Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

June 6, 2009

After 2 successful seasons, I guess it is appropriate to produce a 3 episode OVA. Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is the third season of the black comedy series. I suppose this means that there are more fun to poke at the many and ironic aspects in life. Seeing that Nozomu is still alive and hasn’t killed himself in anyway yet (either way even if he did, he must have not been successful). I read that the OVA like any other marketing strategy today is being bundled together with the release of some manga volume.
 
The word ‘goku’ in the title based on the kanji writing means prison. Perhaps it is to imply that our super negative and pessimistic teacher will be forever trapped in his world of despair. Or that he has no chance of escaping from the dreadful and ironic truths in life. Well, that is what we all living beings will face. The OVA is still as wacky as ever and fans who have watched the first 2 seasons will be glad to know that the randomness, comedy and visuals are still very much in line with its original season. Try not to think so much while watching the show. Watch first. Then only think. Don’t forget to laugh too.
 
Episode 1
Without going into much detail like all those examples cluttering the screen, I will briefly mention points which I think are important. I think. This episode starts off with Nami and Fuura giving viewers that singing-drawing song on Nozomu’s face. Want to guess how simple and horrible it is? Yeah, what a way to start the show. The episode proper has some of the girls trying to give Nozomu their Valentine chocolate. Expect perfectionist Chiri to make a chocolate heart which resembles like… a real heart! With Nozomu receiving many gifts, this prompts him to come up with the topic Honey Trap, whereby he thinks that the givers of those gifts are feigning their sincerity to make him fall in love with them and then they will in turn use underhanded tactics to blackmail him. Also leave it to Fuura’s positivism about who won’t fall into those Honey Traps. An example includes some hot sexy seductive mistress trying to get some otaku geeks to spill some secrets. When her body attractiveness doesn’t work, she uses 2D Honey Traps in the form of Haruhi collectibles but surprisingly, they’re not interested too. And yeah, there’s an ugly parody of Lucky Star called Lucky Muta.
 
The next part has Nozomu thinking about how boring those aired programmes on TV. This prompts him to think about the unaired ones which are more brutal than aired ones. In short, for every calm that we see on the surface, behind the scenes there is a more intense fighting and such. From campaigns to even manga dramas. Of course Chiri doesn’t like certain things being hidden and wants them all to be shown. She follows Nozomu to a gym and is surprised to see him doing neck training, toughening his neck muscles. How can he die by hanging this way? Unwilling to die? Yeah, his unaired training which nobody is supposed to see. Finally when Abiru gets too close to Nozomu and inviting him to a meal (her bandages wrapping around him?), Chiri gets jealous and is going to kill Abiru with her shovel! But that’s the unaired part. If it was aired, it would turn out to be Chiri softly hitting Abiru’s head with a toy hammer, and then they make up and both laugh it off. Hahaha.
 
Nozomu is wearing a pumpkin on his head as his Halloween gear but notices everyone else doesn’t dress up true to the occasion. They’re more like cosplaying. This has him thinking that the world today is full of things which are not true to the original. He’s not the only one to be in despair because some Indian curry guy too felt the same way when today’s curry isn’t true like its original. Fuura counters that by saying it is more like evolution. Like her long hair now (change of image she says?). Fuura also warns that staying too close to the original may not be good like chocolates are actually quite bitter in its original form. Then a Japanese World War II soldier returns to his homeland only to find it not true to its original form as it has been corrupted into modern Japan. But the best example of this is when Nozomu spots a couple of zombies and thinks those people are properly dressed for Halloween. One of them turned out to be Michael Jackson! Holy sh*t! Not true to his original black chubby afro self! But instead a skinny pale zombie! Hahaha! Finally when Harumi notes how a manga she reading isn’t true to its original, Nozomu comes up and says that if it was so, it would’ve turned out like this. Note the change in the drawing of his face, which makes him look more nerdy and dorky. I’m not sure which anime or manga this trademark drawing is from, though.
 
Episode 2
Chiri is thrilled when Nozomu says he is coming by her house tomorrow. But to her dismay, though Nozomu did come, he left as soon as he has arrived. Why? Because he’s just passing by. The drawing then changes to that dorky one at the end of the last episode and I almost couldn’t recognize every character. Because Chiri brought this matter up the next day in class, Nozomu scoffs it off and says Japanese put more emphasis on the process rather than its results. For instance, even if a ramen tastes normal, Japanese still prefer to wait in long lines. So the waiting process is more important than the taste because they enjoy the former better? Then the topic shifts as Nozomu tells his students to aim for the appeal of incomplete growth. Something about the imperfections of others. Chiri tells him to show his imperfections as well but Fuura says that Nozomu is maturing and intensely in the process of things. Like falling to the ground? Even a few seconds can feel like a few days. Yeah, Nozomu plunged from the cliff alright. Then Chiri is in some police interrogation, telling them of what she did. But she didn’t tell what happened to him simply because the end result doesn’t matter as the focus is on the process.
 
The drawing for this story changes back to its original trademark. Nozomu is lethargic and lazing around just because his manuscript won’t get printed due to a newspaper report than an earthquake will happen. This has him ranting that in today’s life there are many things which are fruitless but has to be done, even knowing that they’re in vain, it can’t be avoided. Like presidents who know they can’t keep their promises but still rely on the support of the people. Another example is of naked Rin. If she gets to be published, then she will be fully clothed instead of seeing her full in the flesh. Nozomu still thinks they will be cancelled due to the earthquake but Fuura says because of that, they can now decide on everything that they’ve been indecisive about. Yeah, in a way, it doesn’t matter, right? Uh huh. Like a dirty gag of a flower blooming on Nozomu’s crotch. Hey, now that we’ve seen it… Then Fuura suggests about Nozomu’s love partner and handpicks Ai. Of course guilt ridden Ai dismisses it all. But still Fuura says it’s okay since it isn’t going to be published. The next scene shows Ai confessing to Nozomu her love for… Turkish delights, while jealous Chiri eavesdrop behind a wall. Later, Chiri ‘invites’ Ai to the back of the hills and from there it is up to viewers to think what happened after that tensed meeting. After all, it couldn’t be published, right?
 
Now the drawing of the next story has the characters looking like those psychotic asylum people in one of the endings for the second season. Here, Nozomu is in despair because he finds many book titles which don’t match their contents. So he takes the liberty to change some of the book’s title to a truer but longer and weirder name. I suppose if you can guess what a book is about based on its title, it would make an easier read and familiarity instead of being deceived by them. Remember, don’t judge a book by its cover. Kino then suggests a challenge to Jun to a contest to see who can change titles of hard-to-understand-titles into something new. Creative or weird? But it’s definitely a desecration! Because of so, many people pass by those newly named books because they prefer the original titles. This prompts Nozomu to say that this case isn’t confined to books but to other industries like music and gaming as well. Greenland has no greenery? Names. All lies! But Fuura says that it isn’t like names and substance are that different as names do reflect themselves at least in their linguistic image. Then Chiri appears and isn’t too pleased that she has been left out from such an important meeting (this?). She also thinks how lately there is now despair in this show and wants Nozomu to get caught up in more desperate situations. The next thing he knows, he is on the edge of the cliff and surrounded by a pack of wild dogs that are ready to pounce on him. Below are sharp bamboo splinters… You can guess what happens next.
 
Episode 3
For this week’s Truly Fearsome 100 Tales, Nozomu and his girls are sitting around in a dark room with only several candles as its light. He asks them if they had brought any gags for this week’s chapter. Slowly one by one, as his students read out their so called gags, he rejects them after thinking that gag has been used and blows the light off a candle. I’m not sure those stories the girls told are supposed to be normal, scary or funny. Or all. But plain weird. With 99 candles blown out, the last one remains and Nozomu takes this chance to say that if they don’t stop at 99, something dreadful will happen. Chiri wants him to properly finish it by telling all 100 tales himself. Then Fuura suggests a game of 100 tales whereby every gag is rejected as no good but the final candle soon blows out. The next day, Nozomu restarts this feat again only to be told to go back to the first page. It ends with Nami doing a bon festival dance.
 
After watching 2 otaku geeks fighting each other and declaring their victory over the present that they gave to a maid cafe waitress, Nozomu says that they are both losers. He continues to give examples of heated and tensely fights whereby from an outsider’s point of view, they both are deemed losers. As usual Fuura gives her positive answer in which there are battles that both side wins. Like a fixed match. Yeah, the losers are still the spectators. Nozomu thinks Fuura’s everyone wins policy is just a trick. So the scene changes to some TV interview-cum-debate between Fuura and Nozomu about space aliens living in Japan. But after the show, the duo are friendly with each other as they go grab lunch. A collusion, eh?
 
The final story sees Nozomu as a high school student. It’s a beautiful day and the sakura trees are blooming but to his horror find 4 guys hanging from them! Is this how he developed his will to die? Not that he can do it anyway. Nozomu runs away in fear. At school, Nozomu is looking forward to a rosy high school life but the several girls who come up to him are just using him as a messenger to send love letters to his elder brothers. Annoyed, he thinks it must be his glasses so he goes to some dark classroom and requests for them. Hey, aren’t those 4 guys the one hanging from the tree? Anyway, they persistently want Nozomu to join their club. Negative Club, that is. One of them notes how Nozomu is good in looking backward at things when he explains the gag. Then they give him a pair of conflicting glasses which causes Nozomu’s temple to be in pain whenever he thinks of something positive (a sign that probably why he’s so negative?). Since the members already think Nozomu is part of the club, they teach him their proper greeting, which is like begging for forgiveness on one’s knees. Really pathetic. Nozomu can’t take it anymore and wants to quit but one of the members said that if he leaves while he is under probation, he’ll be deemed a parolee, in which the smallest mistake could be deemed as a violation. Nozomu runs away. I guess that’s how his despair started. Whether true or not.
 
Outside, Nozomu encounters little but still over-positive Fuura who is lost on her field trip. So he brings her along to a nearby house to call the police. To his surprise, he spots those 4 guys in there again. Then the TV news reports a missing girl on a field trip which has been kidnapped by a certain someone wearing a certain pair of glasses which matches Nozomu’s. The 4 guys detest Nozomu and decide to purge him. Even Fuura joins in the chanting to purge Nozomu. The next day as Nozomu walks to school, a girl comes up to greet him. Looks like she is genuine. However Nozomu greets her using the way he learned from the Negative Club. The girl suddenly felt so disgusted with it. Imagine if somebody got down on his knees and wishes you good morning. Ah well, a chance lost. So many negative contributions. Maybe that’s really how he turned pessimistic.
 
Goodbye Mr Despair for good?
Well, at least that is what the final scene at the end of the third episode said. No more seeing us again for real this time. Even so, I really did enjoy this OVA though at times it may get irritating in the sense that I have to pause for a while to read all those listed examples on screen. Then there are some jokes which I didn’t get but it is mainly because of my lack of knowledge in many areas.
 
I guess being an OVA there isn’t much to cover in the sense that I was hoping that maybe something about Fuura’s past or real name is revealed but nothing close to that. Maybe the producers just wanted to stick with the randomness like it has been a winning formula for its previous seasons. Also, some of the characters didn’t make much of an appearance such as Chie and Majiru. Like Kaede/Kaere, Meru and even Mayo how just made brief cameo appearances. If you don’t see Usui around, I don’t blame you (fans of the series would understand this joke). But if you look closely, you can see his transparent and faint presence at times.
 
So what will be Nozomu’s hopes for the future? Seeing that everything will be leaving him in despair, I guess it is ironic that he is very much alive and kicking. But I guess one has to stay alive in order to experience all those bitter and sweet things. It’s okay to have a little negativity but just don’t over-react and be too much like him. Of course it’s nice to be like Fuura’s case to but being too optimistic isn’t good either. It’s better to have a mix of both and remember, moderation is the key in life. Now that I have realized that the series has really ended, oh no! I’m in despair! ZETSUBOU SHITA!!! Don’t worry. There’ll be more animes like this in the future. I hope. ZETSUBOU SHITA!!!

 
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

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