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Old School Building

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One of the staples of school settings in anime and manga is the Old School Building (Kyuukousha), an old wooden building (or wing) on the grounds that is often used as storage, for clubrooms, or just left abandoned when the school resettled in a brand new building. If derelict, it is most likely haunted (or believed to be), so will be the subject of at least one of The Seven Mysteries and may be used for Kimodameshi.

This trope is an artifact of history and by now largely out of date. In the post-war era, Japan went through an educational reform as demanded by the USA. This brought along an immediate need for new, modern school buildings, and most in use today were constructed during the Shōwa 30s (1955-1965 era). The new ones would be set up next to the existing old school buildings and sometimes the old building became incorporated into the new building. Either the old building (portion) would be abandoned immediately or it would be used less and less. Half a century later, they've nearly all been demolished or modernized. That said, new school buildings were only built where they were a sound investment, so many rural and suburban schools continued to make use of wooden buildings up until the early 21st Century. Nowadays, these are abandoned not because of any new buildings, but because there aren't enough children anymore in those areas to make it worthwhile having a school around at all. Some have been repurposed for other community needs, others are maintained by the locals just because, and again others are exactly the kind of place in which you'd expect to run into a ghost.

Not related to building things the old way, without concrete and lift cranes.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Garden of Sinners: The climax of the sixth movie takes place in the abandoned school building of the Reien Girls' Academy.
  • Ghost Hunt: Mai meets Naru when he is investigating the OSB at her school.
  • Ghost Stories: The old school building is located behind the new one and it becomes a center of paranormal activities.
  • GJ-bu: School clubs are located in one of these. As a result, the GJ Club's clubroom has no cooling nor warming, and leaks when it rains.
  • Haunted Junction has a whole story where the Supernatural Student Council deals with one, which in reality is a very old school in Aomori, which is about to be closed down and destroyed. Since the school ghosts know that this is a death sentence for them, they fall in despair and decide to start kidnapping students from Saitou High to forcibly enroll them in the school and survive. The Student Council manages to convince them otherwise, and the whole building is taken to the Saitou grounds.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files: In "Smoke and Mirrors", someone trying to hide a Dark Secret in an old school building commits several murders to keep the truth from coming to light.
  • Love Live! Superstar!!: The School Idol Club room is located in the very back corner of the top floor of the main school building. Chisato takes the time to point out a few oddities, as every other club is in a brand-new club building elsewhere on the grounds, and when they get there an antiquated nameplate with their club name on it is already on the door frame.
  • Maburaho: Episode 13 of the anime centers around an old building at Aoi Academy, which later gets destroyed.
  • Manabi Straight!: The student council re-opens and renovates the OSB after the original council room is destroyed by lightning.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: In the first anime, this is the setting for the "kiss catch" game.
  • To Love Ru: an extremely dilapidated version used for an illicit kimodameshi.
  • Uta∽Kata: The show starts with Ichika and friends cleaning the OSB (which is rather pointless since it is demolished not long after).

    Comic Books 
  • Robin: The clock tower at Brentwood Academy is boarded up and no longer used. This makes it easy for the Langstrom family, who are all stuck as manbats without their memories of humanity, to move in which turn earns the tower rumors of being haunted.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Goodbye, Miss Turlock is a nostalgic short film about the end of the rural one-room schoolhouse. After beginning with a shot of an abandoned, dilapidated one-room schoolhouse, the film jumps back to tell the story of Miss Turlock, the village's last schoolteacher.
  • Julia X: After escaping from The Stranger and fleeing through the swamp, Julia takes refuge in an old abandoned school.
  • The climax of Urban Legend takes place in Stanley Hall, a college dormitory that was left abandoned after a mass murder there in 1973.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Vera: In "Broken Promise", Vera is called to the University of Northumberland when Jamie Marshall, a young, promising journalism student, plummets to his death from the top of a disused science building. The investigation keeps returning to the supposedly unsafe building, and Vera eventually realises that the building itself may be at the centre of why he died.

    Web Originals 
  • Unwanted Houseguest: A downplayed example in Episode 27 of "TRUE Scary Stories." The school in the story built a new gym a few years earlier, leaving the "old" gym largely defunct until it's called back into use during a renovation of the school's auditorium. That said, it is made clear that the old gym was still sometimes used for running track during bad weather, and the school had allocated a surprisingly decent budget for make-shift renovations, since they planned to use it for assemblies for a few months. So, while old and somewhat decrepit, the building did at least seem to be relatively safe.

    Video Games 
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, the village of /x/ has an eerie old schoolhouse, sitting at the edge of town near the trees. It isn’t abandoned (though it’s empty when you visit), but it is haunted, and at least one child has gone missing there. Inside, you’ll fight animate toys, drawings, and other childlike spirits… until you eventually uncover a very dark endless stairway with a superboss lurking in its depths.
  • Corpse Party has a haunted old school as the main setting. That school itself contains two buildings, one of which (the wing that disappears and reappears seemingly at random) is in a noticeably older architectural style. It's where Sachiko and her mother were murdered in 1953. Also, it’s sentient.
  • Detention takes place in a haunted school.
  • Die2Nite has an abandoned ruin that players can search called the Burnt School out in the wasteland. It's actually one of the best ruins in the game despite its eeriness due to its loot pool containing some of the more useful rare items like bandages and various water pistols.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky has the Jenis Royal Academy's old school building, which is in a spooky forest behind the main campus. The old school building used to be the main school, but it was eventually abandoned in favor of a larger campus that was constructed closer to the road. In First Chapter, there's nothing special about it. You visit it again in SC, where you discover that it has an ancient, monster-infested Zumerian ruin buried underneath it.
  • It continues in the The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games, in which the old schoolhouse on the grounds of Thors Military Academy turns out to be the site of an ever-expanding underground dungeon that your party must face and later turns out to house a Divine Knight of legend named Valimar that is piloted by your main playable character, Rean. In the second game, it's again the final dungeon and contains the game's final boss, a copy of the world of Erebonia's Great Power.
  • One of the buildings on the campus of Leafmore High School in ObsCure is a dorm that was left abandoned after students went missing due to Principal Friedman kidnapping them for his mortifilia experiments.
  • Brownstone High School in Phasmophobia is a schoolhouse that's been abandoned for decades. Given this is a game about Paranormal Investigation, it's definitely haunted.
  • Hinashiro High, which is attended by the main characters of Twilight Syndrome, has an older school building which is incorporated alongside a newer one. It's not particularly significant to the plot for the most part, but it notably serves as the site where the gate to the spirit world opens as a result of Mika's botched summoning ritual in the "Occult Mystery Tour" chapter.

    Visual Novels  
  • A plot point in Kindred Spirits on the Roof:
    • One of the school buildings was rebuilt after Sachi (one of the titular Kindred Spirits) died and as such she can't enter the new school building unless possessing Yuna. And since the old building houses the third year class rooms Megumi, who died while she was still a first year can't enter the old building since she never went there in life. The roof of the new building serves as neutral ground of sort since it's the same height of the older structure from when Sachi was alive so she can visit it.
    • Just for visual flavour the school also sits on the grounds of an old castle and several of the surviving structures have been incorporated into the school. The athletics clubs have their clubrooms on the lower floor of an old watchtower and the castle's main entrance gate now serves as the school's main gate.
  • The Unforgiving Flowers Blossom in the Dead of Night: This is the building where Marie is raped by her teacher in the first story; and her "house" after she becomes a yōkai.

Alternative Title(s): Abandoned School