School Rumble - Reviews

babyeinstein12's avatar
Apr 8, 2010


Sometimes 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.


The 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.


First 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.


School 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.


“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. 

8/10 story
7/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
8/10 overall
MagicalWay's avatar
Aug 16, 2012

...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'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.

7/10 story
7/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
8.3/10 overall
nasreen10's avatar
Jan 26, 2010

Story: An entertaining love story. School Rumble has to be the epitome of a romantic comedy. It truly is love and comedy. Their antics are hilarious and the way the show is split works perfectly. The ending was a little lackluster but it fit. Romance grows between the unexpected and not as much which the main lovebirds; however, that isn't a bad thing. The humor is really unexpected as well. Random things pop out that just crack you up. There are as many lmao moments as there are lol moments but it's still worth watching especially if you're a comedy fan.

Animation: The animation is pretty standard. I am a fan of the guy's character designs more than the females but there both nice to look at. The emotions are done perfectly and the opening and ending are fitting. Movements are fluid and backgrounds are appealing. Not very memorable or remarkable but still good. 

Sound: I watched the English dub because I found it on the producer's website (free+legal=amazing quality) so I don't have much to say about the original seiyuus; however, the English voice actors played the parts well. The opening and ending were fun and catchy. I found myself singing along. Instrumental music throughout the anime was fitting. However, not anything to memorable or remarkable. Like the animation, it was still good. 

Characters: Hands down, characters make this show. Harima's love for animals, Karasuma's rain costumes, and several quirks make the characters so laughable and lovable. Most of the characters get exposure and development which surprised me. You love them even when they're not being very smart. Even their thickheaded-ness becomes endearing. Definitely some of my favorite characters.

Overall: Humor, love, and just a bunch of fun. I kept happy after watching this and had a desire to watch the next one as well. I would recommend this to just about anyone especially if you're looking for a laugh.

8/10 story
8/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
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MetalTsundere's avatar
Aug 14, 2016

well all i'm saying before starting is that, this is quite interesting for a rom. com.


Tenma is in love with Karasuma, but she dosen't know that a guy named Harima is in love with her as well, thus forming a love triangle, however as harima tries to get Tenma's attention, Eri ,tenma's friend and Yakumo, tenma's younger sister, and Tae the school nurse fell in love with Harima thus forming another love rectangle, however Harima still doesn't know that.

Overall the story is great, I don't know why I since the first time I watched it, I got hooked up, the comical scenes are funny and I love the misunderstandings, especially when Harima tries to confess but ends up doing it to Eri or to other girl, or when he or tenma thinks that their love interest is also in love with them.

well nothing much to say about that, I mean I'm content with the setting background, and the design of the characters

just like in the anime I'm alright with it, my favorite theme is Yakumo's btw it's so relaxing and peaceful

I really love them, they may seem like your ordinary students but they are unique in their own ways.

The Childish Tenma, the rich girl Eri, the quiet Akira, the Sporty Mikoto and the peaceful Yakumo (the character I fell in love with aside from charles from IS) and from the guys you got the delinquent Harima, the hot headed Hannai, the pervert Imadori and the bland Karasuma

they may have different characteristics but they managed to blend in with everyone especially if it's in a comical way

I did really enjoy it, and It's pretty unique for a romance Rom. Com. and the fact that Tenma and Harima didn't end up with each other but still has a happy ending is great well I guess that's all i'm saying

9/10 story
7/10 animation
8/10 sound
10/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
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NoCheerios's avatar
Dec 31, 2010

WARNING: The following review is simply an opinion, not a declarative fact or anything of the sort.

Story: (7/10)

In School Rumble's case, it's better to call it a plot. You see, a story sounds as though it'll play out like a book, but it doesn't really. It's strange in that it's kind of episodic but at the same time the "story" flows from one episode to the next. Essentially, it's just a girl who has a crush on a bowl-cut kid for NO real reason. There's really nothing spectacular about him(although he can ride a bkie damn fast), which is what confused me. But then there's Harima(my favorite anime character of all time), who likes the girl who likes mr bowl-cut.

So in all essence, this show's about a dude who likes a girl who likes a dude. AKA, a love triangle. But, it also incorporates several side characters and some wacky humor, making for something that's definitely entertaining in the story department, but not spectacular.

Animation: (6/10)

Nothing amazing here. Although it suits the style of the show, it's still rather dull and nothing out of the ordinary.

The character designs aren't distorted or anything, but also aren't super unique.

So yeah, nothing stupendous here.

Sound: (5/10)

The OP and ED kind of irritated me, but they were passable jpop songs that suited the wacky show and it's strange slapstick humor.

The voice actors were decent in the sub(especially Harima <3), but the dub voice acting was pretty bad. Then again, I'm pretty biased against dubbing in general because of the way the pronounce japanese names and such. But that might just be me.

Characters: (7.5/10)

Not super in-depth or anything, but really funny and odd. They all had their own crushes and such, and there were constantly flurries of misunderstandings amongst them. In most shows that use mostly misunderstandings for humor, it gets played out and starts to bore you. In School Rumble's case, however, it's just damn funny. At first, the show and it's characters are rather dull, but around episode 8 or 9 Harima's side of the story really kicks in and it gets interesting.

All in all the characters are wacky and funny, but they don't have 300 levels of emotion or anything.

Overall: (7/10)

All in all? A somewhat innocent time-killer that turns out to be suprisingly entertaining. As a casual watch? Definitely recommended. For a huge story and masterful character development? Sorry broheim, all out of luck here.

7/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7/10 overall
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