School Days

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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.

But then comes the drama. The deceptions. The tragedy.

The anime is an Animated Adaptation of a 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 going suicidal or downright murderous. 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 lulz, 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 is currently in development, to be released in 2012. The second, Cross Days, is a POV 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 Fan Service 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.

The "remastered" edition of the game, School Days HQ, was released in English in 2012.

Tropes used in School Days include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: One could view the manga like this, as in its continuity Makoto has noticeably toned down his Jerkass Casanova tendencies and seems to actually care about Kotonoha and Sekai.
  • Adjective Noun Fred: Magical Heart Kokoro-chan OVA.
  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game" : The anime is best known for its "Nice Boat" ending.
    • To explain: In the final episode, one of the girls 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.
        • On that note, at the end of Magical Heart Kokoro-chan where it's literally spelled out for you on Kokoro's inflatable raft. See Ascended Meme and Memetic Mutation below.
  • 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.
  • Balanced Harem: Brutally 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...
  • Betty and Veronica: With Makoto as Archie, Sekai as Betty and Kotonoha as Veronica. In the games, we have three possible Third Option Love Interests: Hikari, Otome and Setsuna.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Makoto's family line seems to qualify.
  • Black Blood: The broadcast version of the ending. The DVD version leaves all the blood in its red glory.
  • Breast Expansion: Episode 5, one character uses inflatable bikini inserts to give herself large breasts.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: What a bunch of fans don't know, partly because of one of the great problems in the series, is that in the game Summer Days, that is chronologically before School Days, it shows that Shun Hazama is the father of Sekai, Ketsuna and the twins of Summer Days Kazuha and Futaba, and their mothers are all his half sisters. Since Makoto can have sex with Youko in Summer Days, this apply to him as well, since he is half brother of Youko too.
    • In the same game and in Snow Radish vacation Tomaru Sawagoe is the father in six consecutive generations, the first one with his half-sister. Genetics hooray!
  • Butt Monkey: Kotonoha
  • Catch Phrase: "Idiot." "Your'e the worst." Everyone uses this to describe Makoto
  • Cherry Blossoms: Omnipresent enough to make you gag. Which is probably the point.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: And HOW.
  • Credits Jukebox: Anime News Network lists 8 ending themes in a Thirteen Episode Anime.
  • Death by Sex: Errrrr...
  • Deconstruction: Arguably the main point of the series 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 someone 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.
  • Development Hell: Cross Days was delayed no less than SIX times, from its original release date of February 2009 to March 19, 2010.
  • Downer Ending: Although judging by most of the anime's entries, it probably fit into non-sexual Fan Service to most tropers who saw it. After the nice boat, that is. Not to mention that the Bad Endings of the game are bad enough in the original version, and get even worse in the PS2 extension.
    • 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
  • Dysfunction Junction: The whole high school seems to be surrounded by a reality distortion field.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the first episode, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 everyone in the Overflow universe related in one way or another.
  • Face Heel Turn: Makoto.
  • Fan Disservice: Towards the end of the anime, when things go to hell, Makoto is murdered by Sekai, whose panties are clearly seen as she does so and later sits in a pool of Makoto's blood. The scene where Kotonoha murders Sekai, cuts open her stomach and checks to see if she's pregnant while in a short miniskirt counts as well.
  • Fan Service: Lots among the girls. Panty shots in particular are quite abundant. Not to mention the implied sex Makoto has with many every last one of them.
  • Fan Service 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.
  • Fan Translation: As of August 2010, a partial translation patch (the first three chapters of the original H-Game) has been released by Sekai Project.
  • First Girl Wins: Played with quite a lot. Kotonoha is the first girl the audience sees, Sekai is the first girl who talks to Makoto, and Otome was the first girl Makoto met, chronologically speaking.
  • Flanderization: About half-way through the characters' personalities get flattened into flimsy pancakes. Apparently, it's intentional.
  • Gay Option: Cross Days has plenty.
  • 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 brother, and in one Tenchi Solution 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.
  • 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: 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 after they hear how he treated the girl he got preggers. In other words, the concept of an abortion is used to drive home what a total Jerkass he is.
  • 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." Seriously.
    • 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."
  • Groin Attack: Makoto gets one in episode 9.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation
  • High-Pressure Blood: The bad endings in the game and the one in the anime.
  • Hot Springs Episode: The beginning of the Valentine Days OVA.
  • Idiot Ball: Applies to everyone.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Why Sekai plays matchmaker for Makoto and Kotonoha, despite being in love with the former.
  • It Got Worse
  • Jerkass: Makoto, Makoto, Makoto...and oh yeah, MAKOTO! Mostly in the anime, though. Otome's Girl Posse, though not Otome herself, take this Up to Eleven, and into Complete Monster status. Taisuke also counts, as he takes advantage of Kotonoha and is (at least vocally) more perverted then Makoto.
  • Karma Houdini: Otome's "friends" get away with bullying Kotonoha, sexing up Makoto behind Otome and Sekai's backs and 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 troper could be applied to Kotonoha in the last episode, unless you consider madness karma.
    • In the Visual Novel, with exception of the bad endings, Makoto himself.
    • And in some of the bad endings and Sekai, in the manga, the girl who murders her rival and/or Makoto. Granted, it usually ends just after the deed is done.
  • Lighter and Softer: Most Routes actually. Its entirely possible for Makoto to not be Jerkass, nobody gets killed, 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.
    • "Like father, like son" indeed.
  • Male Gaze: The ratio of face shots to boob/butt shots in this show is close to 1:1.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sekai, holy shit, Sekai. Specially in the manga.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Sekai helps Makoto and Kotonoha hook up... and puts a lot more effort into it than you would expect. And then she gives herself a reward for her efforts by surprise-kissing Makoto. This does not end well.
    • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Makoto Itou literally translates to "Faith on a Thread."
    • Makoto alone can also be translated into "integrity", "fidelity" or "honesty". This irony...
  • Meido: Makoto's and Sekai's class ran a Maid Cafe during the School Festival.
  • Memetic Sex God: Makoto. A rare in universe example at that; he proceeds to have sex with literally every girl in his class.
  • Mood Whiplash: The sudden change from comedy to drama. See Genre Shift above.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Kotonoha's saw-related bad ending and the anime Grand Finale.
    • 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 Export for You: Despite the attention the anime has gotten and it being two years old as of this writing, there's been no mention of a Western localization, possibly due to the infamous ending and the circumstances regarding it.
    • Subverted now, it is now available for watching at Crunchyroll for U.S. viewers, but not a single major home-release licensor like Funimation, Section23, or Bandai Entertainment would pick the series up for the very same reasons above.
    • Although recently Funimation has been deleting fansubs from Youtube. Make of that what you will.
    • And now the latest version of the visual novel is being licenced for US release.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted, sorta. One of the reasons why Sekai thinks she's pregnant, aide of suddenly having vomit fits, is that her period hasn't come on time.
  • 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 Hot 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.
  • 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.
  • Pettanko: Again, Setsuna. She's flat-chested, while both her best friend and Makoto's other love interest are VERY busty, so...
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Taisuke. See Bromantic Foil and Dogged Nice Guy above.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sekai and Kotonoha
  • Refuge in Audacity: The OVAs.
  • 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.
  • Sadist Show
  • Schmuck Bait: Recommend this to anyone who has no knowledge of this series.
  • School Festival: One that is actually VERY important to the Idiot Plot.
  • Shallow Love Interest
  • Shout-Out: Magical Heart Kokoro-chan has several, as expected of a Parody Episode.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The ending.
  • Shrinking Violet: Kotonoha
  • 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.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Kotonoha, who is WAY sweeter and gentler than Otome and her bitch squad.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Taisuke Sawanaga, Otome Katou and, to some degree, Kotonoha Katsura.
    • Also 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. See Alas, Poor Yorick above.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Kotonoha, before going mad. Also, Nanami.
  • Tears of Remorse: Kotonoha in one of the extended bad endings in the PlayStation 2. She has just murdered Sekai in front of Makoto in cold blood and offers herself to her, but Makoto is terrified and rejects her affections. This is enough to make Kotonoha realize that she has just done something terrible, and she breaks down in tears.
  • Tenchi Solution: The harem endings in the game. Even when the game and anime seem to be a Deconstruction of the concept.
  • "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.
  • There Are No Therapists: Nobody but Kotonoha's little sister Kokoro and Sekai notice her fall into insanity.
    • 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.
  • 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...
  • Tsundere: Sekai seems at first to be a Type B...
    • 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.
  • Tragic Hero: Makoto (Manga and certain routes in the game only) He genuinely cares about both Sekai and Kotohona, but his Tragic Flaw of not being able to choose between them and carrying on a simultaneous relationship until it's too late. This, however, is in direct contrast to the complete fuckwad he is in the Anime.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Kotonoha
  • Two-Teacher School
  • Unwanted Harem: At first. Then he lets it get to his head, and things... well, end up the way they did.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Sekai, her seducing Makoto is what sets to motion all the events that transpires.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Yuuki from Cross Days.
  • Wham! Line
    • Anime: Sekai sending a message saying "Sorry... ... ... ...goodbye" just before killing him.
    • Manga

Kokoro: "Onee-chan's covered in blood!"