The olde Bard would be proud
I needed some serious thinking time before I could properly review School Days. This series is (by and large) fantastic. To anime fans, this series probably jumps out as being really original in it's story. Maybe this is the case in the realm of anime, but the story design is very clearly and precisely in the form of a shakepearean tragedy. So not really very original in that sense, but still well executed which says a lot. But School Days does also take some significant cues, both with its characters and with some aspects of the story, from other anime. The first and foremost reference I found to another anime is Sekai (one of the female leads). She is undoubtedly in my opinion (though I feel it to be quite obvious) made in the image of Haruhi Suzumiya. Even her name means "world" in Japanese, a direct reference to how the world revolves around Haruhi in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. The initial motivations of the story are very much the same as Toradora!. Guy likes one girl, another girl helps him get with that girl, but eventually the guy comes to love the matchmaker. Of course, even this love doesn't last long for Makoto. This is the point at which School Days deviates from the norm for a school life anime. There are three things which make this anime estranged from others in this genre: (1) The main character (Makoto) has very objectionable morals, (2) The story as a whole has a negative message, and (3) there is no happy ending (or allusion to a happy ending as is sometimes the case). In general, these sorts of statements can be major red flags to some people as to not watch the series. However, these factors end up being a necessary tool to possibly the most complex, demented, and generally eventful ending I've ever seen. This is one of the benefits of School Days being a true Tragedy. Now that I've brought it up, one point I'd like to drive home is the dementedness of this series. The story takes a very sinister turn with about 4 episodes remaining which is quite eerie as well as pitiful. Pity is actually another important part of this series. This is one aspect I really had to brood about before I decided that this would be my interpretation. A major motif in this series is the struggle between lust and love (or pleasure and passion). Makoto thinks he's fallen in love once, by the second time he's sure of it, but in the end that doesn't turn out to be the case. Slowly but surely, Makoto becomes a sex addict. At first, I took this to be offensive. But then, after one moment in the final episode, I realized that this was actually something to be pitied. I'd very much love to go into detail at this point, but I will refrain from any spoilers. If anyone would like to discuss the many different dynamics in this series, I would be more than open to it. To get to the main modes of critique, the story, which I would like to illustrate more, is terrific. The two female leads (Sekai and Kotonoha) are extremely compelling. The ending is tremendous as I've said. This is very much a series made up of several very important/ influential scenes. Overall, School Days isn't perfect, and while the complexity of its design (in terms of the story, plot, etc.) far surpass that of almost any other anime, particularly in this genre, I can only give School Days a well-deserved 9 out of 10.