Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: Tanoshimi
Publishing Country: UK
Author: Jin Kobayashi
Age Rating: 13+
Page Count: 192
After desperately trying to win Tenma's heart and failing, Kenji is at an all time low. What does a heartbroken Japanese teenager do? Write manga of course! Of course Kenji isn't the only one fighting for love. Tenma is desperately trying to learn to cook, and a disagreement gets out of hand morphing into a pool hockey game.
Whilst the first volume of School Rumble was focused on Tenma's crush on Oji this second volume shifts more to Kenji. The volume opens with Kenji relating the sad story of his first disastrous meeting with Tenma which also happens to explain the origin of his beard. Now that the characters are established, the author Kobayashi has space to really exploit the character's personality quirks for laughs.
Characters that at first seem incidental are brought back for laughs the funniest joining the increasingly large reoccurring cast.
Reality becomes increasingly loose as the story progresses with the school hockey game taking as many references from battle manga as it does sports titles.
Where it really shines is the chapters in which Kenji turns to manga to soothe his girl troubles. Like many manga about manga making there are moments where I suspect the author is channelling their own grievances about the industry into the work by using to wreak further misfortune on Kenji.
The art remains high quality, though by this point there are so many reoccurring characters many of whom share design features that by this point a simple character guide at the start with have been a great help.
Whilst funny School Rumble is very episodic building each scenario up for a gag at the end. That said, Kobayashi is extremely good in remembering details about his characters previously mentioned (sometimes as punch lines to jokes) and using that to his advantage to increase the laughs. There isn't really an overarching plot to the manga whilst relationships between characters form the backdrop to each scenario character development is played for laughs rather than anything meaningful.
School Rumble is a manga all about the characters, as it becomes increasingly surreal it gets funnier and increasingly touching. School Rumble is extremely funny with superb comic timing, the only downside to this is that is it's extremely episodic.