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School Days 1 – I Heart Stalkers

There’s only one reason why I’m interested in this show: the game it’s based on is famous for its sudden and violent bad endings. So does this show, like Higurashi, do a good job building up ominous details in between a seemingly innocent teenage romance plot? Yes, though not as well. This one is a bit more obvious, too obvious at times, as to where it’s probably headed. Higurashi was extremely silly, even blandly so, in the first episode–and bone-chillingly creepy by the fourth.

The basic plot for this story arc is simple and classic–a love triangle in which one partner tries and presumably fails to keep her feelings for the guy under wraps while he pursues another girl. Your average soap opera or drama setup, with all sorts of delicious possibilities for violence, murder, and catfights. So what kind of hints do we get that something is not quite right in these innocent School Days?

Ominous hint #1: sudden domestic violence! With seemingly little provocation too.

Ominous hint #2: massive and obvious emotional repression! Plus hair-over-face, which in Higurashi was always the prelude to berserker sadist mode.

Ominous hint #3: girl is attracted to guy precisely for his stalker-like tendencies. Not one, but two possible psychopaths.

Note: I have, obviously, not played the game this was based on, so naturally all my speculation is based off a fresh first viewing. Am I overinterpreting and wishing too hard for this to be Higurashi? Probably. So sue me. :-p

The actual romantic drama stuff was OK, above average at best. The awkwardness was moderately realistic, even if it relied on the hoary old anime cliche of having a guy wolf down a girl’s unpalatable food. Sekai’s frantic matchmaking efforts seem desperately and overwhelmingly obvious to everyone but Itou, but that is a normal guy reaction. Like Higurashi, this show is probably going to leverage the formula to lead to very different places, though rather than dark character exploration the plot setup is more suited for full blown soap opera histrionic cheese. I’m waiting for the revelation that Sekai is really Itou’s half-sister because long ago his mother ran off with her dad–and that’s after she tells Itou she’s pregnant with his baby.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that sometimes. “Oooh–catfight! Oh baby…”

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