Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $69.98 US
Running Time: 610 minutes
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now
It’s all about Love, manga, curry and really crazy school days.
If you’re been waiting for the second semester of School Rumble to be released in a complete set then you are certainly in luck because FUNimation has given the series The Complete Collection treatment it gave the first season of the show in one set with four discs. If anything, School Rumble: 2nd Semester, The Complete Collection is the way to go if you’re a School Rumble fan.
Taking place after the first season’s hilarious madcap events that finds bad boy Kenji Harima still very much in love with the cute and air headed Tenma as well as still pursuing a career writing and drawing manga. Meanwhile, Tenma’s younger sister Yakumo hasn’t told Tenma that she’s been helping Harima with his comic and her big sister believe the two are secretly dating. Once again, misunderstandings put Harima back into square one with Tenma who is still crazy about the weird boy in class, Karasuma. Once again, it is this rather interesting little love triangle that is the best thing about School Rumble apart from its outrageous humor and crazy vignettes about the other many characters in the series.
With the Culture Festival coming up, rumors of Harima dating Yakumo doesn’t sit well with rich girl Eri Sawachika (who actually has a crush on Harima) or Haruki Hanai (who is so madly in love with Yakumo). Before the festival, though, Class 2-D once again challenges Class 2-C but this time even Class 2-C is divided by whether to put on a play or a maid café for the festival. The only way to see which options is picked is by holding a Battle Royale-like BB gun survival game. The battle is fierce as friend turns on friend and even a girlfriend turns on her boyfriend. Even the band, which includes, Karasuma, joins in the fight. This is truly one of the biggest highlights of the first half of this second season.
Once again, the fun elements of the series takes center stage as we get small stories that flesh out the rest of the cast of the series in the most hilarious manner possible. For example, we get more background about Eri’s butler and maid and the ideas for the play they decided to put on for the festival are hilarious. We get to see the other characters during their part-time job (Lara, for example, works at a local burger joint with her rival, Karen). The series even pokes fun at anime production when Harima gets a job as a production assistant. One of the most memorable moments occurs when Harima accidentally becomes part of the Sleeping Beauty play production during the festival … playing the role of Sleeping Beauty.
We also stray from the Harima-Tenma-Karasuma love triangle for a few episodes about a first-year student who begins the school’s first all-girls basketball team. The girl, Satsuki, gets a number of girls to join the team and even Tenma catches basketball fever … although she is rejected right off the bat. There’s also a romantic twist to this storyline that surprisingly works well and it’s fun to see Harima and Tenma team up as they join a basketball team composed mainly of rejects.
As Harima becomes accepted as a mangaka, he finds himself working closer with Yakumo who is starting to like Harima. There was even a confrontation between her and Eri during the school play and now the relationship between the bad boy and the quiet girl is becoming more evident. Still, Harima – despite his reputation as a brawler – is a sensitive and kind soul who, during Tenma’s birthday, offers up his own present and tells Tenma it came from Karasuma. He’s the type of guy who would much rather see the girl he loves happy than to admit that the gift came from him. This is but one of the many reasons we love Harima so much and root for him to get the girl.
As it was in the first season, though, more misunderstandings have the poor guy suffering. At one point, he even comes to stay under the same roof as Tenma and Yakumo when a failed attempt to admit his love to her places him out on the street. When he is taken in by Mikoto, Harima finds out that Eri is staying under the same roof as him in an attempt to escape an arranged marriage meet-and-greet. The two actually become a bit closer because of this as Harima helps Eri try to get out of the meeting.
The second season is also the most craziest with odd vignettes/fantasies such Tenma joining a Ghost in the Shell-like cyber organization or Mai becoming a Magical Girl fighting an masked wrestler version of Harima. There’s even a short about a crazy basketball team. These are fun but don’t really add to the main story, unlike the strange stories that are credible (Imadori humiliating Lara and then has a play date with Karen’s little brother) to weird (Hanai meeting a Mayan version of his classmates and the boys and girls of Class 2-C getting lost at sea).
Within the layers of madcap humor and odd occurrences is the heart of a good romantic comedy with a slightly dramatic soul. Sure, these parts aren’t played up as well as the first season but it makes for a good central theme that becomes more interesting when Yakamo and Eri become part of the love triangle. The hilarious moments are genuinely funny and hardly ever forced, although sometimes you will find yourself scratching your head at the insanity. Still, anime and manga fans will love the little nods to other series and the fact that secondary characters do get their moment to shine in the complete season set. I mean, we never knew Togo was this funny until we really got to know him in this season.
The Complete Collection of School Rumble’s 2nd Semester is just jam-packed with a lot of what we loved about the first season while going totally insane in the second half of this season’s set. I would like to say that this is the perfect season but it isn’t but that doesn’t mean you won’t have loads of fun watching each and every episode. In fact, I still recommend this series to my friends and anyone who is interested in a romance-comedy that is flat-out crazy in the best way possible.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In the second semester of their school year, the students of Class 2-C get into romantic triangles and try to survive everything from a Culture Festival to a cruise ship disaster. More importantly, Harima is still chasing after Tenma and Tenma is still chasing after Karasuma. This time around, though Harima has two girls interested in him and students that were merely a supporting cast gets fleshed out a bit more. Plus, a number of crazy things happen … again.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
Kiki Van De Kamp was right when she said this series looked great on DVD and yes it is always a treat to watch Harima react to all the misunderstandings. This series is ripe with hilarious sight gags and more so in the second half of this season.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
There is definitely a lot to love about the English dub that does a great job of adding its own style and making the characters all the more likeable. Yes, the original Japanese voice actors are fantastic and I love Ami Koshimizu but Luci Christian’s voice is what I hear when I imagine Tenma. The two closing theme songs are favorites around this office.
Aside from the usual collection of trailers and clean opening and closing tunes, the Complete Collection includes an interview with Ami Koshimizu in the second disc and a great interview with School Rumble creator Jin Kobayashi on the fourth disc.
While not as deliciously brilliant as the first season, the complete second season of School Rumble won’t fail to make you laugh, make you root for its characters’ romantic life and scratch your head wondering what a funky basketball bunch has to do with the love triangles. Yes, School Rumble is the kind of show that is unapologetically outrageous but that’s what we love about it and The Complete Collection of this second season is just what we have been hoping for since the first release of this season.