School Rumble
Volume 5

Author: Jin Kobayashi
Artist: Jin Kobayashi
RRP: 5.99, US $10.95
ISBN-13: 978 0 099 50652 2
ISBN-10: 0 099 50652 1
Ages: 13+
Available 05 April 2007

Harima Kenji has tried everything he can think of to attract his cute-but-dim classmate Tsukamoto Tenma. This time he's grown his beard to enormous lengths. But one snip of the scissors by wealthy beauty Sawachika Eri ruins everything! Can a delinquent punk and a stubborn, quick-to-anger rich girl end their long-running feud? Meanwhile, the inscrutable foreign exchange students from America in rival class 2-D face off against our hapless heroes from 2-C. The real "School Rumble" is about to begin...

After the constant high quality of the first four School Rumble mangas, I was a little disappointed to see that this collection drastically takes a step backwards from its main characters and the main thrust of the previous storylines. It was almost as though for some reason author Jin Kobayashi had grown weary of his subject matter and, to a lesser extent, his characters, and was desperately trying to breathe new life into the series.

The result is a few too many short stories with new characters. While the Harima Kenji and Tsukamoto Tenma storyline was eventually going to get a little tiresome, introducing so many new characters is a strange way of bring a fresh feel to the series. In places I felt like I was reading a totally new adventure series and I couldn't help feeling a little cheated.

While all your favourite characters are present and correct, and the Harima/Tsukamoto story is still alive and well, it takes more of a back seat. Maybe, after getting used to the new characters I'll go with the new storylines and enjoy myself, but to see so many new characters and mini-stories in quick succession was a little disorienting.

Amber Leigh

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