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This is a Harem Series... gone wrong.
Makoto Itou: If you keep a photo of the person you like on your cellphone for three weeks and nobody finds out, your love will be realized, huh? That's just stupid.
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School Days is an Animated Adaptation of the Visual Novel of the same name. Just like in the original Visual Novel the story centers around Makoto Itou who spends his days watching a beautiful girl named Kotonoha Katsura from a distance, until one day he gets the opportunity to meet her with the help of her newfound friend Sekai Saionji. Eventually Makoto finds himself involved in a Love Triangle with his two friends that will put their emotional threshold to the ultimate test.

While the original game was a story that aimed to subvert the Harem genre with its many twists and dark themes, this anime series takes it Up to Eleven by presenting a story that 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

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…and laughs, depending on how much you hated the main character by the end. Ultimately, the anime is like watching the worst route possible on the visual novel.

Wait no, scratch that, not even the worst possible path in the visual novel reaches the level of messed up irrationality that the anime presents.

Sensitive, idiocy-intolerant, or squeamish viewers, beware!

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 Jerkass 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.

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Discotek Media licensed the anime and released it on DVD in 2015; they also announced a Blu-ray release for Spring 2017.


This show provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: The series is known for its unusual names and alternate spellings. Compare Kotonoha, Sekai, Kokoro, Roka and Itaru to Makoto, Setsuna, Yuuki, Hikari, Nanami, Taisuke and the rest.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The anime completely erased Makoto’s internal struggles and good heart nature in order to turn him into a complete Jerkass. This is also true for pretty much all of the supporting cast who had all their positive traits completely removed in order to present them as Jerkasses as well. The only ones who were saved from this are Sekai and Kotonoha, and then just barely.
    • One could view the manga being this for the anime, as in its continuity Makoto has noticeably toned down his Jerkass The Casanova tendencies and seems to genuinely care about Kotonoha and Sekai.
  • Adjective Noun Fred: ~Magical Heart Kokoro-chan~ OVA.
  • Adult Fear:
    • 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?
  • Animation Bump: The anime has rather limited, middle-of-the-road animation. However, Makoto's death is rather well-animated considering the rest of the show. All the more to satisfy the audience, obviously.
  • The Anime of the Game: The original PC Visual Novel was released in Japan on April 28, 2005. The Anime ran in Japan from July 3 - September 27, 2007. See Animated Adaptation in the description above.
  • Ascended Meme: "Nice Boat" started as one 4chan commentator's dry remark following an outpouring of shock due to Episode 12 being replaced with 30 minutes of Norwegian scenery and classical music following the news of a girl murdering her father with an axe. The meme became so widespread, 0verflow named their Comiket 73 booth as such.
    • 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.
  • Audible Sharpness: You haven't heard saw until you've heard saw in this anime.
  • 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. Somewhat justified as the first episode started the same way.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kotonoha. Like in the games, she’s a really shy but sweet girl. However, by the end of the series she proves to be an amazing killer both disarming Sekai with one single movement and killing her with one quick cut to the neck. She also proves to be amazing at cutting the human body by both sawing Makoto’s head off of his body cleanly and later cutting Sekai’s womb open to see if there was a child growing inside. One skilled girl indeed.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretty much every single character.
  • Black Blood: The broadcast version of the last episode. The DVD version leaves all the blood in its red glory.
  • Bleached Underpants: Oh, the sex certainly still happens (and it happens a lot), but the anime tones down the explicit nature of most encounters, making it, at worst, a gross subversion of the Ecchi Harem Genre.
  • 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: In Episode 5, there’s a callback to the inflatable bikini scene from the Visual Novel. But it’s Setsuna who helps Sekai instead of Nanami.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kotonoha is treated EVEN WORSE than in the original Visual Novel ‘’Bloody End’’ paths. Definitely not played for laughs.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: In order for it to adapt to the visual novel's Downer Endings, this was intentional.
  • Character Exaggeration: All three main characters and most of the supporting cast undergo this, 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.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Omnipresent enough to make you gag. Which is probably the point.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Kotonoha was one in some paths of the original game but here she takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Credits Jukebox: ANN lists 8 ending themes in a twelve-episode series. Some of them come from the original visual novel.
  • Death by Sex: Both Makoto and Sekai are a straight example.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: It begins like a typical Harem Anime, with the average-looking protagonist, suddenly gaining the attention of many cute girls at his high school. However, unlike other shows that play it for laughs, this show gives the viewer a realistic example of what can happen when a boy suddenly starts getting with different girls and the psychological damage that it can cause, from the protagonist seeing the girls as nothing but sex objects, to the girls that really care about the protagonist getting mentally damaged by his behavior — so much so that one could be driven to commit murder.
  • Deconstruction: By the end you will have an idea of how a Harem anime would go in Real Life. Spoiler, not pretty well.
    • 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 — and 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.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Nanami is much more important to the plot in many paths in the Visual Novel. In the anime, she barely makes an appearance in a few episodes.
    • In the manga, pretty much everyone but the main trio.
  • Downer Ending: Although judging by most of the anime's entries, it probably fit into non-sexual fanservice to most tropers who saw it. After the nice boat, that is.
    • 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...
  • Dutch Angle: Used a fair amount in the later episodes when things go to hell.
  • Dysfunction Junction: The whole high school seems to be surrounded by a reality distortion field.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In the first episode of the anime, Makoto exposits on a supposed love charm activated by keeping your crush's picture as your cell phone wallpaper. We hear him think, "What bullshit," in an unpleasant tone right before he tries to delete his picture of Kotonoha.
  • 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.
    • Makoto himself has standards by standing up for Setsuna when she 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.
  • Face–Heel Turn: I mean, I guess Makoto was supposed to be the good guy in the beginning right?
  • Fan Disservice: The last episode 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 Sekai's stomach to check for a fetus.
  • Fanservice: Lots among the girls. Panty shots in particular are quite abundant. The implied sex Makoto has with pretty much every last one of them.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: Sekai in her waitress uniform, complete with detached sleeves. The Meido uniforms from the School Festival also count for this trope... which often turns into Fan Disservice, on account of it being present in even the most horrifying scenes.
  • Flanderization: About halfway through, the characters' personalities get flattened into flimsy pancakes. Apparently, it's intentional.
  • From Bad to Worse: Starting from episode 5, this series becomes a perfect example of this trope.
  • 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.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: 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. However the trope is subverted when you realize that Sekai was avoiding going to the hospital, not because she rejected an abortion but because she wasn’t pregnant at all.
  • Gorn: In addition to all of the High-Pressure Blood, the last episode 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.
  • Groin Attack: Makoto gets one in episode 9.
  • Hate Sink: Makoto was clearly intentionally written to be a character for the audience to hate on. In fact, most of the characters in the series were pretty unlikable.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The ending.
  • Hot Springs Episode: The beginning of the Valentine Days OVA.
  • Idiot Ball: Applies to everyone.
  • If I Can't Have You...: In the last episode, Sekai kills Makoto after he chose Kotonoha over her.
  • Jerkass: Makoto, Makoto, Makoto… and oh yeah, MAKOTO! He's a far more honorable man in the manga though.
    • Taisuke also counts, as he takes advantage of Kotonoha and is (at least vocally) more perverted than Makoto.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • And in the manga, Sekai gets away with murdering Kotonoha.
  • 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.
  • Male Gaze: The ratio of face shots to boob/butt shots in this show is close to 1:1.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Pretty much played straight, with disastrous consequences.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The sudden change from comedy to drama. See Genre Shift above.
    • Also a pretty severe case with the 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 before going to the happy ending tune. 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 two of their classmates hadn't just brutally died.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse:
    • Kotonoha kills Sekai in the finale. Too bad it was little too late.
    • 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.
  • 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 love him for reasons other than liking him, curiosity, or lust. Also Hikari – What does she sees in Taisuke anyway?
  • 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.
  • Parody Episode: The OVA ~Magical Heart Kokoro-Chan~ is a spoof of the Magical Girl genre and the Sentai genre, as well as of the original series.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Idiot." "You're the worst." Everyone uses this to describe Makoto.
  • Play Within a Play: At the school festival, Setsuna attends one that parallels her kissing Makoto while he slept despite knowing Sekai's feelings for him. The same imagery is later used in Episode 12, when Sekai is confronted in her mind by a vision of Setsuna.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Taisuke. See Bromantic Foil and Dogged Nice Guy above.
  • Practice Kiss: Just like in the visual novel, Sekai tricks Makoto into this to get him to fall in love with her.
  • 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.
  • Psychotic Love Triangle: Trope Codifier
  • Rape as Drama: Kotonoha's mental and emotional breakdown begins hitting more fully after she's raped by her Stalker with a Crush, Makoto's best friend Taisuke.
  • Relax-o-Vision: After a particularly nasty Real Life incident in Japan where an Ax-Crazy schoolgirl murdered her dad, the final episode had to be Distanced from Current Events and replaced by an episode of random peaceful Norwegian scenery, which included a rather nice boat. See Ascended Meme.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Many who dislike the show have cited the unlikable characters and the Idiot Plot as reasons for why they've hated it. Some who enjoy the show have actually cited these things as reasons for why they like it, as the main character's refusal to remain faithful to his girlfriend coupled with his Really Gets Around nature is something that many men, especially in this day and age, unfortunately do to their partners.
  • Sadist Show: Take one Jerkass protagonist, one passive-aggressive Clingy Jealous Shrinking Violet, and one kind but thoughtless Matchmaker with a Crush, and put them in a decent-sized Japanese high school. Apply drama and stir thoroughly until emotions bubble to the surface. Boil off all cross-communication and common sense, then let the mix settle for twelve episodes. Serving size: One anime.
  • School Festival: One that is actually VERY important to the Idiot Plot.
  • Secret Relationship: Makoto tries to have this with everyone.
  • Shout-Out: ~Magical Heart Kokoro-chan~ has several, as expected of a Parody Episode.
    • The unmistakable shout-out at the end of the OVA episode, regarding a certain famous meme associated with this series, where Kokoro is rowing in an inflatable raft specifically labelled "Nice Boat" on its sides.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: I guess this is one of those examples where most people will be grateful for it.
  • Snow Means Love: Makoto apologizes to Kotonoha and says he loves her in a snowfall at episode 11, a redeeming moment in the anime. Comes complete with Kotonoha covered in snow.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • 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.
    • The same tune for the bad endings in the Visual Novel is used for the anime’s ending. I guess that tells you enough about it.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Setsuna Kiyoura. She tried to be more discreet than the others… until Kotonoha caught her kissing Makoto in his sleep.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy: In this case, just Talking To The Head. While there is no exposition on Kotonoha's part, there is no mistaking to the viewer that she has perhaps irrevocably gone off the deep end, mental health-wise, on her Nice Boat.
  • There Are No Therapists: In one of the few lucid moments for Makoto, he eventually notices Kotonoha’s horrible descent into madness. 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: ‘’To My Child’’ and ‘’Bloody End’’.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Did we mention that 'Idiot Plot' was involved? Everyone is like this. ARGH.
    • It does seem it's aware of this itself and thus...
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Makoto would probably have ended up happier and kept himself and Sekai from getting murdered if he had only kept it in his pants.
  • Tragic Hero: Makoto in the manga. This, however, is in direct contrast to the fuckwad he is in the Anime.
  • Unwanted Harem: At first. Then he lets it get to his head, and things... well, end up the way they did.
  • Wham Line
    • Sekai sending a message saying "Sorry... ... ... ...goodbye.".
    • In the Manga
    Kokoro: "Onee-chan's covered in blood!"
  • What Does She See in Him?: They do technically answer this but at the end of it all, it doesn't justify nearly enough of what happens. To clarify, what they see in him is two things: One, he's a nice enough guy to be a bully hunter and to make others feel confident and special. Two, he's amazing in bed.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Makoto. Played straight in the anime, averted in the manga. See Manipulative Bastard.
    • 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.
  • Wingding Eyes: In the ~Magical Heart Kokoro-chan~ OVA, Makoto and Taisuke sport big shiny gold starbursts in their eyes in their ecstatic response to the arrival of the Anonymous Defence Service. Later a naked Taisuke's eyes contain big white starbursts for Magical Heart, whom he sees in person for the first time.
  • Yandere:
    • Although Sekai did stab Makoto to death, it's Kotonoha that sets a new standard for this one. Oh boy.
    • Reversed in the manga. Holy crap, Sekai is creepy...
  • Zettai Ryouiki:

 
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School Days

Makoto ABSOLUTELY had that coming.

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