Anime Cliches 17: The Highschool Setting

Type: Setting/Premise cliché

What made it popular: In the period of 1990-1994 there was an economic crisis, which affected the medium of anime. The studios could no longer afford to push out the same quality and expensive shows that they were previously airing, as doing so would have obviously led to bankruptcy. In order to cope with the economic situation, the studios reached towards anime and genres that were easier to make and produce, these anime were school comedies and the early harems. Yes this is where the cancer began with shows like Ranma 1/2 pioneering the way. Even after the economic crisis was solved, school anime after school anime kept getting produced without a stop and this trend only continues in the present as anime studios have became even more solidified in their nature of rarely taking risks. School Settings have became the norm for modern anime. An anime now can be considered unique for simply not being set in a goddam high-school, which is honestly laughable. But this is one of the sad truth of modern anime, it doesn’t matter what genre we are talking about, they mixed it all with high-schools in some way or another, which is why this is the only cliché that I will rate with the following:

Cliche Level: Legendary

Pretty much everyone who has ever watched or heard of anime in some way or another, is aware of the frequency of this cliché. I’m pretty sure I would not be lying if I were to make such a statement that 50% of modern anime are set in a high school.

Where can you find it?: Just pick a random anime that was made after 2000 and it is probably set in a goddamned high school.

Description: Do I really need to explain it? High school is a place for learning, an anime with  Highschool setting is obviously set in a high-school for the large part of the story, with the characters either being students, teachers or various adult, supernatural, alien characters pretending to be teachers or students themselves.


Why it’s bad: There are so many things wrong here that I don’t even know where to begin…..

……Many anime purely have a highschool setting just for the sake of having a highschool setting, there is literally no meaning or excuse for a high school in many anime that have a high-school setting. Not to mention how they combine completely unrelated genres with high school for inexplicable reasons, this is how we get Mecha Driving Vampires in a Space…..School, a brutal battle royale to the death? You mean a brutral battle royale to the death in….school! A tournament between 7 mages and 7 legendary heroes for the omnipotent wishgranting holy grail? You mean a tournament between 7 mages and 7 legendary heroes for the omnipotent wishgranting holy grail … with high schoolers. This is honestly getting ridiculous. Every anime feels the need to have a highschool for stupid reasons, not to mention that many times they are done solely so that the audience can self insert more easily, since the majority of anime viewers are in fact high schoolers themselves. It is impossible to not get tired of high school anime after a while, I mean there are just so many of them and most of them are the same repeated shit with little to no variation whatsoever, which is why I cant understand why some people still enjoy them after their 1000th anime.

This cliché is actually so bad that it includes almost a hundred sub clichés that usually come with the High-School setting, a true package deal! Let me just list a few of them.

  1.          The let’s form a club type of premise cliché: Anime starts in a school setting with several characters forming some club for various reasons or with characters forced to join a club by another character(s) (Haruhi, Haganai, Ouran HighSchool Host Club)
  2.         The smart-ass glasses guy: Character Cliché, usually the top of the class and excels in everything, frequently arrogant and condescending towards his classmates, tends to frequently adjust his glasses while talking. (The World God only Knows, Toradora etc)
  3.         The class president: Character cliché: Usually a girl, either a tsundere or a himedere, she is the class president to the mc class and most likely a potential love interest or otherwise she can be there for  the comedic effect (Noucome, Code Geass, etc)
  4.        The Seven Mysteries: Mystery Cliché, many school anime tend to have 7 mysteries related to the school, like if you wander the corridors alone during night a ghost will appear before you and eat your soul, etc. This is a cliché that comes from Japanese culture and urban legends such as Hanako of the toilet or the piano that plays itself. (Jigoku Sensei Nuube, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia)
  5.          The various festivals in schools: Plot Device and episode cliché, if the anime is heavily school centered then it will most likely have atleast one of these, most of the time they are done so to advance the plot, deepen the characters relation to each other or give a chance to the characters to confess their feelings.
  6.           The Tomboy/Athletic girl: Character Cliché: A girl that is really fit and athletic, a girl who also acts like a boy and can beat the boys in every physical related activity or fight on part with them, they are always part of some sports club like the basketball or kendo club.
  7.           The Weird/Wacky Teacher: Character Cliché: A teacher who is by the normal standards weird, he/she may be the main character him/herself or the teacher to the actual main characters, they can be weird because of their behavior, appearance or origins, such as a teacher who dresses and acts like a slut or an ex biker delinquent ( Nyaruko, Mahou Sensei Negima, Zetsubo Sensei, Onizuka, Jigoku Sensei Nuube etc)
  8.           “The Monster of the School”: Character Cliché: A character that for some inexplicable reason are feared by the school and their classmates, this may have a base or it may be a complete misunderstanding, it is usually played mostly for the comedy, the monster may or may not be a part of the 7 mysteries of the school, sometimes he or she is actually a delinquent and thus righteously feared. (Toradora, Haganai)
  9.           The Delinquent but actually a good guy: Character Cliché, just what It sounds like, many of these are also monster of the schools.
  10.          Class Trip: Plot Device and Episode Cliché: Same deal as festival cliché (Also see beach episode)
  11.         Abruptly powerful student council: As the name implies, a student council that has even higher authority than the teachers and the staff, they sometimes can even make life and death decisions in extreme cases. (Zegapain, Prison School etc)

There are many, many more but this is honestly enough for now as I could write an entire article about each of them.


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