Tenma Tsukamoto is young, bright, and smitten with the school hottie Oji Karasuma. She's desperate for his attention, which is unfortunate considering he barely gives her the time of day! Throw Kenji Harima, the school delinquent with a crush on Tenma into the mix and you've got one twisted love triangle of unrequited proportions! Can love find the trio happiness before their attention-grabbing stunts end up hurting more than their egos?
StorySometimes you want life to be better than it is. You don’t mean awesome robots, cool superpowers, or easy panty shots – you would be perfectly happy with popular friends, good old fun, and wannabe lovers lavishing you with their desire. Basically, you want your currently insipid daily routine to rumble with the brilliance of youth. Look no further. School Rumble shines in its magical realism. Within an alternate world charged with energy and social delight, we witness the formula of daily life (and of the Japanese school life genre) made exciting with humorous and clever variations. Homeroom period becomes a battlefield for love, while summer vacation becomes a battlefield for friendship; beach retreats fester in youthful awkwardness, while sports festivals boil with youthful power. Relationship acrobatics and romantic entanglements comparable to those we see later in Toradora! combine with the vigorous pacing of Nodame Cantabile, the exaggeration of Lovely Complex, and the zaniness of Azumanga Daioh to create the ultimate anime sitcom. Yes, School Rumble does indeed rumble with solid entertainment value. But a viewer who undertakes the series for superficial reasons (mainly, to just be “entertained”) will miss out on a decently sized mine of deeper treasures. One cannot go through the season without noticing how much of their feelings the writers and producers put into the work: The series burgeons with latent emotion. Subtleties of this kind pass by almost unnoticed, flitting across the screen unassumingly or even simply, but the more sensitive viewer will relish in the restrained, dreamy wistfulness that ends up charging the entire show. A fair number of titles attain this ideal for many anime lovers. For me, School Rumble has captured my school-life daydreams in a way that the likes of Lucky Star or Toradora! could not.AnimationThe series doesn’t produce any dazzling eye candy, nor does it try to. School Rumble’s animation places practicality above artistry, but that does not diminish its general quality. Sure, a couple scenes would have benefited from some Makoto Shinkai flourish, but the animators do a sufficient job – namely, they get the story’s point across in a snappy, nimble way, often heightening the comedy. Character designs, while a bit plain, are appealing and consistent.SoundFirst of all, Yakumo’s Theme has changed my life. Now, whenever I am ambling to class on a breezy spring day, the piece floats in my mind like my very own theme song, tingeing my ordinary college existence with a nostalgic serenity. Toshiyuki Omori’s exquisite soundtrack, like much of the rest of the series, exemplifies the wonders of simplicity and balance. Each theme serves their purpose and never blares out when they’re not wanted. The voice acting delivers, but it does not reach the seiyuu echelons of Nodame Cantabile or Toradora!. Tenma (Ami Koshimazu) caresses the ear with smooth, honey-like tones; Mikoto (Hitomi Nabatama) and Imadori (Daisuke Kishio) stand out as well. While the cast is generally earnest, their performances sound a bit too commonplace, or in the case of Hanai, too jarring. School Rumble's English dub is worthy of mention, as it has garnered positive feedback from dub-viewers and at times surpasses its Japanese counterpart in the brilliance of its casting, particularly for Harima.CharactersSchool Rumble achieves something special with its cast: The characters become the story. We’re all familiar with those titles where the writers throw in plot twist after plot twist to keep the story going, resulting in precariously balanced, contrived entertainment. In the case of School Rumble, the characters are so outstanding that little, everyday interactions amongst themselves unfurl into blossoming story-fodder without even trying. Tenma Tsukamoto is cute enough. But the real treat – the “cream of the crop,” the roe in the middle of the sushi roll – is Kenji Harima, the star of the show both in screen time and in simply being such a fantastically constructed character. There are no scarred pasts or clichéd psychological troubles to this young man; he stands perfectly fine on his own as just a normal misunderstood teenager…or maybe not so normal. His lifestyle is, shall we say, bizarre. In any case, though, his simplicity brings laughter and fresh air, and his complexity tugs at the viewer’s heart. For shoujo lovers who appraise the male lead before deciding to click on Episode One, no need to worry: Wait until he shaves off his moustache and cuts his hair. <3 The remaining cast members serve multiple functions: to provide harmonious background noise, to occasionally shine in the spotlight, or (most importantly) to intermingle/combust with each other in riotous glory. Everyone has their own charm. Yakumo is my new role model, Sawachika is my personal anime proxy, Mikoto and Akira are badass, Kurasuma reminds me of a classmate, Imadori and Nara make me squeal, and Hanai… Well, he has a nice body, I suppose. Basically, I want to become friends with these people. They are so cool! The characters are apt vessels for School Rumble’s emotional inspiration. Each of them, in some way or other, mold themselves to different dimensions of not only the fun and carefree, but also the reflective and aching, dimensions of pre-adulthood. One may not understand what it's like to be a delinquent like Harima, but one can understand what it's like to be so simultaneously hopeful and lonely; one may not understand what it's like to be wealthy and popular like Sawachika, but one can understand what it's like to always have to mask your insecurities.Overall“Is this a dream?” “We’re both in a dream. A dream called youth. We’ll eventually wake up from this dream, but the memories will continue to endure.” Need I say more? This anime was, for me, twenty-six episodes of a dream, an unadulterated escape from reality – or rather, a slightly wistful superimposition of my current reality. School Rumble has become one of those shows that holds up decently in the anime world for its solid entertainment value, but for me it has spoken volumes. It isn’t particularly witty, beautiful, or even coherent, but it is sincere, and sometimes that’s just fine.
...Last night, I finished School Rumble, but found myself getting in trouble over and over today at work because I kept losing my composure and randomly laughing to myself over scenes of the show that kept playing over and over in my head.To say that this show is hilarious may be a sore understatement. It's a good possibility this is the funniest show I've ever seen. The perfect amount of Drama sprinkled on top of this heavy Romantic/Comedy make the recipe for success.Much to my surprise, there's even a bit of depth to this Romantic Comedy...Tenma Tsukamoto is a total dunce...but one who is totally in love with her classmate Ooji Karasuma. He is preparing to transfer when she makes it her mission to write him a love letter as a last ditch effort to get him to stay. Kenji Harima is a juvenile deliquent who is in love with his classmate Tenma, and has become tame to the idea of going to class in order to get closer to her...this triangle of one sided, occasionally delusional love is just the beginning to the hilarious antics of the cast of School Rumble... Story: (7/10)Despite the fact the story is as straight forward as it can be, (A romantic comedy normally doesn't stray far from its standard formula) there is actually a well put together story with a noticable progression. It starts off fairly slowly, but as the other characters become more key to the plot (after around 10 episodes or so) the simple triangle of Tenma/Kenji/Ooji becomes more complex, involving other characters into the ensuing craziness.There's a few holes in the story that the second installment has plenty of time to fix. Animation: (7/10)It's energetic, upbeat, and knows the perfect time to blank out other characters on screen to make the timing of a joke hit so much harder. You'll often find yourself wondering what's about to happen as they do a closup of Harima as he slowly riles himself up before having some crazy outburst.Few of the characters stand out as far as their looks and appearence, save Kenji Harima, who is a very unique and excellent idea for a male protagonist.Yakumo's mind reading ability and the way that Kanji characters appear and chase over the heads of people in her vicinity is just awesome, a concept I don't think I've seen before.Sound: (9/10)The opening theme Scramble, sung by Horie Yui (Who also did the voice for Eri Sawachika) is very zany, and catchy. Whether I particularly liked this song or not, it's definately been stuck in my head since the first time I've heard it.The ending theme Onna no Ko Otoko no Ko is also fairly catchy, and just plain silly. A chibi of Harima goes through a series of motions as the credits roll.SR screams silliness, and hilarity even in the most subtle ways. The sound effects are a very important part of the unique comedy of the show also: An example of this in Episode 2 when Harima mouths to Tenma and as the Kanji appears on screen, the sound of a typewriter goes in the background.Character: (10/10)If there is one factor that contributes above all to School Rumble's amazing humour factor, it has to be its colorful cast...Every schoolkids cliché is present here: The airheaded but super friendly one, the perfect and beautiful girl who doesn't realize her appeal, the tomboyish girl who can kick any guys ass, the spoiled and snobby princess, the deliquent who rarely goes to class, the straightedge, and of course, the lackies. The gang is all here... but what School Rumble has that so many others don't, is charm, and buckets of it.All of the important characters are very in-depth, and you get to know them all fairly well before it's all said and done. The other main characters (Eri, Mikoto, Yakumo, Imadori, and Hanai) are actually interesting enough, that seeing their stories develop was so appealing at times, that keeping up with them took precedence over the main two. Even Karasuma, who is as one-dimensional and bland as they get, was made to be so purposely...it's what makes Tenma's attraction to him, and the time they spend together during the show, so funny.There's also some interesting romances that begin developing at such odd points in the show, and they actually GO somewhere with it later. In alot of other shows, they'd start on something, then drop the ball. Overall Rating: (8.25/10)Perhaps the most fun and comedic show I've seen to date. In the meantime, I'll eagerly anticipate the next installment.
I had heard this one was absolutely hilarious, not really. It had a few moments where I literally busted out laughing and it was lovely, but those moments were few and far between so this show mainly left me with a lot of filler and no real progress made in the story. This show is kind of a tease. 100 times Tenma/Harima would rev up for their confessions and then nothing. It became taxing. I think you were just meant to enjoy the Seinfeld-like plot of a show about nothing and a humor based on just miss encounters and irony, and at times it worked. I enjoyed most the almost love story with Yakumo and Sawachika for Harima most. Harima was a very cute character as well, I like the idea that a delinquent type is actually a hugely sensitive and lovey and gets as spastic around his crush as anyone, more so than anyone, in the show. As far as Tenma and her crush, I felt as if the boy was so robotic because he was just meant to be a placeholder for Tenma until her real love story started with Harima. Banking on that, I'll watch the second season in hopes that, with a groundwork laid, a lot more will happen next.
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