Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Doesn’t start with a Z?  And it’s two days late?

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is an anime about a wildly over reactionary high school teacher who has to teach a classroom full of anime cliches.

Come back!  It’s better than it sounds!

So how does this show differentiate itself from all those other, dime a dozen “comedy” animes?  And I’d use a larger font size for the quotation marks if I could since most of them just seem to think comedy is giving a girl a short skirt and having her fall down a lot.

Nope, Zetsubou has a bit of that (a lot of it actually) but it’s mostly using it in some kind of weird ways.  Each of the characters on the show is basically a one or two note character.  The teacher, Nozomu, is a very downbeat man.  He thinks everything is awful and is constantly in despair over how awful the world is.  Some of his students are characters like Kafuka, who thinks everything is wonderful and refuses to acknowledge things like suicide, Chiri, who wants everything to be neat and orderly, even saying that in an ideal world people who were too large to fit would have bits removed, and Kaere, a student returning to Japan from (I think) the US who has become wildly flirty and litigious, and threatens to sue anyone who so much as looks at her.

The stories are pretty random in tone.  They often make weird, sharp turns into the morbid, only for a character to come along and say “nah, going to do something else.”  A single episode can cover everything from suicide, to cultural appropriation to…well, just about anything.  The show is pretty nuts.  I reminds me a bit if you stuck Monty Python in a blender with a high school anime.

Honestly though, I get why people don’t like the show.  The humor tends to skew rather dark, the characters don’t really come into their own till later episodes and things are very…weird.  Weird I think is the best way to sum up the whole show, since top to bottom, nothing is solid.  Characters will change their back stories in some episodes, with maybe one character mentioning it and the others telling them “nah, it’s always been that way, I’m sure.”  It’s not really big on continuity, but I think it works for the kind of humor they’re going for.  Even the animation styles can change multiple times per episode.  Going for more pastel-stark colors, black and whites, manga looking sections, a pretty good variety.

I love it, and really think if you like darker humor you should give it a try.  So I’ll leave you with a random episode to try out.  Don’t let it leave you in despair!

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3 thoughts on “Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

  1. The internet has caused me to despair…

    I loved the animation and palette technique that they used for everyone’s clothes. I think Chowder’s the only other show I’ve ever seen to do that.

    • Yeah, the show has a really cool look to it. I don’t know too many shows that have done it, but I know a few games that did. Okami did, and I think Wild Arms 3 or 4 did too. It’s always been an effect I’ve liked.

      • It’s also one of the only animes in which I could believe that the sexualization of the young females therein is actually a social criticism of the practice within the medium; it’s just one more aspect of Japanese culture for Nozomu to despair over.

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