I've never had a show, or book make me detest itself so much yet still keep me from putting it down.
Although nearly every event portrayed made me cringe, I cannot deny this show provokes you. With its absurdity. Its overly innocent title. Its demented psychotic cast. That feeling of total helplessness(and admittedly mild amusement) as complete idiocy unfolds before you. I have never before wanted to line up a group of fictional people and bitch slap them all so fucking hard. Especially that piece of shit protagonist.
That said, this is what the creators probably wanted. In the end, THATs what made it memorable. It made me goddamn confused and sick and audibly WTF and cheer for blood multiple times... BUT it was memorable. Especially the ending.
For the story, I would say watching "school days" is a rollercoaster of disbelief at oddly plausible stupidity. I'm not going to outright join the people calling it realistic (harem or otherwise) but in such a big world, something this(or more) crazy has has to have happened somewhere, right? With "reality is stranger than fiction" in mind and a healthy suspension of disbelief, School Days was my very entertaining peek into a bizarro universe where an unbelievably lucky imp manages to turn off his brain and wake up covered in bitches. Some of whom are insane and [SPOILER REDACTED].
I can't deny the creators took a rather unique take on the cliche high school romance genre, twisting it rather well by combining lots of real-world complications(emotionally vulnerable women, young naivety and inexperience, teenage angst, jealousy, infidelity and copious amounts of horniness and psychosis) in a simmering mix. I give the story a 6.5(Fair) because despite the enterprising premise, the writing was weak at places.
The characters are I think done rather well. The lot of them are retarded, true. But they're consistent and believably so. Their actions, judgement and motivations are actually well built up and foreshadowed. At the end, I could not seriously answer in a way unfavourable to school days these questions: "could an asshat like Makoto actually exist?", "Emotionally co-dependant women like Kotonoha have gotta be a myth, right?", "meangirl sluts like Otome and company? C'mon...", "Could a girl like Sekai really be stupid enough to pull that wingman scheme of hers?".
This is where School Days impresses you, I think. Despite the stretches of imagination at places, it would be unfair not to call it a psychological anime. Its cast is uniquely idiosyncratic, unbalanced and uniformly contemptible... but still so very... interesting. The mind-boggling series of events involving interactions between these characters leave so many who watched it affected in some way or another. I think that's a commendable feat and could not have been accomplished had there /not/ been any depth. Despite the heavy misleading fanservice, these aren't your average porno characters. IMO, They deserve at least a 7(good) but I'll up it to 8 for being memorable.
Sound is actually an area where School Days excels. Whether it was muting the world for some sense of foreboding, or quiet piano pieces in the background, it was used very well. Each of the fade-in songs and the EDs were brilliant and an effective and evocative exit to the trauma you inevitably suffered in each episode. A sort of soothing exit after being mentally raped. Also, at the moments in the episodes themselves where these songs played, I think they were superbly effective at creating atmosphere and really did enhance the impact of whatever was happening at the time. I also noticed that the lyrics of some of the songs were quite poignant and well-written as well(something I'm sorry few songs are after being translated). I did not like the OP nearly as much, but I suppose at some level it too played into the euphemistic way they were trying to present the anime.
The voice acting, I believe was also done rather well. Makoto's voice makes me want to punch him, but thats all well and good and perfectly in line with everything else about him. The dramatic and emotional parts of the script were delivered satisfactorily and believably and all of the characters had convincing emotion in their voices at the appropriate places. For sound I give SD an 8.5 that I'll round up to 9(Great).
I don't really have much to say about art. It didn't stand out particularly or had a distinguished style and I never had my attention drawn(heheh, drawn) to anything in particular. The character designs were good overall but somewhat inconsistent(where did Setsuna's boobs suddenly come from in her lewd scene? I could've sworn she was flat-chested everywhere else) for the sake of tasteless sexualization. At the same time, I can't say it was *bad* in any place either so I'll give it a 7(Good). I should also mention that the incessant and ridiculous fan service made me constantly uncomfortable, even alone.
While I can't say I ENJOYED this anime, I will say that it was interesting and worth watching. School Days wasn't really made to make you ENJOY it(and if you did, well... my sympathies to you...). It was made to make you squirm in your seat. I give it a 8 for that.