Monday, 15 March 2010

Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Bangaichi - Episode 2 (Completed)

The second half of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei's OVA begins with a full-length rendition of the show's opening theme (complete with suitably insane visuals) - Quite the treat in and of itself, but this only paves the way the usual blend of the bizarre and razor-sharp wit that this franchise offers.

First up, we're introduced to the dysfunctional defibrillator, which can extend the lives of things that are really better off dead. After running around reviving things that are really already well past their sell-by date, a freak accident brings us a full-scale zombie incident... only this time the biggest concern is that the zombies are bringing back terrible 80s fashions and politically dead concepts.

Next up for discussion is the ease with which the Japanese can get swept away by certain things, which gives this episode a chance to poke some fun at Ponyo and Hetalia amongst other things, before perhaps inevitably being swept away on its own tangents. Still, with a new semester starting, the final topic for discussion is the frequent use of phrases which "soften" otherwise unpleasant goings-on or concepts to make them sound more palatable. My personal favourite here is the softening of a "massacre" to be called simply a "big Higurashi", but there are plenty of other great lines, some of which are provided by a rather errant subtitle translator. Of course, Kiri has to turn this around by looking for even harsher words rather than softer ones, with subtitles of her own which if nothing else help her to get her own way in terms of her relationship with our favourite teacher of despair.

While it's no secret that I love pretty much everything that comes from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, this was still a genuinely good episode by any stretch - Yes, it's still as hit and miss as any comedy series is want to be, but there were so many laugh out loud moments that the scales were well and truly tipped in its favour. Whether it's lampooning anime, politics or social mores, this episode was frequently as sharp as you'd hope for, and it's that precision when it comes to hitting its targets that makes Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei such a thing of beauty. Will we see another series, or has the franchise run its course? I'd like to think there's still life left in this relatively old dog yet.

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