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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » School Rumble: Season 2, Pt. 1
School Rumble: Season 2, Pt. 1
FUNimation // Unrated // October 14, 2008
List Price: $59.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted October 22, 2008 | 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
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The Show:

Chances are very good by now that you have heard of School Rumble. FUNimation finished releasing the complete first season not too long ago, and it was fairly well received by American audiences. The off-brand of humor and energized characters played well with viewers and convention goers alike. If for any reason you haven't seen the show, by all means check it out, it's funny stuff. At any rate, the second season has been licensed and finally released, but this time some things are a little different with the packaging.

So with the second season FUNimation is trying something new. Most likely because of the fact that only people who bought into the first season will buy into this one, the first release here is for episodes 1 through 13. That's right School Rumble fans! If you've been anxiously awaiting the second year's batch of episodes, then you're in for a treat because you're getting half the season in one fell swoop!

Now, if by chance you're coming to this review having no idea what School Rumble is, I'm not really going to get into the details of the series. After all, this is the second season. Basically all you need to know is that there is a girl named Tenma who has a crush on a boy named Karasuma. Another boy, named Harima, is crushing on Tenma. It's a bizarre love triangle with a school setting, a whole cast of eclectic characters, over-the-top situations, and a whacky sense of humor. If you appreciate four panel comic style shows then you'll probably enjoy what's going on here.

Now, if you're returning for this second season you should know that not a lot has changed really. The same characters are back for this year playing the same roles, liking the same people, and passing off the same jokes. As you'd imagine, this is both a blessing and a curse. I personally found that some of School Rumble had grown stale over the course of the first season due to the largely unchanging plot. Having virtually the same exact thing return presented some familiarity and charm, but also proved to be frustrating as well as you'd imagine. As a result this first part of the second season is full of ups and downs. There are many episodes and elements which hit all of the right notes, but at the same point some of the content blends together and too many episodes in a row can taint the experience.

When the season starts up it's up to old tricks again with Yakumo and Harima spending a lot of time together, which leads others to think that they are dating. Naturally this isn't the case as Harima has a thing for Yakumo's sister, Tenma, but considering the two spends countless hours together working on manga and whatnot it's not surprising. The funny bit here is that Tenma eventually comes to the conclusion that the two of them are dating. This escalates as more people hear the rumor and others make moves to push the two together and Harima's little brother becomes involved. This is a running gag throughout these episodes, but it's a stronger joke towards the beginning of the season.

Another running theme throughout many of these episodes is a Cultural Festival for the school and all of its students. The kids spend a great deal of time getting prepared for it and goof around a bit while trying to decide what to do for an event. After a series of survival games or sorts, they come to the decision that a play should be in order. Naturally in School Rumble fashion, this isn't your typical school play. It's a twisted version of Sleeping Beauty with Harima stepping in for the role of the beauty and someone appropriate playing the role of the kisser (I'll let your mind wander).

From there the rest of the episodes here follows some erratic patterns with a few plotlines that surface between multiple episodes. A basketball game takes up a fair amount of time, there's an eating contest, and Tenma celebrates her birthday. Much like the first season each of the thirteen episodes here is broken up into a few different sections to allow for different themes and acts in each one. It has always been an effective way to provide a break, due to the ADD nature of the anime, but I must say that it helps quite a bit.

Overall I was satisfied with this chunk of the second season of School Rumble. Much like the first it has a lot of charm and a great sense of humor. With that being said there are many moments where it's almost too much of the same. The same jokes are rehashed again and again, same misconceptions, same misunderstandings, and of course the characters play identical roles. It would have been nice to see the second season branch out a tad, but I suppose if it isn't broke you don't fix it. If you enjoyed the first season then you'll eat these thirteen episodes right up.

The DVD:

Video:

The second season of School Rumble originally aired in 2006 and is presented on DVD with the full screen aspect ratio it was produced with, much like the first season. FUNimation's transfer here is very similar to the job done with the first season. The picture quality is overall very good with some nicely defined animation, clean moments, and vibrant colors. There are some flaws here and there though as flashes of aliasing occur from time to time, compression artifacts pop up occasionally, and grain can be spotted as well. All of these nitpicks occur in small patches throughout both discs, but they aren't really distracting unless you are watching the show on a larger set.

Audio:

With 2.0 English and Japanese stereo tracks School Rumble is not an audio powerhouse. There isn't a lot of action here and most everything is dialogue based so I suppose a surround mix was unnecessary; though it would have helped matters a lot. For the most part things sound good with a fine presence on the soundstage but I do have to say that the volume felt a tad unbalanced. Some scenes were quieter than others and music tended to drown out the dubs. Speaking of which both languages do offer competent voice actors and fine dubbing quality all around.

Extras:

Like the first season we get textless songs, and some trailers for bonus features, but unfortunately due to the packaging there are no fun inclusions such as magnets this time around. This first part of the second season also includes an interview with the Japanese voice actress for Tenma. If you have seen the other volumes then chances are very good you know what to expect.

Final Thoughts:

The first season of School Rumble was a fun watch. The characters were lively, the humor was gonzo, and each episode had something unique to offer. The exact same formula returns for the second season, but along with all of its strengths, come its weaknesses as well. Jokes get reused too often and the characters aren't really developed beyond what you already know of them. Despite this, the first half of the second season is a success and is a must watch for folks who loved the first one. If you're new to the franchise, then definitely start with the original release or else you'll be lost trying to figure out whose who.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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