And so – it has begun! By saying that this is one of the more anticipated romance shows i don’t think i would be too far off the mark, given the game’s notorious reputation. The School Days of Makoto and the girls have begun, filled with love, heartbreaks and betrayals. If the anime stays even remotely faithful to the game (and i can’t imagine it any other way) i can promise you this – we are in for one heck of a ride and one heck of a drama.
Ito Makoto is your average high school student who takes a train to the school every day. Lately something has caught his atenttention and heart – a beautiful girl who rides the same train as him. All he knows is her name – Katsura Kotonoha, and the fact that she is from the class next to his. However he is far too shy to try approaching her, and seems to be satisfied just by looking at her from afar and ends up taking a picture of her with his cellphone.
As usual his secret crush doesn’t last long because of Saionji Sekai, a classmate that has just been seated next to him, notices the picture in his cellphone and starts bugging him about it.
We also see a girl (Setsuna Kiyoura , a long time friend of Sekai) looking their way, as Makoto and Sekai keep up their antics. Jealousy of Sekai being seemingly close to Makoto ? :)
Of course we can’t do without the silly friend of the main guy, who is being jealous of Makoto getting attention from Sekai. Luckily for Makoto, Sekai shows up and tells him she has something to speak with him about, but she can’t do it here.
She brings Makoto to the rooftop and tells him she has just befriended Katsura and gathered some information about her, as a “sorry” for peaking at his cellphone. During their conversation she says a sentence that makes it seem like she has told somebody about Makoto’s crush on Katsura, and Makoto snaps, pushing Sekai against the gurdrail O.o
[ This scene is fairly different from the game – in the game they both end up yelling at each other at first, with Makoto grabbing Sekais hand and she ends up slapping him, causing him a temporary state of shock (heh), and the guy falls down on top of Sekai ]
When Sekai says that it hurts Makoto snaps out of it and apologizes, noting how useless he is. (And you better believe it!). Sekai says it is nothing and promises to help him to get closer to Katsura. Next day it turns out she has invited Katsura to the rooftop so all of them can have dinner together. Makoto is completely terrified by the idea “My heart isn’t ready!”, and Sekai ends up literally dragging the guy to the roof :)
After getting acquainted with Katsura the dinner begins, not without the awkward atmosphere. Katsura turns out to be a rather shy and quiet girl, and she has prepared some sandwiches for all of them. Though as it turns out (opposite to what one might expect from a girl with her personality) she is not good at cooking at all, and the sandwiches taste awful. (Btw – if any one finds out how it is possible to make an almost non-edible sandwich (without it being on purpose)- let me now! Makoto, not wanting to disappoint Katsura, ends up glomping down all of the sandwiches and choking on them.
Later that evening Makoto thanks Sekai for helping him to get closer to Katsura, and tells her is planning to confess tomorrow, to which Sekai responds with an initial surprise, with a hint of sadness in her voice. She encourages him to do so, which he indeed does the next morning. Later Sekai walks up to Katsura and they start talking, and Katsura says that Makoto confessed and she accepted, because she had been thinking about Makoto even before they had dinner together.
So, with the two having feelings for one another, what can go wrong? Makoto is sitting in the station, waiting for Katsura, when Sekai shows up – she is taking another train home. When Makoto says he is going to do anything to repay her, Sekai abruptly kisses him, catching him off-guard. Then she runs to the train with a smile on her face and yells towards the stunned Makoto to do his best on his date. The train leaves, and we get a shot of an angsty looking Sekai. Looks like our match maker has fallen for the guy as well.
At the end of the episode we get to see a flashback, featuring a bunch of characters that were not present in the episode. Some of them i love, but i simply know i will end up hating the guts of 3-4 of the girls shown there. (Ok, i already do hate them from the game).
The ending sequence features Makoto’s cellphone, with changing images of Katsura, Sekai and Setsuna.
And so, the 1st episode comes to an end. They changed some stuff around (The rooftop scene being the biggest change), but overall it sticked very closely to the game. One thing i noticed is that they seem to have upped the comedy. Maybe because of this i didn’t find Makoto as pathetic from the get-go as he was in the game, because his actions can be viewed as comic. At any rate – i wouldn’t bet on the nice atmosphere lasting for long. If some one is oblivious about the School Days he is in for one hell of a surprise if he expects this to be “yet another high school romance”.
I am very curious where the anime will go. School Days is infamous for its 3 “bad” and violent endings, and i have to admit they are the most well known ones, and lots of fans expect to see one of those endings. However i disagree with that – i don’t think the violent endings are the describing factor of School Days (heck they are only 3 of 21 possible endings) … rather – it is the sex, and the amount of it going around, as well as the betrayal, which has earned Makoto the title of most pathetic male lead and the biggest bastard ever seen in these visual novels.
School Days is still school days without the violent endings, but without the screwing around and the trainwreck relationships it can no longer be called that.
Hence i am very interested how this factor is going to be played in the anime … i suspect we might get something like KGNE implied sex scenes. Either way – you all can safely clear your lists of your all time most hated anime harem leads, because Makoto is on a whole another level – he alone will be enough to occupy that list, and you will feel that whatever male leads were there before don’t deserve to be pitted together with him. I have no idea what ending towards we are heading (I am personally hoping for a Setsuna ending, because going with either Sekai or Katsura is like choosing between being kicked in the stomach or punched in the face. Anyway, my earliest bet for something “big” to happen is end of ep3/ ep4.