'School Days’ is often mistakenly categorized under different genres that it does not really belong to. While the series contains some elements of certain genres such as harem and romance, it doesn’t really belong to either one. It is a harem in the sense that more than one girl likes the male lead and it is a romance because there are romantic encounters and confessions throughout the series. However, in my view, ‘School Days’ can only be categorized as a psychological drama.
The story revolves around the male lead character Itou, Makoto. In the beginning of the series, Itou is living the typical harem male lead lifestyle. He is a somewhat perverted, single, high school student who has his eye on Katsura, Kotonoha who attends the same school as he does and often rides the same train as him to and from school where he often watches her from a distance. One day, through mere coincidence, the girl that sits next to Itou in class, Saionji, Sekai, learns about his feelings for Katsura and although it appears that Saionji also has some feelings for Itou, she decides to help Itou get together with Katsura. Just a short time into the story, Itou asks Katsura out and they begin dating. However, everything changes when Itou realizes he now has feelings for Saionji, the very matchmaker that brought him together with his girlfriend. This marks the beginning of disastrous psychological typhoon that wrecks everyone and everything in its path leaving plenty of tears and blood along the way.
This show being a psychological drama makes the characters, their desires, and thought patterns of exceptionally great importance.
The main character of the story, Itou, Makoto is an absolutely detestable pathetic excuse for a human being that I guarantee you will hate with utmost passion. He is a sociopath with absolutely no regard for anything but his own desires and walks all over anyone and everyone to satisfy his own wants and needs. He cheats, lies, and changes his mind often. With the exception of one or two instances in his past, he does not seem to possess any kind of redeeming qualities. Of course, for unknown reasons the girls can’t seem to get enough of him and even those who originally have no interest in him join the party to see what all of the fuss is about.
The two lead female characters, Katsura, Kotonoha and Saionji, Sekai form the other two corners of the original love triangle that the story revolves around. Katsura is beautiful and yet very reserved and has had no experience with boys before Itou. Saionji is also beautiful but very outgoing and energetic. Each girl has her own charms and enough of it to confuse Itou quite a bit.
As for the supporting characters of the series, there is plenty to hold the viewer’s interest. Itou’s former middle-school classmate Kato, Otome who goes out of her way to bully Katsura any chance she gets out of jealousy and Saionji’s best friend Kiyoura, Setsuna who may have a secret crush on Itou, along with several other fantastic characters make this great story into an excellent Anime.
The art and animations are beautiful. I love the way the characters and sceneries are drawn and the animations are smooth and consistent. There is also a healthy level of fan service throughout the series that goes well with the story and feel of the anime as a whole.
The voice acting is fantastic for each and every character. The voices match the characters’ looks and personalities and as always, that greatly helps the viewer become much more absorbed in the story.
The sound is well done but nothing special enough to talk too much about. I am not usually one for opening and ending songs in anime series and I mostly skip them; However, I did enjoy the ending song of this show quite a bit.
ATTENTION: The next paragraph talks about the ending. While I will not include any specifics about what happens at the end of the series, I will talk about the style and quality of the ending. If you feel this might spoil things for you, skip over the next paragraph.
It is kind of difficult to talk about the ending of this particular show without giving away the specifics so I will keep this short and sweet. The ending is very intense and although I somewhat foresaw what was coming, the ending still blew me away. Also, you are likely to experience a great deal of satisfaction with at least one part of the conclusion to this series.
In sum, do not mistake ‘School Days’ for a lighthearted romance or harem Anime series. It is nothing of the sort. The story is intense, and it unfolds with the same level of intensity. This show is most definitely meant for an adult or young adult audience. If you generally enjoy psychological Anime, you will probably love this show, and if you don’t this series might just be what it takes to get you interested in the genre.
NOTE: ‘School Days’ is a twelve-episode series, but there are also two OVAs titled ‘School Days - Magical Heart Kokoro-chan’ and ‘School Days - Valentine Days’. These two OVAs are not in the least bit related to the plot of the ‘School Days’ TV series and frankly they are horrible. If you are planning on watching the ‘School Days’ series along with the OVAs, or if perhaps you have already watched the series and plan to watch the OVAs next, I recommend that you hold off and not watch the OVAs. Watching them will serve no purpose other than to waste your time and annoy you.