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[Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei]
AKA: Repent Goodbye, Mr. Despair, 懺・さよなら 絶望先生 (Japanese)
Genre: High school comedy / satire
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: 16+ (violence, suggestive themes, fan service)
Related Series: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (OAV), Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bagaichi
Also Recommended: Cromartie High School, Pani Poni Dash
Notes: Based on the manga by Koji Kumeta, currently running in Japan in Kodansha's Weekly Shonen Magazine. It's currently available in North America through Del Ray.

This is the third TV season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and the fourth series overall.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars
 

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Synopsis

Nozomu Itoshiki and his students go through yet another round of dark humor, satire, and in Nozomu's case, despair, in the third TV seasons of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.


Review

They say the third time's the charm. Such is not the case with Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which is most definitely the weakest entry in the series at that time of its release.

One of the biggest problems is that the episodes have topics divided into two parts now, concluding in the following episode. Often you'll find yourself forgetting a topic, only to have the show remind you of it again, along with repeating the footage from said part. It gets old fast.

Speaking of repeated footage, each episode now ends with a song about drawing Nozomu's head, a parody of drawing songs that air on Japaese kids' shows. While amusing once or twice, it's done at the end of every episode. And although Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei tries to spice it up by having two different characters draw Nozoumu's head almost every episode, it's still the same damn song every time, and it gets annoying to watch just a few episodes in.

Speaking of things annoying to watch, Chiri is more psychotic and twisted than ever, and not in a good way. She also has an irritating habit of having commas, periods, question marks, and exclamation marks appear on-screen as she talks, with sound effects playing alongside them. Like the drawing song segments, this is amusing once or twice, but quickly wears out its welcome. And her bouts of violence and bloodshed are so much more common, some of the cast members aren't even phased anymore!

The animation has taken a dramatic hit as well. Characters barely move, and with the exception of the last part of episode 8, there's no stand-out artistic moment in the series like, say, episode 7 of Zoku. The Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series has never been known for its high budgets, but it was at always interesting to look at. That's less noticeable here.

But what about the topics themselves, you might wonder? There's still a few funny ones: third topics, ignoring things in life, surprises, deceptively cheap products, things being correct but not necessarily right, intentional trolling. But for every funny topic, there's one that is utterly stupid. One good example is a two-part series where Nozomu's sister Rin is under house arrest, but wants to eat ramen. So what does she do? She destroys all the houses around her in succession to the ramen shop. Another stupid topic has Nozomu and his students finding a missile, which they try to hide...only to be hit by an actual one at the end of the episode. That would be amusing in Galaxy Angel, but it's out of place for a series as rooted to reality as Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei usually is.

Granted, the series is amusing as it is not, if not more so, but it's obvious that SHAFT was putting far more attention to Bakemonogatari that same season than this. Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei starts off with the weakest material in the series before recovering itself, and even then it contains some of the weakest/stupidest topics at that point. The new OP is great, and the new ED is good, but the actual series itself has definitely overstayed its welcome. I have yet to watch the follow-up OAV, Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bagaichi, and I don't think I will. Three seasons is enough.

The third time is definitely not the charm for the Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series. It does, however, result in exactly three stars, if only because traces of the series' once hilarious storytelling can be seen now and again.Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: Chiri is a lot creepier than earlier series, and several topics end with the characters "dying". There's also the typical suggestive themes and fan service shots of Kaere as well. Older teenagers and up only.



Version(s) Viewed: Pre-license fansub
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei © 2009 Kodansha / Koji Kumeta / Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Committee
 
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