People spend a lot of their early life at school. From Kindergarten to College, school is an important part of our daily routine. It’s where we get an education, friends, enemies, and even romance. Because of this, schools are a perfect setting for almost all kinds of stories: Mystery, horror, romance, sports, and drama. Not only that but we also can have very different backgrounds depending on whether it’s a public or a private school, or exclusive to one gender as opposed to a mixed student body.
School stories also tend to have big casts without much effort. There are many students in each school, and thus, there’s always a new story to discover among the many extras that may or may not be friends with the main characters. With such a variety of stories, some school anime are made for boys, and others for girls. And here we are going to countdown the top 10 school anime for girls.
10. Hibike! Euphonium (Sound! Euphonium)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2015 – July 2015
Kumiko Oumae used to play the euphonium—a wind instrument similar to a tuba, but smaller—until a certain incident that took place during her middle school competition towards the nationals. Since then, she has been avoiding music everywhere, but when her friends Hazuki and Sapphire join the High School brass band club, they pressure her to join as the second euphonium player. The other one is Reina Kousaka, an old classmate of Kumiko, and someone who was also involved in the incident that made Kumiko quit music.
Hibike! Euphonium can be used as an example of how there’s an anime about every hobby. Because, let’s be real, who would’ve thought that the misadventures of a brass band where the main character plays an instrument that looks like a Tuba would be so engaging? We have had some great music-inspired anime, but Hibike! Is one of the most specialized series, giving more focus to one set of instruments and the particular pressure that playing them requires. Add to that an amazing cast of very interesting girl players, and this series is the winner of the tenth place on our list.
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: April 2012 – September 2012
Houtarou Oreki has a very simple life philosophy: “If I don’t need to do it, I won’t do it. If I have to do it, I will do it quick.” Basically, that means that he won’t move or join any club that requires physical activity. Or at least, that’s what he was trying to do in high school until his sister pretty much dragged him to join the Classic Club, and then he got involved in what the club does: Investigate the mystery that surrounds the club room that apparently began when the school was originally built.
Many School anime use the excuse of the school club to start the story and get every character together. Hyouka does this in a very smart way: we get to learn about the club at the same time as Houtarou. He may not want to be part of the club at the beginning, but the mystery behind the club's story, and the other mysteries that come to their door once their reputation as detectives grows, make staying in the club an interesting challenge that may even get him to change his slacker ways. The mystery and the other club members make the series very enjoyable, so it earns the ninth place on our list.
8. Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: January 2015 – June 2015
Nagisa Shiota hasn't had an easy school life. As part of the infamous E class of Kunugigaoka Middle School, he's bullied by every other class in school because that's how the system works: Classes A to D are expected to excel and Class E is separate from them in a shed because no one thinks they will amount to anything. But at the start of their third year, Nagisa and his classmates are informed that an alien destroyed most of the moon and that unless they kill him before the school year is over, he'll do the same to the Earth. Oh, and he's their new teacher so they will have many chances to try to destroy him.
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu is an amazing anime. The premise may sound weird at first, but once the story starts it becomes a speedy ride of action, drama, and touching educational moments. While everyone in 3-E knows they have to kill their teacher, they also start realizing that Kuro-sensei is the best teacher they ever had. This is because he treats each one as an individual and cares for their education. Under the action and the comedy lies a scalding criticism of Japan’s strict school system, and that is why it earns the eighth place on our list.
7. Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet (Boarding School Juliet)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2018 – December 2018
No matter how much you like or dislike your classmates, most schools have a great advantage: you get to go home. The exceptions to this rule are boarding schools, where your room may not be your own space and keeping secrets is really hard. At Dahlia Academy, this is the main problem that Romio Inuzuka and Juliet Persia have: Romio is the leader of the Black Doggys’ House, and a member of the Towa Nation, while Juliet leads the White Cats’ House of the Principality of the West. Because of the rivalry between both countries, Romio and Juliet must keep their romance secret while they try to reach the Prefect position to put an end to the fighting once and for all.
Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet is a new take on the Romeo and Juliet story, with fewer deaths and more hijinks. The forbidden romance is very engaging—it's a story that has remained a favorite of mankind through centuries—and the characters are charming. Not only will you find yourself cheering for Romio and Juliet to reach their goal, every one of their classmates has a special something that will make you love them too. And since we're big fans of true love stories, Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet earns the seventh place on our list.
6. Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2015 – September 2015
Besides the general education schools, we also have some very specialized schools in the world. We’re talking about schools where you can master a trade. Tootsuki Culinary Academy one such school where teens that want to be the best chefs in Japan fight each other in “food wars” and only 10% of the student body manages to graduate. Souma Yukihira is a freshman that will stop at nothing to reach his dream of becoming a better chef than his father, even if that means he has to step over all his fellow classmates.
Shokugeki no Souma isn’t a series to watch if you are hungry because all the delicious food that the characters prepare is guaranteed to make your mouth water. Besides that, the ridiculous high stakes that the school’s policy puts on every single class and tests make the series very dramatic. The best part of it is that if you are one of those people who feel they can’t cook because they burn water, it will give you inspiration to learn and become a better cook. This is why Shokugeki no Souma get the sixth place on our list.
5. Asobi Asobase (Asobi Asobase: Workshop of Fun)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2018 – September 2018
Board games aren't fun if you always lose. That's why Kasumi Nomura hates them; her older sister always beat her so Kasumi never saw the point in playing. Instead, she decided to focus on her studies, but she still has troubles with English. When she sees the transfer student Olivia playing with Hanako, another classmate, Kasumi decides to try to get Olivia to teach her the language. Olivia agrees, but she later has to admit that she has no idea how to speak it because she was born and raised in Japan.
Asobi Asobase is a very fun slice of life series. Hanako is rich and she was lucky to be assigned as Oliva’s guide at school since her erratic nature and many weird hobbies caused her to have very few friends. Kasumi, on the other hand, is the straight man to Hanako’s weirdness, which creates some tension between the two. In the middle, we have Olivia, who claims she created the pastime club to learn how Japanese people have fun, but in truth has a different motivation. Their personalities make the story really enjoyable and that is why it earns the fifth place on our list.
4. Free! (Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2013 – September 2013
Every school in Japan has many sports clubs, but some of them disappear if there's not enough interest from the students once the original team graduates. This is what happened to the Iwatobi School Swim Club but Nagisa Hazuki and Makoto Tachibana are not going to let that continue. Although they are freshmen, together with their friend Haruka Nanase, they decide to revive the Club. They need four members, a teacher, and a manager, but that's the easy part. The hard part is knowing that their old elementary school friend, Rin Matsuoka, has enrolled in another school so when they get into competitions, they will be racing against him.
Free! was one of the biggest series in 2013, getting a second, a third, and in 2020, a fourth season following Haruka and his friends as they follow their dreams. What makes it a great school story is that, unlike on other sports-based anime, not all the guys want to become swimmers. They all have different goals, and the swimming club is just a way to be around their friends and share something they love. Haruka and Rin want to become professional swimmers, but the story is not only about them. The balance is what makes this series special, and earns it the fourth place on our list.
3. Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2016 – June 2016
When 80% of humanity developed "quirks" that go from being able to manipulate small objects to controlling the elements completely, it became obvious that there was a need for a school where kids could learn to use those powers and become heroes. One such school, and the most prestigious in Japan, is UA High. Izuku Midoriya dreams of the day he gets to study there, but there's a problem: He is one of the very few humans who have no powers at all. Just as he is coming to terms with the fact that his dream is impossible, a chance meeting with the greatest hero of all time, All Might, gives Izuku a chance to gain one of the strongest quirks known: One for All.
Horikoshi Kouhei, the artist behind this story, has said that both DC and Marvel are his greatest influences, and it shows. This means that the series can be a gateway for those comic book fans that are not sure if they should give anime a chance. What makes the series more special is that it’s one of the very few where there are no villains among the students, which gives their interactions a very different twist. This is why, without a doubt, Boku no Hero Academia wins the third place on our list.
2. Watashi ga Motete Osunada (Kiss him, not me!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2016 – December 2016
Kae Serinuma has accepted that she will never be popular. After all, she’s not thin, has no social life, and is a known otaku and yaoi fangirl. So she keeps to herself most of the time and, in secret, ships her classmates Yuusuke Igarashi and Nozomu Nanashima. She's quite happy with this status quo and doesn't care much about having more friends. Then, disaster happens: her favorite character dies and she spends a whole week without food. By the time she comes out of her room, she’s now thin which makes many guys at school fall in love with her, including her beloved one true pairing.
Watashi ga Motete Osunada is a very unusual reverse harem story, because at first, Kae is really not interested in any of the guys of her entourage dating her—she is still having trouble believing she’s popular, or that any guy would want her—but has a lot of fun imagining the different yaoi pairings that could come from them. While the show had some criticism as the reverse harem only appears after Kae lost weight, the fact that little by little all the guys admit that what makes Kae attractive is her personality makes it a lot better by the end, and thus, Watashi ga Motete Osunaga deserves the second place on our list.
1. Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2015 – September 2015
"Don't judge a book by its cover" is a lesson in many stories, but none lands the moral as well as Ore Monogatari. The story about gentle giant Takeo Gouda and his love for petite Rinko Yamato is both adorable and dramatic, especially as Takeo is used to girls being terrified of him as he's tall, wide, and not precisely attractive. This is worse for him because his best friend, Makoto Sunakawa, is very handsome and popular with every girl in their school, so Takeo assumes at first that Rinko is in love with Suna and just using Takeo to get closer to his friend.
Ore Monogatari!! Is not just a sweet love story, it's also a very good look at how school cliques and friendship works. Everyone is more than they seem at first glance: Takeo is intimidating and scary until you realize that he protects everyone he can with his size. Suna may have a reputation as a heartbreaker but that's because he’ll reject anyone who badmouths Takeo. Rinko at first seems as if she just likes Takeo because he rescued her, but she has hidden depths. And the way we discover this with a tight narrative that makes us love every character is why Ore Monogatari!! earns the first place on our list.
Because most people have gone to school, every school story manages to replicate at least one part of our lives. It may be the friendships we had, or how our teachers acted, and even the bad parts. That’s why everyone loves school stories, and we get new ones every season.
Of course, with so many school anime out there, we might have missed your favorite on our list. So please, let us know not only your favorite school anime series but also why you like them in the comments below.