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.