Posted by psgels on 7 May 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


There’s one big pitfall that strikes quite a lot of comedy-series: getting increasingly less interesting as the end nears. Generally, there are two causes for this: the insertion of forced drama at the last minute and a refusal to develop the cast of characters. The second season of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei manages to avoid the former, though I wish I could say the same for the latter.

It’s a shame, because Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei starts out better than ever. In the first half, there are a number of priceless episodes that really deserve to be watched (my favourites were the art-one and the gibberish-one). Episodes have also been divided into three parts to prevent them from getting boring, and for a while, this series overflows with laughs. But as is goes on, it becomes increasingly apparent that the creators shot themselves in the foot with their cast of stereotypes.

The thing with stereotypes is that they may be funny when they’re introduced, but there’s no way for them to remain funny for 26 full episodes without some development. In this series, it takes longer than usual, but the final six or seven episodes just lack the spark that made the rest of the series so great. Only two or three characters receive minimal development, and that just isn’t enough for such a huge cast. The social commentary that was once so interesting degrades into “social commentary of the week”, and ends up getting dull.

It’s a shame, I really thought that Shinbou had seen the light, but he still has a bunch of weaknesses, despite his unique style that made Shaft stand out. The second half of Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei is still funny, but nowhere near the standards that were set by the rest of the series. Still, if you finished the first season, then you at least need to watch the first half of the second season.

11 Responses

  1. Lika says:

    I think the main problem with the second season was that the format was more three stories an episode instead of the two stories one which gave it more chance to develop it.

    Another problem I have with it is the slight shift in focus of the main point of SZS in comparison with the manga as the manga is, as you have said, a social commentary a week, but it still does its job brilliantly because the focus in humor is much more… subtle (not quite the right word, but I can’t think of another one that could describe it)? For example, a chapter in the manga about assuming things had in the examples stuff like “Two guys paired up by yaoi fangirls even though they were only together for a second” and “US president accusing foreign country of weapons of mass destruction” which the anime skipped stuff like that (or made it go by at an insane speed) which is fine, but I think the humor of the manga carries itself much better than the anime did.

  2. L.A says:

    Hmm, I thought the last three episode were quite good though

  3. Eonir says:

    Well, I’d say that ZSZS is a rare example of a pure comedy-anime that’s actually funny. And I mean it. There are lots of romance/action/fanservice/slice-of-life comedies, but it’s hard to find a pure one.

    Whenever there’s something you don’t get – it’s a reference. There are not many anime that use the most bizarre facts, naked truth about society as gag material.

    Anyway, it’s a show to be remembered for it’s uniqueness and originality. And making fun of cliché anime series, and self-parody which are some good qualities.

  4. Kurisu says:

    Eonir wrote: “Whenever there’s something you don’t get – it’s a reference.”

    You’re a loony.

  5. Eonir says:

    Kurisu: “You’re a loony.”

    No – I just happen to know that ZSZS is filled with references, and you probably don’t realise how many. And for that matter – you are a pitiful ignorant.

  6. Kurisu says:

    I pity the fool who doesn’t know Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  7. Eonir says:

    I have seen it years ago, so don’t expect me to know every line like “you’re a loony”.

    Is a comedy film enough reason for people to call others loonies by random?

  8. Eonir says:

    Oh, and one more thing: Can I random quotes without quotation marks(and things like ‘no offence’) to insult you, and then call you a fool for not looking up it on Google in order to comprehend completely the true meaning of my statement?

    Well then: I predict you are a gullible idiot. In America. Does it feel good?

  9. psgels psgels says:

    Guys, guys, calm down. There’s no need to take each other so seriously. On a side-note: thanks for reminding me. I still need to watch the Holy Grail some day.

  10. Kurisu says:

    There’s only an ocean between me and any Americas but that’s some impressive Yu-Gi-Oh reference. I thought someone who likes SHAFT shows as ZSZS would appreciate random references a little more. “Whenever you don’t get it, it’s a reference” is simply not true. Not all references are funny or fitting. Some of the phenomenons dissected by ZSZS only apply to the Japanese society or even just otaku. You can still understand it but if it’s not part of your daily life and culture, it just isn’t funny. Ask yourself why you don’t laugh about dumb blonde jokes. Is it because you just don’t get it? Or is because the joke is predictable?

  11. Eonir says:

    Attention Duellists!
    My hair meant to say that there is hard to find a scene that’s completely meaningless.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=lLIPX3p2JTc

    Maybe in-jokes or jokes that can be understood mainly by japs are not funny for everyone – but does that mean the value of a series is worse? A good joke that 1/10 of watchers will understand vs a dumb joke every village idiot will get.

    West Culture movies/tv series(or let’s even say Yugioh TAS)are also filled with references that only we can find funny – so I wouldn’t be surprised if a Japanese guy will say it’s stupid.

    If Pratchett has been born in the Netherlands and has written in their lingo – only a small group of people would have the honour of reading his novels in the original language. And still, it wouldn’t mean his works would be worse.

    Anyway – ZSZS is a series that makes fun of cliche anime – and that’s not to be sneezed at.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 10:48 AM)
    This is a fairly minor complaint but in some older anime I always noticed “flashing light syndrome” and “Epilepsy visuals” , “Animes equivalent to flash photography”, it can sometimes bother me alot/hurt my eyes watching old shows, then again I am susceptible to epilepsy…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 09:14 AM)
    @Bam: Emotional involvement and rewatch value are very important to me in a film, which is my preference for synecdoche over birdman.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 04:05 AM)
    “Firechick, answer: Hell no. And don’t impersonate Bam. You suck at it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 03:05 AM)
    Yeah guys! Why aren’t you reviewing Go! Princess Precure?
  • Firechick
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 02:51 AM)
    Is anyone gonna review Go! Princess Precure? I hear it just aired.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.

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