High school student Makoto Itou likes a girl in his school - the beautiful Kotonoha Katsura. Fortunately for him, Makoto's tomboy friend Sekai Saionji has just befriended her and even offers to hook them up. But problems arise when Sekai kisses Makoto on the shuttle bus home that very night, and their relationship slowly becomes more personal, hurting Kotonoha (and, down the line, Sekai) in the process.
Note: This review contains spoilers.
You know when you come inside during the winter from the cold, your bundled up clothes making you feel incredibly hot when you come in, causing you to itch like crazy and feel weird? School Days is the anime equivalent of that.
The first few episodes are typical high school anime stuff. Guy falls for hot girl with big boobs, tomboy friend sets them up, and tomboy friend starts realizing that she too has feeling for him. Sounds simple enough, right?
And then we have Makoto and Sekai having "practice sex" by episode 4. On the school roof.
There's a lot to talk about in School Days, so let's get to the nitty gritty and point the absolute worst first.
And that thing would be our lead Makoto himself. He has to be one of the biggest pricks I've seen in any anime. Shallow, selfish, uncaring, and showing no signs humility towards the girls he has sex with, Makoto is less a protagonist and moreso a sex-craving jack-ass. To further emphasize how idiotic he is, the damn fool doesn't even use a condom, which gets him in trouble later on in the series when the girls find out. Idiot. When I watched this show with another friend, we counter no less than fifty-five times of him being a complete jackass to others. Any other girls he meets are, for the most part, just more girls for him to have sex with.
I've seen lots of despicable characters in anime over the years, but Makoto doesn't even have the enjoyment factor some of those people have. He's just a prick through and through, and easily one of the most despicable, spineless, selfish people I've ever seen in anime, bar none.
Sekai isn't much better, but she at least isn't Makoto! Practically forcing herself on top of him, at times even after setting him up with a girlfriend, it's through her he learns that having sex with any girl in his school is fine and dandy if the girl is willing to do it with him. And then when he (eventually) goes back to Kotonoha after countless lies to her, she fakes being pregnant to get him to stay with her. Lovely girl.
And then we have Kotonoha. Poor, poor Kotonoha. Despite being kind, sweet, smart, and adorable, she's treated like utter garbage by virtually the entire cast over the course of the series. Her and her little sister are the sole rays of sunlight in this dark, depressing series.
There are a few other characters, such as Sekai's deadpan loli friend Setsuna and Makoto's junior high school friend Otome, but at the end their only actual purposes in this series are to screw Makoto and scar Kotonoha ever further. The only male character other than Makoto is his friend Taisuke, who you'll want to punch in the nuts by the time this series is over. Believe me, you'll know why when you get to it.
A lot of School Days' fans defend this series for saying that this is more along the lines of typical high school life than most other anime. I find this to be bullocks. Whereas a good high school anime like His and Her Circumstances has characters who are believable, fleshed-out, and have depth, School Days' are overblown, shallow, and flat. You have the tomboy, the loli with a big ribbon in her hair, the bitch and her underlings, the cute, kind girl with big breasts, and so forth. The girls are indeed cute, but with the exception of Kotonoha, none of them really stand out to you after you finish. (I only remember one of the girls because she has a giant bow in her hair.)
School Days also has a few twisted, evil scenes in it that actually have nothing to do with Makoto at all! For example, there's this lounge/room during the school festival where high school couples can have sex in a dark room together...which is recorded and then watched by the people who run the booth. There's also the fact that because Kotonoha works on the student council, she's stepped on like a doormat by everyone else who works there, which she grins and bears for no reason. It's stuff like this that literally made my eye twitch when watching this series, and it's not helped by a male lead who makes Ataru Moroboshi look like a feminist.
I'll admit School Days looks fascinating and screenshots and episode synopsizes, but it's not even close to as good as it sounds. It's annoying, stupid, mean-spirited, and full of people who aren't even fun to mock, much less watch. It's interesting for all the reasons it shouldn't be, and bad for all the reasons it didn't have to be. Unless you really need to see from beginning to end the buildup to its controversial ending, or have someone to watch it with, avoid School Days completely.
To quote Charlie Brown: 'Good grief!' Don't bother unless you MUST see it for the shock value. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Despite the cast being almost entirely teenagers, this is not a show for kids! Violence, implied sex, and a very violent final episode regulates this show to older teenagers and up at the youngest. Don't be fooled by the early episodes!
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
School Days © 2007 STACK / School Days Production Committee
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