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6 Ridiculous School Uniform Designs

by Lynzee Loveridge,

I'm deep in the Preview Guide mines this week, digging through each and every new anime premiere! In the meantime, take a look at some really ridiculous character design choices from ghosts of anime past.

School uniforms are an anime staple. Stories 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 stand out in their uniforms. Besides changing color, most girls' uniforms fall into either the sailor-style or blazer-style look, but sometimes attempts to draw attention to a character just make 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 weird to the fanservice-laden or just plain nonsensical for day-to-day wear.

6. Tie-Staples (Nisekoi) Nisekoi is on this list primarily as a personal pet peeve. I find the slouchy, loose shirts coupled with double-length thin business ties 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 stapling is just as odd, and I'm still unsure how it functions. I imagine the characters have to thread it every morning. It's a minor problem that would be okay 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 a choir robe. The top layer has the appearance of a short-sleeved cardigan, worn open with a single snap, but it also has the traditional sailor-style flap and breastplate, meaning that 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 or 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 a vehicle for fanservice above all else. Even its one-off cooking game worked boobs into it somehow, so we shouldn't be surprised that there's a schoolgirl character with an unbuttoned shirt and no underwear kicking her way through enemies. She delivers the kicks with "boots" but they're more accurately 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 for some 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 seemingly standard gray pleated skirts, a white oxford shirt, a blue blazer, and a grey bow-tie. However, in what looks like an attempt to raise the fanservice of the uniforms, all the skirts are tied on the sides with drawstrings that have 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 a 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 of space whenever the wearer sits down. 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 awful jumpsuits. I'm sure the thought process was that the boys' uniforms were supposed to be reminiscent of spacesuits in a sci fi series, but Kōta has an actual spacesuit for that. Then there's the white pointed collar, the tiny tie, and the fact that it's blue all over. Unfortunately, the design leaves poor Kōta and the rest of his male classmates looking like Megaman sans a helmet.

The new poll: Pick your favorite decade old and 20-year-old shows in the poll this week!

Have you ever dropped a manga because it went on for too long? If so, which ones?

  1. Bleach
  2. Naruto
  3. One Piece
  4. Fairy Tail
  5. I always finish everything I start
  6. I drop long series until I can binge read
  7. Detective Conan
  8. Inuyasha
  9. None
  10. Skip Beat!
  11. Kimi ni Todoke
  12. Hunter x Hunter
  13. Hayate the Combat Butler
  14. Gintama
  15. The Prince of Tennis
  16. Gantz
  17. Nisekoi
  18. Berserk
  19. Oh My Goddess!
  20. Ranma 1/2

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

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