Once more unto the breach, dear classmates.
This series isn’t over yet.
I was so caught up in School Rumble season one that I went ahead and powered through all of season two yesterday and today.
The premise is still the same: all sorts of love geometric shapes evolve along with the feelings of a group of teenagers making their way through high school. Tenma Tsukamoto and Kenji Harima are still the main protagonists, but all of the former side characters become bigger players in season two, and several background characters from season one (as well as completely new ones) appear and add to the chaos.
The main difference between the first and the final season, in my opinion, is the overall tone. Season one is pure comedy with touches of romance. Season two turns up the love drama so high that laughter takes a backseat. However, this isn’t a bad thing. In order to stay invested in the characters there has to be some sort of growth, and that’s what season two is all about. Storylines beyond comedic situations develop and carry on for several episodes, which is rather refreshing. And even though there’s not as much to guffaw about in this season, the parts that are funny made me cry laughing.
My biggest complaint concerns the strange story arcs that come out of nowhere and seemingly exist for the series to throw more “wacky” and “zany” episodes in, perhaps so as not to get bogged down by all the drama going on. One involving a school battle completely confused me, because it was sort of funny at times, but then mostly serious, and if it was for play why did the fallen students appear to bleed actual blood? That was never explained. Another involves a side character, Mai, as a Rainbow Brite-esque superheroine (which, while not adding to the story overall, did have some very funny moments). But the story arcs that forwarded the main action were fantastic, my favourite being the Christmas episodes. When the end of the series finally arrived, it was pretty much as satisfying as I’ve come to expect with anime, though I was disappointed not to have at least some of the loose ends tied up. Just as with Fruits Basket, I had to turn to the internet for answers (beware, here lie spoilers!) and once again I was shocked at which character ended up with which. But nothing in anime or manga is ever as clear-cut as it might at first seem, which is part of the beauty as well as the frustration of becoming invested in fictional characters.
I got a great many laughs out of the complete School Rumble series (as well as a new anime mini-crush on Harima) and would certainly add it to my collection for the right price. There are several episodes that I can watch over and over again and giggle at every time, but it also has enough heart to keep the viewer tuned in. Thanks to yet another ambiguous anime ending, this endearing collection of losers in love will remain right where you left them, ridiculous as ever, always ready to give you a laugh or two.