Would you graduate, drop out, or flunk if you found yourself in an anime school? Being trapped in another world isn’t the only common trope found in anime. Plenty of stories center around either exceptional students in school or extraordinary schools testing students to survive. As a way of continuing this little thought experiment, I believe I want to examine some anime schools. I’m not so old that I have forgotten what it is like to be in school. So hopefully my examinations will be true to how teenager me would have made due.
Spoiler: Per usual, there will be a handful of spoilers. I’m trying my hardest to minimize them as to preserve the mystery for a new watcher. However sometimes the best way to hook someone into a new story is to reveal *just* enough to whet the appetite. That heightened interest is what I hope to stoke in all these articles: that “tell me more” desire rising to the surface is my dream.
Graduate, drop out, or flunk? Assassination Classroom
Junior high school is tough enough without being ostracized into a class full of failures and rule breakers. On top of being physically separate from the rest of the school, the students of class 3-E must fulfill the task of assassinating a creature threatening to destroy the world. To this end, they train to become assassins – tactics, stealth, diversion creation, and (most importantly) killing intent. The twist being that teacher demonstrating these skills is the very target that class 3-E must eliminate to graduate.
Flunk – It is impossible not to love a teacher that gives his all. Korosensei does everything in his power to give his students the tools to take him down. But I could not pull the trigger against him in that final deciding moment.
Graduate, drop out, or flunk? Kakegurui
Often there are machinations going on in the shadows of a school. Students are in a state of manipulation by forces they do not see or understand. That is true in the case of the students of Hyakkaou Private Academy. Through the influences of the student council, this school turns into a high stakes gambling hall once classes finish. Fortunes are made, and debt is inescapable. In the event you can’t pay off your debt the student council comes to punish you. Either you become a “pet” and bullied/used by your betters until you bribe your way out or (in the worst case) you are given a “Life Contract Form” as your very future is sold off to pay your debt.
Drop out – Even as a high schooler, I possessed some skill in games. Yet the possibility of being treated as a pet is enough to scare me away. I could probably keep my head above water for a time but…I’d be safer dropping out of this particular school.
Graduate, drop out, or flunk? Ghost Stories
Some little kids shrink away at the mention of ghosts. You wouldn’t want to go into the old abandoned school building. In fact, you probably wouldn’t find access into the building because the adults would do a better job at securing it. But on the off chance you could, would you brave the darkness? Could you muster the intestinal fortitude to put those ghosts back to sleep?
Graduate – I had real fears as a kid (most notably hiding in a sleeping bag fort whenever fireworks were going off). However, give me a chance to hunt ghosts or experience the supernatural, and I would be there! This anime may be closer to comedy than scary but I think I could do it.
Graduate, drop out, or flunk? Food Wars
Competition from classmates can drive you to achieve your best or simply wear you out. While high school is a brief preparation for what real life is supposed to be, it cannot be a constant pass or fail process. Totsuki Culinary Academy turns up the heat on all its students. Boasting that only 1% of its students graduates, this school would be a tough one to stick it out till the end. While the curriculum is nothing short of demanding, the fact is that the heat is applied further in one on one cooking competitions known as food wars.
Flunk – I like to believe that I was a “try hard” in high school but I’m not sure I’d stand up to the pressure applied at Totsuki. I want to say I could muster up the ability to bounce back like Soma does and learn from every failure. Yet, I feel like the constant pressure would crush me sooner than I’d like to admit.
Well there’s four anime schools for this graduate, drop out, or flunk twist on survive, die, or thrive. How do you think you’d fair in these schools? Leave me some other school-based anime in the comment section below. Or connect with me on social media (Twitter – Instagram) and let’s talk about the perils of school in anime! I’ve got a couple handmade Midoriya notebooks to giveaway for a few lucky people that reach out to me and share this article.
Featured image: Aniplex