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School Days

The series is well known throughout the anime community for its far from sparkling reputation and I decided to watch it for myself to see how bad it really is. The visual novel is notable for its fully voiced characters and for its fully animated cutscenes which is really unusual for the medium. But what Is also notable for is its “endings” which I'll get to later in this review. The anime adaption is faithful to the original story even if some of the characters like Makoto’s parents and sister did not make an appearance, which is kind of fitting giving some theme of the anime. It really deals with the consequences of cruel and selfish people and how they destroy the lives of others through deceit and manipulation.

Makoto Itou is a typical high school student who has a crush on another student Kotonoha Katsura. Makoto’s friend Sekai sets him up with her and they became fast friends. Makoto takes a photo of Kokoro on the train and keeps it as a good luck charm and he believes that she will fall in love with him. He finds out that he has the ability to charm other girls and he uses this gift selfishly with wanton disregard for the girls he hurt. Makoto finds himself unable to commit himself to a single girl so sleeps with as many girls as he can. He becomes egotistical, manipulative and selfish. This version of Makoto comes from inheriting his father’s pedophilic tendencies and history of manipulation and abuse. If you read the lore about the “Days” series, Makoto’s father is the father/grandfather of many characters and some of it is indirectly incestuous so that makes it even more disturbing.

Characters in the show are named after previous Japanese prime ministers and they also share the same birthdates. The anime follows the bad route of the visual novel and Makoto in the anime is a complete polar opposite of any romance visual novel main character. He never acted awkward and nervous with girls who wanted to sleep with him he just did it right there and then. In the manga he’s the nicest person you could meet. Normally dialogue in a slice of life would be as lighthearted and cheesy but here its actually more vulgar and harsh.

It’s a fairly short show with about 12 episodes. None of the characters backgrounds were fully established because of the short length. The show has full on hentai scenes on the interactive dvd. The animation, done by the same team who did the visual novel, was ok but nothing too special. Some scenes were recycled particularly in the classroom.

The facial expressions were very inconsistent looking different from one scene to another and the scenes at times felt very stiff with nothing much really going on. The way characters were drawn at times looks pretty rough and unpolished. The animation gets somewhat refined in the final episodes. The voice acting (Japanese only) is ok but the high-pitched voices were annoying.

The networks showing the anime learned about a grisly murder on a boat where a daughter killed her father and they decided that it wouldn’t be appropriate to show the finale at the same time as the killing so they had to show the finale at movie theaters and they would give you free admission if you had a piece of merchandise from the series.

The notoriety from this incident spawned the infamous Nice Boat meme and the finale is one of the grisliest scenes you could ever watch in an anime. Makoto gets stabbed to death on a boat he and Kotonoha was supposed to be on but Sekai found him first. When Kotonoha found his lifeless body, she decapitated him and then went on to kill Sekai and cut out her uterus, when she found out Sekai was “supposedly” pregnant with Matoko’s child. The final scene where Kotonoha was cuddling Makoto’s severed head is something that will remain with you for your entire life.

In all finales I've ever seen, this is by far one of the most messed up ever to be written. Even the manga version it is not a happy ending as Makoto gets slashed by Kotonoha and Sekai kills Kotonoha. I found this show to be just as almost as messed up as the anime community found it to be.

It gets 2 out of 5 stars.

This is one of the most messed up anime I’ve seen along with Blood-C and Ellfen Lied which I watched a few bits and parts but one scene with a dog getting beaten to death really made me refuse to watch it any further.

If you plan on getting this on physical media, be prepared to spend a lot of money on it as Discotek’s version is out of print but it is easy to find on the free to watch places or on Youtube.

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