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: 8.111 (scored by 60880 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… ;)
"Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei" is as insane and addictive as it is deeply unorthodox. The usage of: silhouetted characters, extremely polar opposites in terms of the two main characters, constant cuts to text, and a bald, glasses-wearing man for censorship are definitive proof of this. As soon as it starts it already flaunts its relentless and ridiculously funny sense of humor. A strange premise along with a non-traditional visual approach not only make it intriguing but refreshing as well.
The premise is blatantly and pleasurably off-kilter like everything else in this anime. An incredibly negative and pessimistic person, Itoshiki Nozomu, and an incredibly positive and optimistic person, Fuura Kafuka, are the two main characters, and they meet each other as he attempts to commit suicide. They are outstandingly different but they must cope it because they are both part of the same school. Itoshiki is the homeroom teacher of Fuura's class and there he encounters a sea of strange students. Each of the students has a unique personality trait or activity that they heavily utilize; all are parodic and stereotypical in their basis and are solely used for the anime's grand satirical goal. Every episode focuses on Itoshiki's (aka Zetsubou Sensei which translates to Mr. Despair) crazy interactions with his students. These interactions hilariously result in either him trying to teach them his bleak lessons, or him being convinced that he is living in complete and utter despair due to one of their remarks or actions.
"Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei" uses satire in much of its comedy. Much of this derives from it darkly satirizing Japan and all the common people, groups, and events that it has in it. Characters that possess or partake in: suicidal thoughts, extreme isolation, domestic abuse, disturbing perfectionism, stalking, illegal immigration, non-conformist mentality, material worship, and severe identity disorder may be taboo topics for other anime but it's just a wonderful comedy playground for "Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei". Much of this said humor consists of social commentary, parody, or just outright references regarding Japanese culture, so the anime can be alienating. Viewers might want to do some light research, seriously read the TL notes, and at least get a basic understanding on how Japan works or who usually inhabits it. However, being very knowledgeable isn't necessarily a requirement to enjoy or be entertained by this anime. Even the viewers who aren't too knowledgeable can still witness the insanity and high energy that makes it feel so high-octane and exciting.
The art is colorful and flamboyantly atypical. Akiyuki Shinbo, the director, along with the anime's main production studio, Shaft, definitely show off their usual eclectic style here. Intriguing color changes and silhouettes run rampant in each episode. There is not much actual animation in "Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei", but it compensates with its interesting art style. There are different textures flying in and out in just about every frame. The fast and unusual fashion that it uses completely fits the insane antics and gags that constantly ensue throughout the anime.
The opening themes and ending themes used are great and are definitely adequate for the anime. "Hito Toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru" by Kenji Ohtsuki, featuring five of the female voice actresses, is the best particular song and is a delightfully catchy and maddening rock song; passionately pumping the crazy mood that the anime creates. The rest of the soundtrack that accompanies the anime is competent and conjures each of its desired emotions well.
The entire run of this anime is an entertaining frenzy that deserves much appreciation for both its art and excellent ability to create laughter. Enthusiasts of absurd and black humor, as well as successful satire, should definitely give this anime a try. "Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei" is a deranged, neurotic, and enjoyable absurdist and satirical comedy that nonchalantly criticizes everything in its broad Japanese path without ever taking a single break.
Eight Durable, Stout, and 'Height-Helping' Pink Gabriel Trees out of Ten. read more
Both shows are from the same studio, SHAFT, so they share quite a bit in terms of humour and style. Zetsubou Sensei has much more dark humor though, and a more distinct artistic style (in some ways similar to xxxHOLIC). Pani Poni Dash is a little more off-the-wall and random, and focuses quite a bit more on references to other anime and games and such.
Same studio (SHAFT), same kind of humor, you can even see pani poni references on zetsubou. Lots of references too.
Very worth watch if you like Zetsubou or the other way round.
One word: SHAFT. SHAFT is insane. The somewhat random comedy, the blatant self-referencing, the weird animation style, the chalkboard gags...
If Pani Poni Dash was super wacky and odd and laugh your ass out aloud funny, then I have one word for Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei- siiiiiiick. It's directed by the same person and the humor and the interesting art style and the humor (I'm really not sure if there's a message or not) will blow you away. Although straight laced people would probably hate this.
Class of some... oddball girls... A fast paced radical humor based on pop culture references and occasionally a little darker than other "fluffy anime." No plot to speak of though reallyXD Just constant humor and lots of characters.
Same studio, same director. Both involve a class of eccentric students, and both series contain a TON of Japanese culture references and parodies in every episode. Also, very fast-paced.
Both of them are Random, School life with wierd teachers and a stereotyping class.
Pani Poni Dash is like SZS in the view of randomness, although Pani Poni Dash has more parody references than SZS
The Story is actually the same: New teacher has to teach a bunch of students who have their own strong characteristivs and don't mind to interrupt the lessons.
the characters are beatly the same, too: class reps, who aren't accepted as class reps, girls with class rep character who aren't; hyperactive and optimistics and so on...
drawing: it's the main difference(exept of the age of the teacher xD) in the two animes.While SZS has a less "moe" drawing style and often use pattern to color backgrounds and characters there aren' t things like this.
Both are Shaft productions, have teachers as main characters, and rely on gags, puns, and cultural references. Just like Zetsubou-sensei, PPD is chock full of lightning fast chalkboard gags.
Same problematic teacher same problematic students both hilarious same created by shaft
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is pretty much different from Pani Poni Dash, but the one thing both have in common, is the extremely random form of comedy that makes these animes what they are. However, if you like a good plot that continues throughout a series, then these aren't really for you.
Basically SZS is like PPD with a more darker looking type of tone, but it never gets in the way of the great comedy that equal between the two.
The same studio, the same director, the same style, the same theme - a weird teacher and his class
Theyre both about a main character that seems to think there are mass evil organizations in their lives. both of them also have a young girl trying to cure them of this
theyre both funny as hell too
Both of the male main characters are depressed and think their lives are worthless, and they both meet cheerful optimistic girls who could help them with their depression.
It has a similar mood and has the same black comedy style to it
They are equally by the two are on qestões emotional, and the two are comedies ...
Both are dark comedies that make fun of social problems and vices in a very cynical and twisted way, with over the top situations and very, very crazy characters. However, SZS is much more random (actually it has no plot, it's just sketches) and NHK has a lot of (melo)drama and serious situations.
Both are dealing with social issues. Also, in both main hero is introduced to a mysterious cheerful girl who's playing an important role in his life.
A young man struggles with his own issues and is forced to deal with the strange and overbearing supporting cast, mostly female, he attracts. Both series take an over-the-top approach to humour that can get quite dark at times; they're quick-paced, cynical, and rife with anime references, and the parallels between Satou's intense paranoia and Itoshiki-sensei's perpetual despair, both played for laughs, are hard to deny.
Both are dark anime that makes fun of social problems. Both makes references to other anime. The protagonist is introduced to a happy, cheerful person to try to cure their problems but the protagonist denies her help.
A similar type of dark comedy.
While NHK explores the hikikomori/otaku culture more,Zetsubo-sensei touch a lot more topics and is much more cartoonish in art style.
There is a lot of "despair" in both shows. The main character in both is eccentric, and downright strange. Zetsubou Sensei is definitely a comedy which puns different aspects of life while NHK is a very deep and sad story about an individual who doesn't know the meaning of his life. The difference is whether you are in the mood to laugh or cry.
Both have dark comedy themes such as: suicide, depression, and hikkomori/neets.
The randomness of each story adds somthing that keeps bringing you back for more. I'm sure one of the only diffrences between the two is Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei doesn't really follow a story line.
Both series employs the usage of absurd humor and other similar themes. The humor presented to the viewers in both series are considered black comedy where the main male protagonist gets himself into situations that are often peculiar.
Both series are unique and deals with phobias and social issues.
Both series literally takes Japanese culture and transforms it into a modern day phenomenon.
Both series has appealing characters that have peculiar personalities.
Both series also gives off a psychological vibe.
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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