Wednesday, June 28, 2006

School Rumble, v. 1 & 2

by Jin Kobayashi
Published in the U.S. by Del Rey Manga

Slugline: Tenma love Oji. Kanji loves Tenma. Despite their best efforts, there's not a single clue between the three of them.

The writer has grouped the short, self-contained chapters into "sharps" and "flats" (as in the musical notations) -- the sharps are about Tenma and Kanji's wacky attempts to get the attention of their crushes. The flats are about Tenma's sister Yakumo, who is far more serious and has some psychic ability.

It's an interesting juxtaposition. Tenma's and Kenji's stories are amusing in their desperate, doomed frenzy, and Yakumo's more insightful stories about deflecting attention balance them out. Otherwise, it would just be light and amusing but prone to repetition and sympathy fatigue.

Don't expect anything to come of the romances -- everyone's far too thick-headed and hapless -- and don't be surprised that the writer uses some torturous series of coincidences to pull the jokes off. For a high school comedy romance, School Rumble keeps it light and short and funny, rather than trying to build elaborate misunderstandings that could be solved in two seconds. And I appreciate that, having sat through quite a few of the latter in both English and Japanese.

UPDATED!: Series Update for School Rumble here.

- Miranda

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