If I had to go back to high school today, I would probably fail spectacularly and depressingly. Once you get out of the habit of studying, your brain just slows down. I might be able to catch up eventually, but no promises man. Heck, just yesterday I realized that I haven’t used pi for anything in years.

But there are some anime characters out there, who would never have passed high school in the first place. Or rather if they did, I’m still not sure how. Bribery has got to be involved somewhere. Fact s, there are tons of lovable idiots in anime and here are 5 who might never get their diploma…

5. Naruto

Ok, so when it’s something that interests him or has to do with his goal, Naruto is pretty focused and dedicated, but for everything else, let’s face it, the boy is a mess. Even attending Ninja class was a bit of a challenge and he loves that.

Can you imagine Naruto having to take algebra, or remember to comb his hair for school picture day? He’d probably get distracted on the way to school and never make it in the first place!

4. Haru Nanase

I have a confession. I keep blending actual Free! with 50% off in my head. Maybe Haru isn’t quite the space cadet I remember him to be. In 50% off he was downright *special. And also one of my favourite characters.

Still, I think that even official Haru had some airhead tendencies. He certainly didn’t prioritize his studies in any case and I’m pretty sure that if he makes it out with a diploma, it will be thanks to his teammates.

By the way, the same can be said for Hinata and Kageyama from Haikyuu. Man, those sports boys need to get their stuff together.

3. Yui (K-On)

Yui isn’t the sharpest cookie in the shed. She’s no rocket surgeon. Look, girl’s a bit dim. And by a bit I mean, very. I believe she regularly downright forgets to attend class or study for a test. And that’s just the instances we know about. She’s fun though.

K-On was never too concerned with actual classwork so despite it being a school-based anime, we don’t hear that much about exams and grades. But Yui failed, right? Sure, she has a super-smart childhood friend to help her out but that casn’t be enough, can it?

Or maybe it’s a Rain Man sort of thing and she actually gets perfect scores…

2. Inosuke

I’m not entirely sure Inosuke is housebroken, let alone ready to take classic literature classes. In fact, as far as Inosuke is concerned, I would consider his high school career a success if he didn’t maim anyone, show up at school naked or seriously compromise the structural integrity of the building.. more than once. That’s really all I can ask.

Taking that into consideration, of course, he’s not passing high school. Especially not Japanese high school! Even the bullies wouldn’t put up with him. It’s a good thing there isn’t a written exam to become a slayer.

Also, shouldn’t there be some type of written exam to become a slayer? Seems like it would save some lives if they made sure all the field agents were actually properly informed. Just saying…

Special Mention: Goku

I’m not sure Goku ever needed to go to high school. In any case, he’s already past the age so it’s a moot point. This said, he would totally fail if he had to go now. Despite being named after a trickster god known for his wits, Goku is not witty, or wise or smurt. The fact that this man is a father, is the scariest thing in all of Dragon Ball.

1. Serena/Sailor Moon

I’m not saying Serena is the least smart character on this list. The reason she takes my number one spot is that, unlike my previous entries, we know for a fact that Serena actively works very hard to get good grades. I mean works very hard is sort of relative but she does try… sometimes… She worries about it and does ridiculous cram sessions. She’s just an atrocious student with horrid study habits. In other words, very relatable.

I have watched Serena drive herself crazy and pull all-nighters just to barely squeak by on a test and even then, she failed half the time. Oh well, at least she has a chance to marry rich and not have to worry about all that stuff anymore.

There you go, five anime characters, well six, that would not pass your average high school finals if they had to do it. They all have other qualities tough. Some are just very hard to find.

So next time you get a score on a test that might be a bit lower than you were hoping for, remember, it can always be worse. At least, you’re not fighting evil by moonlight!

29 thoughts

  1. In Japan (at least in my experience), students pass grade levels from Elementary to Middle School even though they get bad grades or fail. They don’t really hold anyone back a grade level. High School entrance exams are more important, so they either get into high school or don’t depending on if they pass the entrance exams. If they managed to pass the entrance exam and get into high school then they focus on college entrance exam. Based on that and the setting of Sailor Moon, Serena/Usagi is definitely a bad student and probably barely pass the high school entrance exam if it weren’t for the help of the Sailor Scouts. I don’t think she would even pass or maybe barely pass the college entrance exams. I love Serena and Sailor Moon, but I definitely agree that she really does have bad studying habits.

    As for Haru, I thought he would be average. I don’t think he would be a good student, but I don’t think he would be a bad student (at least a student who would keep getting failing grades). Then again he would definitely get a scholarship in swimming.

  2. Well now it might depend on when and where you went to high school. I went to high school in Oklahoma in the 1970s when they were #50 of 50 states in teacher pay. If you were a teacher you probably qualified for welfare. And you get what you pay for. I had teachers who literally just took roll, and then graded on how much trouble you were. If they could remember who you were.The schools only insisted on attendance because the Feds gave them money based on the number of students in school each day. Seriously. The principal would openly tell you he didn’t care if you did anything if you just showed up and said “present” at roll call. After that, whatever. So this all reminded me of a young man who graduated my high school a few years ahead of me (actually, I dropped out and then aced the GED) Rumour had it they graduated him to get rid of him. He’d been in high school for oh…about eight years. True story. Now and then he showed up for class. He consistently failed classes and took them over. And over. And over. And…okay, pass him to get rid of him. Not being personally acquainted with him, I don’t know if he was special or had a drug problem or what..but he was legendary when I started at that high school. I remember watching him walk across the stage and get the fake rolled up piece of paper we all got (they mailed diplomas later) to waves of suppressed laughter. He was clearly in his 20s… Some time later when I ran a business in the same city, I regularly tossed out employment applications filled in by grown adults who could not, apparently, read. So, you know…depends on the standards of your high school…

    1. How teachers get treated in America is terrifying. Not that we’re much better up here mind you but still. It’s so sad for such an important job.

      1. Sad but true. Mind you, we really just had some wretched teachers who didn’t even try. I hear that Oklahoma schools are much better now (including specifically the one I once went to – I guess people go through all kinds of turns to GET INTO that one now – LOL) but overall we don’t pay teachers nearly enough, nor do we properly fund our schools. One of the many many systems breaking down in the U.S. We need to quit telling the rest of the world how to live and get our own house in order. Unfortunately, I think it will have to get worse before it gets better.

          1. Have you been watching our news? No, don’t, it’s too depressing. I’m just going to say I’d be home schooling my kids if I had any school age just to keep them out of the chaos if nothing else. While parents, teachers, and government are arguing over ciriculum and subjects to teach, I have a feeling the kids are getting zilch for education. I say this having been in 7th grade when Judge Bohannon desegregated Oklahoma schools and in the ensuing chaos I’d say I lost a good three years of education completely while the adults swirled around the toilet bowl of chaos. If you just showed up they were happy. If you wanted to learn anything you encountered nothing but frustration on everyones part. It was crazy. And I suspect, quite like what many of our schools are going through now. With the added aspect of a killer virus and the fight over vaccines and masks. Luckily now kids who seriously DO want an education have Internet resources I could have only dreamed of. So there’s hope…

            1. That sounds so depressing but I do agree with your silver lining. We haven’t quite figured out how to optimize use of the almost limitless information we have access to yet but the next generation will and it’s magical.

  3. TBH, I’m not sure how I passed high school, being the archetypical disillusioned alienated teenager that I was. I mean, seriously: letters in mathematics? Since when was that a thing? Surely algebra is actually some kind of cruel hoax, right? That said, I am not sure how – with his record – Onizuka passed high school, let alone got a teacher’s licence…maybe the system in Japan is slacker than we thought…? 🤔

    1. I have a sneaking feeling Arthur would be one of those peole that always get really good grades and no one can figure out how….

        1. Sometimes really dull and slow witted people do well on standardized exams. Also the entire universe of Platinum End isn’t all that bright…

  4. Yup. Sorry people. Usagi/Serena may be the future Neo Queen Serenity (two steps shy of delivering the Superman Returns speech about sons and fathers but replacing it with daughters and mothers), but as it turns out? Space Royalty kinda fails at simple education.

    No. No. Don’t look at Sailor Mercury. Or the rest of the Sailor Soldiers. Just look at the obvious character with the crippling case of loveable goofball main character-itis written into her character traits… Hmm.. I think there’s a spot on the handy dandy Anime/Manga BINGO Card that addresses that. See? Irina has drinking games, I have my Anime/Manga BINGO Card. Well sorta. I never actually made a real version of the card.

    Basically any character straddled with the character trait of loveable goof, comedic foil (Tomo from Azumanga Daioh), or hopelessly eccentric may be doomed to only succeed in school because the plot demands they go to college. College, Japanese Mangas Other High School… No seriously, look at how college is portrayed in Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out. It’s another High School!

  5. You always come up with the craziest of ideas that are uniquely thought provoking and I dare say your picks are spot on but as a high school teacher I just had to chime in. (note i’m on commenting on the shows I’ve watched.)

    Naruto- you are probably correct though I would make the case that he could with the propper educational supports and he would at least have a 504 and emotional support aide. Though given how the entire village is he probably wouldn’t get said support

    Yui ad Serena- she would also probably get a 504 or IEP but I don’t know if those are a thing in Japan. I know I would probably pull my hair out getting her to turn in work.

    1. I’m not sure either. I would be curious to find out what type of aid to students they have in Japan

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