Posted by psgels on 27 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



The first season of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei was awesome. It had wit, and came across as a really fresh comedy-series. The second season also had a number of hilarious episodes, but at the same time lost its edge, became repetitive and turned stereotypical. Season three in its turn continued to sap away all creativity, turning it into a repetitive bore-fest. It’s the perfect example of why you shouldn’t milk out comedies.

At this point, Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei has really exhausted all of its good jokes. The first season had me laughing nearly continuously, while your average episode in this season only managed to generate a chuckle out of me once or twice if it was lucky. Episodes are yet again divided into three chapters, each looking at a different type of social commentary, but most of them are just rehashes of some previous chapter, without really adding anything new. The ones that aren’t ripped off are about such a ridiculously obscure part of society that it’s hard to care about them.

The characters aren’t better off. On top of the fact that they still haven’t changed beyond their stereotypes, this season also gives a lot of them some sort of obnoxious catch-phrase that they tend to repeat in nearly every single episodes. There’s the psycho girl with her periods and commas that appear on the screen, the stalker girl with her “you were there? Always”, the foreign girl with her pantyshots, the hikkikomori with her fanservice and the fangirl with her fantasies. On top of that, every episode starts with a nonsensical audio story that just pointlessly goes on and on, and every episode ends with an even more obnoxious drawing game that already got old in the second season.

Granted, the better episodes of this series are near the end, and I have to agree that the cavemen part was pretty funny, but that in no way makes up for the rest of the series. If you’re interested in this series, watch up to episode 6 of the second season. Beyond that, it only gets worse. Still, at least the graphics in this series look as good as ever. The direction and character-designs make this series nice to look at (unlike that other Shaft-show, but more on that once it finishes), but in a season with so many other good comedies, this stands out as an incredibly repetitive series that was already milked out ages ago.

Storytelling: 6/10
Characters: 6/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 7/10

6 Responses

  1. Drill says:

    Can’t agree with your review.
    I only watched Zan until Ep.11 but so far i would say that is better than Goku/Zoku by far.
    sure, it is still worse than the first season but which follow up season isn’t ?

  2. wackedfoo says:

    i also agree that this season is an improvement over zoku and goku. i don’t see how the characters not changing is a valid criticism for this show either since the stereotypes are the whole point of them. if anything, i’d say it’s more disappointing that even their stereotypes aren’t utilized as well anymore. they’re more like foils for sensei and the main criticism/joke now.

  3. Nomus says:

    How can Sensei be judged by anime standards? It’s not an anime it’s sketch show. The more the better. Maybe it really is repetitive, but SZS is like food. Somebody like to eat different things every day, week, month, while somebody never gets tired from one same zetsubou-meat.)

  4. Aryo says:

    I couldn’t pull through the first season of SZS, the constant pause-play-pause-play (this series let my obsessive-compulsive disorder resurface, I have to do things 100% so reading over any of the text wasn’t an option) drove me nuts and I dropped it because of this.
    How there can be no suicides among Japanese TV viewers caused by this show is a mystery to me!

  5. Despair fan says:

    I disagree about the nice graphics part. The characters and backgrounds in this season look incredibly flat and undetailed compared to previous seasons. I have to wonder if some of the guys who worked on this show moved on to Bakemonogatari. Now that one looks nice and is just about as WTF as any of the previous Zetsubo episodes.

  6. DeeDee says:

    I gotta say i JUST watched ep 12 and I think any anime that can, in a comedic sense, base an entire 1/2 or so of a show around schrodinger’s cat needs to have at least 5 more seasons…(enough to compensate for mindless crap like naruto) MORE THINKING MAN’S ANIME!!!

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Dec 26. 2014 12:56 AM)
    @Aidan: I think the world agrees that it does stand the test of time rather well tho, and there’s an inherent fallacy in expecting old original works not to be tired, specially considering that you were born in a time that exposed you to copies before the originals. That’s like saying “Oedipus is just a cliche hero with an Oedipus complex”.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 11:01 PM)
    I bet you anything when Nisio Isshin’s monogatari franchise is exhausted of adaptations we are getting zaregato and mahou shoujo ritsuka.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:59 PM)
    “The best don’t normally have an anime”
    I feel this way about visual novels sometimes.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:58 PM)
    With light novel translation in mind, Yen press is starting to have a go at that, if thats successful maybe, just maybe who knows what we’ll see official translated.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:53 PM)
    And again you are basing this off of limited knowledge. LN are not like anime which has translators putting out each season of anime to us folk. There are likely dozens if no hundreds of light novels which escape a English translation. They only go for the ones that have anime adaptions or are getting one. The best normally don’t have an anime. Hell in my LN I mentioned two and one of which is neglected.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:53 PM)
    It wouldn’t surprise me if these light novels were outselling proper books, I think I heard that manga outsells books in Japan too.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:50 PM)
    The comparison between light novel and young adult sits well in my head also. That sounds right.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:49 PM)
    I wonder if some of these light novelists ever go on to write proper books and simply use writing light novels as a training ground or something.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:49 PM)
    @Bam, excuses. If it can’t stand the test of time then it is not above criticism. Just cause he did it first does not mean he did it best.
    I figure light novel was essentially Japans Young adult. And mate I would be surprised if there was children who enjoyed through the looking glass. It was essentially a bunch of weird shit happening for the writer to make philosophical musings.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 25. 2014 10:47 PM)
    I also recall studying Mice and men, but the film adaptation however its been far too long since I’ve seen it to give much of a viewpoint.

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