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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
School Rumble Vol. 1 by Kobayashi Jin 
6th-Jan-2009 10:37 pm
Kobayashi, Jin. School Rumble. Vol. 1. Trans. William Flannigan. New York: Del Rey, 2006.
          Summary: Tsukamoto Tenma is a ditzy 11th grader who has a secret crush on her classmate Karasuma Ouji. Harima Kenji is a juvenile delinquent who has a secret crush on Tenma. Let the hilarious hijinks begin!
          Comments: A total pastiche...which, since I've read/seen way too many of the things that are alluded to here, I found pretty entertaining. Highlights included Tenma's misreading of Sun Tsu as "Sonko" and her decision to send Karasuma a message on an arrow that ends leading to her intervention during a bank robbery. Generally speaking, though, I liked Harima as a character the best; there are sooooo many ways to mock the 80s gekiga, and it looks as if Kobayashi is going to try all of them. Speaking of "trying all of them," actually, I'm a bit concerned that this series will get really old really fast. Tenma's idiocy is already a bit tiresome after only a single volume. And School Rumble is how many dozens of volumes? Yeah. Swell. I'm not seeing much in the way of narrative arc. Like so many other commercial series these days, it probably outlasts the laughter. Which is a shame. But I'm enjoying it so far, and I got a couple more volumes on remainder (UK editions), so we'll see how long I can tolerate it. The art is very early 21st century--the first tankoubon was originally published in 2003--rounded but relatively strong lines and very cute, young-looking characters. I'd like to think of this series as an interesting example par exemplar of the changes made to Shounen Magazine that took us from GTO in the 90s to Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei in the 00s.
          Rating: 6/10 - Charming, cute, and a barrel of laughs. Liable to get repetitive over time.
7th-Jan-2009 09:24 am (UTC)
At least in the anime, the focus ends up more on Harima and MUCH less on Tenma, which works so much better.
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