10 Oct 2012

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

The main character from the anime
Our protagonist and sensei.

I've recently been watching this school comedy anime at my girlfriends insistence. It's actually not bad. The premise is based around a depressed teacher and his innocent class of often eccentric yet lovably optimistic girls.

I haven't finished the anime yet, but it's fairly predictable and episodic in nature. Itoshiki Nozomu, our protagonist and sensei, spends his time living in 'despair'. He carries a noose wherever he goes, just in case the need for suicide arises. He rants a lot about the injustices of the world to his young and optimistic class- explaining the futility of life and encouraging them to give up. This always has the opposite result, the girls find a way to take his speech to heart and find a way to see it as inspirational.

Image of the anime Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
The main girls in Itoshiki's class.

Each episode typically introduces you to a new student in his class, showing us their personality and flaws. As you progress through the show, you learn new things about them and they often give the suicidal sensei a new outlook on life.

As you come to understand more of his students and they establish a rapport together, it's easier to appreciate the show. Their interactions are often amusing or cute. I got annoyed that this anime plays into so many stereotypes, but it does it intentionally and usually makes light of it by making fun of the standard genus. 

There is a lot of hidden meaning and often subtle writings in the background of every episode. This aspect provides a certain amount of depth to the program, giving you the option to watch it again and pick up on parts that you missed.

The best thing about this anime is anyone can enjoy it. For me it acts as a buffer between watching anime, because I don't think it quite stands out from the rest. However, I can see plenty of people loving it. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei represents a fair amount of different genre stereotypes, such as a small harem factor; and the common school element. The most prominent category would be slice of life, backed up with comedy.

An image of the sensei being depressing in the anime
The black overly is frequently there to indicate his pessimism.

Although I somewhat enjoyed it so far, it didn't pull me into the fray, forcing me to empathise with the characters and feel involved. I can see how some people would relate to it on many levels; just not me. It's not got that cocaine pull that I've experienced from so many anime.

The anecdotes that are often brought up from the students antics are very natural, and it's entertaining enough to inspire a laugh or two from anyone.

If anything, give the sensei a try because there are only 12 episodes, without counting the second season. If you like pessimistic yet charming protagonists, with an obsession with conspiracies (Welcome to the N.H.K. anyone?)- This anime should certainly be on your list.

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