Story: Jin Kobayashi
Art: Jin Kobayashi
Volume Count: 22
Version reviewed: English Translated
Date of Review: 30 Jun 2007
As of January 2010, only the first 13 volumes have been released in North America.
A very simple series, but a very fun one.
School Rumble follows the exploits of one slightly dim Tenma Tsukamoto and her group of friends at high school. The emphasis is on the very tangled web of relationships that develop among this colorful group of kids.
This is by far one of the most enjoyable manga I have read to date, simply because it is so much fun. There is no overall plot, and most chapters are short vignettes in the day to day lives of the students.
As you can see from the picture above, School Rumble has a lot of characters to deal with, and seems imposing at first when it comes to trying to sort out what’s what. Kobayashi does a great job at starting things out slowly, introducing characters one at a time so that we can become familiar with each personality and its quirks as the story progresses.
It begins with the primary love triangle of the series: Tenma likes the quiet and mysterious Ouji. Sadly, Ouji seems nearly oblivious to her existence. But! The truant and rebellious Kenji likes Tenma. The problem there is that Tenma thinks that Kenji likes their half-European, half-Japanese (and very exotic to the guys at school) classmate Eri. And it only spirals outward from there. Best friends, siblings, crushes, and all sorts of combinations spring up across the entire cast in what becomes a very comical school soap opera. Most of the fun in reading is in guessing what’s going to happen next.
Kobayashi’s drawing style is very clean, and continuity is nearly flawless. One unique aspect about his storytelling style is the running commentary that follows along nearly every page on the side margins. He is right along with us as we read the adventures and misadventures of Tenma and company.
If you want to read a series made of pure fun, and look back at the high school life you wish that you had, School Rumble is a great choice!