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High School A.U.

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Barbara Gordon, Bruce Wayne, the Scarecrow, Selina Kyle, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Bane, and Mr. Freeze.note 

"The basic overarching plot is, 'What is the contrived nonsense that drives Cthulhu to take a human form and go to high school?'"

The High School A.U. is an Alternate Universe Fic that may or may not resemble the original universe, but the main premise is that most or all of the characters from whatever universe the story draws from are all in an academic setting (typically set in the present day). Usually, this happens to be high school, although college is not unheard of, nor is Jr. High/Middle, or even Elementary School, depending on the ages of the cast.

This type of story may also occasionally remove anything and everything unusual in the original premise, though this is not necessarily a requirement. This especially tends to happen when the cast is already comprised mostly of teenagers in a fantasy or sci-fi world.

This is the most common form of Alternate Universe Fic, for good or ill, mostly because it is an easy setting to write for, probably because a lot of fanfic writers are of school age themselves. Some stories may take a series that never took place in a school and transplant the characters there. A variant on this is to take a series where a school was part of the setting, and makes it the primary setting. Another variant is taking a show with characters that were elementary or lower grammar school age and transplanting them to a high school setting. A less common variant are the characters being portrayed as teachers rather than students.


A rarer variation is to also attempt to transplant the storyline. This works better with storylines that are effectively independent of the setting.

This is especially likely to happen when the cast of a series functions as a Universal-Adaptor Cast.

A subtrope of Transplanted Character Fic. Compare Spinoff Babies and Coffee Shop AU Fic. Contrast Super Fic.

Not a high school in Australia.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This happened in an episode of the Tenchi Muyo! TV series. Not content to leave it at that, however, the writers also threw in Magical Girls. Unsurprisingly, given the amoeba-like manner in which Tenchi Muyo split off alternate continuities, this world became a series all on its own. Two different series, in fact.
  • Some manga have Omake chapters in this style, often finding humor from the contortions needed to shoehorn the tropes of the series into the cliche High School tropes. Examples:
  • The Samurai Deeper Kyo manga has a series of audio drama CD set in the alternate 'Samurai High School' setting, stemming from a piece of art drawn by the creator for one of the manga volumes. Strangely enough it is highly propable that said creator is actually female (pseudonyms are funny that way).
  • K has one as an Otome Game, called Gakuen K.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • There is an audio drama CD set in a High School A.U. where Kamina is basically a misfit failing school, Simon is the sole handyman/janitor, and Nia is the Student Council President...until they kick all that to the ground like everything else and turn the whole thing upside down. Read the script here.
    • Gurren Lagann also has a second official High School A.U. in the form of the manga [1]. All the good guys attend Dai Gurren Academy, which is located right next to the menacing and intimidating Teppelin Academy, headed by malicious principal Lord Genome. Note that all of the Beastmen are still Beastmen, and no one finds this odd. Highlights include Kamina getting very confused over the meaning of "moe", Yoko in a sailor uniform inducing Marshmallow Hell to Simon for three whole pages (while continuing to talk), and Viral dressed in a business suit (coinciding with the "Viral Marketing" meme). Oh, and Nia wears Rei's transfer student uniform (see below) and calls Simon her husband... and takes the Buster Stance. Plus, this manga sheds some insight into how Kamina and Nia would fare had Kamina not died before Nia arrived into the plot. Leeron is also in a dress and Lord Genome is the overprotective dad of Nia. Nia and Simon pull off a sequence very similar to Love Love TenKyoKen
  • Parodied in Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi as one of the alternate worlds (created from fragments of Sasshi's mind) to which Sasshi and Arumi travel - this one is patterned after dating sims, having Sasshi as a borderline Unlucky Everydude and Arumi as... a cupid of sorts.
  • The second ending credits sequence for Naruto Shippuden is set in a High School A.U., joining and legitimizing the thousands of Naruto fanfics that have already used this trope. Ironically, it also went against lots of clichés that were (and still are) extremely common in Naruto highschool AU fics. It portrayed Naruto as a Hot-Blooded gang member instead of a normal but waifish outcast. OTOH Hinata remained a shy Shrinking Violet (albeit one who is assertive enough to directly ask Naruto out), Sakura remained a Type B Tsundere ready to slap Naruto if needed, Rock Lee was the sports star, Neji was both the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy AND the Student Council President, and Sasuke was the local Bad Boy and Naruto's rival who still aided him during fights. This was expanded upon in a bonus feature, created by the animators, for the seventh Shippuden DVD called Shippu! Konoha Gakuen Den which consists of narrated still-frames, in which Naruto seeks to be the leader of all in the yakuza in Japan and we see him beating the other fighters in the school, and also features Naruto and Hinata actually going on a date while several others (Sakura, Ino, Shikamaru, etc.) spy on them.
  • Galaxy Angel X has one for one episode, complete with the requisite Anime Theme Song this type of show would have. The end of said theme song is interrupted by ringing cell phones.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
  • Tokyo Mew Mew had a kindergarten AU in the manga, entitled Petite Mew Mew. Interestingly, the characters' natures as magical {{animorph||ism}}s were emphasized rather than discarded; for example, Lettuce/Retasu is a finless porpoise all the time, and has to be carried around in a fishbowl.
  • Later episodes of the D.Gray-Man anime have a High School AU Omake at the end.
  • Horitsuba Gakuen is a series of High School A.U. crossover drama CDs starring the characters from Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- and ×××HOLiC.
  • Gakuen Kino is a High School Magical Girl AU set of spin-off novels for Kino's Journey. Thankfully, the writers know and revel in how silly this is.
  • Spoofed by Hiromu Arakawa more than once with Fullmetal Alchemist omakes. They usually involve Edward and Alphonse in a gang (not a very good one at that) or Mustang and the Fuhrer in a girls' school spoofing '70s Shoujo manga. Don't forget Olivier as a sukeban (member of a Japanese girl gang).
  • Similar in the same vein as Gurren Lagann and especially the second ending credit sequence of Naruto, the third credit ending sequence of Eureka Seven skirts this, showing the female cast living out lives normal for (real) women of their ages (given that most of them are High School aged). It's interesting to note that this ending credit sequence was storyboarded by Shinichirō Watanabe. Yeah, that Shinichiro Watanabe (but not that one)
  • Code Geass:
    • Like its Internet rival Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Code Geass had a High School A.U. as one of its audio dramas. Unlike most examples though, the expected roles were reversed; Magnificent Bastard protagonist Lelouch is a teacher, his Lady of War sister Cornelia is a sukeban, and Big Bad Emperor Charles is the leader of the school's gangs.
    • Arguably, the manga adaptation with the same name as the anime also qualifies, since it focuses more on Ashford Academy thanks to the removal of the Humongous Mecha. The racist military faction is replaced by a racist group of students, and the Japanese rebels commit acts of petty vandalism rather than actual terrorism.
  • Tsutomu Nihei's BLAME! Academy gag manga. You only have to look at the art work to realize this is intensely crackish and completely hilarious. Notable for still having killer cyborgs with portable WMDs & taking place in an unimaginably massive Cyber Punk city, which is basically the whole joke. Also unusual as it actually ages one character up, with murderous cyborg loli Sana-Kan becoming a grown woman as one of the teachers.
  • The three-page manga "Red-Hair of Class 3-Sea TIME" takes One Piece characters and sticks them into the clichéd story of an inspirational teacher who turns around a class of delinquents Specifically, they're all inspired to become pirates. With Luffy as the all-out study freak jukensei.
    • A 2019 ad for Cup Noodles called "Hungry Days" is designed like it's an promo for a One Piece High School AU, with every character being modeled after someone from the Manga. Have fun spotting all the characters
  • The OVA on one of the Koihime†Musou DVDs has all the main characters attend high school, with highly explosive results.
  • Ikki Tousen is itself a High School A.U. of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (as well as a Gender Flip of most of the characters). Naturally, this means there's official art of the Ikki Tousen characters in Three Kingdoms-era China (or something similar enough to excuse breaking out the Breast Plates).
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT is a manga series used to advertise a Collectible Card Mobile Phone Game for Lyrical Nanoha...and it is unabashedly a Grade School AU. The magic powers have been replaced with virtual card games, and all of the non-human characters are now humans (except the familiars, which are just normal animals). We also have a good Precia and six other canonically dead characters that aren't dead.note 
  • Heroic Age's OST covers feature Dheianeila and Yuti La as highschool students in another shoutout to Sukeban Deka.
  • Utawarerumono has a drama CD with a highschool setting.
  • Queen's Blade is normally a High Fantasy world. The DVD bonus specials take all the characters and set them at Gainos Academy, with school uniforms and no decrease in fanservice.
  • NEEDLESS also has a series of High School AU bonus specials, this time set at St. Lily Academy, with Cruz playing a role he would later go on to play in the post-apocalyptic action series, only in a more traditional setting. That role? Crossdresser.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico spoofs this with an "Early 21st Century High School" entertainment program in the titular space battleship's virtual reality recreation room, which is essentially a High School A.U. holodeck scenario.
  • Both of the opening credits to The Tower of Druaga are set in such a setting.
  • Crayon Shin-chan: The High School Years!
  • Not exactly an AU, but Slayers NEXT and Slayers TRY feature fun little illustrations that bookend the commercial breaks, like a lot of anime do. Sometimes they actually pertain to the episode, but usually they're just fun illustrations showing what the characters would look like in a more modern setting. Favorites include Amelia the sailor-style school girl, Zelgadis the rock star, and Gourry as a daycare attendent.
  • Chrono Crusade has an anime-based Drama CD set in an High School A.U.. The Sinners are in a gang which Chrono is slowly becoming disillusioned with, Rosette is a girl from a Catholic school that Chrono has a romantic interest in, Sister Kate is the principle of Rosette's school while Daffau is the principle of the other school, etc. The cast gets to be Large Hams and seem to be having a blast.
  • Bubblegum Crisis was adapted into a High School AU Light Novel, Hard Metal Guardians, in 2012. Sylia is an Elegant Gothic Lolita, Linna is a rich girl working in a Meido cafe to understand how ordinary people live, Nene has Girlish Pigtails with Leon as her older brother who still works in the A.D. Police, and Priss is still in a rock band.
  • The Devil Is a Part-Timer! has a manga adaptation where the main characters are in school instead of the fast food industry.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! plays with the trope—since the original series already takes place (for half of its run anyway) in a junior high school, one of the spinoffs takes place in a kindergarten instead, with the students aged down and the (originally child prodigy) teacher and his best friend aged up to adults.
  • Attack on Titan has three examples:
    • A gag ending in the original manga has Eren waking up to discover that the entire series was All Just a Dream and that he and Miksasa are actually normal Japanese teenagers. Likely a Shout-Out to the Evangelion fake-out ending mentioned above.
    • A later series of gag endings puts the cast into a sterotypical American high school.
    • A Spin-Off called Attack on Titan: Junior High was released, though as the name implies, it's technically a Junior High AU.
  • Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, an anime adaptation of The Powerpuff Girls, featured the girls as three unrelated typical 12 year-old middle schoolers that were given superpowers. It played like a Magical... 'scuse me, Scientific Girl series.
  • Inverted in the My Hero Academia anime. The series takes place mostly in a high school (granted, it's a high school for superheroes, but a high school regardless). The third ending credits sequence features the characters in a High Fantasy setting. Deku becomes a clumsy traveller in a rather Bilbo-Baggins-esque get-up (with a sword that's apparently possessed by All-Might), Todoroki is a prince in a white horse, Uraraka is a mage, Iida a Knight in Shining Armor, and Bakugo is a Dragon Rider. We also get to see all of Class 1-A, who are all featured as some fantasy class or other. The beginning implies this is a class play of some sort.
  • Isekai Quartet is a 2019 Crossover series that is an official High School A.U. It brings together four Light Novel-based Isekai series published by Kodansha (Konosuba, Overlord, Youjo Senki, Re:Zero) and puts them all in a single high school classroom.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: Archie did this to Sonic in one issue. It was not well-received.
  • Tiny Titans does this for the Teen Titans and other characters in the DCU in a grade school sense, with Titan villains being teachers of the school the main cast goes to.
  • X-Men:
    • X-Campus is either this or a college AU. Same difference.
    • The OEL Manga X-Men: Misfits, which cast a few characters like Storm and Beast as young teachers, but made the rest of the cast into teenagers.
    • Pixie Strikes Back started out as this, but it gradually turned out that the whole thing was an illusion brought on by some weird mixture of demons and pixie dust.
  • Featured in Deadpool Corps, with Kid Deadpool living in one such world.
  • Switch (2015) is a Lighter and Softer (and much more modest) Witchblade AU in a high school setting.
  • Mystik U is a DC AU series featuring various DC magician characters as freshmen at a Wizarding University.

    Fan Works 
  • This Avatar: The Last Airbender Fan Fic. As the name implies, he's running for Prom King.
  • High School fics are also very popular for Codename: Kids Next Door. The better ones focus on the fact that their memories are wiped when they turn 13, and often getting them back.
  • Due to the complete and utter impossibility of the EdxEnvy pairing (Fullmetal Alchemist) most of the stand-out fanfics for them are High School AUs. These include The Seven Names of Envy Angevin, Side by Side and the sadly defunct Stupid Cupid
  • The Ben 10 fanfic series Hero High by Mr. Evil. Three entire books first taking place in an Alien School, then in a normal one, and finally a school the size of a city. He is also currently writing one in a Generator Rex universe.
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, the Assassins' Guild School (and to a lesser extent the Thieves' Guild School and the Convent School of Seven-Handed Sek) are productive settings for fiction; involving both the pupils and their long-suffering educators.
  • There's a Transformers High School fic that—wait for it...crosses over with Archie Comics. (Scroll down; it's in zip format.) However, it's kind of a subversion in that it's not mundane — using Applied Phlebotinum, several Transformers go undercover in Riverdale, including several who end up going to Riverdale High.
  • There are countless Total Drama fics that place the characters in high school. They are sixteen, but they have never been to school on-screen, and usually just focus on making sure the canon couple Duncan and Courtney have extroardiarily large amounts of "Aww" inducing moments and/or angst, annihilating both of their personalities at the same time, usually aided by OC Sues.
  • The Powerpuff Girls fanworks almost always age the girls up to high school age. More Than Human is an on-going example.
  • About two out of every three South Park fanfics take place when the boys are in high school, and many of the rest take place during middle school or adulthood. This probably has something to do with the fact that 99% of South Park fanfics focus on the characters' love lives.
  • There are a ridiculous amount of Teen Titans high school AU stories. All of them usually will have their civilian names from the comics (Robin may be Dick Grayson or Tim Drake or just Robin). Usually parody fics end up making fun of the extreme amount of High School AUs, and their lack of logic (culminating in a dance)
  • Wildly popular author Atomicskull did it brilliantly with Never Know Your Story Like I Do, following Kirk and McCoy from elementary all the way through grad school. Sadly, it is no longer available on LiveJournal.
  • There's a bunch of Disney Animated Canon High School AU fics out there, with some being better than others. Don Bluth characters tend to appear as the typical rivals from another high school.
  • Recess has a ton of High School and College AU fics, more-so than fics taking place during the show.
  • Pick a Jane Austen novel, any one from Pride and Prejudice to Persuasion. In the fanfiction archives at least 75% of the stories will take place in a modern day, often American high school.
  • Since Glee already takes place at a high school, fanfic writers have found ways of twisting this trope to make it interesting. College AUs are quite common, where characters who according to canon know each other in high school don't meet until college, as are the type of high school AUs where the characters are still at McKinley High but the social structure is different (eg. Dave Karofsky is a geek, Kurt the cheerleader rules the school, badboy!Blaine etc.).
  • Megamind was subjected to this. The first was Fate (although its true status as a High School AU is debatable), and soon others were following in its footsteps. That's probably not even all of them.
  • There's a 30 Day AU Challenge on Tumblr, and High School is the second challenge on the list. Example here.
  • Homestuck:
    • The fanfic "Bright Eyes", and true to the spirit of a High School A.U., it Mundanizes the setting by turning the troll characters into humans with ordinary parents, coming from "Alternian High" rather than the planet Alternia.
    • Promstuck is another Homestuck High School A.U. and is fairly well regarded in the fandom. Unlike the above there is no Mundanization of the characters- all the non-humans are kept non-human.
    • Paradox Space also has an official/unofficial version called Damara.
    • There's also the infamous Homestuck High that starts out as one, and rapidly falls into insanity.
  • Although most high school AU stories centre around the students, focus on the teachers isn't unheard of. Memorably, this fanfiction focuses on the various adult ninja from the Naruto canon, sticking them in a high school setting. Although it's a KakaIru slashfic, it's refreshing to see the teachers doing, y'know, their job.
  • Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox takes the Naruto cast and puts them in a high school setting...with no magical powers, jutsus, bloodline abilities, or tailed beasts.
  • An arc in the fanfic Bond Breaker involves this, with the main character Shade and a bunch of people he'd met on his journey transplanted into an AU highschool setting. A lot of the girls he's met seem to be in love with him, as well...much to his annoyance.
  • More than one Star Trek high school AU has graced the internet, but a noteworthy example is the collaborative roleplay high school AU starting here at Star Trek_Diary. It features the crew of the Enterprise (based on their 2009 actors) attending Enterprise Academy, a prep school for Starfleet Academy, with Star Trek: The Original Series characters as teachers, other adults, and side characters, and occasional mention of Star Trek: The Next Generation characters at the local kindergarten. Text is sometimes NSFW, full of horny teenagers with issues, and contains everything from pants-stealing aliens to evil twins, sex pollen, and the mafiya. Expect many actor crossover references.
  • The Rise of the Guardians fanfiction The Coldest And The Boldest has all the protagonists from the film in high school. It's also somewhat of a crossover, as there are characters such as Rapunzel, Pan, Hiccup, and Astrid who appear as cameos or side characters.
  • Frozen:
    • Fans prefer writing college fanfics as they keep the characters' ages the same, and adult characters have more freedom than teenagers. A large number of them just happen to be Elsa/Anna fics, though usually with them being unrelated instead of sisters. High school AUs aren't uncommon either.
    • A mild example occurs in A Snowflake In Spring. Though Anna and several other characters do attend high school, only a small part of the story is actually set there. Far more of the plot is centered around the Arendelle Institute for the Emotionally Disturbed, where both "Ice Queen" Elsa and Anna's brother Hans are being treated.
    • Café Liégeois uses Anna and Elsa being college students as a backdrop for the plot. They don't actually spend time in school but there are references to their school work here and there. Anna is an art major while Elsa is an architect major (despite being blind, which surprises people).
  • Pokémon:
    • There is an inordinately large number of Pokémon and Pokémon Adventures High School A.U. (and Middle School AU) fics out there. Some are gracious enough to leave the Pokémon in (some are even set in a school for Pokémon trainers, which have been shown to exist), but just as many dispense with them altogether, rendering the title of the franchise meaningless. It's not even known if traditional schools exist in the series (though adaptations like How I Became a Pokémon Card imply they do).
    • A Miscellaneous Tale of Night and Day, a Pokémon Adventures fanfic, takes this to the next level. Instead of being a cheesy romance Fan Fic, it takes a huge turn and speeds into a whole new direction. Not wanting another overused school fic, the author sets things to a different pace with the oh-so-loved Rule of Funny, but not without the romance, of course. A Romantic Comedy AU, now giving the comedy the main role other than the romance. Along with dashes of Darker and Edgier and mystery along the way.
    • We Are Only School Students is a crossover comic between the anime and Pokémon Adventures manga. It is set 200 years in the future from the main canon and features reincarnations of the cast. Pokémon have gone extinct and, worse of all, no one remembers their existence. After an incident, all memory of Pocket Monsters has been erased from history. Its up to a group of teenagers to fix this... But, the comic takes a long time to get to this plot and spends the first few chapters just being a generic school AU.
  • Loads and loads of Lyrical Nanoha fics have the cast as normal High School students; despite how canonly, they did go to High School together, and on Earth even. It's those pesky magic powers and the personalities that come along with them that get in the way.
  • Given that RWBY is already in a school setting it's easy for fans to remove the more fantastical elements and present them in a normal high school environment (or rarer, college). Some fanworks keep them in the same universe but don't have the characters decide to become Hunters.
  • There are High School A.U. works of, believe it or not, High School Musical. It boggles the mind that anyone, especially a shipper, would take a high-school setting filled to the brim with Ho Yay, Les Yay, Foe Yay, and every other kind of yay you can imagine (not to mention all the other shipping tropes HSM is prone to) and think to themselves "Let's change the school, the characters' personalities, and their love-interests".
  • Horrible Turn, the fan-prequel to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
  • The number of these for The Lord of the Rings is disturbing. Possibly a variation with The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth and its variants; in these, the canon characters are the teachers, and are teaching normal human students how their universe canonically works.
  • Warrior Cats High School AU. Everyone is horribly out of character. A few manage to pull it off and bring on laughs.
  • You would think that Harry Potter, being set in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and populated almost entirely by teenagers, would be exempt from this. Nope. For some reason, there are a number of fics where Harry and company end up at a (usually) American high school. Expect Draco to be in leather pants, and a Mary Sue or two. And you can make Snape, Sirius and co into high school students by writing a prequel fanfic.
  • The number for Maximum Ride is disturbingly high. But that's kind of the point of School's Out — Forever.
  • A fairly popular (if unimaginatively named) fic for Samurai Deeper Kyo is available. The story seems to ignore the high school setting in favor of whatever bizarre plot seems funny. Shipping is kept to a minimum, since the story has two authors who don't agree on pairings and therefore wildly sabotage each other's plots, once using an explicit All Just a Dream plot.
  • Back during its heyday, Sailor Moon spawned hundreds of these. The (inner) sailors were almost always in a band, camp counselors, or even just regular high school girls. Mamoru/Darien and the four generals would invariably be a rival band, the male counselors, or in their class—once in a great while, the "civilian" boys such as Urawa/Greg and Motoki/Andrew would be Mamoru/Darien's team. About the only things that would tie the stories to Sailor Moon would be the names and basic personalities of the characters; otherwise, there would be no real way to tell a story was supposed to be about Sailor Moon at all. Of course, since the stories were just vehicles for shipping, having the senshi actually be senshi would probably have just distracted from the romance.
  • There is now a fan-parody High School AU for Game of Thrones titled, appropriately, School Of Thrones, complete with a cool opening that mimics the already awesome credits of the TV series (the parody seems more in debt to the show than the books.) Features the Starks as hipsters, the Lannisters as the "cool" gang that runs the school, the Greyjoys as the swim team, Daenerys as the dragon-obsessed foreign exchange student, and Renly as the quarterback and potential prom king candidate (with Loras as his prom queen). Incredibly silly and a bit cringeworthy but still some good fun, can be found at here.
  • H.G. Wells High School is a metafictional Doctor Who fanfic setting, with all the Doctors in different years, and the appropriate supporting cast at the appropriate age. Newman Primary is the same thing, but as a primary school (elementary school in the US). There's also a retirement home, with elderly versions of the characters, but it's a bit *too* much for people, so it doesn't get used much. The most popular alternate-age versions of the characters remain the Spinoff Babies of the Look Who's Talking day care centre. All of them co-exist in the wider setting of This Time Round.
  • Heroes has a few High School A.U. fics that attempt to transplant the premise of "ordinary people with extraordinary abilities" into high school. Mostly this is done to make Peter and Claire closer in age and not related.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • There's a popular trend of high school fics which ignore the canon continuity entirely. Generally they place Jack and Daniel as foster brothers, Sam as the girl next door, and Teal'c as the weird new kid from Africa. Never mind that they weren't all in high school at the same time, and Teal'c's an alien.
    • Some fanfics have O'Neill's clone end up at the same high school as Sam's adopted (alien) daughter Cassandra.
  • There is one fanfiction of The Bible. Even the summary says, "Anything can be a High School AU fic. ANYTHING." It also has Ebony from My Immortal in it. She even has the bad spelling from her original fan fic to go with her.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • There are a few fan fiction pieces floating around with this setting. Almost always, they keep the GRIMDARK GRIMDARK and insanity of the characters, and if done well are a hilarious read.
    • The most well-known variation is a body of work by various authors referred to as Warhammer High, which either recasts the Primarchs as teenage girls or centers around their teenage daughters.
  • Steven Universe works featuring the Gems as humans in college aren't uncommon. Usually Steven is left out due to the fact the Gems would need to be older than the typical under-30 college student to know him, though occasionally Rose Quartz is their older friend who has a young infant or toddler son.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • There are high school AU fics out there, taking away the characters' powers and the like.
    • There are actually some that have the Power Trio (Sora, Riku and Kairi) attending school after the events of the second game, and have them pretty much keep their powers. This may be based on the fact Kairi and Selphie appear in school uniforms near the beginning of the game, suggesting that the two missing will likely have to attend once they return.
    • Some of the straight-up AUs make it work quite well.
    • High School AUs are hilariously (albeit scathingly) parodied in the second and third chapters of Those Lacking Spines.
    • If I Was Your Nazi looks like it's not an example... until you realize that for all the WWII Germany trappings, the characters act like they're in high school.
    • There is a popular series of Sora/Riku doujins set in high school.
  • There's one Massively Multiplayer Crossover featuring all the Nintendo cast.... it wasn't exactly Super Smash Bros., but it was close. And then Mario and Luigi became Avatars and there was violence... That would be Mario's High School Days, a Dead Fic from 1999-2000.
  • RE Marios High School Days is a high school version of Super Mario Bros..
  • There's a fanfic in Spanish titled "Nintendo School". Guess what it is about.
  • While there aren't many fanfics about the game, the number of fanarts of Dissidia Final Fantasy portraying the characters as high school students is really outstanding, both in the eastern and western sides of the fandom.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • The number of Sonic the Hedgehog fanfics that have this as a basic premise is insane. And very few of them even give a simple explanation of the sudden change, and go about as if nothing was different. Those that do often give the explanation of "Chaos Control sent them there".
    • Shadow the Hedgehog - First Class is an AU where Shadow is adopted by Gerald and raised as Maria's brother. Shadow begins going to a mixed human/mobian school, though there's a culture clash both because he's an artificial hedgehog and because he's been raised by humans.
  • Touhou:
    • There are many doujins (of varying quality) that put Marisa and co in highschool. For some reason, Keine and/or Eirin (and/or Eiki!) are almost always put in a position of authority (teacher or principal) while Mokou is a delinquent. There is also an inversion of this trope: Keine (see a pattern?) set up a school for the kids of Gensokyo.
    • One also subverts them: It seems that highschool is the normalcy... until Reimu realizes that it's the working of the resident Reality Warper Yukari Yakumo. Then she returns to being the normal ass-kicking miko, while the world is not yet un-warped.
    • Until Sumireko's introduction, Sanae was for a long time the only character in the series who actually was a high school student. Surprisingly little is done with this, aside from fanart of her in a school uniform.
    • For a specific example, there's the Slice of Life fan comic Four Seasons Housenote . Unlike many examples, the characters aren't all in the same grade; they range from preschoolers all the way up to adults. Everyone is an ordinary human being and there are no fantastic powers outside of Reimu, Mouko and Youmu being able to See Dead People. The strangest part overall is some of the character relations: Kanako is said to be Sanae's father, but she hasn't been Gender Flipped or otherwise altered; meanwhile, her mother is Suwako, who's actually younger than her. And yes, this makes just as little sense to the characters themselves as it does to the readers.
  • Super Robot Wars High takes place in a High School with the entire cast of every Super Robot Wars game ever, both Anime and Original Generation characters. Currently discontinued, but was written as an attempt to prove the plot and setting of an SRW universe could be retained with a school setting forming the core of the plot.
  • As Splatoon stars kids who just happen to like playing paint tag, references school, and even has school uniforms as clothing there are more than a few fan-arts about them as middle or high schoolers.
  • The Harvest Moon series has seen an upsurge in High School AU Fanfics, the most extensive of which being this one, now over fifty chapters. Since then, several have cropped up, such as this, this, and this.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi can be summarized by this trope, but for nearly every Cartoon Network original series created (except with elementary schoolers). Aside from the titular Powerpuff Girls, major characters include Dexter, Tootie, and Samurai Jack (as a teacher). That's merely scratching the surface, though; there are plenty more ShoutOuts as background or side characters.
  • "Old School New Revolution" takes the cast of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and places them in high school in the 1980s.
  • Gotham High. Not unlike the un produced cartoon series (and page art at the top), the video reimagines Batman (mainly The Dark Knight Saga) as a Teen Comedy in the vein of another High School A.U., 10 Things I Hate About You (the main source of the video).
  • Very popular for Death Note fanfics, although just as often, it's a college A.U. Either way, it qualifies as a Fandom-Specific Plot.
  • There is a significant amount of Sherlock Holmes high school AU stories, both as professional novels and as traditional fanfiction. The Irregulars is one of the better examples.
  • leading by example by serenfyrr is one for The Force Awakens, with student council members Rey, Finn, and Poe competing in a talent show against the First Order kids. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The existence of the official High School A.U. Attack on Titan: Junior High may be a reference to the extreme popularity of this in the Attack on Titan fanbase. This is likely due to the fact that Attack On Titan has a sort of school camaraderie dynamic in the early chapters when the characters are all still part of the 104th Trainees, but it gets quickly broken as soon as they're official members of the Survey Corps, and the brutal world they live in starts killing them and/or pitting them against each other. High school AUs are a way to preserve that earlier dynamic and keep things fluffy.
  • Skyhold Academy Yearbook takes the cast of Dragon Age: Inquisition and drops them into a modern boarding school scenario which the authors describe as "non-magical Hogwarts with random musical numbers." However, most of the Inquisition members are teachers, not students.
  • Fates Collide is set in the RWBY universe, but adds characters from Fate/Grand Order and sets them up as students, teachers, and staff for Chaldea Academy. It's a school that teaches them to slay Grimm, but still a school.
  • A large portion of The Boondocks fanfics take place a few years in the future when the main characters are in high school.
  • Dreamland University Redux is a Kirby college AU fic with nearly all of the main cast in college.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hollywood seems to enjoy giving William Shakespeare the High School AU treatment, with notable examples including "O" (Othello), 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew) and She's the Man (Twelfth Night). The thriller The Glass House is vaguely Hamlet (with the obligatory shout-outs), and vaguely High School (everyone stays the same relative ages, so most characters are adults.)
  • One of the better results was Clueless, which recast Jane Austen's Emma in a Beverly Hills high school.
  • Dragon Ball Evolution is essentially a High School A.U. fanfic of Dragon Ball Z with CGI.
  • Some people have claimed that Star Trek (2009) is an attempt to do something similar to this with the established characters from the original series. The popular fan misconception is that all the main characters are cadets, when in fact only Kirk, Uhura, and McCoy are students (and McCoy is already a fully qualified doctor). The captain's chair is traded around quite a bit as well, although it's made very clear that Kirk's promotion is for the duration of the current crisis only. Of course, then he goes and saves the Federation and makes the jump from Cadet to Captain in one fell swoop...
    • This may be something to do with a supposed pitch for a Star Trek prequel film set when the original TOS cast were either Starfleet Academy cadets or newly-commissioned ensigns, which was rumoured to be under consideration some time around the turn of the millennium and may or may not have partly influenced the direction the reboot eventually took.
  • Easy A set Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter in a high school at Ojai, California.
  • Brick isn't an AU of any specific noir story, but it still fits here. The movie takes every noir trope imaginable and transplants them into a high school setting. The results are surprisingly good.
  • Assassination of a High School President translates conspiracy and thriller-feely tropes to a high school setting. It also features the journalist protagonist, in this case writing for the high school newspaper.
  • Cruel Intentions gives this treatment to Dangerous Liaisons.
  • She's All That does a very loose version of this for George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.
  • The Dora the Explorer Live-Action Adaptation ages up Dora and deals with her as a high schooler.


    Live-Action TV 
  • For Lost, we have an actual canon episode that takes place in a high school in an alternate universe, with Ben Linus, John Locke, and Arzt as teachers, and Alex as a student.
  • Law & Order: Trial by Jury. Given that these series don't provide much in the way of personality for their characters, except as relates to their investigation and prosecution of crime, the fic was essentially a regular, boring high school experience using the names of Law & Order characters.
  • A case of canonical high school having its slate wiped clean is one high school AU for Power Rangers in Space. The teens never had any powers, and the Red and Silver Rangers, (human) aliens in the show, were normal school-attending Earthlings here. Though the high school stopped appearing in the show for good around episode 8, which is probably the only reason the fic author could get away with it.
  • Smallville is an official version of this trope applied to Superman.
  • Also Gotham but applied to Batman.
  • The Adventures of Superboy stars a high school version of Superman.
  • Merlin has been described as "The High School A.U. of the King Arthur legend". Certain changes, including making Merlin and Arthur the same age (late teens, early twenties) and a loose interpretation of history definitely fit the trope.
  • Kamen Rider Decade, in its distortion of past series, changes Kamen Rider Faiz into a high school AU. Former Quirky Miniboss Squad Lucky Clover is reimagined as a clique of the cool kids and Tsukasa becomes a student for his duration in this world.
  • The Taiwanese series K.O.3anguo (read as Zhongji Sanguo) does this for Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Among other anachronisms, the love triangle involving Lu Bu, Diao Chan and Guan Yu seems to be a primary plotline.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • They took this and made it canon by introducing a teenage clone version of Jack O'Neill, who promptly returns to high school. Although he's never seen or mentioned again, countless fanfictions try to explain what happened next. Some inexplicably decide to give the rest of the team mini-clones as well.
    • In the 200th episode, there was a scene featuring teenage versions of the team, in direct reference to this trope. Joe Mallozzi said in his blog that O'Neill's clone, after graduating high school, rejoined the Air Force and was promptly enlisted in the Stargate Program (now Homeworld Security) because he has all of Jack's experiences.
  • Becoming Human can be seen as the High School AU of Being Human.
  • Club is a miniseries based on Clue that essentially took the characters from the game and made them teens.

  • "When I Kissed The Teacher" by Abba, from Arrival describes how the singer kissed the teacher at school, obviously years after she actually attended school.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • One of the magazines not directly affiliated with any fed ran a feature that was short comic strips of the wrestlers of the day in high school. One was Steve Austin standing up on a chair flipping the bird into the air saying "If you hate algebra, give me a Hell Yeah!" while the teacher said "Steven, sit down.", and one with Kane shooting flames out of the stove in Home Ec. It happened for a few issues and then had a fan contest on who could write the best one, then published the contest winners in the magazine.
  • Shin-Nichi! serves as this for the cast of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, with Hiroshi Tanahashi as its lead.

    Tabletop Games 
  • SJ Games' Pyramid Magazine once had a TOON/In Nomine crossover set at Heavenly Heights High School. Laurence (incorruptible leader of Heaven's armies) was the captain of the football team, Kobal (Demon Prince of Dark Humour) was the class clown, and so on.
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine:
    • This is pretty much a High School AU version of Nobilis, complete with Lord Entropy (who's soul-fragments became members of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council), Iolithae Septimian (possibly sealed under the Titov family shrine), and the Excrucians (represented by the Bleak Academy).
    • The first official mega-campaign for it, The Glass-Maker's Dragon, is by the author's own statements a high-school version of the Enûma Eliš.

  • Lysistrata Jones is a musical High School AU of Lysistrata.


    Video Games 
  • Crash Fever has the ALICE Dreamin' School quest line, in which you go to school, meet school versions of past characters, get into some wacky hijinks, then wake up and realize it was all just a (mildly perverted) dream.
  • The Sim-Dating game for Hakuouki has a sequel that places all the characters in a modern high school setting.
  • Onmyoji Arena of all games have this in the form of a set of skins that transforms certain characters into high school versions of themselves. Their character animated shorts also take place in a modern classroom.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Note that while these examples don't usually have recurring characters in highschool (the series stars a new cast of characters with every game). They're still a high school spinoff in an Alternate Continuity/Universe of the main series.
  • Re/Visioned made a Tomb Raider animated series named Pre-Teen Raider with the description "Lara Croft wasn't always one of the world's most successful Tomb Raiders. See how a twelve year old Lara honed her craft during her early years at the Croft Academy." Essentially, the Tomb Raider creators licensed a High School AU of their own game. It is seemingly impossible to find said series, but it is mentioned on the Croft Generation website here
  • The Private BEMANI Academy event features BEMANI musicians as students in a private academy, with a comically-middle-aged-looking dj TAKA acting as the principal. The event has you playing (platonic) matchmaker by getting pairs of artists to build up friendship with each other; filling a pair's Friendship gauge by playing their "home" game causes the graphic of the pair to change from the pair being distant to becoming best friends. When the pair's gauge reaches 100%, you unlock their respective collaboration song for play in all participating BEMANI games.
  • Card City Nights is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover where characters from Iji, Ittle Dew, Hyper Princess Pitch (among others) play card games.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, Lowain, Elsam, and Tomoi come up with one in the "L.E.T'S. H.A.N.G." event where the former two are students and the latter an instructor at Albion Military Academy. It's noted that due to it being a fantasy of theirs and not having the full details from Katalina, there are discrepancies from reality. The "Table for Six" event adds Sutera and Korwa as students and Isabella and Jin as faculty members.
  • Sunrider released an official Alternate Universe High School Dating Sim called Sunrider Academy.
  • The creators of Shovel Knight jokingly proposed a "Shovel Knight High" series as a goal for their kickstarter. It never came to fruition, but fans still play around with the idea from time to time.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword isn't so much an AU of The Legend of Zelda, but it starts off in a boarding school and centers around the students (namely Link, Zelda, and Groose) before The Dragon shows up.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land has this in its Epilogue Disc.
  • League of Legends features a line of "Academy" skins for several champions (specifically Ahri, Darius, Ekko, and Vladimir, among others retrofitted for the line), which eventually developed into its own Alternate Continuity with its own minor lore blurbs. Riot has officially endorsed a fanmade webcomic called Academy Adventures, transplanting a much wider range of champions to fit the Troperiffic setting of Valoran High.
  • MapleStory has the Friend Story theme dungeon, a parallel world where several characters have counterparts in a South Korean high school setting. Notably, the AU is integral to the plot, as not only is one of the playable classes from that world (Kinesis), but the Heroes of the Maple World travel to it looking for information, because the Big Bad teamed up with his own counterpart to further his plans.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • All Grown Up! is actually a television example of the latter, taking the Rugrats cast, aging them by ten years, and putting them in a fairly standard middle-school sitcom. Which, in the show, is still pretty much like High School in every other respect.
  • Many Superhero Blockbuster Summer Action movies throughout the 2000s would have an animated series released at or around the same time to ride the wave of renewed interest and popularity of the character. Usually taking the core cast and if not being explicitly in highschool, then at at least explicitly younger than they are usually interpreted (although some of these, such as the X-Men and Spider-Man, did actually start their career during their teenage years in the comics).
    • X-Men: Evolution premiered the same year as X-Men. It justified this with the concept that mutants (and super-powered beings in general) were thought by the general public to be nothing more than rumor, hoax, and legend for the first couple of seasons, and Xavier wanted his students to have as normal a life as possible.
    • Back in the '80s, there were plans for an X-Men cartoon that would've featured Cyclops, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Thunderbird and Ms. Marvel as teenagers attending a public high school. It never got off the ground, though.
    • The Batman, a year before Batman Begins. Not in highschool but featuring younger interpretations of Batman and his Rogues Gallery.
    • Iron Man: Armored Adventures premiered a year after Iron Man, with Tony Stark as a genius teenager with a suit of armor, his buddies, and the Corrupt Corporate Executive who kicked everything off by having his dad killed. It's about as much like the Iron Man comics or movies as the high-school C.S.I. fanfics are like the actual CSI series, but it gets away with it by being totally awesome in its own right.
    • The Spectacular Spider-Man for Spider-Man 3. After a rights dispute caused by Disney buying Marvel, the show was canceled...
    • ... and replaced with Ultimate Spider-Man just in time for The Amazing Spider-Man. USM has Luke Cage, Iron Fist, White Tiger and Nova attending the same high school as Peter Parker. While White Tiger and Nova are Canon Immigrants created for the show (albeit as Legacy Characters of existing heroes - the original Nova was originally a teen, the original White Tiger was an adult when he got his powers), Luke Cage (who uses his old Power Man alias in the cartoon) and Iron Fist are always depicted as adults in the comic books, with Cage in particular being much older than Spider-Man and Iron Fist not finishing his training until adulthood.
    • Transformers Animated for Transformers - the main cast are an inexperienced Ragtag Bunch of Misfits rather than war veterans, and the human sidekick is a kid rather than a high-school student.
    • The Mighty Thor was scheduled to have one after his first movie, but it was canceled before it ever aired. It would've been about his adventures in Asgard before ever coming to Earth. There is a direct-to-home-video movie called Thor: Tales of Asgard that is based on a similar idea.
    • The Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles reboot comes one year before the Michael Bay film reboot. The Turtles are teenagers by default, but Splinter is noticeably younger than he is usually interpreted, and April is 16 instead of being a working woman, though in contrast to the Thor example, the show began well before the movie began shooting, and was already on its second season before a single trailer for the film was out.
    • Legion of Super-Heroes does fall into this, by adapting the pre-Crisis Superboy's adventures with the titular team, as its first season came out in the fall of 2006, the same year Superman Returns was released.
    • Marvel's Spider-Man was released at least a month after Spider-Man: Homecoming. It goes back to Spectacular Spider-Man's roots of a High School focused show. Peter Parker gets accepted into Horizon High (a high school version of Horizon Labs) and some of its top students (Anya Corazon, Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy), who are known spider-heroes, are as old and smart as Peter Parker.
      • Interestingly, a majority of characters have been aged down a bit and their brains boosted up. Otto Octavius is around Peter's age and already he got his doctarate and works for Horizon High. Alistair Smythe is a student a Midtown High where his father, Spencer Smythe is a science teacher.
      • Keeping in mind with the high school element, after Harry's wrongful sunspension from Horizon High, Norman Osborn created a new school for him, the Osborn Academy for Geniuses. John Jameson applied for it, a young man who is an ace in astrophysics, enforced by the fact NASA adopted two of his ideas. Herman Schultz (Shocker) and Clayton Cole (Clash) also applied whilst demonstrating prototypes of their trademark weapons.
  • Even the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender have gotten into the act, with their "School Time Shipping" video, though the bending is still all there. Their teacher is Avatar Roku, and Iroh is the guidance counselor.
  • Clone High is basically the High School Alternate Universe version of all of history.
  • Batman Beyond's existence is owed to a bunch of higher ups going "Let's do a show about Batman in high school." And so it was done and everyone lived Happily Ever After, mostly due to it turning out a lot Darker and Edgier than the execs had in mind.
  • The page image comes from a proposed Gotham High animated series that was briefly considered in the late 2000s among many other ideas for future Batman TV projects by Warner Bros. Animation, before presumably be passed over in favor of developing Beware the Batman. Had it mad it to series, it would have explored a Bruce Wayne attending high school with his rogues gallery while in the process of crafting his Batman persona.
  • Inverted in Tiny Toon Adventures, which is not simply Looney Tunes in school, but brand new toons in training who are being taught by the Looney Tunes.
  • The Mork and Mindy segments in the Mork and Mindy/Laverne and Shirley with Fonz animated series is a High School A.U. for the series proper.
  • Craig Mc Cracken mocked the concept in The Powerpuff Girls, where the girls are ditzy morons more interested in shopping and boys rather than saving the town from destruction.
  • Young Justice gives several established DC superheroes cameos as non-powered high school students. Karen Beecher (Bumblebee) and Mal Duncan (Herald) appear as classmates of Superboy and Miss Martian, while Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and Bette Kane (Flamebird) attend the same school as Artemis and Dick. Most notably, Zatanna (who is almost always depicted as an adult in the comics and other adaptations) is made the same age as Dick Grayson. Most of these characters received their powers / superhero personas sometime during the five year timeskip between seasons 1 and 2. They are now in their late teens and early twenties and affiliated with either the League or the Team.
  • Much like Gotham High, there was almost a Muppets High. It would have been set in the 1950s, with Kermit as a Fonzie-style greaser, Gonzo as a nerd, Fozzie Bear a soda jerk, and Rowlf a varsity football player. The show was never made, but plenty of merchandise was.
  • Steven Universe has a meta example: Hilary Florido's promotional art for episodes she has storyboarded depict the characters, including the Gems as high school students (specifically, wearing Japanese school uniforms) with Steven as their teacher. Connie also seems to be the school librarian. These promos are only superficially related to the episodes they promote; for example, "The Test" has the student characters taking an exam, when it's actually about Steven going through an obstacle course to prove his abilities. Canonically, Steven doesn't even attend school; he didn't even know what it was until Connie mentioned that she'll be able to visit more thanks to summer break coming up.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: The Series takes place during Flint's high school days and, through some slight retconning, Sam goes to the same school.
  • Extreme Ghostbusters is about a second generation of ghostbusters made of college students.
  • Mega Man: Fully Charged takes this approach to the classic Mega Man series. Instead of being a janitorial robot turned fighting robot after one of his co-creators goes rogue, this incarnation of the Blue Bomber is a robot high school student named Aki Light, with Mega Man being his evil-fighting alter ego.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • As stated above, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls takes place in an alternate universe where the characters are all human high schoolers. This means most characters have been aged-down (maybe), while others are aged-up (again, maybe).
    • Season 8 of the main series has a slight school Genre Shift. In this case, however, the main characters are teachers, not students.
  • Unlike the Superhero School the original continuity took place in, the 2018 DC Super Hero Girls is a true blue high school AU. Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Zatanna, and several other characters are high schoolers who are also superheroes (and supervillains) on the side.
  • Little Shop is The Little Shop of Horrors with Audrey and Seymour as teenagers.

Alternative Title(s): High School Spinoff, High School Alternate Universe, Recycled In High School


Example of: