Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Running Time: 305 minutes
Rating: TV M
Release Date: Available Now
It’s winter break and things get weird … again!
I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of School Rumble: 2nd Semester despite the fact that it just didn’t tickle me as much as the first season sets. My complaints are miniscule in comparison, though, and it’s mainly because School Rumble is just too far out there and jus too much fun that it just slightly overshadows its problems. That said, I wasn’t fully prepared to find that Part 2 of the second season set is my favorite of the bunch.
Part 2 begins with Tenma’s birthday party that has the loony girl torturing her friends with weird requests. It occurs to Harima, who still has the world’s biggest crush on Tenma, that while the girl seems happy on the surface she’s sad that Karasama – the boy she likes – isn’t at her party. Meanwhile, Tenma’s younger sister, Yakumo, seems to be getting closer to Harima. It doesn’t take too long before a phone call takes Harima out of the party and into a room where Karasama needs help inking his comic that’s on a tight deadline. When Harima ruins Karasama’s work, Harima draws his own comic that hits a little closer to home.
And so begins a string of events that make the love triangle that is Harima-Tenma and Karasama a lot more complex than it already is as well as a number of mishaps involving Yagami High School’s assortment of off-the-wall student body. It’s great to see that Part 2 also focuses a lot more on Harima, letting him shine in ways that make you really cheer for him. In these 13 episodes, we see Harima’s dream of becoming a manga-ka come true and even more his work is personally directed at Tenma. At one point he even comes to live with Tenma and Yakumo (who Harima still calls her “Tenma’s sister”) who was the one that invited him to stay with them as well as helping Harima meet the demanding deadlines of the manga business. Seeing this as a chance to get closer to Tenma, another misunderstanding crushes his plans to reveal his true feeling to the loopy Tenma.
Harima finds some comfort (as well as a new place to say) with his fellow classmate, Mokoto, only to find that rich girl Eri is also staying there. Posing as a worker, Harima comes to find out that Eri is hiding out because her wealthy and prominent family has set up an arranged marriage in the old traditional style. Mokoto sees this as a chance to play matchmaker between Harima and Eri who just so happens to have a little crush on Harima. Disguised as a worker, Harima even helps Eri escape from Eri’s butler and mannish maid where they spend the night huddled in the same blanket in abandoned temple. At one point, Eri does find out that the worker is Harima.
When – to Harima’s horror – Tenma still doesn’t want to talk to Harima, it is Eri who smoothes things out a little. It becomes a lot clearer that she does like the big lug enough that she helps him follow Tenma and Karasama around dressed like a ceremonial Japanese lion. It also becomes clear that Yakumo might also have feelings for him that cause the girl to remember instances when Tenma ruins her sister’s chances of being happy. I don’t care what fellow reviewers Ai Kano and Brenda Gregson think but I don’t think Tenma is annoying. In fact, her loopy behavior makes her all the more comical to the point that I’m beginning to see what Harima sees in her.
The episodes don’t always focus on Harima, though, and when the series moves on to Harima’s other classmates it’s actually a lot more fun than the first part of this second season. The winter break certainly brings many characters together in fun ways such as a ski trip that leads to the Mexican exchange student, Lala, making a fool of herself on the ice rink as well as Tenma trying to spell out her feelings to Karasama that just doesn’t turn out all that well. Eri even treats the student body to a cruise only to end up stranded in the middle of the ocean waiting to get rescued.
Then there’s the off-the-wall crazy episodes that really don’t have anything to do with the main story even though a few of them actually feature familiar faces. One episode even pokes fun at the basketball anime genre as well as anime featuring magical girls (with Tenma sporting a Wonder Woman costume complete with fake bosoms that keep drooping down to her knees). We even get to see familiar faces working for a cyborg task force. What do these things have to do with the school‘s fun student body? Well, nothing at all but they’re hilarious and actually clever stabs at clichéd anime plots and situations.
This second part of this season is also a lot more amusing than the first with Togo inviting the three friends to some embarrassing parties and events (one of which involves sumo wrestling). Hanai also gets some attention this time around but the time he does get is wasted by gags that have him getting mauled by an escaped panda and half the time we see him tied to a kite that managed to break away. He does get to save a Mayan-like civilization as well as a maiden that resembles his beloved Yakumo.
School Rumble fans, I felt your pain when the second season was chopped into two parts but believe me when I say that Part 2 is totally well worth the money. The second semester sees not shortage of hilarious, sometimes confusing and downright entertaining episodes that still make School Rumble such a wonderfully refreshing romance-comedy series. Here’s one fan looking forward to the next semester.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
There’s some drama in Part 2 of the this second semester of School Rumble and it adds a more interesting twist to the Harima-Tenma-Karasuma love triangle. It’s good to see a character like Eri get some attention for a change but Harima definitely deserves the spotlight. Oh, and the weirdness just gets wackier in this second part.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Once again, the DVDs look great and that’s a very good thing considering the fact that this series has always been colorful. Plus, I always get a kick out of watching Harima freak out.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
The voice acting in the series is still just as colorful as most of the characters in the series and it’s good to see the English dub doing its best to capture the quality voice acting of the Japanese cast. The lighthearted music isn’t bad at all and I love the closing theme “Sentimental Generation” from the first three or so episodes by Ami Tokito (which we play often in our office).
I wish there were more extras like the interview with the creator of the manga – the very pleasant and funny manga-ka Jin Kobayashi – but all we get is more trailers and clean opening and closing theme songs on the disc.
Despite a shaky first part of this second season, Part 2 of School Rumble: 2nd Semester is a charming, delightfully zanier and utterly entertaining two discs. We seen some wacky comedies before but School Rumble is just too wildly original and over-the-top crazy to miss. We are definitely looking forward to the next semester.