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School Rumble Vol. 1
Ross Liversidge
Author: Ross Liversidge

Ross founded the UK Anime Network back in 1995 and works in and around the anime industry.

School Rumble Vol. 1

Distributor
Revelation
Certificate
12
Price
£14.99

I approached School Rumble with some experience with the manga, which is currently being released by Tanoshimi. And the anime is nothing if not faithful to the source material, which in this case is a definite plus.

School Rumble is a comedic high school romance, but before you run off screaming, it's actually one of the better series out there, so stick with me.

Our heroine is the ditzy and downright bizarre Tenma Tsukamoto, who has a heavy crush on smart non-entity Karasuma (who only loves curry). She's blissfully unaware that she herself is the object of affection for one Harima Kenji, a no-hope hard-man who spends his time beating up punks and riding his motorcycle - until his heart demands that he attends school to be closer to his sweetheart.

So a classic love triangle and nothing really new. But what makes this series stand out is the sheer amount of energy it commits to every endeavour, and the odd structure of each episode, which is split into 3 distinct parts. This unusual approach makes the series a weird hybrid of comedy drama and sketch show.

The central love triangle is backed up by a large cast of supporting characters, each with their own quirks and desires. If the series continues to follow the manga as closely as this first volume, we'll start to see a lot more of them as things progress, but for now we're focussed on tenacious Tenma and hard-ass Harima as they fight for the affections of people who barely know they exist.

It has to be said that not every gag hits, but with a 3 pronged attack each episode and some clever writing, it hits far more than it misses. Some jokes do rely on a bit of Japanese cultural knowledge, or some familiarity with series such as Initial D, but for the most part these references enrich the show rather than depend on them. 

Credit should also go to an excellent English vocal cast, which became my language of choice, mainly because I found the English script funnier than the Japanese one, but also due to some fine performances from all involved.

Basically, if you're looking for a bonkers high-school romantic comedy, I can't think of anything better to scratch that itch - and keep an eye out for future volumes, as when it gets going it gets even better!


Extras:

Interview with Tenma's Japanses voice actress
Interview with Yakumo's Japanese voice actress
Trailers
Textless Songs

Special Edition comes with a collectors tin (pictured right)


8
Wacky, random and imaginative high-school fun ^^
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