School Rumble Vol. #1 (also w/starter set) - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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
  • MSRP: £15.99/£21.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: School Rumble

School Rumble Vol. #1 (also w/starter set)

By Dani Moure     January 21, 2008
Release Date: January 21, 2008


School Rumble Vol. #1 (also w/starter set)
© Revelation Films


What They Say
A decided lack of rumble in this first volume of School Rumble, but more hilarious himdingers than any single dinger can hum...look that one up! And while there is a truck full of pigs at some point, that's not even close to what this show's about. (Though I would probably watch that show, too!) Here's what you need to know: sophomore cutie Tenma is completely crushed on classmate Karsuma past the point of freakin' out. Tough guy Harima, with his own delinquent style of freak, has a long-standing crush on Tenma...and Karasuma? Can you say clueless? He's pretty much all about the curry. Mmm...curry! School that's not about anything that rumbles...ever!


The Review!
A new high-school comedy begins with the first volume of School Rumble from Revelation.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Packaged in a clear keepcase, the front cover features Tenma in the foreground with a busy selection of screenshots of various characters from the show with a red 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 first volume is also available as a starter set which comes with a yellow tin. It’s the same style as the Fullmetal Alchemist tins that MVM released last year, and is done up in the form of a school locker. The show’s logo and a picture of Tenma are on the front, while each of the sides features some great character art. Despite being yellow, this tin looks really good and in theme with the show, and I’m extremely happy to see Revelation continue to bring these over.

Menu:
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.

Extras:
There are a couple of notable extras on this first volume. The two main draws are an interview with the Japanese voice actress for Tenma, and another for the Japanese actress that plays Yakumo. 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 are a series of funny TV spots from the Japanese TV run, and the obligatory textless songs.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Over the past few years a fair few romantic comedies have come out in the UK, and School Rumble is just the latest in that long line. Going into it, I knew very little about the show, and having personally not watched such a show in a while, I found it interesting to see the style the show adopts. Every episode is split into three parts, one which takes up about half the episode and the other two taking half of the remainder each, and each part is centred generally on a single joke. It sounds a bit odd, and at first it took me a while to get used to it. The format makes the show resemble a sketch show, and like any comedy different parts are hit and miss, and the jokes will either tickle your fancy or not, it’s really down to personal taste.

The show begins with Tenma Tsukamoto declaring that she’s fallen in love with Karasuma Oji. As the new term at school begins, she seems determined to make it her mission to get with Karasuma at all costs. The same day, Kenji Harima is also starting, and he is in love with Tenma. Despite being held back a year in school, he sits in Tenma’s class anyway, while Karasuma was supposed to be transferring out this year but held off because he received a love letter asking him to. Naturally, the letter was from Tenma, but she forgot to sign it so he is none the wiser.

That’s the setup in the nutshell, and the gags literally start straight away. The first episode focuses on the start of school and who is in class with whom, while the second sees Harima try and help Tenma out on a test. She has forgotten to write her name on the test paper so he tries various methods to get her attention and make her aware, but still she’s oblivious. In the end he takes matters into his own hands and decides to write her name on his test... only he scores zero on the test which just makes things worse for her. That’s the basic style of every joke, with them generally focussing on Tenma going after Karasuma or Harima going after Tenma. Sometimes they overlap, like when they go on a school trip and Tenma wants to sit with Karasuma, but Harima wants to sit with Tenma, and things go all wrong for both of them (though inevitably they end up worse for Harima, who is definitely the series’ whipping boy).

Perhaps some of the best jokes of the first volume come out though when the other characters start getting involved. Because of the nature of the show the focus is very much on the main trio, even though a lot of the supporting characters are quite funny themselves. In the last two episodes on the disc, we get a bit more focus on Yakumo, Tenma’s sister, and her antics as she tries to fend off the advances of Hanai are some of the more amusing moments across these opening five episodes. I also really liked the first sketch of episode five in which we find out how Harima and Tenma first met, and how Tenma is completely oblivious to the story being about her even though she’s sat right behind Harima as he tells his guardian the story.

At times the comedy is hit and miss, and it’s definitely going to be an acquired taste. I generally found at least one or two things to laugh at during each of the parts of these opening episodes, but there wasn’t really any that stood out as being absolute hilarity, in a comedy-gold kind of way. In that sense it’s hard to know exactly what to make of School Rumble, because I like a lot of characters, and although the setup is very typical it plays out in a fairly enjoyable way. But for a comedy to not really make me burst out laughing at some point along the way seems wrong, yet I can’t really find anything innately bad to say about it. There’s definitely going to be some repetition, but even the greatest comedies suffer from that.

In Summary:
School Rumble is a hard show to grade because it’s firmly grounded as a high-school comedy, and yet if you don’t find it hilarious you have to wonder if it’s succeeded. It’s the kind of show that’s quite fun to watch, and will give you a bit of enjoyment, but you probably won’t come back to much except to watch some of your favourite sketches. It does have an endearing cast of characters, and they will provide plenty of entertainment themselves, but it remains to be seen whether the show will just become repetitive and dull in future volumes. This first shows promise though, and hopefully it’ll get better.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (2.0),Interview with Tenma’s Japanese Voice Actress,Interview with Yakumo’s Japanese Voice Actress,Original TV Spots,Textless Songs

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP 5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.

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