[Review] School Days

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[Review] School Days

Postby MrDisco » January 8th, 2009, 8:38 am

After a very long hiatus I got back on the anime kick (we'll blame Rebuild of Evangelion for that). On a whim I decided to watch School Days, a short 12 episode series based on the adult Visual Novel. Makoto Itou is the main character, a young man in year one at school who's quite aloof and awkward around girls. During his daily rides on the train he secretly gazes on Kotonoha Katsura, a beautiful year one student who is very shy and demure. To round out our love triangle we have Sekai Saionji, an energetic classmate who plays matchmaker for Itou and Katsura.

So far so good. We've got our typical love-triangle romantic comedy right? Err...

The story progresses with Itou finally getting the courage to ask Katsura out, who much to his surprise is also interested in Itou. However after a few dates Itou becomes frustrated by Katsura's reticence and inability to reciprocate his sexual advances. Itou finally reaches his breaking point and announces to Saionji it's too hard being with Katsura. Saionji, who of course wants Itou, tries to help him by showing him how girls want to be treated (i.e. instead of going for the grope, be more gentle). These 'training sessesions' end up with the two sleeping together. From there the story makes a very sharp turn and devolves into a twisted tale of betrayal, sex-addiction, bullying, pregnancy, and psychosis all leading up to a truly shocking ending.

By about episode 5 to 11 the anime had me completely turned off. I hated Itsou with a passion and all the secondary characters were equally as annoying. The only one I cared about was Katsura due to the way Itsou and her classmates treat her. Episode 12 however changed my opinion of the show.

Major spoilers:
When the dust has settled we're left with our three main characters right back where they started. Saionji meets Itsou at his apartment to talk about her trip to the abortion clinic. Seeing the dinner she had made him lying in the trash causes her to snap, and in what was a brilliant setup, distracts Itou with a text message and proceeds to repeatedly stab him with a butcher knife. Saionji flees the apartment when moments later Katsura sees the dead body on the floor. Katsura later calls Saionji up to the school rooftop where she accuses her of making up the pregnancy in order to keep Itsou. Saionji pulls out the butcher knife in self defense, but Katsura is faster and slices her with serrated saw. Katsura then proceeds to cut open her uterues to confirm that she wasn't pregnant. Oh and did I mention Katsura also severed Itsou's head and brought it with her in a gym bag? The show ends with Katsura finally getting her time alone with Itsou on her yacht - only it's just his head and she's cradling it on the deck
The End.

I don't know what to think of this show. Despite the bright colours and the seemingly comedic nature of the plot, this is NOT for kids. I don't really recommend it as the characters are truly loathsome and the plot is something we've all seen countless times before. However the shocking ending may just be enough to entice you. And for those who like detail, watch the DVD version of ep.12 as it shows a little bit more vs the episode that was aired. There are also 2 OVAs that I believe are light-hearted gags, but I haven't watched them to verify.
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