There are few who can say they’ve never experienced the school setting, VERY few. As far as we can go back in humanity’s history, schools have been an established institution solely to provide a learning environment for teachers to instruct students. When we think of schools, we imagine an all day schedule of learning, starting from Pre-K to High School. For more advancement, others continue onto college, vocational schools, or adult learning. Whatever the case may be, schools are designed as a focal point for learning.
Regarding the world of anime, we get to observe this and more in the way students learn, as well as their day to day lives surrounding school. With endless emotions while describing challenges and successes the everyday student encounters, here is our top 10 list of school anime movies. Ready to get schooled?!
10. Zutto Mae kara Skuki deshita.: Kokuhaku Jikkou Iinkai (I’ve Always Liked You)
- Aired: April 23, 2016
Natsuki Enomoto is starting her third year at Sakuragaoka High School. As the fall term begins, many believe that this time is when people start coupling up and romances begin. Natsuki has always had her eye on her childhood friend, Yuu Setoguchi, and has finally worked up the courage to tell him how she feels. So when the occasion finally arises and the two of them are alone, will she finally tell Yuu, “I’ve always liked you”? Watch and see Natsuki, Yuu, and a number of other students manage romances and relationships throughout the new school year.
This film is a fairly recent release and has flown under the radar, yet, it is a choice that must be added on your “to watch” list. I’ve Always Liked You is a fantastic school, slice of life, romantic film that really resonates the message of taking chances and living in the moment. In life, we are often faced with decisions to make, in that the paths to take are either the harder route or the straight-forward easier path. Although the easier path is more appealing and less complex, the more difficult route is the one that always provides growth and experience. In this instance, Natsuki can either go through life wondering how things could have been with Yuu or she can take the big leap and confess her love, and with that decision, see what opportunities are provided next.
- Aired: March 1, 2014
Every person has his or her own little world within themselves. In classroom 2-1, each student’s world contains an interest in chatting about anime, music, hearing the latest gossip, and so much more. The classroom is a lively place and it is important to keep up! Akio Honjou’s world involves wanting to get to know Juri Makina’s world. Juri is different compared to the other girls around her and she fascinates Akio. As Akio delves into the world of Juri, things are not all as they appear, as the melody she hears gives her both pleasure and pain.
Even though Harmonie is only 25 minutes in length, this film is able to present a lot of details within that short amount of time. The main element in this film is the essence of shared interests, finding friends that you really click with. A lot of people come and go in our lives, but the ones that remain do so because a special bond and passion connects you. These shared interests can include liking the same hobbies, having identical goals, or demonstrating similar personalities. Whatever the case may be, fates, as well as these commonalities are what join Juri, Akio, and their friends together.
8. Orange: Mirai
- Air Date: November 18, 2016
Before watching this film, one must know its origins, the anime series Orange. Orange follows a girl named Naho Takamiya, who receives a letter one day from her future self warning her of events that will occur and ways to alter them for a happier, optimistic outcome. In particular, the letter warns her to watch over new transfer student Kakeru Naruse, who eventually becomes her boyfriend. From the start, Naho doesn’t take these letters seriously, but as more time goes by, she begins to notice the accuracy in certain details. From that moment, Naho starts to take the letters into consideration in order to save Kakeru and to live without regrets. Moving into Orange: Mirai, this film offers the perspective of Hiroto Suwa, their mutual friend, as he continues to support Naho and Kakeru’s relationship.
One of the more popular series of 2016, Orange and Orange: Mirai touch on a subject not normally discussed in anime, depression and suicide, and how this topic impacts the individual and those around them. As a young adult troubled with so many unfortunate circumstances, Kakeru believed that there was only one solution to his problem. Luckily, with the help of Naho, Hiroto, Saku, Azusa, and Takako, they all banded together, bringing him positivity. A truly touching and heart-tugging anime film showing that surrounding yourself with close friends proves to be life changing.
7. “Bungaku Shoujo” Movie
- Air Date: May 1, 2010
In “Bungaku Shoujo” Movie, we follow the story of Konoha Inoue, a second year high school student. A secret fact about Konoha is that he used to be a female bestselling author of romance literature, but since then, he likes to remain as normal and low-key as possible. However, one day, through no choice of his own, he was forced to join his school’s literary club. By demand of third year beauty and club president Tooko Amano, Konoha is required to write for her, as she takes in all of his work, literally.
Without a real explanation as to why Tooko eats literature, viewers are swept away by the two major theme points of this film: literature and romance. Taking these elements into consideration, the film brings us further into deeper emotions, particularly feelings Konoha would rather not discuss, as he tries to avoid his problems instead of confronting them. With that being said, it is helpful to have friends to help you so that you don’t have to struggle with issues on your own.
6. Aura: Maryuuin Kouga Saigo no Tatakai (Aura: Koga Maryuin’s Last War)
- Aired: April 13, 2013
In the film Aura: Koga Maryuin’s Last War, Ichirou Satou had a fascination with being a superhero named Maryuuin Kouga when he was in middle school. Ichirou was so into being this hero that he was often made fun of and bullied by the other students. Now that he’s a little bit older and in high school, Ichirou grew out of this phase and avoids being the center of attention. Even though normalcy bores him, it beats getting picked on. One day, as he is heading to school to pick up some work he forgot, he notices a strange girl wearing a costume. Having the same affliction Ichirou did as a middle schooler, Ryouko Satou is now the center of everyone’s jokes and bullying. Seeing this, Ichirou believes it is up to him to shield her from torment and to help her come out of her fantasy.
As there have been increased efforts in anti-bullying movements today, in this film, Ichirou is the one leading this charge. Caring and having experienced the pain of being bullied, Ichirou wants to be a hero in his own right and protect Ryouko from this same fate. In addition to this, we get to observe his dependable quality. Even though, in the beginning, he is afraid of relapsing into his old ways, he progressively overcomes this fear, as doing nothing equates to bullying itself. With that being said, character development in this film is absolutely superb.
5. Little Witch Academia
- Air Date: March 2, 2013
Little Witch Academia is about a school for witches, showing the path and journey towards becoming witches. The story starts with an introduction about famed witch Shiny Chariot. Shiny Chariot is awesome and everyone wants to be just like her! However, over time, her fandom slowly fizzles out and her followers grow out of their obsession. Fast forward and we are introduced to Atsuko Kagari, a new student to Luna Nova Magical Academy, and still a loyal mega fan of Shiny Chariot. As Atsuko muddles through her boring studies, the constant trash talk about her Shiny among peers, and her lack of magical talent, can she essentially prove to herself and others that she has what it takes to become a witch?
Little Witch Academia is a wonderful school anime movie because it expresses Atsuko’s perseverance and determination to become a great witch at the academy. While many may find it simple to blend and fit in, Atsuko goes against the grain, proclaiming her idol love for Shiny Chariot. Being able to stand out regardless of what others may say is an admirable feature, something that proves easier said than done in a school environment. As a result, Atsuko is able to focus on the task at hand, studying her butt off to become a shiny witch on her own.
4. Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda. (The Anthem of the Heart)
- Air Date: September 19, 2015
As a child, Jun Naruse was a chatterbox, a bright and cheerful girl, until one day, she revealed a scandal that resulted in her father leaving her mother. From that moment, an egg prince appeared and locked away her words to prevent her from saying anything and hurting anyone else. Over the years, Jun became the girl that never talks and keeps to herself. However, things are about to change for Jun, as she is nominated to become a council member for community outreach at her school. In addition, she is chosen to be the lead in the community’s musical event. Yikes! Will she be able to break her silence then?
Anthem of the Heart is such a beautiful film capturing Jun’s journey in finding her voice again. As a child, she put so much blame on herself for her parents separating, losing her spirit and sense of self in the process. After she is faced with responsibilities that require her to engage with others, she begins to see the little experiences she misses out on when she doesn’t speak and keeps to herself. Importantly, this movie reminds us that it is essential to seek out new opportunities and not hold back.
3. Doukyuusei (Movie)
- Aired: February 20, 2016
In the film Doukyuusei, the introduction scene highlights preparations for the upcoming chorus festival. Hikaru Kusakabe forgets his bento in the classroom; he goes to fetch it and finds Rihito Sajou practicing a song. Rihito never sings in class and people thought he was too good for it, but in actuality, it’s because he can’t see the notes on the board. As he is having difficulty with one of the lines, Hikaru helps him and suggests meeting together to rehearse before the big festival. As their meetings have become routine, Hikaru develops feelings for Rihito, displaying this with a kiss. As the day of the festival approaches, will the time Hikaru and Rihito spent together prove to be a success? Watch and see!
Doukyuusei is a great school movie that highlights the thrill of bonding with someone. The romance between Hikaru and Rihito is really heartwarming. Additionally, it has been known that great lasting relationships develop and remain over the course of growing up.
2. Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)
- Air Date: September 17, 2016
In the film Koe no Katchi, we are introduced to elementary student Shouya Ishida, a rambunctious wild child who spends a lot of time causing a ruckus with his buddies. We are then introduced to Shouko Nishimiya, a deaf student who recently transfers into Shouya’s class. Leading the charge, Shouya and his classmates relentlessly bully Shouko to the point that she transfers schools. When sensei tries to determine who was to blame for this unfortunate circumstance, all fingers point to Shouya. From this point until high school, he receives a lot of grief and torment from many others for all the hurt he’s caused Shouko. Finally realizing his wrongdoings, Shouya seeks out Shouko for redemption.
Koe no Katchi is a heartfelt film that parades an array of emotions such as anger, sadness, hope and gratitude. The story and characters are very well presented and developed, giving viewers a chance to really get involved with Shouya, Shouko, and many of the supporting cast. We also get a glimpse of what living with a disability can be like, and despite her situation, Shouko’s kind spirit glows throughout. Moreover, the animation really brings out the story telling, as if the feels weren’t enough!
1. Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.)
- Air Date: August 26, 2016
Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.), globally the highest grossing anime to date, tells the story of high school students Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana, and how they miraculously swap bodies one day with one another. In the process of finding answers to end this madness, the two try their best not to mess up each other’s lives, with Taki living Mitsuha’s pleasantly serene life in the country, and Mitsuha juggling Taki’s busy schedule in Tokyo. Interlinked by this mysterious curse, Mitsuha and Taki form a unique bond. If you’ve still been under that rock, go watch this movie now!
Kimi no Na wa. is highly praised in the anime world for good reason. Aside from the supernatural body switching, we are exposed to the lives of two different students. Director Makoto Shinkai is recognized for many outstanding works, with this film being an adaptation of his novel. Kimi no Na wa is acclaimed for being so visually appealing and emotionally relatable. The animation in this film is absolutely stunning, with beautiful colors, details, focus and movement. The feels in this movie are as strong as all the otaku in the world cutting onions all at the same time. The soundtrack highlights both art and story extremely well. Overall, there’s a lot of great stuff to say about this film.
We hope you enjoyed our choices for top 10 school anime movies! If you haven’t already, make sure to check out all of these great titles! With the power to influence minds by learning, make lasting memories with friends, and occupy whatever time we have leftover with homework, school is and will always be a major part of becoming adults. We anticipate more exciting school anime movies in the future, as it is such an integral part of growing up. Lastly, let us know if we’ve missed any other great movies by commenting below! School’s out!