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Cromartie High School, Vol. 4 - Mount Rockmore
Chromartie High School ends with the fourth volume, and I'll really miss it. This was one of the shows that I really looked forward to and would throw into the DVD player as soon as it arrived. This was a funny show and I laughed all through it. A great series that ended way too soon.
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.
This volume starts off with the class going on a class trips to Kyoto. The problems that occur on the train are outrageously funny. I had to back up the show a couple of times to catch lines I missed while I was laughing.
In other episodes, Hokuto's lackey, who ummm, goes by the name Hokuto's Lackey, decided to quit the Hokuto gang. This throws the school into turmoil! What are they going to call Hokuto's lackey if he's not Hokuto's lackey anymore? They can't just call him 'Lackey'. That wouldn't make any sense. He wants to tell them his real name, but they don't want to know it. That's not the point of a nick-name.
Another story line that was full of laughs was when the thugs at Chromartie High decide to form an animal lover's club. Everyone brings their pets to school, with some rather wacky results.
Of course, the episode where a gorilla was making sushi in a restaurant was pretty funny too. So was the one where they turned the show into Chomartie Girl's School and all the main character changed gender.
Another laugh filled volume. 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. There are also a series of Japanese commercials for Cromartie. My favorite bonus item are the several text pages of cultural notes which really help explain some of the more obscure jokes.
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 extra.
This was a great series and I'm really sorry that it's over. I laughed out loud several times in every episode. This was the funniest series I've seen this year and is sure to end up on this year's top ten anime list. Highly Recommended.