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… ;)
STORY - Story? What story? This is a slice-of-life series and it is based entirely around hilarious character shenanigans, though if you ever see characters like this in your life, I'd be a little worried. Still, there are a few reoccurring themes revolving around anime and otaku snark and satire of Japanese lifestyle, culture, politics, media, literature, etc. They also frequently make fun of themselves, which is incredibly amusing. It's all amazingly well done and highly entertaining, I assure you. A bit of warning through, if you try and pause to read every single thing written in the background for scenes,
you will turn 20 minute episodes into 40 minute episodes.
Normally I'd wait until I've seen all of a series before voicing my opinion, here I'm making an exception. Once in a while comes an anime that pushes all the right buttons for me; Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei does just that.
It starts with the music: more to my taste, a little harder than your usual cutsy jpop. I often find myself skipping past the opening songs, I hardly ever watch the ending credits and quickly move onto the next episode; here, the music with the animation creates an awesome visual I watch each and every time. I'm sure it's partially due to the style of the
art, more manga-esque, more poster art than anime. This style continues throughout; you could say that compared to the rich backgrounds and detail of, let's say, Gendo Senki, Sayonara... can't even begin to compete. But you don't miss the detail, the simplicity and the style of drawing only makes it more graphic and more "punchy".
Then there is the story and the characters; it's probably the wackiest bunch you'll ever likely to encounter, if you thought a teacher constantly on the brink of overwhelming despair is strange, you haven't met his students! Each takes a personality trait and blows it completely out of proportion. This is where the fun comes in; I love the self-referencing jokes parodying pop-culture both Japanese and American, the patterns that don't move when the character does, the photo cutouts, and the unexpected, over the top behaviour.
Sure, the series isn't perfect, but it gets damn close. All I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the last 5 episodes.
I'm in despair! This anime with such a plot that could have been expanded in so many directions has left me in despair! And so begins this disillusioning review of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.
The series is a comedy, blending dark humor with otaku references and some slapstick. It's a very eccentric blend of various comedic styles so it comes off as a novelty and wears off just as fast. The first few episodes are uproariously funny, but once the novelty of the setting wears off there's nowhere for the series to go. Keeping to an episodic structure, no one grows and nothing changes. A good
comedy will develop character relationships so it never runs out of tangents. Here it's Nozomu Itoshiki vs. his class. That's all you ever see. It's fun for a little while, but because it never goes anywhere, it gets old in a flash.
Animated by the (in)famous animation studio SHAFT and directed by creative madman Shinbo Akiyuki, Zetsubou's art takes all the requisite turns expected of it and a few new ones. The problem is it's all very hit-or-miss. Shinbo-san's affinity for blending 3-D objects in a 2-D world shines here, but other elements such as copypastas and the chalkboard gags just annoy, especially since they're only on screen for maybe a second or two and only serve to distract. While some of them are quite funny, the emphasis placed upon them is vague. Should we be looking at the chalkboard or listening to what's going on onscreen? This probably translates better for Japanese audiences, but an American audience relying on subtitles will be hurting to keep up.
The animation is often very smooth when it needs to be. It's a very unique style that doesn't reflect anything else done by the studio or the director before, which makes it pleasant to view. The only problem is really the character designs. They're either blatantly unique to the world or they just manage to blend in. I swear, I still can't tell Fujiyoshi and Hitou apart ><
The character designs were not the only problem I had with the cast though. Much of Zetsubou's potential was ultimately squandered in the character department. As Zetsubou is a character-driven comedy, much of the humor relies in the various dysfunctional personalities of teacher Nozomu Itoshiki and his class colliding on matters of society and personality disorders. This is illustrated by giving every main girl a specific and unique disorder and limiting the girls' personalities to only that disorder. It works wonderfully in the case of the sadistically OCD Chiri, but other characters like stalker Tsunetsuki and "I'll sue you" Kaere are less like characters and more like running gags. Thus it comes as no surprise that eventually the chemistry falls apart and one is left wondering if they even had a plan as of what to do with each girl after her disorder was revealed.
The accompanying music is decent. Noticeable at times, but often forgettable. The ED is pretty good, but it's the OP that's the real treat of the soundtrack.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has been receiving rave reviews for the last year and in some ways I can see why. Its comedically nihilistic take on Japanese society, as well as it's inventive style bring fresh air to the myraid of other anime. But ultimately, what potential it starts with is squandered on one-dimensional characters and a repetitive plot.
Overall, I give Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei a 7 out of 10.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a Psychological, Slice of Life, Comedy about an extremely cynical teacher trying to spread his feelings and views of despair onto his students. Every episode is usually split up two as each part gives us incite into another one of the students, which means that every episode is different from the last. Seeing all the problems with Japanese culture laid out in front of you, just to make fun of it is not original however this anime is able to do it in such a unique way. With plenty of parodies and random moments, this anime is hard not to laugh
at. Another interesting thing about this anime series, is its “out of the ordinary” choice of censorship and how it makes fun of pointless fanservice. These are to sort of jokes anime fans would love to see nonetheless a lot of the jokes do get repetitive, which losses its affect in the latter episodes.
With every episode focusing on one or two of the teacher’s students, this anime does a fantastic job in portraying each of the characters that show up on screen. With so many different psychological disorders and social issues to deal with, the characters never seem boring or clichéd in anyway. Itoshiki is the main character and he proves to be just that, with his odd mannerism and hilarious moments and even though some of his jokes get fairly repetitive, he still remains funny.
Thanks to SHAFT we have a pretty unique animation style. The animation for this anime is basically a mix between superb, shoddy and just plain weird. It is just too hard to go into detail and explain it because it has the same weird conceptual artistic style as this entire anime. The music is an odd contrast of sweet melodies and hard rock, which go well with this messed up anime and it’s messed up main characters. Even the OP and ED themes are extremely catchy and you’ll never feel like skipping theme.
Overall is one of those Satire comedies that are made with the hardcore anime fans in mind. With so many hilarious jokes churned out, us viewers are bound to find some funny with the rest going straight over our heads. Even though this show gains a merit for being pretty unique, it does end up losing a bit of its appeal later on. So if you’ve seen and enjoyed shows like “Lucky Star” and “Welcome to the NHK” then you are sure to enjoy this one.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a show about Nozomu Itoshiki, an extremely melodramatic man whose suicide is interrupted by Kafuka Fuura, a happy-go-lucky, perpetually optimistic girl. Itoshiki turns out to be a teacher, and when he goes to teach his class, it turns out that almost every single one of his students has severe mental problems as well.
Now, the premise is already hilarious enough, and for the most part, the show delivers in terms of comedy and satire.
However, the show is admittedly rather formulaic. Almost every episode follows more-or-less the same pattern: A problem/quirk regarding society is shown, Itoshiki rants about it, his
students give their point-of-view about it, and Kafuka talks about the positive aspects of said problem/quirk.
The first few episodes of the first season are dedicated mostly to introducing the characters as well as their associated running gag. Said running gag is as far as their personality goes.
As such, considering that in all subsequent episodes of the show, the same jokes get reused over and over regarding the characters, and the formula for each episode remains the same, the show gets rather boring for the remainder because they don't really do that much else. However, this only applies to season 1.
In seasons 2 and 3, possibly because they had already made every joke that could possibly have been made about the characters at this point, the show starts to get out of its comfort zone. We get to see the characters in different settings rather than the classroom/the school grounds, and some episodes even forgo the typical episode formula, which I felt was a welcome change. Despite some arguing that the show got stale at this point, I personally felt that seasons 2 and 3 were better than season 1.
All in all, I'd give season 1 a 6/10, and seasons 2 and 3 a 7/10. I recommend this show if you're looking for a quick laugh and some good satire.
"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.
I can see why most people liked this anime, but it’s not my cup of tea.
The first few episodes made me laugh due to the absurdity and the character introductions. At episode 9 I really felt like dropping the series but in the end I do like the fact that I watched it all.
Art (7/10): The art is very good at first, the surroundings were drawn in a way that I felt like it could be real. However other animations are also introduced, I liked some of them, I really disliked others. There’s also this bald guy popping up every now and then. I guess
it’s supposed to be funny but I really can’t look at the guy’s face (though I have to admit I have a strong dislike for beards, being bald and having a beard makes my dislike even greater).
Episodes were often interfered by short little weird movies. Yes, I guess you could consider those funny, but they didn’t make me laugh. Actually they rather confused me.
Story (-/10): absent.
Sound (8/10): The music did not fit my personal taste, but it did fit in the anime and it’s animation. So yes, the sound is good for the series it is used in. One of the things that did made me laugh (out loud) were the little happy sounds that seemed to accompany Kafuka Fuura. I only noticed those little happy sounds in the first few episodes though.
Characters (9/10): Characters are all introduced in an unique way. Their way of living brings along some complications, but that makes it interesting. I liked the characters of Kafuka and Maria, but Kafuka seems to lose her optimism as the episodes pass (similar to the loss of pessimism of Itoshiki) and Maria eventually scared me. But being able to say that means the characters are pretty well set up. Each of the characters is intriguing in its own way.
Enjoyment (5/10): the anime did have a nice and unique style, but for me, personally, the absurdity didn’t manage to keep me interested. I believe that I am not “open-minded” enough to truly like this series. Also I am probably too simple-minded. The anime seems to be criticizing itself a lot, but instead of thinking of that as funny I totally agreed with the critique. I also would have liked the series more if it at least had a basic storyline.
Overall score = 6 (However I’d give the first few episodes a 7)
Even though I didn’t really enjoy the series, I do believe you should give it a chance. You might like it, you might not. You’ll never know for sure if you don’t watch!
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.
There's good anime, and then there's crap anime, this one being the latter. I went into this anime expecting something quick, enjoyable, and funny, seeing that all the previous reviews gave it high ratings and some of the similar recommendations included stuff like 'Welcome to the NHK' *which also involves subjects like the hikikomori and is meant to be comedy*. However, I quickly realized this anime would not be one of those fun watches.
I forced myself through 5 episodes before I dropped it. The second I started watching this anime felt like my I.Q. dropped 10 points.
STORY: There is no story. Its completely pointless.
Sure, its a slice of life, and a lot of these animes don't have a strong story... but this is just pure, annoying randomness.
CHARACTER: Pathetic. An annoying lead an a bunch of cliche 'cutesy' anime girls trying to be funny, an attempt which fails miserably.
ENJOYMENT: 1. Pathetic. This is pure torture.
OVERALL: I hated what I watched of it. It joins the ranks of annoying, pointless animes such as Lucky Star. Ugh.
This anime starts off as a pretty straightforward humor/harem anime. The episode is divided into two sections, and each section introduces a student who has a strange personality quirk, such as always being optimistic, or only communicating via text message. This was okay to get to know the characters, but by the end of the second episode I was wondering if this was all the series was going to be. Luckily, around episode 4 or 5, it broke out of that mold.
It still kept the two section format, but instead of simply introducing characters one per section, it would just place them
in a situation. My only real complaint is that there was little to no continuity between episodes. Many of them could have been viewed in any order(except for the early ones introducing characters) without missing anything. This put me off for the first half of the series, but by episode 7 or 8 the unique sense of humor this series has began to grow on me.
You'll find yourself reaching for the pause button fairly often, to stop and read the funny text written on the blackboard, on the wall, and other crazy places. The writing often contains references to other anime and manga, or crazy off-the-wall statements that you can't help but burst out laughing at. Even if, like me, you need to pay attention to dialogue the first time you watch an episode, you'll find yourself watching it a second time to make sure that you don't miss any of the hilarious text. I believe that's what gives Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei its charm.
I would reccomend you watch this if you like strange humor, but not if you're sensitive to humor around things like student-teacher lesbian suggestions, or a panty shot character. Also, for a while in the middle of the series, the opening credits contained bondage pictures involving the students. Don't be too put off by that though, as the majority of the humor in the series doesn't revolve around sex. I'm not a huge fan of just for laughs anime, and I still enjoyed this. I'll definitely be coming back for season 2.
"Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei" opens with a teenage girl happily walking in a small forest of cherry trees. Suddenly however she stumbles upon a horrifying sight - a young man hanging himself on one of the trees. Now that's SZS in a nutshell. I could easily end this review with those 2 sentences and it would still be a detailed and informative review.
However, I think that even though SZS lacks a real story, it still deserves a decent and elongated review because, if it had a good background story - it would have been a masterpiece. SZS is a slice of life anime, so the
issues presented here are not pulled out of someones' ass, they are real issues that people, nay, the entire world has to deal with. For example, every character in this anime is a visualisation of Japan's culture and problems. However, some characters are also presentations of other cultures like Kaere Kimura, a returnee with a split personality disorder.
The main character, Nozomu Itoshiki is a highschool teacher and he presents the traditional culture of Japan. He's a proper gentleman, he wears a hakama, reads and writes a lot of poetry (one of his favourite plays is "The love suicides at sonezaki") and consideres suicide to be the highest expression of love. After meeting a Hikikomori girl, he remarks on how beautiful she is and then writes her name down in his "Perfect Suicide Partners" book. At this point I imagine some of you might be going "WTF". However this is just the beginning, throughout the first season Itoshiki will attempt numerous suicides and will always be saved by one of the girls from his school. That always sends him into despair. In other words, while educated and proper, Itoshiki is a man waiting for an occasion to kill himself. He may be a representation of the high number of suicides in Japan (Japan has the 5th higest suicide rate in the world).
We have a character like Fuura Kafuka, who is overly optimistic, and considers Itoshiki's suicide attempts as his means of "getting taller" (I kid you not!). We have Harumi Fujiyoshi who is a yaoi fangirl and is always there to imagine a pairing of Itoshiki and... some other guy. Then we have Meru Otonashi, a super shy girl who communicates using mobile phones. While she is shy, she's also a very rude and harsh person, usually insulting everyone around her who happens to posses a mobile phone. There are dozens of more characters on the way, and to describe them all I'd need about a month. Therefore, I'll quickly sum them up - there's a girl who likes to pull animal tails, we have a girl who is a perfectionist, a girl who is an illegal immigrant, a girl who has a guilt complex, a girl who posts photoshoped images of herself on the internet and last but not least... a girl who likes to put sticks in dog's asses. Cute isn't it?
Well, after watching the first 2 episodes I felt like hanging myself actually. Not because this series is bad but because it's painfuly true. And what I mean by that is that many of us try to think positively and we consider most things in this world to be beautiful. This series however proves that that's just a foolish stance in a world where nothing matters. While many describe it as a satirical series that aims to lighten up the mood, it will do everything but that. It will most likely leave you clawing your own throat out (100 points if you can get the reference).
Now that I've talked about the story and the characters, I will discuss the Sound and the Art style. The soundtrack is depressive, it's something that you'd expect to find in Higurashi or Princess Mononoke. It will grab your brain, spit on it and throw it into a fruit mixer. The feeling you get while listening to some of the tracks is profound, I'd go as far as to say that you'd feel equally depressed listening to Titanic's violin theme. But there are funny themes too (and funny sounds), it's just that depressive far outbalances happy.
Art is is a bit confusing I have to admit. The scenes change very quickly and there are a lot of jokes written everywhere, but the transition is too quickly for anyone to be able to read them, so don't. Unless you want to spend 3 hours on each episode. As for quality - it's good considering the year SZS came out so I don't have any compliants, and to be honest I'm not much of a expert on art so I wouldn't complain anyway.
Finaly enjoyment -
Well, did I enjoy it? Yes.
Am I in a good mood? No.
Simple as that.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find a decent tree to hang myself on.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is RANDOM, DENSE, COMPLEX, SIMPLE and over-all RIDICULOUS! [I mean it]
I won't praise it all much and will state what you're going to find here.
SZS is full of gags and random jokes. It includes long and short "debates" and discussions over a particular topic. The topic can be very interesting or very dumb, making some good points or useless talk. It's full of ups and downs and everywhere in between. It's all talk and no action. But smart talk.
Many mention there is a lot of dark humour....but it's not that much. There are dark terms, light terms, silly terms, complex terms, sometimes
ecchi terms, Japanese terms, Non-Japanese terms and the list goes on. You will always find a term your familiar with, which makes it even more funny.
Characters problems are always a hot topic of discussion. So in that sense it could be considered dark.
Here's how it goes :
There is no story to it. There is this high-school teacher who wears those yukata-thingies all the time. He is the most pessimistic person around and believes that he is always in despair. Picking up the most simplest things, the really complex ones and somestimes really dumb things in life, describing it in a negative manner and putting himself in despair. He despairs on his name as well (which will literally translate to Mr. Despair/Despair Sensei when written horizontally). Always trying to hang himself when he's in the mood.
By his side are some very 'different' (weird) students of his class.
[All the episodes are the same and not related to each other at all so you can see it in any order. All the seasons and special episodes are the same as well. Only Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has an actual 'story']
Are the most important part. It's full of colourful and not-so colourful characters. Each of them contributing to these discussions. They are the fun part, the humour, the despair. Most of them are girls, so it's sort of a harem (nothing like THAT)
Well kids won't enjoy or even understand the anime. If jokes made on talks interest you, you will like this. Perhaps you would like it alot or find it very boring. Thats up to every individual.
When I saw it first, I didn't even feel like completing half of the episode..but then I lingered back and saw it and really liked it. I think it's smart and rather funny. If you like a few episodes, you will like it all. Because all the episodes are the same.
The Openings are great by the way. Kinda funky! (Sang by the voice actors themselves)
Enjoy in despair :)
SAYONARA ZETSUBO SENSEI tells the story of a depressed teacher named Nozomu Itoshiki (whose name means "beyond hope" or "despair"), who leads a class of students who are just as mentally disordered as he is. There's a perfectionist schoolgirl who hacks at everything she deems imperfect, a mute girl who only spews abuse through her phone, a stalker fixated on her beloved teacher... and the most dangerous of them all, the cute but psychotic girl who sees everything in an optimistic but insane manner, which ultimately boomerangs on Itoshiki and almost always lands him in trouble.
This show has a simple enjoyable premise and some interesting
characters, but beneath it lies the ultimate in Japanese satire. It hosts all the classic elements that make up a great satire: eccentric characters in absurd situations, which center on a commentary on some fault... and in this show, nearly everything gets held up for fault-finding. The show pokes fun of a vast variety of issues: the cast and the mental disorders they are named and based on (eg Nozomu Itoshiki), word puns (flipping switches in people), the social afflictions plaguing Japan (trolling), well-known films, and even itself on a few occasions.
The sparkling and biting wit is one of the best things about this show, and is wonderfully backed up by stellar animation, enchanting music and a wonderful voice cast. Hiroshi Kamiya is an instant hit as the titular Zetsubo-Sensei, who stumbles through situations with a wonderful range of despair and humor. He is expertly partnered with Ai Nonaka as Kafuka, the incredibly sweet but twisted schoolgirl who loves Mr Itoshiki and loves to make him miserable.
The show is not flawless, though. Much of the humor is based on Japanese culture (eg the name of Nozomu Itoshiki), and so it would be hard for anyone not familiar with Japanese culture to understand it, let alone laugh at it. Also at times, there is a sense that if this story took itself more seriously it would be better than how it has turned out. And around the show's third season, things start to feel worn and dull; it should be noted that at the time the studio was having production problems, but you could only do a fairly one- note satire comedy for so long (look at SOUTH PARK and the not- always- great changes it's had to go through in its long run).
If satire is your forte, then this show is for you. Even if it isn't, it's still got some great stories and characters to watch and enjoy... and it will leave you in despair at how good but unknown it is.
Im sure there are lots of people who would enjoy an anime such as this and unfortunately I am not one of those people.
There are always people who feel like dying and would go so far as to write a note or go to the top of the building or prepare to hang themselves. These people usually aren't serious, those who are, are first of all cowards and stupid. They believe that it takes courage to die however, they are wrong... It takes courage to live.
Now after sharing that with you let me say that this anime was rather boring for me. I king of
forced myself wo watch two episodes a day just to finish it.
From the first episode you can see this anime had a lot of potential but I don't think they used it properly. The whole thing is basically about a teacher trying to repeatedly find an excuse to kill himself and without serious intent.
They only thing that I found remotely funny would be "IM IN DESPAIR". This phrase is what got me into this anime in the first place.
There is no story mainly because it is a 'slice of life' anime.
The art was good but for me it wasn't great.
The voice actors are again descent but not great.
Nozomu was the only character I liked.
I didn't really enjoy this anime all too much.
If you are a fun of comedy try this a recommend it however, if you hate soft, gentle comedy then avoid it. If you are someone who needs something strong to make you laugh then this is a no no. The comedy level here is rather weak. It's nowhere near compared to 'Gintama'.
I hope you found this review helpful :)
Feedback greatly appreciated
Don't call me biased reviewer, I tends to be really cocky on series. This review might be find else where, since I can't just write different review all over again, in different forum. Remember, I only use same username for all the forum, (Goo4) so please don't freakin tell me that it is copied.
ZETSUBOU SHITA!! Everyone should have shouted this at least once in their life. But there is someone who has gone into extreme, and even tries to suicide himself for ridiculous reasons.
The anime, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (aka. SZS), is considered to be the most random anime in existence. You cannot predict how
or when it will end. Story? What story? Discussing plot of this anime is meaningless. However, I can say, humours and word plays in this anime is just BRILLIANT. Kometa Kouji, who wrote the original manga, is fuckin genius. He tries to distort every single aspect of Japanese Society into something… ar… DESPAIR?
SZS is fully consists of satirical comedies. Start with our Zetsubou Sensei, when we see him tries to hang himself for some foolish reasons like ‘my transportation card did not properly recognised’, we laugh at him. It’s not just humour, but satirical humour. It reveals how foolish killing one self is. This anime brilliantly has done those.
Sometimes, it shows floods of examples to support that satire. It usually appears with floods of texts and it might hurt your eyes. This could work as one boring factor for this anime if you don’t know much about the culture of Japan or others. BUT if you can understand those, you will enjoy it too. Also, there are a lot of bloods and fanservices in this anime. Hell, but they are all for good fun of randomness.
Art is one aspect that will please your eyes. Simply beautiful. Although, the character design looks simplistic or inconsistent, SHAFT's uniqueness covered this negativeness brilliantly. First, there is bald guy called 'Maeda', flying all around during the episode. Also, if you are otakuistic enough, you will be able to find tons of references from other anime, manga or events. Hilarity. There are tons of vector style art shown. Slideshowtic monochromes with the texts are also the elements that entertains our vision.
Sound is similar to art. Lot of random signals are there, sometimes, totally irrelevant sounds such as scream of ‘monkey’ randomly comes out. It creates even funnier atmosphere throughout the whole anime.
Also, OP and ED. Very unique. OP animation for first three episode is… blank, or occasional freakin bald guy or copy and pasted articles. After third episode… op animation can be VERY DISTURBING for some people though it was very creative. Op was sung by Kenji Ohtsuki, who also did famous ending theme for Welcome to the NHK. Ending animation also shows how unique animation style that SHAFT has. I enjoyed a lot.
Aha, the most important aspect of this anime, CHARACTERS. They are all extreme cases of phenomenon found in Japanese society. Extreme case of negativity, extreme case of perfectionism, extreme case of Hikikomori, extreme case of yaoism, extreme case of spirit personality… etc etc… Very stereotypical characters, but when all of them is in group... INSANITY. All the characters are lovable and unique themselves. Truely inspirational.
Voice acting; Superb. Kamiya Hiroshi's ‘Zetsubou Shita’ stings on our heart deeply. A lot of other voice actors/actresses are also great at their role.
I enjoyed this anime a lot. But, I have to say that this is NOT an anime that everyone likes. A lot of incomprehensible will make this show boring for some. Also, having little knowledge about Japan will decrease the humour in this anime dramatically. There are few segments that even myself thought ‘bah, it’s pretty boring’. If you haven’t watched many animes, you will miss out most of the references and get annoyed.
Also, this anime got lots of rave reviews from other countries like China and Korea, for being ethnocentric. There are few moments that even myself (Korean) felt, 'WTF THAT'S NOT TRUE'.
But, whether it annoyed me or not, fuck it; enjoyment 10/10
So, to sum up, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a rare kind of anime you can't miss. If you want anime, with filled with satirical gags with full of despair, here it is; this is an anime for you.
Writing a review for the Zetsubou series, is like writing about MC Escher's stairs. The concept is cool, the art pulls you in, and every time you look at it, there's something new you didn't quite catch the first time.... But you have absolutely no idea why it was made, or what the hell is going on. Zetsubou is one hell of a wild ride, mixing so many thoughts and ideas you always knew about, but never questioned. It pushes boundaries, and creates an experience most viewers wont soon forget.
Now, if your looking for a deep plot with involving characters and a decent conclusion, then
Zetsubou is probably the last place you would want to look, mostly because the plot is non existent, or barely there. The entirety of the story is: A teacher, who has a bit of a suicidal tendency, does "stuff" with his class. And when I says stuff, thats what i mean. No episode is connected to another and in fact, most go through 2 - 3 stories over the course of the episode. Thus the point of Zetsubou, isn't so much to create a story telling experience, it is more of a show that addresses modern day problems and discusses what we do about them. Now, that may seem like a very broad range of topics to cover, but Zetsubou is more than up to the task, talking about some of the least thought about topics and throwing them out into broad daylight. This doesn't really count as a story or plot... but its definitely enjoyable and heartily worth watching for this aspect.
Another aspect to look at is the characters, which there are a lot of. Each character is fascinating in the fact that they all have one and only one trait about them. This trait is so prominent that it is usually easier to remember each member by that trait rather than their actual names. There's the perfect girl, happy girl, abusive internet girl, girl who loves cute tails, stalker girl, illegal immigrant girl, returnee girl who has a split personality etc etc etc. And of course you have despair sensei himself, Zetsubou, who all in all is a pretty similar character to his class in that he really only has one trait. His trait is... a want to commit suicide, but a fear of death you could say. Hes a very hypocritical character and very entertaining to watch. Now i haven't really said much about the characters aside from their one trait, and that's because the only real way TO review them is to state off their characteristic. Some could say that because of their singularity, they aren't exactly great characters, but the way that this story is told, the episodic nature of the series in general, makes these characters the perfect fit. You'll always pick out your favorites and give a little shout of joy every time its their turn to say the line. Overall, the cast is simple, yet very effective.
Where Zetsubou falls a bit short, is in its humor. Now don't get me wrong, this show has many many funny and random moments will have you flailing on the floor in fits of merriment at the sheer stupidity of it all. But the problem with it is, a lot of the jokes are based on a deep knowledge of the Japanese culture. Lots of puns with the different characters, or reference to Japanese traditions, that for the most part, will fly over the heads of a lot of people that aren't very well versed in Japanese culture. Now i can't blame the creators for this, I mean the show was obviously created for a Japanese audience and I wouldn't have it any other way. Just know that if you haven't lived in Japan, taken a Japanese culture course, or watched more anime than you have regular cartoons, then there will be quite a few jokes that will simply pass you by.
Overall Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is an amazing show, full of inovative ideas, told in a simple way that will still surprise you at every corner. Its a show that won't drag you in deep and keep you locked in your seat for the entire season, but it will leave you thinking at the end, with a very satisfied feeling. A definite recommendation, and 5/5 Stars all around. This show will (not) leave you in despair.
Well, I'm not a native speaker and this is my first review here. So please forgive me if I make any mistakes . ^¬^
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is by far the most interesting series I've seen in a while. It really brakes the whatever we may call "normal anime patterns" in a very original way. Starting with the story, which does not exist, not in a normal way. The following episode has nothing to do with the previous one. Sometimes, even the second part of the anime, doesn't seen to follow the first one, but every slice of the story can really gets
your attention, in addition to a lot of laughs.
The Sound and Art are not state-of-the-art, but they are very appropriate for the anime. You can feel the real atmosphere of the anime through the ED/OP songs. The art is impressive, the characters are very well-made and the scenery is awesome. Throughout the scenery you can see a lot of information, sometimes there are so many things that you have to pause in order to see them. Ok, you're not supposed to, but if you do this I can assure you'll get some extra laughs.
Characters are the critical point of this anime. Each character has a distinct peculiarity like, being a stalker, a suicidal person or having a personality disorder and a lot more characteristics that you might never see, in a funny way, on other animes .
SZS is the kind of anime that makes you think about it in a real context of life. Only enjoyment awaits you. Watch it. x ]
Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei is about a depressed teacher who would like nothing more than to die, but whose attempts are usually foiled by his students, who all seem to have social quirks of their own. The series starts with Zetsubo trying to hang himself from a cherry tree when he is interrupted by a girl optimistic enough to be his polar opposite. After escaping a conversation with what he sees as an annoyingly bubbly person, he arrives at his classroom the next day and realizes the girl is one of his own students. Zetsubo's full name when written horizontally reads as "despair" and as the
series progresses it is shown the rest of the students similarly have names that are written puns on their personalities.
I was a little annoyed at the art style used in the show at first as it comes off as really cheap (especially when you watch on a streaming website) patterns are paint-bucketed in instead of drawn (example: Zetsubo wears plaid kimonos often and the stripes align horizontally and vertically no matter what section of the garment they're on or how he moves). But it soon becomes apparent that the visual style is entirely deliberate as at various times lighting and atmospheric effects are employed, and with a quality video source you realize the linework is actually fairly well done. The music has a wonderful quirkiness about it that fits well with the show, with opening and closing songs that are odd but fun nonetheless.
Unlike most animes I've seen Zetsubo is episodic and the story does not build upon the plot of the previous episode (except for new characters introduced). It's primary shtick is spontaneity and the clashing of the various characters' personalities, along with some sketch comedy and monologues. Small jokes and random phrases are written on the blackboards through most of the classroom scenes, and the show uses cut scenes often. Unlike the cut scene jokes of Family Guy however, these cut scenes never have any real connection to the show itself generally, and are more thrown in to make the viewer go "what was that about?" The show was hilarious for the first six episodes or so but random craziness can only work for so long, and the laughs began to tapper off after that. More of a sketch comedy aspect was used towards the end. But I still recommended it if you want something entertaining and lighthearted.
Ah, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei! Before I begin, let me state that I watched this anime in two days while at a sleepover with some friends, which means some episodes were watched really late into the night/morning. This may have affected my perception of the anime to some degree due to severe sleepiness. Also, this sleepover happened about 6 weeks before I wrote this review, so I may not remember every little detail about what I am discussing. Forgive me. ^^’
Story- Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s (SZS) story revolves around a group of schoolgirls (OK, there is one moderately important male student, but no one REALLY cares) and
their suicidal teacher. Together the class and their teacher engage in everything from normal classroom conversations to stalking each other, to hibernating in their teacher’s (Itoshiki-sensei) house for a night. Each student in the class has one dominant character trait and these traits are usually set up so that they make fun of or satirize some aspect of modern culture. For example, we have Kafuka Fuura, an overly optimistic girl who is so bent on looking on the bright side of things that she is completely blind to all the horrible things that may be happening around her. She embodies the popular notion that optimism is the best way to go through life, but this optimism made her so naïve that she cannot even begin to comprehend the evils, sadness, or injustices in the world- including her own parents’ suicide. Another such student is Kiri Komori, a hikikomori (or shut-in) who has stayed inside and skipped school for so long that her skin actually glows white. She embodies the increasing number of young people in Japan who have become hikokomoris themselves and have thus isolated themselves from any form of human contact. Then, of course, we have Itoshiki-sensei himself. He is a man so pessimistic that he attempts to commit suicide on a regular basis. This is most likely not only satirizing middle-aged adults going through mid-life crises and such, but I also interpreted it as satirizing the increasingly popular “emo” movement in young people today which glorifies and romanticizes depression and angst (a disgusting way of life, if you ask me). As you can see, these characters have quite a bit of depth to them and the various situations they are thrown into are usually hilarious and funny to watch. However, these situations and stories are not always funny, most likely due to the content being lost in translation during the subtitling process. This makes for some fairly boring parts in the anime as well.
Art- SZS is definitely unique and stylized. The artwork used in the anime makes use of more subdued colours that fit well for SZS’s dark thematic overtones that serve as a basis for its comedic elements. A fair number of scenes in the anime were done in different styles of art, including scenes that made SZS look like an old silent film or some trippy video from the 80s. This range of artistic styles was both interesting and challenging to watch at the same time.
Sound- It has been too long since I’ve seen SZS to properly comment on its sound. Nonetheless, there are two parts of the show that I clearly remember in terms of sound/music- the two opening/ending themes (Ito toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru and Zessei Bijin). I enjoyed both these songs for the way they integrated 1940’s swing music with J-pop (Zessei Bijin) and for their fast-paced hardcore melody and instrumental track being juxtaposed against the voices of young Japanese schoolgirls who will take over the melody of the song every now and then. Both songs make for great listens and I will often have them blasting in the car when driving long distances. XD
Characters- I have already went to a good amount of depth with the characters in the “Story” portion of my review. Thus, in summary, the characters are interesting, diverse, and each play in an important part in representing various negative aspects of modern Japanese culture (even though they are taken to the extreme in the case of SZS). Awesome characters- too bad they don’t develop much during the plot (not that it matters much in a comedy-esque anime).
Enjoyment- SZS was a fun and enjoyable anime to watch, especially in a group of friends. It made all the funny scenes all the funnier to watch and then allowed us to take them further as we made up our own jokes based on the anime after watching it. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, I was fighting sleep during the later episodes which made some of them seem too lengthy and stretched out in some cases. That combined with the fact that some of the scenes that were supposed to be funny just didn’t strike a chord with me brought down this rating to a 6/10.
Overall, this hilarious anime rooted in satire is definitely worth a watch. However, if you aren’t laughing or at least smiling after the first few episodes, chances are that this anime is not for you: many of the later episodes are similar in tone and style.