Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)
One year to the day, I reviewed the infamous School Days anime series. School Days is infamous for a number of reasons – but first among those reasons is the “Nice Boat” meme that arose from the brief censorship of its bloody final episode. Due to circumstances that I will recap in brief, the final episode of School Days was initially replaced by 28-minutes of pleasant scenes with August Wilhelmj’s Air on the G String playing in the background. It was one of the pleasant scenes, of a very nice boat, that gave us the Nice Boat meme.
People remember the School Days controversy and the resulting meme, but what of the replacement episode beyond the very nice boat scene? Let us examine.
Recapping the Road to the Nice Boat
I discussed the School Days anime in (unfortunate) detail and the Nice Boat meme in my full article last year (see Nice Boat section). I will not re-invent the rudder here, but instead provide a very brief explanation of the Nice Boat meme that should suffice for our instant purposes.
School Days is a 12-episode anime series that aired in 2007. The train-wreck that was School Days ended in a bloody mess, with multiple murders and other general unpleasantries. That final episode was slated to air on September 27, 2007, but real-world events in the form of a three-dimensional 16-year-old girl murdering her father with an axe on September 26, 2007, intervened.
The teenage-axe murder story made national news in Japan. The TV network that was airing School Days evidently thought that the real-world story was a bit too close for comfort to the events of the final episode of School Days. As a result, the final episode of School Days was replaced by a 28-minute show featuring nothing but pleasant scenery set to August Wilhelmj’s Air on the G String.
The School Days censorship proved to be temporary. The final episode aired not too long after it was originally scheduled, and it survived intact (unlike some of the characters) save for the strange decision to re-color the copious blood in the final episode from red to black.
The Nice Boat meme came from the original School Days replacement episode. At about 4:30 in the replacement episode, video of a very nice boat (the MS Skagastøl) played. Ironically, the final scene of School Days featured one character along with what was left of another character sailing off into the sunset on a very nice boat. The gentle-posters of 4chan noted these circumstances, and the confluence of events and themes birthed one of anime’s most famous (or infamous) themes, the Nice Boat
What About the Rest of the Replacement Episode?
There are generally two subjects of interest in the strange story of the School Days’ finale. First is the train-wreck that was School Days itself. Second is the Nice Boat. But something is missing from this equation. What about the rest of the replacement episode? The Nice Boat was only one pleasant scene out of many. From some materials about the meme, one might think that School Days was replaced by a 28-minute video of the MS Skagastøl. But this was not the case. There were many other pleasant things in the video.
To be sure, School Days was not long censored. People who enjoy melodramatic train-wrecks are free to watch the final episode of School Days at their leisure. The world thus gained School Days after the fate of the final episode was only briefly in doubt. But who considered what the world lost as a result ?
One person, posting on Stack Exchange in 2015, asked the important question that I have been getting at:
The part [in the substituted episode] with the boat is easily viewable on YouTube and other sites, but I haven’t been able to find the full episode. Is the episode bundled together with any merchandise or available legally online to stream/download?
We can all watch episode 12 of School Days. We can all look at pictures of the Nice Boat segment. But can we watch the original substituted episode 12 of School Days – the one that actually aired on September 27, 2007? This poster wanted to know. Now I want to know too.
The “Nice Boat” in Full: School Days’ Lost Episode
The Stack Exchange poster received a response that the full Nice Boat episode was available on Niconico. However, that response was from 2015. I was curious whether the full lost episode is available somewhere that is easier for general audiences to use.
I have good news.
On February 4, 2021, a YouTube user by the name of Nozakey uploaded the full lost episode to YouTube on February 4, 2021. You can enjoy the full 28 minutes of pleasant scenery and music.
The nice boat enters the scene at 4:30, but the lost episode 12 of School Days has much more than a very nice Norwegian boat. You will find churches, castles, trams, trains, mountains, fields, forests, lakes, cows, tractors, and much more.
The unsung story of the strange circumstances of the airing of School Days’ final episode is the fate of the episode that replaced it on the original air date. Episode 12 of School Days, which was once censored, is much easier to find than the innocuous material that replaced it. However, it took only a bit of digging to discover the full School Days episode 12 replacement. While it lacks the emotional turbulence and occasional mayhem of the final episode of School Days, I dare say that it makes for more pleasant viewing.