I wonder what the sample size is and how diverse the informants are because there ARE cases where kids live by themselves! It could be that they are sent fare from home to high school and the dorms are filled or the school HAS NO dorms so the parents rent them a place. There are also times that the parents work a lot in a different town or even overseas for long stretches of time or the student comes from a single parent home where again, the parent works a lot or far away. I had a student who was in that very situation.
As for the rooftop and other "off-limit" places, kids are very resourceful. Even when I was a kid in the US, we found underground tunnels underneath our high school that were no longer used! There is really no security at Japanese high schools so it is rather easy to get a hold of keys or even befriend the janitors (one junior high school where I taught, the janitors let some students smoke in certain areas in order to befriend them to keep them out of REAL trouble)!
As for a "good-looks" are concerned, that is completely subjective, but sex happens a lot at schools, even between students and teachers!
Finally, with regards to student power, students in Japanese schools do indeed have much more autonomy than in many other places (like the US). A eader or a pair (boy and girl) of leaders are selected and groomed by the homeroom teacher to be in charge of their class. This starts from elementary school (even preschool). Much of the time, students are left to their own devices (not preschool, of course) while teachers spend a lot of time in preparation (or sleeping) in the teacher's room! Even after school clubs and activities are mostly run by student leaders, although a teacher is usually assigned to them, but rarely shows up in a lot of cases. So they are pretty much self-sufficient and therefore sometimes make their own rules, or at least follow how they were taught by their sempai (upper classmen) before them.
So, of course you are not going to see monsters or magic happing at the school, but the reason that these anime are so popular is because they are relatable to so many people, That is not to say that ALL Japanese have the same experiences and do all the things that are in the anime, but that is exactly the point that this article is missing! It seems that only a few select people were asked and they got these answers, but if they had cast a wider net, they would have run into people who would say that while perhaps exaggerated, many of these things do indeed occur in high school!
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