*Pre-Note: Any Ano Hana hurt fanboys are probably not too happy to see this review. It's alright. Rate it down even before reading this if it satisfies your anger. I personally feel a bit sorry for the cute and awesome characters from School Days since they'd suffer for a completely unrelated review, but other than that, I couldn't care less if you did.
To the people who were actually looking for the review, I apologize for this.
School Days, within the recent years, has become a symbol series for the sheer pleasure and entertainment of watching/reading violent love, described by a divine term called "YANDERE". To people unfamiliar with this term, Yanderes are people, usually girls, that become so psychotically in love with another person to the point where they'd become violent and kill others for that person to be in their arms (sometimes dead in their arms lol). I personally have a great love for Yanderes because I respect their devotion to the person they love, so for people who aren't too fond of violent love, you may want to stop reading here. For those who continue to bear through, you can expect yourself in for a ride, starting with shoujo romance for most chapters and ending with a twisted, creepy and yet, compelling ending.
Seeing as this is the review for the School Days manga, content may differ from the actual anime. This is the story of Mikoto Itou and his school days (pun intended) with his childhood friend Sekai and his girlfriend Kotonoha. Sekai initially introduces and aids Mikoto to get close to and eventually date Kotonoha. However, she soon realizes that she's doing the things exactly contrary to her true feelings. As Sekai finally begins to act, the atmosphere compresses with suspense. Above all, this was a shoujo manga and thus the plot was mainly purposed with conveying the feelings and tensions of this love triangle. By that regard, I believe that this manga achieved astronomical success within only twelve chapters of print. Contrary to most slice-of-life and shoujo mangas, things DO happen in School Days, and they happen rather fast. Perhaps the tipping point for this perfect score on story is how School Days actually conveys the drama and anxiety to the reader. I absolutely despise cheesy mushycrap character conversations, and School Days avoided that. I carefully read every single word and truly felt like I was there in the manga. To send such a powerful conveyance of image, with absolutely no cheesy-dialogue or irritating facepalmable moments, and focused solely on that purpose is truly an astonishing feat.
Nothing I really can say about the art except it was decent and didn't hinder the value of the manga by any means. I really liked Kotonoha's design and one particularly awesome image involving her (perhaps some of you who read this will see it later in the chapters). In certain parts, the art really accentuated the mood of the characters, which had a tremendous impact in the overall essence of the story. Nevertheless, the style was nothing to floorchin drool for. Also, I happened to get Sekai mixed up with another female character a lot because their hair designs were really similar. That sucks since I always think Sekai is bi-polar (biwinning).
First of all before I go on any further about characters, I would like to say that Mikoto wasn't a great guy. He was an ambivalent wuss, and he caused a great tragedy because of it. However, since the entire series depended on his personality being indecisive, it would be wrong to judge him based simply on that. Fortunately, his other aspects are pretty amiable and he didn't seem to draw too many noticeably setbacks from his ambivalence. Other than his somewhat timid personality (still much better than 90% of the guys in modern day anime/manga), Mikoto was quite likable. He didn't exhibit the annoying nature of some guys, but simply confused and passionate feelings-- something that almost all guys torn between childhood friend and girlfriend would show. Hence, it was very believable and contributed greatly to the realism in this manga (if only we actually DID live in that world...*sigh *crosses fingers and hopes*.) Sometimes, although still rather rarely, I even sympathized with him and his current situation. Some of you readers might even find yourself doing that more than periodically.
Mikoto, his childhood friend, is a typical happy and cheerful girl. She is nice and helpful, contrasting with the mean and arrogant females in most anime/mangas. Her pure, amicable personality is what made her tolerable and what, ultimately, gives her transformation such an extreme epicness to it. Kotonoha, the girlfriend, is simply too cute. Her moeness really hit me hard and I felt myself secretly rooting for her the entire time. Kotonoha would be what you call a "Deredere". Derederes are really devoted and awesome people who are simply too cute and pure, filled with passionate feelings of love, and usually devoid of the irritating mushycrap talk (*hint: doesn't deredere end similar to another word previously mentioned? *wink). Although neither of the three characters are at the top of the list for unique school life characters in manga, they all had their own purpose to it. These three characters, working together, made School Days the legend it is today.
School Days was seriously fulfilling for a Yandere fan like me. After searching for hours for other Yandere masterpieces, I still haven't found anything that rivaled School Days. I'll concede that I liked this anime probably more than the average person did simply because of my love for Yanderes and select Moe DereDeres, but above all that, School Days still did have some aesthetic value. It got me thinking and dreaming about those events, and to challenge myself to imagine beyond the boundaries of the world. I believe that this is exactly what a good manga should do.
As uniquely the best (yandere) "shoujo" manga I have ever read, School Days really had a deep impact on me despite being rather short. My only disappointment with the actual manga is the fact that it should have been longer and maybe include more details. Above all, I felt like putting the little amount of time into reading this had brought me a plethora of enjoyment and experience. So, for bored, perhaps curious of Yanderes, people who aren't willing to spend countless hours boggled down in the pages of some hundred chapter manga, School Days is an excellent "bang per buck" manga to pick up. For others that truly despises violence or romance, avoid School Days at all costs.
P.S. I didn't think I have to write this, but I’ll say it in case for future references: A review is an opinion. It's ok to disagree with my opinion as long as you're not being an arrogant, illogical ass about it. What's NOT ok is denying people their inherent right to voice that opinion or telling someone their opinion is wrong. Opinions are opinions. There is no right and wrong.