School Days: anime review – good and potentially sickness-inducing

Review: On the surface, School Days seems like typical high school, feel-good romance but the pretty image is just a cover for the anime’s rotten core. School Days is not a bad anime in terms of individual element; good production, music, compelling and unpredictable story and complex character study, but the final result leaves me with bitter taste in my mouth and nauseate, sick feeling in my stomach.

School Days is the extreme example of what happens when one give in to desires without thinking. It’s an anime about tragedy, about disaster in life. The story revolves around Makoto, Kotonoha and Sekai forming a love triangle that initially seems typical for normal school romance anime. But things start to get really ugly when Makoto’s true color is revealed.

The three characters are the heart of this show. What make the plot so intriguing and unpredictable are the changes of these people and their decisions. Excluding the ending, the two girls’ characters are rather stereotypical. Kotonoha’s character can be seen in many soap operas; a dependent, passive, naive and lady-like girl with low self esteem. She loves Makoto wholeheartedly and when Makoto abandons her, she is totally devastated, she blames herself and, I can’t believe this!, eventually goes delusional. Sekai suffers from one-sided love for Makoto and when Makoto turns to her, she deceives herself that he loves her in return. These types of character are never boring but watching them continually commit stupid things can be exhaustive.

Makoto, on the other hand, is nothing like a typical leading male character, if not utterly the opposite. He starts out as a nice and generous guy but somehow he abruptly turns into a purely evil guy. I do not think that this can be called character development. It’s more like an unrealistic mutation of character. He is completely consumed by insatiable desire for sex and literally sleeps with every girl that appears on screen longer than 5 seconds. The worst thing is that he does not realize that what he’s doing is bad. There is absolutely no sense of right and wrong in his action. He just do whatever he wants. As a result, his characters is interesting (and disgusting) but not convincing in the slightest.

That is a really big knife for a normal kitchen!

On second thought, not only is Makoto an unrealistic character, almost every thing in the show can hardly happen in real life. I think the show is deliberately made to be this way. School Days is more like an experimental story in which the situation turns from bad to worst quite easily and each characters makes decision on their own and mostly based purely on their feelings. Other external factors like parents, teachers, and families are all eliminated from the story.

School Days has generally standard animation quality and original score but certain sequences are masterfully done with perfect editing, camera angle and background music. The best example is probably the ending sequence. Nevertheless, some scenes depicting rape and nudity are arguably unnecessary.

Dark and depressing anime do not provide any good feeling or happiness to the viewers but it’s fine as long as it manages to give the viewers some thing worth their time like innovative ideas or thought provoking messages. Alas, in School Days’ case, all it provides is a bad feeling for the viewers. Conclusion: School Days is a decent anime and is also potentially sickness-inducing. Watch it at your own risk.
Rating: C+

Facts
Title: School Days
Genre: romance, drama
Released date: July 3, 2007 – September 27, 2007
Episode: 12
Director: Keitaro Motonaga
Animated by: TNK

61 responses to “School Days: anime review – good and potentially sickness-inducing

  1. Sickness-inducing? You can help heal that,right?

    Ba-dum-tssssh.

    I find Makoto to be highly unrealistic too. The very fact that he could get into an affair with two people at the same time as well as score with a heckload of other girls for no apparent reason whatsoever is curious.

  2. And if you played the visual novel…Makoto in that is even more stupid/fortunate depending on the ending. (there are some ending that are plain creepy. :|)

  3. I’m totally not in the mood for this kind of anime, and I don’t know if I ever will be.

  4. …Ew. I think I’ll pass.

    I saw the image with the knife in your post, and the first thing that popped into my head was Higurashi When They Cry, another series that is messed up, although for a different reason. I have yet to finish that one, although what initially drew me to it is that it is not your usual harem romance. It sounds like the creators of School Days were also trying to draw people in with something unusual. Unfortunately, it’s a little too easy to go from “unusual” to “nauseating.”

    • The level of gore and brutally in the last episode of School Days could easily rival Higurashi but Higurashi was an excellent series in terms of building mysteries and atmosphere. So if you want something violent, Higurashi is a better choice :)

  5. Sitting through this travesty was all made worth it thanks to the amazingly-satisfying ending. The sudden twist at the end has got to be one of the most memorable moments of anime for me of any show I’ve seen, and gave me my dearest love for the Yandere archetype.

  6. What about School Days: Magical Heart Kokoro-chan?

  7. Makoto’s stupidity is a huge factor to why he is so hated. He’s indecisive even to the very end. Why is Makoto like he is? Not sure but I think there’s a backstory that “explains” why. For what I remember it gets even more twisted.

    Overall SD turned into watching a guy make the wrong decisions and paying the price. Probably the best part of the show IS the nice nice ending. That boat, you have to love it.

  8. Pingback: Suggested Reading February 13th-19th « Black and Blue Socks

  9. I dived into this anime thinking that it was just another typical high school anime but I was sooo wrong. It gets sicker and sicker as the series progressed and I dropped it midway. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. It’s perhaps the most unpleasant anime I’ve ever saw!

  10. I enjoyed this show just because of the ending… It made sitting through all the rest worth it.
    Some girls just got the crazy if you hurt them emotionally enough… This mixed with a very horny man that don’t know any better after his first taste of sex will do the trick

  11. I was literally thinking of this anime yesterday, and how seriously fucked up it is…….in a good way? It’s such a slow dramatic change from Happy Anime to Total Hell (for the characters, not the viewer), that you almost don’t notice it.

    In other news, I wish I knew Makoto’s secret. He literally bangs his entire class.

  12. Well, this just showed us how stupidity can lead to death. I was honestly hoping for him to die starting from episode 10, he’s just a complete scumbag.

    Anyway, I actually liked the radical change from the “stupid guy gets a girl” series of anime that obviously doesn’t make the girls smart. This series showed more ‘real’ girls, only, they went a liiiittle overboard. But hey, Makoto got what he deserved, right?

  13. Strangely enough, I’ve seen about the last half of the final episode of this series, and that’s it. A friend felt the need to show it to me a long time ago, and I have yet to go back and watch the rest of the series, though I do plan to. No surprises for me, haha.

    I remember when she showed me that final part, being torn between ‘this song is so pretty’ and ‘yup…that’s how us high schoolers act, for sure’.

  14. I enjoy a good horror series. I’m currently really enjoying the Higurashi When They Cry manga (NOT the anime) and am really enjoying myself. But I don’t enjoy a series where the goal seems to just be to make the characters miserable and also the viewer. This one seems like it crosses that line. The only thing I really know about this series is that the ending wasn’t aired on television in its original format due to an incident that ocurred in real life that was a bit too similar.

  15. Guess my reply is in some way belated given the date of the post.

    I would simply just reply to the first post.

    @ Valence – I actually don’t think Makoto is highly unrealistic, if you ask me. I would say he is actually naive as most boys are at that age. Which in pretty inverse for girls who tend to be more intuitive earlier than the opposite sex. Majority of girls in that age group always seem to make the first move.

    As the saying goes you can only truly come to understand some situations if in some way you have experienced them. Which is why I say Makoto’s character is pretty reallistic based on my own experience. Sometimes things happen that it becomes really hard to explain yet quantify as to why.

    This is in regards to your comment on “how he could get into an affair with two people at the same time as well as score with a heckload of other girls for no apparent reason”.

    Forgive me if I digress
    I dont mean to brag, I was once a Makoto in my high school/college years. I was naive, stupid, shit-head, could hardly read the signs but hey I was MEAT and scored with a heckload of girls (best friends, sisters, clicks) and the most spectacular thing is I didnt even make an effort, I kid you not. I was ignorant as to why I was always getting chased after until my mate told me it was because of my looks – I was Astonished… REALLY!!!

    Let me paint a picture for you, during lunch break I could hardly leave the class, girls were all around my desk. You know like those typical introductory scenes in animes with the school setting eg Princess Lover – When Teppei joined that school in which Maria and slyvia attended. I got that attention almost every day. Phew!!! Good times.

    So like I said based on my own exp. very realistic. Which in some way the ending befits the series. As to me – I made an effort to make Amends when I REALISED my own faults and misdeeds. Which is why till today I hate bjs (dreading the Payback)- I love my Third leg. Lol

    Anyways I’d just stop there.

    • I am sorry of the very late reply and thanks for the long comment.
      It seems like your life is the complete opposite of mine which I would rather not go into any more detail…it’s kind of sad T_T

  16. Well, you said it well with

    “On second thought, not only is Makoto an unrealistic character, almost every thing in the show can hardly happen in real life. I think the show is deliberately made to be this way. School Days is more like an experimental story in which the situation turns from bad to worst quite easily and each characters makes decision on their own and mostly based purely on their feelings.”

    School Days is one of those anime that was so frustrating, so irritating, that it somehow became one of the anime that I remember the most.

  17. I got to say this was one very amusing series…seriously the last few episodes really but one big shockwave in my mind….^_^’

  18. Imagine my shock when the first 3 animes i watched were:
    k-on->clannad->SCHOOL DAYS
    surprises are always nice

  19. Lately I’ve been VERY disturbed by the ubiquity of male anime characters that are absolutely positively and completely L.A.M.E! (with a capital “L”)
    Makoto (school Days) has to be the absolute epitome of the clueless, mindless, empathy-less, dick led, socially unaware, losers seemingly everywhere in anime today. I’ve stopped watching (School Days) at the 5th episode. I just can’t take it. It’s too fuckin’ stupid. HE’s too stupid. And I hate stupid. Anime has way to much potential for and a long history of the awesomely awesome for such banal and insipid characters and script writing for me to put up with the cast of idiots found in School Days.
    I do wish that anime producers and production companies would think twice before choosing stories with characters like Makoto or Yuki (Mirai Nikki)
    or the endless cast of brainless, dickless, heartless idiots they seem to be throwing at us these days. They’re absolute vapid entities in sometimes vapid stories but what’ s worse is when they occupy good stories.
    At that point they sit as comfortably in the story line as 3 pieces of extra pepperoni, pepperoni pizza do in the gut before bedtime! They make you wish it would just end already. Quite unfortunate for something you love.
    MWH

  20. Well, I agree with you.
    The good new is that there seem to be no more character as bad as Makoto after this anime -_-

  21. I’ve just finished the series and I’ve been quite disturbed. I have been watching harem anime for the last 2 weeks and I’ve always wanted to see this series. This is the best series I watched simply because I was not able to predict the outcome of the story. It was the epitome of yandere to me and I was literally throwing curses everywhere.

    To tell you the truth, I somehow related to the guy on a sense of being around with girls much (not sleeping with them though). I have a girlfriend who’s at the most, forgiven me for all the crap I did before and after watching this, I’ve come to realize that I might end up the same way if ever my girl goes axe crazy. To that, I’ll change my ways. I won’t be able to sleep due to the emotions I felt with this series, but I won’t forget this. I literally cried for Kotonoha and going all “please wise up”. I know, it’s unhealthy to be saying THAT to an anime, but my life like literally flashed in front of my eyes because of the show.

    Of course, I’ve preferred if this series had a happy ending. Many what ifs on my mind.

  22. My computer crashed after I commented, so I hope you got my comment. This anime is quite life changing for me, being an otaku and guy with a normal life of sorts. I’ve known this VN/Anime/Manga for so long but I’ve only thought of watching it now. I hope I can find a doujinshi that will create a happy ending for this sad series.

  23. I’ll gladly tell you that this is one anime I actually rooted for. It just relates to me like it’s real life. I’ve been seeing so many things in this series that is relative to my life that it disturbs me to a tee, especially seeing Kotonoha break down like that. My girl and Kotonoha have aching similarities like being thoughtful, kind, enduring and caring. I actually apologized to my girlfriend after watching this anime. Sure got me.

    • I think it’s a good sign for anime fan when he can personally relate to the story in the anime. ^^
      I do not read VN but I believe I heard someone said that the VN contained several possible endings, most of which were quite happy.

  24. Alright just imagine its the summer holidays at midnight during this time i was 11 i started getting curios about romance anime and i found school days it looked good but when i finished it i was a bit freaked out especially since i didnt understand what was really happening in the story I got over it but i got the habit of always looking at, at least 5 websites saying what the genre is before i watch anything :P

  25. Just finished it, I thought it was too forced all around. The beginning felt rushed, I didn’t know anything about this guy nor did I care when he started showing feelings for the first girl within a minute of the first episode… In fact, I didn’t care for any of the characters. I was bored almost the entire time, only finished it because I read the ending is messed up, which I agree with; still didn’t really care though and it’s not that bad if you’ve watched shows like Blood +. But damn, was that guy a moron… Same with the girls… So much so it was annoying. Probably the worst anime I’ve watched yet.

  26. To the contrary, Makoto is actually quite a realistic character. School days for me was a fresh breath of air from the happy-ending style Harem animes, it shows the bear-gritty truth of what a real love triangle is, and is what one leads too.

    The reason I can really relate to school days is because I actually experienced what Makoto went through, save for the dieing, I almost died however.
    Being young (hell im only 19), we feel invincible, tomorrow doesn’t matter, and people come and go right?
    But even if people come and go, those emotional wounds scar and never truly fade. That is why no one should ever play with another’s heart or emotions.

    And from my view on things, many dudes DO not know how to handle their own emotions, thats why most death related incidents regarding relationships are usually the man killing his GF or his Ex.

    I will break it down, Makoto, like me, met a beautiful girl(Girl A), and turned her into a monster, why? i will explain

    I had a close friend (lets call her girl B), who i didn’t really have feelings for but it was vice versa for her, but eventually developed over time. but i was already in a relationship with girl A. Like Makoto was with Sekai. That is the biggest fault, and i knew how things would turn out. When someone develops feelings for you, and you’re already in a relationship the best thing to do is to simply let them go. That is the error that makoto or myself did not follow.
    If Makoto would have did what he did in episode 12, and “focused” on kotonoha, he would still have his head, his life, and friendship in 1 piece.

    Instead I continued to be friends with Girl B, gradually feelings continued to grow over the days, weeks and months. While still being with girl A. Eventually those feelings for girl A started to falter, and i started falling for girl B. There you go, a love triangle.

    eventually, girl A learned about girl B, and broke up with me, girl B who was still in love with me did not care, but i removed her from my life at that time, after awhile Girl A, then came back to me, because she was still in love with me, and i developed feelings for her. We stayed together for a few more months, but i still had my old ways.. Other girls started coming, and soon there was girl C, D, E.. and you get the idea, and all of them KNEW i had a gf but wanted to sleep with me anyways.

    long story short, girl A eventually broke up with me for real, i had hurt her far too much to really recover, she turned gay. Girl B came into my life again but eh..i walked back out on her.

    In the end, its all about self control and integrity. Makoto didn’t have it, he gave into far too much. But I dont blame him, not many guys his age know anything of the sorts at the time, until its too late.

    P.S my ex tried to kill me with a 9 MM Gun, with a hollow point round. It was either god, or dumb luck that she dropped the gun after the first shot.

    Moral of the story, dont mess with people feelings. To love someone means to cut yourself open, everything is bare, you’re vulnerable. Some people are strong enough to shrug it off, others aren’t and become suspectable to things they would normally not do, the emotional discharge is too strong for them to cope with and their minds warp.

    • Thank you for sharing!
      I can somewhat relate to your story but since I am the kind of person who deviates from the norm in social aspect. I might not fully understand or sympathize with Makoto as much.

      • It is totally fine. Many people are quick to jump to the gun that Makoto a douche bag, or a jerk. But in reality, he was just a victim to a experience of life he had never taken part in. Many of the girls allowed him to exploit this for a factor (i.e The four some he had in episode 11). He was just as confused as anyone would be, and truly didn’t know what he was doing wrong.

  27. Finally after 1 hour of reading more than 10 different review of websites for this anime i got to say this review site is pretty decent ^^ and i am very impress that Canne took the time to reply to everyone’s comment

    The truth is if we put ourselves in Makoto position , most of us would definately make the same mistake ( i am not saying he is right but yes he did alot of awful things but thats who we are we human make alot mistake all the time )
    And i got to say i feel abit sad for Kotonoha , I tought that she recovered from her insanity after Matoko loved her back :( too bad she dint

    I hope they can continue making another story for Kotonoha sake or else some cute animals out there will get punched in the face ^^ Just kidding

    • Thank you for reading!
      I am now somewhat shaken by the number of people who sympathize with Makoto and Kotonoha. Maybe I was me who had to rewatch the show with better judgement. Nevertheless, like I said in the review, I think the anime intentionally display the worst possible scenario. And I admire it for that :)

  28. srry i could not think of a name other than this ;p

  29. I just finished watching this Anime. Halfway through the anime I was feeling irritated, but then again I was strangely attracted. I agree with everything Canne said. It’s different from normal school anime, and started realizing that when this damn f*cking stupid Makoto guy started doing it with every girl the Anime showed. And the girls also seemed somewhat stupid to me. It’s definitely sickness inducing, I didn’t feel this much sick even after watching Black Lagoon. But the ending was quite good from my point of view.
    One thing I didn’t understand ( nobody asked anything about that, guess everyone understood, so i’m feeling a little stupid here, please don’t laugh :D ) Was Sekai pregnant or not?

    • Thank you for the comment.
      I am afraid my memory of the specific details of this anime was fading. But as far as I recalled, I think Sekai was not pregnant but she tricked Makota to think she was. I am honestly not sure. (-_-)

  30. I personally liked School Days. I related to it because I’ve been in both Sekai and Kotonoha’s shoes. My personality is like Kotonoha’s; but like Sekai, I’ve played matchmaker with my school crush and a friend. It was painful, but I didn’t come on to him while he was dating her. I’ve met and dated guys just like Makoto. Genuinely good hearted men, but more concerned with sleeping around than having an honest relationship. With most guys at that age one just isn’t enough, especially when their main girl doesn’t “put out”.

    I hated the blatant disrespect shown to Kotonoha not only by Makoto, but by majority of the cast. I raged every time they looked at her with disdain and disbelief to her claims of a relationship with him. The stupidity of the all characters is almost mind-boggling. The way they handled certain situations was just plain dumb. There were times I found myself almost screaming at my laptop or banging my head against the wall for someone, anyone, to come forth and try to get the whole truth. The final scenes were surprising to say the least. Although seeing her with that butcher knife, we could all tell what was about to transpire (you don’t use a knife to make tea ).Overall it was good for what it was. A soap opera about a high school romance gone horribly wrong.

    @Nadib Akram to help answer your question more clearly, Sekai was not pregnant. She thought she was because of the nausea and skipped period; which was actually caused from the stress of Sesuna leaving and finding out that Makoto had been with Otome. People assume Sekai is lying because of what Kotonoha says in the final scene, and also she doesn’t go to the hospital Kotonoha recommends to get help (as well as proof). Mind you what Kotonoha said is what she theorize, not truth. I watched the last episode twice to fully understand wtf happened.

    • Thank you for sharing. My high school experience was apparently much more conservative than yours. That’s why I could not personally related to Makoto’s life like you did. And you are not alone in having the urge to bang the your head to the wall while watching the show. >_>

      ps. thank you for the clarification on Sekai’s pregnancy :)

  31. Thank you very much for your replies :)
    @Canne and Jae-Nicole

    • I must thank you Canne for the excellent review. It was on point without being too revealing; and not hate filled like several others (I get they hated it, but wow). I agree on giving it a C+.

      As for Sekai, it was no problem. I’m glad I was able to help :)

  32. Seriously, does anybody here live in the real world? This show is extremely realistic. The only difference is its set in a country where females are like dominant and guys are uptight assholes who apologize for everything. Ill come right out with it. Im a fucking dick. Ive slepr with countless women and ive regretted nothing. The only thing thata unrealistic.about this show is the prudery throughout the show. Im.from california where girls trade vagina for favors so when i hear all this: “this is so unrealistic.” I say this is just a charicature of the.effects of asian prudery and lack of caution. In the end i felt bad for makoto. He was just dumb and horny. Aint we all?

  33. first of all let me preface this by saying I’m from.america and.im from new.york. Sex.is.just.peanuts.to us. We dont.care. if I sleep with you don’t expect me to become your boyfriend unless i expressly say so beforehand. Makotos character is only stupid due.ti sexual repression and prudishness. These are the real enemies in school days. That and the.fact that he didnt.know what love was. What younger boy actually.does? Im still ify on that subject. But.guys like amd need sex. So im the end i felt bad for poor derpy makoto

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. My opinion, and many others’, were based on our various different backgrounds and were no way definite. :)

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