Life is simply not worth living for down and out school teacher Itoshiki Nozomu. He has no hope of progress, no prospect of promotion, no chance at happiness… he is in despair! Even his name spells 'zetsubou' – 'despair', when compressed. But when the time comes to end it all, Itoshiki's attempted suicide on the first day of the new school year is foiled by relentlessly positive Fuura Kafuka. This saves Itoshiki long enough to meet his new class, and the quirky range of students under his care. Will Itoshiki Nozomu depress his students with his anguish? Or will Fuura show Zetsubou-sensei the joys of life and hope?
They may differ in content quite a bit, but with both being made by Shaft they have a similar feel to them. The animation is fairly unique in both, as well as the direction being fairly unorthodox.
Comedy is also fairly prevalent throughout both series, mainly in the form of fast paced, or witty dialogue that is very well written.