From left to right 3rd row; Fuyuki, Hanai, Karasuma, Harima, Asou. 2nd row: Imadori, Karen, Yakumo, Sarah. 1st row: Akira, Mikoto, Tenma, Eri.
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-sempais, 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.Now has a character sheet. All character specific tropes should be put there.
Also in the pool-hockey episode, the camera zooms out through Mikoto's legs while Hanai rushes her goal.
Beware the Nice Ones: In one early Yakumo-centric episode, Hanai attempts to show her the practicalities of martial arts. He attempts to grab her but can't due to her being able to read his mind. He then mentions that her sister is the biggest clutz in the school. Cue an incredibly sinister look and Hanai is suddenly made to eat the floor. One of the very few times she ever gets angry.
Bishounen: Harry activates his Ouran-level full-bishie mode to woo girls in a cocktail party.
Bittersweet Ending- Karasuma turns out to have loved Tenma all along, but pretended not to notice her because of his disease that caused him to have memory loss. While in his hospital bed, he pours out all his feelings to who he thinks is the real Tenma, but which turns out to be an hallucination caused by his illness. The real Tenma is in fact, just outside the hospital, and never hears it. But through Tenma's efforts, he is showing signs of regaining his memories, or at the least falling in love with her again.
Bowdlerize: The anime cuts the manga's instances of underage drinking. Fortunately, it does this by replacing the lost gags with new ones that mostly work just as well, so if you hadn't read the manga you'd have no idea anything was censored.
But Now I Must Go: Eri invites Harima to her house overnight to work on the school album. To get him to reveal his feelings, Eri's butler cosplays as a character from Harima's favorite show and fights him. Harima leaves the house w/o revealing his feelings because that's how the episode ended.
Butt Monkey: Harima, Hanai. Pretty much anyone who fails in their love life.
Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Spoofed, like every other combat trope, in the mock battle at the beginning of Season 2. Eri (really Takamura) shoots three guys while they're shooting at her. All three of them stop shooting after being shot themselves and two of them fall over. The last one starts shooting into the air again as he collapses, "dead."
Also when Tenma leaves a bathroom through the window, several stories above the ground, using a pair of plungers to go down the wall. This warning is actually displayed while she does this.
Establishing Series Moment: You just knew this wasn't gonna be your run-of-the mill Shoujo when you see the resident delinquent talk about the wonder of love after he just finished beating up a bunch of gangsters.
15 Minutes of Fame: Lara accidentally adopts a new, very distinctive temporary look, then displays her fighting ability in Shibuya. She becomes "Queen of Shibuya", with girls aping her odd style, and for a week becomes a poster girl for cosmetics and the like. But when her CD single flops, Lara returns to her normal exchange student life.
Genre Deconstruction: Arguably, the entire series seems to have started out as a deconstruction of a shonen love comedy by replacing the ditzy female protagonist we so often see with a Badass male delinquent. The first two chapters make it pretty obvious. Another good example of this is when Eri walks in on Harima in the nude; usually its the other way around. Not to mention that the actual ditzy female protagonist (Tenma) is a total Butt Monkey whose affections are frequently spurned and who is the object of ridicule from friends, classmates, and even the narrator.
Gilligan Cut: When Karasuma turned down Tenma's umbrella with "I'm a kappa," she interpreted this as him having a raincoat... Cue a change to that exact costume as she turns back around from her momentary Squee moment.
Giving Up the Ghost: This happened to Imadori after he took a basketball to the face from Harima. He was distracted at the time by the ghost of an old teacher and wasn't paying attention.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episodes of the anime are made up of three segments. In most episodes, all three segments have their own titles, which make up the entire episode naming (the two season finales being exceptions). And all three titles have common written elements between one another!
Informed Attractiveness: Yakumo. It seems like she has literal hoards of people proclaiming how beautiful she is, particularly in comparison to Tenma. It's played straight in that Yakumo is obviously very beautiful, deliberately drawn so that is her defining characteristic, it gets subverted when her beauty transfixes A WHALE who then helps tow a ship she is on.
Innocent Cohabitation: Eri turns down Harima's attempts to move in with her after Itoko kicks him out. Yakumo (with Sarah's urging) suggests that he live with her.
Instant Seiza: Subverted when Harima tests this out with Yakumo and concludes that love doesn't begin like that.
Intimidation Demonstration: Karen scares off an attacker by absolutely disintegrating an apple just by squeezing it in one hand. Later, Lala does this to intimidate a few classmates, but Imadori, unfazed, claims that it's no big deal and does the same thing with a ripe banana.
It Will Never Catch On: The caveman episode had lots like pottery (Yakumo), anime (Karasuma) and pointed spears (Harima).
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 a 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.
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.
Moment Killer: Mikoto & Akira after Harima proposes to Eri so she can stay in Japan.
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.
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).
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 witnessed 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.
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.
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.
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.
Ship Tease: It's passed around, but mostly is Eri/Harima, Mikoto/Harima (in the anime, its mentioned that they actually went on a few dates), and a bit of Harima/Yakumo, Harima/Tenma, and even Mikoto/Hanai to the side.
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.
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
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.
This Is Reality: Harima comments to himself that if life were like a comic book, he'd be able to win Tenma over more easily.
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.
Threesome Subtext: Eri and Yakumo are both interested in Harima. They have each been teased with him as well as with each other (most notably their slow dance in an episode). Before the original manga suddenly stopped, Harima was also apparently engaged to Eri while living with Yakumo, with all three apparently content with the arrangement.
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 aboutTenma.
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).