Oh, welcome to my first ever DVD review, so lets look at tonights victim. School Rumble 2nd Semester Part 2.
First off, I am pretty annoyed with Funimation/whoever did the splitting of the season. the first season was all packaged together in one unit while this season was in two, costing almost the same amount each as the whole previous season did. Its a money squeezing thing. Very annoying.
Next is the actual DVD box. It has a nice collage of scenes from the anime/manga, which continues the theme of the previous sets. I personally do not like the "thin pack" sets, which all of my anime shows have come in. It's easy to lose a single disc, and they are a pain in the butt to close. I absolutely love the artwork on the covers, though. Right now I am looking at the "Magical Mai" cover, which cracks me up (One of my favorite episodes now).
The DVD content:
There are some extras, including an interview with the big guy himself, Jin Kobayashi, the creator of School Rumble. There are also, "Textless songs", which, the series has some really great BGM, but you hear them enough to make the feature not really entertaining. the menus have still photos and has the same song playing in the background. If you look at the artwork on the box, then you have seen the menu pictures. Nothing too amazing.
The DVD set contains two discs (labelled disc 3 & disc 4, I guess continuing fron the previous set), with the first 7 (14-20) on three and final 6 (21-26) on disc four. Now for the show itself. Sit tight, this will be a long one.
If you know me, then you know I am a huge fan of School Rumble. It is the series that instigated my flair into anime, so I have a huge soft spot for it. With that beinf said, I felt that Part 1 of season two was a little weak. The episodes just wern't doing it for me, and they seemed weird. The first season established the major and minor characters of the series, but the second season throws in a bunch of new people you just really can't get into. Some I wish would go away (Lala, Yoshidayama) and some I wish I saw more (Mai, Fuyuki). The Second part thankfully doesn't seem to add any new characters to the already overpopulated series, and it even gets back to more of the main storyline, which I am thankful for.
I will warn though, if you are expecting School Rumble to take place in school, then you picked up the wrong set. This set basically takes place during winter break. That may account for several of the minor characters not showing up.
I do not want to spend a lot of time getting into the specifics of each episode (I may do that in the future), but some really stand out as excellent, or just annoyingly painful to watch. There is a storyline that is from episodes 16-19 which is more dramatic than the series has ever been. Without giving too much away, Harima gets locked out of Itoko's (his "gaurdian") apartment, and Yakumo invites him to stay with her and Tenma. What happens is a LOT of tension between Harima and Tenma. If the Christmas episode doesn't hit you emotionally, then there isn't much to say. The last couple of episodes are also good, but bittersweet as there won't be any third season, and the last two episodes created are for the end of the manga. In other words, 24 episodes were cut out. So this is more of a finale to the anime than anything. While the last two are the true finale, they will seem horribly out of place.
Another personal favorite episode is the "Magical Mai" episode (21). It is a direct spoof of the "magical girl" anime/manga, with a ton of humorous one-liners. The main villains goal is to make Magical Mai quit so she can stop wearing little girls clothes. "You look like a prostitute form 'Candy Land'" the villain says. I laughed so hard. I was not expecting an entire episode to be dedicated to Magical Mai. It has absolutely no bearing on the seires as a whole, but it is a very enjoyable watch.
One other scene that made me laugh hard was one that, ironically, has Yoshidiyama (a character that just annoys me) in it. He has this tall blonde hair that he has styled into a pole, of sorts. He washed it, I guess, and its all limp. He puts it into a couple of ponytails and guess what, it mocks Eri's hairdo. This is when one of the maids is out looking for Eri. The maid (who isn't bright, or seems to have any discernable gender) says "Misstress Eri!". "I am a dude!!!!! Get off of me!!!". During which a picture of some flowers comes up and says "this scene is a little much, so please enjoy the pretty picture of flowers" while you hear Yoshidiyama get his butt kicked. Finally, you hear, "Oh....you're not the mistress....." HEE!
this is an anime series that any age can enjoy, but I think you should be 13 or older as there is some language to contend with, About the same that most primetime shows have now.
There also isn't a lot of balance with the main storyline of the series, which is the Harima-Tenma-Karasuma love triangle. Like with the previous seasons, the series is split up about 65% Harima and 35% Tenma. Just saying.
Now for character Analysis.
Tenma remains to be mostly one dimensional, which is probably why the series revolves around Harima more. You do get to see a more serious side of her part of the time, but overall she doesn't really change.
The same goes for Karasuma.
Harima gets a job as a manga artist, and most of these episodes revolve around him trying to make a deadline. Other than that, there isn't much of a change in his character.
Mikoto shines more with this set of episodes as she gets some time with Harima, trying to be a good friend to him, and you see her and Eri's friendship work as well. I really think she has the most potential, but they use the right amount of Mikoto, in my opinion.
Eri actually has an interesting storyline for once, but sadly, it isn't that original. Since she lives with a rich family, they are forcing her to marry, so its up to Mikoto and Harima to help her out. Outside of that, her love-hate relationship with Harima remains strong.
Akira is Akira. At first I didn't care for her, but she does become more awesome as the series progresses.
Yakumo definately gets more attention (she was voted the most popular character according to polls, and it looks like Kobayashi realized that). You do see her gravitate more and more towards Harima, and you will see a very shocking side to her in the last episode. I won't give it away, but I couldn't believe it when I saw it.
Hanai.....sigh. If there is one character tragedy in this series, it is that Hanai starts off as a neat character, but falls into more obscurity as the series goes on. After the gun fight in the first part of the season, you start noticing that the series has a serious lack of Hanai in it. When he does show up, they resort to turning him into more comedy relief than anything. It is sad, because there was a LOT of potential for him. A good visual analogy would be him in the last few episodes. He gets one part of an episode to himself, but is mostly flying in the air...........sad.
There are also other characters to mention, if I had the gumption to mention them. I think Mai should have had a bigger role, because she is pretty funny, constantly smacking the "perverts" (in paticular, Nishimoto). Nara had a bigger role in previous seasons, but gets roped in what I dub the "moron brigade". Sara is also just...there..... There is also a good portion of Itoko and Youko, which was nice.
Overall, I will let Wikipedia do the talking. "Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network comments that the anime involves "Great fun, a little more emotional depth, and two of the greatest animation non-sequiturs you're likely to see anytime soon". Tim Jones from THEM Anime Reviews said about the second anime season that "School Rumble Second Semester manages to be funny without being repetitive and boring, a feat very hard to do in a series that goes on for 52 episodes (when you count the first season).""
The actual DVD set: C
The show itself: A+
This is one title you will NOT regret getting yourself into, but be warned, you really need to watch the first season for this to make any sense. I may get into the other parts of the series more later, but for now, this is probably one of the funniest animes, or even shows, I have seen in a long long time, making me trying to catch my breath because of laughter. Please, try it out today!