For our special weekly topic, “The Connection,” I picked an anime that a majority of anime fans have a great dislike for. The anime I am talking about is School Days.
How did I even hear about School Days?
One day, my friends and I were talking about the latest anime we have watched. Someone brought up, School Days. At the time, the only thing I knew about School Days was that it is based on an adult visual novel game created by 0verflow in 2005. Well, my friend recommended us to watch it without reading any spoilers. Some of my friends just read the episode summaries, skipped all the “action” and “finer details” and watched the last episode. I upheld the request, and watched it from beginning to end. While most of my friends didn’t suffer, I was one of the unfortunate souls that did.
If you haven’t seen School Days, don’t. It will ruin your morals and perception of what is good and right in the world. However, if you are curious, I’ll give you a quick summary of what it is about. A high school boy, Makoto Ito has a crush on his classmate, Kotonoha Katsura, a cute and soft-spoken girl who rides the same train as him to and from school. It so happens that his deskmate, Sekai Saionji, notices Makoto’s feelings for Kotonoha and decides to help them get together.
Eventually, Sekai becomes jealous of their relationship and starts to have feelings for Makoto. Sekai pursues Makoto while he is dating Kotonoha. Not only does Makoto form relationships with Sekai and Kotonoha, he becomes a sex addict and sleeps around with other girls.
Yeah, this is a lot of information to take in if you haven’t watch the anime, sorry about that. Now on a side note, if you are interested in watching this anime after reading my summary, I suggest that you stop reading this post right now because there will be spoilers. If not, then continue reading.
A Negative Impression of the Characters
My annoyance towards this anime is mostly from the characters’ lack of morals and poor decision-making skills. I think every character is at fault for the problems they have created for themselves and everyone else. For this post though, I would like to focus on the three main characters: Makoto Ito, Sekai Saionji, and Kotonoha Katsura. These characters created many unnecessary problems for themselves. Furthermore, the ending didn’t seem to resolve any of these issues.
In the beginning of the anime, Makoto Ito is presented as a composed and well-mannered high school student. He has good relationships with his classmates. However, it is when he starts a relationship with Kotonoha that his personality changes. Two people in a relationship should have mutual feelings for each other, and slowly develop some intimacy. One shouldn’t rush these emotions, but Makoto seems to do so. He tries to move the relationship into a more sexual stage, which causes Kotonoha to feel insecure and uncomfortable. Since Makoto is not getting the attention he wants, he ends up having sexual affairs with other girls.
In one argument, someone could say that Makoto is an innocent bystander, who just happened to be manipulated into having an affair with Sekai. One could further state that Sekai caused Makoto to become interested in sex. Makoto is innocent and has no experience in love. Thus, it is Sekai’s bad influence that made Makoto into a sex addict.
Another way we can look at this is that Makoto may have already had these “sinful” thoughts in his mind even before he started dating Kotonoha. We could also make the assumption that the lack of parental guidance may be a huge factor towards why Makoto acts a certain way. A lack of a father figure, and a mother that isn’t around could suggests that Makoto does not know how to treat women or how to maintain a good romantic relationship with someone.
Now I agree that Sekai may have tempt Makoto into committing infidelity, but one shouldn’t characterize Makoto as completely innocent to the extent that he is not capable of knowing what is morally right and wrong. In fact, as a high school student, Makoto should be intelligent enough to have some moral reasoning and common sense in him. However, it seems that Makoto ignores these moral values, and instead chooses a more sinful path. Furthermore, it is his incapability to commit to someone, that annoys me. If a person is incapable of taking care or making wise decisions for himself or herself, he or she shouldn’t even consider being in a relationship in the first place.
As for Sekai Saionji, she needs a crash course on what it means to be a friend and a girlfriend. One could understand that it is a true act of kindness to try to help your “friends” get together. However, she seems to try to be the center of attention and get in-between Makoto and Kotonoha’s relationship. Ruining your friend’s relationship isn’t a “friend-thing” to do. Every girl would consider that a threat because you are secretly having an affair with your friend’s boyfriend behind her back.
It is later revealed that she has feelings for Makoto. We cannot stop our hearts from liking someone, even though our brains would tell us other wise. Personally, I think that if Sekai likes Makoto, she should have been more direct about it to him, and confess her feelings rather than helping someone else be with the guy she likes. I understand the concept: “if you help the person you love, you will also be happy” because seeing your loved one happy, makes you happy. However, that conceptual idea can only be applied to a certain degree. For this situation, Sekai isn’t happy about Makoto and Kotonoha’s relationship, which leads her to act out in jealousy and selfishness.
Although at a time, she seems to manipulate Makoto and Kotonoha in her favor, Sekai eventually becomes a pawn of Makoto because of her feelings for him. Sekai is willing to do anything for him. Yet it is when Makoto leaves her for Kotonoha despite being pregnant with his child that Sekai realizes how cruel and selfish Makoto can be.
Sekai may have been the instigator of ruining Makoto and Kotonoha’s relationship, but she is also a victim of Makoto’s sinful behavior and actions. One could consider this a sign of karma against her. Sekai uses unfaithful methods to break Makoto and Kotonoha up, in order to have Makoto all to herself. However, Sekai’s plans backfire when Makoto decides to not take responsibility for Sekai and their soon-to-be born child, and instead ask for forgiveness and try to rekindle his romance with Kotonoha.
Kotonoha Katsura plays the victim role. The audience could feel sorry for her and pinpoint Makoto and Sekai as the antagonists. Kotonoha becomes heart-broken due to Makoto’s infidelity. She could be considered a “love-sick” fool because she let her love drama and sadness ruin her everyday life.
Although I have sympathy and pity for her, I feel like she is characterized to be too passive and weak. She allowed a boy to ruin her whole life basically, and started to have self-doubt, when all she needed to do is move-on. If a boy cheats on you, don’t go back to him. It isn’t worth the struggle to fight for him since he doesn’t seem to be seriously interested in you from the start. The only time I felt that Kotonoha definitely deserves some sympathy is when Taisuke forces himself on her during the school festival bonfire. Now Kotonoha is already upset that Makoto is dancing with Sekai at the bonfire, but I think Taisuke made matters worse by pursuing Kotonoha without her consent. Now, Taisuke may have heard some rumors that Kotonoha and Makoto are no longer together, but that doesn’t give him the right to force himself onto Kotonoha, who is defenseless.
As you can see, my annoyance and dislike for this anime mostly came from the immature decisions and lack of common sense within the main characters. Maybe it is the lack of parents and mature adult guidance that made these characters act the way they are, but as high school students, they should have the knowledge to know what is morally right and wrong.
My Thoughts on the School Days‘ Ending
Now I am going to warn you readers again that if you don’t want to know the ending and are thinking of watching it, stop reading this article right now. Yet if you are curious, please continue reading.
Before, I discuss the ending of School Days, I would first like to mention the controversial aspect about the anime’s finale. At the time when the last episode of School Days was to air in Japan, there was a sudden tragic incident where a sixteen year-old girl murdered her forty-five year-old father with an ax (The Japan Times, 2007). In light of that event, the School Days‘ finale was delayed because the anime’s content deemed too violent to show on television. One network, TV Kanagawa decided to fill the School Days‘ time slot with a montage of scenery pictures, such as an image of the Norwegian M/S Skagastøl, while the music of August Wilhelmj’s “Air on the G String” played in the background (Wikipedia).
This anime has an interesting ending. The show concludes with a solution that is more of an “easy way out” as oppose to really solving everyone’s problems. In fact, nothing seems to resolve, and the viewers are left with this unsatisfied feeling.
If you want to know what happens on the last episode, I will sum it up for you. Sekai believes that Makoto will be faithful to her now because she is carrying his child. However, Makoto does not stop his womanizing ways, and he ends up asking for forgiveness to Kotonoha. Makoto and Kotonoha end up kissing each other right in front of Sekai’s very eyes. Soon after, Makoto instructs Sekai to get an abortion through text message.
Heart-broken and devastated, Sekai stabs Makoto several times with a kitchen knife at his apartment in an act of revenge. In order to avenge Makoto’s death, Kotonoha sends a text message using Makoto’s phone, and tells Sekai to meet her at the school roof top in the evening. At the roof top, Kotonoha presents Sekai with Makoto’s head, and then slits Sekai’s throat. Kotonoha also slits Sekai’s uterus open to confirm that there is no child in her body. Soon after, early in the morning, Kotonoha and Makoto’s head are on a boat sailing out to sea. Kotonoha cuddles Makoto’s head and proclaims that they can finally be together.
I am aware that I described some pretty graphic imagery. I am sorry for that, but that’s what basically happened. I think you can understand why I had a wide-eyed, shocked expression. After I recovered and processed what just happened, I instantly thought that Makoto and Sekai deserved to be killed. Yet, now that I think about it, do they really deserve that type of ending? Was it justified to kill Makoto and Sekai?
My answer to those questions are “no.” I think by killing off Makoto and Sekai, these immoral characters got an “easy way out” of their problems because they don’t have to suffer through any dilemmas or emotional pain they brought to others. Furthermore, none of the characters seem to learn anything from the mistakes they made. In fact, by ending their lives, they don’t have to worry about anything because they are dead.
In the last scene where you see the boat sailing into the sunrise, some of you may be thinking that she is literally going to commit necrophilia. I don’t see it that way. Instead, I think she is going to commit suicide. One could argue that it is a lover’s suicide. They are finally going to be together whether it is heaven, hell, or the next’s life. Yet if you believe in karma and fate, I think that these three characters’ lives are forever interlocked. Therefore, one could assume that in the next’s life, they will still be in a heated romance dispute.
The Moral Lesson in School Days is…?
I really didn’t enjoy this anime at all. However, if the anime has a moral lesson, I think the purpose would be to educate viewers about friendships and relationships. The foundation of any good relationship involves trust and communication. Clearly, there wasn’t any in this anime. Most of the characters were selfish and did things out of jealousy and anger. They didn’t care about other people’s feelings. Furthermore, each character made some horrible decisions based on poor communication and badly made assumptions. If the characters were more forward and direct about their feelings to other people, their problems could have been resolved more civilly. If there is no trust and there is always miscommunication between you and your partner, the relationship cannot last.
My connection with the anime, School Days, is a negative one. However, it resonates with me because I have such a strong reaction to it. This is actually the first time I ever wrote my thoughts and opinions about this anime. I watched it a long time ago, and I guess you could say I have like eight years of bottled up emotions and I’m finally letting all this steam and annoyance out in this post. In addition, School Days kind of change the way I see visual novels and harem anime, in which I became more cautious about what I watch.
If you want to watch or re-watch School Days, you can check it out on Crunchyroll.
Do you have any thoughts or impressions about School Days? I am curious if there is someone out there that really enjoyed this anime because most of the people I met actually hated School Days? If so, leave some comments.
“School Days (visual novel).” Wikipedia. Web. 16 Sept 2015.
“Schoolgirl murders father, defers final broadcast of School Days” (In Japanese.) Mainichi Shimbun. 19 Sept 2007. 16 Sept 2015.
“Teenage girl admits killing dad with an ax.” The Japan Times. 19 Sept 2007. 16 Sept 2015.