Nov 11, 2009
kevo (All reviews)
In Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, SHAFT shows us how to make a pretty enjoyable show with minimal effort on their part. If nothing else, Zan is an enjoyable, funny, and clever show that fans of the franchise will enjoy like previous seasons. However, the distinct lack of original material from the manga and noticeable drop in art detail may will leave many fans seeking more, which the show does not deliver.

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is the third season of the wildly popular Zetsubou Sensei franchise, based on the manga by Kumeta Kouji. Like previous seasons, it follows the ever-in-despair Itoshiki Nozomu and his crazy class. Veterans will notice a change in art style, with slightly more saturated colors and cleaner lines. The show still feels much like Zetsubou Sensei with gags, satire, and politics jokes abound. The structure of this season's episodes, however, will be the biggest difference viewers will notice. Each episode is divided into three segments, with each segment dedicated to a specific adaptation to a chapter of the manga. While some form of this structure has been used by SHAFT in a few episodes in past installments of Zetsubou Sensei, all 13 episodes this season are exclusively in this format.

While functional, I craved some kind of creativity from the animators or director like we have been used to the last two seasons, and got none. The chapter adaptations are so loyal to the manga that it's too loyal of an adaptation. SHAFT has literally been accused of just tracing from the manga, which was even referred to in a specific episode. While it is true that many anime are manga adaptations, it's expected out of directors and animators, as workers in a creative field, to interpret and enrich the media into anime. The script for Toradora! isn't verbatim from the light novels, and Clannad isn't just lines and scenes from the visual novel. I've read the Zetsubou Sensei manga (one of the few manga I read) and the similarity is just absolutely ridiculous. They do play with art style occasionally, like in episode 8 but overall someone expecting highly from SHAFT will be rather disappointed. Previous seasons do not have this problem. Chapters and gags from the manga were adapted flawlessly and weaved with SHAFT's art style and Shinbo's creativity into a product that augments the manga, not replacing it.

So keep in mind that when we praise Zan, we are in reality praising the manga, because the anime essentially perfectly identical, animated versions of the chapters. They introduce some new girls into the show, or at least attempt to. I found Shouko and Miko, a pair of girls who engage in multi-level marketing schemes, quite interesting and I hoped to see more of them. I didn't. We don't even get to figure out what Oora, the girl with the ponytail and sloppy uniform, is or anything about her. Zetsubou Sensei absolutely shines from its characters, but in Zan the lack of character development in its new characters cripples the series.

When each episode is basically three chapters, you really can't complain about the pacing. Admittedly, they picked good chapters to adapt. Some of my favorite chapters, such as the one with the Winter Taisa and the one about sunglasses, were adapted so it was fun to see them turned into an anime.

To wrap up, in pure enjoyment and funny standards, Zan does well. The manga is great and hilarious, and there is so much similarity there is no reason Zan would be anything less. Fans of the series may be disappointed with the lack of original material and fans of director Akiyuki Shinbou will be disappointed with the absence of much of his stylization. How much of this "matters" is up to you, but if you liked the previous series, there is absolutely no reason not to check this one out.