Title: School Rumble 2nd Term aka School Rumble Ni Gakki
Company: Studio Comet/Marvelous Entertainment/Sotsu Agency
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 3 Apr 2006 – 25 Sep 2006
Synopsis: Harima Kenji has severe women problems, born mostly out of misunderstandings. While he himself is in love with Tsukamoto Tenma, she thinks that he and her sister, Yakumo, are going out. The situation is further complicated by Tenma’s friend Sawachika Eri, since, in spite her own dishonesty, all her close friends – including Suou Mikoto and Takano Akira – know she has a thing for Harima.
Comedy: The wit of the first series is almost completely evaporated.
Music: Wonderful second ED song.
Seiyuu: Top performances all ‘round.
Plot: Typical for School Rumble… which is a bad thing.
School Rumble has always been an anime that has continually defied my expectations, but in the case of Ni Gakki, that isn’t a good thing. In a year that has seen its share of let-downs, this one is far and away the biggest I’ve seen. How a story can be stretched over fifty episodes and have almost nothing change from its initial equilibrium is beyond me, but School Rumble has managed to achieve this. It’s a frustrating, almost enraging experience, but fans can take a lesson out of this misadventure.
School Rumble’s forte has always been its on-fire comedy. The first series had a certain self-aware wit mixed with an ability to beautifully time its delivery that ranked it among the top comedy in anime… but it also had a few lame, low-brow attempts at jokes that would rear their ugly heads on occasion. Unfortunately, such jokes are the majority in Ni Gakki, with forced, unfunny parodies and repetitive character gags overshadowing the few well-executed jokes that appeared in the series. Fortunately the music is just as good as it is in the first series (although a large portion of re-used tunes can be accredited for that), with the highlight being the extremely catchy second ED song, “Futari ha Wasurechau”, a duet performed by Koshimizu Ami and Noto Mamiko, seiyuu of Tsukamoto Tenma and Tsukamoto Yakumo respectively. On the topic of seiyuu, this is one of the few times we will ever be blessed to hear Noto Mamiko and Horie Yui in the same anime: savour it.
School Rumble’s plot is an element that has grown in infamy within the anime community. People have pointed to various influences, but consider them or not, one truth remains: the main story has refused to move. It’s not so much this fact that sours many in School Rumble’s audience as it is the amount of time that has been squandered so far for zero result; the frustration from the snail’s pacing is only amplified by Ni Gakki’s insipid execution. Several episodes, particularly towards the beginning and end, are wasted on pointless filler and side stories about characters that are of little interest. As much as I like Asou, Mikoto, Ichijou, Imadori, etc, I’m not particularly interested in their respective relationships, since they’re relatively run-of-the-mill compared with Harima-and-co’s situation. There are a few episodes that add a given amount of depth to the players in the main love triangle, and while they’re very much welcome, they’re just too infrequent.
I love School Rumble’s characters; many of them are charming and have a surprising amount of depth for a series like this. But it’s painful to watch when the plot refuses to carry them and allow them to truly grow. It became glaringly obvious several episodes from the end that Ni Gakki would again deny its fans a conclusive ending, but I’m starting to think that, when School Rumble is ready to come to a close, we will know from the signs. I’m hoping that being able to read and understand School Rumble in this respect and just accepting its unwillingness to advance for what it is will make its future outings somewhat less frustrating.
The Rating: 5
Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun