I've been reading School Rumble for months now, but now that there's an anime for it, I guess I should tell people about the manga.
School Rumble, which is currently airing on TV Tokyo, is a manga by Kobayashi Jin in Koudansha's Shounen Magazine.
Yes. That makes it Shounen.
Anyway, it's the hearwarming story of an airheaded high school girl, the delinquent who loves her, and the crazy things that happen to them and their friends over the course of a school year.
The reason I like School Rumble isn't because it's crazy or wacky, though it is. It's genuinely funny without trying too hard, or trying to exploit itself. I mean, one of the Japanese bloggers I keep track of over at Opera House noted that School Rumble specifically decided against panty shots in the anime. That's pretty much the case in the manga too--the girls are well-drawn, but they're not made to be fanboy lust objects (coughcoughNEGIMA), they're characters in a story that actually moves forward.
Okay, wait, I shouldn't get sidetracked by my Negima-hate. Let's start over. See the picture up at the top? That's from the manga, and it may remind you a bit of Osaka from Azumanga Daiou. And indeed, there are plenty of similarities between the two manga. In fact, I like to describe School Rumble as "What Azumanga would be if there were guys in it". While it's not the 4-panel goodness of Azumanga (In my opinion, the purest form of comedy is the four panel comic. Setup, setup, beat, punch line...), it has its own charm.
Presented in a series of shorts about 8 pages in length, School Rumble is more focused than many other manga thanks to this format. There's a beginning and an end to all of the stories, and there's no such thing as filler. Every panel is either linked to the ongoing story of Harima Kenji and Tsukamoto Tenma, or it's part of a punch line, which makes SukuRan an extremely smooth read.
Going back to my earlier point, there are a lot of characters in School Rumble. But given the format, there's plenty of room for all of them to have a little screen time that doesn't seem like a forced cameo. And what do you know, they're pleasantly nutty and funny, except for the normal ones (who don't get much screen time compared to the ones who're actually funny).
I'd be amiss if I didn't mention the art. Kobayashi Jin and his assistants have a very clean art style that often gives way to what I can only call a "super-machismo mode", with heavy shadows and cross-hatching as the guys try to act cool (though it sometimes comes up when the girls are really, REALLY angry). Combined with the hyper-cute chibification used for comedy, there's probably something for everyone's taste in here, unless you need a foolish consistency in your manga's art style. And as Emerson said, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
There are currently six volumes of School Rumble out, and the anime isn't half bad either, though with only one episode out, it's a bit early to judge.
And no, I have no idea who's going to license it, and when. It's pretty certain to be licensed, though, what with an anime out and all. I highly recommend looking out for its English release, whenever that happens. Or you could be a dork like me and take years of Japanese classes so you can read this stuff. (Though at least I can use Japanese literacy as a job skill)
Amazon links to:Volume 1
Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I'm a big Char fan (no, not Charmander, the Gundam Char). And if you didn't know that, you do now--which means you know why I think this helmet is so cool.
October 7, 2004
After a rousing night of the Girl Genius game with Hamusutaa, Hodge-Poge and a few other friends, I'm here at the Hamu's house watching SportsCenter and writing up the news. Mmm...
For once, I'm going to write about an H game that Fred likes and I haven't seen yet--as you might be able to tell from the title, it's called Shuffle! Comptiq, a magazine Seiya subscribes to, reports that Shuffle! will be getting a TV series and a PS2 game in the upcoming months, completing its transformation to the mainstream in a big way. Is it just me, or is every H game turning into a TV series these days? Kakyuusei 2, Hani Hani, now Shuffle...
Oh, by the way, in case you needed proof of Fred's fandom of Shuffle, take a look at Erika's Chapter 5 costume and Shuffle!'s uniform design.