by OldAnimeLady, April 1, 2019
53

Goo Ranking (a Japanese site) recently posted the top 60 most interesting School Dramas of the Heisei Era. So let's set the time frame with a quote from Wikipedia.

The Heisei period (Japanese: 平成時代 Hepburn: Heisei jidai) (8 January 1989 - ) is the era in Japan which is after the Shōwa period (25 December 1926 - 7 January 1989).

Following the succession to the Imperial throne scheduled in 2019, the Heisei period is expected to end on the 30th of April of 2019 (= Heisei 31), when the Emperor Akihito is to abdicate, and "Heisei" is expected to be replaced by a new era name on the next day, the 1st of May, when the Crown Prince Naruhito is to accede.

The end of an era means a lot of people are going to be looking back to see what was great or not so great in an era, so for the next few months, a lot of these "Heisei era" lists and articles will be cropping up. Here is their ranking of the 60 most interesting School Dramas of the Heisei Era.

I decided to put it here in English and add the MDL rankings, genres and tags so you can decide if you would like to add them to your PTW list.

An asterisk (*) indicates I have watched the drama.

60. Gachi Baka!
59. Gakkou no Kaidan
58. Medaka
57. Taiyo to Umi no Kyoshitsu
56. Aogeba Toutoshi
55. Otona Koukou
54. Omotesando Koukou Gasshoubu
53. Ganbatte Ikimasshoi
52. Stand Up!!  *
51. Ari yo Saraba
50. Sayonara, Ozu Sensei
49. Samurai High School
48. Misaki Number One!!
47. Attack No.1
46. Ace wo Nerae!
45. Dance Drill
44. Prison School  *
43. Gakko ja Oshierarenai!
42. 35 sai no Koukousei
41. Scrap Teacher
40. Kuro no Onna Kyoushi
39. Seito Shokun!
38. HAMMER SESSION!
37. H2
36. Yamada kun to 7 nin no Majo *
35. Asuko March!  *
34. Yankee-kun to Megane-chan  *
33. Otomen
32. Long Love Letter
31. Tumbling
30. Yankee Bokou ni Kaeru
29. LIFE 
28. Jigoku Sensei Nube 
27. Gomenne Seishun!
26. Ouran High School Host Club  *
25. Tantei Gakuen Q *
24. Q10 *
23. Chugakusei Nikki *
22. Yukan Club *
21. Densetsu no Kyoshi
20. Mei-chan no Shitsuji  *
19. Orange Days  *
18. My Boss, My Hero
17. Hana Nochi Hare: HanaDan Next Season *
16. Hakusen Nagashi


Here are the top 15!


Dragon Zakura

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,386 users
# of Watchers: 5,574
Reviews: 5 users

Genres: Comedy, School, Drama
Tags: Delinquent, High School, Persistent Teacher, Adapted From A Manga, Idol Actor

I liked this one a lot and am not surprised it made the list.  The kids gain more than an entrance into Toudai, but also confidence for life.
Sakuragi Kenji is a destitute lawyer and one-time member of a motorcycle gang trying to guide failing high school students with an average score of 36 into Japan's most prestigious educational institution, Tokyo University (Toudai).
For no other reason than Sakuragi's personal ambition, he has advertised his intention to produce 5 successful Toudai applicants from the students of a nearly bankrupt failure of a school.
In addition to revealing essential test-taking techniques for everyone who wants to know how to get into Toudai, Dragon Zakura will also teach the essentials of living one's life.


Nobuta Wo Produce

My Rating:  10/10
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,771 users
# of Watchers: 17,206
Reviews: 26 users

Genres: Friendship, Comedy, School
Tags: High School, Unusual Friendship, School Bullying, Unrequited Love, Eccentric Male Lead, Odd Characters, Shy Characters, Rich Male Lead, Adapted From A Novel, Bromance

Ok, so I really like the leads in this so maybe I overrated this for other people, but for me, this is one of my all time favourite dramas.
Shuji Kiritani is one of the most popular guys in his school. He pretends to care for all of his classmates, but deep down, is quiet and doesn't open up to others. But for some reason, when his eccentric classmate Akira Kusano is around, he can show his true self.
One day, a new girl from another school comes to Shuji's classroom. Her name is Nobuko Kotani. From her gloomy looks, she begins to get harassed by the class bullies in no time. The harassment was devastating. Hearing about this, Akira comes up with the idea to makeover Nobuko from her looks to her personality, so that she'd become one of the most popular girls in their school. That way, there's no way the bullies can harass her. And so Shuji and Akira's great make-over begins. A Cinderella story which portrays the social life of Japanese teenagers. Can this gloomy girl really become popular in her school?


The Queen's Classroom


Ratings: 8.4/10 from 909 users
# of Watchers: 2,215
Reviews: 9 users

Genres: School, Drama
Tags: Elementary School, Child Abuse

A new school year begins at Hanzaki Elementary School and there's a new mysterious teacher named Akutsu Maya in grade 6, class 3. Meanwhile, Kanda Kazumi is now entering the 6th grade and filled with excitement about the new school year. Kazumi also has Maya Akutsu as her new homeroom teacher.
The students in grade 6, class 3 quickly realize that Maya never smiles at them and treats them mercilessly. Students are not even allowed to use the bathroom during class time. Maya places a high emphasis on test scores and gives pop quizzes every week. Students who receive the lowest scores, become almost like her slaves as they must perform odd jobs in the classroom. Kazumi quickly falls into the crosshairs of Maya.
A 1-year battle then ensues between Maya, who rules her classroom like a queen, and the students of grade 6, class 3.


Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo N

Ratings: 8.3/10 from 806 users
# of Watchers: 1,913
Reviews: 2 users


Genres: Suspense, Mystery, Comedy, School, Detective


Drama series based on "Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo" manga, with Yamada Ryosuke as the 4th generation Kindaichi Hajime. This acts as a bit of a follow-up to two previous drama specials.


Asunaro Hakusho

Ratings: 7.0/10 from 122 users
# of Watchers: 324
Reviews: 3 users

Genres: Friendship, Romance, Life, School, Drama, Tragedy

Tags: Adapted From A Manga


On the day of the entrance exam, someone helps Narumi by giving her a pencil. She wants to thank him but he's soon gone. She couldn't forget her hero so she hopes to see him again. While looking around the campus she hears the sound of the piano and enters a room where four other freshmen are present. Here she'll meet Seika, Tamotsu, Osamu and Junichiro. Together they decide to form the Asunaro Club.


Hanazakari no Kimitachi e

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 8.4/10 from 17,807 users
# of Watchers: 25,813
Reviews: 48 users

Genres: Friendship, Comedy, Romance, School, Youth, Drama, Sports

Tags: High School, High Jump, Adapted From A Manga, Cross-dressing, Strong Female Lead, Love Triangle, Bromance, Roommate, Reverse-Harem, School Dorm

This is one of the funniest dramas you will ever watch.  I love it and the entire cast.
Based on a popular comic, this hilarious comedy follows the chaos, troubles and friendship at a boys' boarding school after a girl-disguising-as-a-boy joins. Ashiya Mizuki has just come back to Japan from California where she was raised. She fell in love with Sano Izumi, a hopeful high jump hero, who has quit after an accident. As she wants him to go back to the sport once again, she enters the same high school as a boy! With a short hair, flattened chest and lowered voice, she starts sharing the same room with Sano.


3 Nen A Kumi: Ima kara Mina-san wa, Hitojichi Desu

I am currently watching this.
Ratings: 8.8/10 from 449 users
# of Watchers: 1,262
Reviews: 8 users

Genres: Action, Suspense, Friendship, Mystery, Psychological, School, Drama

Tags: Hostage, Teacher, High School, Eccentric Male Lead, Life Lessons, Student, Police, Obsession, School Bullying, Suicide


With graduation 10 days away, homeroom teacher Hiiragi gathered all 29 students of class 3-A and proclaims them his hostages. His last lesson regards the death of a student that passed away a few months before. Nobody will be able to graduate until the truth is known.


Kyou Kara Ore Wa!!

My Rating:  8.5/10
Ratings: 8.9/10 from 294 users
# of Watchers: 1,016
Reviews: 2 users

Genres: Friendship, Comedy, School, Youth
Tags: 1980s, Delinquent, Adapted From A Manga


This was so funny and interesting, a great manga adaption.


Two transfer students, Mitsuhashi Takashi and Itou Shinji, tired of their boring normal life and unpopularity decide to take their arrival at a new school as an opportunity to reinvent their image, and become delinquents! Itou's justice clashing with Mitsuhashi's mischievous ways, they initially antagonize one another but soon become fast friends. The delinquent duo set out on various misadventures to become the greatest delinquents in all Japan!
(Source: Myanimelist)


ROOKIES

Ratings: 8.0/10 from 1,456 users
# of Watchers: 3,104
Reviews: 5 users

Genres: Friendship, School, Youth, Drama, Sports
Tags: Delinquent, Teacher, Gang, Baseball, Adapted From A Manga


Koichi Kawato is the new Japanese Literature teacher at the ill-famed Futakotamagawa high school, whose baseball club is composed of thugs and bullies who have been suspended for a year from all school competitions, for causing a brawl during an official match. The newly appointed teacher finds that the club members left are only interested in women, smoking and doing nothing until, under Kawato's guidance, they discover their dream of going to the Koshien high school baseball tournament. However, the road to Koshien is far from easy as many obstacles await them.


Water Boys

Ratings: 7.3/10 from 338 users
# of Watchers: 862
Reviews: 1 user

Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sports
Tags: Swimming


Two years ago, five high-school boys brought fame to a small town in Japan. What was so unique was that they formed a "men's synchronized swimming club." Their involvement and struggles while learning synchronized swimming - known to be a sport for girls - brought much attention to their school and town.
Two years have passed since that summer, and the boys of Tadano High School are still in the club. The Fuji Television drama "Water Boys" shows how these young boys fight to learn synchronized swimming, fall in love, and enjoy friendship with one another.


GTO: Remake Season 1

My Rating:  8/10
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 2,407 users
# of Watchers: 4,674
Reviews: 10 users

Genres: School, Drama, Manga
Tags: Delinquent, High School, Persistent Teacher, Adapted From A Manga

While this is an excellent show, IMO the original GTO was even better.
Through the introduction of his friend Danma Ryuji, Onizuka Eikichi, the former legendary bike gang member, visits Meishu Academy to tend to the trees in the garden as a part-time gardener. Learning that Yoshikawa Noboru, a student in teacher Fuyutsuki Azusa’s class is being bullied by Uehara Kyoko and other classmates, Onizuka befriends and saves Yoshikawa. Seeing Onizuka’s unprecedented but visceral, powerful response to problem-solving, the school’s president and principal, Sakurai Yoshiko, overrides resistance from her vice principal Uchiyamada Hiroshi and makes Onizuka a teacher. Onizuka goes on to tackle many issues as the teacher in charge of the most problematic class, Class 2/4.



3 nen B gumi Kinpachi Sensei 5 - Final

(I am linking the information from #5, there were 4 more after.)

My Rating:  7/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 26 users
# of Watchers: 114

Genres: School
Tags: Japanese Franchise, Teacher, Middle School, Idol Actor

The original persistent teacher, the series has 8 seasons and 1 special all together from 1979 -2011.   Shows like GTO and Gokusen were based on this model.
After an absence of four years Kinpachi Sensei, everyone's favourite teacher, returns to the television screen in a new series. When the series first went into production in 1979, delinquency and on-campus violence were big social problems. Over the years, the pressing problems became truancy and bullying, and more recently, disorderly conduct in classrooms and children with explosive tempers. Kinpachi Sensei returns to the classroom to help teenagers caught between childhood and adulthood, who suffer many social and emotional strains.


Nodame Cantabile

My Rating:  8.5/10
Ratings: 8.4/10 from 8,017 users
# of Watchers: 13,459
Reviews: 24 users

Genres: Music, Comedy, Romance
Tags: Aviophobia, Orchestra Conductor, Eccentric Female Lead, Violinist, Pianist, Phobia, College Life, Adapted From A Manga, Competition, Romance

When I started this I thought I would hate it because of the over-the-top acting at times, but this is one of the best dramas out there and deserves this ranking.

Megumi Noda or "Nodame" is a piano student at Momogaoka College of Music. An extremely talented pianist who wants to be a kindergarten teacher, she prefers playing by ear rather than reading the music score. She is messy and disorganized, takes baths several days apart and loves to eat, sometimes stealing her friend's lunchbox when it is filled with delicacies.
Shinichi Chiaki is Momogaoka's top student. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. An arrogant multi-lingual perfectionist who once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy, he feels mired in Japan because of a childhood phobia.
They meet by accident. Nodame quickly falls in love, but it takes much longer for Chiaki to even begin to appreciate Nodame's unusual qualities. Their relationship causes them both to develop and grow. Because of Nodame, Chiaki got the opportunity to lead a student orchestra and begins to have a broader appreciation of people's musical abilities. Because of Chiaki, Nodame faces her fears and enters a piano competition. Opportunities open up as both begin taking risks, stretching themselves far more than they ever thought possible.
~~ Based on the hit comic book by Tomoko Ninomiya, this is a fun-filled quirky romantic story of two very opposite people.


Hana Yori Dango

My Rating:  10/10
Ratings: 8.4/10 from 19,796 users
# of Watchers: 28,714
Reviews: 47 users

Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Drama
Tags: Arrogant Male Lead, Adapted From A Manga, Male Chases Female First, Strong Female Lead, Bromance, Obsession, Attempted Sexual Assault, Lovers Separated, Evil Parental Figure, Trapped

Hi, I am OAL! I have a problem and am an HYD addict. :) Ratings may be higher than normal due to obsessiveness.

Makino Tsukushi is the only poor student at Eitoku Gakuen, a school for the ridiculously rich and privileged. Eitoku Gakuen is ruled by the Flower 4, or otherwise known as the F4, a group of four boys who come from extremely powerful families: Domyoji Tsukasa, the leader and heir of the Domyoji World Finance Group; Hanazawa Rui, the introverted son of a large company; Nishikado Sojiro, a player who is the heir of a tea ceremony school; and Mimasaka Akira, a madam killer with ties to the underground. If a student gets on the F4's bad side, he/she gets a red notice and is bullied and driven out of school.
Makino hopes to pass her days quietly - without drawing any attention to herself - but one day, she stands up to Domyoji in defense of her friend. The next day, Makino receives the dreaded red notice. Even though she is harassed, Makino decides to keep going to school and declares war right back on the F4, because she is a "tough weed." Her resolve gets the attention of her crush, Hanazawa Rui, and oddly enough, rouses romantic feelings in her worst enemy, Domyoji Tsukasa.
The series is based on the Japanese shoujo manga "Hana Yori Dango" by Kamio Yoko.


Gokusen


My Rating:
 8/10
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 9,513 users
# of Watchers: 14,932
Reviews: 22 users

Genres: Action, Friendship, Comedy, School, Youth, Drama

Tags: Strong Female Lead, Signature Move, Delinquent, Mafia, Older Woman / Younger Man, High School, Gang Leader, Persistent Teacher, Yakuza, Gangster


The story of a young, idealistic teacher who enters Shirokin Gakuen with hopes of making a difference in the students' lives. However, Yamaguchi Kumiko is in for a rude awakening when she finds that she will be the homeroom teacher of 3-D, the hardest class to maintain in the school. The students have multi-coloured hair, sloppy uniforms, and show absolutely no respect for her. The leader of the class, Sawada Shin is lazy but bright and shows some interest in Yamaguchi when he notices that she is very different from other teachers. The students try to bully her to make her quit, but their attempts don't get them very far.
What the class and the rest of the school does not know is that Yamaguchi Kumiko is actually the 4th generation heir to the Ooedo Group, a notorious yakuza clan. Even though her family would like her to take the title of Ojou when her grandfather dies, they have accepted the fact that Yamaguchi would rather be a teacher.
Eventually, the students learn to respect their quirky teacher because of her devotion to them, and even give her a nickname: Yankumi.

How many of these have you watched? 

Which ones are you planning to watch next? 

Drop a comment below!

hana yori dango kyou kara ore wa!! gokusen gto nodame cantible 3 nen b gumi waterboys rookies 3 nen a kumi hanazakari no kimitachi e asunaro hakusho nobuta wo produce dragon zakura

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