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.”

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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.

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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.