Judging the story of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a difficult task. The story itself isn’t all that enthralling and it doesn’t really stand out, however it serves as a great catalyst for the happenings of the show.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei tells the story of Nozomu Itoshiki a teacher on the verge of suicide, unable to handle the world he decides to take his own life, however he is halted by a school girl named Kafuka Fuura, who in complete contrast to Nozumu, sees absolutely no wrong in the world. Nozomu subsequently becomes the homeroom teacher of class 2-F, an eccentric assortment of students that Fuura is apart of.
In a way the story could be classified as episodic, sure some episodes show continuity, but each episode seems to show no influence or consequence on the next. The story is fun, but only because it is accompanied by some of the other strong elements of the show.
I think that some people may be overrating certain aspects of the animation of Sayanora Zetsubou Sensei a tad bit. It fits the show like a glove and it stands out, but some elements of the animation, like real life photographs being placed into the animation, which irritated me to a certain extent, but that could just be personal preference. Although I didn’t appreciate some aspects of the animation the good outweighed the bad.
One of the things that really sticks out at you the minute you start watching the show, is the shear amount of detail that is packed into the show through the animation. From blackboards to books and street signs every square inch of the screen is full valuable detail, which really adds to it’s rewatchability. While watching the show, I found myself constantly pausing just to read the writing on the blackboard, or some other minute detail that could have easily been missed, in fact I am confident that I missed a large portion of what was actually written.
The animation really gives the show it’s character, from the animators snide remarks to the high amount of detail packed into the show, the animation in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is definitely one of it’s strong points.
The first OP and the ED of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei are quite catchy and definitely fit the tone of the show. As far as the music in the show itself, it is just as eccentric as the show itself and fits it perfectly. From the overly dramatic melodies that accompany overdramatized scenes of sorrow, to the rougher more rugged tunes that accompany the scenes of insanity. While the OST certainly isn’t up to the caliber of the sounds from Full Metal Alchemist or even a show like Naruto, the sound of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is still above par, it accompanies the show very well and it is definitely an enjoyable part of the series.
The characters and character development in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei was a double edged sword in a way. On one hand you had an abundance of quirky and interesting characters each with their on gimmick if you will. On the other hand you had too many characters, which caused a lot of the characters to stay completely stagnant from lack of interaction, with the sheer amount of characters in the show certain scenes became cluttered and suffocating, which is never a good thing.
However most of the characters where lovable and funny, you had an agoraphobic, blanket wearing girl in a less than comfortable relationship with a female teacher, an immigrant that went to Mesopotamia Middle School of all places, an eternal optimist, a suicidal negative teacher, a boy that is never noticed and so many more wacky characters, which makes it fun to see just how they were going to interact with one another.
Even though some of the characters were neglected in many ways and a few of them felt unnecessary causing a very cluttered feeling. The characters in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei were not always deep and complex, but the main cast for the most part were likable and entertaining, creating a nice blend of personalities and “gimmicks”.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a fun show, with lots of fun characters and chaotic comedy to be had, with that being said this show is not for everyone. The show is very chaotic and often feels cluttered, that coupled with the cynical comedy and eccentric yet beautiful animation, may drive people a bit crazy. But, if you feel that you have the right sense of humor and you are in the mood for a chaotic eccentric comedy and you are willing to ignore or embrace all of it’s eccentricities than Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei could be for you. If not you are probably in for a bumpy ride.