Reviewby Luke Carroll, Jan 10th 2008
High school can be hard enough with just academics alone, but when love enters into the picture, it can unravel into a comedy of errors. Tenma has fallen for her oblivious classmate but hasn't worked up the courage to express her feelings to him. She continually tries unorthodox ploys to confess her love with a frustrating lack of success.
Meanwhile, the class delinquent has fallen for Tenma and is making similar attempts. While this unlikely trio winds their way through the pitfalls of love and high school life, their friends and classmates become caught up in the chaos
Take one part Azumanga Daioh, add a pinch of messed up romance and top it all off with a foray of non-stop comedic moments. What results is School Rumble, the latest take on the widely popular romantic comedy genre. These first five episodes contain an almost endless set of gags that will leave you laughing in a fit one minute and almost asleep the next. But if you can tolerate the occasionally overused comedy routines, School Rumble will prove to be quite a pleasant and funny title that will no doubt be recommended to many fans wanting to experience this genre for the first time.
As with many comedies, the plot for School Rumble is kept at a basic minimum. Kenji Himaru is the bad boy of the school, a tall and angry character whose reputation for skipping classes and starting fights is second to none. Well that was until he met Tenma Tsukamoto, an absolute air head of a girl who raises the bar of her own stupidity on a daily basis. The problem is that Tenma is madly in love with Ooji Karasuma, a quite mysterious character who manages to comically avoid Tenma in every situation. What results is a series of humourous sketches through the eyes of both Himaru and Tenma as they constantly and quite hopelessly try and get their lovers to acknowledge them.
The artistry chosen for School Rumble is quite simply a pleasure to look at. Studio Comet have nicely used vibrant colours and animations to bring out the best in each setting, as well as defining the cast with a number of facial traits that works wonders. Himaru's tan and goatee for instance makes him easily recognizable from the other thug-like characters in the series whilst Karasuma's almost empty stare only adds to his weirdness. Tenma herself is also just as unique, sporting an easily loveable bright and happy face with expressions that you could swear were ripped straight out of Azumanga Daioh. The supporting characters also offer a variety of designs, however they are not as pronounced which leaves them to be less memorable. The background art is at times also done well, however it lacks sharp detail and certainly could have been improved. Overall School Rumble's art is certainly not the best around, however it is pleasing to look at and does its job well in bringing out the humour in every sketch.
If there is one thing School Rumble does not disappoint in, it would have to be its soundtrack. Consisting almost entirely out of sound effects with a few catchy tunes, the soundtrack manages to bring together all the sketches into a wonderfully sounding performance that enhances the comedy greatly. It does not end there however as the opening song "Scramble" and the outro song "Girls♥Boys" are just as light hearted and catchy as the series, creating an infectious happy mood that lasts from the start until the end of every episode. Although it does not contain much in actual real music, School Rumble's soundtrack is a great listen that rarely takes a step in the wrong direction.
No comedy is complete without a decent set of voices to bring the characters to life, and School Rumble does not disappoint here. Luci Christian manages to do an excellent job at bringing Tenma's bubbling attitude to life, giving her an almost childlike voice that fits into the many comedy routines wonderfully. Not to be outdone however Brandon Potter does a remarkable job of voicing Harima, producing many cracking one liners that never fail to achieve a smile. Our editorial copy unfortunately did not contain any subtitles or japanese audio to allow us to compare the translations and voices. Overall though, School Rumble's dub is a decent humour fest and a great pleasure to listen to, certainly ranking it as one of Funimation's better attempts in recent years.
Unfortunately our editorial copy of this release did not include any extras.
Like many comedies to appear in recent years, School Rumble is truely at its best when watched in small doses. As upbeat as the series really is, attempting to watch it all in one sitting will only leave you feeling underwhelmed and ultimately does not do the show any justice whatsoever. Thankfully the constant comedy and lack of continuity allows for the series to be stopped and started whenever you feel your brain losing interest and wandering off elsewhere. Aside from this, School Rumble certainly is one of the better comedies to gain a release here and definitely is a must see for those who enjoyed similar sketch based comedies like Azumanga Daioh and Cromartie High School.
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : N/A
Story : C
Animation : B-
Art : B
Music : B+
+ Memorable character designs, Often quite humourous
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