Plot: Makoto is a high-school boy who has a crush on a girl named Kotonoha. In an effort to become her boyfriend, he seeks the advice of her best friend, a girl named Sekai, who also has a thing for Makoto. She begins ‘training’ him to be Kotonoha’s boyfriend through anything from talking to her to sex. Eventually, Makoto evolved into the worst protagonist I’ve ever seen, barring Mayo from FY:E and I can’t believe I was so lenient on this show in the past.
Breakdown: School Days was one of the first anime that I ever reviewed. I gave this show a fairly decent score before. A 2.5/5 to a 4.5/5. A medium score to an almost perfect score? Was I high? God.
I was pretty new as a reviewer when I wrote that, so hopefully everyone can forgive me. I believe the only reason I gave that show such a high score was simply because of the ending.
School days, in a nutshell, is a mean-spirited slice-of-life anime drama that was based off an H-game. Now, before anyone goes ahead and says it’s acceptable that it sucks because of the h-game origins, let me introduce you to Rumbling Hearts, the Ef series and White Album 2.
School days has been noted as being a realistic anime drama, but what kind of school did you go to where this is realistic? It starts out realistic enough – guy falls for girl he sees on a train, asks her best friend to help him woo her, they end up dating, that’s okay.
The best friend falling for the boy and slowly sneaking into his pants through the ‘training sessions’? Okay, I can buy that. We all fall prey to our hormones and whatnot.
Every girl in the goddamn school falling for Makoto and wanting to get into his pants? Sounds more like a guy’s wet dream more than realism. It’s so bad, I have taken to calling this ‘The School Days effect’ – Any scenario where the main lead is constantly having anyone of the opposite sex (and sometimes the same sex) falling for them. I can barely think of any female in this series who didn’t want to jump Makoto’s bones, and from reading about the H-games (School Days, Summer Days and Cross Days) it seems he has actually hooked up with every single female character and then some.
This series just spirals out of control after that.
Him sleeping with most of the female cast and not one of them caring that he’s cheating on all of them with practically every girl in the school? What?
Having a school festival where tons of people have sex in a backroom where a group of deranged students film it and watches it to laugh at the people in the room? What the hell is wrong with these people!?
The best friend getting pregnant after rendezvous with main lead? Okay, back to believable.
Oh, she was just faking being pregnant so she could have him all to herself. A little crazy, but I guess believable.
Girl stabs boy to death to prevent him from leaving her.……….
Girlfriend chops off dead boy’s head, keeps it in a duffel bag, shows it to best friend before stabbing her to death and carving her open like a Christmas turkey to prove she wasn’t really pregnant then sailing away with her Makoto head in the ocean on a homemade raft to inevitably die of dehydration or drown? What exactly do you say to something like that?
Seriously, I have no qualms with stabbing that bastard to death or even slicing his head off – he was an evil son of a bitch. And, no, I wouldn’t condone that in real life, but this is fiction, so stabbity stabbers. I just have to know how we went from typical high-school drama to Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni?
The characters don’t help the storyline at all. I’ve never hated so many characters in an anime before. From Makoto himself to his rapist best friend from Sekai to the field of whores that are 98% of the female student body – most everyone is deplorable and unlikable. The only exceptions are Sekai’s loli-esque best friend and Kotonoha…Poor, poor Kotonoha.
And you could even say their characters are slightly ruined given that, despite being nice and likable, they still love a heartless man-whore, but I can’t hate them too much for that.
Makoto – Makoto is probably the worst male protagonist I’ve ever seen in an anime. He sleeps with anything that moves and doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself. He doesn’t care that he’s cheating on like seven girls, he doesn’t care that he got Sekai pregnant and even cheats on her after she tells him she’s pregnant, he seems to allude to telling Sekai to get an abortion, he makes out with Kotonoha right in front of pregnant Sekai after basically telling her to get out of his life, and he’s just all around despicable. Why so many girls want to sleep with him is one of the biggest mysteries in anime.
Sekai – Sekai is a horrible best friend to Kotonoha. I’m almost positive she went into this whole ‘training’ thing with Makoto with full intentions of getting into his pants. She sleeps with Makoto behind Kotonoha’s back and pretended to be pregnant in order to keep him away from her and every other girl he sleeps with. She only gains points for stabbity stab.
Kotonoha – Poor Kotonoha is one of two likable characters in this series, and she is treated like garbage. She gets cheated numerous times, dumped like a rock, becomes emotionally shattered, gets raped while in her emotionally shattered state (by her slimy boyfriend’s best friend for god’s sake), gets her boyfriend back for a few minutes only for him to die a couple days later, and then she spends her final days on a rickety raft in the ocean clutching the severed head of her boyfriend.
The good thing is at least she didn’t sleep with Makoto – an irony I will never get over. His entire incentive to going with Sekai was to get with Kotonoha, but over the course of the entire series, he never sleeps with her.
Setsuna – Setsuna is the aforementioned loli-best friend of Sekai. She is the second likable character in this series, but not very much. The only reason she is likable is because she knows that her liking Makoto is wrong because Sekai loves him and she *gasp* feels BAD for liking him and kissing him. Why it’s almost as if being romantically involved with someone who is already with someone is wrong or something. SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH.
Taisuke – Taisuke is pretty bland and forgettable, just being a pervert throughout most of the series…Until he rapes Kotonoha in her emotionally shattered state. Yeah that happens.
The rest of the characters/most of the female student body – The rest of the girls just serve as heartless whores for Makoto to bang when he not emotionally or physically screwing Sekai or Kotonoha. They’re downright despicable in their own rights, not caring if Makoto is cheating on them with tons of girls as long as they get to be with him too. Some of them don’t even give a crap that they’re sleeping with him after they learn that Makoto got Sekai pregnant (Then they scold him while still naked in bed that he’s not doing anything about it. *facepalm*)
So the characters are more or less hate targets, the story’s not believable and it’s mean-spirited. What about the technical aspects?
The music’s downright forgettable, the art’s pretty decent with nice, though pretty bland, character designs and the animation’s pretty lazy, looking more like one of those animated comics you see online sometimes over actual animation. This being a slice-of-life already means that there’s little animation going on, but that’s not a big excuse.
Bottomline: I think I understand why I liked this show so much back in the day. It’s because there is so much hate fodder in this show. I love to rant, I love go off the handle, the ongoing hatred of things in this show kept me hooked, and when it topped it off with killing that womanizing bastard, I hit the roof. Now that I have my head out of ass and can actually fairly review stuff without bringing in my own personal weirdness to cloud my judgment, I see this show for what this really is.
I will be completely honest and say I gave it that extra point purely because I still like to see Makoto dying, but I don’t think that’s my being biased. I’m pretty sure anyone who has the fortitude to sit through this series and stomach Makoto would give it at least one point for killing off Makoto.
Don’t make us hate someone without giving them proper comeuppance….which in this case would be every girl in the series turning their backs on him and him living a lonely existence with only hookers and a bottle of jack, but turning Makoto into a horror movie victim here in fiction-land is also A-Okay.
Additional Notes and Information: School Days was based on a series of hard hentai visual novels. It was directed by Keitaro Motonaga who also directed Getbackers, Ah, My Buddha and the Kikaider OVA.
It was written by Makoto Uezu who also wrote Ah, My Buddha, Danganronpa the Animation, Akame ga Kill and Seikon no Qwaser.
The show was produced by TNK, producer of anime such as Itsudatte My Santa, Highschool DxD, I, My, Me Strawberry Eggs and Papa to Kiss in the Dark.
That is a trifecta of a mixed bag if I ever saw one.
This series has two OVAs, Magical Heart Kokoro-Chan, and Valentines Days.
I should mention that there’s an odd instance of censorship in one version of the show. When the final episode (IE Slasher theatre) was first set to air, a 16 year old girl killed her father with an axe in Kyoto, spurring the episode to get pulled because of similar violent content.
In its place was a thirty minute slideshow that later spawned a somewhat popular meme ‘Nice Boat’ which would later be referenced in the School Days OVA, Magical Heart Kokoro-Chan.
When the episode was finally allowed to air, they were forced to censor the death scene, but nothing is actually cut out of it. Instead, they turned the blood black. Yeah, I don’t really get how that’s better, really just makes me think maybe Makoto is part squid, but there ya go. An uncensored version, one with red blood, was released later on, but the black blood version is still widely known and quite infamous.
Recommended Audience: There is a lot of fanservice and adult themes. There is plenty of implied sex scenes, dark moments, murder, rape, psychoness as well as being overall dark and unpleasant. 16+