Thursday, 9 July 2009

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei - Episode 1

It's not very often that I get ridiculously excited about the return of a particular anime franchise, but I have to confess that the initial news of a return to our screens of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei brought forth a whoop of delight from me. Whether it's in manga or anime form, this is a series that seems capable of drilling directly into my brain to extract whatever surreal forms of hilarity hide within it before bringing them to life with artistry and flair.

It probably goes without saying that Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is looking to bring more of the same by picking out some of the best bits of the manga, and so this episode gives us cause to question the efficacy of lucky charms, a state of affairs which leads to Nozomu being incarcerated as a bringer of bad luck (you know, they might actually have a point). Of course, his students soon leap to the rescue in their own inimitable fashion, setting him free in the most aesthetically stylish segment of an episode that perhaps wasn't always at its best in terms of art quality - I can't help noticing that SHAFT really have a thing for the use of first-person perspective this season though.

Anyway, I digress... We then move on to discuss the joys of springtime and the common occurences which mark it - Beautiful moments of celebration such as seeing shops go bankrupt, an upturn in the number of divorces, and having embarassing photos of yourself posted on the Internet. Yep, that sounds like a Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei springtime to me. Finally, Nozomu dismisses the idea of going on holiday to "find yourself", in the belief that it will only eventually lead to your exposing yourself and your true nature. Nonetheless, he hops on the bus to Hokkaido to watch those who are off to find themselves to see how they expose themselves, and... well you can probably guess the punchline to that skit if you know all the show's characters. Who says this series has no punchlines?

It is perhaps hard to separate my overall excited delirium regarding the return of this series from the actual quality of the episode itself, but after a slightly slow start its second half certain had laughs aplenty for me, all the way up to the "drawing song" which makes one of its occasional appearances and never ceases to be utterly hilarious. Welcome back Zetsubou sensei, for the next thirteen weeks I shall despair no more.

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