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
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.