Tenma Tsukomoto is a ditzy Japanese high school student, like many girls she has a secret crush – and she just can't get the right words out. The object of her affections Oja Karasuma seems to be totally oblivious to Tenma’s advances, in fact he doesn't seem to react at all. When Tenma hears he is about to transfer she works up the courage to write him a long love letter, it seems to work and Karasuma stays but Tenma neglects to write her name at the end. Can she confess her love before he really is gone for good?
The title "School Rumble" sounds a lot like a teen martial arts drama, but it's got more in common with Azumanga Diaoh then Tengo Tenge. Much like Azumanga the tone is incredibly light, in fact the lead female bears a strong resemblance to Osaka with her strange outlook on life and constant day dreaming. She's an appealing heroine and in the first few chapters you'll find yourself rooting for her. That is of course until the series extended cast of characters to come into play. There's Tenma's younger sister Yakumo who is able to hear other people's thoughts, and consequently become terrified of what guys think when they look her way .The show stealing Harima Kenji is a motor cycle riding "drop-out" whose really a hopeless romantic at heart who is hopelessly in love with Tenma.
At first school rumble starts out as a fairly typical manga rom-com, many of the characters conforming to common archetypes with the half Japanese Eri bearing more than a striking resemblance to Evangelion's Asuka. Once the author gets into stride however the manga really excels, the division between fantasy and reality becomes increasingly blurred and it's all the better for it. The chapters are clearly episodic in nature, making it a good title to dip into. This also means that the pacing is tight throughout the book.
The art is clean and since the artist (Jin Kobayashi) uses tone minimally it's easy to read. The lettering is also well sized using a fairly standard but bold comics font. Tanoshimi have followed the general trend by presenting the book unflipped and have obviously spent a lot of effort on print quality both internally and on the cover. There's also an extensive and helpful translator's guide in the back.
School rumble is a silly light hearted comedy and a perfect example of it's genre. It's well written, and superbly paced with a lovable and ever-growing cast of characters. Tanoshimi have also done a great job with the release ensuring a high quality book.