School Days is a particularly infamous series. Based off of an eroge, the anime is notorious for its bad ending, as well as how it turns the harem genre completely on its head. This makes for particularly compelling characters to be both loved and hated.
Of the School Days characters, there was one in particular that caught my attention, and not from hatred, like many of the other characters in School Days.
That character is Kotonoha Katsura.
Kotonoha’s primary stand-out feature is her bust. While prominent, the anime treats her chest in a more modest way, giving her a pure, non-vulgar sort of appeal. She carries herself in a dignified manner, from her long hair to the way she sits. This dignity, however, doesn’t extend to a sense of superiority. Rather, she has an air of modest grace about her. Her downward-curved eyes make her always looks a bit sad, which makes her predicament even worse to watch.
Kotonoha has what many might consider a “desirable” personality. She’s very much the quiet girl in the corner. She’s modest, polite, soft-spoken, and has homemaker-type hobbies such as cooking and knitting. A good friend and a devoted girlfriend, Kotonoha radiates dignity, femininity, and all of the qualities that make a good Yamato Nadeshiko character. She never quite loses her air of dignity, giving her a very pure presence.
At school, she’s consistently the target of bullying, and is constantly pressured into doing the majority of the work for the student council. Her timid nature makes her a pushover, easily ordered around by the other girls in the council. However, after a while dating Makoto (Or at least believing so), she does stand up for herself.
Kotonoha starts off the series with a crush on series protagonist Makoto Itou. She’s delighted to find out that Makoto feels the same way about her, and they quickly start dating. While Makoto seems to be moving too fast for her, she’s devoted enough to him to deal with it.
Over the course of the anime, however, we see Kotonoha slowly slip into delusion. Though constantly confronted with evidence that Makoto is cheating on her, she continues to believe that he and her are still going out, at first genuinely, then delusively. Eventually, she breaks down and falls into insanity, talking to Makoto on her cell phone, even though her phone is dead and Makoto had blocked her number. She regains her sanity after Makoto finds her in the park and realizes his mistake, only to lose it once again after finding Makoto dead in his apartment.
Kotonoha Katsura is a fantastic example of a good character in a bad situation. Meticulously designed to be a desirable character to the show’s target demographic, she’s a big part of the reason School Days succeeds at flipping the harem genre upside-down. While she presents the perfect girlfriend for the protagonist, she’s ultimately rejected, and her devotion, coupled with her weak constitution, cause her to slide into delusion.
Kotonoha made School Days. Without her and the way her character was presented, School Days could never be as compelling as it was.
‘Till next time!