In a nutshell: An
outrageously funny show about a school for juvenile delinquents (and robots
What would you do if you suddenly found yourself enrolled in a high
school for juvenile delinquents? Not your ring-the-doorbell-and-run-away
delinquents, more like the set-fire-to-the-teacher type of hoodlum.
You'd probably be pretty terrified, and that's exactly how Takashi reacts
in the first volume of Cromartie High School, ADV's latest comedy
anime series. This is an uproariously funny show, and one that deserves
Sixteen year old Takashi Kamiyama is a clean cut kid, and the newest
student at Cromartie high, the school with the worst reputation in Tokyo.
He tries to blend in with the background and not make waves, hoping that
the thugs and bullies who make up his class will ignore him. That
idea doesn't work of course, and soon he finds himself in a contest to
see who's the toughest. As one of the other students theorize, Takashi
looks like a normal person, and that's who you have to watch out for.
If you saw a bunny rabbit in the middle of a pride of lions, you'd know
that it was a real bad-ass bunny.
It's strange logic like that, things that almost make sense, but not
quite that give this series it's kick.
Most of this volume involves introducing the odd cast of characters
who attend Cro-high. There's a mute student who looks to be in his
thirties and is a dead ringer for the lead singer of Queen. Everyone
calls him Freddie. Then there's Mechazawa, a robot. The only
thing is that no one except Kamiyama and his friend seem to notice that
he's made out of metal and not a real person. Oh yeah, and one of
the students is a gorilla.
This series consists of short ½ length episodes, about 10 minutes
long if you don't count the credits. With such a short time frame
to work in, there's not a lot of time to work in a lot of plot or characterization
or any of those other things that just get in the way. They go straight
for the humor. It's silly, nonsensical type of things a lot of the
time, but the jokes work. There isn't any fan service type humor,
which I was very glad to see. Just good bizarre humor.
One of the stories involves Takeshi Hokuto, heir to the Hokuto fortune.
He transfers to Cromartie so that he can use his father's power and his
own skills to rule the institution. Unfortunately Takeshi has accidently
transferred to the wrong school, and Cromartie is a public academy where
his father has no influence. Rather than admit that he's made a mistake,
he tries to cover his tracks by claiming that his father is the head of
a secret organization that controls the Japanese government from behind
the scenes. Takeshi claims to have dedicated his life to destroying
this evil entity so that goodness can rule. Against all odds, Kamiyama
and his friends not only believe the story, they want to join in Takeshi's
crusade. Hokuto starts telling more and more outrageous lies to try
to get himself away from Kamiyama, but he just ends up in a deeper hole.
While the humor is very good, the animation style isn't. The
show is done on the cheap, and if they can get away without animating something
they do. They often freeze on one drawing and zoom into it or make
it grow smaller. They pan across images and show the backs of people
talking so they don't have to animate their mouths. Even with this
low grade animation, they show works so I can forgive that they cut a lot
This DVD has a Japanese stereo sound track with optional English subtitles
and an English dub in 5.1. Both were very good. While I wish that the original
language track was in 5.1 also, I couldn't complain about the sound quality.
The dialog was clean, and there was no distortion or other audio problems.
The English 5.1 track had a bit more punch to it, and used the soundstage
a bit more. The voice actors were very good. I was quite impressed. There
were not any stupid accents or phony sounding voices. While I prefer the
Japanese track, I enjoyed the English dub as well.
The full frame image was very clean and clear. The colors were bright
and varied. The picture has a good amount of detail with the lines being
tight and clean. Digital defects were minimal, though there was some light
aliasing. A very good-looking DVD.
This disc features a clean opening and closing, the original warning
that accompanied the show in Japan and trailers for several other ADV series.
There are also several text pages of cultural note that explain such things
as what taxi coupons are and what a moxa treatment contest is. Very
helpful in understanding some of the humor in the show.
This show is what you would get if you meshed Excel Saga and Azumanga
Daioh. A lot of rapid fire, off the wall humor that just seems to
work very well. I found myself smiling at the first episode and laughing
out loud soon after that. A funny show that is worth checking out.