OK, so this manga -does- grow on you. At first, I felt that the erratic and disjointed style was distracting. I couldn't get into the story or the characters. There was no flow. No development. No chapter continued the story from the previous chapter, but instead was built upon several episodes that occur. Then, as I continued to read it, I began to understand. Eiji Nonaka, the author, is developing his characters as he goes along, and we are learning about them through the adventures and misadventures that befall these hoodlum misfits.
Cromartie High School is a school that attracts the lowest and least intelligent of students. The only admission requirement is that a student can do basic addition and subtraction, and even that requirement doesn't seem to be strongly enforced. As a result, hoodlums and badass tough guys make up the student population. They are not interested in studying, they are mostly concerned with their next fight. In fact, among the attendees are students that may not even be registered, including several that are not even human. (For example, one of the "students" is a gorilla, an actual primate, who is often depicted as more intelligent than several of the other Cromartie students.)
As stated above, chapters are presented as mini-episodes. The events that occur do not necessarily relate to events previously shown. But as they unfold, a clearer picture of each of the students emerges. And these episodes become quite unreal, leading to improbably funny situations. As I became more interested and involved in each of these characters and their quirks, I found myself shaking my head and laughing out loud at their antics.
I'm surprised. I like it. I'm going to read Volume 2 soon.