"If you keep the person you like on your cell-phone wallpaper for three weeks without anyone finding out, your feelings will be answered."
School Days is, at first glance, a romantic comedy in which the male protagonist, Makoto Itou, falls in love with Kotonoha Katsura, a girl at his high school who happens to travel with the same train he does. Since he is shy about approaching her, he gets help from Sekai Saionji, a girl in his class who turns out to be in love with him herself. Naturally, a love triangle ensues, testing the limits of everyone's feelings.The anime is an Animated Adaptation of an animated Visual Novel of the same name. Despite only three of the game's 21 endings being such, the game is infamous for its violent "bad endings", which include such things as Makoto's scorned ex-lovers goingsuicidal or downrightmurderous. The series starts out with a happy, innocent mood, but gradually becomes much darker and by the end plummets deep into the pits of despair, angst and violence.......and laughs, depending on how much you hated the main character by the end. Ultimately, the anime is like watching the worst ending possible on a visual novel.Sensitive, idiocy-intolerant or squeamish viewers, beware!The game was followed by two sequels. The first, Summer Days, is an Alternate Timeline prequel following Sekai's friend Setsuna in a What If? relationship with Makoto the summer before; a remake was released in 2012. The second, Cross Days, is a P.O.V. Sequel which runs parallel to the events of the first game, following a new character, Yuuki Ashikaga, who also has feelings for Kotonoha and thus becomes involved in the infamous love triangle, unwittingly setting off one of his own.There are also two OVA episodes, Valentine Days and Magical Heart Kokoro-chan, that exist in Alternate Continuities. Especially in the latter's case, which turns most of the main females into Sentai and/or Magical Girls with liberal amounts of randomness and School Days-style fanservice and gore.Finally, there's also a manga, which is much more family friendly than the anime. Makoto, much less of a Jerk Ass here, manages to resist Sekai for most of the run; when he finally gives in to temptation, he feels so bad about it that he is prepared to break up with her... until stuff happens. Almost more disturbing than the anime, in a subtle way. There's a manga adaptation for Cross Days as well, which follows Yuuki, the protagonist of the game, and which gets dubious props for somehow making Makoto even more of a jerk than he is in the anime. No, really.The "remastered" edition of the game, School Days HQ, was released in English by JASTUSA on June 28, 2012, and they have also obtained the license for Shiny Days. Discotek Media has licensed the anime to be released on June 24, 2014.
This show provides examples of:
Aerith and Bob: The series is known for its unusual names and their spelling way. Compare Kotonoha, Sekai, Kumi, Kokoro, Roka and Itaru to Makoto, Setsuna, Yuuki, Hikari, Nanami, Taisuke and the rest.
What if your significant other turned out to be sleeping with others behind your back?
What if you suddenly found out you were pregnant? Or that your partner tried to fake being pregnant in order to stop you breaking up with them?
Adults Are Useless: Most people's parents don't show up much, and the ones that do don't seem to notice how messed up their children can be. Kotonoha's parents apparently don't notice her descent into complete insanity (though her younger sister does). Sekai's mom, Youko, does offer some helpful advice in some routes, but then in Summer Days she has sex with Makoto, who is dating Sekai at that point, and then when Sekai catches them, Youko insists on a threesome.
All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game" : The anime is best known for its "Nice Boat" ending: In the final episode, Sekai goes Axe Crazy in a fairly literal sense, killing Makoto before being killed by Kotonoha in turn. A similar event happened in real life in Tokyo just days before, and the networks decided not to air the final episode in order to avoid any unfortunate parallels. Instead, they ran a half hour travel documentary that included one section about the Fjord1 ferry. Somebody from 4chan took a screen grab of the boat and labeled it "NICE BOAT".
Oddly enough, the last episode ends with Kotonoha hugging Makoto's severed head on a yacht NICE BOAT.
At the end of ~Magical Heart Kokoro-chan~ where it's spelled out for you on Kokoro's inflatable raft. See Ascended Meme and Memetic Mutation below.
Also see the Shout-Out at the end of ~Magical Heart Kokoro-chan~'.
Kadokawa run a 45 second video of a Nice Boat, the day that the first episode of Haruhi-Chan was supposed to be uploaded. The video had a message saying that they couldn't finish it on time. The episode was uploaded the next day.
Bait-and-Switch Credits: In the beginning of the anime, the OP seems fitting. Later on, it becomes so nauseatingly happy in contrast to the story that by the last episode, the show doesn't use the OP anymore, but just the "School Days"-Logo crashing like a destroyed sheet of glass.
Balanced Harem: Subverted, as casually spending time with all possible options turns out about as badly as humanly possible.
It is possible to achieve harem endings in the game. In the original, there were almost as many harem outcomes as Bad Ends. Remakes have continued adding more and more bad endings, making the harem progressively more difficult to achieve...
Beware the Nice Ones: Kotonoha is a sweet girl, if shy and withdrawn. Push her too far, however, and she goes off the deep end, resulting in her murdering Sekai or committing suicide. Outside of the bad endings, she proves herself to be quite capable of manipulation and other underhanded tactics on a level with the girls who bully her, all for the sake of keeping Makoto from leaving her.
Big Damn Heroes: In the game, Sekai's mother, of all people, in the "Bavarois" ending. Because of Kotonoha's manipulation, Sekai goes home crying thinking she'll never forgive Makoto for "cheating" on her. Makoto goes to her home and begs to be forgiven, but Sekai just tells him to leave. Then Sekai's mother arrives home with bavarois, noticing that Makoto has been sitting outside for hours thinking there's nothing good about himself. Makoto even refuses to go inside when Sekai's mother asks, so Sekai's mother calls him a "stubborn boyfriend" for turning down an invitation from a beautiful woman. That irritates Sekai who insists there's good things about him too...so, Sekai's mother asks, why doesn't Sekai give him the spare bavarois and tell him that? That causes Sekai and Makoto to reconcile sobbing that they love each other.
Big Screwed-Up Family: Makoto's family line seems to qualify. And it turns out that Makoto, through his womanizing father and grandfather, is related to almost all of the other cast members, so there's that.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing - Pretty much every single character. Roka, Yuuki and Setsuna seem to be the least affected, but even they are capable of rather questionable actions in certain routes. At least the local Girl Posse don't bother hiding their nastiness.
Black Blood: The broadcast version of the ending. The DVD version leaves all the blood in its red glory.
Book Ends: Episode 1 begins with an internal monologue by Makoto detailing his feelings for Kotonoha; the same speech is played over the post-credits scenes in Episode 12.
Breast Expansion: Episode 5, one character uses inflatable bikini inserts to give herself large breasts.
Brother-Sister Incest: In Summer Days, it's revealed that Shun Hazama is the father of Sekai, Setsuna, the Nijou girls, Inori and possibly Roka, and that their mothers are all his half sisters (except Natsuhi and Roka's mother). Since Makoto can have sex with Youko in Summer Days, this applies to him as well, since he is also Youko's half-brother. A lot of fans don't know this, mainly because, well...the game had a pretty limited release.
In the same game and in Snow Radish VacationTomaru Sawagoe is the father in six consecutive generations, the first one with his half-sister. Genetics hooray!
But Thou Must: No matter how well you try to treat Kotonoha, even if you only make choices that raise her relationship bar the entire way through, the two of you will break up at some point.
Character Exaggeration: In a general sense, all three main characters and most of the supporting cast undergo this in the anime adaptation, with their negative traits being dialed up to the point where they pretty much dominate their personalities (by contrast with the original visual novel, which on the whole gave them more Hidden Depths and realistic motivations). Again, fully intentional.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Sekai and Kotonoha can really take the cake on this one, depending on the path you take. For Kotonoha, it's taken Up to Eleven in Cross Days; she is completely intolerant of anyone she perceives as a threat to her and Makoto's relationship, and at some points not even Makoto is able to reason with her. Oddly averted with most of the other girls; they don't seem to mind that they're not the only ones he's banging, so long as they get some time with him.
Cruelty Is the Only Option: In the game, you will end up breaking someone's heart, period. It's actually impossible to go through the game without breaking up with Kotonoha at least once. If you try to prolong the inevitable...well, read the rest of this trope page.
Deconstruction: Arguably the main point of the series(and infact, the entire Overflow Universe) is to deconstruct the Harem Genre, h-game adaptation dramas, and other slice of life style romance anime series. This is every harem trope going horrifically wrong.
Long story short, it shows what could happen if a guy really did treat a group of young women that all had feelings for him like your typical h-game player treats the female characters of a game, if some of those women happened to be extremely unstable. Most real people wouldn't react like that. Some would.
Also, it makes it clear that someone pursuing solely his or her own pleasure with everyone in sight while paying no attention to the effects that's having on others is an immature, maladjusted jerkass.
AND it also deconstructs the female characters from Harem Genre and h-game from the various previous games of OVERFLOW themselves as well. If a girl puts up with THAT much shit solely to be with a guy who's really good in bed, it likely means she has serious mental/emotional problems.
The Manga, though fewer people die is still quite the downer. Although Makoto survives his injuries trying to protect Sekai from Kotonoha, he later learns that during his hospitalization Sekai has killed Kotonoha to be with him...
Earn Your Happy Ending: Kotonoha and Sekai's happiest endings can be seen as this. Probably "Two Lovers" as well, where if you play your cards right, Makoto ends up with both Kotonoha and Sekai as his lovers. They're all on good terms with each other and plan to celebrate Christmas together. The "earn" part of the Two Lovers happy ending comes into play because in order to achieve the "Two Lovers" ending, you have to play a path that causes Kotonoha and Sekai to corner Makoto on a rooftop and force him to pick a girl right then and there. And then you have to either let the timer run out on the choice or pick Sekai, because picking Kotonoha at that particular point will get Makoto eventually stabbed in the stomach by Sekai.
Also the case in the Cross Days manga. Yuki and Roka go through quite a lot of crap, but they end up together, and Yuki realizes that what's going on with Makoto and his girlfriend(s) isn't anything he's obligated to involve himself in: he has to take care of his own emotional needs, too.
In the first episode of the anime, Makoto exposits on a supposed love charm activated by keeping your crush's picture as you cell phone wallpaper. We hear him think, "What bullshit," in an unpleasant tone right before he tries to delete his picture of Kotonoha.
Contrast this especially with the equivalent scene in the original visual novel, where he's more despairing than skeptical and is genuinely upset when Sekai almost accidentally breaks the charm by peeking — and her following question about whether he's taking it seriously is the game's first player decision point, making it an Establishing Character Moment in more ways than one.
Even Evil Has Standards: Sure, ALL the girls in the 10th grade are spreading like peanut butter for Makoto and each don't mind in the least that they're not the only one; but they all drew the line at Makoto loudly and publicly abandoning his unborn child and collectively dropped him like a sack of shit.
Ironically, Makoto himself has standards by standing up for Kotonoha against Otome'sGirl Posse in one game ending. He did the same thing when Setsuna was being bullied; that's why Setsuna fell in love with him. So at least being a bully hunter is a consistent standard of Makoto's.
Everyone Is Related: Tomaru is his name, Sawagoe or Itou can be his family name depending on the setting, he fathered six generations, and made almost everyone in the Overflow universe related in one way or another.
In the games, Kotonoha or Sekai or neither, depending on the player's choices. Kotonoha can end up murdering Sekai with a saw in one ending; in another, Kotonoha first makes Makoto promise to date Kotonoha if Sekai breaks up with him, then she manipulates Sekai into breaking up with Makoto by showing her a cell phone picture of what looks like Makoto cheating on her with Kotonoha without providing Sekai with the context. Sekai can end up stabbing Makoto with a knife or pushing Kotonoha into the path of a train. Sekai also has one in the anime as well, she's the one who murders Makoto by deliberately misleading him with a cell phone message and then stabbing him in his own home.
Fan Disservice: The anime's conclusion is rife with this. First we have Sekai finally snapping and stabbing Makoto to death with a kitchen knife, while sitting on his chest and with her panties being visible almost the entire time. And then there's Sekai's murder at the hands of Kotonoha, who is splattered with Sekai's blood and wearing quite a short skirt as she takes up her saw and slices open the other girl's stomach to check for a fetus.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Sekai and Setsuna hold this dynamic, with Sekai as the foolish one and Setsuna as the responsible one. Interestingly, this was reversed among their mothers, with Youko being the responsible one, and Mai as the foolish one.
From Bad to Worse: In the anime, and certain routes in the original visual novel. Misunderstanding compounds misunderstanding, ultimately resulting in at least one death, and often two.
Generation Xerox: On further searching for information on this anime/manga/Visual Novel... It turns out Sekai and Setsuna's dad is Makoto's half older brother, and in one Marry Them All ending of the visual novel Makoto does the same thing his brother does and gets the girls pregnant. This time though they don't try to kill each other because they both realized they love Makoto but rather both decide to tell Makoto the wonderful news at the same time.
Goes back even further with Setsuna's and Sekai's grandmother, Hatsuka, who was involved with Tomaru's numerous affair and "backstabbed" Kagura, her bestfriend, by becoming sexually involved with him.
Genre Shift: Starts as a light-hearted and slightly ecchi comedy, finishes as a big melodrama. And in the final episode, it turns into slasher horror...
Girl Posse: Otome's friends Minami, Kumi and Natsumi are a really nasty and cruel version. By the end of the series their Alpha Bitch, Otome, ends up as being less bitchy than them.
Gone Horribly Right: Sekai really, really wanted to be with Makoto. And look what all it led to...
Good Girls Avoid Abortion: In the anime, after Sekai tells Makoto she's pregnant, he pressures her to get an abortion simply because all the other girls he's been sleeping with refuse to have anything to do with him since he abandoned the girl he got pregnant. In other words, the concept of an abortion is used to drive home what a total Jerkass he is.
Inverted in the Visual Novel. Sekai wants to keep her baby, but is totally fine with lying about Makoto being the father, when it might actually be Taisuke's. Makoto, on the other hand, at the very worst is just scared at the possibility of being a father (player has choice of him being happy). Even when he finds out about not being the father, he is willing to stay with Sekai, if she gets an abortion. He asks her to choose between him and the child of another man. Only when she refuses does he dump her. At this point, Sekai will murder either Makoto(if you claim that the baby is Taisuke's) or Kotonoha.
In Cross Days, no matter which path you take after Yuki gets involved with Ai, the latter will not go through abortion and instead either Yuki takes the responsibility or claims that the baby is Makoto's, or in the true ending, transfers away to raise the baby on her own and let Yuki and Makoto be happy with their own respective love interests.
Gorn: In addition to all of the High-Pressure Blood in the bad game ends and the end of the anime, the anime had Kotonoha slice and pry Sekai's stomach open, blood everywhere, with an "inside looking out" camera shot, which, aside from some fleshy strands still attached, wasn't too too bad in the TV broadcast, but then the Nausea Fuel gets cranked up even more as the DVD edition did away with the Black Blood, so you can make out all the textures and stuff.Seriously nasty.
Gratuitous English: The logo has the tagline "In the school, the three guys met. Their relation had been changed in the season, and turned into three love stories."Better translation "Three individuals met in high school. Their relationship has changed in the course of one season. These events are turned into three separate love stories."
Grey and Grey Morality: Despite what some of the more rabid fans of any given pairing may tell you, there's really no "good" or "evil" characters in the game or the anime. They're all just a bunch of teen-aged high school students who end up making increasingly poor choices without really thinking things through. And then some of them go insane.
Guide Dang It: The original School Days visual novel, as well as School Days HQ, can be like this. The biggest problem is that because Makoto is indecisive and waffles too much, some of the choices the player makes can be counter-intuitive since Makoto might screw up a choice the player would handle better in real life. Compounding the problem, just like in real life, not everything is under the player's control and the love interests sometimes make bad decisions Makoto has nothing to do with. For both reasons, the player has to consult a walkthrough/guide for the right choices to make (or not make; yes, sometimes the "correct" response is to let the "choice timer" run out and have Makoto stammer and say nothing). Some examples of both include:
Early in the game, after a lunch date with Kotonoha goes poorly since Makoto ended up talking more with Sekai, Sekai persuades Makoto to go apologize to Kotonoha. The player has two options: "I'm sorry" or "Was lunch boring for you?" Most Kotonoha fans would pick "I'm sorry," but if you do that, Makoto just blurts out "I'm sorry, that's all" and leaves, and Kotonoha misunderstands and thinks Makoto was apologizing for even asking her out. That puts Makoto further along the Sekai path. Kotonoha fans should actually pick "Was lunch boring for you?"
There's another lunch date example, later in the game on a Sekai path, where Makoto has promised that he and Sekai will tell Kotonoha the truth about Makoto and Sekai going out. But if you actually pick the option where Makoto tries to flat-out tell Kotonoha the truth, Sekai will get cold feet and interrupt, talking about how good the lemonade Kotonoha made is.
If the player is trying for the "Two Lovers" ending, then eventually Kotonoha and Sekai will corner Makoto on a rooftop and force him to choose which one of them he wants to have sex with. Guide Dang It comes into play because Makoto is one choice away from either ending up with both women as his lovers or getting murdered. And believe it or not, the correct response in this particular scene is to pick Sekai, despite how sympathetic Kotonoha usually is, because if you're on the path where you can get to "Two Lovers," then the sum total of Makoto's actions has actually hurt Sekai worse and she the one who needs reassurance to prevent herself from falling into despair. If you pick Kotonoha in this scene, you'll get "To My Children" where Sekai not only crosses the Despair Event Horizon, but she totally loses it and stabs Makoto with a knife on the beach. But there's an unexpected kindness, too: if you let the choice timer run out in this particular scene, Makoto will choose correctly.
Jerk Ass: Makoto, Makoto, Makoto...and oh yeah, MAKOTO! Mostly in the anime, though: in the game, you can take or leave. Otome's Girl Posse, though not Otome herself, take this Up to Eleven.
Taisuke also counts, as he takes advantage of Kotonoha and is (at least vocally) more perverted then Makoto. In the visual novel, he usually doesn't intend to be a jerk but has the Idiot Ball firmly embedded.
Karma Houdini: Otome's "friends" get away with bullying Kotonoha, sexing up Makoto behind Otome and Sekai's backs and, in the anime, exhibiting a tape that shows Nanami and her boyfriend having sex, ruining her reputation at school. Makoto's best friend Taisuke also gets clean away with raping Kotonoha at the school festival. Hell, Minami takes the cake in Cross Days by took advantage of feud between Otome and Kotonoha and make Makoto her boyfriend!
The same trope could be applied to Kotonoha in the last episode of the anime, unless you consider her descent into utter madness to be karma.
Makoto himself in the Visual Novel, aside from the bad endings.
Also in the VN, this applies to the girl who murders either Makoto or her rival. Usually in these cases, the game ends just after the deed is done.
And in the manga, Sekai gets away with murdering Kotonoha.
Kassanoin. Just him. Subverted in Shiny Days.
Laser-Guided Karma: Nanami's, Hikari's and Setsuna's actions in the "All hers" route, to drive Kotonoha away from Makoto to bring him and Sekai together backfire spetacularly, causing Makoto to actually do the exact opposite and sever his bonds with Sekai out of sheer disgust for their actions.
Sekai in Cross Days as well. No matter which route is followed, she never gets to be with Makoto.
Lighter and Softer: Most routes, actually. It's entirely possible for Makoto to not be a Jerkass (but some idiocy on his part is unavoidable), nobody gets raped or killed, Taisuke is a dumb but relatively likeable guy who helps Makoto and Sekai/Kotonoha get together, and overall drama gets toned down.
Love Triangle: That is, if you discount half a dozen other girls - Makoto certainly does!
However, the manga is more of a deconstruction of the trope since it only focuses on Kotonoha and Sekai.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Sekai, you may not know it, but following the game it seems Setsuna is your half-sister. Oh, and Makoto is your uncle. Yes, Makoto's father IS the grandfather of Sekai and Setsuna. Oh, and that handsome Shun-san? He is YOUR father.
Inori from Cross Days gets hit with this too, that woman named Natsuhi Ebata that you keep calling "Adulteress"? She is your mother.
"Like father, like son" indeed.
Male Gaze: The ratio of face shots to boob/butt shots in this show is close to 1:1.
Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Comes up as a plot point on a certain route in the original game. Unfortunately, no matter what choices the player makes, this situation is guaranteed to end in blood and tears.
In certain game paths, Kotonoha can develop into this, too, when she starts using her body as a way to keep Makoto interested in her. In the "Bavarois" and "Carnal Desire" endings, Kotonoha makes Makoto promise to date her if Sekai breaks up with him. Then Kotonoha shows Sekai a picture of what looks like Makoto and Kotonoha cheating on Sekai, without giving Sekai the context in which the picture was taken. In the "Bavarois" ending, Makoto manages to clear things up with Sekai through sheer persistence, while in "Carnal Desire," the manipulation succeeds and Makoto has to reluctantly date Kotonoha.
Marry Them All: The harem endings in the game. Even when the game and anime seem to be a Deconstruction of the concept. The harem endings are the game's way of conceding that it is possible to pull it off; it's just very,veryhard and one little mistake can equal NICE BOAT.
Also, Setsuna. She has a crush on Makoto but decides to make sure he stays with Sekai instead, so he can protect her before she goes to live abroad.
Another version of this is revealed to have happened with Sekai. She was initially helping Setsuna to win Makoto's attention after finding out that Setsuna had a crush on him. Eventually, she developed her own feelings for Makoto, and Setsuna quietly bowed out when they became apparent.
Also a pretty severe case with the anime finale: the final scene before the credits is Kotonoha floating out to sea with Makoto's severed head, having very clearly gone off the deep end. After the credits roll, we hear a repeat of Makoto's internal monologue about his admiration of Kotonoha from the first episode, playing over a montage of all the other students happily going about their days as if three of their classmates hadn't just brutally died.
Multiple Endings: As is usual for visual novels. The original game became infamous for its bad endings, but in actuality there are five or six times as many good endings and the bad endings are hard to get unless you're deliberately aiming for them.
Reversed in the manga when Kotonoha tries and fails to kill Sekai, Sekai is the one who later kills her, even gloating about it in front of a hospitalized Makoto and also in some new bad endings from the PS2 version, which involve trains. One of these endings shows Sekai pushing Kotonoha on the line, but getting hit by the train when Makoto is bailing Kotonoha out. The second features Makoto getting killed in front of the girls after he saves Sekai from her fall, and the third kills off both girls in front of Makoto . NICE TRAIN, INDEED.
The HD version adds one more version where Sekai succeeds. Nice Hand.
No Accounting for Taste: Of the four anime love interests (Kotonoha, Sekai, Otome, & Setsuna), it is only explained why Setsuna likes Makoto, and ironically she is the only girl to sleep with him for reasons other than liking him, curiosity, or lust.
No Periods, Period: Averted, sorta. One of the reasons why Sekai thinks she's pregnant, aside from suddenly having vomiting fits, is that her period hasn't come on time.
Obviously Evil: Taisuke's new friends from Cross Days have little purpose in the story other than raping Yuuki, and they certainly look the part.
Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Although it's more like an Official Love Triangle Ordeal Syndrome, given that while it's hard to make a strong case for which pairing is actually the Official Couple, it's very clear that all three of them end up putting one another through Hell by virtue of the fact that both Sekai and Kotonoha desperately crave the affection of Makoto, who is often (depending on the adaptation) either cripplingly indecisive or just taking advantage of both of them out of his own lust. The worst endings typically involve one of the girls snapping under the strain and killing either Makoto, her rival, or herself.
The Ojou: Kotonoha. Just compare her room to Sekai's and/or Makoto's.
Parental Abandonment: The only parents ever seen or heard are Sekai's mom Youko, Kotonoha's mother Manami (only heard in the anime), and Setsuna's mother Mai (in the Summer Days spin-off game). All the others (Makoto's estranged father, Kotonoha's father, Sekai and Setsuna's father) are merely mentioned.
Practice Kiss: Sekai, taking advantage of the problems between Makoto and Kotonoha, uses this as a ruse to make Makoto fall for her. It works in the anime, while in the game it's up to the player's choice.
Poor Communication Kills: In this case, literally. Even beyond that, so much of the plot could have been avoided if Makoto had just straight-up said to anyone that he was dating Kotonoha.
Played more straight with Kotonoha and Setsuna in Summer/Shiny Days.
Relationship Values: You have two bars, one for Kotonoha and one for Sekai; the bar swings toward one or the other depending on your actions, although you can also get with one of three other girls.
Relax-o-Vision: After a particularly nasty Real Life incident in Japan where an Ax-Crazy schoolgirl murdered her dad, the final episode was deemed Too Soon and replaced by an episode of random peaceful Norwegian scenery, which included a rather nice boat. See the Memetic Mutation description above.
Satellite Love Interest: Setsuna falls for Makoto because he saved her from bullies; this is something that many people with a sense of basic human decency would do, but there don't seem to be any other bully hunters at school in this game, so one could almost argue Setsuna fell for Makoto "by default." A similar "by default" argument could be applied in Kotonoha's case: Makoto was the first boy in her life who didn't either drool at her breasts and scare her or make her feel unattractive; when Makoto asks her out she's taken aback that Makoto would think lovingly of just her. Otome loves Makoto because of the man he used to be in junior high school. Hikari in the game only falls for Makoto because he turns out to be really good in bed. And finally, Sekai seems to have fallen for Makoto because she repeatedly witnessed his best side, it's not clear whether Sekai anticipated Makoto's flaws in advance. Makoto seems to get female attention mostly because he's the only available male shown that isn't either a rapist-waiting-to-happen like Taisuke or isn't already someone's boyfriend like the good person (who is actually far WORSE than him) Nanami is dating.
Yuuki, the protagonist of Cross Days, is also a nice person, much nicer than Makoto. But depending on the player's choices in Cross Days, Yuuki can end up with love interests of his own, leaving Makoto as still the only unattached nice guy left to love.
Secret Relationship: Makoto and Kotonoha's relationship might as well be one most of the time, as Makoto never really talks about it with anyone but her and Sekai and few others are inclined to believe Kotonoha's protests even when Makoto's not cheating on her. So much of the plot would have been avoided and/or simplified if Makoto had just told other people that he and Kotonoha were dating. Also, Makoto and Sekai try to maintain one in the anime and most routes of the game, but they're very bad at hiding it from anyone but Kotonoha, who mostly doesn't realize at first because she's in denial.
She Is Not My Girlfriend: Subverted with Sekai and Makoto in Kotonoha's route. They are Just Friends, as far as Makoto is concerned, but Sekai's friends think it's "so obvious" they are dating, its funny how they keep denying it. They also bully Kotonoha, thinking she's trying to break up Makoto and Sekai's relationship, when in reality it's the other way around.
Soundtrack Dissonance: The ending murders are set to a calm, though still depressing tune that also plays during the credits in the game's bad endings.
The opening and ending themes for the Anime eventually become a big contrast to the Genre Shift / Mood Whiplash. In the last episode, the opening and its respective theme aren't even shown. It would've been too dissonant at that point. Instead, they have a picture of a shot from the opening on screen for a few seconds before it abruptly shatters like glass.
Spoiled Sweet: Kotonoha, who is WAY sweeter and gentler than Otome and her bitch squad.
Also Setsuna Kiyoura. She tried to be more discreet than the others ... until Kotonoha caught her kissing Makoto in his sleep.
Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Kotonoha is subjected to several of these. She mostly goes through being cornered and insulted by Otome and Co. in almost all routes and the anime, but in one single route she also has the lunch she made for Makoto knocked down by Otome's Girl Posse, is the target of Malicious Slander from Nanami and Hikari and/or gets cornered and beaten up by Otome and her group. If you have Makoto stop the last round and call the bullies out, you get one of the happiest Kotonoha endings; if you don't, you get the infamous "Kotonoha horribly snaps and gives Sekai a Slashed Throat in broad daylight" one.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gratifyingly, Yuki of Cross Days delivers a much-needed one to Sekai, being the only character in the entire franchise to call her out on her mistreatment of Kotonoha and the general manipulative nature of her actions.
To be fair, anime Makoto eventually notices, but only when he happens upon Kotonoha while wandering around alone and becomes horrified by the sight of her standing in front of him rambling about how she wants to be a good girlfriend to him.
Third Option Adaptation: The ending to the anime is a composite of elements from two other endings in the original game. Specifically, two of the worst endings.
It does seem it's aware of this itself and thus...
Tragic Hero: Makoto (Manga, outside his Cross Days counterpart, and certain routes in the game only) He genuinely cares about both Sekai and Kotonoha, but his Tragic Flaw of not being able to choose between them and carrying on a simultaneous relationship creates problems he is unable to resolve properly until it's too late (Manga: Kotonoha unintentionally wounds Makoto while trying to attack Sekai and while he was in the hospital Sekai kills Kotonoha.). This, however, is in direct contrast to the fuckwad he is in the Anime and in the Cross Days manga.
Trauma Conga Line: Kotonoha. At times it seems like the creators thought up her character and then based the entire game around making as many horrible things happen to her as possible.
Otome is a more straight example, acting like a Type A often. Lampshaded in her ending, where her Girl Posse ask her how come she and Makoto can stay together if they keep squabbling all the time, and Otome just shows them a picture of them kissing.
Sekai: In Episode 12, Sekai has a vision where Setsuna calls her out for her actions around Makoto, pointing out that she was the catalyst for the love triangle and its tragic consequences. Also in Cross Days, Yuuki calls her out for her attempts to break up Makoto and Kotonoha's relationship.