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ThePirate Reviews: Cromartie High Vol. 1

I'll be honest. We watch a lot of anime here at OtakuBooty and 99% is total crap. We all love anime but let's face it: most of the junk on the shelf at Suncoast and Best Buy is not fit for human consumption.

So please believe us when we tell you that Cromartie High is one of the best things we've seen in a long time.

Read on for the guest review by OtakuBooty moderator and inspirational leader ThePirate.

(This is a guest review, contributed by OtakuBooty member ThePirate)

Here is a short list of some very awesome things:

1) Dinosaurs equipped with rocket packs and/or lasers.
2) Nearly anything that has a blimp involved.
3) Cromartie High School.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find the dinosaur cage of my local zoo, nor was I able to procure blimp tickets. I have, however, found myself given by John Booty (of "The Internet" fame) the task of assuring our readers that Cromartie High School is well worth renting/purchasing/performing ritual sacrifices to. This ensures that:

A) We have something new to update the front page with. This in turn allows us to maintain our delusions of people actually reading the front page, preventing us from collapsing into a cycle of drugs, alcohol and soul-crushing acts of sexual depravity. [Editor's Note: We actually fell into such a cycle three months ago, we retain the front page merely to keep up appearances.]
B) Pleasing the distribution companies that send us free stuff, holding their hired death squads off for another week or so.

So in an effort to please my cruel master, let me tell you right off the bat that Cromartie High School is an awesome show. In fact, it is so good that I enjoyed it long before it was my contractual obligation to do so! Cromartie is a show that executes it's strangeness in such a brilliant way that I cannot help but fall in love with it.

Cromartie High School is the story of Takashi Kamiyama, a normal, respectable student who for some reason decides to attend the delinquent haven of (and I think the name of the school is going to surprise you here) Cromartie High School. Kamiyama soon aspires to change things around Cromartie High, but finds that the local delinquents are not only strong, but a few are just plain strange. These include:

1) A gorilla.
2) A robot (who is not aware of the fact that he is a robot)
3) Freddie Mercury.

Perhaps now is a good time to issue a warning: It gets a lot more bizarre from here on in. From delinquents with a taste for stationery to an entire episode about trying to figure out the title of a song through its repeated humming, Cromartie High School is not a show for those without strange senses of humour.

Another thing you should be mindful of is Cromartie's rather weak animation. If you're one of those people who watches anime to see the pretty pictures move, you may not be on board with this. Yet, unlike any other show I've ever seen, the low-quality approach actually improves the feel of the show. From faces stretching for no reason, to ears appearing on a person a second later than they should, to hair blowing when there's clearly no wind, Cromartie's animation fits its style perfectly.

The dub is pretty run-of-the-mill, definitely not bad, but nothing to write home about. Even if your home happens to be the headquarters of "Tell Us About Anime Dubs International." This is offset by a really neat soundtrack, usually playing quietly in the background like the most embarrassing member of a theatre company, but well worth straining to hear.

Cromartie High School is probably one of my favourite shows to come out of Japan in the last couple of years. If you're anything like me (and by law, you are required to be) you'll think this show is awesome. Maybe not as awesome as a dinosaur using a laser-guided rocket pack to fly to a secret blimp-base, but pretty awesome nonetheless.

-ThePirate, 2/27/2005

John Booty adds: My friends aren't exactly a representative sample of society at large. Most of them shouldn't even be allowed in public without supervision. Having said that, I've been showing Cromartie to them and we're all in love with this show.

ThePirate's review is based on a pre-release promotional copy. We received the final retail version of Cromartie High School Vol. 1 in the mail yesterday and a few things are worth noting. With eight episodes totalling 100 minutes, an excellent dub, and a bonus guide explaining many of the baffling cultural references/jokes in Cromartie this DVD is an excellent value. This is a perfect example of a DVD release that justifies its price by going beyond what fansubs can offer.

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