This is one of those anime where the idea was much better than the actual show itself ended up being.
It gets a LOT of flak for "one dimensional characters" but i think that's a lot more to do with the short run time than anything else. Had this been a 24 episode series it would be even more amazing than it already was. As it is, it's my absolute favorite "harem drama" and what i would gladly call important to the genre as a whole. It takes the harem genre and pulls it aside, forces it to examine itself and say "no, that's not how that would happen". It's by far the most realistic depiction of what would happen if a fairly introverted high school boy started dating the most beautiful girl in his class, followed by other attractive girls basically throwing themselves at him.
It's easy for guys to white knight it and say "no way would i act like that" but saying and DOING are two different things. This show felt more honest to it's characters, as one dimensional as they were, than any harem anime i've ever seen has. I also have yet to see ANY harem anime that DOESNT pack itself to the gills with one dimensional trope girls, so even that excuse doesn't stand.
Either way, all in all this series moved me, to tears in more than a few places, and will always be one of teh best, most important anime i've ever seen.
Please note: The following review contains commentary that, given its very nature, assumes one has a previous knowledge/understanding of the show. If there are any viewers that want to experience School Days with zero idea of what to expect- please proceed with caution. This is not a general review. Spoilers follow. Even so, with this kind of story it may be better to be educated before experiencing it. Your call.
It's a matter of perspective and potential.
Despite a lot of the flack this show receives online, I'm a sucker for well-thought out romances: so I enjoyed it. Say what you will about School Days, the story is able to pull you in and elicit strong emotions. (At least in the earlier parts) For me, those emotions were Empathetic in nature- reminiscent of the hubris depicted in countless Classical and Shakespearian tragedies, but much more strongly conveyed due to the fantastical nature of the Anime medium. Particularly for the primary female romantic interest Sekai Saionji- who I'd argue is the main protagonist of the story but not the plot. The initial relationship and love triangles between Sekai Saionji, Katonoha Katsura and (later) Otome Katou are very engaging, to say the least. Anyone familiar with Romantic Comedies will be familiar with the layout and tropes. While ultimately much more extreme than most of its contemporaries, it does provide a glimpse of opportunity that one can enjoy the traditional "romantic comedy" from a different, much darker angle.
There are many valid criticisms to be made of school days- some of which can be addressed by playing the visual novel and/or reading the manga. For one, the show is without-a-doubt inconsistent. By and large the far most entertaining part of the series was the first half- where conventions found in many of today's Anime/Manga Rom-Coms and Harems can be identified, addressed, and challenged. For one, while the show may be inaccurate in almost every other respect about the nature of relationships- the sexual nature is not. The whole spectrum of attraction is here folks: from Dancing to Dating to Kissing to Groping to having Sex. While a glimmer of hope for the shows' latter half becomes apparent when some potential real-life consequences for irresponsible sexual behavior and deviancy are hinted at; it ultimately becomes nothing more than a crux to extend drama and shock value to the viewer. This is unfortunate. Even without the gruesome ending the show devolves into near-lunacy. While a believable (albeit unrealistic) tragic love triangle is at first presented and developed- the show decides to throw it away towards the ending episodes of the show. The main character becomes a sexual deviant, with no sort of moral direction or objective whatsoever beyond gratification. In spite of this, I found it hard not to root for some kind of redemption or acceptance of responsibility despite its inherent costs--especially for Sekai Saionji, one of the shows' two consistent and likeable characters, who up until the very end was hinted to be the main characters' legitimate love interest.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
My familiarity with this show goes back about half a year, when I watched this entire show on a whim upon hearing it was dark and psychological. Both of those claims are only half-truths, in hindsight, and one's enjoyment of School Days really depends on how much you buy into the story. Much like if one were to play a traditionally "good" or adventurous action RPG (Say, Bioshock) and make all the most morally despicable decisions possible just to see what happens, so too does the anime School Days. Fundamentally this show does feature Drama, yes, but its quite apparent that the animators just went with the most "evil" route they could from the source material: a Visual Novel of the same name. What is otherwise a mostly-happy and heartwarming romance about growing up and dealing with drama is grotesquely twisted to become some kind of beacon of shock value that friends recommend to prank each other--much akin the (*shivers*) pedophilic and homosexual anime Boco no Pico. Its quite easy to say that said shock value feels like a forced tack-on to what is otherwise a well-written drama. (Referring back to the Bioshock example, why even have the evil route at all?) At the time, I had planned to write a review much like this one but never got around to it. I'm glad I didn't, because upon a second watch I noticed much more specific, yet noteworthy, pelicularities that I'd like to delve into here.
One of those pelicularities is the "second" primary love triangle that emerges in the latter half of the show: the one between Otome Katau and Sekai Saionji. Surprisingly, for a short period it is a legitimate and engaging plot thread. The show itself doesn't end up focusing on this triangle nearly as much as the first one between Sekai Saionji and Katonoha Katsura- instead opting to blend into the greater sexual deviancy that the main character Makoto Itou engages in. But in my opinion this third triangle was the "tipping point" where the empathetic connection relating to shows' potential met with a crashing reality that this anime depiction of the story, well, isn't that good. A "point-of-no-return", if you will. Up until that point it is still possible to give the main character the benefit of the doubt for taking the actions that he did. (After all, the show does depict how he was legitimately concerned about hurting Kotonoha Katsura once he realized his true feelings for Sekai Saionji.) But once he blatantly hooks up with a third love interest- the entire notion goes out the window. After that it becomes only about the sex; which is completely unbelievable even to the most pragmatic of viewers.
Not that anything that happens within the show is believable. From the very start, the notion that an attractive female would go so far out her way to match two of her classmates (one of whom she must have had some kind of prior feelings for) is a bit far-fetched. Once it plays out it is engaging, yes, but if a viewer does not "buy" into that premise than, from the very start, the entire series is just one glaring example of going from bad to worse. If you do buy into said premise, the good news is the show does start at "engaging" and "acceptable" levels before just becoming a case example of how an anime can be shocking and comical.
Earlier I mentioned the visual novel and manga. While I can not say I've played the visual novel or researched alternative routes: I have indeed read the manga. For 90% of the manga- there seems to be some level of recognition of the anime's faults and attempts to improve it. The dual romance and love triangle is better developed, for example. It portrays a more believable "route" for Sekai Saionji, upon matching Makoto Itou and Kotonha Katsura, to recognize her own feelings for Makoto Itou and engage in an affair. In addition, it distinctly lacks most of School Days' earlier "cringe" scenes such as that at the movie theater. Where instead of being dejected for attempting a kiss- Itou is repulsed for merely holding hands. The manga's two faults are that A) its criminally short and B) it still decides to implement a shocking resolution. While said resolution is marginally better than the Anime's, it is still nonetheless bad. I recall reading the entire manga adaptation in less than an hour. Unless you are already familiar and invested in the characters coming from the anime its very unlikely you'd enjoy the manga on any level.
Back to the anime, the last major criticisms are directed towards the supporting cast. The entire forced love triangle with Setsuna Kiyoura if ridiculous. The background for it is, again, cringe worthy and is one of the worst aspects of the story. Another criminally bad aspect of the story is the way it handled the secondary character Taisuke Sawanaga, who ends up raping Kotonoha Katsura out of jealousy of Makoto Itou and general sexual angst. Up until that point, his entire contribution to the story was generally positive. Early on, he provides much needed comic relief satirizing the far-fetched notion the series goes with. Him attempting to pursue Kotonoha Katsura in the latter episodes, to the heartbreak of Hikari Kuroda who overhears the exchange in the storage closet, was a of the singular "moving" moments the anime series had in the later half, as well as creating drama at attempting to understand the as-of-yet unresolved love triangle. Kotonoha Katsura's denial provides additional threads of emotional connectivity, that the show promptly throws away as soon as it decides to transform her into a Yandere instead of a victim of circumstance.
As for Otome Katou, who in my opinion was one of the few other positives in the later half of the series, it is pretty apparent even to the most objective and sympathetic of viewers that she was not properly introduced or developed early enough in the story. In addition, her arc lasted too short of a time once she was introduced--which very unfortunate, considering the potential it had. Shortly after she is introduced, Makoto Itou just turns into a blatant sexual deviant. Again, the entire situation takes some "buying" into, but if you do buy into Otome Katou's rational that, yes, Makoto Itou her had indeed been in her confidence for the longest amount of time-then this could have made for the basis for developing another valid love triangle. The entire concept, again, takes some buying into- but if one does buy into it it is yet another missed opportunity the show provides the viewer. This key prospect is completely avoided in the School Days manga adaptation to its loss.
That's pretty much all I have to say about the series. The animation/sound is definitely lacking (this is coming form someone who has never particularly cared for such things) and is just borderline acceptable. More than once I found myself distracted at witnessing recycled frames or a "happy" soundtrack to supplement what is otherwise a somber or dramatic part of the story. I watched the series subbed, and had no issues with the Voice Actors, but one trope that was not challenged to my dismay was the distinct lack of Adult authority. Especially later in the story once the concepts of pregnancy and bullying are introduced. Even the most barebones of comments would have sufficed- but towards the end of the story when the "Real" dramatic events start happening (sex videos, pregnancy, rape) the story seems to completely forget about to, again, extend shock value.
I consider myself one of the most empathetic kinds of viewers and critics- rating a story higher simply based off how I connected to it and its potential. Yet despite that- School Days makes some unforgivable (and downright despicable) errors that, even given the benefit of the doubt, can not be forgiven. Proceed into this story with caution, and take the events (especially the later half) of the story with a grain of salt. I myself found that I enjoyed the characters, particularly Otome Katou and Sekai Saionji and (early on) Kotonoha Katsura and their respective actions/reactions to both each other and the main character, much more than I enjoyed the events themselves.
Thanks for reading,
This is a simple story of teenagers,poli-cornered love, sex, betrayal and descent into madness. The true ending is one of the most shoking things to have been ever created by mankind. People; this where GRRM grabs inspiration to write A Song Of Ice and Fire when he's out of ideas to continue. It's that schoking. On a personal note: Sekai and Makoto earned their fates. I feel so awful for Katsura.
For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS!
A review I never intented to do but after a request on my Youtube channel I did watch the notoriously know anime School Days. And I was not ready for this.
*Now believe it or not I actually found 2 positive things to say about this anime. I even astonished myself by finding them.
The first being the music, I enjoyed the songs both at the end and at the intro. My favorite song was Kanashimi no mukou e which is played in the last episode at a very important scene let’s say.
*The other positive point is that I found 3 characters in this anime that I didn’t hate at one point in time. You heard me wel: 3. First character that I didn’t hate was Nanami KANROJI. I felt really sad for her because of what happens to her in the anime and I actually thought that she would commit suicide in the final episodes.
The second character plays into one the most asked question about SD: Who is best girl? Well the second character that I didn’t hate was one of the main heroines Kotohana. I felt so sorry for her, not only for what happens on the romantical platform which I’m going to rant extensively about in a minute.
But also the way she was bullied by other character made me feel really compassionate with her. Now I’m not talking about what happened at the end of the anime, that’s a whole other story which I’m going talk about later on.
So was Kotohana best girl? No and it also wasn’t Sekai. Because the girl that deserved my all time respect was Setsuna KIYOURA. Everything she does is for the sake of Sekai. She’s willing to sacrifice everything to make sure that Sekai is happy: her own feelings, her future, her dignity and even more than that. Setsuna was definitely the most likable character in this entire anime.
And with that everything that was positive about this anime has been said.
Also I have to say that I was spoiled before I started watching SD, it’s difficult not to be spoiled when it come to this anime. But being spoiled didn’t ease the shock that I experienced, not at all.
So the easiest way for me to get through these negative points is by reviewing each of the characters that I disliked. Like that I will get to everything negative that I have to say about this anime.
*Starting with the first character being Hikari KURODA. Can someone explain her logic to me? Please explain to me the following thought pattern: a good friend of mine, being Sekai, get’s cheated on by her boyfriend, being Makoto. What could I do to help in this situation? I know, why don’t I bang Makoto as well, that’s going to be a big help to save their relationship.
WTF, I don’t even have words to describe how fucked up this is and how surprised I was when we get that shot. At that moment I went down from 4 to 3 remaining likable characters. The others already lost me way sooner.
*Second character on the hate list is Taisuke SAWANAGA. The reason why I hate this dude is the fact that he fucking rapes Kotohana at the school festival. To him it might have felt like normal sex but Kotohana was completely out of this world at that moment because literally 2 minutes before that she discovered that her boyfriend was cheating on here. That’s what I call taking advantage of someone. And then the next day, he just acts extremely casual like nothing ever happened.
*Moving on to Kato and the three bitches like I like to call them. Not only do I hate the four of them because of the fact that all of them banged Makoto but also because they’re the bitches that bully Kotohana so much in the first part of the anime. They’re the kind of people that I simply want to slap in the face. The main girl of the four: Kato Otome bangs Makoto when she knows that he’s already cheating on Kotohana with Sekai. That’s like cheatception or something. And the other 3 decide to casually have a fucking foursome with him, while one of them already has a boyfriend. Cheating seems to be the normalest thing in this anime.
*Before I get to the main characters I have to tell something. I told before that the thing I hate the most in anime is over the top fan service. Well there’s another thing I hate to see in anime and that is NTR. For those of you who are new in the anime world: NTR is when we have couple and than someone, usually the best friend of the girl steals the boy away. I already saw it in a couple of anime and I don’t like it because most of the time the original couple is the one I’m routing for.
*And that brings me to the main character Sekai. This is NTR brought to an extreme level. In the first half of the anime I fucking hated her, she was a slut and a backstabber. I mean why would you first bring two people together if you’re going to bang the guy right away after that? And the worst thing about it all was that they kept it a secret from Kotohana for such a long period of time.
So when she gets cheated on by Makoto I actually enjoyed the turmoil that she was going through. It was like a taste of her own medicine.
But than in the final episodes something changed. At that point I didn’t enjoy her turmoil anymore, especially after she becomes pregnant. How she than gets thrown away by Makoto like a filthy old rag made me feel compassionate with her and my hatred towards her started to diminish.
So what than happens at the end of the anime still shocked me. Oh man, that scene where Kotohana slashes Sekai is officially the most disturbing shit I have ever seen. The shot that was taken from inside Sekai’s abdomen where her child/embryo was made me want to throw up. That was so fucked up and creepy, it’s an image I will never be able forget.
So although I can’t forgive Sekai for what she did at the start of the anime, she didn’t need to die for me. That’s something she didn’t deserve in my eyes.
*But everything that I just said, all the fucked up shit that happens in this anime is all the fault of one single character: this fuckface Makoto. OMG I never wanted a character to die in anime before but this guy, man I wanted him to die from the very first episode.
In the first episodes he doesn’t bang anything that wears a skirt yet but he’s such an irritating and unknowing character. He has no idea how to deal with women, no idea what it means to be in a relationship and absolutely no fucking idea about women’s feelings in a relationship. This is already clear as day when he’s in a relationship with Kotohana, here he’s already someone who thinks with his dick instead of his head or hearth.
Than comes the shit where he cheats on Kotohana with Sekai because Kotohana doesn’t want to go further and that’s tiring to him. Again someone who has absolutely no fucking clue how to deal with women, he’s like the anti-gentleman doing everything what he shouldn’t and nothing that he should.
Further on than, just minutes before he finally let the world know that’s he in a relationship with Sekai now, he’s already cheating on her with Kato. And after that the floodgates opened and he fucked everything that wore a skirt: from a foursome with the bitches, taking advantage of Setsuna to the end of the anime where he again takes advantage of Kotohana who is clearly completely fucked up the head by then.
But the thing that perhaps infuriated me the most was the way he treats Sekai from the point where it becomes clear that she’s pregnant with his child. By that time he was just a complete sexobsessed lunatic and I was looking forward to his death. This fucker crossed every moral boundary that I have and if I lived in that universe I would have gladly stabbed him myself because to me he died way to fast and way to easy there.
So as a conclusion, SD is the worst anime I’ve seen till today and it bogles my mind that shit like this actually exist. If you have almost no likable characters, a story that enraged me every single episode and the most fucked up and disturbing ending ever in anime than you all know what I’m going to rate this anime like. 0,5 stars, I never recommend watching this, it left images burned on my retina and I doubt that they will ever go away.
School Days Review:
Oh god this anime. Just…oh god. I’m not even quite sure why I’m reviewing School Days. No one asked me to do it, no one cares, and then here we are! If you’ve been living under weeaboo rock or just any rock in general you probably have no clue what this anime this is and/or why it is so polarizing and notorious. And if so, then boy do I have a review for you! So, let’s not waste too much time (I mean we could I’m up for that), let’s I guess go out and review School Days (spoilers probably ahead by the way, it’s not like anyone cares)!
School Days is a 12 episode long anime done by Studio TNK back in 2007. It was originally a visual novel by 0verflow that was released two years earlier. This anime is notorious for picking a horrible route in the game and adapting it into the anime, including the most famous and hilariously sudden anime endings of all time.
This anime is rated TV-MA for eventually obvious reasons, so viewer discretion is highly advised.
If Madoka Magica is king of deconstruction in the magical girl genre, then School Days is the king of deconstruction in the harem genre. But at first, like Madoka Magica, it wasn’t even like that at all. So the story is about Makoto Itou, a typical high school boy who starts falling in love with Kotonoha, a big breasted yet sweet girl in his grade. His friend Sekai tries to get Makoto to go out with her, and succeeds. As the show progresses in the love between Makoto and Kotonoha in your typical harem plot, we start to figure out there may be more to the story than the typical can hold…
Like I said, at first School Days was your generic cute harem anime that had nothing special. But once you continued to watch the show, everything was blown way out of proportion! Sex, cheating, affairs, violence, bullying, like Jesus Christ did someone sneak into the writers office and just f*ck everything up?! It’s bad and unexpected, but I will give it credit for what it was doing. Why? Because this is one of the first animes to actually show what would happen if the harem genre was a real life thing. I mean come on, most of the stuff in this anime is pretty much accurate to what it would be like! So yeah, I’ll give credit to where it is due.
And then there’s the ending. Holy crap when I first saw it I couldn’t tell if I was laughing at how bad but relieving it was, or crying at how bad but relieving it was! Like seriously, pretty much everyone was just torn by it, it just came out of nowhere! But anyways, MOVING ON!
If you thought the SAO characters were the worst cast of characters to me, you clearly don’t even know about this anime at all! Pretty much every single character except for Kotonoha is a complete douche bag with no remorse or a soul that even I couldn’t stand any of it! How about we start with Makoto, huh? At first, I thought he was just a bland dude but at least was trying to be nice. And then, I thought he was just a sex addicting-jack@ss! Like seriously, could he be anymore dumb?! Now, let me say this, for those saying that this guy was the villain and the worst character of the show…you are probably wrong. Yes, he is awful, but Sekai was the worst. Sekai is the mastermind behind this abomination of a show and I was just waiting for her to have a torturous demise in the end! Makoto was dumb, obviously, but I don’t think he deserved to die because it wasn’t entirely his fault, he’s just doing what he was taught to do what was “right.” Sekai was the one that taught him and thus she’s more of the villain. Even when Makoto realized he was being a jerk and wanted to return to Kotonoha, Sekai was acting all sad saying she was pregnant even though no one was going to give her sympathy because she did not deserve it. If there’s anyone that deserved the sympathy, it had to be Kotonoha. Though she was mostly bland and plain, she was more tolerable then the other characters, which made me actually enjoy her. She was treated like crap in the beginning, still treated like crap, and then probably treated like a psychopath at the end (possibly, it didn’t show much of what happened after all of the abomination in the ending). I wanted to give Kotonoha a huge hug, and even though this makes me sound crazy, what she did in the end was probably the right thing to do, at least better than just standing there and watching all the hell happen in front of her.
Every single other character are jerks and I don’t care so I’m moving on!
School Day’s animation is definitely nothing special, average at best. I mean, for an anime like this, the animation doesn’t have to be that grand or anything, but since this was made in 2007 and to me that’s the big year animation started modernizing to what it is now it’s pretty freaking bad. There isn’t that much movement besides to mouths of the terrible characters, the character designs are both weird looking or very generic, and everything else is average. Not much else to say, just average.
If there’s anything remotely good in this anime, it’s probably the music. Though there’s a lot of it, the tracks are actually pretty good but mostly forgettable. Sure the openings and endings are generic, they’re at least tolerable. My favorite song is definitely “Kanashimi No Mukou He” which is the song that plays in the notorious ending. Not because it reminds me of it, but because it’s just really good! So yeah, not much else to say!
For any normal anime watcher, avoid School Days at all costs because it is very bad. The story is bad, the characters are bad, the animation is average, and the sound is fine but also forgettable. However, if you are more of an odd anime watcher who watches for the sake of reacting to it for the ride and/or the curiousity then I sort of recommend it. It’s definitely accurate with its “morals” and “themes,” but that’s really it. Overall, just try avoiding it and I’ll see you later!
Next Review: Pupa (And just when you thought I couldn't possibly review another bad one!)
(If you have any questions or corrections about this review or School Days, contact me! :D)