JJOR64 (Level 16)

I'm still alive people! June 25, 2014.
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 Don't  try this at home kids.
 Don't try this at home kids.

The following review is the entire Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei anime series.  This includes:  Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and Zan Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is an anime adaptation of the manga of the same name.  There are 12 episodes in SZS, 13 in Zoku SZS, 3 in Goku SZS (OVA series), and 13 and 1 OAD in Zan SZS.  All the seasons and OVAs where produced by Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo.

Brief Overview

 The class of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
 The class of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei is a show about Nozomu Itoshiki and his students.  Nozomu is a very negative person and often wants to commit suicide for being in despair.  During the first episode he tries to hang himself, but ends up failing and meets Kafuka Fuura, one of his students who is the complete opposite of him as she if a very positive person.  This is how the show opens.
Since this is an episodic show, there is no consent story.  Each chapter of the episode resolves around an aspect of life, Japanese culture, or a common phrase in the Japanese language.
Since Nozomu is a teacher, he has very special students.  Each of his students are named after controversial social issues in Japanese society expect for Kafuka Fuura, whose real name has yet to be revealed.  There are many girls and a few boys in the class.  Since the show mostly focuses on the girls, I'm going talk about the important ones.  Here are their social issues, some worse then others:
  • Kafuka Fuura - Sees everything in the most positive way possible.  Even in grim situations like when Nozomu tries hanging himself, she calls it "becoming taller" because her mother did it as well.
  • Chiri Kitsu - She wants everything to be absolutely perfect even if she has to be extremely violent.
  • Abiru Kobushi - A girl who is always heavily bandaged.  Most people think she is like that because she is a victim of domestic violence.  Her injuries are actually due to her pulling the tails of animals, which is a fetish of hers.
  • Kiri Komori - A hikikomori.  She was locked up in here room until one day when Nozomu and Kafuka try to get her to come to school.  Kafuka believes that she is a zashiki-warashi and end up scaring her out of her home.  Now she ends up living at the school.
  • Matoi Tsunetsuki - A stalker.  First she stalks her ex-boyfriend, but ends up stalking Nozomu after misinterpreting something he had said.
  • Nami Hito - A completely ordinary girl who takes offense when you call her normal.
  • Harumi Fujiyoshi - A fan of yaoi and cat ears.
  • Taro Maria Sekiutsu - An illegal immigrant of unknown nationality.
  • Meru Otonashi - A girl who does not talk and only communicates through text messages, which are very abusive.
  • Kaere/Kaede Kimura - Suffers from dissociative identity disorder.  Kaede is an ultimately Japanese woman.  Kaere is a foreigner who is very disgusted with with Japanese culture.  Through out most of the show she is Kaere.  Kaere/Kaede is also the source of all the fan fanservice in the show with many panty shots.
  • Ai Kaga - A very shy and insecure girl who constantly apologizes for trivial matters and things she didn't even do. 
  • Manami Okusa - A married high schooler.
  • Mayo Mitama -  An evil looking girl who always commits horrible acts. Not wanting to be accused of reacting to stereotypes, people simply assume she is a good girl who only looks evil.

My Thoughts

Even though the show really bizarre and different from what I have watched before, I really dug it.
Kiri  Komori - A hikikomori
Kiri Komori - A hikikomori

The first thing that you have to talk about is the bizarre cast of characters.  Nozomu Itoshiki is the coolest teacher ever, even though he is always in despair.  Besides him, the girls are all great as well.  I really enjoyed Kafuka a lot.  With being super positive about everything, even about death, how could you not love such a cute and sweet girl?  I also loved Kiri because I can relate to her, kinda.  I'm one of this guys who always stays are home and does what she often does, watches anime and surfs the web.  And you gotta love Kaere for all the fanservice she provides through out the show.
With a bizarre show like this, how can you not have some enjoyable moments?  One of my favorite chapters is when Nozomu is forced to get married.  Every year his family hosts a marriage even for the whole city.  Once you look are someone's eyes, you are instantly married to the person.  Through the whole night he just looks away and tries to run away.  His students also participate and for this being a harem show, the try to make him look at them, especially Chiri and Matoi.  Another great chapter is when Nozomu write a doujinshi for Comiket.  At the beginning of the episode Harumi bumps into Nozomu while she is on her way to make copies of her doujinshi.  She ends up telling Nozomu about her hobby, but he misunderstands it as literary sense instead of a manga/anime sense.  He ends up writing his own thing, but it doesn't sell at all.
 Kaere   and her fanservice.  :)
 Kaere and her fanservice.  :)
There are other great things about the show as well.  The art style for the show is fantastic.  Every once in a while they change up the art style and character models and that's all great.  In Zoku SZS episode 7 they used clay animation.  It was so goofy and weird that it was awesome.  The music in the show as fantastic.  When there was music used, it fitted the moment perfectly.  The OP and ED songs were awesome as well.  Some people my be a little turned off my the rock n roll and somewhat screaming used in some of them, but I really enjoyed them.   Speaking of ED, there are some great endings as well that are used through the show.  At the end of season three episodes, they draw Nozomu's head along with a song they made up.  One neat thing about it is the pictures that are drawn are actually pictures submitted by fans which is really neat.
From time to time the show gets really dark, but when it happens, it still really goofy and awesome.  There is a part where there is tons of blood and the students end up dying.  There is also a part where the students tear Nozomu into peaces to divide him evenly between the students.  Besides the dark parts, there were also a lot of cameos as well.  Some note worthy anime cameos are Lucky Star, Haruhi, Negima, Clannad, Death Note, and Detective Conan aka Case Closed.  My favorite one has to be the ones of Negima.  Nozomu talks about that their manga wont sell, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and talking about how Negima will clearly out sell it, which made me chuckle since I got into Negima in January.  I should note that Shaft worked on Negima!? as well.  There are other cameos as well like Freddy Kruger, Blue Man Group, Star Wars and a few others.
Now it's time for a few complaints.  During some of the chapters I thought the pacing was a little to fast and I had slow it down so I could read what was going on.  Some other times when they were talking about some stuff, I was completely lost and didn't understand it completely.
All and all, this was a excellent show.  With a few minor complaints, I still really enjoyed the show.  If you are looking for a really bizarre comedy, I recommend this show.  Forewarning though.  If you decide to watch the show, I suggest taking a break between each season so the show wont get stale when you get to the third season.

Review in a Nutshell

I liked:
  • The bizarre cast of characters.
  • Stylish Art Style
  • Lots of memorable moments through out the show.
  • I really dug the music.
  • Lots a great cameos
I didn't like:
  • Some chapters where a little to fast paced
  • I didn't get some of the chapters.  Left me saying "OK, I don't get it."
My Score - 4.5/5

Blog Thing

After finishing this show, I decided to got with another Shaft anime.  This time it's going to be Hidamari Sketch aka Sunshine Sketch.  I've had the radar on my show for while, but I wanted to wait till most of season 3 was done airing.  After listening to Ana talking about the manga on the Squadcast this week I was like "Yep, I'm finally going to watch this show now."  On the video game front I'm waiting till Pokemon SoulSilver comes out this Sunday.  I've been waiting a long as time for and it it's finally going to be released.  I'm really excited to nerd out again with Silver since I haven't played that game in years.
JJOR64 signing off.  (Boy this was a long review.   :P)
EDIT on Mar. 13th :  Fixed some typos.
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