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Back to School Specials – Top 10 “Sensei” Characters in Anime

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It’s almost time.  I know this will be difficult news for many readers to swallow, but school, like winter, is coming.  It’s only a little more than a month away, so get started collecting your coupons for back-to-school shopping.  To help you guys get back into it, I will be doing one of the few things I know how to do: make lists.  Every few days or so, we will be posting lists and reviews that are school-themed to help you get back into the mood for education.

And so, without further ado, let’s jam!

#10: Sawako Yamanaka, “Sawa-chan” (K-On!)

sawako yamanaka

I actually only noticed this recently, but “Sawako Yamanaka” is basically one letter away from lead singer of The Pillows, Sawao Yamanaka.  Go figure.

Anyways, Sawa-chan is a prime example of the teacher in your school who looks nice but has a violent past.  Thankfully, K-On! didn’t turn out to be a murder mystery, since Sawako-sensei wasn’t collecting chainsaws back in middle school.  It turns out that she was a dark metallic guitarist, grinding strings with her teeth.  Much respect Sawako, much respect.  I wonder what her mother thinks of her now.






#9: Wing (Hunter x Hunter)


Wing is awesome.  He teaches Killua and Gon the power of Nen, the special ability that is kind of a cross between chi-manipulation and Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s bending ability.  Starting out strict, he is able to train the two young Hunter’s, eventually graduating them into the real world.  He reveals at the end of the arc that the real Hunter graduation exam was the process of learning how to use and manipulate Nen, and that it was a necessity to become a true Hunter.






#8: Megumi Sakura, “Megu-nee” (Gakkou Gurashi!)

megumi sakura

I feel a little remorseful putting a character that I’ve only seen one real episode on, but I think it’s only fair considering that what I’ve seen of her is pretty good.  Plus, I needed a more serious entry on this list, to balance out the idiocy on the next entry.

Megu-nee acts as the protector or first guard for the girls in the School-Live club.  Her character is kind, but hidden within her is a kind of despair that grew when she discovered the size of the predicament they were in.  She maintains a calm demeanor for Yuki’s sake, but her hopelessness bubbles through every now and then and I hope that culminates in some form of future character development.  It probably won’t, but I can hope.



#7: Classroom 5-2’s Homeroom Teacher (Ichigo Mashimaro)

There is no way for me to describe the joy I feel when I see the following two video clips from Ichigo Mashimaro.  I will let them play themselves out and hopefully you will see.

Poor Sasazuka.

#6: Yukari Tanizaki (Azumanga Daioh)


Yukari Tanizaki is only one of two Azumanga Daioh characters on this list (I think you can guess who the other one is).  Yukari is an example of the typical lazy Japanese teacher.  I’m almost absolutely certain that teachers like this don’t exist in Japan (if there were lax educators in that country, why would they find it necessary to make fictional versions?).  However, I’d love to have a teacher like Yukari.  She’d be a lot of fun to have around, although she probably wouldn’t teach anything.






#5: Muten-Roshi (Dragon Ball)


This is an entry that is meant to encompass all mentors from the shounen genre.  This goes out to those lecherous masters who’ve lead us through ages of training montages.  This is for the old, aged and wise dudes who live vicariously through their students, whilst also being bad-ass enough to do whatever they want anyways.

Thanks sensei, for teaching us how to make use of the overpowered abilities we didn’t know we had.





#4: Kimura (Azumanga Daioh)


If this list was based on comedy alone, Kimura would be at the top without question.  He is a living, breathing mass of desire for high-school girls.  He is the eventual conclusion of the Human Instrumentality Project, if the aim was the create someone who desired nothing more than to look at high-school girls.  The antics that ensue are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.  He is as oblivious to his awkwardness as possible, and that is what wraps him up perfectly as a character.  I love Kimura.





#3: Danpei Tange (Ashita no Joe)

danpei tange

I kinda have to put this guy here.  Danpei Tange is the teacher of Yabuki Joe, a cocky boxing prodigy.  Danpei teaches him everything he knows and puts his heart and soul in Joe’s training.  He sacrifices his body and mind, and even shields Joe’s body when he is getting beat up by gangsters, and he suffers many serious injuries as a result.  No teacher on this list has given everything the way Danpei has.  That’s why he is here.






#2: Eikichi Onizuka (Great Teacher Onizuka)


“Wait, why isn’t Onizuka #1?”  That should be very obvious from my profile picture, hint hint.  Anyways, Onizuka is more than worthy of being at the top of this list.  The very definition of unconventional education, Onizuka uses his street smarts and dynamite muscles to shrug off non-believers and construct a very unique classroom for his arrangement of troubled students.  His strange style of teaching through experience allows him to get to the heart of the issue in a way that his strait-laced coworkers can’t understand.  Onizuka is the teacher’s teacher.





#1: Nozomu Itoshiki (Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)

nozomu itoshiki

Yes, I went there.  I mean, c’mon, it’s my profile picture everywhere.  Nozomu Itoshiki is the personification of my mental state most of the time.  ZETSUBOUSHITA!!  Need I say more?







Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.  If you have any ideas for other entries, or thoughts on the ones here, just put them in the comments below.  Thanks again, and have a great day!


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Watching anime has been a hobby of mine since the age of six. Since the 90s I've watched hundreds of anime and hope to see many more. I'm also the founder and owner of Unime, an upcoming anime social networking site.


  1. Epic, I’m so happy you put Sakura- Sensei on here even if you only watched an episode the last episode that came out really put her in my for front of Sensei characters!

      1. This sorta goes without saying, or at least I thought it did, but these entries are in no real order. I tend not to write it because I thought that was understood. Either way, disagreements about lists, their occupants or their orders tend to stir only one real response from me: make your own! xD I’m sure you’ve got some good ideas for things that I couldn’t think of.

        1. I mentioned it because someone sent me a link of this list saying “See Onizuka isn’t better than Despair sensei” and I was like… it’s still subjective bro…

          1. lol, despite my supreme level of intelligence, I am not the definitive source for people individual opinions.

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