It is no secret that I have been very hard on a lot of different genres but they have always been related to the slice of life genre. Last week I talked about music anime which is a new(ish) saturation in the genre the last few years but there are more anime that are peddled out even more than them. The main sub-genre of the slice of life anime that has been peddled out every season is of course the school genre. These are the ones I am usually extra hard on since there are just so many pushed at us every single season.
This is sad since there are actually some really good and interesting school series out there, now I am only really referring to those in the slice of life genre and not the fantasy or sci fi genre where supernatural powers are involved. There are the shows that took the genre and worked it in their favour or just making them enjoyable to watch, not just pushing out content.
We all know the formula these anime would take. The usually become a harem with an awkward teen here and add some usual school drama. Nno real character development or dramatic narrative to be found.
Thankfully that’s not true of all these shows though. There are some great anime titles out there that renewed my hope for the genre.
Monthly Girls Nozaki-Kun
I have talked about this anime countless times here on Otaku Digest but I cannot help but feel it is sorely overlooked. I didn’t catch it when it was first released but discovered it later during a time where I couldn’t really watch anime anymore. It was the anime that my other half would put on to watch himself but I quickly got drawn into it. This anime is exactly what a romance and school anime should be.
The story is simple, girl likes boy but boy is completely oblivious, a simple story but what sells it is the characters. For me if the characters are bland no matter how good the story is it will fall flat. On watching this anime again, you realise that there are quite a few characters introduced in a short few episodes. Although they are so many introduced they are each given such distinctive characteristics and personalities that you remember them really easily, also even though they are a part of the main story they each have a separate story that keeps you intrigued by them.
I couldn’t really choose between School Days and Free! and it really comes down to a coin toss .
No spoilers here as always but here we have what seems to be the generic romance, harem and drama anime with High School student Makoto meeting girls and the relationships that develop between them. A very generic description but once you watch this anime you will realise why there is no way to really give a more detailed description.
It is a great example of the generic school anime that took the genre and decided to turn it right on its head at the end. It deals with some real life issues for high schoolers and shows them in a realistic type way.
Ouran High School Host Club
No surprise here since this is considered the ultimate school anime and a reverse harem school anime at that. For the longest time school anime was just trash the industry was peddled out since it was an always works type of genre. There was no real substance behind them and then boom, Ouran High School Host Club is released.
With it we got story, beautiful animation and some of the best written and drawn characters in a school anime for an age!
This is a great example of a character based story, without these amazing and interesting characters there would be no series. Many the anime have tried to replicate the Ouran formula (if such a thing exists) down to the very detail but none have had the impact that it had. The story was simple but you were drawn into these eccentric personalities and you wanted to know just what they would do next.