High school student Makoto Itou first notices Kotonoha Katsura at the start of his second semester, freshman year. Immediately, he becomes entranced by her beauty, but his bashfulness doesn't allow him to approach her, even though they ride the same train every day. Instead, he snaps a photo of her in secret and sets it as his cell phone's wallpaper: a charm that, if kept under wraps, would supposedly help you realize your love. However, classmate Sekai Saionji spots the picture, but instead of ratting him out, she offers to help set him up with Kotonoha—going so far as befriending her just for him. Thus, the trio begins a rather impromptu friendship.
School Days follows the lives of these three teenagers as they traverse the joys and hardships that come with being a high schooler. In a story alive and brimming with romance and melancholy, the tale of these three students will linger in memory long after the momentous conclusion.
#1: "Usotsuki (ウソツキ)" by CooRie (eps 1, 8) #2: "Ai no kakera (愛のカケラ)" by Miyuki Hashimoto (ep 2) #3: "Waltz (ワルツ)" by Kanako Itou (eps 3, 11) #4: "Kioku no Umi (記憶の海])" by yozuca* (eps 4, 7) #5: "Look at Me" by YURIA (ep 5) #6: "Namida no Riyuu (涙の理由)" by Minami Kuribayashi (eps 6, 10) #7: "Anata ga... Inai (あなたが...いない) -Remix Ver.-" by Minami Kuribayashi (ep 9) #8: "Still I Love You ~Mitsumeru Yori wa Shiawase~ (～みつめるよりは幸せ～)" by Kiriko – (ep 12)
School Days is a psychological anime, number one, so do not think it is about cute children playing in school and having happy days. School Days is an anime about how cheating on someone can really end up messing with their head and lives and how the human heart and mind are very fragile and how friendship is very precious and when destroyed in the worst way, it can have the worst consequences.
The main character is your seemingly typical anime guy in high school that listens to music and has a bunch of perverted thoughts about girls all the time, but who turns out to
be quite different than your usual main character guy and he has a crush on this girl that he sees on the train all the time and he ends up taking a picture of her and putting it in his phone. In class, another girl who he happens to sit next to, named Sekai, sees the picture in his phone and tells him her name and then, from there goes about getting him and the girl on the train to know each other so that they can try and start a relationship, all the while falling for him herself.
This anime is very much a psychological anime and deals with relationships and what happens when someone cheats on someone, but not only one person, many people. The main character is one of the most despicable characters I have ever seen, if not my MOST HATED character and cares nothing for the people around him, it seems, but to be able to hate him that much and to have so much passion for his pain and wishing something bad would happen to him was an exciting feeling because I really felt he would have to get what was coming to him. He hurts basically every single person he meets and cares nothing about how they feel when he is done with them, only to use them again in the future. He walks all over every girl in the anime, save one or two, and they all basically sit around begging for more mainly because they want to know what it's like and why the others are doing it, so they do it, too.
The majority of the anime the main character is, in my opinion, a sociopath, as well as a sex-addict, but there are moments here and there where you see that his actions actually do bother him and these are very important in this particular anime because if they did not have them, he would truly seem to be a monster. It is sometimes scary that the most evil people are not demons or supernatural at all.
The ending is something that is perfect, though, in my opinion and it is something I ABSOLUTELY saw coming, but the way that it was done was really something creepy and gave me chills - I really enjoyed it! It was an awesome turn, but something I saw coming the entire time and something I kept repeating throughout the entire thing, over and over again and when it finally happened, I was extremely happy and satisfied. It has a very twisted ending, as well, so do not be fooled by the innocence of the title because this anime is anything but innocent, but make sure you watch until the end because there is more than just one awesome, sick twist at the end that will leave you satisfied with the feeling you get watching the rest of the anime.
Everyone basically gets what they deserve because this anime shows that the human mind and heart is an extremely fragile thing and that you can't just push someone aside like they are trash the second you are done with them because they may not be done with you or ready to let you leave.
This anime is great, great for one thing which I truly believe is its sole purpose of existence - opening pickle jars. This anime will help you with the opening of jars and various other tasks requiring brute strength. You'll feel like the Hulk after you've watched half the series. And the very reason for all of this is this anime's amazing ability to piss the viewer off like no other series I have ever seen. If you want to be angered, please, please watch this series.
Jokes aside, this anime might be considered a decent series to other people, but I seriously hated it.
It started off fine, a few laughs, a somewhat interesting love triangle between Makoto, Katsura and Saionji, resulting in the typical 'idiot girl helps guy she loves to get another girl' thing. ... and hey, although the whole love triangle story wasn't very unique or anything, it entertained... It was fun at first to see this clueless pervert fail at getting a girl. The problem was when it became more of a love hexagon - And things went downhill from there. The story became predictable and difficult to watch due to the idiotic and retarded main character who must have been the luckiest sped to walk the earth. The only good thing I can say about this series was the theme it presented to its viewers: to cherish what you have. 1/10
Characters: The characters in this anime are seriously some of the dumbest people I have ever seen. Makoto especially - after watching about 5 episodes I wanted to smash his face in. His idiotic expressions, his whiny sped voice, everything about him. I hated it all. I hated the way he looked, the way he talked, and everything he did. My hatred for this character is unparalleled to any other characters I might have ever hated in my life. The only props I can give to the people who dream t up this character was that we got to see him go from a selfish idiot to a selfish asshole by the end of the series.
That rant out of the way, I don't have much to say bout the other characters which was mainly composed of idiotic girls that for some reason or another couldn't get enough of this whiny faced idiot. The characters in general, didn't have much of a background. We didn't learn much about them or their past, and they just kind of came and went. Again, my only props here is the character development. 1/10
Sound: The opening sounded great, but it didn't really suit the series considering how dark and idiotic it became. The opening was way too happy in contrast to the story. Otherwise, bgm was decent, even good at times. No big comments here: 8/10
Animation/Character Design: I thought the animation and character design was pretty good, one of the series stronger points. All of the character designs although not unique, were nice, and the colors brought out the mood fairly well. The only character design I grew to hate was Makoto's. His round clueless face pissed me off to no end. 8/10
Why this is even an anime series? I have no idea. Just turn this damn thing into a hentai or something. Honestly. The main character in this series has sex with pretty much every girl you'll see in this series, for no apparent reason. The girls are just lining up to be with him by the end. The characters are the most idiotic people I have ever seen, and the main character couldn't possibly be fathomed by a normal human being. 4/10
School Days Creator (SDC)- Hey man, I have a terrific idea for an anime series, based on this dirty animated game I've played!
Japanese Executive (JE)-Okay, I love hentai! Let's hear it.
SDC- Well, it's going to be about a guy who is a complete failure at life, an idiot loser who is intensely selfish. He gets uncontrollably nervous talking to girls, and does nothing with his life. However, the twist is that every girl who meets him falls madly in love. And he has sex with all of them.
JE-What's his driving motivation?
SDC-To fuck as many girls as possible,
regardless of how many lies and betrayals necessary to get there.
JE-Okay, but wouldn't the girls eventually catch on? Even if at first they love him, wouldn't they dump him at some point? I mean, realizing your girl or boyfriend sucks is and is a cheater is something MILLIONS of people in the real world go through.
SDC-Well, that's true. But I have just the plan to fix it; we'll make the girls equally odious and retarded. They'll have some degree of human compassion, but along with that, a large dose of crazy and whore to them, as they gladly cheat with the boyfriend of one of their female friends!
JE- Oh! You mean like my second ex-wife cheated on me with my former best friend?
SDC-Yes, exactly! One will be the reserved, kind-hearted girl named Katsura who, upon realizing her boyfriend is a cheater too cowardly to break up with her, becomes a catatonic, deranged puppet of a human being.
JE- Isn't that extreme? I mean, if Katsura were a guy whose girlfriend was a cheating piece of shit, wouldn't going insane make the viewer hate such a character for an unnecessary, psychotic reaction, not sympathize with them?
SDC- True, true. We need the viewer to side with her, as no one else will be the least bit worthy of compassion. That's why she'll be drawn very cute and sexy. That's why we'll have every other girl in the series utterly despise her, even if there's no actual reason for them doing so. That's why the other main character, Sekai, will betray and sleep with the main character Mokoto behind Katsura's back.
Sekai will at first seem sympathetic and even kind, helping Katsura and Mokoto to be together, but eventually, she'll turn selfish, soulless, and moronic, as she initiates make-out sessions with Mokoto while he's still dating Katsura.
Then, she'll be surprised that someone who cheated WITH her then starts cheating ON her. Haha.
JE- Uh, okay....but what kind of a series is this? You mention lots of moronic, pitiful girls sleeping with a moronic, pitiful guy, and betrayal and insanity. What's the hook here, exactly?
SDC-Ah, that's my master stroke! School Days will, for most of its 12 episodes, be a straightforward romance series, but then, in the last episode or two, will turn gruesome and bloody.
JE- But wait...isn't that just a cheap plot device to make up for how bankrupt the characters and the rest of the story are? Isn't that just a shock tool to distract the viewer from the fact that they just watched a brainless romance series based on a hentai game?
SDC- That's right! But what we'll do is try to make it SEEM as deep as possible! You know, like foreshadowing, great music random flashbacks, all that jazz. Then, if people still criticize it, we can just say that they don't get the deep "story" and moral of the series.
JE- You mean it will be like a Dostoevsky novel, except with none of the actual logic, depth, or basically anything else redeemable about it?
SDC-Exactly! And one last brilliant idea!
JE- Well, right now I'm still not convinced about the show, but go ahead.
SDC- The series will double as a cell phone advertisement! Everything will happen via cellphone, it will be a huge part of numerous plot devices and episodes, and we'll even have an ending theme prominently featuring one!
If we can't get any more blatant, let's have one of the girls excitedly want to buy the latest brand of cellphone for herself and Makoto, for no apparent fucking reason. Hell, let's also have Chibi versions of the characters hawking oversized cellphones during the parts reserved for commercial breaks!
JE- IT'S BRILLIANT!!!! UTTER GENIUS!!!! LET'S GET IT DONE!!!!
"I have touched the flower that everyone wants. The feelings for that flower, I have put into words. To hurt this world was not my intention. If there was no one there to question you, would that mean you could do anything?"
Well, today is Valentine's Day, so what better series to review than one of the most controversial love stories ever to be put in animated form? That's right, I'm talking School Days, one of the biggest cases of subverted expectations I've seen in recent days.
Our story begins with two star crossed lovers, Makoto and Kotonoha (Katsura). Young love is so fragile, and so
fleeting, and none know this better than our dear characters. Enter Sekai, third party, and friend to both.. What happens next is a rollercoaster of emotion (mostly fury), detachment, lies, betrayal, and sociopathy, right up to the very end, where the story of our Lovers comes full circle. When the truth comes out, Makoto, Kotonoha, and Sekai learn the full ramifications of the consequences they wrought.
Art: 3 (two points for eps 11, 12, one point for the rest of it)
The characters are animated poorly, barring the last two episodes. Inconsistently drawn, poor facial and body animation, TONS of stillframe, key frames are few and far between. While there's not a lot of action, even the mundane slice of life is animated roughly. Uneven drawn edges, lack of faces or animation of faces during speaking, and generally repetitive environments (including a shot of the front of the school that’s used about 352 times an episode). The attention to detail is decent, however. Some of the art is useful in the symbolism, (more on that below) such as the trains and certain details in houses, and the school.
One recurring, and annoying, tendency of the art is when there's a pan and the image is rotated about 80 degrees to one side- rather irritating to have to turn your head to look at it.
The last two episodes are animated extremely well by comparison. Faces show real emotion, character movement and framing are much more purpose driven and subtle (something it was heretofore lacking a lot of, subtlety).
OP and ED are fine, nothing to report. I started skipping the OP after about episode 4.
Voice acting is decent- not Trinity Seven, but also not absolute garbage. The main character’s voices aren’t particularly grating, but some of the supporting casts’ are.
Soft piano music sets the tone in some dramatic and playful moments, nothing distracting, and nothing really enhancing.
--- Spoilers from here on---
I wanted to give a point to this category for every character Makoto has meaningless, detached, sociopathic sex with, but decided against it.
Makoto is our MC- selfish, uncaring, and a borderline sociopath- he exists only to indulge his own narcissism, regardless of who he affects or hurts. He seems absolutely callous to the feelings of the girls he comes into contact with, and the effect on their psyche. Incorrigible pervert, pushy, and clueless, he's a self gratifying user, and pure slime of a guy. He has no qualms about cheating on his girlfriend, or the irreversible effects that has on one's relationships, or even those of the future.
Though there are some times where it appears his decisions have some measurable effect on his mental state, he always manages to follow up with something self serving and detestable, but, he's still human, and it shows in his times of weakness. He goes from being the object of many a lady's desire, to being an absolute pariah, and being hated by essentially everyone that he knows.
Kotonoha, the first girlfriend, is a repressed, timid girl who really gets mixed up in all of this. She's honestly the only character in the show I found sympathetic, because she didn't ask for any of what happens to her- to be lied to, betrayed, and repeatedly torn down, despite her headstrong (and later delusional) belief that Makoto is in love with her. She gets absolutely ragged on by every other female character in the show, even though she's the only one ever in the right by claiming to be Makoto's girlfriend. We see this poor girl experience an immense amount of emotional trauma- abuse from her 'friends', mistreatment at the hands of her so called lover, that it's no surprise that by the end of the show, her psychological state is significantly altered. What was once a kind, shy girl was rendered into a soulless husk, devoid of any life aside from her dissociative, misguided obsession over Makoto. The real love that she once felt became nothing but an empty shell. Symbolic, I think.
Sekai, our third 60 degree angle of this love triangle, sets herself up as a jealous and manipulative friend who only acts "in the interest of helping Makoto get what he wants". She uses his perverted nature to get close to him under the guise of helping him with "special practice" to understand girls so that he's able to finally hook up with the girl he's been crushing on. She is driven, and shrewd, and actually seems to genuinely care for Makoto, and ironically is the person who really sets things into motion with the infidelity, and is the origination of the problem though she never sees it that way herself. She, through her own machinations, sets Makoto up with herself, but at the same time plays him off on Kotonoha and triggers the boundary-less relationships that form the crux of the conflict within. The way that she turns on him later, with a classless and utterly selfish attempt to keep Makoto with her smacks of hypocrisy, juxtaposed to her earlier efforts, and reminded me of Makoto himself with the self seeking and ugly way it was presented.
Is she his girlfriend? Are they just friends with benefits? She has a clear answer, but Makoto seems to have different ideas about it.
There are some other girls who make appearances, but side chicks and booty calls weren't important to the character, so I'll ignore them too.
Story and Overall: 6, 6
Had I solely gone on word of mouth, reviews, and the score, I'd have never watched School Days, as I've heard nothing but terrible things about it, aside from the uniquely shocking conclusion, but I feel that "School Days" is a much more complex commentary on relationships and life than many other reviewers on this site, and elsewhere on the internet believe (OOO wow, dissenting opinions on the internet, who'da thunk?)
In my opinion, School Days is a deconstructivist take on the Harem genre. It shows a realist take on the idea of having multiple girlfriends and them all being okay with it, because no-one truly "possesses" the desired person. The idea that jealousy would never take over when someone has something that you long for is a novel one, but one that's ultimately flawed. School Days exhibits that we all possess jealousy and covetousness in some way, and that suspicion, deceit, and betrayal all play into it, RARELY with a favorable outcome.
While this show makes a STRONG case for monogamy and reinforces the ideas that fidelity and trust in relationships are necessary for them to be healthy and functional, I think it also examines the inner being of Makoto. Makoto is a character who doesn't know what he wants out of a relationship. It starts off innocent enough, the hugging and kissing, and quickly falls down a path to more and more pushiness, and an insatiable lust for what seems to just be dispassionate sex addiction. It delves into the psychological aspects of cheating in a relationship, and the every growing mountain of lies and deceit that one has to maintain to keep up the facade; and while Makoto is unable to do so, he sees his web of deception unravel before his eyes.
An ironic note: the name "Makoto" is explained in the beginning of the show to mean Faith.
Symbolism, Foreshadowing and Callbacks:
I thought that School Days did an excellent job with the foreshadowing and symbolism. Having known the ending going into the show (but not who actually commits the act, and the Boat Scene was also unknown to me), I was on the lookout for subtlety, and was pleasantly surprised to find it.
1. The movie theater and stage play scenes were particularly interesting. Within the first 3 episodes, we had the plot play out before our eyes in about 30 seconds, but in a meta way- the two girls in love with the guy, who then fight amongst each other, and decide that neither can have him.
a) Setsuna goes to a stage production, and the dialogue is referential to the conflict at hand. (see opening quote)
2. In episode 6, Kotonoha sees Makoto and Sekai together on a train passing by the station she's standing on. She believes it to be a mistake, and thinks nothing of it. Later, it's Sekai who's at the train station, who believes Makoto to be home, and sees Kotonoha with him on the train.
3. Also in 6, at the moment Kotonoha reaches the rooftop, she drops her roll of blood-red yarn thread, which unravels as it rolls down the stairs. Symbolic, and important.
4. Kotonoha is cooking in her kitchen, and her gaze lingers on the knives for a second.
5. At the end, Makoto is making tea, which, as it comes to a boil (symbolizing his choices and the impending, extreme consequences they bring upon him) burns him.
Enjoyment, and Conclusion: 6
High school is just brutal guys, and the outcome is not always pretty- this is the heart of School Days. What we think is right is sometimes wrong, and even when we know it's wrong, sometimes we don't want to be right. An absolutely shocking and brutal conclusion to an otherwise wretched slice of life/ harem show left me speechless. It was a struggle to get through the first 7 episodes, but from 8 to the conclusion were a dark, tragic, and ultimately deserving series of events. Even as I write this, I have no words for the ending of this show, other than that I will not forget it.
Now, for the question that's so hotly contested: is School Days the worst anime ever?
No, but it depends on the viewer. There's a lot to hate about School Days, but if you have a taste for the psychological, and can stomach the first half, which is pretty painful and rage inducing to watch, it sets up a second half that gets deep into interpersonal relationship conflicts, and what extremes people can go to when they're irrational, because love... is irrational. The conclusion to this show was one that was remarkable at the time, and will be discussed from now on. A pioneer in the genre (yandere) as well- so it has some value in that.
+ justice is served in a twisted way
+ gets better past the halfway mark
+ dark, surprising conclusion
- detestable characters
- side characters fall in love with main character for no reason
- garbage SOL plot *up through episode 7
- terrible dialogue at times
- bad animation
Nothing says love like a journey with a beautiful girl on a yacht, floating off into the sunset--
and then they were finally alone, "just the two of them".
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