Some guys have feelings towards a girl, turning their hearts into a mushy mess, but you'd never expect that from a would-be thug like Harima. His feelings are strong enough to convince him to attend school, in hopes he can confess his feelings to the exceptionally dense Tenma. Tenma is stuck in a situation trying to confess her feelings to another boy. It seems like everyone in class 2-C likes someone else and either has their feelings misunderstood.
School Rumble is yet another high school comedy / romance (not about fighting as you might guess by the title). It took me a little while to warm up to this title as I wasn't taken with the characters at first, but as they grow into their situation and function I really liked some of them. Tenma however is one girl that I never did, but I especially liked the "delinquent" Harima who is one of the main characters.
Relationships are a central theme, revolving around misunderstandings, and confession issues. I didn't like the romance between Harima and Tenma at first, but then rich girl Eri enters the picture and I got interested. Another good character is Tenma's timid younger sister Yokumo. She's the most admired girl at school with a weird ability to read the intent of people towards her (showing up as literal words floating around the person). School Rumble has interesting bits like this sprinkled in which livens it up, and takes a few weird unexpected turns (Harima becoming a guru who can speak with animals for instance), which I think keeps this one afloat. That's important because otherwise School Rumble has no special stand out feature to differentiate itself.
After the first season there is an OVA called School Rumble Extra Class. This is basically a collection of stories not good enough to make the cut of the TV series. That's enough to make an OVA? Unfortunately yes. But it's not worth talking about or watching.
The first season did a good job with the setup and exploring characters. In Second Semester I had high hopes for some good stuff, as I'd grown to like the group in various degrees. The many characters seem at the cusp of a bigger story, but by the end... everyone is left in the same freaking position! There's a core group with an ever growing weird story between them, and some entertaining stuff happens, but that's all. There's also a ton of characters I didn't care about covered in detail as well.
I think manga author Jin Kobayashi is skilled at having fun with his creation, well suited to a weekly manga publication; but it doesn't work as well long term as an anime. Romance is difficult to string out, and I think School Rumble fails in this regard and it feels a little tired. While it's pretty generic, it's a lot of fun too, so it's mostly a matter of whether you're in the mood for anime romantic comedy high school stuff.
There is also a Third Semester which hasn't been released domestically. I can't say much about it because I haven't seen it. To the credit of Funimation, they created a great dub for most of the series so I highly recommend. Brandon Potter as Harima is one of my favorite performances, but the entire voice cast does a great job.
Good, generic, fun.. mostly weighed down by the lack of conclusion, but I thought it was worth the watch.
Harima: Thank GOD I was born stupid!
Tenma: There's no greater joy than succeeding in love, except maybe world domination.
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