Zetsubou shita! The end of another series of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has left me in despair! Still, at least this final instalment at least went out on a relatively positive note, with a fair few laughs to be had.
First on the agenda for this concluding episode was the issue of small, inconsequential errors being spotted while people tend to miss the huge, glaring mistakes at the same time. From hanging famous paintings upside-down through to baseball errors and missed Thierry Henry handballs (okay, maybe that last one wasn't mentioned), we end with a suitably bizarre revelation of what we've missed throughout that section of the episode ourselves.
This episode really hits its stride for its mid-section however, as Kiri Komori loses her security blanket - An absolute disaster for obvious reasons. Thus, Nozomu employs the help of his class to look for the missing blanket (which they do by walking around calling out to it by name, which made me laugh out loud in itself), only to find that it's ended up being blown into the middle of a political meeting where its presence sends shock waves throughout Japan's policy makers. Before we know it, comfort blankets are made and distributed to all of the populace to give them the security they need to spend their stimulus money with fantastic effects, to the extend where even foreign countries want to steal the idea (and you just know Gordon Brown would try something like this). The whole thing is ruined when it's pointed out that being a civil servant is a position of security in itself, and before we know it Japan is turned into an impoverished nation where everybody is a civil servant. The political satire is so sharp here it could cut you, and it naturally makes for top-notch material.
Unfortunately, the final chunks of the episode are a little weaker, from the appearance of a buzzword general (thanks to a play on words mistakenly brought forth by Maria) which turns out to be a bit of a wasted opportunity - I love making fun of marketing buzzwords and the like, but the comedy on show here was somewhat sparse. The big finale of the series is also a play on words, with the hymn Silent Night becoming an individual named Kiyohiko who has his own night but no clue what to do with it, unprepared as he is for such a bad pun. It's funny in its own ironic way, but again I'm sure more could have been done with it.
As ever, this latest series of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has been hit and miss as you'd expect from any sketch-based comedy series, and I'll leave it to others to argue the percentages and thus which series is "better". Personally, all that matters to me is that when Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei got it right it proved to be as hilarious as ever, and as per previous series some of the jokes and moments it brings forth will live long in the memory - A definite sign of good comedy if you ask me. Will we see further series of this franchise in anime form? Who knows - Every time I declare it to be done and dusted, up it pops again, and I can't help but both hope and feel that it'll be back soon enough.