Director Yûdai Yamaguchi, who made his feature debut with the wacky horror comedy Battlefield Baseball, follows up with Cromartie High School: The Movie, based on the popular manga and anime series. The loosely structured movie begins with the disaster-filled history of the ill-fated eponymous institution, a school so desperate for students that it seems nearly anyone can enroll. Kamiyama (Takamasa Suga) is a good student, but he applies to Cromartie (apparently named after American-born professional baseball player Warren Cromartie) so he can attend the same school as his dimwitted best friend and protector, Yamamoto (a cameo by Battlefield Baseball star Tak Sakaguchi). Unfortunately, Yamamoto fails to meet even Cromartie High's lax standards for admission, leaving Kamiyama to fend for himself. Steadfastly determined to make the best of things, Kamiyama decides that he'll devote all his energies to making Cromartie a better school. With a student body apparently consisting primarily of unruly thugs and wannabe yakuza, including a giant with motion sickness (professional wrestler Yoshihiro Takayama), a Freddie Mercury lookalike (Hiroyuki Watanabe), a gorilla (screenwriter Shôichirô Masumoto dons the suit), and an antisocial robot -- and with no teachers in sight -- Kamiyama has his work cut out for him. Eventually, he gets some of his colorful classmates (and, inexplicably, actor Kai Atô, playing himself) to join him in forming the Global Defense Force. If only aliens would invade, so they'd have something to do....Cromartie High School had its New York premiere at the 2006 New York Asian Film Festival, presented by Subway Cinema.
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