There’s the caring senpai, the watchful senpai, and even the lazy senpai. There have been numerous senpai that have guarded their kouhai and guided them on their journeys. They take responsibility for ensuring that their kouhai find the same success that they did at that stage in their journey, just as their senpai once guided them.
Sometimes there’s almost an unapproachable, nearly regal aura surrounding a senpai which makes them feel separate from everyone else. Others are merely referred to as senpai, despite there being no evidence of their seniority at all. Whether in the classroom or the workplace, they stand out amongst the regular rank and file. Today we’re going to explore our picks for top 10 senpai in manga, so try not to trip into them with some bread in your mouth.
10. Takizawa Kyouko from The Greatest Lady Boss "Takizawasan" (Bijin Onna Joushi Takizawa-san)
- Mangaka: Yanbaru
- Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, Romance, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 1
- Published Date: Aug. 2016 - Ongoing
Kouta Takeda is the new hire at his company, and he’s excited to begin work. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t quite know the odd dynamic at his new workplace. Fortunately, his senpai Takizawa Kyouko is there to take him under her wing. She’s the office bombshell, and while she’s a no nonsense straight shooter, her head turning proportions attract the wrong kind of attention at the office. Thankfully Takeda isn’t as lecherous as his co-workers, and the two find themselves hitting it off despite the unusual office hijinks.
Kyouko is everything a guy could want from a desk job senpai. She’s knowledgeable, good at teaching and patient. She also has some incredibly low defenses that give every guy at the office a chance to sneak a peek every so often. Takeda tries to act gentlemanly, but he’s just keeping everything that everyone else is saying in his head. That’s more than enough for Kyouko to think he’s the nicest guy in the office though.
9. Arashi Megumi from Kumanishi Bijutsubu Rough Sketch-senpai
- Mangaka: Onio
- Genre: Comedy, Ecchi, School, Shounen
- Volumes: 2
- Published Date: Nov. 2016 - Jan. 2018
Arashi Megumi is what you would call a delinquent. She doesn’t care about her perception at school, dyes her hair blonde, and gives off a mean aura. However, that isn’t enough to stop 2nd-year Seishi Eda from confessing that she’s the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. The catch is, he doesn’t want to date her, he simply wants to draw her for his art club. Suddenly Megumi’s days are filled with strange poses, intense blushing, and the uneasy feeling of her kouhai’s brushes tickling every part of her body. Still, even without the flattery, it’s a senpai’s duty to help their kouhai in their time of need!
Megumi is incredibly prudish despite her rough exterior. Even though Eida is straightforward and direct with his requests, she can’t help but see the hidden implications that would usually go along with their dynamic. Her imagination gets the better of her, constantly. She’s always making cutely embarrassed faces while Eida focuses on some part of her body in his drawings. It’s a funny dynamic that shows just how far out of their comfort zone a senpai can go.
8. Kominami Asumi from We Never Learn (Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai)
- Mangaka: Tsutsui, Taishi
- Genre: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen
- Volumes: 4
- Published Date: Feb. 2017 - Ongoing
Yuiga Nariyuki is without a doubt one of the smartest students in his school. He’s studied hard and is hoping to get his school’s recommendation for his first choice university. Unfortunately, there are two problems keeping him from his goal. His principal has requested he tutor two students before he’ll consider giving him the recommendation. The math and science prodigy Ogata Rizu who desperately wants to improve in literature, and the elegant esteemed poet and literary savant Furuhashi Fumino who’s aiming to become a mathematician. Sadly, these girls aren’t good at all in their desired subjects, despite being geniuses at each other’s. Nariyuki has to teach them or his own academic future will be in jeopardy!
It’s at an outside cram school where Nariyuka encounters Kominami Asumi. She’s assertive, playful and isn’t shy about teasing Nariyuki. She works at a maid cafe as she studies for entrance exams to become a doctor. It turns out she’s a graduate of Nariyuki’s school and is familiar with his teacher. Through some odd circumstances, Asumi’s father mistakes the two of them as a couple, and to keep him from knowing the truth they’re constantly keeping up appearances. Despite acting playful, she’s seriously starting to go after Nariyuki. This is one senpai that probably shouldn’t be taken lightly.
7. President from Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!
- Mangaka: Imigi, Muru
- Genre: Comedy, Romance, School, Seinen
- Volumes: 8
- Published Date: Oct. 2012 - Ongoing
At this art club, one can find Uchimaki Subaru drawing anime waifus, Usami Mizuki chastising him for having no common sense, and what appears to be some adult sleeping on the couch in the art room. Don’t worry though, he’s not a strange person, he’s actually a 3rd-year middle school student, the club’s President. You’d probably never know that as he’s never awake.
President is a man solely dedicated to his sleep schedule, which is pretty much round the clock. When he’s not trying to keep Uchimaki from being nagged to death by Usami, he’s taking a long, undeserved nap. Despite being completely unreliable almost all of the time, when it really comes down to it, he’s asleep… But nonetheless, he’s still the funniest senpai you probably won’t see doing anything, most of the time.
6. Ira Megumi from I want to annoy the pretty boss (Kawaii Joushi wo Komarasetai)
- Mangaka: Tachibana, Roku
- Genre: Comedy, Romance, Seinen, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 2
- Published Date: Apr. 2015 - Ongoing
A night of drinking and rude awakening turned into an office romance between Ira Megumi and her young junior Aoki Shun. He swears nothing happened, but he doesn’t want to waste the chance and wants to pursue a real relationship. Megumi, on the other hand, is completely against it. For one, she’s over 30, easily embarrassed, and can’t handle office gossip. That just gives Shun all the more reason to try to tease his cute, blushing, older boss.
Despite all of Megumi’s reluctance, she’s slowly enjoying the idea of going along with a younger guy’s crazy whims, just as long as nobody finds out. Her cold exterior is whittled away bit by bit throughout the series, and she reveals cuter and cuter sides of herself at every turn. This is one senpai that definitely has layers to her character.
5. Shinomiya Kaguya from Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen)
- Mangaka: Akasaka, Aka
- Genre: Comedy, Romance, School, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 8
- Published Date: May 2015 - Ongoing
At Shuchiin Academy, the rich and powerful send their children to get a headstart in life. As the student council president and vice president, Shirogane Miyuki and Shinomiya Kaguya have an important image to maintain. Thus, when they fall in love with each other, it becomes an arms race to keep up appearances and maintain power in order to force the other to confess. Caught up in the wake of this powerful battle of the sexes and wills are her kouhai. Iino Miko and Ishigami Yuu have a warped perspective of her from her attempts at manipulation. While she usually doesn’t mean anything too sinister, being the most powerful woman at school and belonging to her elite family is enough to unsettle them. This senpai may have a heart filled with love, but she presents an aura to be feared.
4. Kasumigaoka Utaha from Saenai Kanojo no Sodatekata - Koisuru Metronome
- Mangaka: Musha, Sabu (Art), Maruto, Fumiaki (Story)
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Seinen
- Volumes: 9
- Published Date: Aug. 2013 - Ongoing
Tomoya Aki is the king of the otaku at his school. He prioritizes his hobbies over everything, and runs a blog that is popular enough to make him a little bit famous. As such, he’s used his writing prowess to land an editor gig for his favorite author Kasumi Utako. However, it turns out that she’s actually his senpai at school Kasumigaoka Utaha. The beautiful, smart and alluring genius who has every boy at school daydreaming about her. After seeing his passion for her work, she’s sold on him as an editor, and as her man. She wants Aki, but his reservations about getting romantically involved with his idol, and a 3D woman in general, aren’t going away easily. As a senpai that is always pushing her kouhai’s buttons trying to get him to submit, Utaha is one attractive, funny and smart sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen.
3. Tsuruga Ren from Skip Beat!
- Mangaka: Nakamura, Yoshiki
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 41
- Published Date: Feb. 2002 - Ongoing
Kyouko Mogami hasn’t had the easiest life. Abandoned by her mother when she was young, she was brought in by the family of her crush and childhood friend Fuwa Shoutarou. Shou tells her that he wants to move to Tokyo to pursue becoming an idol, and he wants her to come with him. She does, and she supports him while he goes in search of his dream. However, it isn’t long before the truth comes out. Shoutarou doesn’t love Mogami even half as much as she loves him, and brought her just as a housekeeper essentially. Spurned by this revelation, Mogami decides to become an idol herself and put Shoutarou in his place for misjudging her.
It isn’t long before Mogami finds herself thrust into the idol scene, and shortly after she encounters Tsuruga Ren. He’s serious about being an actor, and while he didn’t warm up to Mogami at first, he eventually grows to love her. The life of an idol isn’t easy, but it’s one that Mogami is committed to walking. Having Ren along the way just makes things easier, as he’s been at this far longer and has been supportive of her at many points in her journey. Having a handsome senpai in your corner goes a long way.
2. Honda Takara from Moe Kare!!
- Mangaka: Ikeyamada, Go
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo
- Volumes: 7
- Published Date: Jul. 2005 - Sept. 2006
At 15 years old, it’s expected to have love on the brain, and the case is definitely true for Wakamiya Hikaru. She desperately wants a boyfriend, and not just that, the prince charming of her dreams. When Ichikawa Arata rescues her, she thinks she’s found him. However, he selfishly steals a kiss from her, infuriating her. Later at a group date, she thinks she spots him again, only for it to be Honda Takara instead. Though she’s confused by the doppelganger, Hikaru’s luck seems to have gotten her two handsome boys as her romantic prospects.
Honda Takara may be Arata’s doppelganger but he’s nearly the complete opposite. He’s not afraid of commitment and is often weighed by his conscience to do the right thing, even if it will cause him to lose out on his goals. Such a devoted and handsome senpai is exactly what every kouhai is searching for!
1. Touko Nanami from Bloom Into You (Yagate Kimi ni Naru)
- Mangaka: Nakatani, Nio
- Genre: Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo Ai, Slice of Life
- Volumes: 5
- Published Date: Apr. 2015 - Ongoing
It’s easy to see how any teenager with an interest in love could see high school as their big chance at romance. For first-year student Koito Yuu, she’s hoping that she meets the boy of her dreams as quickly as possible. However, when she’s finally confessed to, she feels nothing. No excitement, no rush of emotions, she’s just left feeling empty. She then witnesses the student council president Nanami Touko turning down a confession in a much more dignified way than she did, and from there she takes an interest in her. Afterwards, Nanami confesses to Yuu herself, and this may be the beginning of the romance she’s been searching for all along.
Touko Nanami is the elegant, beautiful and dignified senpai at school, as well as the student council president. She’s a mysterious beauty who harbors a great deal of insecurity and hides her personality from everyone, except for Yuu. Nanami and Yuu both share similar feelings at being inexperienced at love, yet Nanami supports her and becomes someone she can rely on at difficult times. The way that the two become close to each other and work towards their ideal concept of love despite being inexperienced at it is a beautiful senpai kouhai relationship that not many manga demonstrate, yuri or not.
In manga, there are all kinds of senpai that you can read about. Sometimes tall or short, sometimes kind or mean-spirited, but the best ones are always entertaining. Do you any favorite senpai from manga you’ve read? If so, let us know in the comments!