Yen press

Hayashi’s open, innocent demeanor quietly attracts the attention of classmates and strangers as he counts all the stairs in the school, photographs street signs, and dries sweet potatoes on the classroom balcony. In a conformist world, Hayashi is refreshingly and relentlessly true to himself. Conversely, Nikaidou has worked very hard to perfect a somber facade that will keep his classmates far, far away. While much of the school regards Nikaidou as a bad omen, a student catches a glimpse behind the mask and begins – undeterred by rumors of bad luck and supernatural powers – to eliminate Nikaidou’s carefully crafted personality …

High school kids fill the pages of many manga series. In fact, it’s a common complaint from readers. Are there no older protagonists? But it makes sense for teen characters to dominate the format because this is such a crucial time in life. This is never more obvious than in mangas about school life. Discover yourself. Revise your personal image. Make friends for life. First loves. All of these themes and more can be found in school manga sets.

But despite the seemingly limited setting, there is still a lot of variety in the genre. To this end, here are some recommendations for manga about school life:

Horimiya Volume 1 Cover - Hero & Daisuke Hagiwara

Horimiya from HERO and Daisuke Hagiwara

Anime fans have probably heard of this series thanks to the adaptation that aired earlier this year. It introduces us to Kyoko Hori, a beautiful and popular high school student, and Izumi Miyamura, her nerdy classmate. But that’s only in school! At home, Kyoko takes care of her little brother and has a bossy and terrible personality. In contrast, despite his reputation at school, Izumi has multiple tattoos and piercings. And one fateful day, their two paths cross outside of school.

Cover of the Blue Period Volume 1 - Tsubasa Yamaguchi

Blue period by Tsubasa Yamaguchi

At first glance, Yatora has no reason to complain about his high school career. He is popular with his classmates. He has good grades. What is there to complain about? But he feels empty inside. That is, he does it until a painting catches his eye and he joins the school’s art association. We have all had the experience of doing anything at some point in our lives to please other people and that really hits that note – and how everything can change when you find your only true passion for driving.

The spring of my life began with you, Volume 1 - Nikki Asada

The spring of my life began with you by Nikki Asada

Suehiro loves books. (Aren’t we all referring to each other ?!) In fact, she prefers the comparative ordering of fictional stories over the intricate mess of relationships with other people. But if everything stayed that way, we wouldn’t have a manga about it, would we? Her quiet existence is thrown into chaos when the popular Takasago asks her out on a date. It’s part of a punishment game with her classmates, so everyone is eagerly awaiting her reaction, but Suehiro gets none of it. The premise may sound familiar, but the characters are charming, Suehiro starts a book club, and Takasago has more depth than his initial popular type facade suggests.

Komi Can't Communicate Volume 1 Cover - Tomohito Oda

Komi cannot communicate from Tomohito Oda

Tadano just wants to adapt to his new elite private school. Stand out and attract attention? Not part of the plan. His classmate Komi is known in school as the legendary cool beauty. But that’s a lie. Komi is not aloof and reserved. She has social anxiety and finds it difficult to talk to other people. She just wants to make friends! When a chance encounter between the two leads Tadano to find out about her dream, he agrees to help her befriend 100 other people.

In the cover of Clear Moonlit Dusk Volume 1 - Mika Yamamori

In the Clear Moonlit Dusk by Mika Yamanori

Yoi Takiguchi is a beautiful young woman. She has the soft voice and chivalrous demeanor one would associate with a prince from a Shoujo romance manga. Then she meets Ichimura, a man from the upper class who immediately takes an interest in her and considers her the most beautiful person he has ever met. Ichimura also has a princely reputation at her school – more for his looks and rich background than his personality. But don’t be fooled. Ichimura may have a less than princely attitude, but he’s kind and goes well with our heroine, who has never had a relationship with a boy.

Kimi ni Todoke Volume 1 Cover by Karuho Shiina

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina

When I think of the trope “Popular Boy Make Friends With Unpopular Girl,” Kimi ni Todoke is one of the very first titles that comes to mind. Like other heroines from the manga on this list, Sawako only wants to make friends with other people, but her shyness prevents her from doing so. Unfortunately, her calm demeanor and appearance has led people to compare her to Sadako of The Ring. That changes when her classmate Shota takes an interest in her. This manga is about the developing relationship between Sawako and Shota, but Sawako’s budding friendships with two other girls are also delightful to watch.

A Silent Voice Volume 1 Cover - Yoshitoki Oima

A silent voice from Yoshitoki Oima

Anime fans have probably heard of Oima’s latest work, To Your Eternity. While this manga falls into the speculative genre, the contemporary A Silent Voice is the series that introduced Oima to its emotional devastation. In elementary school, Shoya harassed the new, deaf girl Shouko. The treatment made it impossible for Shouko to befriend any of her classmates. But eventually justice prevails and the school administration punishes Shoya for his behavior. In fact, he ends up being just as ostracized and isolated as he made Shouko feel. Then, in high school, the two meet again, and Shoya works to make amends for his past behavior.

Seasons of the flowering of Hongduck and Demone

This ongoing webtoon follows young love through all four seasons. The first season, Spring, introduced us to Bomi, a tall and beautiful girl who is one of the most popular girls in school. Who better to date her than Jaemin, a tall and handsome boy who is just as popular? But things don’t always go the way you think they should. When Bomi learns that her best friend likes Jaemin, she decides to go on a fake date with Jinyeong, her small and outspoken classmate. What could possibly go wrong? The first arc of Seasons of Blossom really captures the high school experience: crush on something deeper, true friendship against easy acquaintances, and the way something small can explode disproportionately thanks to the school grapevine. Cute and sweet, this webtoon will make you nostalgic.

Hope you found something that piqued your interest! Check out our ongoing manga coverage for even more suggestions.