Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: The funniest horror-comedy anime ever

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is the best and funniest horror-comedy anime that I have ever watched.

This may or may not be because it’s the only horror-comedy anime I have ever watched, but regardless of such petty details, it’s really, really good.

Summary: Nozomu Itoshiki, whose name can also be read as “despair” is a gloomy teacher who always sees the worst in everything. Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is an anime about how he tries to teach his class full of quirky students the true meaning of life: failure and despair.

With his catchphrase “I’m in despair” (“zetsubou shita”), the MC bewails the many aspects of modern day life in Japan such as:

  • the money grubbing ways of society
  • people’s reliance on cards (atm cards, cash cards, credit cards, etc.)
  • overseas students (who will insult him in 5 different languages)
  • the internet
  • the whole world
  • being born
  • … and so forth

Er, that doesn’t quite explain it but basically I can say that it’s really random and funny. The manga also has the best ending ever (for a horror-comedy anime that I have watched).

Zetsubou-sensei loves to rant about various things. One my favorite quotes:

“… things like your company’s market share, or the number of calories on the menu, or the number of hits on your blog, or how many copies your book has sold. The fact that mere numbers can make people rejoice or grieve is the reason Japan has become so bizarre. I’m in despair. This number-crunching society has left me in despair!”

The scene that follows this is one where he attempts (and succeeds!) in putting a value to various people. πŸ™‚ It’s super funny.

I wasn’t expecting to like the over-the-top animation but for this topic it really does fit the story.

The story actually is a romance comedy but that is only in the last few chapters of the manga. The entire anime and 99.99% of the manga is a gag comedy. I can’t really say that everyone should watch it since the gag comedy is kinda hard to understand and will leave a lot of people perplexed since lots of the jokes consists of puns, cultural references, and concepts that aren’t really that familiar to the non-Japanese watcher.

To give an example, have you ever heard of Osamu Dazai and his novel “No Longer Human” that is the second-best selling novel in Japan? Yeah, I hadn’t either. Things like that can make this anime hard to understand but the 50% of it that I did understand, I liked.

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3 comments

  1. The man sounds like he just hates the world altogether xDD. But it’s understandable, certain things will only be understood by that culture. Take Shiro Emiya saying; People die when they get killed. In the litteral sense it makes no sense what so ever. In reality it plays on a Japanese idiom – which is akin to the Western version of you can’t keep a good guy down.

    • Yeah. Real language consists of a lot of slang and idioms. I can easily handle it if there are translation notes and stuff but the exception to this is comedy. I mean, I can understand a joke if its explained to be me but I can’t really laugh if it has to be explained. SZS is difficult because of that. “People die when they get killed” is a great example. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how SZS poked fun at society as a whole. When other series try doing so, it kind of sounds shallow and not very thought-out, but SZS made the viewer/reader laugh and then think. One of these days I’ll get to rewatching it as well as completing the manga in its entirety.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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