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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anime Review: School Rumble

I figure that as long as I once again spend a good part of my nights watching anime (mostly watching anime I've already seen before) - I might as well try reviewing some of them.

School Rumble is a school-based romantic comedy. Here's the basic premise that you get from the first episode and leads into the explanation of the "love triangle" that is what most romantic comedies rely on to keep the humor coming:

Harima Kenji was a delinquent high-schooler. He didn't go to class, and he liked to fight people. One day, he sees this girl getting attacked by a couple of thugs, and he rushes in to her aid. Just after the scuffle, she faints. Harima has little choice but to bring her to his place until she wakes up. He starts feeling an attraction, watching her sleep, and through anime-cliched tactics gets too close to her while she's sleeping and in her sleep, she says "I love you" - then gets him in a death-clutch while still asleep and of course wakes up to find the two of them in a compromising position. She freaks and calls him a pervert, but is nice enough to say before leaving, "Mr. Pervert, you should really come to school" or something like that.

Harima Kenji decides to give up his delinquent ways and go back to school in order to win her over and confess to her. However, since he doesn't want her to recognize him as "that pervert", he dons sunglasses and grows a small mustache and beard. The girl, Tsukamoto Tenma, is dense enough to never see through such a feeble facade. She also never notices the many many attempts of Harima to display his affection for her - since she's too wrapped up in making many many attempts to display her affection for Karasuma Oji, who of course never seems to notice them (or show much emotion at all). Oh, and Karasuma loves curry. So maybe this isn't really a "love triangle" and is more like a "love rectangle".

That's the basis for the main storyline. Along the way, you meet the wide range of classmate secondary characters who fill in the gaps with their own storylines and romance-comedy scenes. There are rivals, there are school events, and other school-related things that drive the series onward.

Of course, with one main male character and a female character with three female friends and a younger sister, it gradually blurs the lines between romantic comedy and just a simple "harem anime" where the other females start considering having feelings for the main male character who's just always around. Luckily, the guy used to be a delinquent, and he's kind of violent, so there are plenty of reasons to stop much progression on those lines. Of course, deep down he's a pretty decent human being - otherwise you wouldn't be rooting for him and Tenma to get together. Of course, it's hard when you also want to root for Tenma and Karasuma to get together at times as well - even if you're not sure why.

Let's just say that the "love triangle" concept branches out to enough characters and sideplots to give fanfic writers enough material for a lifetime.

Animation-wise, I love this series. Of course, I rather enjoy any series that utilizes a running "antennae" gag when it comes to hairstyles. Tenma has her two little pigtails that pulse in chime with her emotions. Harima has a very thin upward-arching hair antenna that occasionally gets pinned to his face by his sunglasses. And Suou has blue hair. Because "you gotta have blue hair" when it comes to anime. This series has both tons of cutesy-chibi scenes as well as overly-manly-drawn scenes as a balance. Oh, and there's a pig named Napoleon and a giraffe named Pyotr.

All in all, this is a series that you have to watch for yourself. So do that, and let me know if you agree with my overly-positive review.

And as a bonus, here's the Opening Credits to get you hooked!

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