Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
"You're right, Drakken. Boys? Dating? Oh it's hard. But this... is easy!"
When a show has a preteen or teen hero
, the message is usually as follows...
Beating up the Big Bad
, stopping some giant monster
from squishing the hometown
, protecting fellow classmates
from the creatures of darkness
, and saving the universe from certain doom time and time again
Dealing with social pressures and crushes? Hard!
It's basically one giant Aesop
, and can succumb to all the pratfalls and drawbacks that those things entail. Played right, it can be an effective way to communicate to the audience. Played wrong, and it can be disastrous
If the work becomes a Long Runner
, this could become "Wake Up, Go To Work, Save The World" as the protagonist grows up. Such shows will often result in a One-Hour Work Week
. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
are good examples.
Juvenile version of the Part Time Hero
. Usually a Triple Shifter
. The mental and social counterpart to Mundangerous
. Often overlaps with Socially-Awkward Hero
. Can result in Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?
. Compare Slept Through the Apocalypse
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Anime & Manga
- Red Garden deconstructs this, where the pressures of fighting monsters in the middle of the night cause problems for the main characters' social lives.
- Though Digimon Adventure avoided this one, Digimon Adventure 02 waltzed right into it. A team of 11-year-old students who go to school during the day and face off against monsters and the evil emperor of another world in their spare time? Textbook.
- It has one interesting subversion: said evil emperor is another eleven-year old student. But since he's evil he's allowed to ignore the Aesop and go full-time villain when it hits the fan.
- Digimon Tamers subverted it as well. The Tamers lived like this at first, but when Calumon/Culumon was captured about midway into the story, they decided the "go to school" part was getting in the way and got permission (sort of) to take an indefinite leave.
- This happens to Nagisa in Fight! Iczer-One, but only after being nothing short of abducted by the eponymous protagonist to man the battle robot with her.
- The premise of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX can be summarized as "Wake up, go to school, practice saving the world." By playing a children's card game. Which quickly turns much uglier than is typical. The school is also all about playing said card game. They might have overstepped this trope a bit.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke flat out states that "school sucks" and that "this job" (basically, saving the world), is the only thing he's ever been good at. Probably justified in that Yusuke is extremely Book Dumb.
- The Pretty Sammy series is based around this.
- Sailor Moon. Maybe it's because Usagi/Serena totally sucks at/hates school (much like a lot of shoujo heroines).
- Downplayed in the first anime's S season, where we see very little of the senshi at school, but nearly every episode starts with them studying for their exams (until they are inevitably distracted, either by the monster of the week or by some more mundane crisis).
- Averted in Sailor Moon SuperS. They're all on summer break. During the manga they've shifted to High School during this arc but it was pushed back an arc for the anime. The timeing pretty much ends up the same by the end though.
- Mai HIME does this as well. With one exception, the girls are more concerned with boys, food, classes and part-time jobs (or if they're not in school, with their own affairs) than with destroying monsters, though they are more than happy to do so when they show up.
- Later on in the series, this becomes increasingly averted as the battles of the HiMEs end up partly destroying the school, and most of them either drop out, disappear, or otherwise stop caring about what's going on in school because they're too busy trying to kill each other.
- All but one of the Baka Rangers in Mahou Sensei Negima! are powerful fighters on Negi's team. Kaede and Ku Fei in particular were strong fighters even before the start of the series, yet their first major obstacle in the series was to receive adequate scores on their final exams.
- Full Metal Panic! practically runs on this. Most of Sōsuke's issues involve being unable to explain distressingly common situations and failing in epic fashion. In one episode, Kaname visits while Testarossa is in the shower and Sōsuke tries to explain why Kaname can't come in. Cue Testarossa sticking her head out asking if she can borrow clothes. He will generally sweat bullets in these situations — and yet, when he appears to be totally screwed in a military situation, he will either find a way out of it or somehow stay calm.
- This is probably because, in those situations, he can't shoot anyone...
- Subverted by Death Note. Or possibly played straight. It depends on your moral stance on Light's actions; he definitely believes he's playing it straight as he interweaves his increasingly meaningless social life with his genocide, doing math homework with his right hand while killing people and eating potato chips with his left hand.
- Shinichi, the hero of Parasyte. Somewhat deconstructed towards the end. Though he just barely manages to graduate, he flunks all his college entrance exams and is doomed to a life of poverty, and thus his future with Love Interest Satomi is far from certain.
- Code Geass has something similar to this, but it's more like Wake Up, Go To School, Take Over the World.
- Maybe played straight — all depending on your interpretation of certain characters. There's Lelouch, who seems to fight for freedom but also has more selfish motives (revenge for his mother's death, serious daddy issues), Kallen, who actually does believe she's saving the world (okay, Japan), and Suzaku, who's trying to end war and keep from going insane. In R2, Gino wants to save the world and have fun in the process, Anya — well, nobody's really sure what Anya wants.
- In Bleach, Ichigo and his friends often have to make excuses, such as all simultaneously needing to go to the bathroom, in order to get out of class to deal with a Hollow in the area. However, as the threat of the Big Bad becomes paramount, pretty much all of them stop attending school for months to concentrate on their training.
- In the first and last Eldran series, the kids actually had to go to school in order to save the world, as that's where the local Super Robot was normally kept.
- Altered in Kekkaishi, where it's usually Wake up, save the world (school), go to school.
- Invoked in the English release of the Shakugan no Shana manga, whose tagline is "Saving the world is easier than falling in love..."
- Neon Genesis Evangelion... Let's call this a deconstruction. In theory, the pilots have to go to school. But much time before it ends, they have stopped attending school because they are afraid of meeting their schoolmates. Which probably deepens their depression.
- There's also the (very high) possibility that the school Shinji et al attend is nothing more than yet another front for the Ancient Conspiracy and that all of the attendees there are Evangelion pilot candidates - at the very least, literally every student in Shinji's class is.
- Deconstructed in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Being a Magical Girl Warrior and fighting monsters in your spare time isn't as fun and innocent as it appears to be, mainly because the monsters in question can and will kill you if you should make a mistake. And let's not even mention what ultimately happens to you if you don't end up dead.
- It also subverts this to some degree; it's indicated that many girls stop taking part in school activities once they make their contract, since the job is so intensive and often requires a mobile lifestyle. Mami lacked any close friends in her class, Sayaka frequently skipped school and ran away from home at one point, and Kyouko was a street urchin.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has this in the first two seasons. After the Time Skip though, Nanoha has moved to another planet and become a combat instructor.
- Ansatsu Kyoushitsu inverts this. The students of class 3-E have challenging social and academic lives—they're in the 'outcast' class at a very prestigious school—but the task of killing Koro-sensei is more difficult by far.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Touma Kamijou was already doing poorly in school before he got dragged into conflicts of the Science and Magic Sides. Once he starts saving the city or world on a regular basis, his grades and attendance really suffer.
- The Amazing Spider-Man may well have invented this trope, and Peter's constant struggles to keep his life on track while fighting crime shows up in almost every other incarnation of the series.
- In fact, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Spider-Man around this very premise. They wanted a young superhero who, unlike the then-popular "sidekick" depiction of such a character, had to simultaneously deal with the social and emotional pressures of becoming an adult... and the parade of crazy costumed baddies.
- Marvel has tried to recapture this a couple of time with Speedball The Masked Marvel and Darkhawk.
- Deconstructed in Scott McCloud's Zot. The problems in Zot's world are on the surface bigger, but since it is ultimately a fantasy world the much smaller problems in Jenny's world are real problems and therefore more serious. The Deconstruction comes in the exploration of why high school life seems more serious than fighting super-villains.
- Ostensibly, the Teen Titans — but the comics tend to ignore the characters' lives outside of super heroics to the point that Titans Tower occasionally seems like a weird super-teen commune.
- Similarly, the X-Men mansion is technically supposed to be a "School for the Gifted" but only a couple of writers (among them Grant Morrison) really paid anything more than lip-service to the concept.
- Deconstructed in this episode of Tom the Dancing Bug.
- Power Pack, the Marvel-verse kid superheroes.
- W.I.T.C.H.. The girls have quite a bit of trouble dealing with their double life, especially after magical means to hide their absence are somehow eliminated.
Films — Live Action
- Let the Right One In doesn't deal with world-saving, but still exhibits signs of this trope. Oskar finds romancing his vampire (girl/boy)friend to be pretty easy◊; dealing with bullies◊, on the other hand, is much harder. If someone who wasn't familiar with the movie compared those two stills, they'd probably think that the all-too-human bullies are more likely to suck Oskar's blood.
- Kickass and the sequel involve teen and pre-teen superheroes.
- Harry Potter got dangerously close from Goblet of Fire onwards, but Deathly Hallows abandoned many of the school based subplots to focus on the final confrontation with Voldemort, which nevertheless takes place at Hogwarts. Justified in-universe in that Voldemort had an especially soft spot for the school - Hogwarts was probably the one of the only things in his life he came close to actually loving.
- Young Wizards: Interestingly inverted in the fifth book, when the fact that Kit and Nita had a fight in the beginning and Kit wrote her name out of a wizardry they were going to do but didn't erase it allows him to save her life when she makes a Deal with the Devil to save her mother from terminal cancer by writing that version of her name back into a new wizardry and thus "resetting" her morally to the person who hadn't made any deals. Interestingly, although this works, reusing a name which also includes her age, physical characteristics, and every other piece of information about her in a setting where saying/writing it in the Speech makes it real doesn't have any other side effects at all.
- The Alex Rider series deals with the potential real-world ramifications of just how much school one would have to miss to save the world. Not to mention what might happen to the school itself once the Big Bad knows exactly which school the teen- or Kid Hero goes to.
- Animorphs made some use of this, but partially subverted it, as the characters soon find that fighting a guerrilla war against an alien conspiracy/invasion is physically and emotionally taxing, and their grades start to suffer. They lose all their friends not in the know, and stay in school just to keep up the pretense. Next to the enslavement of humanity, school seems kind of meaningless.
- It also helped that they gained advanced ancient androids as allies who could take their place in school for long absences thanks to their advanced hologram technology.
- Near the end of the series the war has escalated significantly, pressuring the kids to devote their entire lives to fighting. Jake notes that none of them get to school consistently anymore, to the point where Jake can't even recall what they're studying in class. They go on missions pretty much full-time, almost every day, and they rarely get more than a couple hours of sleep either.
- The Demon Headmaster series of books. That crazy headmaster is always trying to take over the world (although he's not always a headmaster), and apparently this small group of children are the only ones who can ever spot it. But they still have to go to school and be home for tea.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians is "Wake up, Go To Summer Camp, Save the World from Classical Mythology".
- The Power of Five: Minus the going to school part, at least after Raven's Gate.
- The Doctor Who Telos Novella Time and Relative is about Susan struggling with being the odd one out at school whose only friends are the violent kid and the nerd, being bullied by her nasty Geography teacher, not being cool enough or knowing how to go out with boys, a Trinidadian boy she babysits having to deal with 1963 racism, and not really understanding who she is yet. The killer snowmen are significantly less difficult than knowing she'll have to talk to her grandfather to find out what to do about them. The book also operates on the conceit that, although Susan knows she is an alien with two hearts, she cannot properly remember her life before she came to Earth or even if she did much travelling beforehand - the only way she can make herself recall Gallifrey is by retelling the story of what happened with things from 1960s schoolgirling (she writes that her grandfather is playing truant and if he gets caught by the Truant Officer he will have to do a million lines).
- Jeremy Itsubishi from Strength & Justice juggles his time between going to school, spending time with his girlfriend and fighting abuse of superpowers as a law enforcement cadet.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That high school was infinitely worse than, or at best merely even with, fiends from hell was one of the show's basic concepts. Of course, this particular high school was built on a Hellmouth's centre, so the line between scholastic evil and demonic evil is blurred.
- The season 3 finale ends thus (after having graduated and averted the apocalypse on the same day).
Oz: It's worth taking a moment just to think... we survived.
Buffy: It was one hell of a battle.
Oz: Not the battle. High school.
- There's also the series finale. Right before the final battle, Buffy, Xander, and Willow start making plans for the day after, which involves shopping. Wake up, save the world, go shopping.
- It is frequently lampshaded on the show that this trope is the reason Buffy is able to survive so long as a Slayer. Previous Slayers focused so much on training and fighting monsters that they never got to experience the normal lives and problems of a teenage girl. Without these experiences and connections the Slayers became careless and Death Seekers.
- In Teen Wolf, for Scott, Stiles, Allison, and Isaac. Somewhat more murky on Lydia (who has no idea of the goings-on until the end of the second season) and Jackson (who's unknowingly the creature that's a threat).
- In an episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, after John helped destroying a batch of coltan, a metal used to build terminators, he comes back home to do his homework for school.
- Of course, he's since dropped out.
- In Ace Lightning, Mark Hollander, a thirteen-year-old boy, unintentionally gets himself elected as the superheroes sidekick: this pretty much costs him his social life, including two girlfriends.
- Disney's Aaron Stone.
- Chuck Bartowski's spy work is often impacted by the equally complex, though not as dangerous, life he leads as a Buy More employee.
- Early episodes of Power Rangers take this formula to a T. More often than not, the Monster of the Week they were facing would correlate to whatever problem they were dealing with in real life.
- Which was lampshaded by the Red Ranger and Alpha the robot in a TV promo for the series. Red Ranger describes how he's a martial arts master and has girls drooling over him, then tells the audience: "What a cool gig. I save people, protect cities, fight monsters...." - only to be interrupted by a message from Alpha telling him that he has to do his homework.
- Specifically, the high school element was dropped early in the sixth season, Power Rangers In Space, because the team was traveling to different worlds in search of Zordon who had been captured by Dark Specter. This raised the question of when the Rangers had time for school when the fate of the universe was in their hands.
- Was picked up again in Power Rangers Dino Thunder, though the Rangers in question were seniors and their science teacher (the very familiar Tommy Oliver) was their mentor and one of their teammates, so it didn't really bother them as much.
- After Dino Thunder, the series didn't pick this concept up for nearly a decade, up until Power Rangers Megaforce, an anniversary season which is more-or-less a throwback to the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
- MI High
- Big Wolf on Campus has this.
- Smallville should qualify. Oh so very much.
- Newer seasons is more like "Wake Up, Go to Work, Save the World."
- Hex did a boarding school version, although it can be debated how much saving actually took place.
- Likewise The Vampire Diaries where the world may not exactly be at stake, but there is a whole lot of saving and battling the forces of evil going on. They even do school reports on the subject of vampires!
- Short lived British fantasy show Demons focused on the teenage heir to the Van Helsing title.
- While technically not in school, Merlin does face both Big Bads and the trouble of dealing with teenage hormones, friendship issues and crushes.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures— though it often seems like the kids have all the free time in the world, they do go to school and a number of episodes either take place or have a number of scenes set in school.
- The Secret World of Alex Mack has this. Alex occasionally has to handle threats at her (junior?) high school.
- The Canadian series Todd and the Book of Pure Evil features a cast of students and faculty battling the eponymous Artifact of Doom. The series relies on various issues facing teens (bullying, loneliness, obesity, etc.) to set up its Monster of the Week premise.
- Kamen Rider Fourze: Conveniently, the school just happens to located at a major source of cosmic energy. Inconveniently, this is because it was founded by the series Big Bad to advance his plans - and several members of the staff are his subordinates who are responsible for turning students into the Monster of the Week.
- The New Adventures Of Beans Baxter has Beans attempting to balance life as high school student with becoming a Teen Superspy and having to save the world from the forces of U.G.L.I.
- Mage: The Ascension mentioned this when describing how the Game Master could use character backgrounds to make the game more interesting. Fighting the Ancient Conspiracy of wizard-scientists trying to eradicate magic from the world, the bunch of Evil Sotcerers trying to destroy everything that has ever existed, the mad mages whose very existence warps reality, and the odd elder horror from beyond the stars gets a lot harder when your mom is going to kill you for staying out past curfew.
- Persona 3 bases both its storyline and gameplay around this concept, requiring you to balance fighting demons with day-to-day activities to succeed. It also subverts it, to an extent — the characters frequently admit that they find fighting Shadows much more difficult than dealing with school. Played straight in the metagame - while the actual fighting can be quite tough, as is standard for SMT games, nothing compares to the difficulty of trying to max out all Social Links (as in, you can make like three mistakes at most, across an entire year).
- Most of the world-saving goes on AT school (albeit a supernaturally altered one.)
- It also plays with this a bit as unlike most of the examples here, the actual world-saving happens not only at the school but also at a specific (and supernatural) time of day that can be planned around; this allows for the balancing aspect of the trope to be a touch easier. Said time is The Hidden Hour after midnight, making your schedule "Wake Up, Go to School, Hang Out, Go to Evil Warped School Trying to Save the World".
- Persona 4 does much the same thing, though in this case it's Wake Up, Go To School, Catch a Serial Killer. Although as you find out later, catching the Serial Killer is part of saving the town, so it's actually both.
- In fact, amusingly enough, you can only go into the TV (to save the world) after school every day. You literally have the schedule of Wake up, Go to school, Save the world.
- Both Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force play this one straight by having the main protagonist be a fifth/sixth-grader who also happens to either own or be the most powerful being on the internet. Throw in a villain of the week or fifty and you're set to go.
- In Star Force's case, it takes a lot of work from Echo Ridge's local Class Representative/#1 Mega Man fangirl to get the hero to "GO TO SCHOOL" (emphasis hers).
- Ernie Eaglebeak of The Spellcasting Series. An impending calamity even follows him to Spring Break.
- Humorously averted with Riki and Mami in Bangai-O, who spend the entire game travelling through the galaxy to defeat the Cosmo Gang. This results in Riki's health teacher tracking him down with a stolen mech.
- Lollipop Chainsaw begins as just another school-day for our heroine Juliet Starling, but soon escalates to a grand adventure of saving the world from a Zombie Apocalypse.
- In Commander Keen Episode 2 - the Earth explodes, the goal of the game is to destroy the Vorticons before they blow up the Earth and get home before school begins. The protagonist even considers letting them off with their plan so that he doesn't have to go to school anymore (and it's possible, netting you a Non Standard Game Over). After the end of the game, school is canceled due to snow anyway.
- The middle part of Rune Factory 2 has the main character build a school for the village kids to study in. From that point on you play as his child, alternating classes with exploring monster-filled dungeons and searching for the world-ending dragon your father set out to stop.
- Happens in Third Super Robot Wars Z: Jigoku-hen, where most of the teenage cast ends up transferring to Jindai High, forming the Campus Defense Force with Watta and Shotaro's nearby elementary... and assistant janitor Ryoma Nagare (turns out adventuring doesn't pay much). This trope plays in when they start collecting a lot of unexplained absences, forcing Kaname to create the Volunteer Club, draft all of the pilots, and peg Suzune as club advisor (it's a club activity if the teacher says it is! Even if the activity is world-saving and said teacher rides in the back of a giant robot in a really lewd pilot suit).
- In Fate/stay night, three of the seven Masters in the Holy Grail War are students at the same school and another one is a teacher. Only Shirou is interested in saving the world, though; the others have more selfish motivations.
- Touched on in Gunnerkrigg Court: Emotionless Girl Antimony has no problem talking with ghosts or judo-flipping the class bully, but she has difficulty making normal conversation with her classmates. She's gotten better since opening up to her friend, Kat.
- Several of El Goonish Shive's characters have struggled with issues such as coming to terms with their sexual orientations and standing up against unfair school policy. Meanwhile, there are interdimensional conflicts going on that directly relate to the central cast, but those only come up in conversation as direct responses to the events happening, and even then they don't last very long.
- Used in Angel Moxie, and some teachers are more than meets the eye.
- The magical girls of Hi to Tsuki to Hoshi no Tama are publicly known to be saving the world, but this does not get them an exemption from school rules.
: Look, I don't care if you girls are mutants or Supergirls
or Wonder Women
or what, you do not get out of having your parents called when you bring God only knows what kind of monsters
to school with you. Not to mention skipping out of class.
- To the kids attending the Hyperion Academy or enrolled at the Venture Institute, beating up bad guys is nothing compared to life in High School. Booster is wondering what his friends on the soccer team will think if he tells them he is gay. Barnstormer likes that he's popular, but is worried that he won't pass College Algebra. Donnybrook not only thinks the Headmaster of the Hyperion Academy is a butthead, he wonders how in the heck he can get a new Code Name, because... Donnybrook? Really? Calendar is worrying her head off over whether she should go to Harvard or Cambridge. Bouncer hates being thought of as "The Fat Kid", but worries that his powers depend on being as heavy as he is. Double Trouble is beginning to suspect that the two girls he is using his duplication power to date simultaneously have learned of each other's existence. Typical teenage angst, really.
- Deconstructed in Sailor Nothing, where fighting the forces of mad, sadistic evil turn out to be much worse than dealing with the Alpha Bitch after all.
- LessThanThree Comics' Brat Pack are an example of this trope, being made up of high school students, who also save the world on a regular basis.
- Pretty much standard for the superpowered kids of Team Kimba at the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. They even have specific scenes or story lines focused on classwork: Tennyo has trouble with math; Chaka is struggling with English; Shroud doesn't get some of the aspects of physics that her body apparently violates; Phase is bored stiff in her Intro to Superpowers class because the professor is so tedious...
- The younger heroes in The Descendants attend high school, but are rarely shown in classes. Meanwhile, the students in the Spin-Off, Liedecker Institute are shown almost exclusively in school, but haven't performed any heroics yet.
- Worm starts out like this in the very beginning and then deconstructs it hard.
- Taylor, the protagonist, is not merely using the superhero life as an escape from her miserable high school experience, she gained her powers from a Traumatic Superpower Awakening caused by her high school tormentors — and she finds herself cutting classes more and more often as a result.
- Among the Undersiders, Brian, the oldest, has already graduated and is working to take care of his younger sister, Lisa tested out early using her power to cheat on the GED test, and Alec and Rachel never went to school regularly due to their unstable, extremely dysfunctional home lives.
- Even the Wards, the official training program for Kid Heroes in the US, sees their enforcement of the trope for their members in Brockton Bay take a severe hit when Leviathan's attack leaves the city in an almost post-apocalyptic state of chaos.
- Popularized within American cartoons by Kim Possible. Even before the series rolled out, TV previews summarized the premise of the series as a girl who finds saving a hijacked space station far easier than asking a cute boy out, a problem she faces in the very first episode to be broadcast ("Crush"). Highlighted within the series itself in The Movie, when Kim responds to Drakken's taunting about her social drama with, "You're right, Drakken. Boys? Dating? It's hard. But this? Is easy!" At which point she slugs him.
- A variation on the theme shows up in the driver's-ed episode — the teenage rite of passage of learning to drive a car was a lot harder for her than flying a jet pack or landing a space shuttle.
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, while about the supernatural rather than espionage, is very similar.
- American Dragon Jake Long does the same thing, though thankfully he keeps his midriff covered (well, in his human form at least).
- Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja is pretty like the above three and the below mixed together, with Randy protecting his school from supernatural evil.
- Danny Phantom: No matter how many ghosts he defeats Danny still spends most of his time running from Dash or being shoved into lockers.
- The very second episode shows that he finds it easier to fight Paulina as a giant ghost dragon than ask her to the dance as a human.
- The Powerpuff Girls: "Saving the world... before bedtime."
- W.I.T.C.H. actually used this phrase during early (pre-Animated Adaptation) US promotions for the chapter books.
- Code Lyoko. Time Travel helps with the missed classes and tests on occasion.
- Increasingly deconstructed, as the constant attacks leave little room for studying or staying in class. Particularly from the second season onward, where the Return to the Past is used less and less, as each use increases the memory of the supercomputer, and by extension XANA's power.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot
- X-Men: Evolution Though in the early seasons this got a bit of flak for too much school, not enough world saving (less "how can I use my powers to help people?" and more "how do I stop people from knowing I have powers?" essentially). The outing of mutants "fixed" that though, bringing in more action and less wangst.
- That problem with not enough action stemmed form a Broken Aesop for the first two seasons: Xavier preached about how humans needed to learn to accept mutants. Humanity does not know mutants exist (one assumes there are no other superheroes in the world, but then they had a flashback with Captain America....), so how can they learn to accept them?
- Gormiti: The Lords of Nature Return
- Monster Buster Club
- Parodied, mocked, and even averted in Invader Zim. The eponymous character may be an evil green alien attempting to bring about the annihilation of the human race, but of course he spends plenty of time pretending to be an elementary student ("It's a... skin condition"). Almost, because the good guy, Dib, a classmate of Zim, spends much of his screentime either ostracized in school, dealing with his cruel little sister, and... trying to save expose/save the world to/from supernatural threats.
- Who could forget Batman Beyond, since this was a major dilemma for the Batman-who's-still-in-high-school Terry McGinnis. A lot of sub-plots in the episodes revolve around this, and even a few major plots do, like when Terry takes his schoolwork on the job in "The Eggbaby". Rather coincidentally, a lot of the villains and problems in the show ALSO come out of Terry's high school.
- What makes this notable is that Bruce allowed Dick/Jason/Tim time off to go to school, do homework etc since they were Robin. But since Terry is Batman, he is expected to be on call 24/7.
- For Winx Club, this would be the girls' daily routine during seasons 1 through 3 as they attend Alfea. The Winx graduate during The Secret of the Lost Kingdom, so they no longer apply for this after that.
- Same thing with Sam, Alex and Clover of Totally Spies!
- Transformers Prime: Though its more like "Wake Up, Go To School, Help The Giant Robots Save The World And Maintain Their Cover." Jack takes it the most seriously, though Raf is probably the most helpful. Miko can get a little carried away with her excitement.
- Averted in Iron Man: Armored Adventures. Tony Stark has very little interest in keeping up with his school life and would much rather be working on new armour in the lab or flying around, saving the world. Nevertheless, he seems to have made friends pretty easily despite never being in a high school before and taking very lengthy "bathroom breaks" seemingly every other day.
- Sym-Bionic Titan, although they started going to school around the same time they started saving the world, the former is more of disguising themselves as Earthlings.
- Young Justice
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic basically has two plots: Slice of Life and Magical Girl. One day Twilight wakes up to worry about what dress she wears to the gala, the next day she wakes up to worry about saving the Crystal Empire from King Sombra's tyranny. Day after that, let's have a picnic!