School Days Complete TV Series Blu Ray [Blu-ray]
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Makoto Ito's in his first year of high school and looking for a girlfriend. He thinks he's found the jackpot in Kotonoha Katsura, but isn't sure of how to make the approach. His classmate, the equally pretty Sekai Saionji, thinks she has the answer and offers to help bring the two together. At first, Makoto eagerly accepts, but as Sekai's offers become increasingly advanced, his feelings begin to waver - and not just in her direction. Making matters worse, all the girls professing a newfound interest in him seem to be a little bit... off. Adapted from the hit Visual Novel and directed by Keitaro Motonaga (Jormungand, Majikoi), School Days is a suspenseful look at what happens when playing the field takes a turn for the worse. Controversial enough to require postponing broadcast in favor of a nice boat, School Days goes where most high school romances wouldn't dare!
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Top Customer Reviews
School Days is truly the very definition of a Love It/Hate It split among anyone who's seen it.
No one watches School Days and says, "Well, it was alright, I guess." Nah, it's more along the lines of "F*** THIS TRASH HOW CAN ANYONE LIKE THIS" or going on a forum and asking "Is there anything else like this?" I'm of the latter group, and to my knowledge, there really isn't anything like it, or at least as competent at what it sets out to do.
Here's what you really need to know: The very innocently- and blandly-titled School Days is a deconstruction of the harem romance genre. It starts out as a generic "guy wants girl, guy finds other girls in the process who all want him" sort of thing. Usually these things end with the male protagonist picking one girl for whatever reason, they hook up for good, and the clear message is that everything's going to be all right.
School Days doesn't give half a damn about accomplishing anything of that sort. It's out to do the exact opposite. It's also prepared to demonstrate to you how stupid harem romance comedies can be by showing you one...possible outcome if that sort of thing starts to happen.
Its characters are designed to be more than just unlikable. They're meant to be covertly *loathsome*. That is, it's not immediately clear that anyone's a bad person in this show. Then you get to know a few of them in ways you may wish you hadn't, and the more the series progresses, the more it's demonstrated how secretly damaged and destructive many of them are capable of being.
Part of what separates School Days from pretty much everything else is that everyone in this story (including many minor characters) wholeheartedly believes they're the protagonist. And if you think about it from their point of view, they very well could convince you they truly are. Not one character believes themselves to be malicious at all, and that their actions are justified, given how far they've been pushed and the circumstances in which they've been placed. Everyone has a goal in mind, and their goal is genuinely a noble one.
But not everyone can get their happy ending when what's needed for one character's happy ending is also needed by another character for *their* happy ending. They can't all be the main character--the protagonist--and they can't all have their happy ending typically reserved for the protagonist, even if they just want it so badly, it hurts, and it breaks their hearts that they aren't given special treatment. Everyone really does have good intentions and they sincerely do want a happily-ever-after ending without anyone being hurt, but when those goals are threatened, they push their own morals a little. And then, when that doesn't work, they push them a little more. And then a little more. For some characters, their internal struggle with cognitive dissonance is traumatizing in itself. And every self-believed protagonist is willing to go to any length to get their "good ending".
That said, this is part tragedy, part horror by the end of its 12 episodes, with an infamously brutal end that, with downright admirable aesthetic precision, is truly horrifying. It can be downright painful to watch, yet is also compelling in the same way, much like being unable to tear your eyes away from footage of blank-eyed survivors in communities after natural disasters.
It sets out to basically trap the unknowing viewer into a false sense of security, then in its second half, does the sadistic equivalent of taking a child's doll away, then pulling off its limbs in front of them, before tossing them all back in a heap, then saying, "What did you learn?"
And while opinions differ, I consider it *unrivaled* in the premise it creates and executes. I can't overstate this: If you like watching horror-tragedy anime in a realistic school setting, this is the Gold Standard for it.
"...the sooner you do it, the easier it will be on your body."
This show is based off of the wonderful School Days visual novel that is on PC. It faithfully adapts the "worst end" route of the game into a 12-episode series. Due to this, the characters are portrayed how they would be in that route of the visual novel. It is worth noting that the visual novel only has 4 bad endings out of a possible 20 or so. Why they went with the *worst* ending is beyond me but I'm glad they did, as it was the biggest breath of fresh air and one of the best deconstructions of the harem/romance genre to hit anime in years.
Without giving many spoilers, the protagonist, Makoto, follows the typical harem plot: Guy has crush on girl, suddenly GIRLS EVERYWHERE want him. Where this show deviates is how those interactions affect everyone. In most shows the protagonist just inadvertently fondles the breast of whoever he wants and no one bats an eye, even his harem. In School Days, the girls get deeply hurt by Makoto's harem action instead of the nonsensical, cartoony stuff you'd find in something like Love Hina. There's a consequence for his actions. This is what sets it apart and makes it great. If you're sick of the obnoxious harem plots with loser protagonists getting the hottest women on the planet after him while he dates them all with no consequence, School Days is what you're looking for.
Watching this a second time, I'm in awe of how much I sincerely like School Days. It's different. It's unique. It's captivating. It's moving. It digs into your soul and invigorates deeply-set emotions. Rarely can I say I've been emotionally affected by a piece of entertainment; School Days is one of those rare treats.
It's not perfect at all. A few plot elements are used strictly to add melodrama, and the ending is slightly more radical than realistic. Nonetheless, it's a refreshing, candid, subtle, and relatable show that poignantly demonstrates what "NOT" to do during your teenage years, haha!
Some sort of commentary by the original creators (like Sentai Filmworks did for Ninja Scroll) would've been highly insightful, but alas, no go here. You get the original 12 episodes, English in subtitles only, and an extra spin-off episode tagged along with it. Suggestion is to stream it first; if you like it, this is a fair price for the series. :-)