A bizarreHigh School comedy Anime and Manga series, set in a school populated by the "worst" delinquents in Japan. Also known as Sakigake Cromartie Koukou.The denizens of Cromartie are all about looking tough, acting tough, rumbles, fights and all that gangster stuff. Mostly, they just talk a good game, and the action centers on seinfeldian conversations, (very) weird stuff happening, and a plot about as coherent and logical as Excel Saga played backwards.The art style is cribbed heavily from classic fighting Manga such as Fist of the North Star and Crying Freeman. Characters often have inner monologues held in a tableau, as they look off into the distance, only to be interrupted by yet another crazy situation.Even stranger than the delinquents themselves are the oddball creatures that wander the halls. There's Mechazawa, who is a trashcan-like robot, but neither he nor his friends even seem to realize it; the protagonist hasn't worked up the courage to ask about it directly. Cromartie's other students include aliens, monkeys, and some dude who is very obviously Freddie Mercuryon a horse.The series runs in ten-minute episodes. Thirteen volumes of the original manga, and a box set of 26 anime episodes, have been released in America as of this writing, as has the Live-Action Adaptation film (which makes about as much sense as the original material).Mechazawa and friends appear in the Massive Multiplayer Crossover game, Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen.See The Ping Pong Club for a similar series.
This series contains examples of:
Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The Four Great Ones of Cromartie (all five of them). Subverted by the fact that the only things they do is maintain their fusion of rock and badass by keeping their KISS makeup on 24/7 (except for one of them, obviously) and talk about trivial things.
The Ace: Hideki Takahashi in the manga, with those...things on top of his head. How perfect is he? For starters, he always carries both his cell phone and TV remote around with him.
Art Shift: Whenever one of Kamiyama's old friends show up.
Ascended Extra: The manga-ka lampshades this by noting how most characters who were intended to be one-offs ended up becoming more prominent than the so-called protagonist, Kamiyama. Though considering the nature of the series, this was probably completely intentional.
Author Avatar: Eiji Nonaka stars in separate, non-related comics (usually titled "LOVE NONA" or otherwise) that deal with his own life and other manga-related stuff.
Averting this before the start of the series cost Akira Maeda any presence he could have had in Cromartie. Although Hokuto's Lackey exchanges nicknames with him when he hears about this (Maeda becomes "The Dragon of Razors" and the Lackey becomes "The American Dream"), neither they nor anybody else ever use these nicknames because they still have no presence at all.
Some one-off characters discuss theirs - "Fireball of Junior No. 2", "Hospitalizer of Junior No. 3", and "Masa (Victory by default)" - during one of the earlier chapters.
Badass on Paper: Comically applied when the guys are trying to decide who was the most badass (they don't just duke it out - they never just duke it out). One of the guys has a reputation based entirely on guys being too scared of him to try him out. (Their 'jury' remains out as to whether that was impressive or not by the time the plot moves on).
Beware the Nice Ones: Kamiyama invokes this as part of a lesson he tries to teach his classmates. He threatens the class as the 'experiment' and they freak out because they are surprised that a mild-mannered person like him can be so frightening.
Blue with Shock: Pictured above. Also happens to Kamiyama and Hayashida when everyone fails to realize that Mechazawa is a robot, as well as many other instances.
Boss Subtitles: Lampshaded. All of the main characters are introduced with subtitles in every single segment.
Dijiko: "Nyo" is a gazillion times better than "nya" is, nyo~!
And then Puchiko shows up at the end of the show, too.
Dijiko: I recommend adding "nyo" to the ends of sentences, nyo~!
Puhiko: "Nyu" is good too, nyu~!
Likewise in episode 2 Takashi briefly transforms into Piyoko while monologing about how fans complain adaptations.
Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Hilariously averted, with an (almost) all-male cast full of extremely unattractive high-schoolers who look way too old and masculine for their age. Genderbent for the last episode in a manner that is either hilarious or nauseating.
Don't Try This at Home: "The guys that appear in this anime are delinquents. Please, do not under any circumstances, imitate anything they do. Don't do it man, I'm serious, it's a bad idea!" (The last line is from in the English version only.)
This itself is really a joke. Of the few possible things that happen, most of it is harmless.
That said, the first thing that happens is a delinquent eating one pencil, then several at once. The fact that he then vomits them right back up supports this trope.
Dramatic Unmask: Inverted - someone shows up at Cromartie High School, saying and proving that he's a changed man and is tired of playing it safe. Of course, nobody seems to know who he is despite his good advice. His name? Masked Takenouchi, of course! "I FORGOT TO PUT ON THE MASK!"
Dream Sequence: Hokuto has a bunch of these, but there are plenty to go around.
Ear Worm: In-Universe. The entire premise of one episode, in which Hayashida (and later Kamiyama as well) tries to remember where a particular tune he heard Mechazawa hum came from. No one else can remember it either. This culminates in the entire school standing up and humming it at the end of the episode, for about as long as it's possible to get away with in a ten-minute episode.
For those of you who have watched the episode, the song was Ningen Nante by Yoshida Takuro, who also wrote the show's theme.
In volume 10 of the manga, there was the story arc where Hayashida falls into an open manhole and winds up in an alternate dimension. When he gets out after, he casually tells his friends in volume 12, "There were monkeys in the sewers."
Everything's Better with Princesses: The first half of episode 26 recycles most of episode 1 and character introductions transposed in a girl's school where the (barely disguised) cast obsesses over being princesses instead of being tough.
Expy: From the manga, the Manuel High School student named Shimada ("Call me... Shimada.") is good with computers, and looks like a very young Dr. Eggman, complete with mustache and dark glasses, minus the fat.
Extreme Omnivore: Sometimes the delinquents will make a point to be as obstructive or menacing as possible. One such point is one of them eating an entire case worth of pencils. In one bite. Granted, he threw up afterwards, but it disturbed the victim to no end.
Fan Disillusionment: Osamu Kido is Pootan's biggest fan, and when he learns that someone else is in Pootan's place signing autographs...
Felony Misdemeanor: Kamiyama gains a reputation as an extremely "bad dude" when he tells his classmates of the time he sabotaged a domino-toppling world record attempt.
Gag Dub: The English dub takes a few creative liberties, like changing Kamiyama and Hayashida commenting on class 1-5 being very dramatic to just saying one word: Faggots.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Near the end of the movie the evil space monkeys from Spectreman come down in their flying saucer. Perfectly in keeping with the usual lunacy but still kind of surprising.
Hokuto's butler happens to look exactly like an older version of Hayashida. At first, Hokuto thought he was Hayashida's grandfather, but when the two met neither had any idea who the other one was.
During Takenouchi's unfortunate detour to USA during a school trip, he meets a mafioso who looks exactly like Freddie, named Mr. Mercury. The two have never heard of each other. And in the Manga, when Takenouchi wonders if he's ever been to Japan, Mr. Mercury proclaims that he's never been to Japan and he doesn't even like Japan at all.
"I'm getting sick of this. If you have any complaints, then watch the anime a thousand times over. [gets shocked suddenly] WHAT ANIME?! It's not even moving!!! [his pencil falls to the ground] Ah! It moved!!"
Some characters share names with famous Japanese people. For example, the Pootan-fanboy Osamu Kido is named after a professional wrestler.
Freddie is clearly (somehow) Freddie Mercury, the plainly deceased frontman of the band Queen... And Freddie in turn has a (speaking) look-alike in USA, called Mr. Mercury, who claims to never have been in Japan and to hate the place despite he's saying an old Japanese proverb.
No Fourth Wall: Viewers are advised to read the manga if they are lost due to the plot.
No Smoking: Smoking is prevalent in the manga, but in the anime the delinquents smoke CG blobs instead (most of the time). Like everything else this is played for laughs as the blobs bounce when the smoker is talking, along with other physics defying feats. Smoke rises from them instead of the ends of the 'cigarettes'.
It's also consistent within episodes. When Takenouchi is stranded in the US, he has a stick with a marshmallow in his mouth, which he lights repeatedly. Back at Cromartie? Sticks with marshmallows as well, for some reasons.
Not Drawn to Scale: Taken to comical extremes. Anything can become giant or tiny at the drop of a hat, only to return to normal in the next shot.
One Extra Member: The Four Great Ones are the supreme rulers of the second years, but they have a big problem that troubles them all: there are five of them.
The characters who are this most of their time are Maeda, Hokuto's lackey and both Takenouchis.
Kamiyama is this at the start, but it gets shared between him and others, and he has his strange moments as well.
Hokuto also is this during his introductory chapters, but quickly is overcome by the sheer insanity of the school.
Out of Focus: Kamiyama was originally the unequivocal star of the series, but became less prominent as time went on. This is endlessly and explicitly referred to in the character bios present in each volume. It seems in later volumes that the main characters are essentially Hayashida, Maeda, Hokuto's Henchman, Masked Takenouchi, the Gorilla, and then Kamiyama.
Padding: Whenever Kamiyama is confronted by authority while riding motorbike Mechazawa, there is a montage of moments from the current and previous episodes. The background music is awesome but it still looks like you're waiting for the punchline — which is odd considering all episodes are around 12 minutes, rounding up and including intro and outro music.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Lampshaded in episode 22, when some background characters try recruiting Freddie and Gorilla to take on the Bass High students. While they acknowledge their toughness and scariness, they also point out that they never do anything.
Nobody (including Mechazawa himself!) except the main characters realizing that Mechazawa is robot.
Hokuto's Lackey being interrupted before he can tell someone his name.
Talking about the baseball team and someone saying "Hokuto still sucks at bunting".
Takenouchi having an inner monologue where he introduces himself, states his status as leader of the first year students, and talks about his secret motion sickness issues.
School Uniforms are the New Black: All the students wear their school uniforms, even when going out for shopping and, in Kamiyama's case, stopping local gangsters with his super powered Mechazawa Motorcycle.
Pootan is just terrible. And it's supposed to be awful, but for some mysterious reason is incredibly popular in-universe.
The entire anime itself. Refer to Limited Animation above, plus the odd animation quirks (characters doing random things on the background, the different movements of Hayashida's mohawk, the camera distortions on close-ups on the characters...) For example, episode 10 has a sequence of Hayashida and Kamiyama talking as they walk - but, instead of them moving normally, the background stays static while they walk back and forth across the screen as if everyone did that!
Take That: Episode 2 opens with Kamiyama ranting about fans that complain when their favorite manga is made into an anime... only to lampshade anime's money-saving habits, like showing a character thinking to himself while sitting still.
Pootan, in all its random Stylistic Suck, is a parody of the series. Yamaguchi is a Take That to people who don't like the series, as they just don't get it.
Subverted in Episode 3: Hmm hmm hm-hm-hmm hmm-hmm hm-hm-hm-hmmm-hm-hm. It's Ningen Nante by Yoshida Takuro, who also wrote and sang the show's theme.
Played straight several times, one for each credits song:
When Beta Mechazawa is used as a phone, the ringtone is the first ending theme.
An unnamed delinquent's CD player breaks while he is listening to the second.
The lyrics Kamiyama sings in episode 5 are later used (but sung differently) in the credits song for episodes 19 and 23.
There Are No Adults: Or, more accurately, there are no teachers. Or responsible adults in an actual position of authority. On the other hand, the anime shows us the school doctor. He's enough in touch with reality to realise there is something wrong with particular 'students' in the school.
Averted in the manga. There are actual teachers in Cromartie (three of them so far), and even they wonder why the hell they're letting a gorilla wander around in the school.
This Is Reality: One of the most frequently used forms of Lampshade Hanging in the series, with lines like "They don't even put that kind of crap in manga nowadays!"
Troll: Fujimoto encounters several of these in his time on the internet.
Two-Teacher School: Taken to the extreme, as no teachers are introduced until volume 11 of the manga (and none of them show up in the anime).
The Unreveal: Hokuto's henchman tries to reveal his name to the others... and gets interrupted every time.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Lots. Sometimes subverted as the unusual sight get noticed, but is shrugged off as normal since nobody else (that is, no Cromartie students) seems to be affected by it. Rival school students, however, have been known to freak out over exactly what is going on over there.
Mechazawa is this trope in character form. Gorilla and Freddie are also this trope, but to a lesser extent.
Vomit Discretion Shot: When Takenouchi throws up in the intro, Kamiyama emerges from his mouth instead of his lunch.
Wacky Homeroom: It is unknown whether the students even have any other classes than homeroom.
Weaksauce Weakness: Takenouchi is a fearsome fighter and a respected leader. The problem? He gets motion sickness just by climbing on any kind of vehicle.
What If?: The guys like to pop off a lot of "What if..." scenarios that are sometimes relevant to the case/situation/dilemma at hand.
Why Am I Ticking?: One story has Mechazawa with a bomb strapped to his head, but the students give up in disarming him because they aren't professional enough to do so.
World of Badass: Everybody (apart from Maeda and Hokuto's Lackey) has his share of badass, even Kamiyama.
Get him angry enough — by, say, interrupting his attempts to tell you his name — and even Hokuto's Lackey will demonstrate badassery.