Japanese schools' extra-curricular activities are centered on "club activities" organized by the students themselves. Each club will generally be assigned its own room or other facilities, will have an advisor (who doesn't always appear on screen), and will have a powerful president (kaicho
) who'll be a significant character of some sort. For series that revolve around a specific club, the club's president frequently replaces the Student Council president
The three most commonly portrayed clubs are the student council, the school newspaper, and the Kendo team. For the student council, see Absurdly Powerful Student Council
and Student Council President
. For the newspaper, see School Newspaper Newshound
. For the Kendo team, see Kendo Team Captain
. Other clubs range from normal sport clubs (baseball, soccer, swimming etc.) over cultural clubs (art, tea ceremony, music etc.) and a mixed bunch (library, computer, home economy etc.) to the more unusual (railways, astronomy, occult research etc.). And then there are the clubs no sane school or student council would accept in reality, be it more or less shadowy fan clubs for popular students or just "the place where we hang out, when we are not doing something completely crazy
The members themselves will always be those the story needs and not the unsorted bunch you would have to deal with in reality. It's more mixed with the advisor, who can be anything from lazy over frustrated or enthusiastic to outright crazy. That is of course if the advisor is around. In fact quite a few clubs hardly see their advisor or don't even seem to have one at all.
It's rare for a student to be a member of more than one club — clubs are Serious Business
in Japan, as they are seen as training for the companies students will eventually join when they enter the adult world. Since company loyalty and longevity are highly prized in the Japanese workforce, it's considered downright rude
to devote time to more than one club, or worse, quit one club for another. The Ordinary High-School Student
who isn't a member of any
club is said to be a member of the "Go Home Club". (Usagi does this in Sailor Moon
when she gets to High School
, as does Watanuki from XXX Holic
. Kagura from Azumanga Daioh
accuses the rest of the girls of this.) If there's a female character member of an all-male sports club, such as the baseball or soccer clubs, she's portrayed as the Cute Sports Club Manager
. Characters who are a member of more than one club or who are extremely rapid in recruitment and enthusiasm are usually an Extracurricular Enthusiast
Some schools require clubs to have a minimum number of members. A common theme is, therefore, the Club Stub
which will do anything to get more members to prevent getting disbanded. And by anything we mean anything from The Power of Friendship
to brutal force.
Enemies of the club vary depending on the story and club. Sport clubs will obvious have to face clubs from other schools and may be cheered on by the other students. Clubs can however also be enemies of each other and tends to be fighting whenever the creator don't have a better idea for a story. The school and the student council will require that the club actually do something which fit the club and will be after them if they do something not allowed. And shouldn't there be any enemies from outside, the members themselve often provide good basis for infights.
This is the lowest-ranking authority trope
. For the next step up, see Absurdly Powerful Student Council
Other less common clubs include:
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Anime and Manga
- All of the teams in The Prince of Tennis are actually clubs, and their captains are basically the club president.
- Minako's volleyball team in Sailor Moon.
- In Sailor Stars, Minako joins Juuban's volley team. Meanwhile Seiya is in the American football team, Ami is in the computer club, Taiki is in the literature club, and Makoto gets offers from several sports clubs (though she wants to go to the cooking club). One-time character Sonoko is the captain of the girls's softball team, too. Yaten is quite adamantly a member of the Go Home club.
- Miki's tennis team in Marmalade Boy. Ginta is a member of the boys's tennis club, and his cousin Tsutomu is also a member of his school's own. Naturally this seeps in their rivalry, and Hilarity Ensues. Meanwhile, Meiko is a member of the literature club and Satoshi's classmate Furutachi is the leader of the broadcasting club.
- Arimi is a membress of the track team in her and Tsutomu's school.
- The amefuto (American-style football) team in Eyeshield 21.
- The Magic Users' Club in Mahou Tsukai Tai!. Rivals with Alpha Bitch Mizuha's manga club, and having her try to shut down the club is a Running Gag.
- The school chorus in Please Save My Earth. (Also, the "moon club.")
- The Auto Club (and dozens of others) in Ah! My Goddess.
- The Masculine Competition Society (and the "Megu Group" and the "Society to Protect Megumi") in Tenshi Na Konamaiki.
- The Society for the Study of the Modern Visual Culture in Genshiken. In a subversion, the original Club President is a seemingly powerless nonentity who barely attends. Mysteriously, he seems nearly omniscient at times; it's implied that this is because he has hidden cameras throughout the school for his nebulous research project. He never confirms or denies this, but just hinting at it is enough to blackmail Saki into joining the club.
- The Haruhi Suzumiya Brigade to Bring More Excitement to the World, or the "S.O.S. Brigade", in Suzumiya Haruhi is a deconstruction of the trope as it is not an official school club — no advisor, no funds, and they meet in the literature club's room (The sole member of the literature club doesn't mind). The reason for the club's conception is because Haruhi cannot find a club that suits her interests (mainly the supernatural). Later on, they become much more "relevant" to the school by offering counseling and investigation services for troubled students (most of which are set up by Itsuki to keep Haruhi preoccupied.)
- Not to mention the S.O.S. Brigade's wannabe rivals, the Computer Club, and their histrionic president.
- The go club in Hikaru no Go.
- And, of course, the Ouran High School Host Club.
- And don't forget the Black Magic Club.
- The School Newspaper Club also makes an appearance.
- All members of the "Go Home Club" in Kare Kano are forcibly conscripted to participate in a play for the school culture festival.
- Sakura's cheerleading squad in Cardcaptor Sakura. Meanwhile, her best friend Tomoyo is a member of the school chorus and at least two episodes are about her having trouble while either practising her songs or getting ready for singing competitions.
- An episode of the anime has Sakura hanging around a girl from the track club, Rei, who has unadvertedly come in the possession of a Clow Card.
- Tamami's Occult Club in Mahoraba.
- Hitohira focuses on two rival clubs, the Drama Club and the Drama Research Society. As in Genshiken, it seems schools are uncomfortable with overlap, and the two must compete to stay official.
- Pretty Cure never forgets about clubs.
- Futari wa Pretty Cure had Nagisa and Honoka as the stars of the lacrosse team and science club respectively, and in Max Heart they were both promoted to leadership of the clubs. Members of both clubs were recurring characters, and Nagisa's teammates Rina and Shiho were regulars.
- Additionally, Honoka was technically a member of several other clubs as well, although she was rarely able to attend meetings because of time constraints.
- In Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star, Saki is the softball team's pitcher, and Mai eventually joins the art club after dithering about it for a while.
- Yes! Pretty Cure 5 had episodes focusing on Rin and Karen which showed off an assortment of the school's clubs. Rin is as a founding member of the futsol team, and Komachi is a member of the library committee. Find that combination in another anime. Also deserving of special mention is Nozomi, who joined a number of different clubs and brought disaster upon all of them—Rin won't shut up about how she was kicked out of the drama club for a combination of massive incompetence and mass destruction.
- All the main heroines in HeartCatch Pretty Cure! are members of the fashion club (with Erika as the Club President), though they had some trouble getting it started due to a lack of members. In addition, Tsubomi is also a member of the gardening club, and then there's the Student Council President...
- In Gakuen Heaven nearly every character is a member of a different club. The main character is forced to visit every club so he can choose one to join.
- Karin Sasamori from To Heart 2, also has a Mystery Club except that what she means by Mystery Club is similar to the SOS Brigade.
- The Light Music Club from K-Onnote . Yui was noted by Nodoka as having engaged in no after school group at all until high school, and when she did join the titular group, Nodoka initially assumed it was as a manager.
- In the beginning of the second season, the girls visit other clubs at the school in order to get ideas on how to attract new members. This includes the Judo Club, Go Club, Tea Ceremony Club, and Occult Club.
- The Movie Study Club in Hayate the Combat Butler, aka "YourTube". They don't actually study movies, instead filming funny short films featuring students and staff. This being a Gag Series, and its three main members Those Three Girls, they get plenty of material.
- The Yamayurikai in Marimite probably falls under the Absurdly Powerful Student Council, but it's notable that several characters do double duty with other clubs. Rei is the Kendo Team Captain and Yoshino joins the kendo club in her second year. Touko is also a member of the Drama Club and while not formally a member of the Yamayurikai at the time, her agreeing to help them with their play at the School Festival is a source of some conflict. The Photography Club also gets some coverage courtesy of Yumi's friend Tsutako.
- Similarly, in Oniisama e... some of the Seiran High School girls are in clubs whether they go or not to the Sorority. Kaoru is the star of the baskeball team, Tomoko is a member of the cooking club, and Fukiko says she is not just the Student Council President but also a part of both the flower arrangement and the horse riding clubs. (And we do see her in activities related to them.) Rei isn't officially in any group but she's seen helping the girls from the Drama Club in the anime and used to be in the basketball team, and Nanako wanted to join the cooking club but being pulled in the Sorority ruined these plans,
- The Paranormal Investigation Club in Tasogare Otome X Amnesia. It has no faculty advisor, it meets in an abandoned storeroom, and its founder and president is a ghost who's trying to find out how she died.
- The Curry Club in Ame Nochi Hare.
- The Modern Society Studies Club in 11eyes, founded by the already kind of crazy Yukiko. It makes a convenient cover for the club's activities in the Red Night.
- The Digidestined of Digimon Adventure 02 have referred to their group as the "Computer Club". It's basically a cover for their afterschool trips to the Digital World, using one of the school computers to get there. An early episode shows that there is a teacher who acts as the club's advisor - but he doesn't know the first thing about using computers and is a nonentity for the rest of the series. (His story purpose was to send Taichi to Not Important to This Episode Camp by forcing him to run interference.)
- Several Digidestined have their own club activities. Daisuke, Ken, Taichi and Sora are in their schools' soccer clubs, though Sora later switches to the tennis club.
- The Yokai Gakuen High from Rosario + Vampire has a school club obligation because the yokai students have to learn about human culture, so they can conform in the human world. The main characters are in the Newspaper Club, lead by Ginei Morioka. Since they are involved in many fights and don't want the other students to know about those conflicts, they leave the fights out in their newspaper. Also, nobody else tries to investigate the main characters. However, the other students still hear about some rumors that the Newspaper Club is involved in some fights, so it's one of the most feared school clubs. But it's also one of the most famous and most popular clubs, since most of the members are just beautiful.
- Since it's a school for monsters, there are also dangerous clubs, like the swimming club, but besides the Hagure Yokai Gang (also known as the Antithesis) the most dangerous and most feared one is the School Security Commitee, lead by Kuyou. The School Security Commitee is actually the school version of the mafia. But after the leader is defeated by Tsukune, nothing is heard about it anymore.
- Before the main characters entered the school, the Newspaper Club President Sun Otonashi was one of the strongest students in the school's history, even Kuyou and Kyria feared her. Ginei joined the club because of her. But after Sun graduated from school, the Newspaper Club was taken down by the School Security Commitee.
- The supporting character Haiji Miyamoto is the Karate Club President.
- In Kimagure Orange Road, Yusaku is a member of the school's karate club.
- In Vision of Escaflowne, female lead Hitomi Kanzaki is a member of the track team and has a crush on the star of the club, Susumu Amano.
- In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class the art club form an extra set of protagonists beside of the main five.
- The World God Only Knows, being essentially a comedic deconstruction of Dating Sim tropes, has several of the capture targets being club members: Ayumi (track running club), Shiori (library), Kusonoki (girls' karate club), Tsukiyo (astronomy club) and Minami (swimming club). The light music club ends up playing a part in the story later on.
- In W Juliet the main characters Ito and Makoto meet when the later is joining the Drama Club. The club and its members often play a role (no pun intended) in the series afterwards.
- Yubisaki Milk Tea has a small collection with several friends of the main character, Yoshinori Ikeda, in different clubs in high school. Wataru is in the boys soccer club, Nogi is the captain of the girls basketball team and Kodama is in the art club. Meanwhile Hidari Morii joins a newfound girls soccer team in her middle school. Yoshinori himself played soccer in middle school but dropped it when he got into crossdressing.
Nogi: Which club are you in?
Yuki (Yoshinori): The Go Home Club.
Nogi: Ha. The Go Home Club...! The worst kind of student... One who isn't in any club.
- Chu-Bra is about a middle school girl Nayu Hajama who starts an underwear club since she is a serious fan of lingerie. This proves controversial since most of the boys in school draw the obvious conclusion while the head of the drama club simply dislikes both Hajama and her club. They do make friends with the manga club but the school still does not approve of the club for obvious reasons.
- Yuru-Yuri starts with three, later four girls who form their own amusement club in the room of the disbanded tea ceremony club.
- The swimming club in Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho.
- Ebiten has the boy Noya Itsuki joining the girls' otaku club, mistaking it for the Astronomy Club due to a spelling mistake. Even when they put together pieces of a doujinshi instead of showing him star maps he don't realise it.
- Bodacious Space Pirates has the Space Yacht Club.
- In Cardfight!! Vanguard: Link Joker, Aichi tries to start a "Cardfight Club", though the student council is dead-set against it.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, some of the girls in Negi's class are members of the school's clubs: Asakura (Photography club), Makie (Gym tream), Akira (swimming team), Ako (Cute Sports Club Manager for the soccer team), etc.
- The eponymous club of Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku parodies the concept by literally calling itself the Go-Home Club.
- In Utena, the members of the Council often double as members of the local sports clubs: Touga, Juri and Miki are into fencing, Saionji is the Kendo Team Captain. Utena hangs out around some other clubs (namely, basketball and the track team) but is no official membress of any of them.
- In Girls und Panzer, the tankery team is treated as both a school club and an elective (the latter is why Midoriko "Sodoko" Sono of the morals committe tries to enforce school rules there). Many of its members come from other clubs, including the disbanded volleyball team, and the auto club (which repairs the team's tanks, before crewing the Porsche Tiger).
- Saki has the mahjong clubs competing in the tournament. They range from large clubs with stiff competition for spots on the regular team to small groups of friends who make it surprisingly far in the tournament.
- In Code Geass, there are many clubs at Ashford Academy (a Britannian school in Japan that often seems more like a Japanese one in how it's run), which compete to find Arthur the cat, who made off with Zero's helmet, in the hopes of getting extra funding. At the end of that episode, Lelouch convinces Milly to let Suzaku into the Student Council, since students must join a club, and as a mere Honorary Britannian, he will have trouble fitting in.
- Shirley, one of Lelouch's closest friends, is a Passionate Sports Girl and the star of Ashford Academy's swimming team.
- Detective Conan:
- Ran Mouri's the captain of the karate club, just to demonstrate how strong she is. Kazumi Tsukamoto (she's the one in the keyhole for volume 45) is the former captain of the karate club but is still a member.
- Shinichi used to be a member of the soccer club in junior high, but left when he priorised his Amateur Sleuth activities. Years late, the Cute Sports Club Manager of said club (Asami Uchida) reappears and invites Sonoko and Ran to her birthday party... but she almost dies, so Conan must investigate.
- The various clubs from Kill la Kill serve as the minions of the Student Council President Satsuki Kiryuin. They range from the common such as the Tennis Club, to the absurd such as the Tightrope Walking Club. This is more or less Justified as the 'Two-Star' Club Presidents have greater wealth and status than One-Star or No-Star students, plus the more absurd examples are due to members of the more standard clubs breaking off to form their own clubs just so they can challenge Ryuko.
- The Game Development Club (temp) and the real Game Development Club in D-Frag!. It turns out later on that there are Game Development Clubs across Japan.
Live Action TV
- The Kamen Rider Club is the unofficial version in Kamen Rider Fourze, their activities being "fight the Zodiarts". That is, until they get busted by one of the teachers mid-season, who proclaims that unauthorized clubs are not allowed - so he'll be their advisor.
- In any Dating Sim located in a school, more than one possible love interest will be a member of a club. To have a bigger chance to get the girl/boy you're interested in, you can try joining the club they belong to or dropping by when they're reunited, to meet up with them more frequently.
- I.e.: Tokimeki Memorial 1 has: Saki Nijino (baseball or soccer club's Cute Sports Club Manager), Nozomi Kiyokawa (swimming team), Ayako Katagiri (art club), Mio Kisaragi (drama club), Shiori Fujisaki (school orchestra), Yumi Saotome (basketball club), Miharu Tatebayashi (reading club), Yuina Himoo (science club) and Yukari Koshiki (tennis club). The fact that Mira Kagami doesn't belong to any club turns out to be very important in her route: she can't join them because of her harsh family situation, but hides this as a part of her facade.
- In Persona 3, SEES is technically a school club with Chairman Ikutsuki as its advisor, but the fact never proves to have any particular significance and several SEES members are members of official school clubs as well: Yukari is in the archery club, Akihiko is captain of the boxing team, and Mitsuru is Student Council President. The player character can join a number of official and unofficial clubs, including Student Council; these inevitably provide Social Links with the classmates involved.
- The same is true in Persona 4, in which the Strength Social Link is held either by Kou (captain of the basketball club) or Daisuke (captain of the soccer club); meanwhile, Cute Sports Club Manager Ai is the Moon Social Link, and the Sun social link can either be Yumi (drama club) or Ayane (Music club).
- Hourai Gakuen has plenty of these, ranging from normal sports clubs like tennis, baseball, karate, and the like, to weird ones like mad scientists' club and occult club. They function as the game's job system.
- Player characters in Disgaea 3 can join after-school clubs for various benefits, including special abilities. Characters can only Magichange successfully with members of the same club. The President of each club gains stat bonuses based on the power of his subordinates and can use their spells when adjacent to them in battle. The only club initially available, the Going Homers, confers no special benefits but has the largest default size.
- Takeuchi in Canvas 2 finds it very difficult to get Hiroki to call her anything but club president.
- CLANNAD has Nagisa working to reform the school's drama club, despite having no members and having pressure from the student council since the club itself barely have members, they have no advisor and are nearly as bad with organization and paperwork as Afterschool Tea Time and as such the student council has to consider it a non-entity. When the drama club works out the issues (mainly by sharing an advisor with an instrument club), they encounter no more external problems.
- Near the start of Gakuen Heaven Keita has to go around and visit every single club as a "mission" from the head of the School Council and a large number of the characters either captain their respective club or are a serious member of it. Clubs include: a club for the vast majority of sports (such as tennis (which Naruse captains), judo (which Niwa used to captain) and archery (which Shinomiya captains)), the art club (which Iwai captains) and the crafts club (which Kazuki is a part of).
- In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Mion Sonozaki is the Class/Club President. The school is so tiny that she can get away with being both.
- Mayura from Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok has a Mystery Club.
- The archery club makes a brief appearance near the beginning of Fate/stay night, though Shirou quit when it stopped being a challenge/he stopped needing to practice. It's also something of a Chekhov's Gun with regards to Archer's identity.
- Katawa Shoujo:
- Mutou and Hisao try setting up a Science Club during Emi's route. Emi herself is a member of the track team, alongside Miki.
- Rin's a member of the Art Club, and Hisao joins in her route. To gain access to said route, Hisao must tell the art club advisor Nomiya that he intends to become a member when Nomiya shows up near the end of the First Act. (If you choose the other answer, you get the Bad Ending, since getting there involves avoiding all the other choices that would flag you for another girl's route, and the other choices that seend you on a one-way path to the Bad Ending.)
- Under Shizune and Misha's control, the Student Council suffers from Club Stub. Obviously, taking up Shizune's route means that Hisao is a member as well.
- Lilly organises School Festival related activities in Act 1 for her class. Hanako and Kenji take part in them if Hanako's route is being aimed for.
- Naomi and Natsumi are members of the school paper and Hanako joins them in Lilly's route
- Nayuki's track team in Kanon, with Nayuki as its captain.
- The Literature Club in Crescendo, with Kaho as the club president. Miyu, however, is a member of the school orchestra instead.
- In True Love Junai Monogatari, two of the love interests are in clubs: Chiemi (captain of the swimming team) and Miyuki (member of the art club)