Well, in this case, no. Some people know the meaning of Nice Boat as a meme.
For those who aren’t in the know, I’ll explain. Nice Boat is a reference to the anime and dating sim “School Days”. “School Days” originally started as a PC game in Japan. It’s the slice-of-life (well, if you’re a teenage pimp), non-linear story of Itou Makoto. He encounters different girls at the school he goes to. The purpose of the game is to develop and keep up different relationships. Depending on how you play the game, you’ll get a different ending.
“School Days” was known to have some brutally violent endings… depending on your game play. The bad endings are really bad. They include character murder and suicide. The good endings are good including monogamous relationships, hotel romps and polyamory.
The anime gives you a story without any of the relationship decision. The story still centers on Itou Makoto. However, it shows his pursuit of Kotonoha Katsura… a girl he becomes infatuated with as he commutes on the same train with her to school. His friend, Satonji Sekai tries to help by introducing him to her. Time passes and Kotonoha and Itou decide to date.
That is much to the chagrin of Satonoji. As she helps develop a relationship with Itou and Kotonoha, she also realizes that she too has feelings for Itou.
So, she decides to act by saying she would give Itou lessons on what to do with girls. This includes everything from making out to sex.
As it sounds, things get complicated. They get very complicated. Makoto hurts Katsura so he could pursue something with Sakai. While Sakai thinks it’s a romantic relationship, for Makoto it’s purely physical.
Through all his debauchery, Sakai gets pregnant. That makes any teenager nervous. Sakai sees it as a way to get Makoto locked in to a serious relationship. Makoto on the other hand freaks out and bolts. Of course, Sakai announcing it to everyone in their class doesn’t help. He looses the network of girls that he was sleeping with.
When he’s at his lowest point, he meets up again with Katsura. Katsura is willing to take him back despite how badly he mentally broke her.
Once Sakai discovers this, it hurts her. She’s forced to look at her actions and she doesn’t like what she sees. Instead of emotionally dealing with it and figuring out what she wants to do post-Makoto, she kills him.
So, what does all of this have to do with nice boat?
Well, Katsura cuts the head off of Makoto’s lifeless body and puts it in a bag. Sakai sees the bag there. She can’t exactly runaway from what she did. Katsura gets her revenge by killing Sakai with the intent to check if Sakai was really pregnant.
The series ends on a nice sailing boat out in the water where Katsura cuddles with Makoto’s head. The boat itself is nice. However, it’s what’s on the boat that makes the meme so memorable and… well… unnerving. It’s a play on what Americans have a tendency to do when they gloss over or even omit anything negative happening. You focus on how nice the boat is, but fail to admit the horror of what’s happening on decks.
Now, I could go on and on about the women in “School Days”. The fact that the women seem so overly attached to this one guy and how that’s an incredibly unhealthy relationship. However, I can’t look at this through a feminist lens. This is a story from a dating sim. Dating sims are largely geared towards a male audience… and it’s a Japanese dating sim on top of it that’s about 7 years old. While Japan has made some forward steps as far as women’s rights are concerned, it’s still an entirely different society from what we’re used to.
Of course, there’s also the argument that there are plenty of women in the US who also have relationship dynamics that are similar.
Regardless, we have to look at this through the lens of being largely male entertainment. The anime also watches as it’s a bit more guy oriented. Where the main character gets the hot, big-breasted girl, the friend and… well, anyone else he might want. I do approve that the series does show that such actions also have opposite reactions. One of the girls gets pregnant. Once it gets out, he loses what he has. So, it’s not all sunshine and roses for being a teenage pimp.
Needless to say, it’s an interesting anime based off an interesting dating sim. While the story comes across as short and it could be more graphic. However, this aired on network TV in Japan. It’s risqué and many degrees of screwed up… and yet, I feel compelled to watch it multiple times.