2015 was a very hard year for me and my family. I will not go into the details of the current situation because these were and still are a very personal family issue. Because of this, I ended up using anime and other media as an escape from what I had to deal with in the real world. I had a lot of days where I just wanted to sit down and watch something and just forget my problems for a while and just by the end of it have a huge smile on my face and other days I just wanted to lie in bed and watch nothing.
There were three anime last year that put a smile on my face and made me forget my problems for a while and the second one was Assassination Classroom, but I don’t plan on reviewing that until the second season is over. The third was Shimoneta which I plan to review in detail in the coming months if not earlier. But the one anime I kept going back to again and again and always kept me smiling was Ultimate Otaku Teacher. Every time I had a hard day last year I turned to one of those shows, which along with those close to me, helped me through quite honestly one of the hardest years of my life.
The series tells the story of a shut-in otaku by the name of Junichirio Kagami. A scientific genius with no interest in science but with a love of all things anime who himself states he suffers from YD who is forced to become a teacher by his sister so he can contribute to the household.
What is YD? YD stands for ‘I can only do what I yearn to Do!’ It is this message that is the underlining theme of the series and part of the reason I was drawn to this series. I won’t say much for the plot of the series because it is a very episodic series, not that this is a bad thing, it’s just like many other episodic series like say Laughing Salesman New such a formula can quickly become repetitive to the viewer. If I was to compare this series to another anime though, I would say it has a lot in common with an older series called Golden Boy in the fact that the protagonist at times can come across as a lewd idiot, but he is a lot smarter than he lets on. Though a big difference between the two characters is just how lazy Junichirio can be.
While watching this series I began to wonder as I watched the characters find what they yearned to do, what it was I truly yearned to do. I am defiantly what one would be classified as long-term unemployed, heck at this point I am a full-blown NEET. That being said I can not say I have wasted my time over the years while looking for work, looking for that step in the door. I have had a passion for reading and writing since high school and have read many brilliant stories over the years. I have also been practicing and improving my writing skills through fanfic writing.
Writing is something I believe I will always love doing, so is this what I yearn to do? I believe it is, so maybe I have YD, though I’m hoping it is not as bad as Kagami sensei’s. What I yearn for this year however is to find a job and I have already been working harder towards this goal.
There is one big downside to the series however that makes it somewhat hard for me to recommend to other anime fans. The series is very very formulaic and is also overrun almost completely with anime cliches. Nearly every character in the series falls into an anime trope and this could defiantly make the series come across as stale to a long time anime fans.
The series was a fun ride for me though so I would defiantly say watch it if you get a chance and you are looking for something uplifting that will make you smile, but I probably would not choose it over another series. Basically, this is one of those shows that you will sit and watch if it is on but you don’t go out of your way to find it.
So we have an anime based on a popular visual novel game series that is infamous for its bad endings… So the question I must ask is ‘What were you expecting from an anime adaptation of the series?’
When people talk about anime adaptations of visual novels most people will talk about animes like Kanon, Air or Clannad. Stories that pull at your heartstrings but in the end there is a happy ending, I mean it’s an emotional journey but you get there in the end with your emotions mostly intact.
But what if those happy true ends are not what the fans of the series enjoy? What if they are after something that delves into the darker side of romance? Emotional abuse to the point of a psychotic breakdown, moral standings that quite frankly just are not there and the emotional journey of growing up and having to learn that there are and will be consequences for your actions? When you are looking for a story with these elements I have to say School Days has them.
Is the series perfect? No, the series has its many flaws but on the whole, I believe the series set out to tell a different story to all the other slice of life high school romance stories that are out there in the anime world.
One of the biggest complaints I see about the series is the main character Makoto Itou.
I have heard anime fans say he is an unlikable douchebag and that is putting it nicely, and I won’t disagree with this statement because that is what he becomes throughout the story of the series. I must ask however how many of you the readers of this review had perfect morals as a teenager? Teenagers have a very live in the moment attitude and this is what we see in Makoto.
He sees the pretty girl Kotonoha Katsura on the train to school and takes an instant liking to the shy girl based solely on her looks. He wants to ask her out and wants her to be his girlfriend, but as I’m sitting re-watching the series for this review I found myself wondering. Does Mokoto really understand what it is to go out with someone? Does he just want to go out with Kotonoha so he can walk around the school with a pretty girl on his arm or is there something else he wants?
I say the answer is the last one when we look at the age of our main character (don’t worry my viewer I am not some man-hating feminist I can assure you) but if we look at teenage males of this age bracket we can hazard a guess as to what is on their mind. In our teenage years, we learn of and how to act on hormonal cues as we grow into adulthood. It is just human nature to want to have sex and this is what our main character wants when he sees Kotonoha. With the help of Sekai Saionji from his homeroom class he gets the date with the girl and after the date with the girl, he comes to realize that Kotonoha is not ready for what Makoto is for and this becomes clear at the end of the date in episode 2.
Makoto wants the relationship to move faster than Kotonoha is comfortable with it going. This is a common problem with new relationships especially first relationships of a romantic nature. Sometimes one partner (and not necessarily always the male in the relationship) wants to move things on faster than the other person. This was something I saw a lot when I was a teenager or overheard other girls talking about. I’ve even heard stories of guys thinking they are gay because they are not ready for sex when their partner is, so yes there is pressure on both sides when it comes to new relationships.
When Mokota realizes that not only Kotonoha is not ready but that Sekai is ready for what he wants he very quickly jumps ships to her over the girl who is his girlfriend Kotonoha. I think this is the moment the series loses a lot of viewers and a lot of people decide I don’t like this character so I don’t like this anime.
Truth be told for myself Mokoto is not the character in this series I hate the most, it is Kotonoha’s classmates that start bullying her when the assume that Mokota and Kotonoha have broken up because they find out that Sekai is with him. Teenagers especially female teenagers can be amazingly cruel to others, especially when they believe the other is different from them. Kotonoha is an easy target for not only their abuse but later in the series their very own amusement.
In School Days we have a story of first a destructive first relationship in the form of a love triangle that slowly grinds down one of the corners before opening the floodgates when even Sekai becomes too much of a hassle for our main character, so when other girls want sex from him no strings attached f course his going to say yes. His having fun with this no strings attached arrangement with all of them that is until the reality of the whole situation comes crashing down on not only him but everyone involved in this twisted story.
Sekai confronts him in class telling him that their activities have resulted in a pregnancy. This is the last thing Mokota wants to deal with so in an act that shows the immaturity of the character (because yes teenagers are immature) he decides he does not want anything to do with her or the child. When word of this gets around the school he becomes isolated and everyone is avoiding him and this is the moment where the consequences of his actions hit him. But he decides to not deal with it. As cruel as this turn of the events in the story is it sadly does reflect the common outcome of these kinds of stories in real life.
We have all seen the stories on the news and now these days even popularized with shows like 16 and Pregnant of young boys enjoying the act of sex but when the end result of sex happens they don’t want to deal with it anymore.
It is at this his lowest point that he finds Kotonoha also broken. He claims he has come to realize his mistakes he has made and even feels guilt and remorse for the state that Kotonoha is in because he knows it his fault she is like this. This is the one and only time in the series he does take responsibility for his actions but as those who have seen the series you know, this is too little too late for him.
Now I must write about the elephant in the room of this series, that lovely boat. All kidding aside my reader Makoto and Kotonoha end up together again and this enrages the pregnant Sekai who snaps. If she cannot have Mokoto to herself she does not want anyone to have him especially Kotonoha who she worked so hard to get him away from.
This ends in a bloody murder followed by an (in my opinion at least) more disturbing confrontation on the school roof between to the two girls. These are two girls that throughout the series we have seen mentally deteriorate throughout the series. Whether it was Sekai losing her moral compass or outright throwing it away to get what she wants and Kotonoha our innocent shy girl who has been mentally broken not only by the fact that the boy she gave all her heart to but also by those around her. Her classmate’s used and abused and Sekai was someone she thought was her friend and she hurt more than any of the other students did not only by first taking Mokoto from her during their relationship but taking him away from her forever through her grisly act of jealousy over a guy that by the end of it all really wasn’t worth what these girls were fighting for.
So that is how I see School Days. I did not write this review to change anyone’s mind of the series but simply to put a different point of view out there.
At its very core Kono Danshi, Ningyo Hiroimashita is an anime about loneliness, a feeling all of us have felt at one point or another in our lives.
The main character of the anime Shima is a boy who has lived his life pleasing those around him and has worked his hardest to not do anything to make those around him uncomfortable. Shima thought his life was perfect until a life-changing event as a child caused him to have to live his grandfather. Unfortunately for Shima, however, his grandfather has just passed away and he believes he has no-one he can rely on anymore. Shima even though he has many friends at school feels isolated and cannot understand why that is. Shima has friends and yet Shima feels alone and he doesn’t understand why he feels alone. Then Shima meets a merman who saves the boy from drowning not long after his grandfather’s funeral. Seeing how miserable Shima is the merman decides he will stay by Shima’s side so that the boy will not feel alone.
Loneliness, as I have written, is something we have all felt and I do believe that that most painful of loneliness is experienced when we are in the company of others. If we walk our lives wearing only a mask that we show the world and never let our true selves shine through, then I think we will feel lonely because no-one we know will ever know our true selves.
Hiding our true selves from the world will keep us safe from some harm this is true, but though we might be avoiding one form of pain we leave ourselves open to the pain of loneliness.
This anime is not only a feast for the emotions but for the eyes as well. I must say I have not seen an art style as pretty as this series since I watched Gankutsuou, that being said the color pallet is a lot less garish and has a whimsical almost fairytale like feel to it.
As an introduction to the yaoi and boys love genre I can highly recommend this short ova. That being said the yaoi undertones are not so much in your face that I can also recommend this series to a non-yaoi anime fan as well who wants to watch a short anime that will give your heart string a good strong pull.