And though I had slain a thousand foes less one,
The thousandth knife found my liver;
The thousandth enemy said to me,
'Now you shall die,
Now none shall know.'
And the fool, looking down, believed this,
Not seeing, above his shoulders, the naked stars,
Each one remembering.
--John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

The Asylum Director

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"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." - Russel Baker

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

School Days

June has come around. That, for the Philippine people, means school is back in session. That means more people crowding the roads and hogging public transportation. More people to cram up the lines to the MRT. More people running for school supplies at every turn in a bookstore. More people to get in my way when I decide to order food from a fast food joint at an inopportune time. Incidentally, my recent discovery of a certain game has a title that, oddly, coincides with this time of year.

School Days.

Wikipedia link for reference.

To quote Wiki:
The game is infamous for its bad endings which are extremely violent, ranging from the killing of one of the other main characters and graphic depictions of suicide.

This is absolutely true, from what little I've played. The other set of endings tend to cover the usual base of typical H-game fare, but the bad endings are really bad. And yet, these scenes (and the events that lead up to them) are also among the most compelling ever seen in any game, even within the confines of the vaunted RPG genre. The last game I played that had this sort of emotional and psychological depth before pulling a scene that screamed "Greek tragedy!" was Fate/Stay Night. Even that seemed a little flawed compared to how School Days treats the characters, though I don't think Matou Sakura (of Fate/Stay Night) is really any less tragic than Katsura Kotonoha in both of her bad endings. Their circumstances are too different to really compare, but they're both endearing and tragic in very similar ways.

Now, this might be little more than personal preference, but I find Kotonoha more compelling than Sakura. She seems much more human in how she slowly breaks down because the main character has betrayed her. Prior to that emotional trauma, she's actually quite warm and likable. She's really the type of girl you'd love to take home to show the folks and end up marrying. Why anyone would pick Sekai (who can be annoying in contrast, but isn't so bad when considered on her own) over her is a mystery, aside from the chance to see what might be the most magnificently done scene in the whole game. Yes, despite my affection for the character, I can't help but love the "Conclusion of Blood" ending that...well, you'll see.

As if her sweet personality wasn't endearing enough, we also learn (through the buggy alternate universe/prequel Summer Days) that Kotonoha-sama is quite skilled in iai-jutsu.

Now, I haven't had the time to really play this game that much. I've only seen the ending I linked above, one of the good endings with Kotonoha-sama, and one of two (or three, I don't recall) harem endings. I have got to find more time to play this game, honestly.

I am also eagerly, eagerly awaiting the anime version that is due to come out in July. I am hoping that they'll go for the magnificence of the "Conclusion of Blood," but it'd be hard to see that happening without going to graphic territory. The bulk of the trauma that causes Kotonoha-sama to change and become utterly insane involves sex. Changing that might be possible, but that was handled poorly for the anime rendition of Fate/Stay Night, so I fear I might just be disappointed. However, it would be possible to go for one of the other endings instead and keep the sex out, but that'd be less entertaining a way to end things. Besides, that might involve an ending with Sekai, which I (and, I suspect, many others) would not approve of.

I'll take a Setsuna ending as a compromise, however.

Or, they might decide to go with an ending specifically for the anime.

I'd love to see how that turns out.

Anyway, back to work.

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