Director – Hiroaki Sakurai
Animation Production – Production I.G.
Genre – Comedy
Cromartie High School is one of those shows that requires you be an old-school fan of anime and manga if you are going to get the most enjoyment out of it. It is a comedy that parodies the juvenile delinquent (yankii) manga of the 70s and 80s as well as using many pop culture references of that time period. The TV series was adapted from Eiji Nonaka’s Kodansha award-winning manga (tied with Beck in the Shonen group in 2002) by Production I.G and TV Tokyo. It was broadcast in the US on Tech TV’s (now known as G4) anime programming block and the DVD was released in 2005 by ADV.
The first thing that comes up at the start of every episode is this tagline “Dear viewers sitting in front of the television the guys that appear in this anime are delinquents. So please do not under any circumstances imitate what you see in this anime, or you will end up like this (in jail).” So straight away you know it is a comedy and it is going to involve delinquent high school students, other than this I didn’t know what to expect. But when watching the opening credits animation for the first time three characters that stand out; a gorilla, a robot and a someone who looks like Freddie Mercury that are attending this school. The main character is Takashi Kamiyama a normal student among a school full of delinquents and acts as a sort of arbiter in many of the bizarre situations that occur.
The show is pretty much a string of different situations with very little overarching plot that are enclosed in short 12 minute episodes. It’s joke after joke like a sketch show and since there is very little continuity the episodes are almost standalone. The general theme of the comedy is making fun of the delinquents who deep down aren’t really tough guys and have some sort of problem or other ambitions (i.e. motion sickness, become a comedian). But I have to admit most of this goes over my head as I am not familiar with the juvenile delinquent genre. Most of my enjoyment in the show comes from the gorilla, robot and Freddie and there are plenty of episodes that surround these characters. For example the gorilla becomes a sushi chef, the robot is scrapped and repaired into a motorcycle and Freddie pops up all over the place. I don’t know what it is but seeing Freddie Mercury pop up and never talk but doing things like riding a horse to school or acting manly is hilarious. So this is Cromartie High School a quirky, irrelevant and very Japanese comedy anime that should definitely be watched if you are familiar with what they are parodying. However if you are like me your enjoyment may vary.
Rating – B
Year – 2003-04 Length – 26 episodes 12 minutes each