Anime about college life is always a must-watch, like HenSemi, Itazura na Kiss, Honey and Clover, The Tatami Galaxy, and Genshiken.
Many anime series tend to bypass or overlook the college environment as a central setting, opting instead for high school scenarios or entirely different worlds.
However, a select few dive deep into the college experience, capturing the essence of this transformative period in a person’s life.
These particular anime don’t merely focus on the youthful high school days but emphasize the challenges, adventures, and personal growth that often occur post-high school during the college years.
Whether it’s about forming new friendships, pursuing one’s passion, or navigating the complexities of young adulthood, these anime offer a refreshing take on what happens after the high school curtain falls.
Ah! My Goddess
- Relatable Settings: College animes showcase a phase many of us experience, making it instantly relatable.
Ah! My Goddess stands out as a unique romance anime. I watched two seasons and never lost interest, which speaks volumes about the show’s allure. However, the storyline remains straightforward to grasp. Instead of major plot twists, each episode offers its distinct narrative.
- Genre Pioneer: This title launched the “Magical Girlfriend” subgenre.
- Historical Significance: It ranks among the oldest and most expansive harems, boasting numerous adaptations and OVAs.
- Studio Highlight: This version represents Studio AIC’s finest work.
- Adaptation Improvements: By reordering events, the adaptation ensures a smoother pacing, preventing it from getting weighed down by minor occurrences.
- Directorial Choices: Many racing and engineering scenes, indicative of the mangaka’s passion for racing, were omitted to avoid potential monotony in the anime format.
HenSemi – Anime About College Students
- Character Growth: College anime often illustrates significant personal and emotional growth in characters.
Genres: Seinen manga, School story, Comedy
- Not for the Timid: This anime features intense adult humor.
- College Chaos: Relive the most eccentric university moments.
- Main Plot: “HenSemi” revolves around an ordinary guy amidst eccentric characters.
- Level of Quirk: The characters are weird, akin to a college student’s unbridled id.
- Bold Themes: Fearlessly explores mature romantic interests reminiscent of college discussions on intimacy.
- Comedy Warning: While uproarious, its seinen comedy style might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
This college romance anime stands out for its striking realism. It centers on members of a student activity club at a university on Tokyo’s outskirts. Rather than engaging in typical club activities, these slackers dedicate their time to appreciating anime, manga, hentai, cosplay, and other hobbies often linked with nerds, commonly referred to as “otaku” in Japanese.
- Character Profile: Saki
- Violent and bad-tempered.
- Despite her rough exterior, she’s kind-hearted.
- Gradually comes to understand the otakus and aids them.
- Influences them to be more sociable and approachable.
- Core Relationship:
- The dynamic between the trendy Saki and the otakus is central to the series’ intrigue.
- Kanji Sasahara:
- Represents the most conventional otaku.
- Initially denies his otaku tendencies.
- Over time, embraces his otaku identity.
Itazura na Kiss
- Genre Highlight: A blend of romance and comedy set in anime school life.
- Anime Title: ItaKiss (also known as “Itazura na Kiss”).
- Setting: Starts in high school but transitions to college life.
- Main Characters:
- Kotoko Aihara: Loses her newly-built home to an earthquake and ends up living with her crush.
- Naoki Irie: Kotoko’s crush, a prodigy who excels in everything yet lacks a clear career direction.
- Interesting Twist: Living together creates awkward moments, but Kotoko sees it as her chance to win Naoki’s heart.
- Story Arc: Their journey involves mutual support in discovering and pursuing life goals. With Kotoko’s influence, Naoki discovers his true calling.
Anime enthusiasts and college-goers, gear up for a trip down memory lane with a college anime theme:
- Anime Title: Love Hina.
- Setting: The vibrant and bustling campus life.
- Keitaro Urashima’s Journey:
- Begins with dreams of attending Tokyo University.
- Hits a roadblock as he misses out on university admission.
- Undeterred, he moves to Tokyo with ambitions to retake the entrance exam.
- Unexpected Twist: Keitaro becomes a dorm manager of an all-girls residence, leading to comical and almost harem-like scenarios.
- What Love Hina Embraces:
- The exhilaration of dorm living.
- The beauty of forming new connections.
- The complexities of college romance.
Ai Yori Aoshi
Intriguing Club Activities: Anime university settings often highlight unique clubs and organizations.
- Anime Spotlight: Ai Yori Aoshi (2002 classic).
- Genre Mix:
- Slice of life
- Central Themes: College and intricate family dynamics.
- Unique Perspective: Offers a mature, reflective approach to the typical harem genre.
- Protagonist: Kaoru Hanabishi.
- Student at Meiritsu University.
- Member of the photography club.
- Escaped from his hometown due to harsh family treatment.
- Mysterious Entry: Aoi Sakuraba.
- Initially an enigma to Kaoru.
- Later revealed as his fiancée.
- Relatable Element: Family struggles and the sanctuary college can offer.
- Realistic Issues: Topics like mental health, substance abuse, and relationships are explored with sensitivity.
At last, an anime centered on college students rather than high schoolers! The sudden, exaggerated facial expressions added a humorous touch that had me laughing throughout. Truly a delightful watch.
- Anime Spotlight: Grand Blue.
- Genre: Adult comedy.
- Notable Points:
- Avoids typical anime clichés.
- Minimal fan service; leans more towards “man service.”
- Personal Review:
- Found it immensely humorous, with cheek-aching laughter after each episode.
- The premiere episode stands out as particularly brilliant.
- While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, if you’re seeking a comedic anime, give the first episode a try
Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father!
Just because you’re in the prime of your life, with endless possibilities ahead, doesn’t mean life won’t throw unexpected responsibilities your way. Meet 18-year-old Yuuta Segawa, who’s excited to start university life at the School of Literature at Tama University and become a Street Observation Research Society member.
- Theme: Primarily drama-comedy.
- Content Concerns:
- Excessive display of deep cleavage, panties, side-boob, etc.
- Appears to target male viewers predominantly.
- Intended Direction:
- Could have appealed to a broader audience as a morality tale.
- Humor Element:
- Many “bb comments” intended for laughs.
- These jokes often distracted from the central theme.
- Central Message: Emphasis on family obligations and confronting responsibilities.
- The blend of family duty and gratuitous sexualization felt hypocritical and paradoxical in the context of the story.
Run With The Wind
Lace-up your running shoes and dive into “Run With The Wind,” one of the best anime about college life. Unlike many sports anime, such as Haikyu, that spotlight junior high and high school sports, “Run With The Wind” elevates the game to university-level athletics. Dive into the world of Kakeru Kuraha, a college student and former high school running champ.
After encountering several mishaps, Kakeru finds himself in a dorm with fellow students eager to race in the esteemed Hakone Ekiden relay marathon. He soon realizes that he’s among the few with substantial running experience in the group.
- Tone: Dark storyline, yet perceived light-hearted due to humor.
- Characters: The girl and her friends infuse comedic elements.
- Engaging soundtracks.
- Convincing flashback scenes.
- Title Significance:
- Upon completing the anime, the title’s relevance becomes clear.
- A must-watch, highly recommended for all anime enthusiasts.
- Career Pursuits: Watch characters delve into internships, job interviews, and the early stages of their careers.
Maison Ikkoku is a timeless classic that proves that age is just a number. Whether you’re looking for a romantic or college-based anime, this 96-episode series (plus a movie!) has it all. Meet Yusaku Godai, a 19-year-old preparing for the college entrance exams and living in the chaotic boarding house, Maison Ikkoku.
- Animation Quality:
- Appears crude but was commendable for its time.
- Comparable to “Guyver” but “Maison Ikkoku” is superior.
- Writing Style:
- Sometimes overextends jokes, amplifying their humor.
- Leads to uncontrollable laughter, wishing for a momentary pause.
Science Fell In Love, So I Tried To Prove It
Science Fell In Love is a fresh anime sensation that debuted in the Winter of 2020, but it’s already on its way to becoming a timeless college classic.
- Initial Impression:
- Started with doubts but ended up enjoying the light-hearted series.
- Character Development:
- As characters evolved, they became more engaging.
- Activities Showcased:
- Typical events like dining out and date-like activities.
- Character Importance:
- Both protagonists and co-workers play significant roles in the narrative.
- Animation & Design:
- Good animation quality.
- Distinctive character designs.
- Overall Takeaway:
- Not necessarily a must-watch, but an enjoyable way to spend time.
Nodame Cantabile is music to the ears of fans of “Your Lie In April”! This anime about college-aged musicians perfectly combines drama, humor, and romance.
- Introducing Characters:
- Chiaki: Former child prodigy, perfectionist, and often self-critical.
- Nodame: Free spirit who dances to her own beat.
- Dynamic Interactions:
- Their contrasting personalities spark unexpected transformations.
- Relationship Development:
- From opposites to a blossoming relationship.
- Central Theme of ‘Nodame Cantabile’:
- A quest for self-discovery as artists wrestle with personal and external expectations.
Number24 is the ultimate college sports anime that proves that nothing quite bonds a group of students like a shared love of the game. Meet the ragtag crew of the Doshisha University rugby team, each with their own set of problems but united by their passion for rugby.
- Setting: College anime environment.
- Main Character:
- Natsusa Yuzuki: Held back during his freshman year due to a motorcycle accident.
- Rugby Ambitions:
- Accident’s aftermath: Unable to play rugby alongside childhood friends, Seiichirou Shingyouji and Ibuki Ueoka.
- Team Involvement:
- Despite his physical setbacks, Natsusa contributes passionately to drive the team towards Nationals.
- Series Tone:
- Vibrant visuals and light-hearted themes centered around sports psychology.
- Character Dynamics:
- They challenge and motivate each other to overcome insecurities and self-reflection.
- Natsusa’s character: A juxtaposition of blunt behavior and charming aesthetics.
Honey and Clover
When it comes to college life, Honey and Clover take the cake! This josei and slice-of-life series isn’t just a classic; it’s a must-watch for anyone looking for a heartwarming story about people at a crossroads.
- Pop Culture Galore:
- Incorporates references from Star Wars, other anime series, and even a nod to Bill Gates.
- Setting Tribute:
- Joins the league with shows like Azumanga Daioh.
- Celebrates modern-day Japan: Summer festivals and cultural nuances.
- Emotional Range:
- Evokes laughter, tears, and introspection.
- Unique Comparisons:
- Invokes introspection similar to Haibane Renmei, yet maintains distinctiveness.
- Bonus Highlight:
- The first season’s ending theme is delightfully quirky.
The Tatami Galaxy
- Rich Soundtracks: Many college animes come with memorable soundtracks that resonate with the series’ emotions.
The Tatami Galaxy takes us on a wild ride through the wonders of do-overs! Imagine if you could go back in time and change your past mistakes. That’s exactly what our lonely college student, Watashi, is about to experience.
- Adaptation Quality:
- Adapts a novel with stunning visuals.
- The presentation transcends what the novel format could achieve.
- Highly Recommended:
- Avoids diving into story details to prevent spoilers.
- Worth the watch: 4 hours well-spent for art enthusiasts.