Zetsuboushita!!! You've Never Laughed This Hard at Despair
Apr 13, 2009
Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, which translates as "Good-bye, Mr. Despair," is an anime about Itoshiki Nozomu, a suicidal and perpetually negative high school teacher, who, in each episode, takes various aspects of Japanese culture to its most extreme conclusion. Inevitably, he discovers that his situation is desperate and finds yet another reason to kill himself.
However, if he's the most negative man in the world, he meets his match in the first episode, Fuura Kafuka, a girl in his class who is the most positive person in the world.
Each episode introduces either a new member of his class with their own unique weirdness or an aspect of Japanese society that's equally bizarre. Regardless of the topic, each episode is loaded with puns. For instance, Itoshiki-sensei's name when written horizontally instead of vertically, it spells out "zetsubou" (despair). I found these little tibits about the Japanese language to be fun little additions to a hilarious anime.
Initially, I had a hard time getting into this anime. The animation is (purposely) of a lower quality than many of the animes I've watched. The storyline and imagery is (purposely) disconjointed and seemingly random. But this very quickly became a stylization that I grew to really appreciate.
The characters were a real treat: from the obsessive-compulsive girl and the balding class representative to the stalker and hikikomori (a person that secludes themselves in a room away from society).
A couple of things to keep in mind: if you plan on watching this anime, I suggest you give it a few episodes to grow on you. Have your finger ready to press the pause button, so you can catch all of the random phrases written on the chalk board, and be sure to watch after the closing credits for some neat little insights.
Overall, this is a smart, sexy and funny anime. It's a couple of years old, but you should still be able to find episodes on YouTube or via a torrent.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Keith Goode (keithgoode)
I'm a man of varied interests, ranging from good literature to social media, anime to Internet technologies. I'm a self-described Allogenes (stranger), as I tend to always feel like an outsider, … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
This anime series revolves around Itoshiki Nozomu, who is quite possibly the most negative person in the world. In the first episode, he meets his polar opposite, Fuura Kafuka, who prevents him from hanging himself in the park. He soon finds that his trouble has just begun, when he realizes that Kafuka is one of the many unique characters that make up the high school class that he will be teaching.
Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei translates as "So Long, Mr. Despair," and in each episode, Itsoshiki Sensei takes various aspects of the Japanese culture or words in the Japanese language to their most logical (or illogical extreme).
There are two sequels to Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: Zoku Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei and Goku Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei.