The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

School Rumble OVA

Title: School Rumble OVA aka School Rumble: Ichi Gakki Hoshuu
Genre: Comedy
Company: Media Factory/Studio Comet
Format: 2 OVA
Dates: 22 Dec 2005

Synopsis: Tsukamoto Yakumo’s habit of constantly falling asleep at random times during the day is starting to become troublesome for herself and her sister, Tenma. Meanwhile, Tenma has her own problems, as she wants to quickly harness her psychic powers and control of luck to prepare for the big “seating arrangement” lottery, where she plans to grab her chance to sit as close to Karasuma Ooji as possible. Elsewhere, Harima Kenji again finds himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time (and in the wrong attire) in front of his foe, Sawachika Eri.

The Highlights
Comedy: Nowhere near the level of consistency of the original series.
Animation: Better than the original series.
Fanservice: Oddly apparent… but helps with some of the comedy.
Plot: Goes nowhere at a million microns a decade… again.

For a moment let’s forget School Rumble’s frustrating story and the lack of progress we’ve seen in the plot since from who-can-remember-when in the first series. For a moment, let’s just accept this as a feature of School Rumble that unfortunately won’t go away… well, not any time soon. Ignore it, and we’re left with School Rumble’s constant on-fire comedy as the only thing that distinguishes it from an average anime. But what happens when even that goes dry? The answer comes in the form of the mediocre School Rumble OVA.

The majority of the source material for these two OVA came from a few of the ♭-chapters from the manga that didn’t make the first season. It’s arguable, though, whether the choice of source material was to blame, since it feels as if many of the scenes were based on some of the more pointless and forgettable moments from the manga, and a few of the scenes don’t translate well from one medium to the other. But the result is inarguable: the School Rumble OVA lacks the comedic impact that made the first series so appealing. This is especially true in the first OVA, which has a grand total of two funny moments, one of which at its core is as quintessential a fanservice joke as one can get. If this were any other series, I wouldn’t have laughed, but this moment is saved by the masterful use of comedic build-up and timing that we’ve become accustomed to from this franchise. The rest of the first OVA is a complete waste of time, with many of the attempts at character and relationship development coming off half-baked.

The second OVA is slightly better, as it has a few more humourous moments and some interesting development for one of the more minor side characters. But it is still lacking the feature that has been this franchise’s biggest disappointment for a long time: a progressing story. Oh well. At least the aesthetics have progressed (as one would expect in an OVA), as the animation is far better here than it was in the original series. Ditto the fanservice.

It’s pretty obvious that this OVA was made purely as an announcement and advertisement for the upcoming second season. I’m not going to pull any punches here: as it stands, School Rumble’s story isn’t interesting enough for this to be any more than an inconsequential anime teen comedy. That’s why when there are any set of episodes where the comedy is wanting, I consider it a failure. The School Rumble OVA is a failure.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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