School Rumble Vol. #2 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, April 28, 2008
Release Date: Monday, April 21, 2008
What They Say
If you're feelin' the rumble, sorry to disappoint - it's just the Earth spinning slightly off axis! That's how crazy things are gonna get with the second instalment of School Rumble! It's a barrel of laughs as Tenma and friends continue to much things up the only way they know how. (And I don't have the slightest idea as to how many laughs a barrel even holds!).School Rumble - The Absolutely funniest show you'll ever see that's not about anything that rumbles...ever!
The high school hijinks continue in the latest volume of School Rumble.
I listened to the Japanese stereo track for my main review, and I noticed no technical problems with it. It's a pretty standard stereo mix, and since the show is mostly full of dialogue there's not a great deal to say about it. The Japanese voice actor performances are very enjoyable at this stage though.
I sampled the English dub in the last episode, and there was plenty of energy from the core characters and some good performances in there. I didn't notice any technical problems with either track.
The transfer for School Rumble is generally very good. There's not a great deal of distinctive style to the show, but it is full of bright and vibrant colours and these mostly come across very well.
Subtitles are in a nice yellow font, and I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors.
Packaged in a clear keepcase, the front cover features a nice shot in the foreground with a busy selection of screenshots of various characters from the show with a yellow hue in the background. The show's logo, both the English and Japanese versions, is at the top of the cover along with the volume number. The back cover is also quite busy, but does a good job of describing the show and managing to get in each of the episode titles (there are three per episode). Extras are clearly listed, with credits and technical information easy to find at the bottom of the cover. Revelation do still include extras in the disc's runtime though, a practice I'm not too keen on.
The main menu is static but features a great cast shot of all the girls in poses, with the selections and logos down the left of the screen, while some music plays. Sub-menus are all in a similar theme, but none have music playing over them. Access times are naturally fast since there are no transitions.
There are a couple of notable extras on this first volume. The two main draws are an interview with the Japanese voice actress for Mikoto, and another for the Japanese actress that plays Eri. Both are quite short, running just over five minutes each, and aim to be funny rather than a series of serious character questions, but they're both enjoyable to watch. The other extras is the obligatory textless songs.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a fun, but not entirely hysteric-filled first volume, School Rumble returns and really, it continues in much the same way as the first. The show's sense of humour and style doesn't really vary either, which means there'll be some things you'll probably laugh at a lot, and others you just don't find funny at all. Each episode is made up of three skits, of which generally two take up one half of an episode and the other takes up the other half. Sometimes the overall storyline of the episode carries through each segment, but the split comes because generally each segment is a series of events leading up to the big punch line.
Of course, the problem with this is that the punch lines aren't always that funny and some may even leave you scratching your head. But saying that, this is the sort of thing you kind of expect from a comedy series, and as such it's hard to complain too much when there are some things that are really well done.
In the first episode on this volume, Tenma gets locked in the equipment room and school, and struggles to find her way out. After a while she looks to the sprinklers to give her a much needed drink, but it leads to an encounter with Karasuma. While Tenma is away, Harima begins to wonder who it is that Tenma likes. He does end up at the stark, and very much hopeful, realisation that she likes him, but he summarily gets knocked off his motorbike and is left with no memory of what he thinks he's found out. Then in hospital, Tenma comes to visit but when he finally decides to confess his love to her, Harima ends up doing it to Itoko.
The other episodes are much in the same vein. The next episode has a class cleaning session descend into a "friendly" hockey game between Hanai and Harima, and then involving the whole class, to decide what they will do for the culture festival. Then things become strange as Harima begins a journey to find himself. He helps out a girl with some of her problems briefly, but then looks to his own relationship, or lack thereof, with Tenma. When he sees her eating lunch with Karasuma, it pushes him too far and over the edge.
Harima ends up imagining a comic style fight with himself and Karasuma over Tenma, unsurprisingly ending with him confessing his love to her. But in reality, while Tenma and Karasuma continue their lunch dates, Harima meets a girl who helps turn his sombre feelings around. He ends up staying at her place all the time, and becoming something of a guru, first out selling fortunes on the street, and later quitting school and confessing his love to Tenma for real. But even that can't go right, as he mixes up the two letters, giving Tenma his notice of leaving school.
Though much of School Rumble ends up being a lot of fun, there's still something about this volume's humour that didn't click with me at times. Being a comedy, especially one like this, I wouldn't expect to laugh at everything, but I did find myself at times yearning for that laugh out loud moment to no avail. Yes, there were a number of chuckles here and there, but nothing downright hilarious, which was a bit of a shame.
By far the most interesting and enjoyable aspect of this volume for me was Harima's change in character, going from one of the most active and in your face people at school to a melancholy, introspective type who changes his looks and avoids everyone he knows. His relationship with the random woman he met was quite funny as well, and although some of the gags ended up being recycled (such as him mixing things up again with the letters), for the most part it was fun - especially seeing him give the fortunes with the animals by him (Noah, anyone?) and then getting berated when he confesses to the wrong girl... again!
School Rumble is not without its faults, and it becomes a hard show to judge because you still end up wondering if it is succeeding in what it set out to do if it is not making you laugh all the time. Despite that though, it is a lot of fun at times and some of the things on this volume, such as the changes in Tenma and Karasuma's relationship (and the obsession with rice balls) and especially with what happens to Harima, are funny and entertaining in their own right even if they don't have you cracking up. It's a fairly long show though, and these ongoing aspects show signs of promise, almost making it something that is becoming a hybrid high school comedy-drama rather than an outright comedy. It's not brilliant, but it is very enjoyable to watch.
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (2.0),Interview with Mikoto's Japanese Voice Actress,Interview with Eri's Japanese Voice Actress,Textless Songs
Samsung LE40M86 1080p HDTV, Philips DVP 5980 region free DVD player upscaling to 1080p via HDMI, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: Revelation Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: School Rumble