3 August 2005 | superdonkeypower
One Really Crazy Breath Of Fresh Animated Air.
First of all, for as many anime parody series as there are in existence, nothing even comes CLOSE to the wackiness factor of Cromartie High School. Absolutely nothing. For those anime fans with no sense of humor whatsoever, avoid this show like the plague, because it's very likely that you just won't appreciate it. You have been warned.
If you do have a healthy sense of humor, though, read on.
Take one serious high-grades high-schooler from out of the respectable school system and throw him into a school full of delinquents, robots, gorillas and aged rock stars. And that doesn't even scratch the surface of what you're about to get yourself into. Cromartie High School is quite possibly the funniest show, never mind the fact that it's anime, that I've seen since Monty Python's Flying Circus. Clocking in at an average of ten minutes per episode, this would be a perfect fit for the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network, but alas, you'll only find it on the very exclusive Anime Network (how many cities carry the actual network? Two!?) and their On-Demand service. As far as I know, there are three (soon to be four) DVDs on sale from ADV Films, each carrying an average of eight episodes per disc. But I'm straying from the point...
The point I'm trying to make is that this show is flat-out hilarious. Imagine if you will: A punk sporting a mohawk with a mind of its own. A smart-mouthed robot that looks like an over-sized coffee can. A blonde-haired student whose mom you'll swear is a guy. An intelligent giant gorilla. An enigmatic Mexican-style masked wrestler. A scary-looking bear of a man whose only weakness is motion sickness. And to top it all off...Freddie Mercury. That's right, the guy from Queen, all the way down to the mustache, suspenders, bare chest and killer theme music. It's all about the ten-minute adventures they go on, often with disastrous results. Intrigued yet? To be honest, I didn't know what to think when I first started watching this show. I did, however, find myself laughing uncontrollably during around the 3-minute mark, and it kept up the pace for the full 10. Any anime that opens up with a disclaimer has to be good, or maybe that's just my opinion. I get so happy to see it On-Demand when the new episodes come on that I start to hum along with the theme song. Seriously, after watching 3 episodes I started to laugh at key points in the show's opening song/montage/what-have-you. It's just that infectious.
The show itself takes its visual style from old Shonen anime and manga from the 80's, with high school gangs fighting for turf and respect. Everyone looks older and more mature than they really are, and there are more than a few instances that you'll be reminded that all of the characters are supposedly 16 year-olds. It takes repeated potshots at the very pillars of time-honored anime stylings, such as using limited frames of animation for movement or very static backgrounds with an explosion-of-light-like effect to punctuate a character's serious sounding line. After those pillars give, the mighty structure crumbles into rubble, leaving only dust and rocks. Most parody series would build it back up in it's own whacked-out image, but Cromartie just pees all over the remains, laughing all the while. And you'll be laughing right along with them, guaranteed.