Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: An Anime Comedy that’s actually funny

When it comes to animated comedy, America tosses Japan the proverbial “football in the groin.”


I’d take an episode of The Boondocks, South Park, Family Guy, or The Simpsons over any anime comedy (in that order). I’m not saying that anime isn’t funny. I laugh at anime all the time, but most of those laughs come from mixed genres instead of pure comedies.

  • Kare Kano (Romantic-Comedy)
  • Aria (Slice-of-life-Comedy)
  • School Rumble (School life-Comedy)
  • City Hunter (Action-Comedy)
  • Great Teacher Onizuka (Drama-Comedy)
  • Eyeshield 21 (Sports-Comedy)

It’s easy to laugh at any dumb joke in a mixed genre show because the jokes aren’t necessary or expected. Standards are much higher for pure comedies, shows that live and die by the joke. Is it unfair? Perhaps. Maybe that’s why I went easy on Lucky Star (yes, that review is my definition of “going easy”). I don’t want to say that Lucky Star sucks yak testicles, but frankly, it fails as a comedy. A typical joke scene looks something like this:

The English dub trailer actually looked pretty good because it wasn’t full of bullshit overkilled punchline reinforcement.


Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei schooled Lucky Star:

If this website were an anime, it’d be Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (or Mnemosyne). The show takes no prisoners and shares my love of bulleted lists:

I support any show that supports LoGH

The Zetsubou stereotypes provide a refreshing deviation from the usual anime class.

The “normal” character may be the most underrated stereotype in anime (yes, even more underrated than sadistic lesbian). The only other time I’ve seen it was on Tenshi na Konamaiki.

Ichiro Fujiki is the man. Unfortunately, I could never enshrine him in the list because his stats are unspectacular.

Hatred 5/10
Violence 5/10
Cleverness 5/10
Slacking 5/10
Attitude 5/10

The first few episodes of Zetsubou Sensei didn’t impress me (early episodes rarely do), but the show quickly hits its stride as the side characters pile up and the optimist girl gets pushed out of the spotlight. Even the optimist girl evolves into a sweet counterpoint character when she’s no longer the show’s focus. Another warning: the in-your-face style gets carried away with itself at times, but overall, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

13 people love sucking up to me

  1. Actually, the “normal” girl is one of the more uninspired characters of Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei. Shinbou just picked up her stereotype from one of his previous series (Pani Poni Dash) and put her in this SZS. đŸ˜‰

  2. A few years ago I watched two episodes of Pani Poni Dash and dropped it because I felt stupid for not getting any of the references. Never before nor ever since has an anime bruised my self-esteem so deeply.

  3. Proof that anime makes you a masochist #294:
    You can watch an anime that essentially takes your head, stuffs it in a ADHD-afflicted blender filled with strobe lights, and cranks it to “liquefy”, insulting you half the time and referencing obscure junk the other half, and f***ing love it.

    Actually, what I liked about the show the best, aside from the wicked character designs (Still can’t decide whether they’re cute or scary…), is that it took 35 minutes to watch a 22-minute show, just because of all the random flying text.

    Also, just about every OP/ED was absolutely ace, even through second season.

  4. A.f.k seems to be buried under piles of flying texts, then. Or maybe they play dead. Some other subs appeared, but without cardboard texts and many other things I’d like to understand :/

    @CCY: Yeah, the OPs and EDs are perfect. Even the J-pop-ish ‘Gouin ni Mai Yeah’ was good(partly because of that Heil Yeah moment). Half of the OST is absolutely brilliant. I recommend Traumerei and Zetsubou no Epitaph the most.

    This series is a masterpiece. Whenever there’s something you don’t get – it’s a reference. There are not many anime that use the most bizarre things about society as gag material.

    Alas, there is one downside. After watching SZS, almost every other anime looks as dull as porridge. Oh, but that changes nothing!

  5. I agree completely. SZS brings a new, fresh, unique experience with true laugh out loud moments.

    Can’t wait till more episodes are subbed.

  6. The random text pisses me off, it disrupts the pacing and/or flow because I have to pause to read both the dialogue and text. Most of the time the random text doesn’t even make sense, to me anyway. Probably a reference. Frankly I don’t care. Sometimes I have re-watch a scene–this time ignoring the random text–to enjoy the flow.

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