Reviews of yesteryear: School Days

School Days is one of those anime that I was asked to review because one of my lovely fans wants to see me chastise it in the name of intellectualism. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to. I haven’t watched it yet, so I could find that I actually enjoy it. After all, there have been anime I’ve been asked to review on the grounds that “they’re amazing” that were incapable of standing up to scrutiny. The reverse is liable to happen eventually. Still waiting for that to happen, actually. What I’m getting at is that I’m not going to go into this expecting it to be bad. It might very well be, but there’s also the possibility that it will be good. The anime is based off of a visual novel. It was handled by TNK, the studio behind Kannazuki no Miko, Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora, Hand Maid May and some stuff I’ve never seen. Let’s take a look and see if it’s as bad or better than I’ve been told.

The plot… I’m not sure how deeply I can get into details without giving spoilers for this one, honestly. There’s a student in secondary school named Makoto who has a crush on a quiet girl, Kotonoha, he always sees reading. A girl who sits next to him, Sekai, offers to help him start a relationship with Kotonoha. At first it seems like it’s going to be a typical and kind of boring teenage romance, but it rapidly spirals downwards, becoming progressively stupider and more soap operaesque as the series continues. On the plus side, it has a brilliantly tragic ending that legitimately makes you feel for the characters. Wait… I was thinking of Wolf’s Rain. School Days has an unintentionally hilarious ending that’s supposed to be tragic. Let’s just say that bad things happen to terrible characters and the execution is absurdly over the top. The writers apparently didn’t know that the characters have to be at least somewhat sympathetic or interesting in order for the audience to care what befalls them.

You can probably guess where I’m going to go with the character discussion based on the preceding paragraph. The characters in this are awful. Makoto is one of the most despicable characters you’ll ever see in the lead role of a harem anime. On the plus side, the dynamic between the main two female characters is brilliantly written and develops very organically, culminating in a very adorable scene. Wait, I was thinking of El Cazador de la Bruja. The female characters in School Days represent one-note misogynistic stereotypes. I probably don’t even have to say this, but they’re all dumber than your average origami crane. Most of them serve little purpose aside from being objectified by the narrative. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every character in this is horrible and/or stupid. The dynamics are just ridiculous. With the female characters blaming each other whenever Makoto does something terrible. Right up until the end. Which is pretty insulting to men too, implying that we men can’t be held responsible for our own actions, we’re just mindless beasts who have to be tamed and controlled.

The art in this is pretty meh. It looks like a kind of standard school life anime. Nothing really stands out in it except for the amazingly drawn tanks. And those fight scenes are just… Wait, that’s Girls und Panzer. Yeah, there’s nothing special about the art in School Days. The biggest problem it has is the excessive fan-service. Which is frequently used to pad out scenes or in pointless still shots.

The voice acting in this doesn’t really stand out. Kawagari Shiho’s performance stood out more in Koihime Musou, and she played a character whose shtick was being thoroughly unremarkable. The voice acting isn’t bad, but it’s not good either. The music is just largely forgettable.

The yuri factor in this is pretty high. The pink haired android and the girl with the glasses are an excellent couple with… Wait, that’s Steel Angel Kurumi 2. Sorry, keep getting side-tracked thinking of better anime. School Days doesn’t have any yuri. The yuri factor is a 1/10.

Before we move on to the final rating, I’m going to take a moment to discuss what School Days might have been about. From least to most likely, here are four things that could have been the point of the series. 1. Men are terrible and women should go forth and be lesbians. This is a possible theme for the series, but it’s not very likely since it doesn’t have any les-yay and the female characters are almost as bad as the male ones. 2. People are just terrible and stupid as a group and they should be exterminated. This one’s also pretty unlikely, unless School Days is a Dalek propaganda piece, but it could be the point. I certainly found myself thinking about the worst aspects of humanity while watching it. 3. The whole thing is a PSA against teenage sex. It certainly is possible given the Japanese cultural stigma attached to teenage sex and the content. 4. It’s just a bad soap opera and has no point. That’s most probable.

One of these days someone is going to want me to chastise something in the name of intellectualism and I’m not going to, because it’ll actually be something good, but this is not that day. This day I grab my red pen, adjust my spectacles and chastise away. School Days is awful. The main character is horrible and the secondary characters are all obnoxious morons. the story wouldn’t be out of place in a bad soap opera and it was so uninteresting overall that I kept thinking about other, better anime. Even while just talking about it. My final rating is a 2/10 for excessive stupidity. I can really only suggest watching it if you like soap operas about exceedingly dumb people.

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