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Manga Review: School Rumble Volume One by Jin Kobayashi

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School Rumble Volume One is a manga written and illustrated by Jin Kobayashi, and it was published in North America by Del Rey Manga in 2006. The series is rated “T” for ages 13 and up; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

School Rumble is a romantic comedy, which involves a triangle of students in class 2-C at Yagami High School. The female in the love triangle is Tenma Tsukamoto, a second year student at the school. She’s a nice person, but can be rather clueless about events that are taking place around her. Tenma secretly likes Oji Karasuma, her nice-guy classmate. He was supposed to transfer to another school, but decides to stay after getting a love confession scroll that wasn’t signed; the scroll was written by Tenma. After Oji stays, Tenma still can’t find the courage to tell Oji how she feels.

The other member of the love triangle is Kenji Harima, one of the school’s delinquents. He’s secretly in love with Tenma, but he has difficulty expressing his feelings to her. Even when Kenji does summon up the courage to try to tell her, circumstances end up conspiring against him. From what I read in the first volume, it appears the series will revolve around Tenma and Harima’s failed attempts to express their feelings to their respective objects of their affections.

I was first exposed to School Rumble through watching the first episode of the anime series. Admittedly, at the time I saw that episode, I really hadn’t been interested in seeing more of it. However, I’m glad that I decided to give the School Rumble manga a chance. I actually enjoyed reading the manga, and I thought that some sections of the story were legitimately funny. Perhaps I’ll need to give the anime series another chance; perhaps I’ll enjoy it more now that I’ve actually read some of the original manga source material.

The humor can be exaggerated and “over the top” at times, but I think it works for the tone that Kobayashi seems to be trying to set for the series. School Rumble has a charm to it that helps to make it stand out from other manga series set in high school that focus on relationships.

In my opinion, School Rumble will hold the most appeal for teenage readers, because they would basically be the same age as the main characters and would be able to identify with what the characters are going through. Older readers can probably also appreciate the humor and remember what it was like back in high school. This is a manga series worth giving a try if you enjoy high school relationship stories with quite a bit of humor added to the mix.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.