Before anyone goes on a warpath and tries lopping off my head for liking this show, let me set something straight.
“Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei” which translates to “Farewell Despair Teacher” or “Farewell Mr. Despair” is a comedy definitely not meant for the kids or anyone pure. We are dealing with gallows humor here folks. The main character, Nozomu Itoshiki, is a pessimist of the first order who thinks nothing of hanging himself whenever life gets him down. In this case, pretty much every day.
The first episode begins with a high school girl waxing rhapsodic about spring. She is surrounded by cherry trees in full bloom and soon spies a young man intent on hanging himself. She somehow “saves” him and her too cheerful outlook on life makes him leery of her. She pooh poohs his suicide attempt, declaring that he was just trying to make himself taller. She tells him her father tried to make himself taller when he got laid off, when the company closed and when the debt collectors came calling at the family home. She even calls a trash can “a treasure chest for the homeless.”
The gal is called Kafuka Fura although that is not her real name. The moniker comes from Frank Kafka. We find out that she is one of Itoshiki’s students.
Yep ya got that right. The man who is a walking black hole of despair is currently a homeroom teacher to high school students who definitely deserve someone more cheerful.
Since this is also a harem anime (gasp, did I just admit to liking another harem anime?) Nozomu becomes the object of affection for several of his female students which include the stalker Matoi Tsunetsuki. According to the Wikipedia entry on the show, her name is a pun on the phrase “always following about.”
Matoi needs to know what her current love is doing every minute of the day so she bugs his room and stalks him. When she switches her affection to Nozomu, she dresses in a kimono and follows him everywhere even to the men’s restroom. Kafuka thinks stalking is just “deep love.”
“Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei” had me laughing out loud and I’ve only seen seven episodes. The show, which has 12 episodes, also pokes fun at other shows be it American or Japanese. While it’s not essential, a bit of anime know how helps too. It would explain why the blonde-haired student often ends up in situations where one can see her panties. She’s the character destined to appease the fan boys.
I repeat, this is NOT for the under 16 crowd or for anyone who doesn’t get sarcasm. You have been warned.
The show just finished airing in Japan and isn’t licensed yet for distribution in America. I’ve only seen fansubs so far.