September, for many people, is the month of getting back to school and continuing their education. While Japanese students start school in the spring, many people reading this have just started a new year or semester of studies! After a long day stuck in class, you might want to check out these anime series that remind us that maybe school isn’t such a drag.
1. School Rumble (2005)
Tenma Tsukamoto, a quirky second-year high school student, begins her year with a sole objective: to capture the heart of Ouji Karasuma, a stoic and enigmatic young man full of surprises. However, the most fascinating character in School Rumble is Kenji Harima, a delinquent who may appear tough at first glance but harbors a surprisingly kind and compassionate heart within him. Kenji is surprisingly in love with the “girl-next-door” type, Tenma – but how can he get her attention when she’s got her eyes on Ouji Karasuma?
While School Rumble may lack a compelling plot, it fully makes up for it with presentation and hilarious, zany punch lines. Despite being released in 2004, the anime’s humor remains timeless even in 2023, making it relatable for students as they navigate through their daily school lives.
School Rumble has two full seasons that run 26 episodes each – plenty of time to spend with these characters as they trek through the difficult and rewarding parts of high school life and find love. This was exactly the kind of anime I needed as a high school student after a hard day of studying.
Perfect for fans of: Kaguya Sama: Love Is War
Studio: Studio Comet
Source Material: Manga
2. Tsuki ga Kirei (2017)
Love in junior high school can be many things. It can be playful, naive, scary, and easily broken. Kotarou Izumi, an aspiring writer, and Akane Mizuno, an athlete, experience all the emotions that come with falling in love at an inexperienced age.
Tsuki Ga Kirei embodies one of the rawest forms of young love in an anime. The show delicately and beautifully displays the intoxicating feelings middle school students experience when they are first affectionate towards another person. While numerous romance anime explore the challenges of unrequited love, this series delves into the complexities of embarking on a steady romantic relationship and enduring the pressures of being in the school’s public eye.
Tsuki Ga Kirei is an ideal 12-episode anime to indulge in during your study breaks. Its soft art style provides a relaxing and pleasant viewing experience, while its refreshing departure from the usual wacky energy of many school romance anime sets it apart.
Perfect for fans of: Horimiya
Source: Original work
3. One Week Friends (2014)
Imagine you go to school on Monday, sit in class, take tests, eat lunch with your friends, and repeat… but when Monday rolls around again, you lose every memory of the week before. This is exactly what happens to Kaori Fujimiya, a high school girl. Kaori is a subject of interest for Yuki Hase, a sixteen-year-old boy who attends the same school. Yuki spends a lot of time with Kaori throughout the week – eating lunch on the rooftop, talking in class, and anything else high school friends would do. However, Monday consistently brings the same outcome. How can Yuki make Kaori remember their times together when the weekend ends?
One Week Friends is a 12-episode story of enduring week after week of your best friend losing all your memories about you and how to deal with it. As the weekend draws near, Kaori’s defenses gradually lower, building a stronger bond with Yuki every day of the week. However, their relationship experiences setbacks as Monday arrives, rendering any progress made seemingly futile.
This interesting synopsis is complimented with fluffy animation featuring a soft color palette. Each episode will leave you wanting more, so maybe you shouldn’t binge it the night before a big exam! Although, I do recommend it if you need something light and easy to watch.
Perfect for fans of: Kimi ni Todoke
Studio: Brain’s Base
Source: 4-panel manga
4. Kiniro Mosaic (2013)
Something about experiencing a foreign culture while growing up is especially fascinating. Shinobu Omiya, a young Japanese girl, spends time in England during a homestay and falls in love with British culture and food. She befriends an English girl her age, Alice Cartelet, and spends time learning about England with a native English speaker.
Years later, Shinobu starts high school and, in a moment of inspiration, Alice decides to embark on a homestay adventure in Japan. Not only that, but she also enrolls in the very same school as Shinobu! Alice grows to love everything about Japanese culture, while Shinobu continues her fascination with British culture. Kiniro Mosaic follows a group of diverse characters as they explore their cultural differences in often comedic ways.
Kiniro Mosaic is often shortened to “Kinmoza” and features two seasons at 12 episodes each. This anime might be one to pick up if you are studying abroad and want to relate to the characters who are trying to live their best lives in an unfamiliar culture.
Perfect for fans of: K-On!
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Source: 4-panel manga
5. Gakuen Alice (2004)
Mikan Sakura is a cheerful and childish country bumpkin who follows her best friend to Tokyo to attend the prestigious Alice Academy. The school is known for its students with supernatural abilities, called “Alices.” Mikan discovers that not only does she possess a rare “Alice.” but the academy is also full of dark government secrets.
Gakuen Alice may seem like a child’s anime on the surface, but the series explores themes that are interesting to any age group. Anime with elementary-aged students as main characters can often be unappealing, but Mikan and her classmates aren’t just eating candy on the playground. As the academy shows its sinister side, Mikan and her friends have to work together to avoid danger in an adult-ran environment.
Gakuen Alice has that nostalgic art style that a person may expect from a 2004 anime adaptation of a shoujo manga. Throughout its 26 episodes, get ready for a balance of comedy, drama, and action.
Perfect for fans of: Fruits Basket
Studio: Group TAC
If you’re looking to treat yourself to an indulgent anime marathon after acing a massive test or if you simply need a well-deserved break from studying, this list has got you covered with a diverse range of anime options to cater to every individual. High school and university are undoubtedly some of the most demanding periods in life. However, fortunately, anime can help make your break time a little more enjoyable and alleviate some of the challenges you face during this time!
Featured image: ©Matcha Hazuki/Square Enix/“One Week Friends” Production Committee