Synonyms: Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, Goodbye Teacher Despair, SZS
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 8, 2007 to Sep 23, 2007
24 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.131 (scored by 57182 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
comedy despair parody school slice of life
SynopsisItoshiki Nozomu is always in despair! Even simple things like paying for the toll on the subway can send him to a despair so deep only attempted suicide is the answer. How Strange is it then, that he should be the teacher of a High School Class filled with students with even more emotional problems than his. This great Comedy will leave you in anything but 'Despair' as you meet each of his students and watch their wacky adventures.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Sequel: Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Summary: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Jo: Zetsubou Shoujo Senshuu
Other: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Special
Characters & Voice Actors
We all have times when we wish we were dead, although we don’t always mean it.
Well, I present you Itoshiki Nozomu. He’s the world’s most pessimistic person and always carries around a rope when things turn badly (by the way, when you write his name horizontally, you will get Zetsubou – despair). Right in the first episode we see Itoshiki hanging himself in some cherry trees and his imminent death is only stopped by Fuura Kafuka, his unequal: the world’s most optimistic person. This is what sets things off and from here on in we will make a journey through current Japan’s society, through the eccentric students of this eccentric teacher.
Usually when we talk about smart comedy what comes to mind is a Cambridge PhD that tells jokes that only Stephen Hawking and company can grasp. This series is really something because it is a smart comedy… that allows laughing. Zetsubou has a lot of serious subjects but you never see these treated like a soap opera. The problem is developed with a dark comedy that allows much more reflection about it.
Each character is a takeoff of modern Japan’s problematic citizens: a hikikomori, a perfectionist, a gaijin that suffers prejudice, an addict of cell phones, a stalker, a fan of yaoi and cat ears, an illegal immigrant, a girl that enjoys putting a stick in a dog’s ass (not sure if the last one is a general problem). The development of these characters may become compromised after the first half, conceding space to nonsense episodes, but this is natural coming from a comedy.
Usually when we see an anime we already know what to expect from the funny parts, they’re virtually the same every time. Again, that’s not the case here. Expect the unexpected. A really unique, cynical, nonsensical comedy. The color and the lighting is top quality. Also, get prepared to see a lot of cuts, abrupt changes of images, jokes been told on the blackboard or written on the screen. The dialogue is original and the animation is pretty creative and of high quality; moreover, there are a lot of alternative things.
For example, all the time you’ll see the picture of bald guy around, a Japanese Lex Luthor, that is funny exactly because there’s no purpose for that. There is an episode in which the characters are presented as paper dolls. The first opening doesn’t even have any image, except that damn bald guy. The second one can mix up Buddhism with bondage (don’t ask me how). The ending is like a surrealistic thriller. It’s a pretty cult comedy by this point of view, because uses a lot of art and animation techniques that you thought you would only find in a more serious anime or in a museum.
We can call it a harem series when we think that every girl somehow ends up falling in love with the teacher and that the only male characters that have the minimum relevance are a bald guy (another one) and a boy that only read books the entire time. There’s a lot of fanservice as well, but, one more time, the anime does that in a unique way. It’s almost like it is dissing the fanservice itself.
There are references to other anime like Lucky Star and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (and Zetsubou is incredibly similar to Watanuki from XXX Holic). Furthermore, the otaku world is shown in the traditional Comiket Market.
The first opening song, Hitotoshite Jiku ga Bureteiru, is performed by Kenji Ohtsuki, who some may remember from the ending of Welcome to NHK. Now, instead of the galactic crazy baby, there is a song that keeps repeating bure, bure, bure (warped, warped, warped)… whatever. What’s cool is that there is the participation of some of the voice actors like Nonaka Ai (here, Fuura Kafuka, but also known as Ibuki Fuko in Clannad After Story) and Inoue Marina (here she’s Kitsu Chiri; also made Eve Genoard in Baccano).
It may be a funny rock – you can’t hear Kenji sing without laughing - but is also a pretty good one, at least the song doesn’t get out of your head. Most of the OST is performed by Hasegawa Tomoki on the piano, and the majority of the songs are somewhat dramatic, melancholic, romantic, what fits with the dark comedy of the series pretty well.
When I finished the last episode I was so gloomy about it that I thought about doing bungee jumping from a two floors house with the rope around my neck cutting my wrists while falling after drinking caustic soda… but then I discovered that there was a second season and a third coming up this July… there’s still hope… ;)
Depression is often times (well, always) a serious topic. Suicide is almost a taboo in our modern society. Along with these, there are a whole slew of social problems that we see around us. These topics should always be handled delicately, because many people would be offended if they weren't.
"Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei" takes this sentiment with a grain of salt. Our lead character, Itoshiki Nozomu, is a depressed, suicidal teacher who always views things in the most negative light. His class, sadly enough, has more problems than he does; the students range from a hikkikomori to a balding boy who literally disappears from a lack of presence. The show details Nozomu's attempts (mostly failed) to teach his class about life and society.
As you can see above, this show does not have that much of an overarching story. While some elements of an episode may be referenced in later episodes (often hilariously), the episodes all have contained stories. This first season is primarily focused on introducing the characters. The stories in the episodes feature elements of life, parts of Japanese culture, or Japanese phrases, taken to the logical extreme in a satirical manner. I enjoyed this format quite a bit (though others might not; it depends), and gave it a 9.
Being a show created by Shaft, "Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei" features Akiyuki Shinbo's distinct animation style (there's even an episode in a later season that explains and deconstructs his style). Now, Akiyuki Shinbo's usage of quick cuts to blocks of text and frequent color-replacing may not appeal to everyone, but it certainly does for me. The artwork in this show is sometimes inconsistent (to create humor). Also, Shinbo always likes to put random things into his shows, and this one is no different. Every single shot with a blackboard in it probably has a shout-out or reference of some sort displayed on the blackboard. He also likes to use the "Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei" manga author's face (mostly as a censoring device, but also on the school's clock, and randomly inserted elsewhere), and he even appears as a character (voiced by himself). This random style really appeals to me, which is why I gave it a 9.
Hiroshi Kamiya does a great job voicing the character Itoshiki Nozomu, and is always a delight to listen to. All of the other voice actors/actresses do marvelous jobs as well. The soundtrack is not bad; it helps to set the mood and isn't annoying to listen to, but it does not have any outstanding tracks. I give sound an 8.
Almost all of the characters are interesting. We have suicidal teacher Itoshiki Nozomu, positive girl Fuura Kafuka (pen name), and a ton of other characters with their own unique quirks...although they're almost never unique; they're either extreme versions of a stereotype, or a subverted version of a stereotype, but stereotypes nonetheless. However, the charm of these characters is not in their depth (because they're all pretty shallow characters). One of the best parts of this show is the interaction between the characters, and their dialogues. Because these interactions, to me, were very entertaining, I give Character a 9.
I really enjoyed this show, it's satirical story and dialogues, its random art style and animation, and the voice actors/actresses performances. I give Enjoyment a 10.
I really enjoyed this show, but others might not. For one, the themes and issues addressed in this show may be a little disconcerting for some. Others might not like Shinbo's strange animation style. The lack of a good story may also be a turn-off factor for people (I myself was a little disappointed that there was no good ending, even at the end of the third season). I recommend that you watch an episode or two, because the first episodes give a pretty good idea of what's in store for future episodes. You might love it like I did, or you may hate it to death, but in my opinion, it's a unique, quirky piece of art that should not be missed.
9/10 read more
Both Includes a lot of references of greats animes..So Funny
The way they use other anime reference hidden or revealed in each episode.
Both are School, Satire, Comedy making fun of Japanese culture. Lucky Star makes fun of the gaming and anime culture whilst Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei ridicules other psychological and social issues. ^_^
Although the humor is much darker in SZS, prepare for cute girls and EXTREME RANDOMNESS in both :]
Both share the genres of parody, school, and slice of life. There is no real story in either and filled with randomness. There is an evidence of uniqueness in both.
Both refer to otaku's culture.
Both anime feature strange and funny school girls, and both have a lot of cameo from other anime.
Great humour which, unfortunately, is brought only to the chosen ones, who have watched either Lucky Star, or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Both shows take place mainly in the school grounds and have many similarities in the use of jokes. Also, the characters in both anime are strange and are not the typical ones you can expect from the average school related series. While Konata in Lucky Star is presented as a hardcore otaku with questionable morals, Itoshiki Nozomu from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has somehow weird understanding of very much ordinary things. Well, one's for sure - you won't get bored while watching either os these series!
totally random with plenty of references and parodies
Anime/manga references hidden (or popping out in your face) in each episode, but SZS has a more darker art style. Most of their characters are females, and they're both funny. Both series also center their plot around high school students, including teachers and other side characters. Oh, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei sometimes add a little dark comedy in the mix.
Both are slice of life comedies that parody a lot of other animes, and there are even a few Lucky Star parodies in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.
Both seem to point out the small things in life that tend to become our habits without even noticing. Also, both have a cast of mostly girls who are quite stereotypical.
Both anime share the same style but sayonara zetsubou sensei uses a darker style of humor, both are extremely random and dosent follow a specific storyline, and both uses various parody about japanese culture.
while lucky star maybe less crazy than sayonara zetsubou sensei, they are still both very funny and revolve around school
Both are made by SHAFT and have the similar air and feeling about them.
Both are comedy and the pacing is also similar. Akiyuki Shinbou directs them both.
The voice actors are the same, too.
Maria†Holic follows a main plot while Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is strong in parody slice-of-life comedy.
If you watched and liked Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei you should watch Maria†Holic.
similar style and humor. and both main characters are in "despair".
Only 2 episodes into this, I noticed it was HIGHLY similar to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. The art styles are pretty much the same, the comedy is dark, and hysterical. Even the pictures at the very end (All drawn by different artists) are alike! If you liked Maria Holic, you will definitely LOVE Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei!
Both series are comedies done by SHAFT in similar styles. While Maria Holic has a more structured plot, it can be just as wacky as SZS. Maria Holic also parodies Nozomu's despair sequence from time to time, which SZS fans will love. I suspect that Dorm Mistress and Kafuka are related. They are eerily similar.
Along with Bakemonogatari both are a quintessence of SHAFT's craziness and their great ideas.
Both anime are awesomly done by SHAFT, and also share some voice actors.
Both are comedies with the parody element and a black sense of humour.
Both main characters are in despair.
Both are set at school and have a good, interesting cast of characters.
Both have shoujo-ai, even if in SZS they're only hints.
Both are worth watching, but Zetsubou Sensei is better.
same studio, same style both very funny
Both are Studio SHAFT productions under the helm of Akiyuki Shinbo, which rely on fast paced gags, puns, and innuendos.
The style of comedy is similar, and some of the jokes cross over from Zetsubou-Sensei
Both contain the insane craziness of SHAFT.
They are made by studio SHAFT and have a great art style.
Both are parodies.
Similar sense of humor.
Both are hilarious.
Both series have the same producers so there are elements which are similar between the two. The comedy and the art style are basically similar.
It's been said and exhausted before, but both are fun, crack, series to watch when you're in the mood for a great comedy. Both Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Maria Holic do not have much continuity (Maria Holic has a slight bit more, but that's not saying much), great opening themes, and a great sense of humour.
Same producer (SHAFT). Both of them are comedy, parody and school. Art is similar. The only difference is that Maria†Holic is romance and has plot.
Same style animation both very funny
Beyond the obviousness of their both being Shaft productions, each has a single theme that gets beaten senseless. These one-trick ponies get lost in the wilderness and well before they actually finish, each runs out of things to say. Many episodes would have benefitted from losing 5-10 minutes since much of the repetition would have been cut. Losing a few episodes would have helped the series as there were a few too many in which nothing happened -- the season finales offending most egregiously.
Typical for Shaft shows, the music is mostly interesting. The artwork is good and the characters are visually attractive.
To sum the experience up... I feel like I've watched two comedy skits that were turned into feature films.
The artwork and the animation is pretty much the same. Maria Holic might be a little lighter than Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, but there's numerous characters and lots of high school girls absurdities in both of them.
Opening Theme#1: "Hito toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru (人として軸がぶれている)" by Kenji Ohtsuki feat. Ai Nonaka, Marina Inoue, Yu Kobayashi, Miyuki Sawashiro & Ryoko Shintani (eps 1-9, 12)
#2: "Gouin ni Mai Yeah~" by Ai Nonaka, Marina Inoue, Yu Kobayashi, Miyuki Sawashiro & Ryoko Shintani (eps 10-11)
Ending Theme"Zessei Bijin (絶世美人)" by Ai Nonaka, Marina Inoue, Yu Kobayashi & Ryoko Shintani
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