India LaPalme loves all things anime. She hopes to visit Japan one day.
"You reap what you sow."
— Hikari Kuroda, "School Days," 2007
If you’re at all familiar with anime, you probably know 2007’s School Days for its WTF ending. Although the show seems like your typical high school romance—at least for the first few episodes—things soon take a darker turn. Long before the head scratching events of the final episode, School Days has more than enough bizarre twists to leave you wondering what the hell you just watched.
The Protagonist Sucks...
While there are virtually no sympathetic characters in this show, our not-so-lovable protagonist Makoto Itou (Daisuke Hirakawa) is the worst of them all. Although harem anime is infamous for featuring MCs who are boring and/or unapologetic perverts, Makoto is far worse than your typical male love interest.
Not only is he a sex-crazed womanizer, he’s also a narcissistic jerk who doesn’t care about anything except having a good time (i.e., screwing as many girls as possible). And, well, we all know what happens because our boy Makoto can’t keep it in his pants.
But that’s a story for another time. My point is, almost everything bad that happens in School Days is Makoto’s fault. It wasn’t long before I went from feeling annoyed by his indecisiveness to wanting to kill him myself. At least he (finally) gets what he deserves.
...And The Harem Isn't Much Better
Speaking of selfish horndogs, the women of School Days aren’t much better than Makoto. (Three cheers for gender equality—or not.) After all, our upstanding protagonist isn’t just cheating on his girlfriend, Kotonoha (Tae Okajima), with Sekai (Shiho Kawaragi), the very person who brought them together.
He’s also sleeping with two other girls, both of whom are also aware that he’s already taken. (This is in addition to Makoto's one-time fling with Sekai's friend and the foursome hosted in his apartment. I swear I'm not making this up.)
To give them some credit, the other girls eventually stop seeing Makoto, although this decision is motivated more by the discovery that Sekai is pregnant rather than the realization that their actions are wrong. Oh, well. I suppose you can't have everything.
In addition to making it difficult to sympathize with them, the girls’ actions are nonsensical, even within the context of a harem anime. While it isn’t unusual to lust after or even pursue someone else’s significant other, it’s unlikely and even outlandish to believe that so many girls would throw themselves at a guy like Makoto.
After all, he's lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, and not much to look at, besides. Contrary to what the writers of School Days seem to believe, girls tend to go for guys who are at least somewhat decent. The show attempts to explain this anomaly by implying that Makoto is good in bed, but he can’t be that good.
And Then There's Kotonoha
In the beginning, Kotonoha is unremarkable. A typical anime oujousan, she’s shy, soft-spoken, and refined, with big boobs that Makoto is much too fond of ogling. However, as the story progresses it becomes apparent that Kotonoha isn’t what she seems—and not in a good way.
This girl may be beautiful, but she’s also an emotionally unstable coward. While I don’t advocate bullying, it’s easy to see why the other girls pick on her, since Kotonoha refuses to stand up for herself, no matter how badly they treat her. The same goes for Makoto.
No matter how often her boyfriend cheats, lies, or breaks his promises, Kotonoha refuses to say anything negative about him or even acknowledge that his behavior is wrong. Instead, she blames other people for Makoto’s actions, insisting they manipulated him. Eventually, this blind adoration becomes an obsession which causes her to snap.
In some ways, Kotonoha resembles a watered-down version of Yuno from Future Diary. She's a yandere without any personality or distinguishing characteristics save for her bonkers behavior.
Sekai Is No Saint, Either
Of course, we can't forget about Sekai. Her selfishness may not be on par with Makoto’s, but it's pretty close. After all, as I mentioned earlier Sekai is the very person who brought Makoto and Kotonoha together in the first place (though she soon proceeds to tear them apart).
Not only does she introduce the couple, she also gives them relationship advice and encourages them to keep pursuing each other. Of course, we soon discover that (for some unfathomable reason) Sekai is also in love with Makoto but has been denying her feelings for reasons which are never explained.
She claims she helped the couple start dating in order to make Makoto happy, but in the beginning, Makoto isn’t that interested in Kotonoha. If Sekai had made a move then rather than playing matchmaker, she could have easily had Makoto all to herself. Maybe she’s a masochist…
Of course, if Sekai had stopped there, it would be possible to feel some sympathy for her. However, as soon as Makoto and Kotonoha are in a committed relationship she approaches Makoto with the idea of helping him “practice” having sex so he can please his new girlfriend.
Of course, Makoto deserves plenty of blame for going along with this, but Sekai went out of her way to befriend Kotonoha before acting as her matchmaker—meaning she should know just how hurtful her actions are.
Ironically, Sekai is later furious at Makoto for cheating on her, despite being the one who first encouraged him to do so. Hypocrite much?
Time to Vote!
© 2022 India LaPalme