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.
ANIME NORMAL LIVES SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
School Days ends up being more of a social experiment, testing the audience’s will to accept change in decade old stereotypes. It is offering a most unorthodox twist in the end and stands back to see how the viewer will react to all that. It is meant to shock him into liking it but the probability of backfiring is simply too high. All because of the notorious fame of NTR (cheating on your lover), as well as because it was fooling around with a genre that still sells well and is meant to be pure escapism and identification to ideal situations.
To its core and most of the duration, School Days is indeed a school romance / slice of life story. Heck, the title itself is meant to fool you it is. The second half though goes for something which is definitely not one of the same old finales. In a way it is very unique for its genre. Unfortunately, all its appeal is based on last moment shock effect, and like all similar series which start normally and suddenly get all gory in the end (like Narutaru or Alien Nine for example), it is basically a slow build up towards a sudden free fall. It indeed leaves you in awe, especially if you are still new to the medium and were not spoiled of what happens in the end. After the shock passes and you calm though, chances are you will realize that the whole show is basically remembered just for its finale. And in case you are a hater of NTR (like most people are) then you will definitely hate the whole show instead of seeing it as something new.
This is a rather unfair side effect the show has, one that makes me lose hope in the genre ever managing to break free of its tired formulas. If you have watched enough school romances / slices of life anime, you probably know how there isn’t much variety to how things play out. The lead boy will either have his girl chosen since episode one with all the rest being just distractions, or he will choose one in the final episode, or in most cases he will not choose at all and leave it open-ended. None of these cases ever involved the boy choosing one girl before midway dumping her for another girl. Even in hardcore shoujo manga where such things are a lot more commonplace, the person who breaks a relationship is always treated in the most negative way. It will be characterized as arse, bastard, whore, traitor, and such things.
Such is the case with Makoto, our lead hero in School Days. He begins as yet another cop-out indecisive lead, unable to express his feelings to the girl he likes most. And as usual there are lots of girls who like him and constantly seek his attention. As the series moves on, he remains as such, but unlike practically everyone else of his stereotype, instead of choosing none, he actually gets to bang them all. He is still indecisive at which girl he likes to have sex with most but in his case he just tries to hoard them all instead of running away because he doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of everyone else he doesn’t choose. He eventually just doesn’t care anymore and turns completely apathetic towards it. This is what makes him a rather one-of-a-kind protagonist and after the countless harem leads I have encountered I actually liked the change for once. He is an inversion of the generic harem lead; not likable for a good reason, but hated for a good reason.
The problem of course ends up being how you will perceive this change. Just inverting things doesn't necessarily change them from bad to good. Just from boring to different and depending on your expectations the results vary. I liked it for the sole purpose of being uncommon and even one-of-a-kind. For once the guy is not constantly tormented by neurotic bitches; he just storms in and gets them all. Most others on the other hand, saw it as a turn from a typical school romance to a NTR hentai and just hated his guts. If one is not tired of the same old romantic stories playing out in the exact same way, and expecting all of them to turn out the same, then he will hate any attempt at changing the formula. Which is again what I was talking about innovation being accepted in such a cold manner and embracing the stereotypes even firmer. Ever wonder why anime are getting staler by the year? This is why; the majority loves the stereotypes and dislikes change.
Before you misinterpret my words here, I must clarify that I am not a supporter of NTR or cheaters or whatever. Makoto is meant to be hated as a character but that is exactly what should give credit to the show instead of bogging it. It is different! It is a twist! It is an insight to the story of a cheater in a non-hentai title. And it doesn’t even end just like that either; one of the main female characters is damn memorable for her going insane and batshit violent in the end. One of the boldest cases of yanderes in anime ever! Why dislike it so much? It is a wonderful new aspect to look into. And don’t tell me there aren’t many lustful teenagers out there going for as much variety as they possibly can and there aren’t women who go all crazy and violent about it. Or is it purely the fact that school romances / slices of life anime are supposed to be solely about fan catering, escapism, and sheep viewing? And again, this is better to be seen as a social experiment (aka trolling) instead of a pure school comedy. If you expect to identify with the lead character and hope to see a most ideal situation, then yes you will hate it. If you try to see it as something different, you may even end up perceiving it as a farce instead of a deconstruction or a twist. It is really hard to accept sudden changes in a genre that is meant to be pure escapism. It’s like watching porn that midway changes to a philosophical debate about the meaning of life. It’s not going to work well.
On the other hand I do admit that only the finale is what ends up being remembered for, which is little for a 12 episode show. It is a shocking idea that took 10 episodes to slowly build up before it jumps of a cliff in the last two. A bit weak in this regard.
As for the rest of the technicals, the production values are good in terms of coloring, shading, and outline consistency. Voice acting ain’t bad either. And for once everything looks like it popped identically out of the eroge it is based upon. Ah, yes, I forgot to say it is based on a game which is famous on its own for other reasons. Not only it is the first game to offer video cut scenes instead of just static pictures, it also had a big number of bad endings, most of which were bloody and horrifying. The same feeling passed to the adaptation and you indeed have the main story played out as it is. And for once it didn’t hold back on either the sex or the nasty turnaround of the protagonist. It wasn’t a mediocre simplistic school romance, nor an emotionless 2 OVA hentai with zero plot. It was both! The perfect combination! With added gore and insanity for a finale! Heck, the finale was so brutal that they replaced the last episode with an irrelevant boat video, the fact of which created a trope of its own. “Nice boat” now is a term for series whose last episode is just so damn shocking it just gets removed or heavily edited. And needless to say, I liked it a lot.
… The ending, not the boat.
As you can understand, the value of this anime is big. Even if you hated it and never plan to watch it again, it will forever be remembered for its bold attempt to do things differently. It didn’t exactly succeed but a big hooray for TRYING TO BE DIFFERENT DAMMIT! Infamous or not, I sure give it some credit and a small place in history. Even bad publicity is still publicity.
At this point I must stress out how I usually hate shock effects in anime and I always vote down on them when I see them. Someone reading how I give a credit at School Days for using shock factor, while at the same time doing thumbs down to all the rest, seems like a contradiction on my part. Well not really. In all those other shows I am so negative about, the shock effects there come literally out of nowhere or end up being more interesting than the characters themselves. This is not the case here; the splatter thingy in the finale is something that can happen in real life as well and the characters turned out as such in a believable way. There is no magic, or mind control, or time travel, or any other crap to add a supernatural aspect that makes everything feel like random nonsense. Everything in this anime felt like REAL LIFE, unlike other anime (Narutaru, Higurashi, Madoka) where the high amounts of shock effect are forced through uncanny means that bent free will or common sense. Over here, it is pure FREE WILL and NO BS MAGIC STUFF. And I know how anime are more fun when it’s about handseals, magic swords and rubber pirates, but that is not why I liked this anime. It felt real. And most hated it for that. Such a shame…
My suggestion.....don't even start this anime.
I read some reviews and understood that it was light at the beginning and later got rather dark, but dark is not the word I would use for this anime. Annoying, irritating, infuriating, etc is what I would use.
It starts out with the main character, a male, who develops a crush on this girl and his classmate who sits next to him decides to help get him together with her. It's quite obvious early on that the classmate will develop feelings for the main character as well and cause a problem. It's a common theme and easy to spot. The predictability of this story is not the problem. The problem is the main character is jerk face and many other words I won't use on here but I'm sure you get the idea. He is the enemy of women and guys probably wouldn't like him either. He is with his crush but just because she doesn't want to start kissing right away and having him touch her in certain ways he begins to lose interest in her. Meanwhile, his class mate continues to encourage him and decides to help him prepare for when the girl is ready by letting him practice on her. Of course this horny bleep head falls for his classmate after being able to touch her and do things I'm pretty sure are not allowed in school. His girlfriend is all excited about him and really loves him but he begins acting indifferent towards her and indecent towards his classmate. Although his classmate knows this is wrong (although she should have known letting him practice on her was a bad idea to start with) she doesn't tell the girlfriend and neither does he. Eventually the girlfriend finds out but wants to fogive him except she can barely get him to give her the time of day much less talk about what she heard and why he did it. At the same time there are other girls with interests in this guy too. This guy just lets himself be driven by his primal desires with little to no regard for who he might hurt. Morals? Ethics? I don't think he knows the meaning of those words. It's infuriating! I just kept watching waiting for the guy to get what he deserved.
I have very mixed feelings about the end of the story. I wanted to watch it to see the main character get what he deserved but it wasn’t what I thought, or rather, it was, but he wasn’t being a jerk when it happened so it felt different. There is nothing about this story that is cute or happy. You know where it’s going the moment it begins, although maybe not how extreme it will be, which is why I didn’t even bother putting a spoiler alert. It’s predictable. Still, there were some unexpected things, but I think the most unexpected thing was the insanity of the ending. I didn’t really expect it to go that far. It’s just an infuriating tragedy that doesn’t feel like it has a purpose except maybe as a warning. The ending wasn’t exactly the most conclusive either. I just recommend you forget you ever heard of this anime and don’t even bother. I like horror and dark themes and I don’t even mind main characters being a little bad, but this was almost unbearable. Just walk away from it. Honestly, I wish I had.
Oh boy, where do I even begin with this anime. It is not only the worse anime I have ever seen by far, but it is one of the worst things I have ever seen of all time. Lets run through why:
The worst part about this anime. The story is absolutley horrendous. It tries to do a classic love triangle with some twists, but that so called "Love triangle" pretty much turned into a love hexagon. This whole "story" if you can call it that takes place in a very short time span, which is very very unrealistic which is what this anime was going for. Top this off with some moments which felt very forced just for "plot convenience" and you have a abysmal story. Heck kiniro freaking mosaic had a better story than this.
Not much to say. The animation is very choppy and all over the place. Some objects looks terrible in contrast to the background. I know this is an older-ish anime, but that is no excuse to have this bad animation.
The music is horrible as well. The opening, while sounding okay at first gets really boring and annoying by around episode 6. The ending also sounds boring as well. not good.
Every single character in this anime is unlikeable. And I mean all of them. There is not one character in this anime that I would consider likeable. Also The main character pretty much has sex with just about all of the characters. and we are supposed to like this guy?
Now you may be wondering, why did I give it a 2/10 when everything else is so low? well pretty much about 1.5 of these overall points come form that ending. OH MAN THAT ENDING. That ending was so amazing, it is easily the best part of this anime. I won't spoil it for anyone who has not seen it. (beleive me you do not want to see this anime) That ending ALMOST saved this anime, ALMOST made this whole painful 12 episode series worth it. But the combination of lackluster sound and animation as well as unlikeable characters, a story that is all over the place and terrible pacing, you get one really bad anime and a very bad watching experience.
DO NOT WATCH. EVER. EVER!
This show is complete garbage, the story itself is cliche enough but instead of having a nice sweet romance anime we get this crap that basically shows guys it's ok to go around having sex with a bunch of girls, I will say though the ending is truly satisfying but still this show sucks.