An absurdly wonderful High School comedy with bizzaro characters and even stranger situations - what more could you ask for?
What They Say
Tenma has fallen for her oblivious classmate but hasn't worked up the courage to express her feelings to him. Meanwhile, the class delinquent has fallen for the unaware 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. Life-changing obsessions, colossal foul-ups, grand schemes, deep-seated anxieties, and raging hormones - School Rumble portrays high school as it really is!
The two stereo mixes here sound fairly good, although they're not spectacular. Given the show's content, that's really to be expected - huge explosions and massive action scenes aren't exactly in the offing.
FUNimation isn't exactly known for video quality, and shoving six or seven episodes onto one disc doesn't really help matters. While most people aren't going to see any kind of huge problem here, videophiles are likely to break out into hives. Aliasing and noise pop up frequently, and there's even a bit of rainbowing. With this being such a recent show, originally airing in 2004, it's a disappointment to say the least. This is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio.
This set is housed in a thin box with a busy shot of the cast on the front with a background that looks almost like filmstrip. The original six discs have been condensed down to four, which are housed in two double-disc thinpacks, with all of the extras on a disc in a third thinpack by itself. The covers have a nice variety of character art, with the main cast dressed up in various costumes. It's nothing spectacular, but it does the job.
The menus here are fairly standard still shots with music looping in the background. Response times are nicely fast.
The extras here are really fabulous, especially for anyone who loves interviews with the Japanese voice cast - no fewer than eleven interviews with most of the Japanese cast, the original TV spots, four textless songs, and trailers for other FUNimation shows.
Tenma is stupid. No, really - she's really dumb. But she's a high school girl in love with the most painfully absent boy you could imagine. It's not really clear what Tenma sees in Karasuma (who doesn't seem to see anything other than curry), making this one of those situations where love is truly blind.
Harima is stupid. Really stupid. He looks like a tough guy on the outside, and maybe he is, but he has a soft spot for animals and the biggest crush on Tenma that you could possibly imagine. Add in Tenma's soft-spoken (and attractive) younger sister Yakumo, her friends Eri, Mikoto, and Akira, the super-serious Hanai and others, and you've got a great mix.
Nothing is sacred here, and nothing is left out - from sports festivals to school physicals to camping trips in the woods, every standard high school situation that could possibly be exploited for the purposes of humor is, along with a few so improbable that you kind of have to wonder how the writer came up with them in the first place. Most of the humor comes from the abject and total stupidity of either Tenma or Harima, or both - like two lines on different planes, these two are never going to have a meeting of minds, no matter how long or hard they try. And that's a good thing, because it's damn funny to watch.
It's really a good thing that Tenma and Harima's innate stupidity means that there's pretty much no chance of them ever ending up together, because the thought of them trying to maintain a real relationship of some kind is both disturbing and hysterical. After the first couple of episodes, I didn't really see the appeal of the show - sure, there were some funny moments, but Tenma as a character really wasn't enough to carry the whole show. Gradually, though, some of the supporting characters came more to the fore - Eri, Yakumo, and especially Harima - and before I really realized it I was hooked. Really, it was Harima who made the show for me - he's such a layered character, absurd yet adorable, even if the layers are primarily for comedic effect.
If this show took itself even slightly seriously it would have failed miserably, but it definitely never falls into that trap. It openly admits it's own absurdity, the sheer stupidity of the characters, the completely unrealistic premises and coincidences that pop up in such a way that when a character breaks out a lucha libre mask or when a giraffe wanders into the scene, it's easy to take it in stride and just laugh. Comedy, though, is a selective thing, and this is no exception - this show isn't going to be for everyone, and definitely requires an appreciation of the kind of absurd humor that's going to leave quite a few viewers cold. But if the thought of a show that embraces every cliche ever written and utterly owns them appeals, this is definitely a fun diversion.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Interivews with the Japanese cast, Original TV spots, Clean Openings, Clean Closings
Panasonic DVD-S25S Progressive-Scan DVD Player and Panasonic TC-26LX85 26" Viera LCD 720p HDTV (Component Connection)