School Rumble: An Unforgettable Anime
I was sitting here, struggling to write a proper review of this anime I had seen a few years back now and was getting nowhere. I was trying to fit it into my structure of review writing but found it was not working. After a lot of thinking it finally hit me, this series is far too unique to conform nicely.
This is a rare series which seems simple enough on the outside, a high school, romantic comedy anime but it is really much more than that. The story itself isn't even that strong, no, it all comes down to the wonderful characters it creates, with each one having enough charm to be memorable and entertaining.
Our protagonist, Harima, is one of the best leading characters you will ever find. He looks like a delinquent on the outside but really has a heart of gold. He is incredibly passionate and puts his all into what he sets his mind to, even to the point where he doesn't realize he has gone too far.
This passion of his gets him into a lot of awkward situations, as he often speaks his mind out loud without realizing it. Often he will scare others with his looks and most people assume the worst of him. This is where the majority of the comedy of this series comes from and a lot of it is legitimately funny and had me laughing pretty hard several times.
Harima is in love with a girl named Tenma and the main story line just involved Harima trying to win her affections while getting misunderstood. Even one time he finally gets the courage to confess his feelings but accidentally says it to the wrong person.
Harima also seems to really know what to say, albeit at the wrong time, but you will often find his words encouraging, funny, or just plain endearing. I think you would be hard pressed not to like this character once you start watching the anime and a nice bonus is that even in the dubbed version, he has a great voice actor.
Although Tenma is the girl Harima loves, she is probably the weakest character of the show. She is pretty dense and often fails at what she tries to do. However, she is kind-hearted and will always try to help out, even if it ends making things worse.
Tenma is dense for a reason, for if she wasn't, the plot line would not last. She never understands Harima's intentions at any point and often thinks he is in love with someone else other than her as she tends to have pretty low self-esteem when it comes to love.
She is in love with a different character (Karasuma) herself and is always trying to win him over. Her efforts are pretty fruitless as well for Karasuma is introverted and is incredibly socially awkward, he even talks in a monotone voice.
Much of the plot and comedy of this series is based off the various relationships. There are so many that it would take a very long time to explain them all so just to show how crazy it is, I found a brilliant chart which tracks all the different relationships characters have.
Yakumo is Tenma's sister and is her complete opposite. She is very refined, quiet, and highly intelligent. Her only weak point is that she never seems to be able to raise her voice and if she finally does, no one hears her.
Yakumo also falls in love with Harima and she really becomes the person that Harima relies on as the show progresses. I found myself rooting for her to end up with our protagonist as she really seems the most deserving of a happy ending.
Her quiet personality also adds comedic effect in a lot of situations. She will occasionally get mixed up in Harima's own escapades which results in a lot of misunderstandings.
Yakumo also has the ability to read the minds of men. It never explains this but she typically sees the lustful thoughts her classmates have about her which makes Yakumo scared of most men.
Eri first appears to be a snobbish rich girl who only cares about her looks and social standing. Even in her close knit group of friends she stands out as a bit different. She is one of Tenma's friends and quickly becomes a major character in the show as she is usually the one to receive the result of a mistake made by Harima.
Early on, Harima accidentally confesses to her which flips her world upside down. It makes her think and as events keep making her and Harima end up in various situations together she ends up really falling for him.
Despite her outward appearance, Eri is actually an incredibly likable character. She is rich but doesn't go out of her way to flaunt it. She seems selfish but she never turns her back on a friend. All around she is a good person and an incredibly memorable character.
Mikoto is the large-chested, tom boyish friend of Tenma. She is probably the most honest of the main characters and wears her feelings on her sleeve. She grew up in a dojo and holds a black belt in karate.
Typically she ends up as a voice of reason and puts others before herself. She ends up being the one to give advice on everyone else's love life but rarely acts on her own. Mikoto is also easily embarrassed which is usually where she comes in for comedic effect.
For the last of the major characters I want to mention, we have Hanai. He is Harima's rival as Hanai thinks Harima is after Yakumo, who Hanai himself likes. He grew up going to Mikoto's dojo and is also a master of karate.
Despite his karate background, Harima is still a strong opponent from his days of street fighting so Hanai can't best him in physical combat. However, they turn everything into contests with each other. Even when they had to clean a pool as a class, they turned it into a soap hockey tournament.
Why is it so good?
What makes this series so unforgettable is that there wasn't much a story but just the presence of characters. The most mundane events would be turned spectacular just by having these characters take part in them. Even a simple paint ball tournament turned into a real war with the drama of people "dying" after getting shot. It was just amazing.
Most anime only have 1 or 2 people you will remember from them. A lot of the time characters just fall to the wayside as plot progresses or are even just forgotten completely. But for School Rumble, you will remember these people you come to love over the span of 52 episodes, so much so you'll want to dive right into the manga to keep it going.
I also only mentioned a handful of character. There are a lot more that have a strong presence and if you refer to the chart I added above, you will see just how many characters there really are.
This is within my top 5 favorite anime for sure and I've seen around 130 (completed series, not counting ones that are ongoing, I keep a list). So give it a watch, you will not be disappointed.
Of course words can't do this series justice. So here is a clip, of probably, my favorite part of the anime. It encapsulates the comedy of the entire anime in this 4 minute scene.