Schools back in session with the release of the second volume of Cromartie
High School. This outrageous comedy keeps on dishing out the
laughs in these six short episodes. If you enjoyed the first volume,
this one will leave you rolling on the floor.
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.
It's the school where all of the delinquents get sent. I don't mean
your ring-the-doorbell-and-run-away delinquents, more like the set-fire-to-the-teacher
type of hoodlum. 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 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 Hayashida seem to notice that he's made out of
metal and not a real person. Oh yeah, and one of the students is
With all of the main characters introduced in the previous volume, this
set of shows jumps right in and hits the ground running. Each 10
minute show might have up to three stories in it, that are only tangentially
related. Since there is very little in the way of continuity, and
shows almost seem to be an experiment in stream-of-conscience writing,
there really isn't much in the way of plots. They are more like an
excuse to tell jokes more than a story line. It sounds like a really
bad way to write a show, but with this series it works.
In one episode Hayashida decides that he wants to to be the best high
school baseball team in Japan. Not on the team, but the whole team.
When someone points out that there are nine people on a baseball team,
he replies with aphorisms: If I set my mind to it, there's nothing I can't
accomplish. Of course all of his class mates agree with Hayashida.
Finally he admits that it might be better to have a full team and he tries
to recruit one. Unfortunately he can only find eight people to play,
and two of them aren't even human. The rest of the episode deals
with the class getting lost in a forest for days and days. (I know,
that doesn't have anything to do with baseball...like I said, stream of
Every episode on this disc is funny. I found myself laughing more
than I did when I watched Excel Saga, which is a favorite of mine.
Highlights include the Bass High students planning on attacking Chromarte
High, until they see what's roaming around there campus. Another
rival school gets a second in command, but they have trouble deciding who
is the toughest, the puppet or the puppeteer. My favorite bit has
to be when the Cromartie kids are about to take a plane for a field trip,
and the two guys who are planning on high jacking it get cold feet.
After all the kids are way tougher than they were expecting the passengers
to be. Also be sure to look for Dejiko, from Di Gi Charat to show
up in the preview at the end of episode 13.
While I enjoy the show immensely, the one area that it is lacking is
the animation. Like I mentioned in my review of the first volume,
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 of corners.
If you like bizarre, off-the-wall humor, then this is a series you'll
enjoy. The plots are quickly discarded for a chance to add another
joke, and a lot of it doesn't really make any sense, but the show does
deliver deep laughs at every opportunity.
This DVD consists of six short ½ length episodes, about 10 minutes
long if you don't count the credits. (The same style as Azumanga Daioh.)
The DVD comes in a white keepcase.
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 the fact that there aren't self serve gas stations in Japan and what
the significance of Koshien is to high school baseball. (For those
who haven't seen Princess Nine.) Very helpful in understanding some of
the more obscure jokes in the show.
There is also an 8-page insert with data on the characters, answers
to questions about the show, and an interview with one of the voice actors.
This is an outrageously funny show, just as enjoyable, if not more so
than Azumanga Daioh and Excel Saga. The joke are bizarre
and frequent and the short episode lengths just highlight that fact.
There is more laughs per minute in this series than any other anime I can
think of. Highly Recommended.