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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Cromartie High School Vol. 2 - Hey Dude
Cromartie High School Vol. 2 - Hey Dude
ADV Films // Unrated // May 10, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted May 4, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

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 a gorilla.

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 conscience.)

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.

The DVD:


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.

Audio:

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.

Video:

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.

Extras:

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.

Final Thoughts:

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.

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