled beast is their new homeroom teacher!
Assassinate Your Teacher!
Despite the story being about a class of high-schoolers plotting the murder of their teacher, Assassination Classroom is actually a very lighthearted comedy series. The show takes a satirical approach to the high-school experience, and though it's filled with action, it's primary attraction is the humor. However, the show isn't without its occasional heartfelt moments and life lessons (delivered straight to you by a very amusing alien). If you like shows like Gintama and want something similar (set in a school), this is the perfect anime for you.
Piano prodigy Kousei Arima is left traumatized at the sudden death of his mother. His downward spiral leads him away from the piano, and years later Kousei still avoids the piano and lives a colorless life alongside his friends Tsubaki Sawabe and Ryouta Watari. However, everything changes when he meets a beautiful violinist, Kaori Miyazono, who stirs up his world and sets him on a journey to face music again.
The Lives Of Music Students
If you're in mood for a school anime that'll tug at your heart and make you sob like a baby, Your Lie In April is what you've been looking for. The animation will leave you craving a touch of the 2D world, but let me assure you, nothing will prepare you for the sheer grief you'll feel by the time you reach the ending. The music is top-tier, and so are the characters. But be warned: you're in for heartbreak with this one.
After being given a mysterious power to control others, an outcast prince becomes the masked leader of the rebellion against an all powerful empire.
High-School Student Plays The Role Of God
In the list of "anime masterpieces," Code Geass would be at the top. But given that we're specifically talking about high-school, and that this anime slightly deviates from that theme, I placed it here. Nonetheless, Code Geass starts out as the story of high-school student Lelouch, an evil mastermind, as he sets out to play the role of God and uses the world as his chess board. People describe this show as a more colorful version of Death Note, but I'm inclined to disagree. This anime has all the incredible mind-games, but unlike DN, there's a whole lot of mecha action too. The anime places great focus on high-schoolers and their part in an evolving world, which is why I believe you should watch it.
Somehow, the guitar that he used to love to play and the basketball games that he found so fun just lost their appeal... That was until Ritsuka Uenoyama randomly met Mafuyu Sato. Ritsuka had started losing his passion for music in his everyday life, but then he hears Mafuyu sing for the first time. The song resonates with his heart and the distance between them starts to change.
An BL Masterpieces
Given is PHENOMENAL. There are no other words to describe this anime. With its stellar plot and music that makes you feel like you're riding a bike alone under the starry sky, this anime makes you feel all the human emotions you never thought you'd feel. Despite being short, the anime does a spectacular job at fleshing the characters and the mystery surrounding Mafuyu's guitar. I cried at the ending, but I was also covered with goosebumps. One of the best, truly.
Ranked the top student in the nation, Miyuki serves as the student council president. Alongside him, the vice president Kaguya—eldest daughter of the wealthy Shinomiya family—excels in every field imaginable. They are the envy of the entire student body, regarded as the perfect couple. However, despite both having already developed feelings for the other, neither is willing to admit them. The first to confess loses, will be looked down upon, and will be considered the lesser. With their honor and pride at stake, Miyuki and Kaguya are both equally determined to be the one to emerge victorious on the battlefield of love!
Love Is War Indeed
Set in the renowned Shuchiin Academy, this show is a fresh breath of air in the romantic comedy genre. The music and art is adorable, but the drama that unfolds makes you want to simultaneously throw things and laugh in giddy delight. If you're looking for something funny and amusing, this should be your pick.
Rebellious teens fight in armed combat against one dispassionate girl's supernatural powers in an afterlife high school.
High-school Of The Dead
This has to be one of the most unique premises in all of anime history. The anime is set in a school in afterlife, where students refuse to "move on" and be erased from existence. We watch as the characters go about their ordinary high-school experience while simultaneously struggling with the fact that they're dead. It's a perfect blend of well executed humor and heartbreaking melodrama, and one of the best shows to find yourself watching.
I’m a 23-year-old Japanese anime geek. I love anime and it is the thing that sustains and refreshes my life. I want more people to know about anime. That's why I write articles about my favorite anime.