School Rumble: 2nd Semester – Review
School Rumble: 2nd Semester:
Original Air Dates: April 2nd, 2006 – September 24th, 2006
Synopsis: Harima Kenji is a young delinquent, struggling to adjust to the life of an average high school student. The reason he’s even bothering with school? His heart has been captured by the beautiful Tenma Tsukamoto. Due to his infatuation with her, Kenji’s begun attending school again, taking his classes, at least sort of, seriously. It’s all in an effort to work up the courage to confess his love for Tenma. Meanwhile Tenma herself, with a dim light bulb for a brain, is instead obsessed with a quiet and mysterious classmate named Karasuma. Can Harima confess his love for Tenma? And even if he does will it get him anywhere?
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: 2nd Semester is a downgrade from School Rumble’s first outing. While the original run clearly had a through plot, guiding the series’ events to a limited degree, 2nd Semester doesn’t always seem to know what it wants to do. In the first season there was generally a sense of progression as we moved week to week, but with this 2nd season School Rumble becomes uneven. The season starts strong, with the first five, six, perhaps even seven episodes feeling well done and engaging. But as we approach the middle of the season, and especially the later episodes, things become very hit or miss. Many of the mid season plot lines are altogether unmemorable. They feature some of the more insignificant characters that are less fleshed out and wholly unengaging. There’s a handful of tales that stick out though, amongst the lackluster crop. A basketball tournament, revelations surrounding a certain beloved pervert, or even Kenji skating through town on a bowl that Tenma made. These are the more memorable events tucked away amongst the forgettable. It’s almost as if the creators lost interest in School Rumble’s concept, as we start to get more and more spoof episodes, where the cast performs other anime concepts rather than the format we’ve come to enjoy. It was cute at first, but quickly became old as they relied on it too often to provide fresh content. It doesn’t help that sometimes it’s unclear exactly what they’re spoofing, and without knowledge of what’s being made fun of, it becomes that much more difficult to appreciate the comedy.
Linny: Second semester continues the madness from season one but starts to gradually shift it’s focus onto secondary characters. But since they started off as secondary characters, this shift of focus onto them feels awkward. It doesn’t help that since the main cast from season one have so much personality, you might find yourself missing them when forced to sit through the hinjinks of the back up cast instead. The over reliance on parody feels like a mistake especially when some of the material being spoofed is too obscure for the audience to identify and enjoy.
Tom: Kenji, Tenma and the rest of the main cast are on point as always, but many of the “new comers” or expanded supporting cast feel dry and decidedly uninteresting. The problem lies in how tame the newer characters feel compared to our clinically insane main cast. They’re just extremely dull by comparison. In hindsight it’s a poor decision, as the show is already pretty absurd that having more subdued characters makes them feel weak comparatively.
Linny: There’s no question about it. Kenji and Tenma remain the stars of the show with the bits involving them usually being the best of this season. None of the new characters introduced or focused on seem to have an important role in the overall plot. The secondary characters from season one however do get sequestered stories of their own more often. Sadly, the writing for these pales in comparison to the previous season and there was nothing particularly new or special about them. And for those hoping for a proper continuation and exploration of Tenma’s crush on Karasuma, be warned that Karasuma disappears for most the this new season.
Tom: As the season progresses the animation dips in quality, particularly during a number of the parody episodes. The animation feels far less fluid during these more experimental outings, which can be particularly distracting for more animation oriented viewers. However, outside of these episodes, the animation issues don’t hinder the story too much, allowing the comedy to entertain mostly unhindered.
Linny: The animation often appears sloppy and lazy. One could try to forgive it as it is a slice of life story, which can sometimes get away with having simple animation. However, given the hyper nature of the comedy in this show, it would have helped things shine if they had gone all out with the animation for the more outrageous events.
Tom: School Rumble: 2nd Semester isn’t the perfect continuation it could’ve been. Whether you should even give this second season a chance depends on how enthralled you were with the first. If you loved everything Kenji, Tenma, and everyone else had to offer then 2nd Season’s worth your attention, even if it pales in comparison to its predecessor. If you were far less enamored with School Rumble 1st Semester, 2nd Semester stumbles more than enough to turn watching it from a pleasant exercise into a painful one. The 2nd Season has its moments, highs that are perfectly in line with the quality expected, but they’re too far apart to make this follow up a must watch.
Linny: At the end of the day, Second Semester isn’t the best follow up and falls to the curse of sequels always being worse than the originals. The change of focused characters and comedy style are its main undoing and unless you are crazy about the series as a whole, you might find yourself struggling to sit through this season.