The fact that I didn’t know this came out left me in great despair!!! ZETSUBOU SHITA!!! (I’m in despair!!!). Just joking. Rather, it left me surprised when there was an all-new episode of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei that came out back in January 2012. The reason for this being the release of the entire series in Blu-Ray disc format, thus buyers are treated to a new single episode. For those who have watched the entire series (like yours truly) from the original TV series to the multiple OVAs, you’re going to find their trademark comedy here the usual like how they have always pulled it off before. For those who haven’t watched it, you can still enjoy the randomness but I guess that means you’ll be missing out on all the fun that this black comedy has had to offer. Maybe that’s why they put all the episodes on BDs now.

Part 1: Despair Has Fallen On The Murder Scene
In a detective genre and setting, Nozomu famous detective and his assistant Matoi arrive at a mansion whereby a murder has freshly been taken placed. Yeah, the victim is that chubby bald guy, MAEDAX. Why is he wearing female’s underwear when he died? Beats me. So conveniently, Nozomu is tasked to find the killer to Kaere’s husband so that she can sue him! He has to (despite he is here just to visit his old friend MAEDAX when this happened) or else Kaere will sue Nozomu! Yeah, he’s already in despair, trying to give excuses she better leave it to the police… But smart alec Fuura comes up with a brilliant idea Nozomu should start saying lines from detective stories like ,“The culprit is among us!”. She even gives ideas on how to catch the culprit, that usually appears early in such scenarios, narrow down the suspects and nab him. Yeah, all this fact seems to startle Nozomu like as though Fuura is a detective pro. Does she like reading detective novels? So Nozomu takes up her word to play detective. Oh wait, he’s already one. With Matoi assisting him with some ideas, Nozomu starts off with identifying the people in the mansion. We have Kaere as the wife, Meru the daughter, Maria and Abiru as the travelling performers and the housemaids, Fuura, Chiri, Harumi, Nami and Ai. Most likely when a murder occurs, it is because of a grudge. Looking through the suspects, seems everyone has a reason to kill MAEDAX. Suddenly Ai pops up and confesses that she is the one who killed him. Woah! So fast? She thought the mackerel’s bad smell killed him and profusely apologizes (going to the extent that her existence is to blame). But wait. Didn’t the victim die because of a stab to the chest? You guessed it can’t be this easy to solve a case. Then looking at the dying message the victim left, it was so long-winded and unrelated, before he could reveal the culprit, he already died. Oh, the despair! Nozomu loses motivation that he isn’t cut out to be a detective!

Matoi suggests to analyze the one with the most to gain from his death. Nozomu suspects Kaere because with her husband’s death, she will inherit his vast fortune without the need to step into the courts. However Kaere isn’t interested in his assets but suing! Yes! If he’s dead, she can’t sue!!! WTF?! Using the process of elimination, he wants to know who has an alibi. Everyone raises their hands. So as everyone starts narrating their alibi, it seems each of their alibi covers each other that it goes round in circles and repeating itself! Yeah, they’re all proving each other’s alibis! Could they be lying to cover each other up? Continuing to listen to their testimonies, Nozomu has some of them draw sketches of the person they thought they saw was suspicious. Let’s say the sketches are unrecognizable. Nami notes there is one maid that hates the master more than anyone. Bringing Nozomu to her, she is Komori and is locked inside her own room. She hates her master for always trying to come and peep at her while changing. She wants to kill that bastard. Nozomu is convinced she is the culprit as she wouldn’t even come out of her room. He tries to force open the door but the chains tightly seal it. Since the suspect can’t even leave a closed room, is this some sort of reverse closed-room murder?! How can she even pull off a murder if she is stuck in her own room?!

Nozomu returns to the rest and laments this case can’t be solve, much to Chiri’s dismay. It’s Fuura’s turn to suggest another ‘brilliant’ idea that sometimes there are cases when the culprit is connected to the police force. She takes a look at 4 points that would make that person the likeliest culprit. 1) Someone who is at the scene at the very start; 2) Someone with no alibi; 3) Someone who knew the victim well enough not to raise any alarm; 4) Eyewitnesses’ sketches resemble none of the people living in this mansion. Well, only one person fits all that criteria: Nozomu!!! Suddenly everybody starts thinking and believes that he may be the one. They start interrogating him. Besides, there were some telltale signs that he MAY be the culprit. Like how he was nervous when Fuura first started blabbing about her brilliant detective. idea. Obvious, wasn’t it? Nozomu admits he came here because he borrowed money from him and only wanted more time to return it. With all the evidence pointing at him, Nozomu vehemently denies but nobody believes he is innocent anymore. Fuura says that people tend to try and forget things they don’t want to admit. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of because humans are weak and no one would blame him for that. She encourages him to admit and release the pain strangling his heart. Set your soul free! Even Nozomu may be starting to think that he is the murderer. As Nozomu is about to admit that he is the killer, suddenly MAEDAX gets up! He’s not dead?! He reveals he spent over a hundred thousand yen on call girls but couldn’t get any closer to them. He hated his own miserable guts and couldn’t take it anymore. So it’s just a case of suicide?! So the victim is the murderer himself? Didn’t expect this, didn’t we? But don’t we just feel ripped off, eh?

Part 2: Christ of Nyan-jing
This is somewhat a semi-musical on the characters singing (in horrible tone and sync) that the world would be a better and peaceful place if everything was just a bit different. So they give us a list of examples that by just even changing words, everything would become more harmonic with the smallest change (read: puns). However Chiri shakes that all up and goes the other way instead. If everything was just a bit different, the world would be more dreadful. Yeah, now a list of examples why the slightest little change would spell trouble. This includes sketches and drawings and this means we have the characters suddenly messed up and out of shaped. You thought your kid’s drawing was bad, huh? The segment ends with a little nonsense with some guy in a cat mascot bludgeoning everyone who whispers he is such a weak character. Yeah, what a way to prove you are otherwise not. Poor kids got dropped onto the rail tracks!!! OMG!!!

Goodbye Seems To Be The Hardest Word…
Well, it was a good laugh and it didn’t disappoint either. It was nice that it brought back memories of the series but not so much to the point that I would want to want to rewatch the entire series again. I don’t want to be left in such a despair! Haha! Even watching the frantic and messy opening theme, Ringo Mogire Beam (the theme that was used in the OVA Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which is used here as well) brought back memories. Sometimes I thought that this special episode serves more like an additional episode to the Zan OVAs because of the format. We have the opening with a pop-up storybook-like narration (of a nonsensical plot of course) and at the end, another short nonsensical what-the-heck-is-this-story-about skit that feels like a silent movie only difference is that there is somebody narrating while the typical frantic silent movie piano style is played in the background. However the segment missing was the Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song whereby we have guest seiyuus drawing Nozomu in their interpretation to the tune of the music. I liked this segment in particular because I get to see everyone’s different (and very funny) drawing.

I’m not sure if there are going to be anymore releases or sequels in the future. But if that ever happens, I know I’ll be waiting to get my hands on it. If this is the last curtain for the series, so be it. So for a series that has come a long with ever since, it has been a nice and enjoyable ride (maybe except for Nozomu who still has his pessimistic approach). From the characters to the witty lines and the various art visuals and angles, it wasn’t such a despair after all. Except maybe for the overflowing random notes filling up the screen as well as the long list of examples to support their ‘case’ of the theme. That can be very tedious and annoying. Seeing that with good memories, the bad memories are also brought back, I guess I can rightfully say, ZETSUBOU SHITA!!! But I don’t really mind this kind of despair because I get to laugh and be amused. With that, I’m the culprit, guilty as charged. ZETSUBOU SHITA!!!

For those who are familiar with SHAFT’s work, we all know this Japanese animation studio’s unique production in many of the animes they produced in terms of visuals and the gags they used especially for words filling up the possible space onscreen and the end card illustrations illustrated by different people. So in another versus blog, this one sizes up between the black comedy of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei against the supernatural occult comedy Bakemonogatari.

Series’ author
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kouji Kumeta.
Bakemonogatari: Nishio Ishin.

English name of the series
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Goodbye Mr Despair.
Bakemonogatari: Ghostory (a portmanteau/blend of Ghost Story).

The plot
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: A teacher and his students discussing, debating and poking fun about the aspects of life, world culture and language wordplay.
Bakemonogatari: A third year high school student who finds himself getting mixed up in all sorts of apparitions and myths.

The main guy
Note that they are both voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Itoshiki Nozomu.
Bakemonogatari: Koyomi Araragi.

His character
Refers to the main guy’s personality in general.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The world’s most negative and pessimistic teacher and his favourite line is “I’m in despair!”. Tried killing himself many times but was unsuccessful.
Bakemonogatari: Will go all out to help those who are possessed by apparitions. An ex-vampire though with some of its side effects still lingering. Because of that, he can’t die due to self healing attributes.

His visual trademark
What you’ll notice about the main guy’s appearance.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Always wearing a hakama and kimono with still patterns.
Bakemonogatari: His ahoge (hair antenna) and his eyes portray the emotions that he is going through.

Near death experiences
They almost died. The poor main guy, that is.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: (Selected) An episode in the first season where he nearly died due to carbon monoxide poisoning (for hibernation purposes), an episode in the third TV series whereby the girls squeeze him to death to keep him warm, also another episode in that season how the girls each take a piece of him for wealth distribution.
Bakemonogatari: A brutal assault and then a bloody confrontation with Kanbaru’s Rainy Devil to free her from her possession, the snake that was strangling Sengoku almost suffocated him, the monster cat girl almost sucking Araragi’s entire life essence.

The girls
Somehow it does look like a harem…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: (Selected) Kafuka Fuura, Chiri Kitsu, Abiru Kobushi, Matoi Tsunetsuki, Kaere/Kaede Kimura, Harumi Fujiyoshi, Nami Hitou, Maria Tarou Sekiutsu, Kiri Komori and Meru Otonashi.
Bakemonogatari: Hitagi Senjougahara, Mayoi Hachikuji, Suruga Kanbaru, Nadeko Sengoku and Tsubasa Hanekawa.

Their unique characteristic
Refers to the girls’ distinctiveness that establishes their personalities.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Each of the girls’ names is derived from social issues which set the nature of their behaviour.
Bakemonogatari: Each of the girls possesses item(s) that represents and symbolizes a certain animal believed to be in apparatus form.

The main guy’s family members
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Majiru is Itoshiki’s nephew. Rin is his younger sister while Kei and Mikoto are his older brothers.
Bakemonogatari: Karen and Tsukihi are Araragi’s younger sisters.

Mysterious characters
Can’t comprehend the way they think. There seems to be an aura of mystery about him/her…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Fuura. You should tremble in fear the ideas she give for staying positive.
Bakemonogatari: Meme Oshino. An expert in the apparition field who lives in an abandoned school building, helping Araragi and the rest solve their apparition problems.

Split personalities
More than meets the eye.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kaede/Kaere can turn from a yamato nadeshiko (ideal woman) to one who sues for just about anything.

Bakemonogatari: Hanekawa can turn from a model and studious student to her alter ego which is a mischievous cat girl.

Speechless characters
Characters that don’t really utter a word.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Meru.
Bakemonogatari: Shinobu.

Yandere characters
Girls that have the potential to turn yandere and kill our main guy and leave the whole place a bloody mess.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Chiri.
Bakemonogatari: Senjougahara.

Stalker girls
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Matoi.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru (initially).

Fujoshi girls
Yaoi fan girls… Ironically notice how they are also both athletic?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Harumi.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru.

Lost girls
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kanako Oora – Seems to be staring into space. So she’s like perpetually lost in thought.
Bakemonogatari: Hachikuji – Can never get to her destination.

Old acquaintances
Refers to the character with past relationship with the main guy.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Ikkyuu – the self proclaimed ‘old friend’ of Itoshiki that turned out to be a ‘one day friend’ instead.
Bakemonogatari: Sengoku – Araragi’s childhood friend who calls him “Koyomi onii-chan”.

Class reps
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Though Usui is the real class rep, due to his ‘lack of appearance’, Chiri is viewed as the class rep.
Bakemonogatari: Hanekawa.

Girls with bandages
Do they turn you on?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Abiru – Due to the injuries she sustained for pulling animal tails.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru – she bandaged her arm to hide her hideous monkey paw which actually turns out to be a Rainy Devil.

The Miyuki Sawashiro factor
There is a character she voiced in both series. Notice both characters are the hyper active kind.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Maria.
Bakemonogatari: Kanbaru.

Temple
I remember an episode with a temple shrine in it…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: There was an episode in the first season whereby the class takes a field trip to Kyoto and at a temple whereby a monk enlightens about the use of previews.
Bakemonogatari: In an episode of Sengoku’s arc, Araragi and Kanbaru enter the temple shrine area to find several dismembered snake carcasses all over the place.

Catch you while you’re falling
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: At the end of the opening theme of Ringo Mogire Beam, Itoshiki is seen catching Fuura falling from the sky.
Bakemonogatari: In one of the early scenes of the first episode, Araragi catches Senjougahara when she falls off from the stairs after slipping on a banana peel.

Text visuals
Words that filled the screen.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Notice the words on the blackboard in the background always changing at every turn? In Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, the beginning of each episode has a non-related nonsensical “The Story So Far” narration with words filling up the entire screen.
Bakemonogatari: Kanji words flashing across the screen. At the beginning of each episode, words will start building up usually narrating a particular incident as each screenshot passes by till it fills the screen.

Number of episodes
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The first season spanned 12 episodes, followed by 13 animes in the sequel called Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. 3 OVA episodes called Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei were released before another 13 episode TV series Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is aired. Then 2 OVA episodes of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bangaichi were subsequently released.
Bakemonogatari: Though there are 15 episodes in total, only the first 12 was aired on normal TV. The remaining 3 episodes were released via ONA (original net animation) approximately taking 7 months to complete the series.

Episode titles
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Each episode is named in reference to a piece of literature.
Bakemonogatari: Each episode is titled and focused on a particular girl in that story arc.

End episode follies
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: In Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, random nonsensical ranting with helter-skelter piano playing the background while in Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, a Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song becomes the norm.
Bakemonogatari: Karen and Tsukihi talking really fast while posting quizzes to viewers.

Opening and ending themes
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: There are many opening and ending pieces throughout all the seasons in the series. They are usually sung by the some of the main cast of girls in the series or do a duet with Kenji Outsuki in a weird and wild rock piece. You can say they’re disturbing. Some ending songs are sung by Hiroshi Kamiya though it leans more towards ballad.
Bakemonogatari: There are 5 different opening themes each dedicated to a particular girl in focus of that story arc. They can range from pop to rock to rap. There is only 1 ending theme and is sung by Supercell: Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari.

Background music
The main background music I noticed played.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Most range from dramatic to casual.
Bakemonogatari: Most range from jazzy to eerie.

Conclusion
Because Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has a longer history with more episodes, characters and skits, it seems to fare better in these areas as compared to Bakemonogatari. However the former has no real story plot so the stories randomly go everywhere in each direction but yet nowhere. Even if you don’t watch certain episodes or watch them randomly, you’ll still be able to enjoy it without losing much. The latter series on the hand has a proper plot and flow to the story so in this sense it keeps viewers intrigued with the few apparitions it has to offer. Also Bakemonogatari experiments with lots of visual styles and approaches. Mainly it’s because it has shorter number of episodes and I have watched it more recent as compared to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei who also did some of visual experiments but that was limit to certain episodes as a vast majority retains its typical drawing and art technique. Overall both series are not that bad since both have their own sense of humour and parodies. Maybe more sequels should be made or else I’ll be left in despair and be possessed by a weird apparition.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bakemonogatari

I can’t believe it! He’s really so hard to die! He just can’t die! I suppose there are too many aspects of life to poke at that the producers could make a third season called Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. So is despair the main reason why the world goes round? I guess with Nozomu and his students coming up with all those examples in the previous seasons, perhaps the title is suitably named as ‘zan’ means ‘repent’. Yeah, repent for all those jokes and examples you’ve made previously and live a life of regret. Not! That’s why this third season came out, isn’t it?
 
For this particular season, I notice a little trend in each of the episodes. At the start of each episode, viewers will be greeted with a pop-up picture while the narrating voice narrates "The Story So Far…" which I believe is the adventures of Nozomu. However they are random and nonsensical so much so they don’t bear any real significance or any relation whatsoever to the episode itself. Plus, the narrating voice reads the kanji lines as it clutter across the screen in a very dramatic way. It’s like they’re trying to give another a different voice if they’re quoting as though from another person’s mouth. High pitch, low pitch. Fast pace, slow pace. Oh, the cacophony so much so you don’t even understand what is going on. I never did. So I moved on.
 
Each of the episodes are divided into 3 segments for your usual satirical fun. You can recognize some of the trademark visuals and presentations that you have seen in previous seasons. However for this season, I noticed that out of one of the 3 segments (usually the third one in the first half of the series), they form some sort of a continuous flow in the story. You can tell with the "To be continued" screen and of course the story itself isn’t finished or leads to a twist. Before the usual illustration sketches by different authors that serve as the end point of the show, viewers are treated to Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song right after the end credits. More on this later.
 
Episode 1 begins with Nozomu being locked away in jail. How did this happen? As usual the topic of superstitions and bad luck charms, Nozomu feels misfortune will happen when people are too superstitious. Remember if you write his name, it means despair? And since the exam is around the corner, the teachers think his name is bad omen and quarantine him. Rather lock him away in a high level security prison. So his beloved students track him down and beat up all the guards (bloody!) to set him free. Kids, don’t try this at home. Leave it to Fuura with her twisted positivism to change Nozomu’s ill omen to a god of examinees! Now everyone is flocking to him. Yeah, keep buying the lucky charm stuff to ensure 100% pass rate! The next segment has them interpreting their own versions of spring time. Of course Nozomu feels that tidings of spring that aren’t good are more common. As Chiri’s character to have all things done properly, she wants everyone to properly answer the tidings of spring. The way I see it, they’re all weird and what does it got to do with spring? And if you can’t answer properly, keep doing it till you get through! That’s Chiri for you folks. The next part has Nozomu learning Nami going on a self discovery trip but the negative teacher feels it’ll turn into a journey of self display especially parts of oneself which are hard to look at. Then the bus of ‘self discovery’ arrives and Rin is the guide and invites Nozomu onboard. I don’t know how after all that refusal he ends up getting on. Hard to resist, eh? At the next stop, Kaere hops on.
 
In episode 2, the topic of someone famous may have been better if he/she ventured into another profession. For instance, a pro baseball player could’ve been more successful if he had chosen to walk the path of a model. But what about those with multi-talent? As Nozomu says, society won’t recognize those with a second talent. That’s when they decide to enter a tower filled with people with unrecognizable second talents that weren’t allowed to blossom in the eyes of society. Plus, second talents will cause that person a dilemma because it’s like you can’t be good at both things especially if they’re contrasting (the sharpest sword or the most durable shield). At the tower top, Harumi is also one of such people and without her glasses on, she isn’t the nerdy yaoi otaku but a top athletic! Were her glasses restrainers? In the next part, because Majiru was anxious that Komori got sick and didn’t get well soon after taking medicine, this prompts Nozomu to mention the time lag and effect of things. Of course it gets ridiculous and out of hand with outrageous examples like anime broadcasting to remembering embarrassing moments later on. This leads to a conclusion that the place that they see know is perhaps a vision of time lag! Fuura’s answer: Do a reverse time lag (getting a baby before marriage or leak anime stuff before its release date). Sure, what makes you think that itself isn’t time lag either? The last part continues from the previous episode. Kaere gets on, speaks to a foreigner in English but he doesn’t know what she’s saying. Nami wants to play a game but Nozomu feels she’s just showing her sorrow. Fuura feels that isn’t a bad thing and has all the passengers reveal their sorrow. Reveal your secrets! Nozomu can’t take anymore of this ‘self improvement seminar’ and dives out of the bus. Because such self exposition has left him in despair, butler Sebastian has a suggestion. He sets up a body double of Nozomu to do embarrassing things. Uh…
 
In episode 3, Nozomu and Fuura try to find the switch to light the Christmas tree. They end up in a room filled with various switches. At each push, they end up switching on other people’s ‘switch’ and change their personality. Dangerous. With Fuura coming to a conclusion everyone has a switch somewhere, Maria comes out and presses Nozomu’s switch behind his ear. More like his soft spot. News goes round about Nozomu’s switch so Chiri presses it and he goes crazy. Looks like it was his self destruct switch. The next instalment has Nozomu discussing about how after much thinking between two choices, people always end up picking a third one. So why bother with the first 2 anyway? Then Nozomu got lost and leads his students to a third choice city. Kaere wants him to take responsibility. Yes or no answer. He says neither but both! Isn’t that just an excuse to escape giving an answer? But Fuura says choosing a third choice isn’t a bad thing as it solves the indecisive decision making anxiety between the first 2. So will Nozomu choose to continue living or die? His third choice: Reborn and redo his life. Haha! Like he can. The third part continues from the previous episode as Nozomu watches his double at the beach having fun with the rest. He concludes of an overprotective society. So he thinks of joining a protective group. Everybody here is so overprotective so much so a producer decides to charge him royalty fees for mentioning a line containing the same lyrics of a song! Overprotective!
 
In episode 4, because Nami wears her new shoes in the rain and got wet, the ever perfect Chiri feels she has no TPO (time, place and occasion). But Nozomu is in despair because if you do mind your TPO, in the end in turns out to be the other way round and you not minding it. Fuura’s answer? TPO makes things dramatic. Yeah, an ecchi maths lesson for instance. And if you don’t mind your TPO, it’ll be better. With that in mind, Nozomu and his students are transported back to feudal Japan and in the midst do modern age stuff. This isn’t TPO. It’s so out of place! The next part has Nozomu and his students at the beach wondering about Japan’s celebration of Sea Day if some prefectures are land locked. Thus he feels people not related are ‘forced’ to be happy and overdoing it. This leads to assuming vacation days as privation days where people self deprive themselves. In the end, it is revealed that they have deprived themselves because the whole beach setting is fake and they’re just pin up posters of the scenery. Yeah, doing it right in school. Outdoor school? Continuing from the last episode, Nozomu has been ordered to pay copyright fees to overprotective people. He quits this meeting but finds everything outside restricted or removed due to overprotection. Having learnt his lesson, he decides to dissolve his contract with his body double. But he finds out his double did lots of things because people are grateful towards him. What sort of things has his double done? Even Abiru seems to have fallen for him!
 
In episode 5, because of the way things are worded, it makes the reader for instance feeling less funny or sad as it initially intended to. Thus, no matter how it is worded, it will never be interesting or trustworthy. Nozomu has been invited to play a weird card game with weird names on it. I don’t know how it works but his hand sucks. The next instalment has Chiri annoyed about leap seconds created so Nozomu concludes there are leap people existing spontaneously without being noticed (example, 5 people in an elevator but the weight buzzer went off – perhaps someone was just overweight or the work of leap people? Scary!). But Fuura feels they play a vital role in Japan’s economy. Like empty seats in a stadium taken up by leap people. Chiri is accused of being a leap person due to her past whereby she attended a friend’s without being invited. So she forms a group with Blue Man (in Japanese the word for blue and leap (uru) sound close) and do leap performance. Finally more leap examples like leap internal organs and leap harems. I think this show is a leap show too. Continuing from the last episode, I guess Nozomu tries to get out from his date with Abiru by applying the Buddhism principle of Houjoue, whereby one catches and releases. This prompts Fuura to mention that this isn’t just a holiday but a way of life for the Japanese people called through life. In other words, the ability to overlook and ignore kindness! After being shown a family that practices through life, Nozomu tries it out himself. Then he meets Manami who goes through her daily life via through life though it may seem harsh, painful and abusive. He apologizes for ignoring things as a hobby.
 
In episode 6, Majiru hasn’t got his measles yet so the girls tell to go get infected. Why? Don’t you think it’s better to get them while you’re a kid? This has Nozomu to say that there are other ‘measles’ one must get during one’s childhood. If not, it would be like taking out your childhood during your adult years (say, playing video games) which in turn has a negative contribution to society. They may not hurt you when you’re young but it’ll be fatal if you contract them as an adult. Like touching girl’s boobs. WTF?! Forgivable as a kid but a perverted molester as an adult? So Majiru has been persuaded to do so but when he touches Chiri’s, he’s going to see what hell looks like. So kids, touching boobs are a no-no, no matter the age. Then Nozomu gets a confession from another girl student, making his students jealous as they go ‘immunize’ him. If not, he may go after her. Hehe. And poor Majiru caught the real measles now. The next segment has Nozomu and Fuura noticing several political posters pasted outside Kanako Oora’s house with her permission. So Nozomu starts a topic to add more points to a subject and make it smooth and un-thorny. But it doesn’t work out always because Chiri is upset Nozomu has a few students as his girlfriend. To sooth her, Fuura suggests getting into more relationships and making the pointy parts smooth. Think not. So Chiri and the rest of the girls are going to kill him with a variety of weapons. Pick your choice! In the aftermath, Oora just sat there in the bloody class dazing out into space. The through life episode continues so Chiri make portraits as labels to identify creators of stuffs. This includes putting posters of your parents who made you! Fuura points out every child are God’s children and since Japan is a land with a myriad of Gods, she pastes funny looking God pictures on everyone. More like monsters if you ask me. With the different designs, we can manufacture and them in trinkets or ornaments! Yeah, collect all 81 God cards! Gotta catch ’em all!
 
In episode 7, Nozomu’s students, Miko Nedzu and Shouko Maruuchi conspire with Usui in tricking him to buy tuna dirt cheap but a bag of ice sky high. This leads to a discussion on loss leaders. If you study economics, you’ll understand this marketing strategy. Of course their examples stretch to those in daily life and anime. So think carefully before you buy those Gunpla parts. Komori has been buying ‘parts’ of Nozomu from the internet to assemble her own Mr Despair! Majiru’s curiosity has him accidentally destroying the life size mannequin so in order to replace it without Komori finding out, he knocks out the real one and replaces it! She’s finding it so real! Plus, she’s asking him to kiss her since the instruction says it will act according to the creator’s desire. In the end, she backs out. In the next part, the cold air mass known as General Frost is anthropomorphized as a human. The air isn’t as cold as it seems so Frost thinks of quitting as a general. He does odd jobs but they don’t seem to fit (in the sense of being a general, that is). Of course once you’ve been in that high position, no lower rank job will do. Fuura suggests naming everything as general since everyone can get away with it nowadays. She starts naming everyone general and this has its weird effects. Chiri, being the kind of general who does things right, decides to split the Earth in half. Who is going to stop her before it is apocalypse now?! Who ranks higher than a general? An emperor! Yeah, an emperor penguin stops her. The final segment has Fuura and the rest holding a surprise birthday party for Nozomu. Thing is, it isn’t his birthday so he is definitely surprised. This leads to a discussion that doing surprise stuff when one expects it isn’t surprising. Chiri comes crashing into class with a steam roller to surprise Nozomu. Sure that is surprising but considering her character, anything weird she does isn’t a surprise, don’t you think? What about would it be surprising too if something isn’t done? Jun calls Marui to meet him later as he has something to tell her. Could it be a surprise love confession?
 
Continuing from where it left off, in episode 8, it seems Jun wanted Marui’s opinion on a poster’s background colour. Surprise? More like disappointing. So the debate continues that it would be surprising if something happens or nothing is done. Of course if you try reverse surprise, it may be more than just surprise. It could be scary! In the next part, Nozomu decides to undergo confession training because when the time comes for a confession, one will not panic and it’ll be over without ever becoming a big deal. So Chiri suggests undergoing image training as addition. Envision the crime that you’re about to do! Plus, in order to avoid conflicting stories, synchronized confession training is necessary. However this won’t work in books, TV or the likes. Imagine a murder-who-dunnit with the killer quickly admitting he is the culprit and before you know, it’s show over. Fuura suggests continuing the training to take the workload off VIPs. However with too many confessions, Japan is grinding to a halt! Is there a statute limitation on this? The next chapter’s visuals are interesting. A combination of sketchy 2D paper drawings and animation, Nozomu and Fuura are riding a mystery train to destination unknown. Nozomu doesn’t believe so because with trains, there is a schedule so the destination is known right from the start. What he’s trying to say is, cases of questions asked with a pre-determined answer. You know the answer but yet you still ask or ask questions after you have decided. After viewing several trains with those onboard symbolizing the decisions they have made, at the next station Fuura asks if Nozomu is going to settle down with a woman so his answer is to put it off. That’s not a decision! More like an excuse to delay! Well to Fuura, at least that’s a decision.
 
The topic of capability for emergency measures is discussed in episode 9. How well you handle a crisis or scandal (or rather how good and quick you come up with an excuse). When the class suddenly finds out it’s Nami’s birthday, they instantly give her presents. Weird ones. Nozomu notes his students has a knack for emergency measures and concludes mankind’s wisdom depends on it. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. Then the window broke and cold air is rushing in. In order to keep warm, everyone squeezes Nozomu till he dies. How to hide his body in this emergency situation? Just bury his body! Of course with him missing, people will notice. Emergency measure? Replace Nozomu with a doll! Everyone can be fooled! Soon Chiri goes on a killing spree and replaces all her classmates with dolls. Even her parents! The next part deals with things in which the correct answer isn’t right. Case in point, remember those olden days if you say the world revolves around the sun, you’ll be executed no matter what? Yup, even if it’s the truth, people can’t accept based on their stereotypic views of a particular person, profession or background. No wonder the world is filled with lies! The next instalment, using golf as a demonstration, discusses about the range of a person. How far a person can go based on the circumstances given. So the gang follows the targeted person (symbolized as the golf ball) to see how far he walks (the ball being driven) from his home (the tee off point) and grade places he arrive such as par, birdie or eagle (the further the better or more surprising). Some exceed expectations while others fail to get pass several feet. Of course the longer the range, the more problems it will have. Can Meru leave without her handphone? Nope. Can Matoi stay away from Nozomu? Nope. Can Komori leave her shut-in to go buy an otaku magazine? That’s when Matoi teases her but she replies she can at least get a birdie.
 
In episode 10, the age old question of which comes first: The chicken or the egg? However examples raised seemed to be obvious that one came first like houses of hikikomoris (shut-ins). Obviously the house, right? Or else there won’t be hikikomoris. Thus a conclusion that hikikomoris may have come first that’s why the need to build houses. Eh? Of course there are some that comes both at the same time. Like S&M. Eh? So Fuura asks does hope or despair come first. Nozomu answers hope because without it you can’t feel despair. I can see why he’s so full of despair. The cup is always half empty, eh? In the next part when a lady is holding up a queue buying groceries, Nozomu despairs at the thought she may be an operative bent on plunging society into turmoil and disrupt their harmonious life. How? With the long line, people can’t buy their stuff which will affect the economy! WTF?! I guess everybody got paranoid and suspects everybody of being operatives based on minor and insignificant disruptions. When it’s Nozomu’s turn to pay, he doesn’t have small change. So does the cashier as he calls his boss. He starts thinking that he too is an operative! Chiri is annoyed that operatives are supposed to create things and not destroy. Fuura rounds up a bunch of them and says they’re here to learn how to make things. Chiri gladly devotes to herself teaching them but in the end, the nation’s secrets are revealed! Realizing her mistake, Chiri teaches them arts and craft since they’re being crafty. Yeah, how to manipulate people via information control. The internet is sure a scary place. The last segment continues from the golf arc. Once Komori steps out of school, the whole school starts crumbling! Yeah, some things are not meant to leave its place. Nozomu gets worried each time he goes for a walk so he rushes back to check on things. Got no range at all. Fuura suggests to get as close as possible on the approach shot so several girls try to get as close to Nozomu who is the pin. Chiri says she’s the closest because she is close psychologically as she knocks him out with a golf driver and controls him in his subconscious mind. No escape…
 
Nozomu walks into class without wearing his trademark specs and wears only contacts in episode 11. Harumi goes into frenzy and can’t accept it as she gets everyone to pool money and buy him a new pair, though it is tinted. Megane fetish? The point is, wearing tinted glass is a way of saying people go by their prejudices and preconceived notions. Everyone spews their biased views whenever they put on the glasses so they go to the shop where the glasses were bought. With a variety of tinted glasses, they have a little try on and start having bias views based on the era that tinted glass was in fashion. Just be sure not to look at yourself in the mirror with those glasses on. When Nozomu tells everyone to cast away their tinted glass, on his way out, some gay guy falls for him. In order not to form prejudiced views, he goes out with him and ends up sleeping with him! I’d rather have my tinted glass on for this! It’s a hot summer’s day in the next chapter and Nami is bored sticking at home. She can’t go anywhere because for some reason stalker Chiri is calling from time to time to keep check she stays home. Rin is bored but Sebastian says she can’t leave her estate. She gets an idea so long as she buys the properties around, technically she can move within her estate, right? Oh yeah, move over people, they’ve bought this place so they have the right to bulldoze a hole in the wall! With Rin’s demands getting more and more, Sebastian has no choice but to plan their route and buy properties along their way to make it Rin’s estate. Eventually it reaches Nami’s house. She sure got a rude awakening. The next part has Nozomu discussing people often do bad or weird ideas just to seek attention. I don’t know why this is symbolized as trying to lift your leg as high as possible. This leads to whether a person is deliberately trolling or provoking. But Matoi says by falling for it, it shows you have kindness. But Rin feels both sides are idiots. So Nozomu suggests everyone starts trolling if they don’t want to be trolled. Chiri wants everyone to lift their legs higher but they have their limits. Chiri lifts hers so high so much so she is like flying in the sky! Can anyone catch her? Kei does. Yeah, they’re in a totally different dimension.
 
Based on a thought experiment called Schrodinger’s cat, in episode 12, Fuura tells Usui not to open his locker so the possibility of him receiving chocolates will exist. This theory suggests that if you don’t do something, the possibilities of its outcome remains infinite. In Usui’s case for example, if he opens his locker and finds no chocolate, his chances of getting them is zero, right? So everyone experiments this theory using a box and comes up with lots of interesting and desired (and impossible) outcomes. Kei has a Schrodinger wife but Chiri’s curiosity to reveal her identity and cut pieces off it yields a mix of weird combinations. His hopes and possibility for an ideal wife reduces each time a piece comes off. A hairy hand, angel wings and sexy leg? That’s not human anymore! Then everyone is placed in the box so Chiri gets annoyed that someone may be badmouthing her and kills them all! The crime scene is sealed so there’s a Schrodinger box here where there’s a possibility that students will attend class as long as you don’t open it. Finally Nozomu has his TV with the Schrodinger box and feels this season’s series may or may not continue to air as long as he doesn’t open it. Like hell they already aired it!
 
The next part shows a missile landed in the school yard as Nozomu and the girls try to hide it for fear the government may make them ‘disappear’ if they find out. Better do it fast because the media is coming to cover the baseball club soon. Of all times. They try covering it up with sporty slogans or writing ‘fake’ on it (now it really looks legitimate), burying it (sticking out like a sore thumb), draw lines to make it look like a part of a sport court (inadvertently making it look like a name of a particular dictator from a particular country who launched the missile), treating it like a worship thingy for a festival when the mound comes crumbling (they even have a song cassette to match). The media arrive and is confused to see their weird dance. Fuura announces they don’t have to lie anymore because the real missile is flying over their heads! So it was a fake all along? Yeah, it eventually ends with a bang. Continuing from Rin’s ruthless purchase of properties and breaking down walls so that she could go anywhere and have anything she wants, soon Nami and her other pals join her. Nami suggests going to karaoke and to their surprise sees Nozomu belting out. He tells them to go home but technically they say they’re part of his family now! Then en route, the school is also bought so they can come to class even during curfew. In the end, Rin sells what she bought for the road plan for twice of what she paid. Speculation? Maybe I should try this out buying and selling properties. On second thought, this might cause the property market to crash. Remember the subprime mortgage crisis?
 
In episode 13, the gang are visiting and art museum and perfect Chiri didn’t notice an upside down art piece. This leads to a debate on people tend to notice trivial errors but fail to see the main and significant part of the problem. Examples range from bodily injuries to printing typo errors. But Fuura thinks that people are being kind and pretending not to see those mistakes since the world is overflowing with them. I’m not sure what the end means because Meru’s dad suddenly appears because he was too big for everyone to notice. In the next part, Komori becomes depressed after her security blanket gets blown away by the wind. Nozomu and the girls mount a search but the blanket drops onto a PM’s head in the middle of a political meeting about the economy. After learning the blanket could make one feel ‘secure’, the PM orders a mass production of blankets! Miraculously the economy recovers! Everyone has a blanket wrapped! Seeing that Komori is vital to Japan’s economy and the need to protect her, Chiri gathers everyone’s security items. However Nozomu says the feeling of security doesn’t stem from material objects but rather knowing somebody more pathetic than oneself exists! So true! Nozomu feels he’s the worst but the girls think otherwise because he’s a civil servant and won’t get fired, therefore rest assured. So the PM gets this idea too but soon the whole country becomes poor. But the girls say they feel secure as long as they have Nozomu. Heart warming? Not until they talk about wealth distribution and each take a piece of Nozomu! Another violent death! Who wants his eyes? His legs? His &*#@ too?! In the final instalment, Maria mispronounces a word and because of that, the slang general appears. Nozomu asks about this year’s slang prize popularity but the guy is in doubt so Fuura suggests him to decide the slang prize himself. Then other slang generals of yesteryears appear and they argue they won’t be like each other. Later Maria mistaken Silent Night as Kiyohiko Night so a person named Kiyohiko really appear. Komori asks how one celebrates that night so Kiyohiko is rather unsure. Fuura suggests to do as he desires since it is his night. Then everyone hums Silent Night and Kiyohiko does a rock performance. Then Maria asks about the reindeer… Here we go again.
 
I guess the series isn’t enough to fit into 1 season so they had to produce an OVA for this season as well called Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Bangaichi (literally means extra land?). OVA 1 starts with Nozomu thinking that a holiday in the middle of the week is just a mid-holiday workweek. That’s because people use that time to hold demonstrations but Nozomu thinks this leads to vacillation (hesitancy or indecisiveness). But the people who demonstrate against something indirectly have self interests in the subject being opposed. Boycott China Olympics? But the sponsor money has already been paid, etc. Yeah, the hypocrisy. So why bother demonstrate? Too much free time? Then Maria says she participated in lots of demos too. While working as a part time maid, she always spills the drinks on her customer but they forgive her for being cute. Huh? In the next part while reading books, Nozomu feels there are many things in this world where interests must be feigned. That is, unconditional happiness. This leads to the gang telling jokes and everybody starts laughing even though they don’t understand so as not to look dumb. I didn’t get it so I didn’t laugh at all but stumped. In the end, Chiri punches Nozomu for not being able to differentiate comedy and drama he’s supposed to cry instead of laughing. The final segment has Chiri’s sister, Tane, coming back for the summer holidays. Tane is some sort of a litterbug. Wait, worse. A magnet for rubbish and a habit for littering. Each time Chiri cleans up, she messes up. Talk about back to square one. Even a visit to the public pool, Tane somehow manages to litter the pool with foreign objects! It’s like a polluted dump! Not even objects but scum of societies as well! Nozomu learns that it was Chiri who caused this behaviour instead of the other way round. Back then, Chiri wanted to clean the goldfish but Tane didn’t want to and dirtied herself so Chiri must clean her first before doing so. And since Chiri is going on a cleaning spree, Nozomu starts covering himself with weird tattoos and wants Chiri to wash him! Is Tane falling in love with him?
 
OVA 2 begins with Nozomu and his students trapped in a mall being surrounded by zombies like Resident Evil. How did this happen? Apparently a discussion on how to use defibrillator led to a discussion on how things are being kept alive by it (just like in life). So Manami’s maternal instincts got kicked into action as she goes round reviving people with their hopes down. Then at the graveyard she accidentally trips and resurrects the dead. Must be a figure of speech about how ‘dead things’ should be left as it is (like fashions of the past). This is how they end up at the mall and Nozomu got bitten by a zombie. But Fuura thinks it’s good because his life is extended and his serialization can go on forever. The next segment sees Nozomu and his students at the pool. So the topic of people getting easily ‘washed and swept away by the currents’. Too bad he too got swept away but finds himself on an island for those who don’t go with the flow and instead create their own stuff and ideals. Then Chiri turns up on her own will (rather than being washed up here) and Nozomu notes her character being oblivious rather than not being caught up. Then Fuura says the new semester is starting and he needs to bring back his students who are scattered throughout the country’s inns, in which he goes and pays them a visit. The final part is about double-speak. Meaning, people tend to rephrase the actual meaning of what they want to say by substituting and softening it in a less nasty way. With the appearance of some famous translator who gives fabulous translations, off everybody goes to rephrase harsh words. Chiri isn’t happy with this because she prefers it to be put more directly so she goes around giving different subtitles which reflects the total opposite of what people say. Nozomu wants her to stop since he feels she is going too far and that people will complain. It ends with Chiri subtitling that as Nozomu proposing a marriage to her and to live happily ever after. Some fabulous subs that was.
 
Oh man. I didn’t expect to enjoy this season as much as I did for its previous ones. Even though there were topics that I did not comprehend or the litter of examples cluttering across the screen which makes the pause-and-read process a tiresome affair, at the end of it all I still took great pleasure in watching this season. It was so ‘kind’ of them to introduce several new characters though they may not have played a vital role throughout the series and perhaps for just a particular segment. Like they say, the more the merrier. But that isn’t necessarily a good thing because Nozomu will always end up getting hurt. It’s a miracle he’s still alive. If you want to see world destruction, you don’t have to wait till 2012 because there’s always Chiri and she does an efficient and proper job in ‘cleaning up’ the world.
 
Just like in the previous season, I felt Nami had a number of appearances so much so sometimes she is being used in examples by others. In the first half of the series I was wondering Chie was going to appear or not and though not many she did make a handful in the second half though I couldn’t say her presence did made an impact. As for Kaere/Kaede, she may not be a frequent panty flasher like in the previous season but on occasion she still does. Fuura is still over-positive in her suggestions but I feel that they weren’t as twisted when I first knew her. Maybe the surprise is gone, eh? Then I noticed Matoi seems to have more participation with the gang rather than being a stalker peeping out from Nozomu’s back. It’s like a mandatory trademark in each segment of the episode. Nozomu or somebody else says something, Matoi opens her mouth, then Nozomu says "You were there?" and her eternal reply "Yes, always". Always keep a good watch over your back. Then there’s that minor character, MAEDAX R, which I think I’ve seen him previously before. Yeah, that specky bald guy has turned into some sick weirdo pervert, walking around in woman’s underwear and sometimes stark naked! Then there’s that emperor penguin with a Yin Yang face randomly appearing here and there. A mascot for this season?
 
As mentioned earlier about the Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song, this segment was first introduced during the second season though it was a one off thing. But I guess it was popular enough to become a mandatory segment for this season. This short section which lasts around a minute is hosted by the series’ characters’ seiyuus as they draw their own version and interpretation of Nozomu while singing the song. Some are horrible to absolutely funny and some did several takes. For instance, fans should know Meru’s character has no particular seiyuu so her part was really silent but her drawing was drawn by seiyuu Chiwa Saito (at least they should put text messages during her lines instead of making her part silent). Then Marina Inoue (Chiri’s seiyuu) did a horrible rendition of Nozomu at first but in the end turned out to be the best and closest looking one. Just like her character, she has to do it properly, right? Ayahi Takagi (Oora’s seiyuu) sings totally out of tune while Usui’s singing tone fluctuates. Then Yu Kobayashi (Kaere’s seiyuu) did twice because I think her character has a split personality.
 
If you’re wondering why some characters don’t have their turn in this segment, that’s because they are voiced by the same seiyuu so I guess it would be a waste if they were to repeat it. For instance, don’t be surprised if you notice Chie or Mayo aren’t featured that’s because their seiyuu is Akiko Yajima who is represented via Majiru. However it bugged me that Fuura and Nami’s seiyuu (Ai Nanoka and Ryoko Shintani respectively) is totally absent! It would have been wonderful if this segment have them. Even the minor and new characters have their appearance but I guess Fuura’s version may be so twisted that it won’t be good for viewers to see and Nami’s one, well, too normal. Of course we won’t see Nozomu’s seiyuu Hiroshi Kamiya’s version maybe because who wants to draw himself, right? I tried drawing too but I totally sucked. Does this stick man look anything like Nozomu? And who is that little kid in a mouse or bear suit waving to us viewers at the end of it all?
 
In certain episodes after the Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song, I guess they had some more time so they put in some unrelated fillers such as the Weekly Review of the show which is hosted by Jun and Chiri. This part attempts to answer questions from viewers though I feel it is on purpose and made up. Just a feeling, I may not be accurate. Then there’s one on Ms Naughty Kaere. I’m not sure if that student could really focus on his studies seeing lots of ecchi and ambiguous stuff are thrown into the mix. ‘Cones’ and ‘cylinders’, eh? Ahem, ahem. On a trivial note, I don’t remember if this was also present in the previous seasons but whenever Chiri talks, sometimes a comma, full stop or some punctuation mark will appear at the bottom right hand of the screen. I don’t know what this mean. Then there is lots of onomatopoeia (phew. It took me some time to spell and even pronounce this word), words imitating the sound effects, appearing onscreen whether they take up the whole screen or part of it.
 
As usual the opening song is a hard rock piece and the lyrics and animation itself is weird. Nozomu catching Fuura falling from the sky? Apple picking beam? Yeah, that’s the name of the song title, Ringo Mogire Beam, by Kenji Outsuki and some of the main female seiyuus of the series. Just like in previous seasons, the ending theme has a hint of Broadway feel in it. Entitled Zetsubou Restaurant by the same bunch of main female seiyuus. Though the animation features snippets of the characters, I’m wondering why Nami is the main focus here, writing her diary before going to bed. Her normal life? The second ending theme by Hiroshi Kamiya too has a Broadway feel in it and is called Kurayami Shinjuu Shoushisouai. Yeah, another song filled with despair thought the tempo may be lively. Though the art and animation remains relatively the same, for this particular season they did not experiment with the various types of visual presentation experiments that they did in the previous season (except for that train segment).
 
So will this series have another sequel? It’s hard to tell seeing that in life there are so many ironic things that we could actually poke at and make fun of. While I may have forgotten all the ‘glorious’ examples given, it was good while it lasted as they really made me think back of all those stuff that I nearly similarly went through. Sometimes if you think about it that it is better for certain things to happen as it is even though it doesn’t seem right because if it is done the other way, think of all the chaos we’ll get. The lesser of two evils, you say? That’s why you can never escape from the despair. Too bad Nozomu. You can’t really go to the next world yet because you haven’t fulfilled your task in experiencing ultimate despair. Despair for life! Despair for eternity! Oh damn it. Now that I’m hooked to anime, that leaves me in so much despair! ZETSUBOU SHITA! Heh, haven’t done that in a while.
 

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

I got this little idea that maybe I should do a little versus between weird animes (at least to me). Namely Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Pani Poni Dash. Both series are made by the company Shaft so viewers who are familiar with their work could easily recognize their trademark style in the series. For instance the numerous overflowing nonsensical notes in the background which change at every turn of the scene or the parody of other stuff popping out from just anywhere from the screen. So it’s like you’ll-miss-it-if-you-blink. But of course the hand is faster than the eye so it is done on purpose and forces you to stop and rewind if you really want to read those scribbles. Don’t forget those endcards illustrated by several authors at the end of each episode. Furthermore, the main cast of characters involve a teacher and their students.

The teacher
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Nozomu Itoshiki. The world’s most pessimistic person who has a penchant for killing himself.
Pani Poni Dash: Rebecca Miyamoto. The youngest graduate from MIT but still acts like a little girl her age.

His/her nickname
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Mr Despair.
Pani Poni Dash: Becky.

His/her attire
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Always wear a hakama and kimono with still patterns.
Pani Poni Dash: Though her white lab coat is her trademark, in certain episodes, she undergoes different hairstyles and fashion clothing.

His/her usual catchphrase
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: “I’m in despair!”.
Pani Poni Dash: “Shut up! I’m a teacher, you know! Hauhau!” (Sob, sob!).

His/her old friend
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Ikkyu, which literally means friend for a day.
Pani Poni Dash: The Professor who was Rebecca’s teacher at MIT.

The school he/she teaches in
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Due to the comedy nature of the series, it changes all the time. That is, if you’re fast enough to catch and realize them.
Pani Poni Dash: Momotsuki Gakuen.

The classroom he/she is in charge of
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: 2-He.
Pani Poni Dash: 1-C.

His/her students (main and selected ones)
What would the teacher be without his/her students because only then that both sides make a whole.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kafuka Fuura, Chiri Kitsu, Abiru Kobushi, Nami Hitou, Harumi Fujiyoshi, Maria Tarou Sekiutsu, Meru Otonashi, Kaere/Kaede Kimura, Kiri Komori, Matoi Tsunetsuki, Ai Kaga, Mayo Mitama, Jun Kudou and Kagerou Usui.
Pani Poni Dash: Ichijou, Himeko Katagiri, Rei Tachibana, Miyako Uehara, Sayaka Suzuki AKA Rokugou and Kurumi Momose.

The plot
Of the series, that is.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Nozomu and his students poke fun in this black comedy about daily aspects of life, pop culture and language.
Pani Poni Dash: Rebecca and her students go through adventures-cum-mishaps one after another.

Class rep
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Chiri is believed to be the class rep though the actual one is Usui.
Pani Poni Dash: Ichijou.

The dangerous and mysterious one
That particular girl whose thinking and actions are so twisted that it may be a good idea to think twice about them. Note both characters are voiced by Ai Nanoka.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Fuura, the world’s most positive girl.
Pani Poni Dash: Ichijou. She even does the impossible. Don’t ask.

The bookworm
Seemingly the one who likes to read.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Jun.
Pani Poni Dash: Miyako.

The active one
Slightly wild behaviour.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Maria.
Pani Poni Dash: Himeko.

The sadistic one
Potential to be yandere…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Chiri – If you don’t do things perfectly… Yeah, she likes to kill people with a spade.
Pani Poni Dash: Rei – With a heart of ice and threatening bodily harm to scaring little girls… Yeah, she likes to scare Rebecca with her eye palm thingy.

The bully
Potential to be delinquents…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Mayo.
Pani Poni Dash: Yanki and Rei.

The real life manga girl
This is Japan right? Which group will be completed without that otaku? Maybe not.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Harumi, a yaoi doujinshi.
Pani Poni Dash: Behoimi, a healing class magical girl and Akane Serizawa of the drama club who has tons of costumes.

The butler/maid
Yeah, a must have for otakus. Maybe not too.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Tokita AKA Sebastian is Nozomu’s family butler.
Pani Poni Dash: Media dresses as a maid and enrols in school to keep an eye on Rebecca as per the Professor’s request.

Animal lover
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Abiru. She has an extensive collection of animal tails back home.
Pani Poni Dash: Misao Nanjou. She has a zoo of exotic animals in which she also brings to school.

Dojikko
Well, makes them partially moe. Well, sort of.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Ai’s insecurities has her apologize on all trivial matters whether she’s at fault or not.
Pani Poni Dash: Akira Miyata earns the reputation of being clumsy for her frequent trips and falls.

Obvious head
Seems to be the most prominent part that other people lay their eyes on first.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Usui – his baldness.
Pani Poni Dash: Miyako – her shiny forehead.

Fanservice girl
Notice how they seem to give viewers that kind of service?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kaere/Kaede and Rin Itoshiki.
Pani Poni Dash: Rei.

The normal girl
Need I say more?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Nami.
Pani Poni Dash: Kurumi.

The half foreigner
Half Japanese and half… non-Japanese:
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Kaere/Kaede.
Pani Poni Dash: Rebecca.

The ignored
Nobody pays attention or gives a damn about this person. Poor soul…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Usui.
Pani Poni Dash: Mesousa and to a certain extent, Kurumi.

Most pitiful, used and abused character
In addition to that, note how both are prone to bad luck too. All is never well, never ends well.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Nozomu – especially from the actions of his students namely Chiri’s killing and Maria’s hyper-activeness.
Pani Poni Dash: Mesousa – especially from everybody who doesn’t give a damn how this rabbit feels.

Other teaching staff
Can’t be the only teacher in the entire school, eh?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Chie Arai and Jinroku.
Pani Poni Dash: Jijii, Saotome and Miyuki Igarashi.

Multiple voice actors
Notice that this quiet character has been voiced by several voice actors throughout several episodes?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Meru.
Pani Poni Dash: Oosanshouou.

Family affair
Some of the characters in the series are related to each other by blood.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Nozomu is the young brother of Rin, Mikoto and Kei. Majiru is Nozomu’s nephew.
Pani Poni Dash: Kurumi and Shu are siblings while Yuuma and Yuuna Kashiwagi are twins and Ichijou has a little sister that causes as much trouble as her.

The odd pair
Usually seen together most of the time.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Majiru and Komori, Nozomu and Matoi.
Pani Poni Dash: Suzune Shiratori and Otome Akiyama.

Alien
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Part of Fuura’s career choices include wanting to be a Pororocan Alien. What the heck is that? And a bunch of other aliens attacking the city as part of the comedy nature of the series.
Pani Poni Dash: A group of mushroom-headed aliens observing Rebecca as their subject from their Enterprise-like spaceship but the leader is being a goofball and his fooling around rarely seems to get things done.

Episode cliff-hanger
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Nozomu seemingly got hit by a train and is warded into the emergency room whereby all his students wait anxiously outside for any good news. In the end, it isn’t shown how he recovered nor was his injury that bad in the first place.
Pani Poni Dash: Rebecca and her students are lying motionless as their bus is hanging precariously over a cliff (thus the pun cliff-hanger. Geddit?) while they have to anxiously keep at bay outside interferences like a giant crab. In the end, it was all revealed to be candid camera stuff.

Field trip episode
Can’t always be studying indoors, eh?
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Nozomu takes his students on a ‘preview’ field trip.
Pani Poni Dash: Momotsuki Gakuen takes an outdoor camping trip in the woods.

Hotspring episode
Fanservice lah…
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The gang takes a dip at a hotspring believed to remove ‘toxins’ in their body.
Pani Poni Dash: The gang visits the sauna and hot bath to help study for their tests. Did not help at all.

Episode titles
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Each of the titles are reference to a piece of literature.
Pani Poni Dash: Each of the titles are reference to similes and proverbs.

End of episode section
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: In the 3rd season, a section called Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song features voice actors/actresses from the series drawing their own depiction of Nozomu while singing a song.
Pani Poni Dash: A Hekiru Hikawa theatre whereby it shows the short nonsensical antics of the gang.

Episodes and seasons
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: Officially there are 3 seasons with the first one spanning 12 episodes, the second season Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei having 13 more episodes and the recent third season Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei having 13 episodes as well. There are 2 OVA seasons with the first one being Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (3 episodes) and the second one Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bangaichi (2 episodes).
Pani Poni Dash: Though there is only 1 season of 26 episodes, an OVA episode is released much later after the TV series ended.

Music and themes
The opening and ending themes are sung by the main cast of the series.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: The opening themes are usually wild rock music (featuring Kenji Ootsuki in the lead) and though the ending themes lean more towards pop, they still are quirky and weird, especially the lyrics.
Pani Poni Dash: Both opening and ending themes are a variety of pop rock and pop but they still sound quirky and weird in their own ways, especially the lyrics.

Conclusion
Hmm… It is one of those tough decisions on which one is better. Both series have their appeal and unique points so yeah, it’s really tough. While Pani Poni Dash has better art and drawing for the characters and the jokes are better comprehensible as compared to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, in the latter series it makes you think at all the ironic aspects in life. No matter how you think about it they sound so weird but yet so true. So is it better to be a super negative-cum-pessimistic teacher like Nozomu or a super positive-cum-optimistic student like Fuura? Or would you prefer to be a ditzy airhead but seemingly carefree like Himeko or Media or genius prodigy but seemingly childish like Rebecca? Yeah, nobody is perfect. That’s why we’re all so full of despair and hauhau.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Pani Poni Dash

I’m not saying that I am really in love or totally mad with the series, but what makes Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei a likeable show is that, besides its dark and black type of comedy and humour, the characters too are the one which partly play a role in making the series stand out and wacky in its own sense.
 
One of the many wonders (or inconvenience, depending on your outlook on life) of kanji writing is that it can be read and interpreted differently. That is the case with all of the main and supporting characters here in this series. The names also reflect the quirky personalities of those characters and you could say it gives them ‘life’. Listed below are some of the characters for the series:
 
Nozomu Itoshiki
Name: Nozomu Itoshiki
Seiyuu: Hiroshi Kamiya
Nickname: Super Negative Teacher
Kanji writing: 糸色 望
Significance of name: When both his surname’s kanji are put together as one, and combined with his first name, it means despair. Ironically, his first name alone means hope.
Character: Lives up to his name of the world’s most negative and pessimistic person. Always having a penchant for suicide but the inability to finish it off. Just the thought about any topic of society could send him into despair as he starts ranting about world conspiracy theories and the likes. Paranoid? I wonder how he ended up being a class teacher.
 
Kafuka Fuura
Name: Kafuka Fuura
Seiyuu: Ai Nanoka
Nickname: Super Positive Girl
Seat number: 15
Kanji writing: 風浦 可符香
Significance of name: Supposedly named after an author named Franz Kafka as her real name is not revealed.

Character: As contrast, the world’s most positive and optimistic person. But who is scarier? The fact that her positivism is so twisted that it could send terrifying signals to those around her. For instance, there is no such thing as stalking in her vocabulary as she thinks it is ‘deep love’. I know it’s good to keep cool and not panic during such times and that there is always an explanation for everything (okay, maybe not everything), but being this cheerful and distorted? Consider this. In her future hopes (in descending order), she wants to be God, a time traveller and a Pororokan alien. A fan of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu?

 
Chiri Kitsu 
Name: Chiri Kitsu
Seiyuu: Marina Inoue
Nickname: Methodical and Uptight Girl
Seat number: 20
Kanji writing: 木津 千里
Significance of name: Derived from the word ‘kicchiri’ which means precisely. Her name’s writing can also be twisted to mean clairvoyance and to bury.
Character: Some sort of a perfectionist maniac as everything needs to be done in a precise order. If not, she’ll make you do so. And you don’t want that to happen because she can turn into a psycho and even fatal! Due to a misunderstanding, she has a crush on Nozomu and as the series progresses, you’ll notice how she’ll sometimes turn yandere, hiding various weapons and not hesitating to take it out on Nozomu if that guy does something ‘unforgiveable’.
 
Matoi Tsunetsuki

Name: Matoi Tsunetsuki
Seiyuu: Asami Sanada
Nickname: Super Loving Stalker Girl
Seat number: 25
Kanji writing: 常月 まとい
Significance of name: Derived from the sentence ‘tsune ni tsukimatoi’ which means always following around (AKA stalker).
Character: Due to her misinterpretation of Nozomu’s suicide speech as a love confession, she ditches her previous boyfriend and falls in love with him. She also dresses up in a kimono and can be seen following him just about anywhere (and at times popping out right behind from him). Yeah, even to a male’s toilet. She gives a whole new meaning to the term "I Will Follow You".
 
Kiri Komori
Name: Kiri Komori
Seiyuu: Asuka Tanii
Nickname: Hikikomori Girl
Seat number: 23
Kanji writing: 小森 霧
Significance of name: Her entire name means secluding or locking up oneself in one’s room.
Character: Always seen wrapped with a blanket around her and her pale skin makes her look closely resemble to Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo. An extreme recluse case, she initially locked herself in her room back home until she has been scared out by Nozomu and Fuura’s persuasion antics of locking in this zashiki warashi fairy. Komori then confines herself in school and later is seen quite close with Nozomu’s nephew, Majiru, sometimes teasing him.
 
Abiru Kobushi 
Name: Abiru Kobushi
Seiyuu: Yuko Goto
Nickname: Tail Lover Alleged Victim Of DV Girl
Seat number: 22
Kanji writing: 小節 あびる
Significance of name: The term ‘kobushi wo abiru’ means flurry of punches though in this context means domestic violence (DV).
Character: Always seen wrapped in bandages and first impression is that she is a victim of DV. However, the real cause of her injuries is due to her quirky habit of pulling tails where she works part time at a local zoo. Would you like it if somebody pulls your hair? Same thing. An animal’s reaction when its tail is being pulled is to counter attack. She has an extensive collection of animal tails back home.
 
Kaere Kimura
Name: Kaere/Kaede Kimura
Seiyuu: Yu Kobayashi
Nickname: Bilingual Personalities Girl
Seat number: 21
Kanji writing: 木村 カエレ
Significance of name: Derived from the word ‘kaere’ which means to return and also based on a Japanese Idol Kaela Kimura.
Character: This foreigner has 2 personalities. One, a mild, gentle and soft-mannered lady whom many would view as Yamato Nadeshiko (the ultimate and ideal Japanese woman) and the other who is quite disgusted with the weird custom and habits of the Japanese culture and people. Her favourite phrase in this mode is "Utaete!" which means to sue and later as the series progresses, she has been demoted to a panty flasher character.
 
Maria Tario Sekiutsu
Name: Maria "Tarou" Sekiutsu
Seiyuu: Miyuki Sawashiro
Nickname: Illegal Student Returnee Girl
Seat number: 8
Kanji writing: 関内 マリア 太郎
Significance of name: ‘Seki uttarou’ literally means to sell one’s name, in her case her name was being sold by a fellow student who wanted to taste true freedom (WTF?!).
Character: An illegal immigrant from an unknown country and is a boy on paper (due to the name transfer) but is a girl in actual fact. Though she is poor, Maria has a cheerful and sometimes playful behaviour, in which some may call her a wild person due to her initial lack of understanding of the local culture. Her optimism is second to Fuura, though she doesn’t come up with extreme twisted logic and explanations. Also in the beginning, many of those around her pity her state and tend to give her stuffs.
 
Harumi Fujiyoshi
Name: Harumi Fujiyoshi
Seiyuu: Miyu Matsuki
Nickname: Ear Fetish Pairing Addiction Girl
Seat number: 29
Kanji writing: 藤吉 晴美
Significance of name: A female who is a yaoi or boy-to-boy fan is termed ‘fujoshi’ while her first name refers to a Comiket site.
Character: This manga artist wannabe will definitely go gaga over the shonen-ai genre. She even has explicit imaginations between Nozomu and other male characters! At first, one may think that manga otakus are hardly athletic but ironically Harumi posses amazing athletic abilities due to her experience when visiting Comiket sites (you gotta be fast, agile and tough if you want to beat the crowd, right?).
 
Meru Otonashi
Name: Meru Otonashi
Seiyuu: Nil. Even if she does have, her seiyuu changes from episode to episode.
Nickname: Abusive Email Girl
Seat number: 17
Kanji writing: 音無 芽留
Significance of name: ‘Otonoashi’ means to be quiet while the katakana writing of ‘meru’ means mail and in her context, those SMS messages.
Character: She is so shy to speak that her only means of communication is through her handphone. However she is no good girl when it comes to using her mobile as her language can be super abusive and offensive. Her inability to speak out has caused several misunderstandings and even includes a time whereby several people try out an audition to be her voice actress!
 
Nami Hitou
Name: Nami Hitou
Seiyuu: Ryoko Shintani
Nickname: Normal Girl
Seat number: 28
Kanji writing: 日塔 奈美
Significance of name: Simple. Ordinary. Average. Enough said.
Character: What else can I say. Among the other weird classmates of hers, she is the most normal one without any traits which stand out. Besides her normalness, that is. Because of so, she hates being referred to as one and in an episode tries to be different like being a delinquent or to gain attention but fails miserably. Sometimes status quo is sufficient for some.
 
Ai Kaga
Name: Ai Kaga
Seiyuu: Saori Gotou
Nickname: Guilt Complex Girl
Seat number: 18
Kanji writing: 加賀 愛
Significance of name: Her name is a play on words in which ‘kagai’ means evil or harm and in her context guilt complex.
Character: Due to her insecurities, Ai is always seen apologizing for the trivial and slightest mistake and those that she even has no connection to. Leave it to her to just find a reason or excuse to why it is her fault and she will start apologizing profusely. You can’t help but feel pity and at the same time find her apologetic personality a turn on. If you’re into that stuff, that is.
 
Mayo Mitama
Name: Mayo Mitama
Seiyuu: Asuka Tanii
Nickname: Exactly The Way She Looks
Seat number: 30
Kanji writing: 三珠 真夜
Significance of name: A play on words in which her name exactly means the same as her nickname.
Character: She has the tell-tale signs. Evil looking eyes and the tendency to commit malicious acts which include shoving a stick into an innocent dog’s butt! However nobody believes that she is so because they believe that they should not judge a book by its cover and thus thinks she is a good girl despite her looks. I suppose idioms like still waters run deep and looks can be deceiving don’t apply here.
 
Manami Ookusa
Name: Manami Ookusa
Seiyuu: Kikuko Inoue
Nickname: High School Housewife, Multiple Responsibilities
Seat number: 16
Kanji writing: 大草 麻菜実
Significance of name: Her named means married person.
Character: A high school student who is already married and does several part time jobs to pay off her husbands debt, though I’m not sure who her husband is. Although she doesn’t make much of an appearance in the series, but she does really act like a married woman.
 
Kagerou Usui
Name: Kagerou Usui
Seiyuu: Youji Ueda
Nickname: Lacking In Hair And Presence
Seat number: 3
Kanji writing: 臼井 影郎
Significance of name: ‘Kage Ga Usui’ means to be overlooked or ignored while the term ‘usui’ which means light can also refer to the thinning of his hairline in this context.
Character: He is the actual class rep but is always being ignored. Nobody notices his presence no matter how much he tries to get their attention. It’s like he is invisible. Oh wait. He is! Sort of. The only way that everyone will notice him is when his baldness is exposed. He is in a dilemma because those piercing eyes will be more focused on his bald top. Too see or not to see. He also harbours a crush on Abiru but what are the chances of him getting noticed?
 
Jun Kudou
Name: Jun Kudou
Seiyuu: Takahiro Mizushima
Nickname: Genius Storyteller
Seat number: 12
Kanji writing: 久藤 准
Significance of name: Based on the same name of the founder of the bookstore Junkudou Shouten.
Character: Besides being an avid bookworm, Jun is an excellent storyteller and you can say that he has a knack and talent for it. He can make a heart moving story on just about anything and even move an expressionless person to tears. So much so I think he can even read your heart. Okay, so maybe some of his stories may seem mocking and nonsensical but a story is a story, right?
 
Chie Arai 
Name: Chie Arai
Seiyuu: Akiko Yajima
Kanji writing: 新井 智惠
Significance of name: Her name is read ‘niichie’ based on the old Japanese system and it is a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher.
Character: This school student counsellor spots a relatively busty and sexy figure. She has a way to get Nozomu to do her orders with ‘that look’ and initially seems to like teasing Komori by playing mild yuri themes when the latter confines herself in school.
 
Rin Itoshiki
Name: Rin Itoshiki
Seiyuu: Akiko Yajima
Kanji writing: 糸色 倫
Significance of name: When her 3 kanji letter is combined into 2 words, it is read as ‘zetsurin’ which means unequalled but in her case it could also mean peerless in bed.
Character: Nozomu’s younger sister and a professional at ikebana and other skills but gets real upset when her name is read as zetsurin as it probably gives a misconception that she is a sexual prowess. I’m not sure why but she is transferred as a student in Nozomu’s class and at times can be seen displaying her sexy pose (partly to do with her name?).
 
Mikoto Itoshiki
Name: Mikoto Itoshiki
Seiyuu: Hiroshi Kamiya
Kanji writing: 糸色 命
Significance of name: When his 3 kanji letter is combined into 2 words, it is read as ‘zetsumei’ meaning death.
Character: The 3rd child of the Itoshiki family runs a clinic of his own. It is ironic that this doctor has such as name and he rues it because it will give patients an impression that he is Dr Death! Yeah, I remember he banged his head repeatedly on the wall while lamenting such a name and the reason why he doesn’t have many patients.
 
There are more side characters in the series with even outrageous names and meanings. But doing research on them is a little tiring from where I am now. It may not be conclusive or comprehensive but for me I guess I’m satisfied. Now, I’m wondering what my name would mean if it was written in Japanese kanji and how far its actual meaning would deviate if I were to add, minus or alter a stroke. Seems kinda interesting, eh? But I don’t want to know because I may because I may be stuck with a horrible nickname for the rest of my life. That will definitely be: ZETSUBOU SHITA!

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

More ironies of life. More satirical views and hilarious perspectives of the political, cultural, media and how things work in the world. That’s right. Those who have watched the first season of this black comedy series would be glad to know and enjoy the swift continuation called Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.
 
Now at first when I saw the word ‘zoku’, I thought it meant continuation when I checked up the online Japanese dictionary. But upon closer inspection of the kanji, it actually means extreme in the vulgar sense. Wow. And extreme alright this season is. So I guess it’s a play on words seeing that two different words but with the same pronunciation. Nice, huh?
 
I know I did mention that this sequel is a continuation but somehow I feel that isn’t the right word to accurately describe it. Perhaps the continuity is just in the series which is running and not the storyline. We all know how crazy and random each of the episodes are back in the first episode and this sequel proves to be even more, poking fun at much of the aspects and ironies in human life.
 
This particular season has 13 episodes, which is one episode more than its previous season and each episode is divided into 2 or 3 parts. Extra random craziness to tell? For those who want to watch this season, it is best to watch the first season before hand because even though there is no particular storyline to follow, viewers need to know the characters and their personalities first. So if you jump in straight into this one, you might be scratching your head on certain issues.
 
Like how the main protagonist of this series is the world’s most negative teacher, Nozomu Itoshiki. Dubbed Zetsubou Sensei (Mr Despair) by his students for his negative outlook on just about anything in his life and also his peculiar combination of his kanji name when written closely and horizontally. Want to know what I mean? Go watch the first season. Because the first season mainly introduces Nozomu’s students, this particular season has done away with that so I suppose it has more time to focus on other ironic issues.
 
Obviously, there are some noticeable differences between the first and second season. Firstly, I thought the drawing has been given a little detailed look although it generally maintains its unique trademark art. Meaning, I thought that the shadowing and such has been boosted a little. Perhaps it’s because of the gap between when I watched both seasons. But the other thing concerning the art is the various types of drawing that the series illustrated in some of the episodes. Simply refreshing.
 
Secondly, the characters. I noticed how some of the characters have been reduced to minor roles, meaning they don’t have much part as they have in the previous season. For instance, Kaede. She has been reduced to a character whose role is of only a panty flasher. Uh huh. That’s all viewers can expect to see her. Plus, she doesn’t go round as often yelling her trademark "I’ll sue you!" line. Even that pretty school counsellor, Chie, doesn’t make much appearance too. Then there are those characters who didn’t make much appearance in the first season, having more of so in this one. Like Nami. That normal girl has more appearance this time round and so does that yaoi doujin girl Harumi or the storyteller Jun. There are a few more student characters added such as Manami Oukusa (literally means a married person) and Kuniya Kino (self proclaimed rival of Jun and named after that book retail store). But don’t despair. For those who have almost forgotten the meaning of the names of the characters, the fansubbers did another good job by putting a quick summary of it all at the end of the first episode. Yeah, its’ that Don’t Worry Be Happy tune again.
 
So without going into much detail, let me briefly just go through several points of each episode. Partly because there are still too many clutter of kanji words onscreen. I know, it was tiring for me to pause and stop to read every single line back then. So this season was no exception. Hats off to the fansubbers who dedicated their time, painfully translating each of the kanji words on the screen. Plus, it’s not like that I understand each of the examples that the characters argue or mention. My general knowledge isn’t that wide, you know :(.
 
Episode 1 starts off the randomness with Nozomu running away from a secret dark organization who seems bent on wanting him to join as a member. Yeah, some weird organization called HAMASHO. Because Nozomu doesn’t want to be part of it all, he runs away. Hey, I noticed that Nozomu isn’t in his trademark hakama dress but a black suit. He looks good, though. His journey takes him through various places until he ends up on an island whereby he ends up being an experiment subject. Yeah, something about making a monster out of him. He escapes by jumping down from a cliff, and when he is washed ashore, he is found by Fuura and the next thing he knows, he is in hospital and Chie tells Fuura that Nozomu is their new class teacher. This is so different from the first episode back in the first season on how Nozomu hanged himself on a sakura tree but was saved by Fuura. An alternate retelling of how Nozomu came to be a school teacher? Yeah, his students now give him a nickname called Left Wing Guerrilla instead of Pink Supervisor in the previous season. Because Nozomu is at his usual behaviour of wanting to die, I’m not sure why, Chiri proposes a marriage before he does so. But I’m not sure if that marriage went through or not. Perhaps not.
 
The second part sees Nami trying to gain more attention by trying to get herself into trouble, like playing truant from class. However her plans usually backfire because there are other students which are in a far worse predicament than her. Haha. Looks like she’s doomed to always be a normal girl. I mean, there’s nothing wrong about being a normal girl in a class filled with weirdos, right? Of course Nami isn’t satisfied with it all and tries to act tough so Nozomu shows Nami about how Komori has been living in school and locking herself within one. You know, staying back after school could be a scary thing. All those weird stories and haunting rumours. Enough to send multiple chills down your spine. Yeah, Nami starts thinking that the stalker girl Matoi who has been following Nozomu all along is a ghost since Nozomu can’t find her. Nami can’t take much more of this horror when she sees a ghostly sight of children and runs out of school. Nami, just stay a normal girl, would you?
 
More weirdness in episode 2. One thing which strikes viewers in the first part of this episode is that everyone is talking in a strange gibberish language! Don’t worry, there are subtitles to decipher what they are saying at the bottom. Nozomu and his students find a weird guy called Commodore Perry who has a penchant for ‘opening’ things. That’s right. That includes opening a girl’s leg… So when Perry decides to open Nozomu’s head, only to find full of despair, he decides to drop his idea of opening everything. Some things are meant to be kept closed. The second part has Nozomu chiding about over-embellishment or over decoration of things in life. For instance, we see one of the teachers, Jinroku, who may look like an old guy but when he takes off his top, we could see his body fully covered with tattoos! We also get to see Nozomu’s 2nd eldest brother, Kei, who finally makes his first appearance and works as some sort of a painter-cum-sculpturist when Nozomu accidentally knocks over his statue, making Kei to curse him. The third part has Nozomu in despair about how old things are being ignored in the new age. We are also introduced to a new character called Ikkyu, who is supposed to be Nozomu’s long time friend. So when Fuura says how Ikkyu doesn’t have a surname, Ikkyu decides to marry Rin (too bad she’s been tied to a pole against her will). But Ikkyu is in a dilemma because if he marries Rin, the change of his surname would mean he wouldn’t be able to maintain his current one. So in the end, Fuura reveals that Nozomu and Ikkyu are only ‘one day friends’ based on Ikkyu’s kanji name writing.
 
The first part of episode 3 sees Harumi listening to a radio programme skit of Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei while trying to find some inspiration to draw her yaoi doujin manga. It was kinda confusing for me to wonder what is going on because I don’t think there is any relation in what the radio programme is talking about with what Harumi is doing. In the second part, it dawned to me that Komori and Majiru are spending lots of time together. This is evident throughout the rest of the series. I mean, there isn’t any chemistry between the 2 but Komori seems to like teasing little Majiru. In this part, Nozomu tells his students about their obligations, responsibilities and duties when they point the same question back at him. The third part sees Rin as a transfer student in Nozomu’s class. This is part of the theme of some things are better off not revealed and when done so, it could bring about a negative atmosphere. So when everyone tries their hand at revealing something shocking, it just turns out to be something just trivial. But I guess the most shocking one was when Chiri said how she injected juice into her sister. Now, that isn’t something trivial but a real shocker, isn’t it?
 
Although the first part of episode 4’s topic is about how people are distracted and pay more attention to trivial things rather than the main stuff or what it’s meant to be presented, a group of aliens suddenly starts attacking the city with their mecha army. So the girls start digging in the city to find a weird mask and when Chiri puts it on, she transforms into a big super Chiri and kick those aliens butt! And the ironic part is that since the theme of this part was distraction to minor details, Nozomu and Ikkyu didn’t really remember all that hot super action Chiri did as they were being distracted by trivial details of the battle. The second part is about Jun who seems to be able to read people’s hearts. Yeah, Jun has got the knack of moving people to tears when they listen to his story. Nozomu is afraid that Jun might read his so Nozomu decides to become a heartless person. Doesn’t that mean to be cruel or just rip your heart out? So as a last ditch attempt to stop Jun from reading his heart (after Jun tells a sad story of a heartless king), Nozomu puts himself among penguins in a freezer. Huh? The third part sees Komori trying to tease Majiru with her new swimsuit. For a hikikomori girl, Komori does look hot in one. Oh, notice that battle with the aliens in the background screen? Is it supposed to be a distraction from the main flow of this section? Anyway due to her long hair which is able to hide her face, Komori suggests to Majiru to play a game with her by suggesting which side her face is facing. At 1 point, she may look like a ghost. Scary…
 
Episode 5 starts off with Nozomu receiving a curry dish from a pretty neighbour, which causes Matoi a lot of jealousy. Later Nozomu tells his class that everything can be classified into 3 categories: Science, arts or athletics. Then there’s this weird part whereby the athletes are seen flying at them with flying kisses. WTF? We also find out that Harumi is quite an athletic person herself. See, don’t always assume a stereotypic doujin girl. Yeah, she got all those much needed skills during anime and manga conventions. It’s such a tough world for survival. So Nozomu decides to end this part in a sporty way when Abiru pushes a button which causes an explosion! Now that’s what you call an explosive end. The second part has Nozomu furious about fukubukurou (lucky envelopes) because he thinks they are just leftovers after all the good stuff has been taken. But leave it to Fuura’s positivism to even make Nozomu agree with her on the good things of fukubukurou. Yeah, though there are some leftovers which aren’t good like when Nozomu and Majiru fell sick after eating leftover curry. The third part sees Ai meeting the ex-Sekiutsu, who is still living in that cardbox. So is this the ultimate freedom? Ai’s kindness got her thinking that she may be doing all this for a reward and feels guilty and runs away. So after Nozomu and the other students give various examples of such cases like face-saving culture, Ai has been classified as a tsundere as she denies of doing any favours for anybody. Because of that, I think Kuniya has a crush on her. Lastly, I’m not sure why but Kaede brings some notes to Usui who is lying sick in bed.
 
In episode 6, thinking that some things are better off without being notified or known, Nozomu decides not to reveal his student’s report card grades. Yeah, they are all blanko out! Something about people should have the right of not wanting to know unwanted info. He runs away but even so, nature seems to be trying to communicate and notify him. Since Chiri still wants to know her grades, Fuura takes her to see an apartment woman who seems to know everything and even the meaning of the universe! Wow! Yeah, the logic that since apartment women do lots of gossiping, they must know everything, right? Well, some things are better left not known. The second part has Nozomu and Majiru in a weird dream. Everyone’s personality has been reversed. Yeah, Fuura in despair! Never seen that to the world’s most super positive girl before. What about Meru? She’s talking through her own mouth! And Usui? He’s noticeably and popular! Soon the students realize that this is a dream and if Nozomu were to wake up, they will all vanish. They device a plot to make Nozomu sleep forever, and that is to kill him! Nozomu tries to escape but there seems to be no end. He try various lame ways to end but when he wakes up, he finds Chiri telling him that he is in a dream within a dream. There’s no escape… The third part is about hiding things that they don’t want their parents to find out (because of a pun made regarding to wisdom tooth). The unique and weird part is that, the voice acting for all the characters randomly changes! You can see their names at the bottom of the screen as they voice that particular character, albeit for a short while. Since Nozomu has things which he hasn’t told his parents, Chiri wants him to do it the proper way. Nozomu tries several ways to get his message to his parents but in the end, his feet of putting his large message on some building in order to make the front page headlines is wasted because it was blanko out when the newspaper reached his parent’s hands.
 
Episode 7 starts with a chibi mahou shoujo drawing with the girls transforming into 1 when they suspect that Nozomu isn’t their usual teacher as they do battle. Later Nozomu is tired to hear an office employee laughing at his kanji name when it’s being put together. Yeah, we’ve heard it a million times already! Nozomu gives many other examples and sympathizes with many other people who share the same fate. So when he gives his students his usual lecture of society, you know, his students have heard it a million times before already! Give it a rest, will ya! Meanwhile Harumi has been classified as a minority since nobody agrees with her views. But Fuura did mention that if something has been said over and over again for the millionth time, it can’t be wrong, right? The second part is like a short skit of variety shows called Zetsubou Channel, which involves that mahou shoujo battle, Kaede’s cooking and a sing-and-draw song from Chiri and Jun. The third part sees Nozomu taking advantage of being a student facing an upcoming exam. Because an examinee is facing so much stress, society usually treats them a little better. Thus, Nozomu takes various exams (some real ridiculous) until he has become a qualification acquisition addict! Yeah, looks like it turns out it’s the paper he is after. So after qualifying for and passing just about everything, is there anything more that he needs to get? Soon he realizes that he needs a requirement to live but hasn’t got the qualification to do so! Because of that, he tries to die but finds out that he hasn’t got the qualification to die also! Living and dying are so hard these days! Ah, he’s such a failure… One thing which strikes viewers about this episode is the various drawing styles which are used like silhouette drawing to clay-mation to pastel art. Neatly done.
 
Nozomu has been labelled a spy in episode 8 when he tries to take a photo of Majiru at the public pool but accidentally takes a picture of a woman. When Chiri notices Nozomu is being watched by several people, she tells him to run for it. Fuura gives him a secret mission but even so, Nozomu feels he is being watched everywhere he goes. Fuura then comes up with a plan called Positive Counter Intelligence whereby she leaks unreliable or fake information to spies. But you know, this leads to only more confusion in the end. Urban legends? Reminds me of The X-Files. The truth is out there… The second part is about Nozomu’s theory of everyone’s true side will be revealed in the month of May. Something to do with the pun of the word ‘satsukibare’ which means early fine summer weather, which can also mean as the month of May (satsuki) and expose or reveal (bare). So we see many of the other side of Nozomu’s students being revealed. Like many club members are trying to get athletic Harumi to join their club and Chiri being led away by 2 MIBs (OMG! Did she do something horrible?!). Some truth are not meant to be revealed. Thus Nozomu decides that it would be better they reveal their secrets before being discovered. Maybe it’s just Nozomu’s imagination. So when his students shoot him back about his own secrets, they accuse him for trying to cover up since there were nothing negative about it. And the ultimate truth revealed in the end… Komori tells Majiru that she isn’t his sister. Hey, everybody knows that, right?
 
The third part has Nozomu lamenting that everything isn’t done in perfect 50/50 order. Yeah, how can you do a half smile? Even so, it looks creepy! With that, Chiri decides to go round enforcing everyone to do things properly the 50/50 way. Big bully, isn’t she? How can anybody cry 50/50? OMG! Chiri can! Scary! And because she wants a proper 50/50 ending, she blows up the school! And soon the entire world! WTF?! Yeah, she used a little too much gunpowder. Fans of Abiru can catch her in some fanservice shot. Yeah, Abiru in a swimsuit with her trademark bandages. Sexy or what. Uh huh. Half naked, you can say. The last part shows Nozomu talking while taking a walk with his pretty neighbour (yeah Matoi, she can only watch and stalk). She says how she’ll cook and do anything to support him. Then it is revealed that she is actually Fuura! Not only that, in her kitchen, she holds up a knife with a scary grin on her face saying what she’ll cook for her teacher this time. OMG! Does Fuura has a hidden other personality? I don’t want to know.
 
Episode 9 is another weird episode. It’s like the girls are some prehistoric monsters battling out while the narrator comments and narrates the storyline. But this short skit, Zetsubou Fight, is usually before the main parts of the story. So Nozomu comes by to stop them but ends up getting killed and being their food. The real story begins with Maria giving everyone a whack because she thinks that everyone’s mind isn’t functioning well since it’s the start of a new year. Uh huh. Something she watched on TV and a pun on the tsukomi word. Everyone in school and town falls to her boke whack! I’ve never seen Maria as mischievous as this before. Then there is a pair of ugly chubby couples getting all lovey-dovey with each other. It’s so disgusting but hilarious! Finally Maria’s mission leads her to the courts and when Nozomu was watching this over TV with Rin, his short unknowing light-headedness causes Maria to come by… Be afraid. Be very afraid. In Zetsubou Fight, Nozomu tries to teach his prehistoric students when a bull appears and kills Nozomu. A fight occurs between Chiri and Harumi. But since Chiri has died, Nozomu takes her place and defeats her. Huh? Nozomu decides to do a surprise inspection on his students in the second part. So in order to help him out, Chiri and her appointed assistant Maria decides to take photographs of people in their embarrassing or least expected moment. Their embarrassing pics are posted up on the school notice board. When Maria tries to take picture of Jinroku, she is unable to get one due to his 24 hour vigilance. The third part has Fuura suggesting that clumsy people have a higher chance of being loved. So Chiri takes this opportunity to be a klutzy and ditzy girl. Yeah, there’s a book on how to be one. Because of that, Chiri accidentally stabs Nozomu! And when his doctor brother Mikoto operates on him and fails, Fuura comments on how he’s a clumsy person. Meanwhile in an unrelated matter, Meru goes to a store to buy a bra but is embarrassed. The final Zetsubou Fight has Nozomu and his students attacking a weird creature. In the end everyone dies and goes to Heaven. Then in the future, we see Nozomu’s soul being chained to his body as he is eating that weird creature. What on Earth does that mean?
 
Episode 10 has Nozomu thinking that the society is detuning. Meaning, people around are hiding their true selves by putting up a much ‘weaker’ front. Like Abiru who once had a height complex so she detuned herself by digging a whole and stepping inside it to make herself look shorter. Erm… That’s too deep, right? Enough for a grave… Chiri too has detuned by cutting some flesh… OMG! She looks even more psycho and scary! Since Harumi was passing by, Chiri forces her to do some cosplay photo shoot properly. Chiri is getting scarier with each episode. The second part has Nozomu thinking that people are saying "Ari ari ari" (maybe maybe maybe) in order to comfort their victims. But he soon notices that this is a mini propaganda which could mislead others. So when his students wonders all the other maybe stuff, Chiri finally wonders if a proper love could work out between them, Nozomu replies impossible. Shocked, she says "Could this shovel exact righteous punishment for those who hurt me?". Maybe maybe maybe. Yeah, she buried him. Maria then thinks with part of Chiri’s kanji name, it could mean bury as well! The third part sees Nozomu being rejected from a restaurant because of being a first timer. Seeing that it is hard on first timers, Nozomu and co decides to have a first timer friendly episode. Notice how there are too much info on the side screen telling voluminous amount of details about the characters, minor characters and even the art! Too detailed, too comprehensive. Meanwhile it seems that a first timer that the girls are serving is annoying them by making sarcastic fun of their names. Harumi is so annoyed that she wants to kill him! Because of the first timers annoying questions, Nozomu decides not to allow them in anymore and would only permit experienced ones like 100th timers! Since they have too much knowledge, they try to predict the outcome, which becomes annoying too. Yeah, they’re trying to predict an ending for this episode which ends up with Meru’s bra deflating! "Well, it’s not like it never ends properly anyway". Nozomu is fed-up and kicks them out and suggests the optimum number that would be easier to deal with is a 10th timer. Yeah, probably somebody who has started something and given up halfway.
 
Episode 11 is the most interesting one to me because it has Nozomu playing in a detective role and Matoi as his assistant in this detective murder mystery thriller. No gags here. Nozomu is being called to investigate a serial murder case in the countryside as requested by a local investigator Jinroku and his assistant Jun. As Nozomu takes a train ride there, he spots a group of girls cloaked in black (Nozomu’s female students) gathering at the beach. When he arrives at a mansion, he recognizes the girls as the inhabitants of this mansion. We find out that the recently departed artist, who shares the same surname as Nozomu and even has an uncanny resemblance to the detective, left his inheritance to be equally divided among the 12 mistresses-cum-lovers, which are the inhabitants of the mansion. There have been 2 murder cases so far and the first victims among the 12 are Meru and Maria. Both died in weird poses. So the interesting part is which among them is the killer. I mean since the estate is to be divided equally, the less (wo)men, the more share, right? Nozomu does various investigations and even though Ai confessed that she is the murderer, Nozomu doesn’t think so because of her compulsive guilty behaviour. Then Manami shows up dead and soon Kaede (after a heated argument with Chiri). Finally Nozomu pinpoints the real killer is Usui. Due to his lacking presence, nobody since to know him. Usui is the artist’s real son but as time goes by, his presence is forgotten and perhaps the main reason why Usui felt upset for being left out from the will. Though he has Usui taken away, he still denies that he is the killer. Soon, the girls lead Nozomu to the artist’s secret underground lair where Nozomu discovers various artworks of the deceased. Then when Nozomu mentions how the girls couldn’t be involved in this, they all suddenly took out knives. Looks like they are accomplices in the murder too! They go on explaining that the artist promised to marry them but was unable to decide which one. Furthermore, he only looked at them as models or pieces of art. So the girls were the one who also arranged the body of the murdered in weird poses as commemoration to him since he liked anime. Seeing that Nozomu looks very much alike like the artist, they decide to kill him. Nozomu escapes and before long the entire mansion catches fire and the girls perish. Nozomu laments the outcome of the case as he takes a train ride home. The twist and turns of this episode is so intriguing!
 
It’s back to the typical satirical comedy in the second part when Nozomu doubts about the Tanabata festival whereby people hang wishes on bamboo trees and pray that it will come true. Mr Despair thinks all this will never come true. Even though his students made several wishes (some are really weird), Nozomu is still adamant that they won’t come true. Then Fuura tells him that even if it doesn’t come true now, it will in the next life. I mean, Nozomu did wonder the reason why he is wearing glasses was it due to a wish he made in his previous life. With that, everybody starts believing in her words and wants Fuura to grant their wish. No matter how you look at it, they’re quite impossible no matter how many lifetimes they have. As for Nozomu, he decides to make a wish to hasten his death by hanging himself on the bamboo tree. But you know, he didn’t die (thus wish not granted). Meanwhile Komori makes a wish of her own, that is to become a shellfish in her next life. Huh?
 
With the upcoming summer holidays in episode 12, Nozomu decides to have a grace period to prepare for it even if it’s still a long way to go. The reason being with all the sudden turn of events in society, dubbed ‘hard landings’, Nozomu decides to teach his students ‘soft landings’ and proceeds to get a flight simulator as practice. Other soft landings include some swimsuit fanservice. Also as part of Nozomu’s soft landing for the summer holidays, he proposes to Chie to have more days off in which everybody rejoiced when she gives the approval. However, to cushion the effects of coming back to school, she too added more school days after that. Bummer. The second part has Nozomu reluctantly being drawn into somebody else’s dramatic situation. Starting from a taxi driver’s last day on the job to helping that pair of ugly chubby lovers get back together. And I wonder what he’s got to do with it all. Too bad he tries to escape but always ends up in someone else’s drama. So finally when he decides to kill himself, he gets involved in the drama of a suicide couple. The third part is about counter flow. What do I mean? For instance, manga has always been around earlier than the TV anime but it is the TV anime that the people watched first which gets them interested to make them go ‘backward’ and read the manga. Yeah, there are many other things in life in which we experience the later things first only to counter flow backwards to its original (Usui liking a girl starting from the legs?). Because of this, Chiri disagrees with it all and argues that things must be done in a proper order. So Nami became the victim when she wanted to buy a t-shirt with Che Guevara’s pic. She forces Nami to watch that revolutionary rebel’s lifelong struggle! Yeah, if she wants to buy anything from him, she has to know everything there is know about him! So Meru, thinking about buying a t-shirt of Mao Zedong? Not if Chiri is around. Uh oh.
 
Episode 13 has Nozomu wondering where to dismissed people go after watching a festival ritual whereby people dismiss the demon by throwing soybeans at them. More surprisingly, it seems Majiru is keeping a stray demon in his closet! And I thought it was Komori at first. Because Nozomu wonders about other dismissed people and strays, his students bring many dismissed and stray people to his house asking him to take care of them. Like he cares! Eventually, Nozomu got fired from his job and he becomes a stray himself. I don’t know why but Nozomu ends up teaching in an icy building in Antarctica. But he runs away and his students start searching for him. I also don’t know why, they finally find him and he’s acting like a stray dog. Happy reunion. And Majiru is seen putting up posters of his lost demon… The second part focuses on Meru. Her dad comes by to beat up Nozomu after thinking he might have said something to bully her. He goes on to explain the reason why Meru never spoke was because of the trauma she got bullied of having a strange voice when she was younger. That explains it. With her inferiority voice complex, they go on to find suitable voice actresses for Meru’s voice. Wow, the audition has a long line. As the auditioners talk, Meru has a small speaker tied to her neck so when they speak through the microphone, it would be as though she is speaking. Okay, all of them don’t sound suitable. Then Nozomu’s other students try to have their own fun by trying out as Meru’s voice. It’s so embarrassing that it causes her to run away. While doing so, Meru bumps into a shady guy who kidnaps her and plans to do something ecchi on her. Till he heard her voice (somebody was talking through the microphone at that time). He was so distraught that it didn’t fit a voice of a little girl, Meru manages to escape. Then she bumps into Majiru. Somebody on the other line said "I love you". So it’s like as though she confessed to him! Though Meru tries to deny through her body language, I don’t think Majiru got the idea. Yeah, he’s blushing when Meru runs away. So I guess this idea to cure Meru of her phobia of speaking created even more misunderstanding and harm than it did good. Why didn’t she take off the speaker in the first place?
 
The third part is about Nozomu’s grouse about society having the need for pre-requisites. That is, people tend to act under the assumptions. Like that fat chubby couple who is arguing under the assumption who would soon make up or a homeless guy living poorly in the streets under the assumption that the world would end in 1999 (but it didn’t, right?). Later he visits a tsundere cafe whereby Fuura is working as a part time waitress. Nozomu is soon faced with a samurai enemy, Nakano Lee, who wants to kill him because he thinks The Fist Of Despair don’t need 2 successors. All that build up and hype soon crumbles as they become friends. Yeah, Fuura mentions how this is a typical assumption of a shonen manga whereby enemies who appear under the assumption that they’ll be friends in the end. So what on Earth is this Fist Of Despair? OMG! It’s a hentai yaoi manga featuring Nozomu and that samurai guy in several hentai acts and poses! As they part, suddenly we see multiple frames of the characters doing the trademark despair line! "ZETSUBOU SHITA!". Why is everybody in despair? Because they realized the series has ended! Being in despair is such an infectious disease, isn’t it?
 
Wow. That’s it already? Well I suppose that’s enough for 1 crazy season. I can say that the second season is quite well done and even better than the first due to the many random and crazy stuff going on. Also, another plus point is that the producers uses various illustrations and presentations in terms of art and dialogue to surprise viewers and keep them guessing what is really going on.
 
The main characters still retain their wackiness and some are downright disturbing, like Chiri’s psychotic character to do everything properly. Even the minor characters too have a little impact even if their roles aren’t so obvious like that Stick Dog (remember Mayo love putting sticks into a dog’s butt? Yeah, the stick is still stuck there) and a stork which seems to be flying across the sky. Who can’t forget the fat chubby couples. Their public display of affection is so disgusting but at the same time hilarious. I suppose this season has more fanservice as compared to the rest and besides Kaede’s panty flashing, we have Rin, Komori and Abiru emitting lots of moe energy here. Surprisingly, Usui has more appearance here than in the previous season. Can’t really forget about that guy, eh? With the casts of the previous season retained, the voice acting sounds pretty good and even more convincing in this season.
 
The opening theme is called Kuso Rumba and sounds as a crazy rumba song. Plus, the opening animation is filled with typical writings and scriptures. There is a one episode opening theme for episode 7 entitled Lily Cure Go Go which is a parody for that mahou shoujo series Pretty Cure. This time around there are more ending themes albeit it is just a short series. The first ending theme is Koiji Romanesque and sounds like a rock pop song from the 70’s (correct me if I’m wrong). The animation here is different in the sense that the characters here are drawn with think eyebrows and lips, making them look like psychotic people in an asylum! The second ending theme is Marionette and the drawing reverts back to the series’ trademark drawing. This one reminds me like that 80’s pop song from Marc Bolan of T-Rex (correct me if I’m wrong too). The third ending theme lasts only for 1 episode and is featured in the final episode of the series. Yeah, they have the cheek to put a new song for the last episode. Entitled Omamori, the drawing here seems comic-like and the song sounds like Broadway for a horror theme. Something like that.
 
Another thing which I noticed is that at the end of the ending credits, there’ll be a narration (more like ranting) as the words appear while the characters read it and the helter-skelter piano piece which resembles like the one you see in chase scenes in a silent movie, is played in the background. Most of them are read in a fast manner but even so I don’t quite get it and I’m still thinking of its implication. Well, for a person like me who doesn’t read… At first I thought it was the next episode’s preview but later I figure out it isn’t so because the last episode also had one. Also, I’m not sure if this was evident in the previous episode, but I noticed the disclaimer at the end of each episode jokingly said how there is no intention of associating with a particular person, organization and such for the particular theme of that episode, whether dead or alive. Hehe. Then of course the illustrations from different people on the series about leaving you in more despair next week. But I know I’ll be leaving with more laughter, that’s for sure.
 
Still with all the weird customs and habits of society, I guess it’s enough to turn anyone into despair if you worry too much about it. Why not just go with the flow? Well, don’t want to have a herd mentality, don’t we? Amazingly, Nozomu has been able to keep himself alive as up until now. Well, if he’s dead, there won’t be anymore of this series, right? Oh no! I’ve just realized something! Zetsubou shita! This black comedy series has left me addicted and wanting for more of his hilarious and crazy random antics! Zetsubou Shita! Don’t we all need a little despair in our lives? Hey, I just sound like Mr Despair himself! ZETSUBOU SHITA!!!
 
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

August 9, 2008

I’m sure we live in a world whereby we face lots and lots of stuff that are depressing or give us despair. Life itself is indeed ironic. Nothing but disappointment after disappointment. So what happens if we take all that negative stuff and turn it into a comedy? Well, that’s what Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei turns out to be.
 
In this 12 episode anime series, we are introduced to the world’s most negative and pessimistic person on the face of the planet, Nozomu Itoshiki. And by looking at his profession as a teacher, you’ll wonder how on Earth he gets to do a job whereby one has to play a good role model for his students and shape the future leaders of the world. I know, many people don’t fit their jobs in real life too. How depressing. Just like Nozomu himself. Due to this negative behaviour of his, he sees everything from aspects in life and culture in a very negative light. So why can’t he just kill himself and free himself from this painful world? Aha. He’s the main character, you see. Which means he can’t die as he’s at the mercy of the producers and scriptwriters. Haha. Just a little side joke there.
 
Even though this is a comedy series, the jokes here aren’t really intended for young audiences because it deals with issues like depression and suicide. Plus, since most of the jokes are reflections and ironies of real life, which make viewers think in a different way how true and ironic it is, thus this is more of a black comedy.
 
Back to Nozomu as seen in episode 1. It’s a beautiful day and the sakura trees are at full bloom. A very cheery and positive girl, Kafuka Fuura, is happily enjoying the day while walking to school when she chances upon a guy (Nozomu) who has just hanged himself from a sakura tree. How’s that for starting off the series with the main character dying. Of course Fuura tries to save him. Okay, probably she’s in a panic and starts pulling him. So the branch snaps and he didn’t die. Why, Nozomu even had the cheek to yell back what happens if he had actually died! The last words you’d here from anybody suicidal. From first impression, Fuura did look like she was assisting in speeding up Nozomu’s death even though her intentions were to save him. Anyway Nozomu is not too happy about Fuura trying to save him and starts his negative ranting but Fuura doesn’t see Nozomu as killing himself. She thinks he’s making himself grow taller! What kind of twisted logic is that? I know, she’s the most positive optimistic thinking girl, but substituting it with something less gruesome doesn’t necessarily make it better. Furthermore, Fuura decides to call him Momoiro Kakarichou (Pink Supervisor) and even pays him 50 Yen to call him so as a licensing fee. In the end, Nozomu ran away.
 
But that isn’t the end of it all. I suppose Nozomu has to go back to teaching seeing that he’s alive. To his surprise, he spots Fuura as his student too. Like they say, opposites do attract. So Nozomu introduces himself by writing his kanji name vertically on the blackboard. As usual, he goes on blabbing about his negativeness of his name when Fuura decides to write it horizontally. Nozomu is in a panic and tries to stop her but too late. What’s wrong with that? You see, when Nozomu’s surname is combined, it reads and means ‘despair’. So that explains why his character is so. Ah, the wonders of Japanese kanji. The next time we write his name, make sure to leave ample room and space in between the characters. Yeah, but don’t overdo it. Fuura even gives more Yen as a raise to call him that Pink Supervisor. The rest of the episode sees Fuura talking to another classmate, Chiri Kitsu, about having a spa in school. Chiri is a perfectionist and can’t stand anything that isn’t equal or precise. Like when she spots Fuura’s unequal stocking lengths. Yeah, she took the liberty to make it so. No joke. Even her middle hair parting is equally perfect. Other than that, we see Nozomu returning to class after getting some counselling from the school’s pretty counsellor, Chie Arai. As Nozomu trudges back to class, he gives his students an assignment to list all their despairs after making them list their hopes. A contrast of what many teachers would do. After listing, Nozomu proceeds to mock it all and gives them a sense of no hope. But luckily, there is Fuura’s positivity. Her words seem to lift the students’ spirit even she herself admits that she herself has some despair. Later in the teacher’s lounge, Nozomu is being complimented by another teacher about his student’s hopes. But he notes how 1 student’s hope is bothering him. Guess who? It’s Fuura. Why, she wrote down her hopes (in descending order) to be God, a time traveller, and a Pororokan Alien. Huh? What’s a Pororokan alien? Hmm… Doesn’t her aspirations sound somewhat similar to those of the SOS Brigade club members in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu? Well, almost. Sometimes being too positive can be bad. That’s what makes Fuura dangerous. Her scary positive ideas are real scary.
 
In most episodes, the trend of comedy is something like that. It can be divided into several parts and sometimes there are short skits which are seemingly unrelated to the particular theme of the episode. Some of the episodes are really random and others seem to focus on a particular student. Just like Nozomu himself, the main student characters of the series kanji name are a play on words. By combining or adding the kanji characters, the name of the students in a way reflect that particular student’s peculiar and unique characteristic. In addition, you’ll here Nozomu’s trademark "zetsubou shita" line of being in despair (or any other characters) when he realized something (that particular episode’s theme or topic) has made and left him in despair.
 
Episode 2 sees Nozomu once again trying to kill himself by jumping in front of an oncoming train but us being restrained by a rail officer. Fuura spots him and decides to save him. Unfortunately, her rescue seems more like killing him. Will this become a trend? Yeah, she pushes him. Luckily the train just zooms pass by when Nozomu fell on the track. Nozomu shouts back words no one will thought a man in his predicament would say: "Shinde dou suru!" (What happens if I had really died!). Hahaha! So is he serious of suicide? If so, he could really ask Fuura for ‘help’. In school, Nozomu once again goes to see Chie and mentions how his identity is being stolen through the electronic turnstile at the train station. But Chie changes the subject and tells him he has to go visit a student, Kiri Komori, because she isn’t attending school. Nozomu has to oblige because of Chie’s ‘stare’. Don’t want to mess with her if you value your life. Ironic, isn’t it? Nozomu is outside Komori’s house when Fuura comes by and the duo decides to go investigate. Inside, they find Komori has locked herself in her room and Nozomu concludes he is a hikikomori (recluse) but Fuura thinks otherwise. She thinks Komori is some sort of deity spirit called Zashiki Warashi and her confinement is supposed to bring luck to the house. With that, they decide to seal her in even further! Komori is frightened and busts out. Talk about reverse psychology! Nozomu notices Komori is quite pretty and tells her that if she ever wants to die, she should tell him. With that, you could say Komori takes some sort of liking for Nozomu. Next day at school, a teacher is praising Nozomu for making Komori come to school. But Nozomu didn’t see her in class. Why, Komori has decide to confine her self in school. Ah well. Back to square one. You’ll notice her being wrapped in a blanket and confining herself in places like closets and whenever somebody opens the door to see her, she’ll say "Akenaide yo" (Don’t open).
 
The second half sees Chie telling Nozomu of another student not attending classes, Matoi Tsunetsuki. Matoi has been labelled a stalker because she really stalks any person whom she is deeply in love with. While Nozomu and Chie are providing counselling to Matoi, Fuura comes in and tells them that she couldn’t possibly a stalker. Yet another twisted logic of deep love and that is how she portrays her affection (stalking, that is). Matoi even thinks this must be it and decides to go see him because she wants to know what he is doing. On another note, we see perfectionist Chiri trying to equally split a strawberry cake into 4. But each time a new person enters, she has to improvise so that each person gets an equal piece. It’s getting irritating. So when there are too many people, Chiri just made a juice out of it. Urm… Can we drink that? Later we see Matoi’s ex-boyfriend, Takeshi, having the surprise of his life when Matoi bursts in. Takeshi says their relationship is over but Matoi insists that she still deeply loves him. Nozomu then appears and explain true love is when both couples do a lover’s suicide and even shows them a bunch of items to assist in their suicide. Before he leaves, he tells Matoi that if she ever wants to die, he would die with her anytime. With that, Matoi thinks that Nozomu indirectly confessed to her and decides to leave Takeshi. Next day at school, Matoi continues to stare at Nozomu, sending shivers down his spine. Yeah, Matoi has a wall filled with pictures of him. Obsessed! Nozomu can’t go home because he fears that Matoi will follow him. While he is sleeping in the infirmary, Chiri is also sleeping there when she accidentally roll next to his bed in his arms. They both opened their eyes to find themselves in an awkward position. With that, Chiri says since it has come to this, they have no choice and wants him to do a proper job by registering her into his family and meeting her parents. Another case of deep love? Later Nozomu tries to escape but notices Matoi following and stalking him. The hilarious part was this sets off a chain of stalkers too! Takeshi seems to be bothered by Matoi’s new love and decides to follow her. This is followed by Takeshi’s new girlfriend suspicious of him, then a middle age rich guy, then his wife, then the cleaner who clean her undies. Yeah, it’s like Nozomu leading a line of stalkers. Just like Pied Pipper. Soon Chiri even joins in. Looks like Nozomu has another girl who has taken their teacher-student love relationship to a whole new level.
 
Episode 3 sees the return of a foreign student from overseas. She is the blonde Kaere Kimura. She notices how Nozomu is avoiding eye contact with her and his reason is that he’s doing so to avoid being labelled as sexual harassment. After the students think how Nozomu has never visited places outside Japan, Kaere thinks how customs in Japan are strange and explains to them their different cultures. A student tells her to go back if she doesn’t like it here. With that, Kaere is so shocked that she undergoes a personality change. At Chie’s room, she mentions how Kaere has 2 split personalities due to different cultural backgrounds. One as a stereotypical foreigner who always threaten to sue (Utaete!!!) and the other an ultimate kind gentle ideal Japanese woman. Whenever she is in the latter form, her name changes to Kaede. As she is in Kaede form, she follows Nozomu around as she finds herself in love with him. But Kaede notices how Matoi closely follows him (even to men’s toilets!) and concludes that she is no match for her and decides to kill herself by jumping off the roof. But Nozomu stops her because he thinks that this spot is his suicide place and manages to grab her feet before she falls. As Kaede is being held upside down, her panties are being flashed and she turns back to Kaere and threatens to sue Nozomu for sexual harassment. Nozomu is horrified as he doesn’t want to become a courtroom sketch. From now on, you’ll notice that Kaere/Kaede seems to play the panty flasher role for fanservice and Matoi just follow Nozomu around and doesn’t help much no matter how much trouble that teacher is in.
 
The second half has Chie talking attendance when she notices a girl’s voice answering to a name she believes belongs to a boy. She is Maria Tarou Sekiutsu. Hmm… She reminds me a little of Su from Love Hina. While everyone else accepts her, Chiri doesn’t. So she decides to follow Maria to investigate further. Along the way, Chiri bumps into Fuura and the duo continue their stalking. I mean, following. Upon reaching Maria’s house, they find that it houses dozens of illegal immigrants. Of course Fuura tells them that they are returnee citizens. This girl can come up with lots of reasons. Chiri on the other hand still can’t accept it so Maria takes them back to school and shows them the boy whom has sold his identity to Maria. This ex-Tarou Sekiutsu is living in a cardboard box and tells them how he sold his identity and everything to taste true freedom. What crap is this? Then when Maria says how she legally purchase it, Chiri accepts it because the fact that there were legal transactions occurred. Soon Chiri starts to feel pity for Maria because of her poor conditions and decides to protect her. Yeah, everyone in school too decides to protect her after just watching her actions, by giving her money and gifts. So being an illegal immigrant does have its advantages. If everyone has that mentality, of course. This doesn’t mean you should be one too.
 
If you notice a girl covered in bandages all the time, she is Abiru Kobushi and in episode 4 because she is a suspected victim of domestic violence, Nozomu is asked to meet her dad. Nozomu spots Abiru’s dad going into a shop to purchase something but can’t help think that he might use that newly bought stuff to abuse his daughter. So Nozomu tells the shopkeeper about his abusive ways and he completely believes Nozomu’s words and refuses to sell anything to that unsuspecting dad. This goes on and on in several shops. I wonder why Abiru’s dad doesn’t suspect anything wrong and just leave. So much so, Nozomu even apologized to him when he bumps into him and fears that he may be after his life! Later we see Fuura somehow ending up in a tiger’s cage when a tiger is going to pound on her. Fuura doesn’t mind because she thinks she’ll be reborn as a good person. Before anything could happen, Abiru calls the tiger and it goes to her. It seems Abiru is quite fond and good with animals as they played with each other. However, due to the rough play, Abiru got injured. So we learn that Abiru’s injuries aren’t from domestic violence but from playing with animals. In other words, she loves pulling animal tails. Nozomu visits Abiru back home to find many trophies of animal tails hanging on the wall. Abiru tells of her dream of going round the world pulling animal tails when she suggests Nozomu to try on a tail. Upon putting on one, Abiru gets excited and is going to pull it as Nozomu runs out in fear thinking that Abiru may be some sort of pervert. Poor Abiru’s dad. That fella got bad reputation for nothing.
 
Next we see a very shy girl named Meru Otonashi. She is unable to read aloud in class when Nozomu asks her to. Meru then runs out of the room. Nozomu finds out that she has a fear of speaking out loud and goes to find her and manages to convince her to come back to class. Nozomu then decides to communicate with her via handphone. But to his shock, he finds the SMS to be very abusive and insulting! Watch your language girl! Yeah, every student gets a piece of her vulgarness. She can’t stop either! Must be real addictive to curse people, huh? Good thing she doesn’t speak out loud. Can’t imagine the profanity. Everyone heaves a sigh of relief when Meru’s handphone batteries died. Just then, Meru opens her top shirt (OMG!) to reveal several standby batteries! Oh no! Nozomu has Fuura switch places with Meru because at that spot there is no signal. Because she can’t use her handphone, Meru is turning into a devil, chanting unknown languages (Fuura says she knows that language because her mom speaks it?!) and is going to go on a rampage (just like drug addicts without their usual fix, huh?) when Fuura stops her by whacking her head with an oversized cross. This causes Meru to smash her head on her handphone and breaks it. When Meru comes to, Fuura tells her that there are other ways to communicate and starts to guess what Meru is saying by deeply staring in her eye. Meru sees fear when staring in Fuura’s eyes and runs away after thinking that this girl is dangerous. Must be that scary optimism she sees. Meru tries to escape but Fuura grabs her hand and wants everybody to start expressing their feelings. The next scene is weird because we see some exercise boot camp and the girls all holding hands in a circle while Fuura blabs about her Pororokan planet. Are they implying that we can communicate with aliens this way?
 
After the girl’s physical exams in episode 5, Nozomu decides to test the social worth of his students. First, by personally calling a male student, Kagerou Usui, to a room whereby Nozomu proceeds to ask him to loan 10,000 Yen. Since that amount is too high, anybody in their right mind would decline it. Nozomu gradually decreases the borrowing amount till 50 Yen, in which Usui accepts. With that, Nozomu tells Usui that his human worth is only 50 Yen and decides to give him a smaller classroom table for all that he is worth! Chiri agrees with that idea of justice and decides to give the other students their worth too (by throwing ‘deservingly’ things at their faces?! And what about that part about sleep standing in a cage?!). Talk about degrading and downgrading. Furthermore, Nozomu fears of this himself and decides to die in a luxurious way. Woah. Drinking the best fine wine with a blonde bombshell in a hotel room. Is he sure of wanting to kill himself. In the end, he decides to drown himself in a bowl of Dom Perignon wine. But he didn’t die because we see him at Chie’s office. Like Fuura said, he was saved by his cheap nature. Yeah, the wine was too cheap to die in. Just then, that woman came in and gives him a hefty bill of expenses. Now Nozomu thinks it is really hard to die but a jealous Chiri says otherwise, that it is easy to die. Is she really going to kill him for straying?
 
The other half sees Nozomu going to a hotspring. To his dismay, he finds the other girl students there as well. Playful Maria breaks down the wall barrier of the hotspring bath and ironically, the girls aren’t afraid of their teacher seeing them naked, but Nozomu himself is freaked out upon the idea that the girls sees him naked. Screaming like a girl, isn’t he? Yeah, those girls are real bold. They don’t even mind him looking at them! Especially Matoi and Chiri. Nozomu learns from the girls that this hotspring has some detoxification effect and that they are here to detoxify whatever toxins they have in their body. Nozomu decides to leave after hearing that. The scene changes to Chie and Komori taking a bath together at school. Over the series, I kinda notice that these 2 are like together and there are hints that something suggestive might be going on between them. Back at the hotspring, Nozomu finds that the detoxification really did have an effect on the girls. It just didn’t detoxify the harmful elements in the body, but their characters change as well. Like Kaere, she doesn’t threaten to sue at the slightest displeasure and Meru, her SMS are so polite. Nozomu tries to change his students back to the way they were by saying something about once something detoxified is gone, it feels like there is something missing. After the girls eat unhealthy fast food, they’re back to normal. They suggest Nozomu to it try out. Though Nozomu declines, Fuura tells him not to hold back and pushes him into the hotspring. The girls wait for him to resurface and to their horror only find his spectacles and robe floating. They come up with a conclusion that his whole being is toxic and this is what would come only up after being detoxified. Oh sensei, we will all miss you… Not. The real reason why Nozomu didn’t resurface was because he is being pinned down by Maria at the bottom of the hotspring.
 
In episode 6, Fuura visits a local doctor as she is having a cold. But to her surprise finds Nozomu practicing as a doctor at a clinic. However, it isn’t exactly Nozomu. He is Mikoto Itoshiki, Nozomu’s older brother. Fuura then writes his name on the board horizontally to find that just like in Nozomu’s case, it can be read as ‘zetsumei’ (death). Mikoto is horrified and bangs his head multiple times on the wall saying that because of having such name, he has a hard time finding patients. Hilarious. In my opinion, because of that, Fuura feels better and leaves. Fuura bumps into Chiri in the streets and proceeds to tell her about Mikoto to the extend of bringing her to the clinic as proof. Mikoto then tells them that Nozomu has left for his hometown for an engagement ceremony. I guess Chiri can’t accept this. Due to several coincident, most of the girls boarded the train to Nozomu’s hometown (example, Meru was trying to find signal for her handphone and accidentally steps into the train). Upon reaching their destination, they are being picked up by the Itoshiki’s family butler, Sebastian. They spot Nozomu and when he tries to run away, Sebastian jumps on top of him. Back at the Itoshiki’s large mansion, the girls meet Nozomu’s sister, Rin. Once again, due to the writing of her name, Fuura mispronounce (or was it on purpose) it to be ‘zetsurin’ (peerless in bed). Rin is going to take out her anger at Fuura but is restrained by her guards.
 
Inside the house, the girls learn of their weird traditional engagement ceremony. By looking and staring directly into the eye, both couples become engaged. So in the next 12 hours, whoever Nozomu looks into the eyes of or vice versa, will be engaged to him. The girls are invited to participate, especially Chiri and Matoi who are so into it. During that period, Nozomu tells how he is a master of not looking and tells of various experiences whereby he turned a blind eye. Like a couple doing immoral activities in the alley or a poor stray kitten left to fend itself in a box. He ignored them all. Chiri and Matoi try to get Nozomu to look into their eyes, but that guy is damn good in evading eye contact. Nozomu manages to escape to a storeroom but is surprised to find Komori there (something about being accidentally transported here from school). Nozomu escapes through an underground hatch but it looks like Sebastian has got every inch of the place covered with CCTV cameras and even hired professional ‘lookers’! I don’t know what those 2 guys are looking at each other for as if they’re going to start a fight. Nozomu manages to evade the pros and arrives at a place where he spots a multiple-eyed monsters. In his horror, he faints while the monitor room goes blackout. Chiri then did some clairvoyance thing with her third eye on her forehead because the characters in her kanji name indicates one. When it’s over, Nozomu didn’t get engage and with the girls, decide to head home. Just then, a classmate of theirs, Nami Hitou, tiredly arrives but to her dismay finds everybody is leaving. Poor girl. All that trip for nothing. In the train, Nozomu notices Kaere’s eye panties, which causes him to faint again.
 
In episode 7, Harumi Fujiyoshi is rushing in the streets with her doujinshi work (OMG! She’s a yaoi lover!!!) when she bumps into Nozomu. He tells her that he too does doujinshi but apparently he thinks this doujinshi is something else. Fan made publication for poets? Harumi invites Nozomu to a doujinshi exhibition since she herself is participating there. At the exhibition, the otakus are thinking that Nozomu must be some cosplay character. Not only that, Nozomu fails to sell his doujinshi work. I don’t think that’s the kind of genre that should be displayed here. Fuura then appears and decide to buy one. Matoi thinks it’s a ploy to get Nozomu to fall in love with her so Matoi buys the whole stack. Meanwhile at Harumi’s booth, Chiri approaches her and chides her for doing such work. Chiri decides to have Harumi ‘properly’ do her doujinshi at school by teaching her do a 4 panel doujinshi which includes a panel each for introduction, development, turning point and conclusion. Nozomu then overhears their conversation and decides to tell them about the 5th panel called darkness. All to which, leads to pain. Huh? The later part sees the girls in their yukata for a summer festival. Here a bunch of overzealous people decides to hype things up by putting them up on a pedestal. Yeah, they could praise and hype just about anything. Really. Even the girls aren’t spared. Not even normal girl, Nami. She hates it when people calls her normal but I guess she has no choice seeing that there isn’t anything on her which stands out. "Don’t call me normal!". Sometimes I find it hard to differentiate between Nami and Fuura because they look quite close. Chie is watching from a distance how those bunch are praising a stalker and a hikikomori as she herself wonders if there is anybody who would put her up on a pedestal.
 
It’s ironic for a person who has been ignored for the most of his life to have an episode dedicated to him. Well, not really. In episode 8, Usui narrates how his entire life people seems to miss him out. Even pictures of him are blurred out. You wonder why he even existed in the first place. Usui bumps into a guy who doesn’t even know what he bumped into and a car which nearly collided into him. Nearby, Nozomu is telling his students about hiding in the shade. In short, being an outcast. Yeah, they leave poor Usui behind too. At the pool, perverted guys are surrounding Kaere lying on a deckchair in a bikini when a voluptuous Chie comes by, thus putting Kaere in the shade. Literally. Then Nozomu finds a 1000 Yen on the ground and decides to report it to the police but when Fuura comes by with a briefcase full of money, this puts him back into the shade. Soon Fuura demonstrates a shadow quiz and reveals to the rest Usui, whom nobody seems to recognize. Usui claims he is the real class president as opposed to Chiri. But since it’s always assumed that Chiri was the class president, I guess she has no qualms of going with the flow. Fuura then says that it isn’t possible for a non-existent person like Usui to exist and concludes that he is a fairy. Can it get more absurd than this? Anyway Usui runs away from all that. Sad.
 
Later, Chie brings Nozomu to class in chains. Nozomu thinks that his students are criticizing him and starts his usual negative ranting on how people can’t go on living normally after receiving criticisms. Well, Nozomu thought of killing himself when he felt hurt by their criticisms. But when Chiri says go ahead, he backs out and changes the subject to criticism drills. A man from the fire department then enters the class and starts criticizing everyone in the name of criticising drill exercise. I think they’re more of insults rather than anything else. More of grilling rather than drilling. "Buttface. Gumpoo. Attractive in a normal way. Weird hairdo lady". Why, he even SMS a mean text to Meru, which sends her crying! Nozomu notices how vilifying insults are flying across the room and Maria thinks it’s some kind of dinosaur. Vilifisaur. Usui thinks he is next to be criticized but to his horror finds the guy criticizing the person behind him. Haha. Seen right through him. Is that good or bad? Then a wind of change which blows Usui’s hair over revealing his bald spot. With that, Usui has become ‘visible’ and everyone starts noticing him. Usui thinks that he’ll now be criticized by everyone and starts criticizing himself first. Didn’t work. Everybody is staring at his bald spot and their stares are painfully pierceful. Is this the kind of attention he wants? Better off being a nobody, would he? Fuura notices this and tries to solve this problem by calling Chie. Fuura wants Chie to quickly criticize Usui. Her reason? If he’s going to be criticized, might as well be criticized by a beautiful person. In a way it will seem less cruel. And I thought Fuura was going to bring Chie to calm everyone down. Ah well, normal common sense don’t work for this positive girl. Usui finds it very calming and wants Chie to go on criticizing him and the latter is happy to oblige. Disgusting baldie! Suddenly, the wind blows his hair over, making him invisible once more. During that, Maria gives Nozomu a Vilifisaur kick. In the end, we see Chie giving more flowery criticisms to Usui. With that, a bunch of male losers queue up a long line just to get some from her. "Please insult me as well". Losers.
 
Episode 9 has the girls doing a spot the difference puzzle when Nozomu comes by and tells them to spot the mistakes in their lives. Yup, another round of negativity and he even give examples like his own existence. Nozomu shows 2 similar pictures and tells his students to spot the difference but they look the same. So don’t go have your eyes checked. He even makes the class go on a guilty conscious by making them think of the mistakes they have made. Everyone sinks into gloominess except happy-go-lucky Maria. As Nozomu tries to prove otherwise to her, Fuura counters it all by saying that everything isn’t a mistake. That’s because mistakes were once correct so if the person who has done a mistake, confesses his/her wrong, he/she will be correct. Get it? Soon, several outsiders come up to Fuura to confirm whether her theory is true or not by confessing their wrongdoings and crimes. Fuura then assures them that they are correct. Woah! Even a criminal admits his wrongdoings and was sent to jail. But because of that, he thinks it’s correct! What a turn around! We could use this explanation in the real world. Not. Suddenly a little boy, Majiru, appears and Nozomu tries to convince his class that this kid isn’t his son. Why did they think Majiru is Nozomu’s child? Well, he looks like a chibi version of Nozomu. Better hurry before Chiri and Matoi slice you into pieces. They found out Majiru is Nozomu’s nephew. Phew.
 
I’m not sure why Majiru turned up but he seems to be hanging around Nozomu’s class and the girls are quite fond of this cute fella. Nozomu is irritated by this fact and wonders if this nephew of his is the real one. Soon he starts asking the class if they are his real students by demanding some sort of proof. Chiri then shows her student ID but Nozomu deems it insufficient because it can be faked. Chiri goes about trying to prove that she is the real Chiri by telling Nozomu about things she herself would only know, even if it’s embarrassing. Like her curly hair when she was young. With that, Nozomu accepts. Nozomu then goes over to ‘pick on’ Nami followed by Maria (whom she answered all his questions correct so Nozomu thinks she is the real Maria). However, as for the rest, there are dark embarrassing secrets which they don’t want others to find out. Yeah, Meru has never called on her handphone before… Due to this, Nozomu cannot accept them as their real identity. Majiru then questions back to Nozomu to prove that he is their real teacher. The students starts ganging up and demands Nozomu to prove his real identity or is he an impostor. Right back at ‘cha. Nozomu realized that he has nothing to prove that he is the real thing. Is he even doubting himself? He’s in suicidal mode but before he could hang himself, Fuura says that a teacher wouldn’t say such things and that Nozomu is a wonderful teacher. Everyone starts to agree. Nozomu wonders how he is like and the students start describing him on a piece of paper. Nozomu is surprised to see his description and says "Who the hell am I?!". Well well. Looks like the students do have a different Nozomu in mind. Nozomu runs away on a journey. Looks like he ended up in Russia and can’t remember who he is. Later, the girls find out Majiru has a fetish for hair and Fuura wants to let Majiru touch Chiri’s hair. When Majiru does, Chiri’s long straight hair uncoils to be a messy curly one, freaking out Majiru. She look like Medusa. Poor Majiru. He’s cowering in fear. I hope he doesn’t grow up to have fear of hair and turn into a baldie.
 
Nozomu announces the upcoming school cultural festival in episode 10. But he thinks that there is nothing cultured about it so he declines to participate. But he soon allow his students to do one as long as it has minimal cultural standard in it. They go through various ideas but Nozomu rejected them all for being too cultured. Fed up, Chiri tells him to hold a class with minimal standards, which surprises Nozomu. So in the end, their school cultural is some bean growing exhibit. Sad case. Earlier on, Chiri tried to do a stand up comedian joke by saying "This is where the competition parts", in reference to her hair parting. It seems several young kids are copying her. Is it a new fad or just teasing? The second half sees Nozomu and his girls going on a field trip to Kyoto. However, this is just a preview trip and the girls wonder if it was necessary to bring them along. Because of this, they are not permitted to touch or see anything because it’s just a preview. Also, Fuura is seen reading a very detailed and thick travel itinery for their field trip, written by Chiri. The next destination is to some preview temple. It’s so ironic to see the temple monks going to an internet porn site but got fell into despair when he finds out it was just a preview. Anything more, they need to pay. Isn’t the real world like this? The monk even takes them to see a preview of love. Some guy watching a girl entering her house for 365 straight days after falling in love with her. Isn’t that stalking? What about previewing a girl’s body by inspecting dolls. What the? What kind of monk is this?! Then Nozomu invites Chiri to preview the ceremony site with him. Chiri is happy and hopes it doesn’t just end with a preview. But it was a preview of his graveyard instead. In Chiri’s rage, she takes the tombstone and smack Nozomu’s head. Obviously, she felt it took a long time doing that itinery and wants Nozomu to give back her schedule. Nozomu is seen in a coma (Chiri must be real sorry) but Fuura say that there is no such thing as he is previewing the afterlife. After Nozomu has recovered, he return to class saying that their field trip will be to Okinawa. Which means, that preview was useless in the first place.
 
The girls are watching an awful movie in episode 11 and are relating their disappointment to one another when the director of the movie that he just followed the normal way. What does he mean by that? As the girls try to chase him, they come across several alleys and witness several people trying to follow the normal way in order not to be blamed or shift their blame to somebody else. I mean, if one did follow the normal way, one can’t be blame for doing something different when it does wrong, right? Well, running away isn’t just going to solve the problem, right? As perfectionist Chiri can’t accept them, Nozomu tries to convince her when he accidentally touched her boobs. Chiri wants him to take responsibility. Nozomu tries to escape and ends up at a path split into 2. A sign says "Ignore" while the other states "Marry". How should he choose? Ee-ni-mi-ni-mai-ni-mo. Catch-a-donkey-by-its-toe. Okay, so it’s "Ignore". While walking down this street, Nozomu is relieve to know that regardless of the choice taken, once the decision is made, one feels much better. Is it? Does he have any conscience? But then, Chiri appears in front of him with a knife and rushes towards him before stabbing him in his back! OMG! Fuura, Majiru and Matoi arrives to see Nozomu dead on the ground but this time they spot 2 knives on his back! Luckily, the end note state that they were just toys. Remember, depending on the decision made, you reap what you sow.
 
In the second part, Nozomu is resting at his home during the school holidays and wonders when Majiru will go home. Even Komori is hiding in his closet as a break from school. Harumi then barges in and tells Nozomu to quickly pack his important stuff and run away. Why? Because at this point of year, Chiri will go on a cleaning spree. And due to her perfectionist behaviour, she’s going to clean the entire neighbourhood from head to toe. Just like Harumi’s. Too late, Chiri has arrived and starts cleaning. Chiri starts throwing things deemed useless to her, even though it belongs to Nozomu. In short, she throws out almost everything and thus the house is ‘clean and spotless’. Literally. Nozomu goes through the garbage bag to reclaim all his possessions when Fuura and Maria shows up to share cake with everyone. Chiri is upset with Nozomu’s slob behaviour because Nozomu decides to go to sleep. He notes that if he’s not allowed to go into eternal sleep, at least he wants to hibernate. Chiri thinks it’s impossible for humans to hibernate but Nozomu doesn’t care if he’s human. Fuura then says that humans do hibernate and gives several examples of her twisted version of ‘hibernating’ humans. So when spring comes, they’ll come back alive. Nozomu decides to hibernate with Komori in the closet when Chiri gives him that scary piercing stare which made him cower in fear. Furthermore, Fuura decides a group hibernation since the closet is too small. After sealing the place air tight and burning some charcoal for heat, everyone goes to sleep. However, Chiri doesn’t allow Nozomu to sleep because she thinks he hasn’t atone for his sins yet. So she try to give irritating simulations (like saying mosquito buzzing around the ear) to prevent him from Nozomu as he try to counter her attempts (like sleeping pills down the throat). Nozomu lost. Just then, they start to feel dizzy and notice that the charcoal is actual carbon monoxide poisoning! Quick open the doors! Nearly slept for eternity. The girls also notice Nozomu not around. He is somewhere taking deep breaths and is thinking of hanging himself since that everything has left him in despair when a stray tram comes in his direction. From the way things look, it really did hit him as we see his broken spectacles. Matoi can only watch in horror behind the lamp post. Chiri and Fuura arrived to late. In the end, every student is waiting anxiously outside the operation room. Fuura maintains a positive face saying that he’ll be alright. But from the last scene, we hear Nozomu’s voice in surprise tone. Is he okay? Did he cheat death by the skin of his teeth?
 
But whatever happened in the previous episode’s cliffhanger, the producer sure didn’t continue on that. Nozomu is perfectly fine in episode 12 as though that accident never happened. He just can’t die, can’t he? Instead, this final episode introduces yet another 2 of Nozomu’s students. The first half sees a guilt complex girl named Ai Kaga. She thinks everything she does is due to her fault. So why haven’t we seen her in previous episodes? Ai claims that she got out of the camera’s way in fear that she would be a hindrance to the show. Even if she isn’t the main character. Her profusely apologizing ways for the slightest thing kinda remind me of Ritsu from Fruits Basket. It’s exaggerative and ridiculous. If everyone else have such complex, would the world be a better place? Nozomu gives more negative examples of people avoiding doing something because they think it would be a bother. He also thinks this is the mentality of the people of Japan. Ai then runs out of the class. While wandering around, she fears that she might cause some trouble for browsing a shop but the shop owner too apologizes. Then as she calm down at a cafe with Fuura and Nozomu, the waiter and cook seems to be apologetic as well because they fear their food isn’t to their taste. Why, a car accident just occurred nearby and when the 2 tough drivers got out and is seemingly going to fight. Unexpectedly, they felt guilty and started apologizing. Soon, this guilt complex is so infectious that everybody starts apologizing! Wow! Nozomu then realized that he is a bother in Tokyo (his presence will lower the value of Tokyo, that is) and decides to run away with Ai to another place. Upon reaching Okinawa, the duo too think that they are a bother here and everywhere else (heck, even his existence is a bother) and decides to hang himself. It looked like a bungee jump… Okay, maybe Nozomu finally successfully killed himself because we see the girls weeping at his coffin during his funeral. All the girls think it’s their fault that Nozomu died when Nozomu springs out from the coffin (Matoi lying next to him?) and proclaims that it is his fault that he died. All the girls are happy as they rush over to hug him.
 
The second student introduce in the second half is Mayo Mitama, who narrates how people tend to misunderstand her due to her evil-looking eyes. Nozomu caught her playing a ding dong ditch (ringing the doorbell and then run away) and when the owner comes out, he accuses Nozomu. I’m not sure whether Mayo’s eyes send some shiver down that owner’s spine when he shifts the blame on her to Nozomu. To cut things short, the moral of this story is that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Even if a person looks evil, one shouldn’t judge and accuse them of being evil at first sight. Just like in Mayo’s case. Uh huh. So by using this theory and twisted logic, because Mayo looks evil, people shouldn’t jump to conclusions that she did bad stuff, even if she was the culprit. Yeah right… No matter how the rest try to reason that Mayo isn’t a bad girl, somehow Nozomu seems to witness bad things done by her one after another. Like sticking a stick in a dog’s butt! Isn’t that obvious?! Well, Fuura mentions that it’s raining sticks in dogs. WTF?! As Nozomu argue over the lack of evidence, Mayo runs away. But if you talk about evidence, it’s getting obvious because we see the other girls in despair like Matoi’s wall pictures of Nozomu being nailed in the nose, Abiru’s tail collection being replaced with something else, and Meru’s handphone totally being reset. Down the path of evil! Then Mayo was going to stick a pole down Kaere’s butt when Nozomu manages to take it away in time. Only thing is, that accidentally happened so Kaere slapped him. Nozomu tries to say it’s Mayo but after Kaere looks at Mayo’s eyes, she says she’ll introduce her to a good lawyer. Looks like she still thinks it’s Nozomu. With that, Nozomu accepts that Mayo can’t do bad things and apologizes to her. Back at Nozomu’s place, we see Majiru entering a room when Mayo appears and whacks him on his head from behind with a bat. Even if Nozomu and Fuura witnessed it, they wouldn’t believe it was her because the evidence is too perfect. Though Majiru points to Mayo as the culprit, Nozomu slams him for judging a person by its appearance. Not even when Mayo hits Nozomu with a brick on the head or blows up his house! They can’t think of her as a bad person! Mayo then reveals how she loves teasing anything she likes as Nozomu hugs her. Maria then says Mayo is a tsundere.
 
For those who can’t get more of those hilarious despair, there is a second season called Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. I think I’ll wait for the subs for the entire series to come out first, then I’ll have a go to see what more despair awaits Nozomu. I also like the twisted reasoning and logic from Fuura. You could say they are ‘creative’ in a way. I could never have come up with such ideas. While it is good to remain positive at all times, but I’m sure there is a limit on how feasible that reasoning should be. Oh yes, I later found out that Fuura’s name isn’t her real name, but just a pen name of some European author. And Chiri, you don’t want to make her mad because she can really turn into a scary person. As each of the other characters have their own unique and weird personalities, it’s hard for me to say which one I like best. There are other minor student characters too which make minimal appearances from time to time like Jun Kudou (his stories can move people to tears) and Kotokon (a fat ugly girl who has a heavily photoshopped pic of herself on the internet to make her look attractive). Then there are other minor extra background characters which the producers don’t even draw their face. Just blank. To the most, they just put a round red chop bearing their name on it.
 
One thing I want to mention is the drawing and art. At first glance, it may not be your typical standard Japanese anime drawing. But because of the simple lines, combined with the right mix of shading and colour, I find that the art are quite well done. And at certain points and in certain lights, the girls kinda remind me of Enma Ai of Jigoku Shoujo (especially Komori). I also notice that the pattern on the hakama dress Nozomu wears, seems to be ‘still’ in a particular position no matter where Nozomu goes. Meaning, it doesn’t move along with the rest of the body. There are several traditional sketches, illustrations and pictures or even short cinematic movies which I believe to serve as scene changer and has nothing to do with that episode’s particular topic.
 
Another point I want note is that, there are short scribbles or sayings usually written on the blackboard or some wall. Each time the scene changes, the writings will be different. I don’t know what those writings are trying to imply since it’s too small to read and it changes so fast. Though I know some are just for fun and have no real implication whereas some do sound like assertive statements to quotes from some other references. Beside this, there are also a lot of onscreen writings like when the characters list down examples, the screen will be cluttered with them. The fansub group did a pretty good job in subbing each and every sentence, though it was too fast for me to read everything at one go. So much so, this stopping and pausing just to read them becomes so much tiring that I just decided "If I can read them, I read lah. If not, forget it". Ah, such negative thinking. Your Japanese literacy must be damn good in order to read everything. And fast. There are tons of trivia and cultural references for viewers to spot. Other than that, I notice an appearance of a real life bald bearded bespectacled guy (I think he’s called Mr Abe). Though his appearance is just a head shot in a circle, it usually appears as a censor mark or a replacement symbol of something like the school’s clock or a traffic light.
 
The fansubbers also did quite a good job by putting the meaning and implication of the character’s kanji name at the end of the episode. While they do that, note the Don’t Worry Be Happy theme song in the background. How apt. I also like the way they leave a note at the end of the show to tell viewers how they’ll leave them in even more despair for next week’s show. I think we’ll be leaving with lots of laughter. I love the nicknames that the show gives the characters in the series. Such as:
 
Nozomu = Super Negative Teacher
Fuura = Super Positive Girl
Chiri = Methodical And Uptight Girl
Matoi = Super Loving Stalker Girl
Komori = Hikikomori Girl
Kaere/Kaede = Bilingual Personalities Girl
Meru = Abusive Email Girl
Maria = Illegal Student Returnee Girl
Abiru = Tail Lover Alleged Victim Of DV Girl
Harumi = Ear Fetish Pairing Addiction Girl
Nami = Normal Girl (Hahaha, what a normal statement)
Usui = Lacking In Hair And Presence
Ai = Guilt Complex Girl
Mayo = Exactly The Way She Looks
 
There are a range of background music, ranging from dramatic to just casual. Unlike most animes, this is the only short anime series that I have known to have 2 opening themes and 1 ending theme. Most animes, long running or short, would have more ending themes than its opening. The 1st opening theme, Hito To Shite Jiku Ga Burete Iru, kinda reminds me of NHK Ni Youkouso’s opening theme. Because it has that wild singing just like its lyrics but not as wild as the latter. Just enough. The animation of this opening theme then changes to one with lots of sexual references as opposed to original text slide. I’m sure this has garnered lots of complaints. The 2nd opening theme is Gouin Ni Mai Yeah, and only lasts for 2 episodes and is cluttered with lots of nonsensical sayings before the opening reverts back to its original in the final one. The ending theme, Zesshin Bijin, sounds like Broadway and though the animation is not as disturbing as the opening, but it’s still weird nevertheless.
 
The voice acting is also quite good. Hiroshi Kamiya voices Nozomu and Mikoto (Yuuta in Honey And Clover), Ai Nonaka as Fuura (Mikan of Manabi Straight), Marina Inoue as Chiri (Kana in Minami-ke), Miyuki Sawashiro as Maria (Shinku of Rozen Maiden), Yu Kobayashi as Kaere/Kaede (Lala Gonzalez in School Rumble), Asami Sanada as Matoi (Dejiko in Di Gi Charat), Yuko Goto as Abiru (Asahina of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu). I found out Meru’s voice actress changes in every episode that she has lines. Not that I really notice.
 
Watching this anime made me reflect and think of all those examples. Thinking back, I myself have been a ‘victim’ and guilty of those circumstances. Hehe. Living in today’s world definitely has us feeling lots and lots of despair. It would be good if we could turn all that negative energy and channel it into a positive one. But how often does that happen. Though dying may seem like the easy way out, you won’t learn anything by doing so. Oh no! I’ve just realized something. Ever since I’ve watched this show, I realized that I’ve become addicted to it and being an anime otaku, my social life has been deteriorating! Zetsubou shita! This series and the anime world has left me with full of despair!!! But I like it…
 
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei