In this world you can find teachers and lessons to learn often in the most unexpected places, and for those who haven’t realized just how good of a teacher anime can be, it can often be the most unexpected place. However, anime isn’t always so obvious about the lessons it tries to teach its audience, but a powerful proxy for doing so is the veritable “Sensei”. Teachers and other sensei-like figures in anime not only teach the other characters something valuable like via dropping a knowledge or life bomb on them, but in turn they teach the audience a similar lesson.
However, not all teachers are good teachers. You have your homeroom teachers that often aren’t rewarded a face, personality, or even a name, and you also have teachers that have more flair, but are often unclear about the lesson they want to teach.
18 – Franken Stein from Soul Eater
At his first appearance, Franken Stein seems like a terrible teacher, what with trying to harm his students. However, it is his “learn by doing” teaching style that makes him so effective. As the series goes on, we see a softer side of Stein as he not only continues to actively teach his students, but putting his own life on the line to protect them.
17 – Aikurou Mikisugi from Kill la Kill
At a glance, Mikisugi seems like your run-of-the-mill slacker and boring history teacher, but he’s actually a super cool secret agent. However, his fondness for stripping down makes him a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. Despite this as well as his glorious glowing nipples, he’s a quality guy and teacher.
16 – Noriyasu Seta from Love Hina
Throughout his appearances in Love Hina, Seta seems like a terrible teacher, but he not only urged one of his students to aim towards Tokyo University (even if was her own love towards him that spurred it on), but he managed to resist temptation of all the young women that were in love with him and opted to go for the age-appropriate Haruka instead. It is his laid-back attitude, restraint, and understanding that make Seta a pretty quality teacher.
15 – Negi Springfield from Mahou Sensei Negima
Not all teachers need to be mature adults, and Negi is proof of that. At only 10-years-old, Negi became a teacher, but he not only had to deal with flirty young girls, but he secretly had to train to be a mage. It is his positive attitude and his use of magic to protect others that endear this teacher to students and audiences alike.
14 – Arai Kazuichi from Kimi ni Todoke
Otherwise known as Pin, Arai-sensei is your typical egotistical coach-type teacher. He is the temporary homeroom teacher in the series and also the baseball team coach. While jock-type teachers are often used as a point of contention in slice of life series, Pin is gruff, but he rarely uses his attitude to harass anyone but Kazehaya.
13 – Kouhei Inuzuka from Sweetness and Lightning
Throughout Sweetness and Lightning, you never see Inuzuka, a math teacher, do much teaching. However, you do see him caring for his students. He spends the majority of his time helping and getting helped by Iida, but you see how much he cares for his students by knowing going to their homes might not be appropriate, but also that it is helpful.
12 – Ittetsu Takeda from Haikyuu
Takeda is an aggressively average teacher and eventually gets roped into being the volleyball coach, without knowing anything about the sport. However, while some teachers might just let it be and let the team do their own thing, Takeda actively tries to learn more about the sport to help his students.
11 – Ginpachi-sensei from Gintama
Ginpachi-sensei is an alternate version of Gintama in which Gintoki is a language teacher and a parody of the show Kinpachi-sensei. All your favorite characters are there, and Gintoki does a terrible job at being a teacher!
10 – Chisa Yukizome from Danganronpa 3
Yukizome goes from being one of the best teachers to one of the worst throughout the series. In the past arc, she is all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, dragging her students to class even though they don’t have to attend. In doing so, she allows them to enjoy their school lives and bond as a class unit. Unfortunately, when she gives in to despair, she becomes a significantly worse teacher for… Reasons.
9 – Izumi Sakurai from Nichijou
It is Izumi’s ”give it her best” attitude that makes her so endearing to the audiences. She’s not the greatest teacher, but she keeps an upbeat attitude despite her shortcomings and the weirdness that goes on around her. Perhaps it is the attitude of their teacher that transfers to her energetic students.
8 – Muten Roshi from Dragon Ball
He might look like a weak perverted old man, but he is stronger than you could ever imagine. Although he put his student through rough training, they became like family. This sensei even let his students hang out and even live with him well into their adult years. That’s dedication.
7 – Genkai from Yu Yu Hakusho
Despite her age and her rather slight build, Genkai is not a teacher you would want to mess with. Like Master Roshi above, she took a harsh hand with her students, but gave them the tools to survive in a brutal world. She imbued her students with great power, and while it seems like she didn’t love them, she would put her life on the line for them.
6 – Nozomu Itoshiki from Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei
As a teacher full of despair and a history of multiple failed suicide attempts, you would think Nozomu would be a poor choice for a good teacher. However, it is his despair that often brings light to his students as he teaches them to look at the world with a more critical eye.
5 – Kumiko Yamaguchi from Gokusen
Good teacher by day and yakuza heir-apparent by night, Kumiko isn’t afraid to get a little tough with her students. When you are teaching a classroom full of thugs, sometimes a little strength can go a long way to keep them in line and set them towards a more righteous path. After all, thugs often follow strength, and Kumiko has it in spades.
4 – Junichirou Kagami from Ultimate Otaku Teacher
Although a certified genius, Junichirou spent much of his life as an otaku and NEET. However, after the urging of his sister, he starts life as a teacher where his intelligence and attitude has a great affect on his students. In fact, it is his otaku ways that allow him to cater to his students in a way that other teachers just can’t.
3 – Megumi Sakura from School Live!
In School Live, Megumi is originally scolded for caring too much for her students. However, when the world goes to shit, it is her caring nature that manages to save a small few left behind when the outbreak gets bad. She not only keeps them safe, but she creates tools in order for them to survive for the long haul, even if one tool is letting a girl dive full-on into her delusions.
2 – Koro-Sensei from Assassination Classroom
At a glance, you could mistake Koro-Sensei for a terrible teacher. He’s cocky and challenges his students to try and kill him at every opportunity. However, in their training to become better assassins, they actually become better people. He treats each student individually and throughout the series allows them to come to terms with their own problems.
1 – Eikichi Onizuka from Great Teacher Onizuka
Koro-sensei may be a pretty decent rival for Onizuka, but there is no tough teacher better than this original tough teacher. As a former thug and present pervert, Onizuka found his place in life reforming problem students. It is his willingness to do everything from embarrass bullies and getting stabbed for his students to going to bat for even the most misunderstood young person that gives him an endearing quality. Sometimes to set troubled kids on the right path, you need to find a person who understands them, and Onizuka is just that.
Did we miss any of your favorite teachers in anime? Tell us all about them in the comments section below.