Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei - Episode 2

Here on the cusp of Christmas, is there any better way to celebrate than with some more Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei? Of course there isn't, which brings us untidily to the second instalment of the show's Goku OAV.

Speaking of untidy, the animation for this particular episode is all over the place, but this being Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei that is, of course, deliberate, mimicking other popular animation styles both in keeping with one of the topics under discussion ("maturation", under the auspices of the Japanese preference for process over the end result, a prediliction which this very series arguably makes a strong case of) as well as just to poke fun at other specific anime genres. In a way this does make things a little difficult to watch sometimes, as you're so distracted by the changes to character designs that you almost forget to pay attention to what's being said, but on the plus side I suppose that at least gives us a good excuse to watch this episode more than once.

Other topics up for discussion this time around include doing things even though you know that they're completely pointless, and (perhaps most amusingly of all from this episode) book titles (and indeed titles of media in general) that should be changed to better reflect their contents. In fact, this particular segment climaxes with a suggestion that Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei simply doesn't feature enough despair these days, meaning that it either needs more despair or a new name, although this gag is eclipsed in my mind by the suggested renaming of Crying Out Love, In the Center of the World.

Of course, to pick out one or two gags doesn't even begin to cover the cornucopia of topics that get "the treatment" here, with the War in Iraq and the lack of WMDs and (amusingly) both Clannad and Negima having fun poked at them mercilessly - You can't possibly hope to pick up on all of this series comic nuances and quick-fire visual or textual gags in a single sitting, but as always you'll delight in the ones you do get, and find yourself wondering whenever you're going to get time to watch it all again with the "Pause" button on the remot to hand so that you can at least try to catch the rest. It's as hit and miss as ever, yet despite that Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei remains as brilliant as ever.

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