Category Archives: School Days

Jealousy’s Ugly Heads Aren’t So Ugly

If not for being announced on the same day as each other, I would not have compared Catherine with School Days. In some ways they are two very different but two remarkably similar games, so the comparison do stick.

On one hand, School Days is a fairly novel game from 6 years ago that took the anime and visual novel media one step closer to each other; much of the first chapter of the game is actual animation. It’s also remarkable for the large number of well-portrayed endings the player can end up with, and a large number of them aren’t exactly what we call “happy” endings. The combination was pretty sensational in an otherwise relatively more-of-the-same genre of bishoujo games with adult content. That is, of course, on top of the slightly different take on the renai motif that is closer to Jersey Shore than the experience of some fantasy animu transfer student who forgot he has a cousin that he is now going to live with, or something.

On the other hand, Catherine, to borrow words from others, is the adult-erotic version of Q*bert. But more specifically, Atlus’s chic-cool Persona team pulls out the stops to make a thriller game based on a man’s instinct to run away from commitment in a relationship? Fielding top seiyuu and animation from Production IG, much of the game take place animated and in a narrative style, like some modern bishoujo games. I think the marketing for the game speaks oodles about why I think Catherine is highly comparable to School Days in terms of using jealousy as a driver, as protagonist Vincent (Kouichi Yamadera…he even looks the role) has to choose between Katherine with a K (Kotono Mitsuishi) or Catherine with a C (Miyuki Sawashiro), while trying to not get killed by either of them, or the mysterious dreams he is having.

Oh, yeah, people die in these games. People meaning possibly you, the protagonist/player. Here’s another bit of similarity for you.

I think it’s safe to say that I am excited about both games coming over and being ported into English. I’m still kind of hung up about buying games with pornographic content, so I’m sitting on the fence for School Days. Isn’t it weird that the game full of high school kids is the one with all the explicit sex? And it isn’t like Vincent doesn’t get any; Catherine’s portrayal of sex is, perhaps, a little more mature and  little more appropriate for a game about a 30-something trying to straighten out his love life? Or maybe it is a little more appropriate for a game being sold to a bunch of 30-something herbivore men? But then again, like myself, the two demographics probably overlap somewhat, despite the entirely opposing approaches to the appeal of realism.

Nice School Days


Trying to make sense of School Days is easy. I think the guys doing this adaptation already knew they have a winning case of source material on their hands. Ignoring the whines of people who thought “the game was better” I think the anime is probably as good as it could come while incorporating as much as possible, of the bombs of joy and LULZ that the game was renowned for.

But I think I feel like talking about how it relates to Elfen Lied and Higurashi a lot more, because those shows apply similar plot mechanics to evoke emotional responses, and both achieved (or failed to achieve) those goals in ways that shed light as to why School Days was so good.

For time’s sake I’ll make this short. Two main points.

Sympathy. For a lot of people it’s much easier to sympathize with a bunch of high school sluts sleeping around and a guy who knows not love but only of the mire of selfish desires he is stuck in. That’s something counter-cultural folks have been preaching for decades since the 70s, religious or otherwise. But seeing it in anime is a bit of a refresher simply because, hey, you’d think this wouldn’t appeal to the otaku segment. But sure enough, we are all human and we can sympathize with Makoto, Sekai, and Kotonoha, in their foolishness. Needless to say, that’s already a case for the win when you compare settings: a couple youngsters living in an abandoned shrine-like mansion taking in random naked people who NYUUS? Or being transferred to the boondocks, going to a school with 1 classroom from grades K to 12, and having your life terminated every 5 episodes then reset?

Believability. The gruesome death quotient for Americans is probably higher than most other viewer demographic. American entertainment glorifies violence, but that’s not to say no one else does; it’s just a matter of making a point with said violence versus mere glorifying it, as a societal norm. In all three cases, violence is NOT glorified. In fact, in Higurashi one can make a case about the violence being a device for parody. It certainly seems comical, at times, for Elfen Lied and School Days. Instead, violence is, in turn, to draw emotional response from people either who deserves the wrong end of a sharp, pointy object or to demonstrate some kind of plot-oriented balance in terms of theme, or to illustrate or symbolize some thematic concept (like lost innocence). I guess that doesn’t speak so much as to why it’s funny, but it certainly can be if you’re in the inappropriate state of mind (ie. one that is more in tune of watching for violence per se–what’s usually required in enjoying violence, rather than extracting the reason behind it). The absurdity in all three cases is astronomically high, but School Days spend a good 11 episodes to set that up for you, so it is, at least, the least incredible of the three. Elfen Lied would likewise be well-served with violence if the show’s main schtik–that slice-of-life/slice-of-death tension–wasn’t so abused to oblivion so early on. Or maybe alien with invisible, stretch hands just seems a little too weird for suspension of belief. You pick.

So, yeah, School Days is a job well done, although it is definitely not something you want to recommend to people who watch anime purely for cutesy harems OR lol blood gore violence vampires.

The Nice Boat thing is just bonus material, thank you Japan!

Zetsubo-Sensei? Say Goodbye to School Days…

I was thinking about School Days. As of episode 5 things were coming to a point where it actually fits the mold of a naive school story about stupid teenagers boning each other for whatever it’s worth. It’s so rare to see an anime about something that’s probably not at all rare in this day and age. Depends on how ghetto your high schools are, I suppose.

The funny thing is, while some people I talked with online say that Makoto (or Sekai or Kotonoha, for that matter) may be more like an average 16 year-old than we’d like to admit, just how often do we see that? Recalling my own adolescence, I came from a school that’s probably somewhat ghetto for an American suburban fare and I have certainly heard a fair share of these kind of things. But my impression was, like most people, I made my business to not mind these kind of business. I mean, what good does it do? In some ways the preliminary setup for School Days is just, well, setup for the outrageous crash that is yet to come. And it’s because of the crash that School Days is worth watching. The stuff before that is nice because it might be what you’ve experienced, maybe not, but it’s rather better for the dark subtext sewn into the puppy love story.

It’s good to wonder how much weight that appeal to personal experience one should give. Because, after thinking about it, there were more personality disorders that I’ve seen coming out of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei that matched my own recollection of high school than just guys and girls having sex, and breaking up.

In fact, I recall one classmate who was like Fuura. A few Kaga were to be found. Definitely some Otonashi (boys more so), two Kaere, a Tsunetsuki, a Fujiyoshi, and even a Komori. I’m exaggerating a bit (or maybe Kumeta is rather?) but a lot of these personality flaws are more common than you think.

So nuts to people who had memories of casual, innocent sex in high school. They’re really missing out on the comedy.

School Days -> Tsuyokiss, Singers and Singing, And Other Seasonal Checklistings

End your pilot episode with a strong kiss…

Needless to say I really dig School Days the anime so far. Also needless to say it’s way better than all of Tsuyokiss put together at episode 1. (Still want a collection of all its eyecatches…) I think I’m enjoying it even more so because I’ve already seen what the game had to offer, at least for a tiny fraction of it (namely the introduction part (where episode 1 of the anime covered) and some of the LOL endings). I have hopes for this show now, even if the delivery came off a bit like a shaggy old man who may had the charms when he was a mere … 29 years ago. That alone will probably alienate any good will for the greater anime viewing demographic in this post-Haruhi generation of TV animation. Well, that’s to keep (mostly) silent about how to adopt this tricky animated visual novel.

But while I was singing my heart out in my car to (some of) these tunes sometime this week, It only dawned on my then that Summer is con season, and con season means karaoke season. And because this year, unlike of my prior few summers, I haven’t been to a con yet. I am so ill prepared…

And that’s just one MORE party I’m late to. At least this party should be on DVD…? I so have to hit up Animelo one year. We can all scream our hearts…and lungs and intestines out in public.

Sigh. I have a lot on my plate between now and end of this month, so don’t expect a lot of entries from me. I will be at Otakon, though, and more of that nonsense will come…

As well with that music video. It’s still on the plate just…no room to do anything with it or to it.

I’ll end this strange mid-week rant with a couple questions:

1. What should I karaoke at Otakon? I really want to do SKILL at Otakon (again), but that require at least 2-3 people, but ideally 6. (Are you interested? Let me know!) On the plate are all my old songs that I’ve done at various cons before, but I want to hit up a new one. The problem here is that all the new songs I want to sing I can’t really do–I still want to do Break the Cocoon but I’m lacking an off-vocal track nor the English part of the lyrics near the end. I sort of want to do Gravitation but Angela is…not an act I should follow. I can always do God Knows again, but I rather like the Momoi’s cover more in terms of arrangement and how it has very little breaks in the middle…except that we’ll have to rip the voice out.

2. Questions for Mamiko Noto? I’ve said it before, if you want to have fun at a con panel, think up questions ahead of time. I’m probably going to ask at least one question about Touka Gettan, but that’s just the beginning. I’ll take your suggestions! Help me get my brain juices going.