GRAPHIC NOVEL
School Rumble
Volume 1

Author: Jin Kobayashi
Artist: Jin Kobayashi
Tanoshima
RRP: 5.99, US $10.95
ISBN: 978 0 099 50626 3
Ages: 13+
Available 04 January 2007


She is a second-year high school student with a single all-consuming question: will the boy she likes ever really notice her? He is the school's most notorious juvenile delinquent, and he's suddenly come to a shocking realisation: he's got a huge crush, and now he must tell her how he feels. Life-changing obsessions, colossal foul-ups, grand schemes, deep-seated anxieties, and raging hormones -
School Rumble portrays high school as it really is: over the top comedy...

School Rumble is the first volume in Jin Kobayashi's first foray into the world of manga. This series has already been published in the UK and I'm not entirely sure how this reissue differs, if at all, from the first printing. Not that it really matters. If you haven't come across this series before, now is the ideal opportunity to start.

Kobayashi treats the reader to a series of short comedic tales based around a typical Japanese school. Tsukamoto Tenma, Karasuma Oji and Harima Kenji form an unintentional love triangle. Tenma fancies Oji and Kenji fancies Tenma - but none of them can express their love properly and are afraid to let their feelings out for fear of rejection. Tenma is your typical teenage girl, and the main star of the series; Oji is the object of her desires; and Kenji is a bit of a wild rebel who has been kept back in school and is quite a bit older than Tenma.

This collection introduces us to Tenma, her classmates and her friends. The majority of the humour comes from Tenma's pathetic attempts to get Oji to notice her, while at the same time Kenji's rather scary schemes to get Tenma to fall for his charms.

This collection is presented in the original manga style - that is to say that you start at the back of the book and read from right to left. If you've never done this before don't worry, it's not confusing and is fairly easy to slip into without having to concentrate too hard.

The translator has also included some length notes at the back of this collection to explains some of the cultural references that may have gone over your head. This collection also starts off with a brief explanations of how honorifics are used in polite Japanese society and why this collection has kept them in the finished translation.

Through Tenma's teenage angst millions of teenagers will realise that there own romantic problems are shared the whole world over. And, for those of us still young enough to remember our school days, this will bring back a flood of nostalgia for that girl/boy we were unable to ask out.

Amber Leigh

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