Follow TV Tropes


Manga / Cromartie High School

Go To

A bizarre High School comedy Anime and Manga series written and drawn by manga author Eiji Nonaka (known as "Nona" for short), 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 irrelevant discussions, (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 he doesn't seem to realize it and his friends don't feel comfortable pointing it out to him. Cromartie's other students include aliens, gorillas, and some dude who is very obviously Freddie Mercury on a horse.


The series runs in ten-minute episodes. Twelve volumes of the original seventeen volume 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.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the live action film, Hayashida's hair is not only black instead of purple, but he doesn't even have his signature mohawk.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The folks at Cromartie think Takahashi is a pretty cool guy, but they're also weirded out at his antenna tiara and wonder if he's not so perfect after all. So, Kamiyama begins asking Takahashi how he'd handle certain frustrating predicaments that could make him look bad no matter what he did. Takahashi succeeds in giving a clever answer every time, but his last one, that he'd have to hold his antenna in a roller coaster instead of putting his hands up (like it wasn't the first time he was riding one) or holding to the handles (which is decidedly unbadass), while reasonable, winds up baffling the students all over again.
  • Art Shift: Whenever one of Kamiyama's old friends show up, they will always be shown more cartoony in design than the rest of the characters. It can also affect the backgrounds. This only happens in the anime, as the manga never has Kamiyama encounter any of his old friends.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The show is a lot goofier than the realistic art style would imply.
  • Ascended Extra: The author 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.
  • Badass Biker: Kamiyama on Moto-Mechazawa.
  • 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-looking 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.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The second episode begins with Kamiyama complaining about fans of the manga who complained about character designs and voice casting when the first episode aired. Then he realizes that there hasn't been any animation at all in the past thirty seconds.
  • The Cameo: Episode 25 features Maeda receiving advice on how to be a cat from Di Gi Charat's Dejiko.
    Maeda: Now, what else can I do to be a cat?
    Dejiko: Put on a bell, nyo~!
    Maeda: I'll add "nya" to the end of my sentences.
    Dejiko: "Nyo" is a gazillion times better than "nya" is, nyo~!
    • And then Puchiko shows up at the end of the show, too.
    Dejiko: I recommend adding "nyo" to the ends of sentences, nyo~!
    Puchiko: "Nyu" is good too, nyu~!
    Maeda: Nyu?!
    • Likewise in episode 2 Takashi briefly transforms into Piyoko while monologuing about how fans complain about 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.
  • Cat Girl:
    • Gender inverted with Maeda in Episode 25 (as part of a bet).
    • Mechazawa appears with cat ears in the pseudo-Gender Bender sequence in episode 26.
  • Chromosome Casting: All the characters are men and look like them... except for Maeda's mom, who even looks like her own son... with a skirt.
  • Class Trip: Ranging from a bus trip to Nikko, to an attempted flight to Kyushuu, to a bullet train headed for Kyoto. Besides the fact that it's unusual for a High School to have three class trips, Takenouchi also has to overcome his motion sickness in these areas. Hilarity ensues.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The characters tend to do this often, especially considering grave situations they would be in.
  • The Comically Serious: Everyone. Much of the show's humor comes from the cast's absolutely deadpan reactions to pretty much everything.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Kamiyama acknowledges at the very start of the anime that it is very compressed compared to its original source. At times, even the subtitles will point out that some events happened in the manga, but not in the screen (like the whole reason of why Kamiyama is in Cromartie).
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: At one point, the Gorilla (while working at a sushi bar) serves his boss banana sushi, which, as predicted, tastes disgusting. It turns out to have a deeper meaning, though.
  • Cool Bike: Moto-Mechazawa.
    Kamiyama: Landed!
  • Cut Short: The final chapter of the manga simply ends by revealing that Nonaka, the author, has been informed that the manga's magazine serialization has expired. It's played for laughs, but there's also a bittersweetness to it.
  • Delinquents: The main premise of the series concentrates in a high school full of delinquents, while Kamiyama hardly fills into it.
  • 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-warning. Of the few possible things that happen, most of it is harmless.
    • The first thing we see in the series is a delinquent eating one pencil, then several at once. However, he then vomits them right back up.
  • 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.
  • Dustbin School: Comedy example of this, with the titular school being where all the worst delinquents are put so they won't damage other kids' education.
  • 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. The song was "Ningen Nante" by Yoshida Takuro, who also wrote the show's theme.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Everyone suspects that Mechazawa is something more than just a regular student... but only Kamiyama, Hayashida and Maeda realize that he is a robot.
  • Elvis Lives: Freddie, who may or may not be the legendary Queen's vocalist, since it's never explicitly stated.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Parodied like no tomorrow. Don't drop your pencil, or the fat guy will eat it while you watch.
  • Epistolary Novel: Some episodes and chapters begin with Kamiyama mentally dictating a letter to his mother.
  • Establishing Series Moment: At the start of the first chapter/episode, Kamiyama fumbles his pencil while writing a letter to his mother, only for another student to pick it up. Rather than giving it back to Kamiyama, he eats it to intimidate him. In the spirit of scientific enquiry, Kamiya promptly empties his entire pencil case on the desk in front of the student, who stares at them uncertainly for a second, sweating, before cramming them all in his mouth at once. Yeah, it's gonna be that kind of series.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Quite a few characters (Maeda's mom, the Masked Takenouchi, Pootan's friend), but especially Hokuto's Lackey, who gets several episodes' worth of The Un-Reveal for it. They eventually decide not to care for knowing his name after all, because if they did, that would ruin all the personality he's acquired among them.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys:
    • The aptly named Gorilla. And the Girl Gorilla.
    • 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.
  • Executive Meddling: The reason the manga comes to a sudden end, as revealed in the final chapter.
  • Expressive Hair: Noboru Yamaguchi with the Funny Afro and Hayashida's mohawk.
  • 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.
  • Freddie Mercopy: One of the most remembered secondary characters is a foreign man known only as "Freddie" for his undeniable resemblance to Mercury (lampshaded and nicknamed by Takashi Kamiyama), having the look of a Caucasian man with a prominent moustache and short hair. This becomes Up to Eleven in the Gender Bender chapter where Cromartie is a girl-only school (and parody of Maria-sama ga Miteru), where Freddie appears in his "I Want To Break Free" drag costume.
  • 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.
  • Hand Puppet: Akira Nakao is an expert of these.
  • Hostage Situation: Takenouchi accidentally encourages a bunch of hijackers to carry out a plane hijacking. Also, any time that Akira Maeda gets kidnapped by Bass High.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Early on with Mechazawa, and most of Fujimoto's actions.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • 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 the 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.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: It's always a rock song or album ("OK Computer", for example).
  • Irony: Yamaguchi, a secret fan of comedy and wannabe standup comedian, punches people out when they make lowbrow or crude jokes. Since he's surrounded by people who would laugh at such jokes, this makes them think that he hates comedy.
  • Killer Rabbit: Discussed by several of the others when trying to figure out if Kamiyama is badass or not. One points out that a rabbit might look all fluffy or innocent, but it'd have to be pretty dangerous to live in a lion's den. "That's one badass bunny," indeed.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Fujimoto punching out Tanaka, who had been trolling him on the Internet without either knowing who the other was.
  • Lemony Narrator:
    • At the end of every manga chapter the narrator snarks at the characters.
    • Kamiyama shows signs of this in the anime.
  • Limited Animation: Done deliberately and spoofed like the series does with many other tropes. As Kamiyama puts it at the beginning of episode 2:
    "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!!"
  • Live-Action Adaptation: The 2005 movie.
  • Local Hangout: The South Wind Cafe.
  • Measuring Day: That ends up giving the doctor a short-lived Madness Mantra with variations of "Ahh, thank goodness it's a gorilla!" (in the anime).
  • Medium Awareness: Kamiyama in the first few episodes of the anime.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Beyond Freddie (unless, of course, he really is Freddie Mercury), all of the schools in the show are named after non-native baseball players who played pro ball in Japan. The titular high school is named after Warren Cromartie (who sued over use of his name), with both Randy Bass and Orestes Destrade also having schools named after them.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Cromartie's students include robots, aliens, gorillas, and some dude who is very obviously Freddie Mercury, but averts this by not including any combinations of these traits.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • 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 the USA, called Mr. Mercury, who claims to never have been in Japan and to hate the place despite the fact that he's saying an old Japanese proverb just beforehand.
  • No Ending: Both the manga and anime end abruptly, albeit in different ways, without any kind of resolution. Although, considering the series this is, it's likely that Nonaka never had any plans to properly end or wrap anything up anyway and simply would've continued to write it until he either ran out of ideas or was forced to stop, and it ended up being the latter.
  • No Fourth Wall: Viewers of the anime are advised to read the manga if they are lost due to the anime's plot being condensed.
  • No Smoking: Smoking is prevalent in the manga, but in a satirical jab at anime censorship, the anime depicts the delinquents smoking CG blobs or some other kind of absurd thing instead. 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 reason.
    • Played with in the live-action movie. Kamiyama tries to teach the others about the dangers of smoking (using Mechazawa as a test subject), but they eventually switch over to cigars (due to them seeing Freddy smoking one) and eventually bananas (same thing but with Gorilla).
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Taken to comical extremes in the anime. Anything can become giant, tiny, or deformed at the drop of a hat, only to return to normal in the next shot. The few times that anyone actually gets punched might be the most downright hilarious examples of this.
  • 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.
  • One Steve Limit: Played With. Nobody knows Masked Takenouchi's real name, and he's referred to as Masked Takenouchi simply because everyone mistook him for the real Takenouchi in his first appearance.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • The characters who are this most of their time are Maeda, Hokuto's lackey, and both Takenouchis.
    • Kamiyama is mostly one at the start of the series, but it gets shared between him and others, and he has his strange moments as well.
    • Hokuto is this during his introductory chapters, but quickly is overcome by the sheer insanity of the school.
  • Out of Focus: Kamiyama is originally the unequivocal star of the series, but becomes less prominent as time goes on. This is endlessly and explicitly referred to in the character bios present in each volume of the manga. Over time, the main character roster becomes a constantly revolving door, from Hayashida, to Masked Takenouchi, to Fujimoto, to a mysterious character constantly wearing an adorable bear costume who goes by the name of Banchou-Chan.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Lampshaded at one point 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.
  • Pose of Supplication
  • Quarter Hour Short
  • Race Lift: Freddie in the manga and anime is most definitely white, which even leads characters to often remark "Is that guy even Japanese?!" In the Live-Action Adaptation he's very clearly Asian. This gets even weirder when one considers that the real Freddie was British-Parsi.
  • Red Baron:
    • 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.
  • The Reveal: Hayashida's mohawk being prosthetic. The fact that it's prehensile either makes more or less sense considering this fact...
  • Running Gag:
    • 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.
    • The students having meetings and parties at Maeda's house without asking his permission.
    • The Four Great Ones having long bouts of Seinfeldian Conversation and debate about trivial matters.
    • Characters talking a big game about how badass they are and never actually doing anything badass at all.
    • Fujimoto teaching his underlings a life lesson, then through difficult online forum interactions ends up losing patience for the exact lesson he tried to teach, which results in one of his students who actually benefited from the lesson and thanking Fujimoto for teaching it, which then ultimately results in Fujimoto completely doubling back on his word and punching the unsuspecting student's lights out while exclaiming that the lesson was wrong.
    • Yamaguchi attacking people for trying to be funny and, to his estimation, not being funny at all, which makes everyone think that he hates comedy even though he has a secret devoted passion for it.
    • Banchou-Chan losing his costume, mask, or both.
  • 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.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Especially implemented with The Four Great Ones.
  • Shout-Out: By the boatloads.
  • Show Within a Show: "Pootan".
  • Sitting on the Roof
  • Something Completely Different:
    • A "Gorilla works in a sushi bar" story with none of the regular cast.
    • A very long arc involving Hayashida and a world of sapient monkeys, in the manga only. Seems Nonaka really likes doing non-sequitur arcs involving primates.
    • Early on, there is this scene which lampshades the trope:
  • Spam Attack: Mechazawa does it in the movie.
  • Stock Footage: Kamiyama and Hayashida's Reaction Shot in episode 2 of the anime.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Maeda and his mom (and dad in the manga).
  • Stylistic Suck: Lord have mercy.
    • 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!
  • Surreal Theme Tune: The opening tune is pretty mellow. The imagery... not so much.
  • 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.
  • Theme Naming: All of the schools are named after foreigners playing for Japanese baseball teams or in NPB: Warren Cromartie (who was also a minor star for the Montreal Expos in the 1970s), Randy Bass, Orestes Destrade, Andy Bernazard, and Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel.
  • Theme Tune Cameo:
    • 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.
    • All of this keeping in mind that the extreme Art-Style Dissonance makes all the high schoolers look like adults. If they aren't actually adults.
  • 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!"
  • Transfer Student Uniforms: Hokuto, who transferred to the wrong school.
  • 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 Un-Reveal: 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.
  • Wham Shot: Hayashida removing his prosthetic mohawk.
  • 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.
    • And though shown only in the manga, Maeda is actually good at fighting, dodging and countering Yakuzas before being outnumbered.
  • Younger Than They Look: Pretty much every main character in the show is meant to be 16 years old. They sure look a lot older. This is especially the case for the kid who appears at the beginning of "Pootan Gets Fired", who has the same exact badass looking face as everyone else, and he's only 10 years old.

Alternative Title(s): Sakigake Cromartie Koukou


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: