Reviews Comments: Brilliant concept, bad execution.

Brilliant concept, bad execution.
While Studio Shaft deserve applause for taking everything good about Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and making it even better thanks to their wild, crazy and original style, they should be pelted with tomatoes for not fixing any of the manga's flaws.

Its main problem is that nothing (overall plot, Character Development, backgrounds, episode ideas) ever goes anywhere. SZS is a show about nothing to end all shows about nothing. Sometimes the Show About Nothing formula works, Lucky Star I believe pulled this off quite well (at least the manga did). However Lucky Star's main draw is that it is a show about nothing, however SZS's main draw is that it's about a suicidal teacher dealing with the oddities of his society, present especially in his class. But since this never goes anywhere, SZS isn't even half the show it could, or should, have been (This is not helped by the second season deciding to go the Sketch Comedy route).

Social satire is what SZS does best (Even though it's often very formulaic about it) however it seems this isn't enough for it, as it also parodies schoolgirl and Unwanted Harem anime. This is where things start falling apart for the show, as is not only a mostly female cast stereotypical and obtrusive, but also a lot of the Harem "parodies" are poorly done, been done before and ruin otherwise respectful characters. Overall, SZS would have been a lot better if it stuck with just the social satire.

Characters themselves are another weakness. With the exception of Nozomu, all of them are annoying and/or pointless, with most of them (e.g Mikoto, Nami and Kimura) being vehicles for only a single Running Gag and nothing else. To make things worse absolutely no-one receives any development whatsoever. Each character is based around a single trait, such as stalking or perfectionism, and nothing else or more. This is overlookable in earlier episodes but unforgivable in later ones, regardless of what aspects they're meant to represent.

Visuals are top-notch, although disappointingly minimalistic, but the audio is superb, nothing too complain about.

SZS, at best, is merely decent. Okay, however there are numerous parody shows that are vastly superior and more deserving of your time.


On the topic of Shaft's handling of the animated adaptation of the manga, one could argue that the absurdist directing of the anime adds a complimentary dimension to the core aspects presented by the manga. Your mileage may vary.

However, the core problem with this review is that it criticizes the show based on what it is not. SZS is a satirical piece first; plot and character development would arguably have been inappropriate for such a show.

Each of the girls is not so much a character as she is a caricature of persistent social tropes in modern Japanese society. It is difficult to reason how or why a caricature should develop at all, and indeed, it is not their purpose to change or evolve, but rather to serve as interacting elements in deconstructing the absurdities of society. If the girls were to develop, it would weaken the foundation of the series.

The comparisons in this review are also questionable. Attaching SZS to Lucky Star through them both being "shows about nothing" conflates them along character and plot progression lines, establishing a straw man to criticize the show based on aspects is intentionally eschews. The South Park comparison also falls, but for a different reason: South Park satirizes current affairs, but SZS steps back to a meta-level and challenges the underlying issues. Compare how much of South Park will be relevant in 50 years, versus how much of SZS, and suddenly lining this show next to South Park seems less than appropriate.

Between criticizing the absence of things that would have diluted the core premise of the show and the well-intentioned by dubious comparisons to supposedly parallel shows, those who read the above review should take it with a healthy dose of salt. The best way to approach SZS is without any expectations, allowing you to appreciate the anime on its strengths, rather than grumbling over self-perceived weaknesses, a trap this reviewer has unfortunately fallen prey to.
comment #413 13th Jun 09
It still sucks and is extremely repetitive, though.
comment #415 Guest Of Dishonour 13th Jun 09
Now your arguements are just free-falling from the sky without any parachutes.

comment #464 BishojoMeister 19th Jun 09
"Arguements" hardly require reasoning in a review, since it's an opinion. If a person does not like a show their reasoning need only satisfy themselves. I find the comparison to Lucky Star is a useful device for explaining the problems present in this anime, but as with the show itself your mileage may vary when reading this review.

I wish comments on tvtropes had a little less complaint and a little more explanation of another opinion. Telling someone a show's weaknesses are "self-perceived" (A psychology student, perhaps?) confounds me as to how someone can't perceive a flaw themselves. Do another person's opinions override others'? Also, considering how there are multiple reviews here concerning the exact problems, perhaps it's a flaw many people can perceive at once.
comment #470 HarryBrewis 20th Jun 09
Of course, the white night rides in to save the day for the guy who just didn't get it in the first place. Bottom line is that Guest of Dishonour was criticizing SZS for not being the kind of show he is interested in. That's not a problem with the show, that's a problem with his expectations of the show, and everybody else here is pointing that out. Nobody is attacking his right to dislike the show, only pointing out their fallacies, so your comments are unwarranted and unhelpful here. Get off your high horse.
comment #801 14th Aug 09
^I could say the same thing about you. I was criticising SZS for being a repetitive show, not an uninteresting one. Don't put words into my mouth, and don't insult another person who was only trying to settle things.
comment #812 Guest Of Dishonour 14th Aug 09 (edited by: Guest Of Dishonour)
I thought it was hilarious. I see others feel differently. Probably because I just have a real easy laugh. Which isn't a bad thing. Guest of Dishonour, please tell me all these vastly superior parody shows! I want a good laugh.
comment #935 Matt 4th Sep 09
'There are better parody shows out there' is a figure of speech meaning 'You really shouldn't waste your time with SZS' but if I had to make a list, I'd say South Park (Seasons 3 to 5 specifically), Ouran High School Host Club (If you believe it is a parody), and I've heard good things about Welcome To The NHK, the first season of Genshiken and early episodes of Yakitate Japan.
comment #937 Guest Of Dishonour 4th Sep 09 (edited by: Guest Of Dishonour)
Deleted due to flaming.
comment #947 8th Sep 09 (edited by: Guest Of Dishonour)

comment #974 13th Sep 09 (edited by: Matt)

comment #977 Guest Of Dishonour 13th Sep 09 (edited by: Matt)

comment #980 14th Sep 09 (edited by: Matt)
Stop arguing. Calm down, take a deep breath. Both of you. Can you agree to disagree? 173... you had a point. You can consider a review to be a detailed, subjective description of how you feel about something, why you think that, and why others might agree with you. So there is big room for disagreement. However, you could have communicated this without being offensive and resorting to ad hominems. Not everyone has to like the same things as you. Guest of Dishonour, don't name-call, that only makes things worse. Well, that's my attempt at mediation. Please don't bite me.
comment #981 Matt 14th Sep 09
To be fair, even I don't think it's a good review anymore. True, I still don't like the show, probably even less now, but my review's just rushed, not well-writen and doesn't really get my point across. I may rewrite it in the future.

The whole "It still sucks and is repetitive" thing I wrote was just because, well, I was tired and couldn't really think of a decent response, plus I didn't want to get caught up endlessing debating every single point against every single point a la a Game FA Qs forum, although what I wrote wasn't any better.

If anything, I'm the one who's been coming off as the real Jerkass here. My upcoming Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne review will be more positive than this and my Persona4 review (although it will not be without its criticisms), so maybe things won't go over as badly there.
comment #982 Guest Of Dishonour 14th Sep 09
I never had an issue with the overall positive or negative tone of your original review, frankly I didn't have much of a problem with it at all aside from disagreeing with your reasoning. My original comment was in response only to Harry Brewis - I dislike "White-Knighting" on the internet, seeing it not as an attempt to resolve conflict but only to stifle honest (if not always charitable) debate with reductionist logic that does nothing to illuminate the questions being discussed. But if you're going to be a man about this, I guess I should man up too and admit I was overly harsh and defensive as well, letting my annoyance with Harry Brewis's comment turn into unwarranted and misguided hostility. Sorry.

Thank you, Matt - that's what *real* mediation looks like, and I appreciate it. Cheers.
comment #994 15th Sep 09
Well, *sorry* Mr. Sarcastic. You don't have to be snotty about it. EDIT: Sorry, you were serious? Guess I'm a little paranoid. ^^
comment #1001 Matt 15th Sep 09 (edited by: Matt)
No sarcasm intended, I genuinely appreciate what you did. Perhaps you misunderstood the thrust of my comments?
comment #1006 16th Sep 09
Hmm, OK, I guess. I assumed the *real* part denoted sarcasm. Sorry if I was mistaken ^_^.
comment #1007 Matt 16th Sep 09
I'm late to the party. Let's say you really shouldn't write reviews if you can't handle dissenting opinions. "It's just my opinion" is a bullshit excuse.

PS - NHK is not a parody show (I don't exactly know what that's suppose to mean), Ouran gets pretty formulaic itself and South Park is just as hamfisted as you describe SZS. But hey, "it's my opinion".
comment #10640 ergeis 8th Oct 11
Well, from a technical viewpoint, the show did nothing wrong. It is within the genre of comedy, which it really focuses on doing the comedy instead of doing making some halfhearted story. Comedy should focus on making people laugh after all. It's also obviously an Episodic-type Series, which follows a certain formula, mostly disconnected, and has a 'subject of the week' format. Making no movement is normal since it's just an Episodic-type and not an Episodic/Serial-hybrid type like some L Ns does.

In terms of execution, it did it nicely IF you are going to examine it based on its genre and series type. No problem on technical side. That aside, you can't really complain about comedic Episodic series not having any developments beyond telling jokes just like you can't complain about Moe Harem series having fanservices. That would be a Genre Alien type Hate Dumb, aka Periphery Hatedom.
comment #20244 BlueBird 18th Jul 13
Meh. It's a gag manga. Its flaws are intentional; it's only trying to make people laugh, and freak them out with the creepy stuff that happens towards the end, and the anime follows suit.

And the one-trait characters are also intentional, because of the gag-aspects.
comment #22649 dylanmc12 31st Dec 13

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