12 Days of Visual Novel Reviews – Day 2: School Days

0196So I assume everyone has either seen or at least heard of the School Days anime. It is well known among anime fans as either having the worst main character of all time or having the worst ending of all time. (At least I think that is what everyone thinks about it.)

The School Days visual novel is a fairly unique experience as the whole thing is a movie. Everything else is the same as a normal visual novel, there are still choices which affect what happens in the story.

School Days starts with Makoto falling in love with Kotonoha, a girl he has been admiring on the train to his school. His classmate Sekai notices his feelings, and helps him get together with her. On the day of Makoto’s first date with Kotonoha, while waiting for her to arrive he is kissed by Sekai. Makoto has no choice but to go on his date while being very confused about what happened.

Sekai and Kotonoha are the game’s two main heroines, with the majority of the 22 endings being focused on one of them. Surprisingly, I found myself liking a lot of the characters in School Days (Makoto, Sekai, Otome, Setsuna, Kokoro and Hikari). Everyone else I felt fairly neutral about, except for Taisuke and Kotonoha. Taisuke is a terrible person with very little redeeming qualities, and Kotonoha I just could not stand at all.

School Days was an interesting experience for me. I liked Sekai a lot, but the games setting makes it a very hard story to digest because of how painful it is. It really doesn’t help that I despise Kotonoha, she has the absolute worst personality and ruins everything.

Bad ends

The bad ends in school days can be pretty graphic content wise but there are only 4 of them which isn’t really that much. Also unfortunately the end from the anime was anime original and therefore not included in the visual novel.

It’s interesting to note that the all-ages ps2 version of the game increases the amount of bad ends to 9, and extended the current bad ends.

While most of the bad ends are pretty cringe-worthy in how graphic they are, the least graphic bad end remains my favourite ending in the game.

Overall Impressions

Despite not being able to consider School Days a good visual novel, it was worth it for me because of the characters I liked. The story can be painfully awkward to watch at times though, so I can definitely understand people not liking it much.

It might be worth playing through a few playthroughs of School Days to experience the interactive movie format. Although Shiny Days is probably a better choice for that because it is newer and has more lighthearted content. (Personally I’ll be waiting for the bugfix patch so some of the system bugs can be fixed before I play it though.)

Positives:

  • Arguably likable characters.
  • Unique interactive  movie format.
  • The really awkward cringe-worthy situations somehow work.

Negatives:

  • Kotonoha
  • Buggy system that crashes a lot.
  • Graphical glitches.
  • Art is poor at times, especially in non h-scene and non close-up shots.

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About FabledHunter

Novice Anime Blogger. ask.fm/AnimeAtaraxia

Posted on December 15, 2015, in Reviews and Impressions, Visual Novels and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. My opinion of School Days isn’t exactly solid. I’d need to play it again to get a better idea of how to rate it but i’m not willing to read through it a second time XD

    I remember thinking the “movie” aspect was pretty poorly done, with the same stills being used over and over again and the character sprites looking awkward when placed against some of the backgrounds. It’s an interesting idea but I don’t think School Days pulled it off well.

    I also remember being annoyed by some of the choices…when I pick to tell someone I don’t want to go out with them three times I expect that action to get done for goodness’ sake >.<

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    • Oh I never want to play through School Days again either. I want to play through Shiny Days once the bugs are fixed (assuming they ever are, School Days sure as hell never got completely bugfixed) mainly so I can decide whether or not I still like the characters.

      Yeah the movie aspect certainly had its problems. I’d forgotten about the same stills being used over again until you mentioned it. I probably just didn’t pay much attention to that because I was to busy getting mad at the worse problems: game crashing, graphical glitches (e.g. eyes and mouth floating randomly not on a person), lip sync often not being accurate.

      Although I’d really like to blame most of those problems on the fact is was originally made in 2005. The HQ remake in 2010 I can only assume they still used most of the old assets when making the newer version which certainly wouldn’t help. Where as Shiny Days was originally released in 2012 so I can only hope it fixed a lot of the problems, because even though I do much prefer the normal VN format with text, the movie format does intrigue me so I want to see it work. (And as far as I can tell, Overflow is the only company who has seriously attempted to make games like this.)

      And yeah, assuming you are trying for one of the Sekai endings it’s almost impossible to get Kotonoha to leave Makoto alone :(

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      • I’d also love to see the movie-style VN done well though I have to admit it would be a massive undertaking. The results would be worthwhile for the fans at least XD

        While i’m not sure which version I played, I don’t remember having any problems with bugs or lip syncing.

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        • Hmm, maybe it was just on my end. The visual bugs didn’t really affect anything much as it was only in a few of the classroom scenes and the lip sync errors seemed like the video was just starting a few seconds late (fortunately it didn’t happen that often either).

          The version I played used the most recent update patch which thankfully allowed me to use widescreen mode in fullscreen and made it so choices aren’t skipped along with everything else. (Apparently those two things were problems on release.)

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  2. Despite agreeing with you that Kotonoha was largely an awful person, I enjoyed her H-scenes better than Sekai’s :’) Part of it was that I could never bring myself to see Sekai as anyone more than Makoto’s friend, so it just felt awkward responding to her advances. But like you mentioned, somehow the cringe factor works? At least on the first playthrough. It’s annoying how each scene progresses so slowly.

    Also, it’s amusing how the anime ending is waaaaaaay more extreme than anything the visual novel dished out. In fact, the VN was downright tame in comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

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