Everyone looks good in a Sailor Fuku. Even mechas.note .
''"Take it! I'm supposed to be the one who laughs last
Because of my sailor uniform, that's the conclusion
I'm in a bad mood, what to do?
Even though it's Monday! Summer clothes'll fix it — Cuuute!"''
opening theme (okay, it sounds better in Japanese, but...)
Sailor Fuku refers to the characteristic "sailor suit"◊
schoolgirl uniforms worn in Japan. Sailor fuku uniforms are actually based on late Victorian/early 20th-century "rational dress
" girl's fashions◊
(themselves based on European naval uniforms), but the prevalence of sailor-suited school girls in anime, manga, and other forms of Japanese media show how iconic the sailor fuku is in Japan. This is true despite many Japanese schools having switched to more Western-patterned uniforms. However, there are some American schools that use Sailor Fuku.
Sailor-suit uniforms may be a vehicle for Fanservice
as well, as the uniform skirts are often depicted as being unrealistically short
. This alteration is so common that it is rarely commented on or questioned, though it may be off-putting to those who are not used to anime or manga based media. Uniforms may be altered in other ways to distinguish certain characters
, especially ones considered particularly beautiful
This is more a Japanese cultural trope than an Anime Trope but is found prominently in anime, especially on Joshikousei
; compare the Western trope Catholic School Girls Rule
It may depend on the region, but in Real Life
recently the sailor suit (and the traditional male counterpart, the gakuran
—a black ensemble with a high collar, based on Prussian officer uniforms) has become largely the domain of middle/junior high schools, whereas high schools have shifted towards more fashionable or professional-looking styles of uniform, often with tailored blazers, vests, neckties, and plaid skirts. Elementary schools, if they have a uniform, tend towards collarless jackets and skirts with suspenders — and sometimes, students wear their gym uniforms during class and change into their formal uniforms when outside of the school or attending ceremonies.
In an inversion of a western trope, in the 70s and late 80s, the common image of a female delinquent had an extremely long
skirt, but this appears less frequently these days..
See School Swimsuit
for another type of Japanese uniform often used to a similar effect in media.
Compare School Uniforms are the New Black
, since some examples here have the uniform as their standard outfit.
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Anime and Manga
- Though the central female characters of Sailor Moon are actually junior high-schoolers, not only do they all wear sailor uniforms in their "civilian" lives, their Senshi uniforms seem to be clearly based on them as well; indeed, this is where the "Sailor" in the name comes from. This is later justified when it is revealed that the sailor-suit concept comes from ancestral memories of the heroes' uniform, not vice-versa. The last season has the girls in highschool, and they keep wearing sailor uniforms as school clothes.
- Toune in Melody of Oblivion, who goes around fighting Monsters wearing sailor fuku.
- Kagome Higurashi in InuYasha wears her school uniform while hunting monsters in the sengoku period, centuries before they were invented. She's a time traveller from the present day and Word of God says—tongue planted firmly in cheek—that she prefers it because it's durable. As a case of Stable Time Loop, her legendary exploits in the past inspired the invention of the fuku.
- In Ranma ½, Kidachi's all-girls school uses a white and light brown seifuku.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch
- Misaki of Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer wears her uniform to play Angelic Layer, as do a few other characters.
- In Tasogare no Udewa Densetsu, one of the fetished-up outfits that Shugo discovers in a treasure chest is a sailor fuku.
- The character designer for the .hack//Another Birth novels has mentioned considering giving Akira a sailor fuku in the real world, but decided against it as they were overused, and gave her a less common blazer uniform.
- Ouran High School Host Club:
- Haruhi, the local wholesome female cross-dresser, infiltrates an elementary school with a 17-year old male classmate named Honey. Honey, who has a huge case of Older Than They Look, dresses in his old elementary school uniform while Haruhi puts on her middle school sailor fuku. The rest of the club admits that the two stick out anyway so the disguises are useless: they just wanted to see Haruhi in a schoolgirl's uniform.
- Haruhi's middle school uniform shows up again in the Alice in Wonderland inspired All Just a Dream episode.
- The Ouran Academy has a more elaborate get-up for female students (at least the high school division; the middle school division actually does have sailor fuku), but that doesn't stop Renge from occasionally cosplaying her favourite Visual Novel's heroine in fuku. Also St. Lobelia has Joshikousei uniforms, which actually resemble long skirts.
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, as seen above, uses the sailor fuku and the gakuran as the uniforms.
- Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash☆Star, HeartCatch Pretty Cure! and Doki Doki Pretty Cure all have their respective heroines wear sailor suit-esque school uniforms (although the ones in Heartcatch and Doki-Doki are dress uniforms, they're still sailor suit-esque nonetheless). Miki's school uniform in Fresh Pretty Cure! can also be considered an example.
- Haruhi Suzumiya revolves around a high-school club, and thus, sailor fuku appear in abundance. In Volume 1 of the novels, Kyon wonders if the principal has a fetish for this since male students wear blazers and ties, but girls wear the more traditional sailor uniform.
- Lucky Star's Anime Theme Song is titled "Motteke! Sailor Fuku". The CD has a B-side titled "Kaeshite! Knee Socks".
- Sora wears a green one in Digimon Adventure 02.
- Ruki from Digimon Tamers uses a blazer-like uniform instead, though she always changes out as soon as she gets home.
- Miyako/Yolei gets one in the third movie — and wonders whether she can wear her cargo pants under the skirt.
- Subverted in Mahou Sensei Negima!: Mahora Academy girls used the seifuku as uniform by the time Sayo was a student, but now they use Western uniforms. Sayo still wears the seifuku but that's because she's a Cute Ghost Girl who died quite a while ago.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha also based her battle uniform on a sailor fuku, although her young incarnation has a considerably longer skirt than normal.
- This seems to be the uniform at the Mid-Childian school Harii Tribeccah goes to in Vivid.
- Kimura in Azumanga Daioh suggests sailor uniforms as a gym outfit.
- Chiyo's two friends from elementary school wear these upon entering middle school. Chiyo's somewhat jealous that she'll never get to wear one because she skipped ahead to high school, but they note that they are not likely get into her school.
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu:
- A delightful sequence occurs where Kaname Chidori, normally dressed in the school's fairly unusual outfit, agrees to become "manager" for a rugby club: and so puts on a more traditional sailor fuku (and carries a kettle).
- When Commander Mardukas has just threatened Sousuke with terrible retribution should he do anything indecent to Tessa while she is staying in Japan, when the girl in question enters wearing a Jindai High School uniform. Cue open-mouthed response from both males, until Tessa asks what they're staring at.
- Hitomi from The Vision of Escaflowne wears her school uniform for most of the series, even though she's been transported to another world where Japanese high schools are not present. In one episode, she's given a local dress to wear, only to rip off the skirt so that she can run freely later. Interestingly, the dress rips completely cleanly and evenly, leaving her with an outfit that looks amazingly similar to her school uniform.
- Also, Hitomi's uniform in itself is a weird mix of both styles: the collar of the Western-inspired school jacket looks a lot like the collar of a seifuku when you look at it close.
- In one episode of Bottle Fairy, the fairies, while imagining going to school, are all in sailor fuku... except for Cloudcuckoolander Hororo, who dresses up in the equivalent iconic uniform for kindergarten and elementary school. The others get her straightened out by the time "class" starts, though.
- The manga version of Read or Die included this when parodying (but using) fanservice moments, with Yomiko donning one of the much younger Nenene's fuku. It's even lampshaded.
- A variant of the standard sailor uniform as a one-piece dress somehow winds up in the thrift store in Haibane Renmei, where Rakka buys it and wears it for the majority of the series.
- Love Hina, the younger tenants are occasionally seen in them, and Kitsune and Naru are prominently seen in flashbacks...and, occasionally, not in flashbacks.
- The sailor fuku's worn in Maria-sama Ga Miteru are an interesting variety, in that they have very long skirts and are generally not very flattering. In that, they may actually be more like the real thing.
- Also notable in that they appear to be one-piece dresses, as opposed to the typical separate blouse and skirt.
- Nobel Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam is a Humongous Mecha dressed in a Sailor Fuku. As if that weren't nonsensical enough, it's from Sweden of all places. Presumably the scientists who designed it were a bunch of weeaboos (it does show its Scandinavian roots in another way, though...).
- Similarly the VF-1A "Angel Bird" variant Valkyrie from the first episode of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Though it never transforms out of fighter mode on-screen, the paint scheme becomes oddly familiar in Battroid mode. One of the many such Easter Eggs thrown into the first few episodes of the series.
- The sailor uniforms in Saki appear to have quite some variation in skirt lengths, ranging from way below the knees to ultra-short, permanently flashy miniskirts—the latter usually reserved for younger characters, sometimes combined with Zettai Ryouiki.
- Aoi Hana: The all-girl high school attended by Akira, Fujigaya, has relatively realistically depicted sailor fukus, with skirts way below the knee.
- Takane Katsu in Burst Angel wears this, wields a sword, and drives a motorcycle. And she's a police officer who snags Jo's arm with a thrown cuff on a chain.
- While the tops of Hayate the Combat Butler's Hakuou Academy have resemblance to the style, the skirts are ankle length and are actually dresses. Isumi still dislikes them for being 'breezy', though she wears kimonos.
- Hanaukyō Maid Tai La Verite episode 8. When Konoe doesn't have any civilian clothes to wear, her assistant Yashima Sana dresses her in one of these and then puts on one herself. They look like a cross between a normal Japanese School Uniform and a Catholic school uniform.
- Cherry Juice: Haruka Fukushima, author of the shojo manga, admits in the omake that one of the main reasons she decided to make a high-school romance series was so that she would have the opportunity to draw Sailor Fuku.
- Kochikame: Special Detectives Moonlight and Venus are male variants of Sailor Fuku who make their role in fighting crime using old fighter jets and made appearances in every TV special.
- Bleach: The high school attended by the lead character does not employ this type of uniform and thus it was not seen for most of the early manga. This makes the appearance of Lisa Yadomaru, a woman likely in her twenties, wearing the fuku a little jarring.
- Following the Time Skip, Ichigo's little sisters Karin and Yuzu wear fukus on entering middle school. Orihime and Tatsuki used to wear fukus when they attended middle school, presumably the same one Karin and Yuzu go to.
- The Everything but the rain backstory mini-arc shows that Karakura High School used to have the seifuku as its female uniform around 20 years ago, though with shorter skirts than usual. The person shown wearing it was the younger Masaki Kurosaki aka the woman who would later become Ichigo, Yuzu and Karin's mother.
- An omake of Naruto featured a high school with these uniforms. The associated fetishism was hilariously interrupted when said fukus were worn by Orochimaru and Kabuto.
- Nitori from Wandering Son owns one despite her school not using them. When the True Companions split off into various high schools Sasa, Momoko, and Chizuru got put in schools that have Sailor Fuku; in the meantime Nitori, Mako, Seya, and Maho go to schools that have the contemporary "blazer" style uniforms, while Takatsuki and Chiba got into schools that are uniform-free. Nevertheless, Nitori got a new girls uniform.
- The anthropomorphized Sealand in Axis Powers Hetalia always wears a sailor suit. Italy occasionally wears a shirt that looks a lot like the top of one.
- In the notes for Gakuen Hetalia, Taiwan is seen wearing a sailor fuku instead of the more Western-oriented uniforms worn by the other girl nations.
- In the pictures of the Japanese prefectures, several of the prefectures wear clothes resembling either seifuku (Akita, Fukui, Gunma, Kochi) or gakuran (Aomori, Saga, Kagoshima, Ehime, Fukushima), while others wear what looks like Western uniforms (Iwate, Miyagi, Tokushima, Hyougo, Kyoto, etc.)
- Tomonaga Yoshiko in Sisterism wears one in a chapter.
- A oneshot in Robot: Super Color Comic takes place in The Future where Sailor Fuku are no longer used however the protagonists of the chapter wear them while going to a picnic. They try to cosplay as 21st century girls, eating food from that period (crepes) and going down to the long-since evacuated areas below ground.
- Parodied along with just about every other anime trope in Martian Successor Nadesico. Impractically short-skirted sailor fuku feature prominently in the titular space battleship's "Early 21st Century High School" virtual reality entertainment program and one character trying to seduce another hacks the program to make her skirt even shorter.
- In Millennium Actress Chiyoko is often shown wearing a sailor fuku in the scenes depicting her childhood: unlike modern versions it's a genuine 1930s-era winter uniform made out of heavy wool for durability and cut with "room to grow" bagginess.
- In Death Note, Misa wears a sailor fuku as part of a disguise.
- In Kill la Kill, Senketsu is a sentient sailor fuku with an Eyepatch of Power who is often worn by the main character, Ryuko. It's worth noting that in this series, clothes are weaponized to the point of being Powered Armor, and the show even gives a Call Back to the fact that sailor fuku were originally military uniforms.
- In Girls und Panzer, the girls of Oarai Academy, the only shown high school that does not have a national theme, wear them as their school uniform.
- In Fushigi Yuugi, while Miaka and Yui wear Western-styled uniforms, Suzuno aka Byakko no Miko wore a standard blue fuku. A Justified Trope: Suzuno is from the Japan of the 20's/30's, and the fuku and gakuran had just been implemented as uniforms..
- Subverted in Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden. Takiko aka the Genbu no Miko wears hakama to her new school in the countryside, as she's from the Japan of The Roaring Twenties, but according to Word of God sheused to wear the (very recently implemented) fuku when she lived in Tokyo.
- Detective Conan:
- While Shinichi, Ran and Sonoko go to a highschool that prefers the blazer style, the junior high they used to go to had the gakuran and fuku. Akako, Aoko, Kaitou and Hakuba's own school still uses seifuku (a dark blue one) and gakuran.
- In the Detective Koshien mini arc, the highschool aged amateur sleuths are asked to wear their school uniforms. Hakuba and Tokitsu use blazer ones, Heiji puts on a gakuran... and seeing Koshimizu in a blue seifuku with a white scarf reveals to Conan, Hakuba and Heiji that she isn't a boy. It's a plot point: Koshimizu is actually 20 years old, but uses her old seifuku to make herself look younger and blend in better.
- Youko, a one-time character who tried to pass herself as Shinichi's girlfriend to rope him into helping her rescue a kidnapped boy whom she was babysitting was wearing a white and blue seifuku.
- Also used in a flashback within another case. Many girls who wore seifuku with extremely long skirts (which as said above was a style associated with girl delinquents) were victims of hit-and-run incidents 20 years ago. A delinquent girl whose best friend was one of the madman's victims posed as a bait to help the police catch the culprit, deliberately wearing her skirt long despite the danger — and succeeded into getting the man caught, though she and one of the policemen investigating the case were severely injured in the process. To see how the story itself ended and who the school girl actually is, see "May-December Romance".
- In The Twelve Kingdoms, Youko and Yuuka's highschool uses a dark gray, long-skirted seifuku as its girls's uniform. The anime makes their originally all-girls school into a mixed gender one, and Youko's childhood friend/Yuka's suitor Asano is shown using a normal blazer uniform.
- In the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, Tenchi Muyo in Love, Ryoko and Ayeka wear a black version of the sailor fuku, blending in with the rest of Achika's class. Meanwhile, in the Tenchi Universe High School AU the two wear blazer uniforms instead.
- In Mohiro Kitoh's Narutaru, the all-girls school that Satomi and later Mamiko and Shiina attend has a dark seifuku with red tights as its uniform.
- In Bokurano, also by Kitoh, Mako/Nakama's junior high uses a white and gray fuku.
- Subverted in Code Geass. The female uniforms of Ashford Academy are very obviously Western inspired, but a mere look at the boys's uniforms will show that they're pretty much gakuran outfits - just without the golden buttons. Considering the massive stigma against the Japanese or "Eleven" in the story, this may be a rather ironic Shout-Out.
- In the Fujiyama Gansta Paradise arc of Black Lagoon, Yukio's highschool has gray fukus as uniforms. Yukio herself is seen wearing hers even after she leaves school completely, though after she's forcibly and humiliatingly stripped off it, she switches to a kimono.
- In Fruits Basket, the school attended by Tohru and several of the Sohmas uses gakuran and seifuku, though the girls's magic skirts are extremely short. Arisa Uotani, however, wears a much longer skirt — it comes from having been a former delinquent. In the flashbacks, a younge Kyouko also wore a seifuku when she was a student, probably at the same school.
- Mekakucity Actors: Ayano and Shintaro are shown wearing a fuku and gakuran, respectively, as middle-schoolers while the high-school uniform is a formal shirt and tie with checker-pattern skirt/pants. The fuku has so often been associated with Ayano in the fanbase that she even wears it inside the Daze, despite the fact that when she committed suicide, she was in her junior year of high-school, and wearing the appropriate uniform.
- Card Captor Sakura: Sakura's elementary school follows the fuku-type uniform for boys as well as girls. The boys wear a uniform identical to the girl version, except they wear 3/4-length black trousers instead of the girls's white skirts. A flashback reveals that the middle school Touya attended followed the standard fuku for girls and gakuran for boys pattern (as he is shown wearing one). The high school switches to a shirt-tie-trousers/pleated skirt uniform.
- x 1999:
- The school attended by Kamui and the Monou siblings has gakuran for the boys and Western-looking blazers for the girls. Later, the junior high and highschool aged Dragons of the Heavens (Kamui, Yuzuriha, Sorata and Arashi) transfer to CLAMP Campus and switch to kinda frilly Western school uniforms.
- Saiki attends a different school and wears a gakuran, while Yuzuriha's old school had blazers for both genders.
- In The Princeof Tennis, some schools favor the fuku/gakuran combination (Seishun Gakuen aka Seigaku, Rokkaku, and Fudomine) while others prefer the blazer designs for both genders (Hyotei, Saint Rudolph and Rikkaidai). Yamabuki is a rather curious case since the male students wear white gakurans, but the girls wear an odd all-white blouse/skirt combination that looks like a tennis outfit. Here is a summer female uniform comparison chart taken from the 'Gakuensai no Oujisama' game. note
- While the schools from Ikki Tousen tend to favor the blazer design, the uniforms of Seitou High are the typical white and light-blue fukus. (With the exception of Chou'un, who uses a blazer one).
- In Captain Tsubasa, Nankatsu Junior High has gakuran and fuku as uniforms. In the manga, the fuku is in the traditional white and blue color; in the anime, however, it's shown as being reddish-brown.
- In Kimagure Orange Road, the middle school attended by the cast has gakuran for the boys and gray seifuku for the girls.
- In Dokonjou Gaeru, Hiroshi's girlfriend Kyouko uses a fuku despite her being stil in elementary school. Probably to higlight that she's from a better-off family than the rest of the cast.
- Shiho Kobayakawa from Private Actress attends an all-girls high school that uses the fuku as its uniform. She often goes to work while wearing said fuku, too.
- When Candace "Candy" White-Andree from Candy Candy went to a Boarding School, she and the other female students wore one-piece◊ dresses that looked suspiciously similar to the seifuku. Despite said school being located in England.
- Itchy-Koo of Ninja High School wore one. Unlike most examples, hers was actually tasteful.
- One cover of Sonic the Hedgehog had Mina Mongoose donning one as the issue was dedicated to showing our heroes in school. Why yes, it was during their Dork Age.
Live Action TV
- Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro Na gives sailor uniforms to about half the haremettes: Feena (as an exchange student), Natsuki, Mai, and Midori wear it when they attend Katherina Academy.
- In Kisetsu o Dakishimete (the 2nd game of the Yarudora series), the school blazer Mayu wears when the player character first finds her is a plot point. At several moments of the storyline, they use it to try and find the school it's affiliated to, and consequently discover Mayu's identity. It doesn't work, nobody they ask has ever seen this blazer. When following the "Spirit of the Cherry Trees" storyline, it's implied the blazer is the one Mayu's sister Mami, who just came back from overseas, wore when she was accidented.
- Athena Cykes has one as a DLC costume in Ace Attorney. Even all the female law students in 5-3, Including Juniper and Scuttlebutt, excluding Robin Newman, wear this.
- Dangan Ronpa has Sayaka Maizono and Sakura Ogami wearing this. Toko Fukawa wears one as well, with a much longer skirt than the other two. The sequel has Peko Pekoyama and Ibuki Mioda. They all differ quite a bit in design, since the girls wearing them all originally attended different schools: out of them, Peko and Touko's seifuku seem to be the closest to the traditional view.
- Averted in Katawa Shoujo, where the uniforms at the Yamaku Boarding School are Western-inspired.
- In True Love Junai Monogatari, the girls from the Player Character's highschool wear the traditional white and light blue seifuku.
- In El Goonish Shive, Grace pictures herself and most other female characters wearing fuku in her school-related Dream Sequence. This is probably meant to imply that her impression of school up until that point came almost entirely from watching anime. Judging by the design, it's specifically Azumanga Daioh.
- The heroine of MAQ #41 used to wear Japanese uniforms to school. Since she lives in the United States this was viewed as quite odd and helped make her a target for bullying.
- The Wotch: The spell used to turn Professor Sorgaz into MingMei Wu was allegedly created by a "rabid anime fanboy" which is why she ended up Ka-fuku'd as well as "Ka-Girled." Since it also gave her a Chinese name he must have been ignorant as well as rabid. She ditches the fuku after Anne undoes the part of the spell that is messing with her head.
- In the Homestuck Act 6 Intermission 3 Ministrife, among the many different costumes that can be seen, Damara is wearing a serafuku.
- Sailor Nothing, as well as Sailors Truth and Beauty, wear embellished versions of their school uniforms when they're in sailor form.
- Vocaloid Rin Kagamine wears a sailor fuku top, though it's sleeveless. Her twin brother / mirror image Len wears a sleeved one.
- In the Whateley Universe, Tennyo's school uniform is based on this design.
- Katana, the (at first) girl Outsider in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, wore a sailor suit in Season 1. However, in Season 2, she ditched it for the classic costume of her comic book counterpart.
- Lily wears one in Kappa Mikey, even though she actually is not a student.
- Totally Spies!: Madison, the President's daughter wears one.
- Napoleon Dynamite: In the second episode, a scantron dating machine pairs Napoleon up with a Japanese foreign exchange student named Tokiko, who's sporting Sailor Fuku and every other Japanese schoolgirl-related trope you can imagine.
- In Clémentine, the protagonist Clementine Dumant's most iconic outfit is a sailor suit. It's not as surprising as one might think, since such clothing was sometimes worn by young girls in the Western world during the interwar years.