The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Cromartie High School

Title: Cromartie High School aka Sakigake!! Cromartie Koukou
Genre: Comedy
Company: Production I.G.
Format: 26 episodes
Date: 2 Oct 2003 – 25 Mar 2004

Synopsis: Meet Takashi Kamiyama, an above-average high school student who filially writes to his mother regularly about his well-being upon enrolling into Cromartie High School. Cromartie however is not just any other high school: it is full of some of the worst delinquents in the country. Kamiyama will naturally get bullied, right? Wrong, as the delinquents have this twisted logic that Kamiyama must be the toughest delinquent in his class, for “only a really tough rabbit would lie down among lions”. Absurd hilarity ensues.

The Highlights
Common sense: Battered, bruised and thrown out the window.
Humor style: Delivers punch lines like a locomotive.
The delinquents: Stupidity has never been so funny.
Satire: This is how satire should be done.

“Comedy: The genre of dramatic literature dealing with the comic or with the serious in a light or satirical manner”, defined by Merriam-Webster.

Cromartie High School absolutely fits this definition like a glove with its brand of humor. Before anyone embarks on this series, allow me to give three pointers on what to expect from Cromartie. One: each episode is barely twelve minutes long. Two: every episode moves in the pace no different from a bullet train. Lastly, three: Common sense brings bane to the comedy in the series.

True, each episode lasts no more than twelve minutes, so under most other circumstances the plot would either feel disjointed due to a lack of time to develop things, or resolved in a convenient rush if the episodes are self-contained. This will not apply here because simply put, there is no plot to begin. There’s one purpose to Cromartie, and that is to make the viewers laugh, which it does without any semblance of wit whatsoever in its humor, or a plot to speak of. Speaking of humor, Cromartie makes use of parodies of other anime titles as the main ingredient to its comedy, and these often make for the punch lines. This is what makes Cromartie a comedy that is unlike other comedies I’ve seen, even if some of the punch lines didn’t always tickle my funny bone. However, at the breakneck pace each episode progresses, the punch lines will just keep coming and the previous one will not seem to matter for long.

Cromartie will introduce you to some of the zaniest characters in a comedy series. To say that the delinquent acquaintances of protagonist Kamiyama are eccentric is a blatant understatement. Picture this: some of Kamiyama’s friends include a robot that is unaware of its own being, a gorilla more intelligent than Kamiyama’s human friends, and a rock star look-alike who can do anything without uttering a single word. These mentioned characters are the most consistently funny in the show, but the rest of the characters could have done better to throw in a few more punch lines rather than having the series continually highlighting how stupid they are.

Most of the laughter stems from the ridiculously yet hilariously incoherent dialogue shared by the characters in Cromartie. These exchanges and their equally side-splitting outcomes are the result of two common traits shared among all (okay, most) of the characters: firstly that they’re very stupid and secondly that they’re always ready to beat the snot out of someone. Best of all, they do so with stoic expressions on their faces from start to finish.

Be warned that the comedy will not please all viewers after a clever comedy, since most of it is lowbrow. Ultimately, this will satisfy those merely looking for some laughs and for those who don’t mind an absence of common sense. I belong to that group of viewers, and I laughed hard and often during the course of the series. I thought that a few of the comedic gags weren’t delivered well, but for the most part they hit the bull’s eye straight on. It may be flawed, but with such a bizarre cast that you just can’t hate, what more can one want? Comedy is basically about delivering laughs, and Cromartie did make me laugh eventually.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: AC

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