School Rumble

Genre: Comedy, Romance
Score: Excellent
Length: 48 episodes + 2 OVAs

Harima is the baddest delinquent around, but he’s fallen head over heels in love. For Tenma’s sake, he goes back to school. For Tenma’s sake, he learns to talk to the animals. For Tenma’s sake he runs away to sea and gets given a huge manga pen made out of the backbone of a tuna. Unfortunately Tenma remains oblivious (both to Harima and to pretty much the rest of the world as well).

School Rumble follows the anime cliche of a love triangle where nothing really changes, and just when you think characters are about to discover what’s been under their noses they suddenly lose their memory, or turn out to be someone else in disguise, or are just too thick-headed to notice. It may not be new in concept, but School Rumble manages to do it exceedingly well – and it would be a mistake to think that we don’t get real insight into the characters through all this.

In fact, it probably has the greatest number and most complex web of love triangles ever imagined. It has an ever-expanding cast of distinctive characters that you find yourself growing fond of, including the tsundere Eri, the quietly psychic Yakumo, the confusingly named Harry Mackenzie (whose class is next door to Harima Kenji’s), the adorable wrestler Karen, the obsessive Hanai, and the inscrutable Akira. Every one of them is both amusing and touching, and that’s the key: it’s character-driven comedy with great characters.