Utter, absolute drivel. I’m not sure who in the right frame of mind can find this forced absurdity and parody even remotely funny, but let’s just say that I’m putting this one down as definitely not one of Production I.G.’s finest moments.

Anyway, Cromartie High School tells the story of one bright Takashi Kamiyama who is forced to attend Cromartie High School as he embarks on his high school career, not the best of moves thanks to Cromartie High’s unenviable reputation of being quite a rough and tumble, delinquent breeding institution. However, the steely nerved Takashi is adept at fitting into his environment and in time even assumes the unofficial mantle of the ruffians’ leader.

Episodes are about ten minutes a piece and they are all basically a bunch absurd gags and parody, held only together thanks to the singular location of Cromartie High School. It attempts to be funny by being stupid and doing the unexpected – all the time – which means that you get very tired of it very quickly unless you actually like this sort of television. They throw all sorts of inane characters at you, like a mute Freddie Mercury lookalike, a 300 pound gorilla, a mechanical robot, a gigantic 1st year boss who suffers from motion sickness, and a rival boss with an afro that has a life of its own – you name it, they stuff it in.

The premise is tough delinquents, but the execution is stupid morons, and to be honest, I just couldn’t find the spark that made Eiji Nonaka’s work such a popular shonen manga back in 2002 when it won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award – or rather I really don’t know how it did managed to walk off with that award in the first place!

As for the artwork, although it accurately depicts some very angry young men by always making them frown, it is very flat and static and not all that well animated as far as I’m concerned, though I guess the simple style does suit the type of show it is trying to be. The voice actors are however all well matched, and they do well to capture the absurdity that makes up this show.

I don’t know. I couldn’t enjoy this drivel and it became a chore to make it through the first volume DVD – and that’s with episodes that only last 10 minutes a pop! Can’t recommend this to anyone and most certainly don’t advise that you buy this. Check it out over the Internet if you have to, but otherwise safely ignore, leaving it to gather dust right at the bottom of the bargain bin if you ask me!

Year: 2003 | Director: Hiroaki Sakurai

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromartie_High_School