We’ve all imagined at one point or another a fantasy where we can escape our reality. Instead of stressing over midterms, checking bank accounts or hashing out relationship problems, plop yourself in front of laptop and prepare to enter the anime world. Shorter than your typical American shows, anime are Japanese cartoons that are easy to watch in between classes and addictive enough to binge-watch in one day. This list of school-centered anime will have everyone, from the most seasoned “otaku” to the greenest beginners, wishing they could transport themselves into these virtual worlds.
Human girl meets vampire boy, human girl is actually a vampire, human girl is in a love triangle with a vampire and a vampire hunter. Before you roll your eyes at this Twilight-esque synopsis, know that Yuki Cross, the main character, is no Bella Swan. At Cross Academy, humans and vampires must coexist as students in the Day Class and Night Class, respectively. Yuki and her childhood friend Zero Kiryu act as guardians who protect their fellow humans from their bloodthirsty counterparts, often butting heads with Night Class leader and Pureblood vampire Kaname. Rather than walking past Sather Gate to get home to the Units, imagine yourself racing to the Sun Dormitory at sunset to avoid crossing paths with the deadly Night Class. The macabre artwork and Gothic elements will appeal to lovers of all things supernatural. Though only two seasons long, each episode will leave you on the edge of your seat.
“Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma”
Soma Yukihara must navigate his way through Totsuki Culinary Academy to prove to his father that he has the skills to become a full-time chef at their neighborhood restaurant. But this isn’t your ordinary Martha Stewart cooking class — think “Iron Chef” meets “Hunger Games.” Just 10 percent of the student population is able to graduate, and the only way to stay enrolled is to win “shokugeki,” or one-on-one food battles against other students. If only you could get an A in Chemistry 3B by beating the masses in a cooking duel instead of drawing arrows on your organic structures. Reminiscent of “Naruto” or “Bleach,” Soma’s can-do attitude and unwavering perseverance will have you rooting for him throughout the journey. This anime showcases a variety of Japanese dishes and makes use of culinary terminology like gastronomy and julienne. By the time you finish watching this anime, your mouth will be watering and your stomach growling.
“Ouran High School Host Club”
An oldie but goodie, “Ouran High School Host Club” is a romantic comedy that centers around Haruhi Fujioka, a female student on scholarship at Ouran Academy. After a series of gender miscommunications and an unfortunate accident involving a priceless vase, Haruhi must work alongside the other six men in the Ouran Academy Host Club disguised as a male student. Confused? A host club is where female clients are entertained by male workers who cater to their every whim. It’s a fraternity like you’ve never seen before. You’ll cry tears of laughter as you watch Tamaki Suoh, president of the host club, fight his attraction to Haruhi’s innocent and honest allure. Each member of the club has their own quirks, which creates characters of such depth that you can’t help but fall in love with them. All 26 episodes are currently streaming on Netflix.
After witnessing the death of his adoptive father Shiro, Rin Okumura vows to fight his demonic nature and enrolls in True Cross Academy alongside his brother Yukio. At this academy, Rin trains to become an Exorcist like Shiro so that he may one day defeat Satan, his biological father. At True Cross Academy, nothing is what it seems, and each student must work together to stay alive and rise through the ranks. While learning to chant prayers and fight with his demon-slaying sword Kurikara, Rin must come to terms with his demon powers. Through his journey, you’ll see Rin’s immature nature change as he blossoms into a protective brother and loyal friend. If you enjoy action-packed battles, unwavering friendships and spunky main characters, then this is the anime for you. Looking for a class that’ll teach you how to kick butt after binge-watching this? Consider joining the Kendo Club at Berkeley or the UC Martial Arts program.
Adapted into both a Japanese television show and a South Korean drama series, Nodame Cantabile is a classic anime that continues to resonate throughout Asia. The series follows the romance of Shinichi Chiaki, a serious perfectionist who wishes to one day become a world-famous conductor, and Megumi Noda, or “Nodame,” a highly interpretive and quirky pianist, as they make friends with other music students at Momogoaka College of Music. Nodame’s instant crush on Shinichi and his reluctance to reciprocate her love is a frequent source of comedy. In this opposites-attract anime, Shinichi and Nodame challenge each other and learn to overcome their fears in both their music careers and their relationship. For those of you who enjoy classical music and the strong bonds of an orchestra, the UC Berkeley Symphony can be the setting stage for you to find your own Shinichi or Nodame.
With these shows in mind, live vicariously through the academic anime universe and leave your troubles behind.
Contact Angeline Nguyen at [email protected].