I took a look at the first episode of SCHOOL RUMBLE. Based on the title, I was expecting a gritty story about some delinquent knuckleheads brawling in the playground after school - - or, at least, a stylized version of that like RIVAL SCHOOL JUSTICE. While there is some of that, it’s filtered through cute and cuddly sieve of a girl-targeted romantic comedy shonen. And it is GIRLY. Watching this, I felt like I feel every Christmas at my folks ‘place, when the house is filled with my sisters and nieces. That need to eat red meat, chop wood and watch a RAMBO marathon to counteract the saturation of estrogen in the air.
Jokes aside, it was an entertaining 22 odd minutes revolving around a live-triangle and the wacky/bittersweet hijinks that ensue when high school kids don’t just come out and say how they feel. I like the unapologetic surrealism and unpredictable shifts in art styles. But, I’ll say that I was pretty skeeved out by that “psychic teenage delinquent”
Kenji dude. There’s a passing reference to him being held back and I’d guess it’s been for at least 12 grades, because he looks like he’s 30. His obsessing over ever-perky and over-dramatic 16-year-old Tenma - - following her around and fighting another bald, obviously-adult suitor - - is more than a tad creepy. People complaining about the pasty vampire dude in TWILIGHT being a creep ought to check this out to put things in perspective.
But I’m taking it too seriously! Enjoy the fun! I did like the bit where Tenma turns to Lao-Tzu for dating advice and that high-speed bike chase that leaves everybody pooped. I’m sure they’re going to draw the love triangle out for the whole show, but all I’ll say is that she better end up with that Oji guy instead because, well, he actually looks the same age as her.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.