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