School Rumble

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
From left to right 3rd row; Fuyuki, Hanai, Karasuma, Harima, Asou. 2nd row: Imadori, Karen, Yakumo, Sarah. 1st row: Akira, Mikoto, Tenma, Eri.

School Rumble Forever!

High school romance comedy. Idiot delinquent (Harima) has a secret, obsessive crush on an even more clueless classmate (Tenma), who is in love with a complete oddball (Karasuma), who is in love with food (curry). Tenma's quiet, gentle sister Yakumo, her Ojou friend Eri, and the hot school nurse may or may not have feelings for Harima, depending on the rumors you believe and the time of day. Also, both Tenma and Harima's cousin Itoko think Harima is in a relationship with Yakumo. Class rep Hanai is loudly in love with Yakumo (thus seeing Harima as his rival), while two or three girls may or may not have feelings for him. Also, there is Ichijo, who likes Imadori, who likes Mikoto, who likes one of her ex-senpais, who got a girlfriend since the last time she saw him. And so forth. Failed confessions, confessions to the wrong people, and relationship misunderstandings abound.

You will rarely take any of this seriously.

School Rumble is a Gag Series that relies more on character interaction than actual progress in relationships. Parodies include Initial D, Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball Z, Battle Royale, Iron Chef, Star Wars, and Ghost.

School Rumble consists of two 26-episode seasons, each covering a term of the school year, as well as two 2-episode OVAs: the first centered on the first term, and the second centered on the very end of their high school life. The second season ends with the characters planning the class trip that forms the first major arc of the third term. The second OVA ends with the characters having a class reunion some time after they have all graduated high school , but occurring presumably not beyond their first year of college .

Based on a manga written by Jin Kobayashi which ended on chapter 283 (if it can really be called an ending), followed by a brief sequel manga, "School Rumble Z", which wrapped things up slightly more.

Tropes used in School Rumble include:

Harima: The villain intends to use baseball to take over the world.
Yakumo: How is he going to do that?
Harima: I don't know.

  • Large Ham: Masatsugu Tougou
    • And, in a more meta example, Tenma and Harima's English voice actors ham up just about everything they say. It works. Gloriously.
      • It certainly helps that anything Luci Christian says is automatically cute.
    • Hanai as well. "For the class, and for myself ... TIME FOR TEA!"
    • The announcer for the cavalry battle too. He is clearly having way too much fun commenting on the match.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis
  • Living Statue: Hanai awoke a statue of kuta panda in chapter 166.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Long Title: The title of the first season finale, translated as follows:

A sudden "farewell"... Lost in a maze... Who are you? ...Tell me. A passing-by unrequited love... May my feelings reach out for you. May my thoughts reach out for you. Maybe this is an one-time sensation, one page of my youth. This is the last chance, I want to know about... Your feelings. Words can be said, thoughts cannot be expressed. The confessions of that day made for one day of eternity, but... I'll continue this moment of ours forever. So, for tomorrow... "School Rumble Forever".

    • The English adaptation only uses the last phrase in this title.
  • Lost in Translation: Some of the jokes revolve around words sounding similar in Japanese and although they try, the jokes aren't quite as funny (if funny at all). The most prominent example is when Harima talks to Yakumo about Itoko and refers to her as "My itoko (cousin)". Yakumo gets the wrong idea.
  • Love Dodecahedron
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Goes two ways in the first episode: first from Tenma to Karasuma, and later from Harima to Tenma.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: The bread and butter of the series: though Harima and Tenma were both plenty dumb before they ever fell in love.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: With tuna.
  • Magical Girl: Mai's guilty pleasure. Deconstructed somewhat in Magical Mai episode, where she's sick of being mocked for wearing frilly pink dresses and beating up bad guys at her age and actually intends to hang up her wand for good after winning over her love interest.
  • Magical Realism: The Tsukamoto sisters are psychic, their cat can switch bodies with people, Harima talks to animals, his editor shoots eye beams, there was a talking cherry blossom tree and Akira is a spy.
  • Male Gaze
  • Manga Effects
  • Masked Luchador: Lara's dad.
  • Measuring Day
  • Medium Blending: 3d Harima. Akira's overseas adventures are also told in 3D.
  • Meganekko: Tsumugi
  • Mistaken Declaration of Love Several exmaples, but the most pivotal one is probably Harima to Eri...
  • Mood Whiplash: Tenma and Eri having an awkward conversation about men's bodies to Eri and Mikoto getting into a shouting match about Harima.
  • Most Common Superpower: In the Magical Mai episode, Tenma is a Western-style superheroine specifically based on Wonder Woman: and she has huge fake breasts. Not implants, mind you, they're part of her costume, but still.
  • Motorcycle on the Coast Road
  • No Ending: The manga introduces what looks to be two important plot elements that throw fuel to the Eri/Harima and Yakumo/Harima factions, then bitchslaps both camps (and everyone else) by aborting it via a Time Skip and two inconclusive chapters that reset what character development Harima had managed to obtain. The ending of School Rumble Z seems to hint at Eri/Harima, but it's not clear whether the brief image of them with a child is the actual future or not.
    • The anime suffers from the same fate albeit a slightly less depressing one (seeing as Karasuma appears to be recovering at a faster rate).
  • No Indoor Voice: Lara Gonzalez


  • Nosebleed: Many. Most notably a violently explosive one.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The traditional reaction subverted in one case, where Harima and Eri are in a very suspect position and Akira walks in, stares at them for a moment, and then correctly guesses the unintentional events that lead them to where they were.
    • Played straight with Harima's initial meeting with Tenma in middle school after she wakes up in his room.
    • Eri walking in on Harima and Mikoto in public and thinks they're on a date.
    • Tae jumping Harima and witnesed by 5 students.
  • Oblivious to Love: Obvious here, but one moment deserves special mention: in an episode where Tenma visits Harima at the hospital, he outright confesses that he likes her, and she understands... that he said he likes some kind of egg.
  • Odd Friendship: Harima & Yakumo, Mai & Nishimoto and Lara and Satsuki.
  • Oh Crap: After Harima's mistaken confession to Eri.
  • One Degree of Separation
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Because of this, Eri thought (and probably still thinks) that Tenma is no longer a virgin.
  • Overtook the Manga: The second season ran out of content from its corresponding school term, resorting to several Filler episodes and an open anime-original ending that is best forgotten.
  • Paintball Episode
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Almost no one can recognize Harima without his sunglasses.
  • Plot Tumor: Tenma. The Flag, Riceball & Kid's Meal pairings overtake her and she loses prominence as main character. Then for no reason at all she becomes the focal point of the finale without resolving any of the pairings. WTF?
    • That said, it might not be a tumor at all. Most of the other drama occurs with Harima, who was established as the main male protagonist from the outset, so for the plot to focus heavily on his stories isn't really that much of a change. The lack of a resolution, on the other hand, probably gave most of the readers a tumor.
    • It did, I was still raging at my laptop three hours after fininshing the anime and the manga right after it.
  • Porn Stash: Nishimoto gave away his to his classmates, Hanai confiscates the rest. Yakumo runs away from him when she senses his lust.
  • Post Episode Trailer
  • Psychic Powers: Both of the Tsukamoto sisters can see ghosts. Also, Tenma can effortlessly bend spoons, while her younger sister Yakumo can read the minds of any guys who are interested in her (along with some special cases). Tenma's power has absolutely no impact on the plot (used only once, as an aside), but Yakumo's power is a key aspect of her character.
    • Well, Yakumo can read animals' minds, but that doesn't mean she can understand them...
  • Race For Your Love: Harima pretty much kidnapped Tenma and took her to the airport so she can go to America and see Karasuma.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: Akira helped Tougou make one to commemorate the class' Kyoto trip. It starts as parody of The A-Team but then zooms in on the love story of Eri & Harima.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Harima and Hanai.
  • Relax-O-Vision
  • Retcon: The ending of School Rumble Z seems to look like one.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Yakumo and Sarah especially in the comic.
  • Running Gag: Several, aside from the countless times someone is interrupted when confessing their love.
    • Professor Tani mistaking Harima for gay.
    • Nakamura dressing up as Eri.
    • Naru, Nishimoto, and Yoshidayama trying to meet girls with "swimsuit sumo".
    • Eri somehow getting into situations involving a naked Harima.
    • Hanai on his kite.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Yuuki, occasionally.
  • School Play: A cross between Sleeping Beauty and Seven Samurai.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Harry and Togou
  • Sentai/SuperRobot: Both are given a homage in episode 18 in the form of Dojibiron.
  • Serious Business: How about the time when they had A WAR GAME COMPLETE WITH REAL ACTING just so they can choose on what to do for their School Festival!?
  • Shadow Dictator: The Principal (manga only).
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The first several episodes are about Tenma trying to impress Karasuma and/or Harima trying to impress Tenma but nothing ever comes of it. Arguably, the whole series counts as one. See the "No Ending" description above.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend
  • Shipper on Deck: Sagano for Tawaraya and Asou, Tenma for Harima and anyone he might have feelings for (except herself, of course), Eri for Mikoto and Asou, Mikoto and Akira for Harima and Eri.
  • Ship Tease: It's passed around, but mostly is Eri/Harima, Mikoto/Suou (in the anime, its mentioned that they actually went on a few dates), and a bit of Harima/Yakamo, Harima/Tenma, and even Mikoto/Hinai to the side.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Tsukamoto sisters and the Togou siblings. There's also Akira and her half-sister Motoko.
  • Single-Stroke Battle
  • Sitting on the Roof
  • Sleep Cute: Tenma after she and Harima's shopped for Karasuma's birthday present.
  • Slice of Life
  • Slow-Motion Pass-By
  • Soap Opera Disease -
    • Karasuma has an incurable disease that—once set in motion—wipes his mind clean and destroys all cognitive ability.
    • Given the vagueness of her ailment, Akira's younger half sister as well.
  • Spoiler Opening: Each season has one, showing events that will happen throughout the entire season (Ichigakki, for example, showed Harima's Important Haircut from day one). Same goes for the endings.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Madoka, Shigeo and Mai shooting each other to the tune of "Feel Like A Girl". Then again, they were just playing...
  • Stroke the Beard: When Harima crashed Hanai's mock wedding. Also when Eri accidentally chopped his beard.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Harima. Hanai during the Wargames arc.
  • Surprise Santa Encounter
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Harima engages it when Yakumo notices that the characters of his manga look like him and Tenma.
  • Take My Hand: In the manga, Harima handcuffed himself to a girl he thought was Tenma who was about to fall off a bridge. It's really Yakumo, and the bridge stands over a small creek.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: During the camping episode. Harima tells Tenma to disrobe and this shocks the eavesdropping Eri and Yakumo. Eri takes a second look and sees Tenma and Harima wearing a curtains so they can dry their clothes.
  • That Came Out Wrong
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The music video for the opening theme, "SCRAMBLE!", appears in a billboard.
    • Itoko sings the first season end theme in her sleep. And tapes and plays it to taunt Harima at one point.
    • Tenma sings the "SCRAMBLE!" chorus in the pool episode
  • Those Two Guys: Lots. Tsumugi & Sagano, Madoka & Mihara. Asou & Suga.
  • Through His Stomach: Tenma tries to get closer to Karasuma by eating rice balls with him. Tenma also tricked Yakumo into giving Harima a lunch box.
  • The Three Faces of Eve: Tenma, Yakumo, Eri = maiden, wife, seductress
    • The women who actually show interest in Harima: Yakumo=child Eri=wife and Tae=seductress
  • Third-Person Flashback: In an episode, Yakumo has a flashback/dream to when she was a little kid that is from the first person perspective. Up to and including when the camera shakes up and down to indicate her nodding her head.
  • Thundering Herd
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Harima (dragon) and Hanai (tiger) at the mock wedding.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: At one point, Harima has to regain his spirit not as a fighter but as a mangaka, under the eye of the captain of a fishing vessel.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl
    • Tenma (tomboy), Yakumo (girly)
    • Eri (tomboy), Yakumo (girly)
    • Eri (girly), Mikoto or Akira (tomboy)
    • Lara (tomboy), Karen (girly)
    • Itoko (tomboy), Youko (girly)
  • Transformation Sequence: In the Magical Girl parody episode, Mai gets a Sakura-level one.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Used 3 times to ship Harima and Eri.
  • Universal Adaptor Cast
  • Unwanted Harem: Subverted. Tae is the only one who expresses open attraction toward Harima. He treats Yakumo only as his friend and Eri as someone he owes a debt too but doesn't like. And he never seems to actually learn any of their names, probably because he only cares about Tenma.
  • Visible Sigh
  • Visible Silence
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: A picture of a cat is shown when Tenma gets seasick in the cruise episode.
  • Wacky Homeroom
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The Kibasen and the Battle Royale style wargames.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Used mini-plotwise in the Manga: Madoka seeing other men behind Shigeo's back. one account semi-witnessed by Shigeo himself (who doesn't know what's going on) and another by Suga, for which Madoka uses a kiss (presumably his first) to 'keep him quiet'. Though, it is revealed later in the Manga that in the end, Shigeo and Madoka are still dating (which either means they resolved the issue or it was never brought to Shigeo's attention).
  • What Is This Feeling?
  • Wiki Walk
  • Wild Card Excuse: "Because this is the Tea club afterall..."
  • Will They or Won't They?: In Z, Tenma threatened to crash the car she's driving after finding out Yakumo still can't define her relationship with Harima after all these years.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Eri unloads a rolling sobat on Harima in one episode, and in a much later one puts him in a Boston Crab.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko; Yakumo