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6 Ridiculous School Uniform Designs

by Lynzee Loveridge,

School uniforms are an anime staple. Plot settings regularly take place in middle school or high school and the sheer number of anime, manga, and light novel series released each year means character designers and artists have to come up with new ways to make their protagonists easily identifiable in their uniforms. Besides changing up color, most girls' uniforms fall into either the sailor-style or blazer-style. Sometimes attempts to draw attention to a character just makes them stick out for all the wrong reasons. There are truly ugly examples like the puke-green uniforms worn in Marmalade Boy (most cosplayers do the show a favor and change it to an emerald shade) or the brown dress paired with an orange sailor-style shirt that Ranka wears in Macross F. Then there are this week's entries that range from the weirdly designed, fanservice-laden, or nonsensical for day-to-day wear.

6. Tie-Staples (Nisekoi) Nisekoi is on this list primarily as a personal pet peeve. I'll admit it. I find the slouchy, loose shirts coupled with double-length thin business ties that are, for some reason, stapled to the character, to look sloppy. Ties are supposed to stop at the belt buckle unless they're going to be utilized as an over-exaggerated anime weapon. The staple is just as odd, and I'm still unsure how it functions. I imagine the characters have to thread it every morning. A problem that would be solved if their ties didn't reach their thighs.

5. Dresses & Cardigan-Shirts (Yuruyuri - Happy Go Lily) This is another weirdly unattractive combo. The under layer is a long-sleeved, maroon dress that begins pleating about at the chest. Like choir robes. The top layer has the appearance of a short-sleeved cardigan, and is worn open with a single snap, but it also has the traditional sailor-style flap and breastplate, meaning it probably goes on like a shirt. The long-sleeves sticking out look particularly bad. They're reminiscent of shirt layering that was popular about 10 years ago and the tanktop over a t-shirt trend from the 90s.

4. Skin and More Skin (Katsuragi from Senran Kagura) I'm cutting Senran Kagura some slack because it is, first a foremost, a vehicle for fanservice. Even its one-off cooking game worked boobs into it, so we shouldn't be surprised that there's a school girl character with an unbuttoned shirt and no underwear kicking her way through enemies. She delivers the kicks with "boots" but they're more accurate described as high-top sabatons. Katsuragi's outfit isn't what all the girls at Hanzō High wear, but I'm guessing they could since the faculty seemingly pay her no mind.

3. Drawstring School Girl Skirts (Ai Tenchi Muyo!) This entry in the Tenchi Muyo franchise served as both a promotional tool for Takahashi, Okayama and a return of some of the main characters for the first time in almost a decade. The character designs were courtesy of Durarara!! illustrator Suzuhito Yasuda, so maybe the onus is on him for the skirts in this show. The school Tenchi Masaki teaches at has, what would be, standard grey pleated skirts, a white oxford shirt, a blue blazer, and a grey bow-tie. In what looks like an attempt to raise the fanservice of the uniforms, all the skirts are tied on the sides with drawstrings with side cut-outs to expose the character's panties. These aren't slits since the skirt pieces are still barely attached at the bottom. It's more ridiculous when you imagine that faculty members signed off on this idea for their students. Some characters forgo the skirts altogether for bloomers or throw in weird groping hand nylons, too.

2. Corset lacing, pinafores, & petticoats (11eyes) 11eyes, along with Dance with Devils, Gosick, and Strawberry Panic, design uniforms with the idea that the more frills you have, the more prestigious the school. It's also way to integrate gothic lolita stylings, an aesthetic that isn't known for being easy to wear. Petticoats are like the manspreading of the fashion world, taking up large amounts space whenever the wearer sits. Stuffing one under a desk would be a task, but the girls in 11eyes have corsetted aprons with large bows in the back, sailor flaps, laced sleeves, hats and mini neckties. I can only imagine the time commitment of getting dressed every morning and ensuring all of the five bows are tied correctly. It's eight if you count most of the character's laced up boots, too. At least they aren't afflicted with Gosick's cravats.

1. Jumpsuits (Stellvia) Stellvia isn't in first place for its orange, high-neck girls' uniforms. It's in first place for putting its boys in choirboy jumpsuits. I'm sure the thought process was that it was a sci-fi series and the boys' uniforms were supposed to be reminiscent of spacesuits, but Kōta has an actual spacesuit for that. But then there's the white pointed collar, and the tiny tie, and the fact that the whole thing is blue. Unfortunately, the design leaves poor Kōta and the rest of his male classmates looking like Megaman sans a helmet.

The new poll: Who is your favorite heroine from the Dragon Quest game franchise?

The old poll: What anime doctor would you never trust to perform your surgery?

  1. Shou Tucker (Fullmetal Alchemist)
  2. Mayuri Kurotsuchi (Bleach)
  3. Professor Stein (Soul Eater)
  4. Barazo Mankanshoku (Kill la Kill)
  5. Miyo Takano (Higurashi: When They Cry)
  6. Dr. Muraki (Descendants of Darkness)
  7. Black Jack (Black Jack)
  8. Dr. Naomitsu Madaraki (Franken Fran)
  9. Tony Tony Chopper (One Piece)
  10. Kabuto Yakushi (Naruto)
  11. Dr. Jackal (Get Backers)
  12. Dr. Tenma (Monster)
  13. Dr. Asaki Fueguchi (Tokyo Ghoul)
  14. Dr Stylish (Akame Ga Kill!)
  15. Dr. Tomoe (Sailor Moon)
  16. Minoru "Doctor" Kamiya (Yu Yu Hakusho)
  17. Shinra Kishitani (durarara!!)
  18. Dr. Sekifumi Iwata (Excel Saga)
  19. Doctor Onishi (Akira)
  20. Heaven Canceler (A Certain Magical Index)

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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