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Oji Karasuma (烏丸 大路 Karasuma Ōji?) is a fictional character from the manga and anime series School Rumble. He is Tenma Tsukamoto's love interest, often depicted as a stonefaced eccentric. Although it seems like Tenma's feelings for him are unrequited, behind his poker face he sometimes shows true concern for her in the story. His parents live in the United States.

Fictional character biographyEdit

In the beginning of the story, Karasuma announced he was moving to another city, to the despair of Tenma who wrote him an absurdly long anonymous letter (because she forgot to put her name in) asking him to not leave. Whether her plea worked or not is a mystery, but for some reason he chose to stay. But Tenma's days near her beloved seem to be numbered as he apparently was allowed to stay for only another year. As the school year goes on, the two get increasingly closer thanks to Tenma's own incredible determination to be with him.

In an effort to get even closer to him, she and her friends set up a special event where they'll be able to walk and talk together[1], the last event of their school year. Unfortunately for her, it's soon revealed that Karasuma will not attend this event, as that will be the day he will be leaving for America (it's also revealed he has some sort of medical condition).[2] Kenji Harima, overhearing this, is rather distraught, only concerned over how crushed Tenma will be. Going down a path of questionable morality, Harima decides he'll try and crush any lingering feelings of Japan in Karasuma so that he would leave quicker, and thus leave Tenma for only Harima to court. When he goes to speak with him, Harima calls him chicken, and that he shouldn't let go of his love for Tenma, or his manga. This talk actually has an opposite effect, and it is here Karasuma reveals his feelings for the lovestruck girl, remarking that he intends to ask her to be his girlfriend.[3] At the most recent part of the manga it is revealed that he was suffering from a sickness that is terminal, that is why he was going to America. It is also the reason why he acts in an eccentric manner to distance himself from people.[4]

Nonetheless, he goes to the school's end-of-the-year event to seemingly confess to Tenma. However, it is revealed that he had only come to say goodbye to her and left shortly thereafter, leaving her in tears.[5] Outraged that he would choose to leave and not stay with Tenma for the rest of his time, Harima pursues him back to the school with the intention of fighting him. The two have a prolonged battle with Harima apparently having the upper hand. But, once Karasuma recovers from the surprise attack, the fight tips in his favor, as he uses his speed to his advantage. Harima rectifies this weakness by handcuffing their legs together, and once again manages to regain the favor. Here, Karasuma shows more emotion than he ever previously had in the manga, clearly stating that he loves Tenma, and angrily admits to being too much of a coward to be with her.[6] Harima then defeats him, but finally reaches an understanding, realizing why he had acted the way he had. Karasuma chose to tell no one of his illness and never complained about it is because he didn't want to make it anyone else's fault, nor make excuses. Harima then tells him he should go to her, as he's the only one who could make her happy. Despite this, he chooses again to escape and takes a taxi all the way to the airport.[7]

When Tenma visits Karasuma at the hospital, she finds that he lost all of his memories, including the time he spent at school and his feelings for her. She becomes his carer, and takes him around places in his wheelchair. Some years later, Tenma sends a letter to Yakumo stating that Karasuma had recovered some of his lost memories, and inviting her, Sarah, and her former classmates from 2-C for a reunion in the United States. During the reunion, Karasuma had indeed recognized some of his classmates, like Harima, whose name he ended up mistaking with Hanai's.

According to the last Japanese poll performed by the publishers of the manga, Karasuma is currently the sixteenth most popular character in the series.

PersonalityEdit

Karasuma is a largely unemotional character, reacting calmly in stressful situations. Although he is usually shown looking out the window during class, he is not unaware of the goings on around him. He has a few quirky habits. These include tending to wear his school uniform when he is not in school, snowboarding in a snowman costume, and dressing up as a kappa during rainy days instead of using an umbrella, embodying a Japanese pun on the word for raincoat; he also enjoys eating curry. Karasuma is also a member of the organizing committee for the school sports festival, and has acted as a coach/referee on a few occasions in an unofficial capacity.

Karasuma is very tolerant of Tenma's proposals, and also exhibits great empathy towards her when she encounters difficulties. He goes to some lengths to help her out on several occasions, especially after he severely disappointed her by being unable to quickly decide if he liked her or packaged curry better early in the series. He has also shown to be considerate to others as well. In one occasion, he inspired Harima to not give up on his dream, and allowed him to stay at his apartment for a few days.[8] He also did not disclose to others that Harima was working as a mangaka after discovering this fact.

AbilitiesEdit

Karasuma is secretly a famous mangaka, publishing his works under the pen name of Nijō jō (二条丈). He is the judge for a mangaka contest sponsored by his publisher that seeks to promote new talent. Harima was an admirer of Nijō jō's until he found out that he was really Karasuma. His enviousness of Karasuma has led him to cast the latter as the villain in two of his manga stories who stands between the hero (who can be easily recognized as Harima himself), and his love interest (who in turn can be easily recognized as Tenma). In the musical realm, he is a guitarist and a member of a band comprising several of his classmates.

Karasuma also seems to be a highly accomplished fighter, being able to adeptly dodge any flying projectile and deflect Harima's flying attack using only two fingers. He has a great deal of endurance, displayed when he led Tenma and Harima on a prolonged, roundabout route to school via bicycle at high speed (with a cameo appearance of Initial D's Toyota Sprinter Trueno being overtaken by the three), being the only one of the three who was not exhausted.

NameEdit

His surname, Karasuma (烏丸), can be misread as Torimaru (鳥丸), which Kenji Harima mistakenly called him once. His names are likely puns on famous Kyoto landmarks. One of the main thoroughfares in Kyoto is Karasuma Avenue (烏丸通 Karasuma-dōri), as well as the namesake of the Kyoto Subway's Karasuma Line, which parallels its route. This is very similar to his given name, as Ōji (大路) means "main street" in Japanese. Also, his mangaka nom de plume, Nijō-jō (二条丈) is clearly also a play on Nijo Castle (二条城 Nijō-jō), a famous historical landmark in central Kyoto that is near Karasuma Avenue. Finally, the name Ōji (大路) is consistent with the punning on Kyoto, as Kyoto is the traditional seat of the Imperial family in Japan, and Ōji(王子) means prince. The Kyoto Gosho or imperial palace where the Emperor of Japan lived until 1868 is accessible via the Karasuma exit of the Kyoto subway.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Vol. 19, Chapter 236
  2. Vol. 19, Chapter 237
  3. Vol. 19, Chapter 238
  4. Chapter 257
  5. Chapter 261
  6. Chapter 264
  7. Chapter 264
  8. Vol. 18, Chapter 225



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