School Days

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Sheex's avatar
Dec 29, 2007

Story

Youth: A time of friendship, first love, and bountiful joy.  Enter School Days, an anime chock full of all that youthful spunk but spiced up with a bit of malice, hatred, deceit, self-loathing, and rage.  Brings back memories, doesn't it?

Now, if you want some passionate, innocent high school romance, I suggest you look elsewhere.  The modern day Narutaru, School Days' name is about the most pleasant part about the whole series.  It starts out innocent enough with our dumb-as-a-rock male lead, Makoto, developing a crush on a cute girl with whom he rides the train every morning, Kotonoha.  Being that both are too shy to actually meet each others' acquaintance, Makoto's friend Sekai befriends her and the brings the two together in a romantic lunch outing on the school rooftop; it's love at first sight, or something.  Their relationship gets off to quite the rough start, so the two begin to confide in Sekai, our local relationship expert, and ask for advice on how to make their fledgling romance work.

Sounds innocent enough, right?  Well, turns out Sekai has a crush on Makoto too, and as the two spend time together trying to council his relationship with Kotonoha, a little spark gets lit.  As Kotonoha builds confidence in her relationship with Makoto, his feelings begin to shift elsewhere, and that's when things start getting complicated.  School Days certainly doesn't sugarcoat any of the series' relationship troubles from there on out, as hearts start getting shattered left and right and friendships become venues for abusing others for personal satisfaction and gain.  Other problems slowly ooze their way into the characters' lives, ranging from bullying to social rejection, and, just as in real life, some handle it better than others.

Though typically not a fan of series that highlight the morbid facets of human interaction, I must admit that School Days is definitely one of the best of its type.  The structure and presentation of the series is put together brilliantly, compacting its content to start well, climax flawlessly, and end with a rather shocking bang.  Unlike so many series that simply thud after they peak, the ending to School Days is neither rushed nor poorly scripted, and provides some, might I add disturbing, closure.  The final lines conjoined with the last scene proved incredibly fitting, which ended up leaving me with an uneasy sense of completeness.  None of the events that transpire in the series are meant to be pleasant in any form, and the writers were absolutely sure to make that message loud and clear by the time you finish.


Animation

For a mid-2007 production, though, the animation left a lot to be desired.  Shortcuts were taken left and right to simplify characters aesthetics, and the production quality was downright shoddy on a number of occasions.  Unlike many recent series which take advantage of exceptional lighting techniques to create dramatic atmospheres, there's simply none of that present in School Days; aside from a random slap or slamming of a fist on a desk, the characters just didn't seem alive on many occasions.

The scenery proved slightly better, though not that much.  Lighting and shading varied from scene to scene, ranging from vivid and dramatic one minute to droll and boring in the next.  Perhaps I've been spoiled with recent masterpieces such as Death Note, but visually I never felt as if I were involved with what was happening.  The quality did improve as the series progressed, though, and I suppose saving the best for last worked on some level; while you won't be blown away by any form of visual mastery, the script is strong enough to fill in the emotional gaps without much pause.


Sound

Though I've not much to say about the musical score, the voice acting in School Days was absolutely stellar.  Sekai's seiyuu, for instance, captured her character's persona brilliantly in the final episodes.  All of the voice actors managed to pick up on the emotional subtleties of their respective characters, especially during their spouts of anger, which really helped animate the script where the actual animation fell short.  From the faintest quivers to the most authoritative of yells, the emotional struggles of each of the characters came alive, and this really allowed the series to take full advantage of what it had to offer.


Characters

By the end of School Days, every curse word in your vocabulary will find itself aimed on Makoto in one scene or another.  If you've ever wanted to know what a true bastard acts like, he's your guy.  Unfortunately, I think the creators over-emphasized this in the fact that every girl seems to want to him, and he ended up feeling superficial.  Even so, his evolution from shy nerd to malevolent jerk invokes a genuine taste of disdain for his character, and drives home much of the finale's emotional finesse. 

Sekai, though, was by far the highlight of the flamboyant drama.  Not only did she have perhaps the most interesting and well-voiced character, but her presence is what really made the series have the emotional impact that it did.  Both her strength and her moral courage, though initially appearing pure, end up quite befuddled and questionable, which makes her both a character you care for and hate simultaneously.  She continually shocked me with her mixture of both moral authority and judgmental lapses, which allowed her character to really personify the morose atmosphere that pervades in the series' latter half.

Kotonoha, on the other hand, proved likable and amiable throughout, and given all she must endure, you cannot help but pity her.  Yet, come the end of the series, even she becomes a rather questionable character, and I'm left with quite mixed feelings regarding the outcome of her decisions.  By saying anything further I'd be pushing on spoiling her character so I'll refrain, but she's certainly not as black-and-white as she first appears. 


Overall

All in all, though not an anime that will sweep you off your feet, School Days weaves a horrific tale of the human heart's ability to be treacherous and cruel toward its fellow man.  The joys of youth fade idly into the back-story, and by the end of the series they seem all but a distant past.  In fact, following the ending credits, the series' first thirty-seconds or so are replayed, and I found myself looking back on them in a completely different light.  Though definitely not everyone's cup of tea, if you have a strong stomach and a willingness to endure some rather disturbing moments, give School Days a once through - you won't be disappointed.

7.5/10 story
7.5/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
8/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
mariprosa's avatar
Jan 25, 2008

Story

If you take a story that includes everything from a love triangle, to sexual promiscuity, to rape, to characters you'd expect to have continous flowing flaws and come on the edge of breaking down, you'd expect it to be great, right?

Wrong.

Honestly, I'll probably never watch the series again. It might sound harsh, but read further. School Days is a series that depends on how you want to approach it-for those who want a shocker series, it'd probably be more of a pleasant watch than those who look for solidly constructed characters and something different than the norm, and despite what some may say about SD being unique, it's not.  There have been some series that have used the same formula of shock factors (i.e. Shuffle!).  The problem isn't so much building up the conflict, it's the hollowness of it.  There are some themes here that are built, but lack proper development. I know the predominant argument for SD is that it's not meant to be realistic but entertaining...but where does the line for entertaining merge? Simply by graphic drama. I could understand some rollercoaster rides  - for example a series that deals with multiple relationships and pregnancy is the josei series NANA, an anime adaptation done well, though with some slight saturation in it's dramatic themes.  However, despite SD introducing some potent themes, I couldn't wrap my head around or even feel more than some bland sense of pity for the characters, and by the end, it left me feeling disgusted because it threw any sort of tangible tension out of the window.

Somehow, I just couldn't totally say this series was bad despite the bitter taste it left in my mouth, because it really wasn't considering what the story was trying to convey overall. It wants you really to hate some of what the characters do and present it in a way that's controversial. I have the feeling if you're looking for a story with a lot of shock factor and less traditional romance and realism, School Days would be more in your venue.  Yet, for someone who looks for relatable emotions and good, developed characters, it truly isn't here.

School Days focuses on three main characters: Makoto, Kotonoha, and Sekai.  Makoto develops a slight crush on Kotonoha while riding the subway one day, and when Sekai notes Makoto's crush, she throws her support in hooking the two together with full support. Yet, she harbors a secret fondness for Makoto in her heart-a factor that becomes the worm that eats its way through the hearts and progression of the series to come.

From that point on it becomes a web of betrayal and sexual deviancy, and while that factor sounds intriguing, the presentation of School Days really doesn't back that factor up because it doesn't give the characters as much weight on that factor. Makoto himself is a lackluster male lead with an insatiable desire for lust and sexual promiscuity-and while in his construction it does make you hate his actions, he's not more than 1 dimensional with tunnel vision-no reasoning (and I have to clarify-it's not so much what he does that's the problem, but more or less how it's developed), and very little shown to show the backbone of his addiction. Only in the final few episodes you actually see some hint as to where he laments and realizes he has a problem-a stronger irony it would have been if not presented so late or so lackluster.  Sekai and Kotonoha, along with the harem cast of girls in the series, are unfortunately the victims of this deviancy, yet none of the girls, save for Kotonoha and Sekai, are given adequate development to really give Makoto's affections weight-then again, perhaps it ties in with their roles overall, not really given much heart, but as pawns in a game where their hearts are given less weight than their bodies. This could have had so much more potential if the time were taken to really give the side characters as much focus as Sekai and Kotonoha, but unfortunately, it was impossible to do.

I'll give it to the series for developing Sekai and Kotonoha, probably the better developed characters in terms of stark impact of all the events, but by the series end, it was clear that things were turning toward the extreme route for both girls.

The series does have nudity, but not as prominent in the TV version compared to if you saw the DVD, much more overt in places, and heavier than that are the series thematics, hence I'd give this series a rank for a more mature audience.

Then there's the ending, and I think it could strike the viewer in a number of ways.  For me, the ending was only partially expected, but it would have had more impact (i.e. given a greater shock) to me if it didn't feel tacked on and rushed beyond oblivion. The reason I say it's rushed is because there's a lot that happens and it really could have just as well had another ending, but it went the route that most people thought and came off as a display moreso than something you could really feel sentiment toward. My approach with this series might be different than what most may view it, because in entertainment, people may not give this as much weight because it puts on a good show subjectively, but for me who looks for heart, good characterization, and lasting value in a story, this series doesn't excel.

School Days actually could have been much more of a beautifully told tragedy, but ended up as nothing more than a shallow watch. I'd only recommend this to those who aren't looking for a traditional romance or those who don't mind series with conflictive confrontations and themes without much expansion or development.


Animation

I didn't always like the character designs for School Days, but it gradually warmed up to me as the series went on.  Backdrops, Cel production values for School Days are very well done and noted for a 2007 title.  I can't take away much from School Days on this aspect and I think people will enjoy it, save for some points where it seems a little choppy on the design.


Sound

The soundtrack to School Days was among the more noteworthy ones  I've heard in quite some time.  The opening theme didn't really catch me at first because it does feel like the opening to an ero game, but it grew on me as I watched the series.  The insert and ED themes, particularly "Waltz" by Kanako Itou, were beautiful and definitely among my favorites overall.

Voice acting actually made School Days better among the characters, the VAs were well chosen for the personalities, but the overall story was what took away from the characters more than the quality of the acting.


Characters

Not much to note on the characterization-the characters aren't handled as well as they could have been.  The primary three are perhaps the characters you follow most throughout the overall series, and honestly, are the only ones that are well developed, even Makoto I'll admit.

Sekai was easily the most likable in the start of the series with her upbeat and overall sweet personality, and you really feel for her in some scenes when she comes into conflict with Makoto for not being decisive about his affections, and she ends up being just as flawed with her own insecurities.

Kotonoha may strike some as being the typical shy girl stereotype...and indeed she is.  There were some scenes I even tried myself to really feel for her character, but the way the series didn't expand on the things that happened to her, or just left situations without really taking her character further that disappointed me.

The secondary cast aren't developed all that well, and easily fade into the background save for points where they cause or perpetuate conflict among the main three.  Somehow, if the secondary cast were given more collective weight and development, this could have been a better series.


Overall

Overall, a hesitant recommendation.  I personally did not really like it as I found it shallow and underdeveloped but there were moments I admit did strike me, and thus I wouldn't completely write it off, but it's certainly a type of series that could have been so much more.

4.7/10 story
6.5/10 animation
7.7/10 sound
4/10 characters
5/10 overall
mahius's avatar
Oct 5, 2014

School days is an ecchi harem* anime that is very different. This is the opposite of all those other terrible harem anime, as it actually has a story. A lot of people hate it, not cos it's bad, its actually decent. Reason: since the characters affect the story, it goes in a certain direction. Kinda like an action plot where the villian wins and enslaves the world. There were a lot of shocking moments. The mature themes of this anime certainly do not suit the high school setting and it reminds me of TV soap operas, which are terrible. If you watch this, watch all the way to the end. The moral of the story is "Romantic love does not actually exist." I'll have an extra spoiler section towards the end (#number) due to the very progressive story, which I don't usually do.

* - I hate the ecchi/harem genres and this will affect my opinion during this review

For an anime that came out in 2007, the animation isn't bad, but it doesn't stand out either. I've seen older anime that have done better. maybe it is because of the atmosphere of this anime. It has a certain style to it, but sticks to this style, perhaps for the better. The ecchi is actually rather minimal, mostly groping and the like, but it is surprisingly justified by context when it gets a bit more fan-servicey. Most of the mature stuff is actually implied though I think there might have been a topless scene. Might have. The sound was decent and suited the scenes. It wasn't spectacular enough to make me want to download it however. No epic orchestras or cool rock here. At least there's no cringey pop to ruin it. This anime is in Japanese, so English subtitles are required.

The characters are definitely the worst bit of this anime and of course this causes things to happen in the story. They are all terrible human beings, perhaps less than human. The girls have no sense of self-respect, lack the ability to judge character and none of the cast have any morals (#1). The worst bit is, people behave like this and do this sort of bullshit in the real world too. Of course this has the bullshit anime trope of there being no parents around ever! I'll start off with the best and most interesting character.

Kotonoha Katsura is a big-breasted high school girl who is rather shy and most importantly, mentally fragile. She comes from arich family and has a younger sister. Because all the boys like her {for her looks, fucking hormonal ingrates!}, it contributes to her being hated and therefore being bullied by most of the girls. This character's progression is very understandable, dare I say realistic. Her behaviour makes sense given what she goes through. Worst thing about her is the denial/bad judge of character. More on this character in the spoiler section (#2).

Makoto Itou is a high school boy who has a crush on Katsura. He is by far the worst character in this anime, possibly in all anime and he drives the shocking story. Thinks only with his dick and is no better than an animal. Take this character as an example, DO NOT BEHAVE LIKE HIM! All that said, at least he breaks the gutless harem protagonist character trope, but replaces it with something worse. Only a few words to say in the spoiler section, contributes to an unrealistic part of the plot (#3).

Sekai Saionji is a high school girl, who is Makoto's best friend and sits next to him in class. She seems to be a very empathic, understandable character. This character has me conflicted (#4).

The other characters aren't as important (#5).

The story, a controversial part of this anime that has people divided. It say it is similar to the 'Red Wedding' episode of Game of Thrones. One thing for sure, it is absolutely unsuitable for a high school setting, I don't care what the age of consent is in Japan. It is adult themed, though this doesn't mean porn/nudes whatever. There were a lot of moments that made me shout 'WHAT THE FUCK' very loudly and 'YOU ****ING [insert insult here]', probably disturbing the neighbours. As for the plot itself, it's actually good, very unpredictable and it even had foreshadowing (#6) towards the end! I hated it most of the way through and the ending made it bearable (#7). I was going to druck marathon this anime, which might have been a good idea in handling the bullshit.

Overall, watch this anime to learn how terrible people can be. Because there are people like this in real life. This is a realistic portrayal of how so called 'love' actually is and that isn't just me being cynical. I hated this anime, but the story was actually good and it was a decent anime. I think this is the first anime that I hate that I'd recommend/give a decent score.

Family-friendliness Rating: 5/5 Mature themes, very so (lower is better)

Overall Rating: 6/10

V-SPOILER SECTION (WARNING CONTAINS RAGE)-V

(#1) All of the girls fuck Makoto. Despit knowing he is a scumhole who cheates on his various girlfriends. The girls even set up a fuckbooth and film people doing shit in there and then watch it. And they bully Kotonoha and the various people who do shit in the fuckbooth.

(#2) She is psychologically messed up. And she is constantly in denial about her boyfriend cheating on her. How the fuck does she still like that scumhole? There is something unclear, at the end of episode 10/11 she did something with Taisuke. I'm not sure whether it was anything sexual in nature. Psychobitch kills the girl who was her only best friend and keeps the head of her dickman, who I'm not even sure she fucks, maybe in episode 12? She treats the disembodied, rotting head as if it were alive and runs off with it in her yacht. It's understandable how she becomes a psychobitch, since she goes through so much negative shit.

(#3) He fucks, every girl in this anime. Well, all of the characters that actually matter. And then ditches the girl he claims to love when she gets pregnant. Good fucking riddance, HOWEVER. Despite his bullshit, I am firm in my beliefs that nobody has the right to take another's life. Plus death was too easy, Saionji should have chopped his dick off and stuck him in a room with nothing but gay porn on a projected on the walls. MAN I HATE THIS LITTLE SHIT!

(#4) She still likes the bastard after he repeated cheats on her, even with her best friend and even after she gets her pregnant. She doesn't get the abortion, cos she's a dumb whore and she was actually pregnant at the end. It's just that Kotonoha was so far in denial/had killed the foetus, that and you couldn't see it through the gore/it hadn't developed to be large enough to see. She dies and I really don't care though she did kill Makoto, well done. For that I'll like the character.

(#5) See (#1) and Hikari Kuroda fucks Makoto, despite liking Taisuke, She could have done the same thing with him, he's a perverted freak all the same and would love to have his dick sucked. they are all shit character's.

(#6) The play that is watched near the beginning/middle appears in Saionji's mind in episode 12. The knife has more attention to it in episode 11, before it is used to kill Makoto in episode 12.

(#7) Makoto dies and Saionji dies. Also, none of the girls want anything to do with him after they find out he's inpregnated Saionji.

7/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
1/10 characters
6/10 overall
ratchet573's avatar
Feb 25, 2012

School Days is a train wreck. Not only is it a train wreck because Makoto, perhaps one of the most despicable and idiotic characters of any anime I’ve ever seen, is wrecking some girls using his train, but also because School Days is so bad you can’t stop watching.  As I sat in my chair contemplating who wrote this pile of cow manure, who created such horrible characters, who created such a disgusting plot yet  one of the most memorable anime I’ve ever seen, I nearly had a brain aneurism. Watching this is like watching an episode of Dr. Phil on steroids, it’s just that fucking inappropriate, stupid, bad mannered, and tactless. It’s an unapologetic piece of shit. In fact, it’s twelve pieces of shit, the first being a rabbit turd, the next being a golf ball and the eleventh being a submarine, while the last is about the size of a yacht, but it has a smiley face on it, so after all the pain of getting it out you laugh at it. What I mean is, it starts fine, but gets more and more painful as it goes on.

The plot of School Days is as reprehensible as everything else about it. Makoto is a high school kid who sees a girl on the train every day named Kotonoha who he turns out to like. A girl at school, Sekai, helps get them together. This part is somewhat cute. But then Sekai winds up wanting Makoto and Makoto winds up being all over Sekai and not telling Kotonoha about it. Then she finds out about this side relationship and it just gets more and more ridiculous and complicated as Makoto fucks everything that moves and winds up banging a bunch of friends who are trying to help Makoto get with Sekai (because that’s the best way to tell someone to stop dating someone else and get together with another girl). It’s just pure stupidity. A never ending cavalcade of idiocy that runs on and on and won’t stop and just keeps going and going. There’s just so much sex happening to this guy and so many ridiculous situations. One of the stupidest is this bed at school during the cultural festival where lovers get together and shag. First of all, eww, how many fucking people have used that same bed to have sex on? It may have been a mattress at first, but now it’s a fucking waterbed. Secondly, the sheer amount of tissues in the trash can was amazing, someone should take out the trash. Third, why hasn’t a teacher figured out there is a fuck bed in the school? I mean, these are questions I had for a small portion of the show. I was asking questions all the way through. One of my favorite, and the most endearing I’m sure, is why the hell Makoto has so many chicks who like him?! I know this goes more so under the character section than here, but I can’t bring up the story without complaining about the complete idiocy that is the mess of a cast! Makoto is the worst, and I can’t believe there is actually a fucking character like him! Why do girls like him?

And I better bring up the ending. The ending is like the sprinkles on top of a shit-cream sundae. It’s like climbing the peaks of Mount Phallus, and reaching the top to find the Golden Turd of Xerxes. The ending didn’t exactly blow me away and I don’t see why it’s so controversial. I mean, it was dark. It went a completely different direction. I laughed harder at it than I’ve laughed at anything in ages. Let me give a little spoiler warning before I go into the ending:

SPOILER AREA:

The “pregnant” Sekai watching on as Kotonoha and Makoto tongue wrestle was freaking hilarious. It was so bad I wanted to cut myself, but I was too busy laughing to grab a razor. After that, the stabbing scene, what should have been a dramatic part, made me pump my fist violently while screaming “Stab him more!”. After that, the death of Sekai was just plain good. I mean, I was so happy to see the two worst characters get violently murdered. It made me feel good. The very end is something that people seem to dislike, but I found to be the best part of the entire show. Congratulations, Kotonoha is a fucking psychopath  who will forever live with Makoto’s decapitated head in her breasts. Oh yeah, it was morbid, but it was still so satisfying. I felt good. I felt invigorated. At the end I sat there with a look of awe on my face as I pondered where the ending came from. And then I watched the extra four endings that they had to make. All four were pretty bad, though Kotonoha’s suicide off a building was freaking sweet. I had to replay her head smashing against the ground twelve times just because it was that good.

SPOILERS END

Overall, the story was bad. The ending, as I’m sure you know if you have heard about this anime, makes up for it ten-fold with a total freaking idiotic, crazy, and actually heartwarming climax.

The animation? Eh, it’s mediocre. Characters are stoic, backgrounds are meh. The characters designs reminded me of Clannad for some reason. Sekai looked like Nagisa’s slutty sister or something.

The sound wasn’t great either. Voice actors were decent I guess, but the sheer range of emotions must have been hard to deal with since characters seemed to be bipolar to the extreme. The opening was meh, the ending was meh, the music during was meh. I especially hated the song at the end of the eleventh episode about love being tough. Don’t sing something like that about a guy banging five different people. Nobody gets into that kind of situation. Love may be tough, but using School Days as an example of how hard love is is like using Naruto as an example of a good anime. You just don’t.

Now we enter the character section, my favorite section.

Let’s talk about Makoto and what a total prick he is. He is so bad. He is such an awful character. He started off okay, but then we learn about the fact he can’t control grabbing his girlfriend and he becomes this sort of rapist figure in my eyes. Kotonoha is pretty scared of his sudden advances and he doesn’t seem to understand that. To me he seems to think all a relationship is is sex, and this is especially prevalent later on when he’s fucking Sekai like nobody’s business. And then he fucks Otome. Then he fucks that one girl . Then that other one. All while having a relationship with two girls quite intimately. He’s a disgusting character. There is nothing good about him. I wanted to reach through the screen and tear his eyes out. He’s a horrible excuse for a boyfriend, a horrible excuse for a person, and I don’t  understand why girls actually like him.

Kotonoha started off really sweet and I liked her, but when she finds out about Makoto cheating on her she doesn’t do anything but deny it. It just doesn’t seem that realistic to me. Would a girl really deny it when she sees her boyfriend tongue wrestling someone else? That’s the point when the knife meets the balls. But instead, she just goes with it and becomes kind of crazy. Which is fun to watch.She is the only character worth caring a tiny bit about. I didn’t much like how fast she developed in letting Makoto fondle her and play with her like a toy, but that’s about my only complaint.

Sekai is a total whore.  I hate her almost as much as I hate Makoto. She’s just disgusting. She’s a terrible human being. She does all of these things to get Kotonoha and Makoto together, then decides that she’ll just start fucking the guy during that relationship and call it “practice”. And instead of telling Kotonoha about this relationship,  they instead let the poor girl think she’s still dating Makoto. And to top it all off, Sekai's a liar and selfish. She’s a horrible person. She’s a whoreable person!

Other characters....Hikari is a whore and a bad friend. Nanami shouldn’t be ashamed of giving BJ’s, Otome is pretty pointless and dull, Setsuna was my favorite character until she showed her true face as a whore. There you go, I can sum up every female character in the show but Kotonoha as a whore.

I like to think that School Days isn’t taking itself seriously. But that’s just wishful thinking on my part. I have this strange feeling that it was taking itself seriously and the ending was supposed to be sad. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. I don’t know why anybody would say that this is good. It’s not. It’s bad. It’s horrible. It’s like something Satan made. The romance is unbelievable, the characters are unbelievable, the plot is unbelievable. The whole thing is just a mess, a giant shit smear on your television screen. I can’t recommend it, yet I want to recommend it! This is the epitome of so bad it’s good, it’s the epitome of terrible romance stories, it’s the epitome of bad writing. It’s like I’ve reached shit Nirvana! It’s an anime that will stay with you for a long time purely because of how bad it is. It’s twelve horrible episodes. It’s twelve undeservedly well-watched episodes that carry a fan base. It’s the kind of show you watch just because you want to tell your friends you sat through it. It’s the kind of show you watch because you are a masochist. As you watch, you remember all of your past relationships and you think “Wow, I’m glad the writers of this show never had a relationship and could write something as hideously awful as this”. Push yourself through it and be rewarded with an ending straight from the God’s themselves.

Watching this is like getting a scar. It hurts at first, but when it goes away, it just leaves you with funny memories about how you got it. After watching this, I can safely say that my life is complete and I will never believe any woman who tells me she’s pregnant with my baby.

That’s the lesson, right?

I’m giving this shit a 3/10.

4/10 story
5/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
3/10 overall
Gzerble's avatar
Feb 16, 2015

School Days manages to be utterly crap on so many levels of writing that it will totally disgust you. You are supposed to absolutely hate the characters, otherwise I have no explanation for the writing. Oh, and the ending of the series is a cheap cop out to try make us forget everything was utter garbage until then. If only it could shock the viewers into succeeding.

It starts out as a classic harem/romance piece of garbage that lacks any creativity. There are odd camera angles that are supposed to add drama but end up just annoying. There is humor which is at best juvenile. Then, the moment we start looking more into the characters, you can begin to feel the hate. I get it, the lovable idiot with no redeeming features is suddenly the dream of every girl. Of course, that doesn't work if he's the single least likable person in the cast.

If there is any reason people hate teenagers, it is because of the ones that act like the ones in School Days. The cowardice, selfishness, stupidity, obliviousness, and general ability to annoy pervade every nook and cranny of the character driven side of the show. There are the girls that rationalize sleeping with the popular boy. There is the popular boy that will sleep with anything that moves. Oh, how easy it is to hate the main character. The ending nearly makes all the build up worth it.

There isn't any particular story, the characters are disposable annoyances, the animation is subpar, and the sound dull. Very rarely have I come to loathe a cast as much as I have in School Life, and the ending nearly made up for it. Nearly. The main problem is that the drama is that of school kids on steroids. Nobody cares about the guy who sleeps with all the vapid girls who will sleep with him because he's popular and has some superficial charm, let alone the vapid girls. This is a teen soap opera which ends with a cop out that is extremely satisfying yet ultimately empty.

Writing (Story and Characters):

Oh, the end of the series manages to salvage some of the value. It doesn't change the fact that the plot is thin at best, the characters are annoying, and the "psychological aspects" or however you want to call the attempt at depth is an abject lesson in literary failure. There is a vision here, only it's a shame that we have to suffer through ten episodes of complete garbage writing that could be condensed into two, in order to get to two episodes that should have been condensed into one.

The "story" of School Days is character driven. There is no real plot. The whole school life aspect of it is boring. Nobody cares about teens cheating unless they're fourteen year old girls looking for soap operas they can relate to. The drama is so forced and derivative that it will make you cringe. Really, the failure of the story is so extreme that the person who wrote this should have his arms chopped off in fear of something of his making it through again. I get it, people like to "deconstruct" stuff by making it "dark", yeah well... this isn't such a case. Deconstruction requires subtlety and insight, two things the story completely lacks.

In character driven stories, the characters are the ultimate thing in which a series can rise or fall. School Days ambitiously tries to have the main character the ultimate douchebag. Well, that only works if that character is interesting. He isn't. The rest of the cast manages to come off as a bunch of idiots. Everyone is selfish, most are cowards, and most of all, they are with nearly no exception annoying as hell. There is not one member of the cast that elicited any sympathy from me, and quite a few managed to make me hate them.

How do you not do things in order to make a school drama interesting? School Days has your answer. The writing is subpar, and while an interesting concept, it cannot undo the fact that it is sheer agony to plow through until it reaches some sort of a point. Romance falls flat in a story about romance gone wrong. That should tell you all you need to know about the writing.

Art (Animation and Sound):

From an artistic standpoint, School Days is mediocre at best and a horrible failure at worst. There is absolutely zero wow factor in anything, and there is so little in the way of creativity to make up for it that it hurts. The amount of issues which plague the sound and animation is huge, and unfortunately, not only in the tiny details. It isn't very bad. It's just that all the issues here pile up rather than manage to hide behind things the show does well.

Really, I understand that Shaft is a studio that has wild success with odd camera angles used for creative purposes. School Days has a cargo cult for that - it matches the form in a crude sort of way, but the execution is all sorts of wrong. The character designs are taken straight out of an eroge (every breast size available, naturally), and the lack of anything distinctive in anyone backfires spectacularly. The entire animation feels monotone. The color palette is surprisingly cold, and doesn't really fit with most of the series. Overall, there are some things that are nice, but the animation is generic on every level that isn't a failure, and isn't outstanding in any parameter.

Audio can either bring everything together, or be completely annoying. With School Days it is completely annoying. The voice acting is grating, the opening and ending themes both annoying and a bad fit for the show, and the effect use is cliche. The soundtrack isn't bad, and is actually a surprisingly good fit, and a few characters have voice acting that is actually great, though that seems more like a mistake than anything else. Still, I mentioned all the bad things, and that doesn't change the fact that from at least a technical perspective, the execution was sound.

World creation for the writing to thrive in is the ultimate goal of the artwork in anime. Where the writing is terrible, it can add extra dimensions and push a show to a different direction and fix plenty of the faults. What a shame that the art in School Days is so generic and bland, with plenty of mistakes and a severe lack of vision.

Overall:

People talk about School Days like it isn't terrible. And that's because of the ending, which is much better than the rest of the show. Unfortunately, it did not manage to erase the terrible taste of the rest of the series for me. This show is bad, and the staff behind it should feel bad.

2/10 story
3/10 animation
4/10 sound
2/10 characters
2.5/10 overall