This is a little feature that I'm hoping to get moving along and make posts for it at least twice a week. Basically I take an anime I've been told is really bizarre and out there. Depending on the comments I get, I'll go through the entire series.
Today: Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei.
AKA Goodbye, Mr. Despair.
The first scene... no joke
doesn't feel life is worth it anymore. His name literally spells out despair and failure. So, within the first few minutes of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei he hangs
himself, only to be saved by one of his students, Kafuka Fuura
. This absurdist and extremely literary anime follows Nozomu through his depression, and Kafuka Fuura's attempt to make him see the optimism in life. While normally this kind of story would be more of a depressing mope fest drama, it's intended to be a satire. How? I have no idea. Really I normally wouldn't see Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei as 'funny' because depression isn't something to joke about. But in this case the satire is fairly tasteful considering the controversial subject matter.
This catchphrase will get old... soon
We don't really know why Nozomu is so depressed. From what I see, he's more of a weak soul that doesn't just see the class as half empty, but sees a massive crack where all the water pours out... until it's empty with nothing left. Exaggeration? No. Litterally Nozomu is unable to see anything good about life. That's what makes Kafuka Fuura such a good foil. A young and innocent girl who sees the glass overflowing with rainbows and kittens.
I guess what makes the dark... really dark comedy 'tasteful' is the fact that it isn't making fun of suicide or depression, but more pessimism. It deeply explores the ridiculousness of today's bleak view on the world. Nozomu is depressed because that's the way he is. And I have a feeling that this dark and satirical anime is going to take a twist for either really happy/sad or really messed up.
The animation of Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei is really unique. It's by the same people that have done Madoka Magica
so it's very interesting. The art is
unique and seems to be reminiscent of a neo-Taishou art style with cut out silhouette figures for some scenes. I feel a little bit like I've taken anime LSD. Furthermore the animation is quite smooth and overall the character designs are pretty good. I'm just wondering why Nozomu is wearing a kimono in modern day Japan. Well... it looks cool I guess.
Cut-out silhouettes are common and make no sense.... at all
Give this dark satirical and pessimistic anime a spin. You might find it as genious (literary wise) as I do, or you might find it really depressing. Let me know in the comments and tell me if you wanna hear more!