Today: Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei. AKA Goodbye, Mr. Despair.
Nozomu Itoshiki 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.
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 and Bakemonogatari 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.