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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » School Rumble: First Semester
School Rumble: First Semester
FUNimation // Unrated // September 1, 2009
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted October 25, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Series:
 
The first season of School Rumble is one of those fun school romantic comedies that are so enjoyable.  Very reminiscent of Azumanga Daioh, but with a bit more continuity, the show is filled with laughs and engaging characters.  FUNimation has released the set as part of their "Viridian Collection" of reasonably priced season sets.  If you haven't picked this series up yet, take my advice and snag a copy quick!
 
Tenma Tsukamoto is excited the first day of school when she discovers that the boy of her dreams, Oji Karasuma is going to be in her class, 2-C.  The only problem is that Tenma can't get up the courage to confess her love for the quite, enigmatic student.  She's not the only one with that problem though.  Kenji Harima is the school tough guy.  A delinquent who would drop out of school except for one thing:  he's madly in love with Tenma but can't admit it to her. 
 
If this love triangle isn't enough, the show has filled out with Tenma's friends and classmates: Eri Sawachika the beautiful and rich girl in 2-C; Mikoto Suo a black belt martial artist who is a bit of a tomboy; Akira Takano the stone-faced president of the tea club who never smiles; and Karen Ichijou a slight frail looking girl who is actually extremely strong and the star of the wrestling club.  Rounding out the cast is Tenma's younger, but more mature sister, Yakumo who is talented in just about everything and can read the mind of any boy who likes her. 
 
Each show features one or more of the classmates getting into trouble in some humorous way or having a misunderstanding.  Like other school comedies they seem to do little actual studying, but that's okay.  What the show lacks in realism it more than makes up for in comedy.  The episodes are all very funny and contain a lot of laughs.  In one show, for example, Tenma is talking to a friend about going to a wrestling match, but the friend thinks the young girl is talking about sex, and is naturally shocked especially when Tenma admits to liking all the different positions.  "What about getting it in the mouth?"  "That's so cool!" Tenma says thinking of the wrestler being punched in the face.  "How about when they pin back your arms?"  "I love that!" says Tenma thinking about a full Nelson hold.  Yeah, it's a little bit low-brow, but really funny.
 
One thing that increases the appeal of this show is that there is some continuity.  There are several story arcs through the season, when Kenji things Tennma loves someone else and drops out of school or when Eri shaves his head, that drive the show forward.  These plots usually don't dominate the episodes but they do advance at a nice pace and give you a good reason for continuing on with the next episodes.
 
The only installment of this show that really didn't work for me was the final chapter.  While I wasn't necessarily expecting the love triangle to be resolved (it rarely is in these types of shows) the way they had a series of false endings only to reveal that something was a story within the story or a dream was a bit irritating.  It's a minor complaint, and anime shows often have trouble coming up with a suitable conclusion, so it doesn't affect my overall opinion of the series.
 
The DVD:

 
The 26 episodes that make up this first season comes in a six discs set.  The first four discs have the entire show while the last two are saved for extras.  The discs are housed in a double width case with an extra page.  There are two overlapping disc on each side of the open case as well as on the inserted flap.
 
Audio:
 
The show has the original Japanese soundtrack as well as an English dub, both in stereo.  I alternated soundtracks for the first few episodes before settling on the Japanese audio, which I usually prefer.  The dub was very good though, with solid performances by the voice actors.  Neither track had any distortion or other common defects worth mentioning.
 
Video:
 
The full frame image looked pretty good, though there were some minor compression artifacts present.  Aliasing was a problem in more than a few scenes, mainly in the background but occasionally in the foreground too.  There was a bit of banding that was visible too.  Aside from that it looked fine with nice colors and tight lines.
 
Extras:
 
The fifth disc is devoted to extras.  It starts off with a series of interviews with the Japanese voice cast, 11 actors in all, each running 5-10 minutes long.  There's also a series of TV spots and commercials promoting the show, textless songs, and some FUNimation trailers.
 
The most exciting bonus features were found on the sixth disc however:  the first two OVA episodes.   These are mostly made up of segments that didn't make it into the first season, the aftermath of the athletic tournament, a trip to the hot springs, etc.  The second episode includes a trip back in time to see what the School Rumble group would be like if they were cave men.  A pair of funny shows that are definitely worth watching.
 
Final Thoughts:
 
This was a great series.  It was funny with just the right amount of continuity to keep it interesting.  Fans of humorous anime will want to put this on their "to watch" lists.  Highly Recommended. 
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