Story: Never have I watched an anime with such a disturbing - yet gripping - storyline like School Days. It all started well and sweet. You have your average harem male lead in the form of innocent, kind and otherwise average Itou Makoto who has a crush on a cute girl he always sees on the subway. The first few episodes will mislead you to think that this is a shoujo about a love triangle between Makoto, Kotonoha and Sekai, and it's a very well done love triangle at that. However, things quickly went downhill at about midway through the anime.
From a sweet, gentlemanly teenage boy who sometimes fantasises about perverted stuff like all teenage boys do, Makoto mutates into a sex addict who shamelessly sleeps around with every girl in the school. The mutation occurs slowly but surely, and during the last moments of the anime when they show the beginnings of the anime, you would be shocked to see how degenerated the vibrant youths have become. At the end of the anime, one would wonder who is to blame for such a tragedy to happen. Althought I am disgusted and appalled at the morals of ALL the characters except Kotonoha's little sister, Kokoro - incidentally, Kokoro is about the only female in the anime to have not slept with Makoto - I gave the story high marks because it uses an unconventional way to teach a valuable moral lesson. EVERY MAN ON THE PLANET WHO HAS EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT CHEATING ON HIS GIRLFRIEND/WIFE SHOULD WATCH THIS.
However, points are knocked off for the unrealisticness of the anime. For one, what happened to the parents of those students to raise such children with virtually no morality at all? (Oh God every person in the anime is demented in some way.) For another, what do all those girls actually see in Matoko to be so hopelessly in love with him??? (Granted, some go after him solely for sex, but what about Sekai, Kotonoha and Setsuna?)
Animation: Pretty characters and scenery, albeit somewhat generic. Each character has a distinctive design to help you distinguish him/her. Character designs aren't memorable in any way though. Actions are fluid and believable, but Sekai's stroking of her abdomen seems really fake to me.
Sound: I really like the ED of the anime, it has a melancholic tinge to it which foretells the tragedy that would happen at the end. The OP is an unmemorable Japanese Pop but it suits the beginning of the anime well when everything is still fine and cheery. The accompanying musics are really appropriate, especially during the dramatic moments. They bring out the mood very well.
Characters: I hate EVERY CHARACTER IN THIS STORY except Kokoro-chan, perhaps only because she didn't get much screentime. Therefore I would say the anime is really successful in bringing out the despicability in every character. Even Makoto's best friend whose name eludes me. I thought he was just a comic relief, the character that is there to be more of a loser than the main male lead. But even he is despicable. I can't understand how he can rape a girl one day and suddenly think the girl will be totally in love with him the next. It's completely beyond me.
Overall: This is a really really disturbing show. After I watched this anime whatever show I watched I thought the characters would suddenly backstab/seduce/randomly sleep around with each other and I realised I really need to watch something pure like Makoto Shinkai's works.
So. I think I'm attracted to this anime for the same reason I'm attracted to CSI Las Vegas: they both showcase the depravity and promiscuity of the world nowadays very explicity while teaching a moral lesson behind all that insanity. Worth a watch, if you are not easily disturbed and over 18.
overall score: 7.4/10