Monday, December 3, 2012

School Rumble

School Rumble
TV Show/Anime
Based of the manga by Jin Kobayashi
Directed by Shinji Takamatsu
Originally aired in Japan in 2004/2005
Released on DVD in America in 2009

Plot Summary: School Rumble is a romantic shonen comedy revolving around the daily lives of the students of Class 2-C at Yagami High School. The story focuses on Tenma Tsukamoto, an loveable but idiotic second-year high school student who is obsessively in love with Oji Karasuma, her eccentric classmate. Tenma deals daily with her desire to confess her feelings to Karasuma, but he remains stoic and oblivious to her. What Tenma doesn’t realize is that former delinquent and bad boy Kenji Harima is obsessively in love with her and is only still in school so he cam be near her. Like Tenma, Harima has difficulty declaring his love, and whenever he attempts to confess his feelings hilarity and misunderstandings ensue. The series also explores a number of supporting characters, which include Yakamo, Tenma’s younger sister who eventually befriends Harima and works as his manga assistant, and Tenma's friends Mikoto Suo, who runs a dojo where her childhood friend (and possible crush), Hanai, trains, and Akira Takano, a mysterious and uncannily perceptive girl.

Critical Evaluation:  School Rumble is a tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy that doesn’t take itself too serious. Characters are exaggerated manga and anime tropes, but not so deeply invested in manga and anime tradition so as to make a newcomer feel out of place with the story. The wackiness can be off putting for someone new to anime but if they stick with it for a few episodes they will get hooked. In fact what really makes this anime stick out from the crowd is that it isn’t a typical rom-com. Its extreme wackiness is its defining character. Viewers will fall in love with Tenma, even though she is a few crayons short of a box, and sympathize with Harima and his unrequited love for Tenma. Diehard anime fans will catch on to some inside jokes and pokes at other popular anime series (such as a bike chasing scene on a mountain pass—Tenma trying to catch up to Karasuma on her bike oblivious to Harima following behind her—which suddenly morphs into a scene from Initial D—a car racing manga and anime—of Takumi’s AE86 racing down the mountain side). Sadly, funding for the anime was cut which lead to only two seasons (52 episodes) to be produced with a promise of a third season which never got aired except for two episodes in Japan which were released as promos in the DVD box sets of season two. Luckily, viewers can pick up School Rumble: Extra Class, a spin-off series of two episodes which explores various side characters’ stories that were happening parallel to the main story.

Reader's Annotation: N/A

Author Information:  N/A

Genre:  Realistic, Humor

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas:  N/A

Reading Level/Interest Age: 14+

Challenge Issues: N/A

Challenge Defense: N/A

Reason for Inclusion:  An excellent example of a wacky rom-com anime story that takes place in high school.

References:  N/A

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