This is one seriously off-kilter show. It follows the everyday life of Takashi Kamiyama (the guy dead center and not the robot dude) and his odd classmates at Cromartie High School, an infamous school for delinquents.
To start off with, EVERYONE is 16! Each person is identified with their name slug and age, but no one looks 16 or acts 16 or is potentially 16. In fact we don’t even know what they did to be sent to this school and, if they are delinquents, they do not act in a delinquent manner. I mean, they come to class (even though you never see a teacher or any other faculty member present) and stay the whole day, then go home. OK, they do nothing in between (no homework assignments, no lessons on the blackboard, no oral presentations; nothing like that), but we do not see them engaged in ‘standard’ delinquent activities (whatever that really means).
We see them on class outings and they even try to start a sports team, but they all lose interest pretty fast. Even when one of their mates is kidnapped and they go to their aid, they never seem to actually have a rumble. And Kamiyama is the most normal one about!
Of the team we have up there, left to right:
Takeshi Hokuto. He is the son of a chairman and uses his influence to take over and rule all the schools he goes to. Sadly, Cromartie is a municipal school and cannot take it over. He is, in fact, so clueless, he comes to school wearing the wrong uniform. This does not stop him from plotting how to take this school over, to no real success.
Shinjiro Hayashida, noted for his fake purple Mohawk that seems to have a mind of its own, flitting about as it chooses. Despite being streetwise, he is dumber than a sack of doorknobs and has the worst problems with basic math, but is good friends with Kamiyama.
Masked Takenouchi, who bears no relationship to Yutaka Takenouchi despite a physical resemblance. He has problems with agoraphobia and so wears this wrestling mask to maintain his anonymity. As to Yutaka, he is the leader of the Cromartie First Years. An incredible fighter and reliable person, he spends most of his time trying not to get car sick…so he is placed in every conceivable situation that will make him hurl (but he never does).
Shinichi Mechazawa, the robot dude. No one ever, EVER states that he is a robot and they treat him like any other student, even though he pops his lid to oil himself frequently. Kamiyama knows he is a robot, but can’t bring himself to state that to him. Oh, in front of him is his little brother, Beta.
Other students include Freddy, who looks like Freddy Mercury from “Queen” and Gorilla, who is a gorilla. Not a big, hulking guy but a real gorilla. And the reaction is “Wha…?” and that is that. They are now part of the Cromartie family and nothing more need ever be said. The real humor comes from the reactions from others. It’s like Tommy Lee Jones. He, himself, is not funny. But how he reacts to the circumstances and situations is where the humor derives. Ditto for this show
Now, Cromartie has flat-out stupid humor, as with the incident regarding Beta Mechazawa or the things that always go on when the gang meets at Maeda’s house ALL THE TIME. There is just something about people who think they have a handle on things and they don’t that lends to the weirdness of this show. The Song Episode (called “Cromartie High Co-Ed) is as pointless and as random as it gets, but it absolutely falling down idiocy and one of my 10 Most Favorite Single Episodes ever.
Now, the show ends. It is a ‘hit the brakes’ ending and that’s the show, but considering what you got through to get there, it is the best of all possible endings. But it really is a goofy good time. This is one of the few animes that I have actually purchased, so I think it’s worth it.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Workable artwork)
Plot 6 (Not really one, but that’s OK)
Pacing 8 (Very deliberate)
Effectiveness 8 (It works for its content)
Conclusion 6 (It stops dead, but you’d expect no less)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 8 (Really squirrelly)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. These people are delinquents. Don’t do it, man!