The third volume of Cromartie High School starts the second half
of the show which is just a bizarre and humorous and the first. This
volume contains six more mini-episodes that are laugh out loud funny.
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.
This show is rather hard to describe. It has a stream-of-conciseness
feel to it with the narrative jumping from one subject to the next with
no real segues. This just adds to the comic effect though.
The show is a little like a sketch comedy show, with each episode comprised
of a few plots that end in a punch line, then they move to something else.
That guarantees a good number of laughs per episode, because they don't
worry about linking the various stories together. They just move
from one outrageous situation to another.
In this volume, we get introduced to Manuel High School and the Boss
of their first class, Fujimoto. He's a real bad-ass who's quick with
his fists, and loves to spend time posting to the forum on his web page.
He is really nice on the internet and has impeccable Netiquette and
a cute Hamster screen saver. When a troll starts mocking him on his
own forum though, will he be strong enough to resist the bait?
Another story line that was full of laughs concerned the Boss of Japan
Contest. All of the high schools from all over the country send their
toughest, most kick-ass-and-take-names leader to Tokyo every year to decide
who is the baddest of the bad. They build the contest up as a grueling
competition, and the actual contests is a riot.
There's also the story of Hokuto's lackey. No one seems to know
his name and so they refer to him as "other guy" or "you." As embarrassing
as it is, he tries to introduce himself to everyone again, but something
always happens before he can get his name out: someone spills some juice,
there's a fight in the cafeteria, an asteroid hits the school, aliens land.....
This is another laugh filled volume. Every episode is funny and
very enjoyable. One of the things that makes this show so fun is
that there are a lot of little jokes in the background that are easy to
miss on the first viewing. Just odd illustrations that never have
attention called to them. In the background of one scene Mechazawa
is talking to a giant chicken-type creature, and in another they show a
film projector that empties its reel of film into a garbage can rather
than a take-up reel. It is bizarre little touches like that which
really push this outrageous series over the top.
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 it will get you
rolling on the floor.
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 red 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.
Japanese commercials for Cromartie DVDs, CDs and PS2 games are also included
on the disc. My favorite bonus item are the several text pages of
cultural notes. They explain such things as the fact that even public
high schools charge tuition. (It costs about $4,500/year to attend
Cromartie High. This is 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 some cultural notes. A very nice
Excel Saga was the first hyper-kinetic comedy show that I had
ever seen, and it quickly earned a spot on my top ten list for that year,
and I continue to appreciate it. With this volume Cromartie High
School has passed Excel as my favorite anime comedy show.
It's odd off the wall humor has me laughing all the way though the discs.