Who knew that despair could be so much fun? For two series and now this OVA, the art of negativity has induced much hilarity and many, many smiles, but as ever all good things must come to an end, and thus this is really, officially, "sayonara" for Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.
This third and final episode of the show's OVA may be the end of the road for our favourite teacher with suicidal tendencies, but what a fantastic send-off. We begin with what could well be described as a bit of a crisis, with the class left with no gags left to use. Why not simply remake the first chapter of the manga? Oh, they've already done that too. Still, the girls seem to have plenty of half-decent ideas floating about, if only Zetsubou-sensei wouldn't keep blowing them out like so many candles.
From there, and via a bon dance that somehow invokes 'Blogging, we enter the world of the pyrrhic victory - In short, a situation where even by winning, you still lose. The examples come thick and fast with frequent hilarity (and more than the occasional shot across the bows of otaku culture), until Kafuka (who else) turns it around to discuss situations where both sides win. This moment brings about what might well be my new all-time favourite line in anime, "No, she's obviously from the planet Peacock".
To end the series for good, we go back to the beginning, which is probably about the most Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei-esque thing to do. Here, we see the origins of a young Nozomu's fall from relentless positivity to... well, the shell of a man we've seen before us for the entire duration of the series. I wouldn't want him any other way though.
It may have been occasionally hit and miss throughout its run (as any comedy show of this ilk is inevitably going to be), but there can be little doubt that as a single entity Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a work of absolute genius, happy to lampoon all and sundry (itself included) with its unique and twisted, yet still bizarrely right on the money, view of the world. From its ever-smart references to various facets of world culture through to its quirky wordplay, and via a spot-on line in surrealism, there isn't much that this series does wrong. Even if you aren't tightly in step with modern Japanese culture, you'll still find plenty to laugh at, and this series must easily be up there amongst the funniest anime of the 21st century thus far. It's sure as Hell the smartest, and quite probably one of the most artistically diverse to boot. Time for me to find some time to go back and watch this show in its entirety methinks.