The Best College Anime For Young Adults, Ranked

High school stories may have all the drama, but anime about college life has all the charm. Stories of young adults transitioning from carefree teenagers to mature individuals have their separate appeal and resonate well with their respective audiences.

While the fans get to experience the nostalgia of school festivals, clubs, and over-the-top love triangles, anime about college life highlight the struggles of characters both professionally and personally. From masterpieces like Paradise Kiss to wholesome watches like Golden Time, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

RELATED: 10 Anime Love Triangles That Overstayed Their Welcome

10 White Album (2009)

White Album is a typical college-life love story for hardcore romance anime fans. It centers around Touya Fujii, who tries to balance his life as a college student along with barely managing his love life with upcoming idol Yuki Morikawa.

White Album gets a lot of hate for its stereotypical plot and bland characters, but it does justice to the harem trope and offers an accurate take on real Japanese college life. The intricacies of dealing with adulthood and coming to terms with young love are what college anime should be all about, and this is exactly what viewers can expect from White Album.

Related: 10 Toxic Anime Couples Who Need To Break Up ASAP

9 My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 (2023)

Akane is a beautiful college girl who is heartbroken by relationship dilemmas that hit deeper than those in high school. Unable to get over her ex-boyfriend, Akane resorts to losing herself in the online game she and her former partner used to play. This is where she meets Yamada, a cool yet highly introverted high school otaku in his last year who happened to be at the right place when Akane needed him.

My Love Story With Yamada-kun deals with an interesting age-gap relationship dynamic that is unconventional and beautifully portrayed. The show gives the viewers a nostalgic contrast between Akane’s life as a struggling college student dealing with breakups and studies and Yamada’s efforts to balance his high school popularity and otaku nature.

8 Golden Time (2013)

Golden Time is one of the most prominent anime about college life, romance, friendship, and mental health. The story mainly follows Banri Tada’s seemingly average life as he starts a private law college in Tokyo. However, there’s nothing normal about Tada’s life because he not only suffers from amnesia but also gets thrown into a very complicated love triangle.

Even though Golden Time wholeheartedly entertains fans with almost all of the classic romance tropes of love rivals and memory loss, it does so without being too irrelevant. Young adults can relate to Tada’s struggles with his personality and Kouko’s strong insecurities despite being the perfect popular girl material.

7 Grand Blue (2018)

Not many anime titles are dedicated to the chaos associated with college life. While most anime focus on the romantic aspect of young adults in college, Grand Blue tends to take it up a notch and offers the perks of being a college student.

Grand Blue is a unique slice-of-life seinen that focuses on high-octane drinking mixed with an intense focus on scuba diving and mature comedy that will leave the viewers in tears. Iori thought he’d focus on his studies once he started at Izu University. However, it only took him a couple of hard-core parties and other college-life shenanigans to push him out of this fantasy but in a very comedic way.

Related: 10 Best Office Romance Anime To Watch Right Now

6 Science Fell In Love, So I Tried To Prove It

One of the quirkiest college anime of all time, Science Fell In Love, is timeless when it comes to quality comedy and young love. Himuro is a beautiful scientist who falls in love with another dorky scientist named Yukimura. Even though they both have feelings for each other, they try to get to the bottom of these bubbly feelings by scientifically proving their grounds.

The audience can understand how hilarious the situation is when the duo tries to record data like heartbeats and rates to validate their love. And when one adds other awkward personalities to this hot mess, Science Fell In Love fans get an entertaining college rom-com.

5 Rent-A-Girlfriend (2020)

Kazuya is a college student who gets his heart shattered by Mami. Unable to deal with the onslaught of a breakup by a beauty, Kazuya resorts to hiring rental girlfriends to soothe his pain, and there he comes across the charming Chizuru. However, they get off the wrong foot, and Kazuya gives Chizuru a low rating because he finds her persona too fake.

From there begins a chain of events that starts a wild harem ride for Kazuya as he has more rental girlfriends and even his ex-girlfriend fighting for his love. Rent-A-Girlfriend may follow all the classic tropes, but it’s also high on college drama and gives meaningful insight into how young adults find it harder at that age to deal with heartbreak than in high school.

4 Itazura Na Kiss (2008)

Itazura Na Kiss is a quirky comedy that follows a below-average student, Kotoko, who has unsurprisingly been in love with the school’s smartest and hottest guy since high school. However, when she confesses to Naoki, he brutally rejects her, but fate wouldn’t have it any other way.

Not only does she get to come live with him after her house is destroyed in an earthquake, but they also face each other again in college. Despite her clingy and dim-witted nature, Naoki finds himself being drawn to Kotoko and her childishness. Itazura Na Kiss may be clichéd, but it does talk about the primary problems college students face — indecisiveness about career path and love.

Related: 10 Most Heartfelt Romance Anime Confessions

3 Number24 (2020)

Number24 is a beautiful and heartwarming anime that signifies the importance of healthy friendships and perseverance. Natsusa had to step away from rugby because of a tragic accident, but that doesn’t mean that’s the end of his passion for the sport. Since he can’t play rugby for the college team, it doesn’t mean he can’t manage it.

Natsusa holds on to the last thread of hope he has for connecting to the game and vows to charge to victory with a band of athletic yet interesting characters. Number24 is a beautiful anime focusing on friendship and the importance of holding onto what one loves.

2 Paradise Kiss (2005)

Paradise Kiss is a very well-thought-out story focusing on coming-of-age struggles and the opportunity to experience life while there’s still time. Yukari is a snobbish, overworked high schooler trying to meet her family’s high expectations. However, when she meets Joji and his gang of chic acquaintances, Yukari gets to experience something different for a change.

As an overachieving student, Yukari naturally looks down on fashion as a study subject, but she soon learns that it’s not just about grades — what you’re good at also counts. Paradise Kiss is a masterpiece when it comes to stories about college life and is a must-watch.

1 Honey and Clover (2008)

One of the most prominent anime about college life, Honey and Clover, sets the bar high for a plot completely dedicated to college life shenanigans. The series is full of love triangles, complex characters, and a growing plot that will put viewers who have experienced college life through nostalgia.

Honey and Clover follows the life of five students enrolled at a fine arts academy college. While romance is the main theme of the show, it also deals with the dynamic of transitioning from high school to college, learning to be independent, and finding a footing in the real world but in a beautiful way.

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