Yes, the third season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is here and Shaft still has not run out of odd things to stick in the background.
Since we’re on the third season, there’s probably little worth in this impression post since those that already like the series will probably watch this series anyways and those that don’t like the series probably won’t be suddenly swayed to like it. As someone in the first camp, there was no question about if I was going to catch the show but I was worried about one thing; with Shinbo directing two series this season, would he be stretched to thinly and as consequence would both shows suffer?
Rating: episode 1 – 9/12A-
Rating: episode 2 – 9/12 A-
Anticipation Level: 4/5 – Medium to High
Before I answer that question, I wanted to touch on something I don’t normally do – the fansub itself. Any group that’s willing to do this show should be commended because of the difficulty involved but this linguistical toughness also means that a sensible and understandable translation is a must to enjoy the show. Without naming names, for both episodes I first watched the slightly quicker release and both times I was disturbed when I only chuckled a few times. This wasn’t the series that I knew and loved but before I wrote this impression post up, I figured I should see if maybe the translation was at fault and so I downloaded the first two episodes from the other group. The difference was night and day. For instance, the skit in the second episode about the talents of people went from being incomprehensible to being funny.
So, if you’re dependent on a fansubs and watch this show, be careful about who you pick since it might mean the difference between finding this season funny and not.
As for the quality of Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, I guess the best way to say it is that it’s the same Sayonara Zestubou Sensei that we know and love (and Bakemonogatri doesn’t seem to be effecting the quality of this show). The voice actors continue to do an outstanding job with their characters, the animation continues to be that quirky style that I love, the music and OP/ED continues to satisfy and Mr. Despair continues to show the positive aspects of negative thinking. The one slight disappointment is the opening animation since it’s very underwhelming but if this show follows it’s predecessors, then the true opening animation won’t debut for a couple episodes more.
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel the need to add (for those unfamiliar with this series) that watching this show requires an extra effort on the part of the viewer. For one, a sizable amount of the comedy to this series involves text written in the background and frequent pausing is needed to read these items. Which almost requires the viewer to watch it twice, once pausing dozens of times an episode to read the text and another to pay attention to the events in the foreground. Another reason for the extra effort is that some of the comedy revolves around Japanese culture and while a typical anime watcher might catch some of it, there’ll be jokes that completely go over the heads of the Western viewers.
A percentage of people will decide that it’s not worth the added trouble, and that’s okay, but I really think Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is worth it. The animation style and humor are truly unique and creative; you won’t find another show like it out there.