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By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 11 Nov, 2013 At 08:29 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe manga section, whether it’s at the book store, comic shop, library, or from a convention vendor, it could be described as big and confusing. You’ve got the big name manga series that all have equally huge anime behind them proudly displayed for the mass consumers (despite that I love the otaku community for its uniqueness I can’t deny its classification as a consumer base, and a  very profitable one at that). From that point on you see an avalanche of less popular manga featuring moe girls, generic romance mangas, and typical action infused junk that seem to be just  flashing sword trails clashing against one another. Looking upon this black and white confusion that screams for attention with every cover I’ve wondered what happened to drawing comics just for the sake of drawing comics. My love for the standard manga is often at odds with my desire for comics with their own distinct  style. It seems that Japan’s comic scene as a whole is artistically becoming stale to the point you can’t tell the difference between one mangaka and the next.

With that in mind I’ll talk today about a manga that just doesn’t give a damn about looking pretty or cool and tosses aside the “manga” mold to stay true as a great manga. I’m talking about none other than the extremely underrated and painfully obscure Cromartie High School series. Full name Forging Valiently Ahead!! Cromartie High School.

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I need to start with, holly damn, I LOVE this manga.

The story is about an intelligent and capable student (Takashi Kamiyama) who enrolled at Cromartie High School to stay with his only friend back in middle school, only to find himself alone because his friend was too stupid to pass the entrance exam an ape did. Hence he finds himself in this school full of “badasses” and accidentally becomes their leader. As the manga ensues, the story seems to become less and less about Takashi and more about the other members of the strange student body which include a robot called Mechazawa, some old guy that looks like Freddy Mercury, a gorilla, a badass who suffers from car sickness, and a rich guy with a purpose.

When you’re reading a manga from someone who doesn’t even know why he became a mangaka in the first place you never know what to expect. Cromartie High School is 100% comedy, and a perfect fit for anyone beginning to read manga without knowing about some in-jokes only experienced readers can get. Cromartie High School had an anime and live action movie made about it, but I absolutely urge everyone to read the manga first. The anime stopped at a certain point while the manga kept going, and I believe reading it first enriches the viewing experience. Below is a clip I believe perfectly captures the atmosphere of the series and definitely makes people want to see more.

“He’s a nice guy on the Internet.”