School Rumble Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 2 - Japan
  • Released By: MMV
  • MSRP: �5800
  • Running time: 69
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: School Rumble

School Rumble Vol. #2

    June 07, 2005
Release Date: February 25, 2005


School Rumble Vol. #2
© MMV


What They Say
Tenma Tsukamoto is a second year high school student, and like other girls her age, she falls in love. The object of her affection is classmate Ooji Karasuma, but unfortunately she hasn't confessed her feelings to him. With the help of her friends and her own ideas, Tenma tries her best to let Ooji know how she feels. Still unbeknownst to Tenma, Kenji Harima has feelings for her and has problems of his own in confessing them. Not to be outdone, Yakumo and Eri have their own suitors to deal with. Will anyone be able to find high school love?

The Review!
Audio:
The only audio track available is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Japanese track encoded at 448 kbps, and that's what was used for the viewing session. Dialogue is relatively clear, though the volume level on music and sound effects is set just about as high, which may be an annoyance depending on your listening preferences. I didn't notice this on the last volume, and prefer the other sounds a notch below the dialogue.

Video:
We get the original full frame transfer, which looks great. There are more than a few sequences of really fast exaggerated action, which cause some minor smearing and artifacting, present both on an LCD and a CRT. That aside, colors are rich and vibrant and the linework is crisp with only a hint of aliasing when thin lines are present. Overall, it's a great visual presentation for the show.

Packaging:
The front cover features a nice group shot of Tenma and her friends in their pajamas. The same art is also used on the picture-labeled disc. The back has the usual standard screenshots and episode summaries in a dynamic and eye-catching layout.

First edition bonuses include two postcards, two posters, and a nice sturdy cardboard slipcover with a glossy embossed illustration of Yakumo by School Rumble mangaka Jin Kobayashi.

Menu:
The main menu is very simple, featuring the illustration from the cover as the background and no animation or music. You can just hit "Play All" or access the chapter stop and extras menus, which are just as simple. The menus are clean and easily identifiable, and access times are nice and quick.

Extras:
Despite the clean opening and ending sequences from the first volume disappearing, there's still a good amount of on-disc bonus material. There's an interview with Mamiko Noto (Yakumo's seiyuu), two TV promotional spots for the show, a small production art gallery, and a small promotional art gallery.

Content: (may contain spoilers)
The show continues its off-the-wall antics with three episodes on the disc this time instead of two. The episodes continue to be broken into shorter mini-episodes a la Azumanga Daioh, which keeps things moving along at a brisk pace. Tenma still hasn't been able to confess her true feelings to her precious Ooji Karasuma, but she's going to try harder and give it her all. We also get to know Tenma's friends and sister a little better now that the introductions are out of the way.

Starting out, a great opportunity to get to know one another presents itself when Tenma and Ooji are assigned to sketch each other during a class activity. Tenma overthinks everything and is unable to make anything of the chance. Hoping that his drawing reflects what he thinks about her, Tenma sneaks a peek at Ooji's sketch after he turns it in. Let's just say that the results rather unexpected and amusing.

Not to be deterred, Tenma thinks about how to get a love letter into Ooji's hands. After watching her favorite samurai drama, she gets an idea and decides to attach it to an arrow and shoot it at him. Much like the bicycle chase scene from the first episode, Ooji mysteriously avoids Tenma's advances without breaking a sweat. Much hilarity ensues as Tenma misses the mark, including a gem of a sequence where Kenji comes out of a bookstore and does a Matrix-style backwards dive to avoid a volley of arrows. In the end Tenma bursts into the bank Ooji enters and ends up foiling a robbery. Being a hero clearly isn't as important as confessing one's true feelings, so Tenma is more than a little disappointed by the result.

The little segment after the end credits of the third episode is short but sweet. Yakumo tells her sister not to go into the forest because there's a pervert who lurks in there, but of course when Ooji walks in, Tenma follows him in the hope that he will save her from the pervert. Not to be left out, Kenji dons a police uniform and follows them in to be Tenma's savior. He actually manages to put the pervert down, but Tenma is as clueless as ever and thanks the "officer," who happens to know her name without asking. Twin waterfall tears for Kenji's unrequited love!

It's tough to believe, but Tenma's quiet and tall sister Yakumo is actually the younger one. Yakumo seems very practical and grounded, almost the antithesis of Tenma's flightiness. We get to know her a little better in a story where she's the main focus. Apparently Yakumo is quite popular with the boys at school for her looks, athleticism, and smarts. Despite the attention, she doesn't seem interested, much to the chagrin of the males. We find out that she can somehow read people's thoughts, which can partly explain her demeanor. She loves her sister very much, even though Tenma can be inconsiderate and a chore at times. It was nice to get away from Tenma chasing Ooji for a bit, and fleshing out Yakumo's character did the trick.

Finishing up with the last episode on the disc, we finally get to see Kenji without his shades on. He's having a meal with Itoko, an attractive woman who turns out to be both his guardian and a teacher at the school. She has Kenji tell the story of how he and Tenma first met, which was years ago when he saved her from a bad guy in an alley. He fell in love with her but she thought he was a pervert and left. As Kenji finishes his story, Tenma, who was sitting behind him the whole time, speaks up and says she kind of remembers something similar. An episode wouldn't be complete without some more antics from the gang, and a softball game provides lots of fastballs to the face and laughs.

In Summary:
My love/hate/love relationship with School Rumble continues. The show has a ton of chuckle-inducing moments, but I dislike how dumb Tenma is. Then again, it's often played for laughs, and overall it's enjoyable. The humor is easily accessible and rewatch value is excellent. Finding your true love has never been so amusing or difficult, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's future trials and tribulations.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,Interview with Mamiko Noto,TV promotional spots,Production art gallery,Promotional art gallery

Review Equipment
Sony KLV-23M1 23" LCD HDTV, Toshiba SD-4900 progressive region-free player via Acoustic Research component cables, Sony STR-DE897/S receiver, Sony SA-VE367T 7.1 channel speaker system.

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