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Headscratchers / Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei

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  • What the hell is Itoshiki's problem, anyways? He's a fucking Bishōnen with a decent job. He could get any girl that he wanted by just looking at them.
    • ...? It's funny.
    • And he's a classical depressive (DSM-IV: look it up) played up to twenty, just as all other other characters have a single defining trait played up to insane levels. See above.
    • The girls, one way or another, always have a way to in/directly harm him. Plus he's based off of a character from Osamu Dazai's "No Longer Human". The protagonist has power, money and women and still isn't satisfied about his life.
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    • Plus it has been revealed he doesn't want to kill himself. He trains his neck, and only his neck, at the gym to avoid being hanged, his tape to cover his mouth and nose has air holes, and so forth.
    • Itoshiki definitely also has good reasons to be depressed, although he never voices them out: practically no social life not related either to work, or to a control-freak family that wants him to marry anyone, but have no power over the person or the place, not to mention that the only people of the opposite sex he attracts are underage lunatics and psychos. That would depress anyone.
      • Strictly speaking, they aren't underage. The age of consent in Japan is 13 (!) years old, 16 for marriage except where parental consent is obtained. Which Itoshiki-sensei has in-advance from at least one of his psychotic teen admirers. Considering his family's wealth and social/political power, parental consent is practically a given anyways. Part of his (substantial) anxiety in relating to his female students is issues of propriety and expectation (he is under pressure from all quarters to take a wife, something he can't escape from even in a position of hierarchical authority aka as a teacher). The legality of such a liaison is probably one of the few things Itoshiki isn't in despair over... then again, maybe he could despair over not having the issue of legality to hide behind?
      • Regardless, a teacher involving himself with his students is heavily frowned upon in Japan. And they are still insane, to say the least.
      • Granted, the world of SZS is pretty much insane minus Nami. This is a show where incidental and one-off characters are more insane than some of the main cast.
      • Also, the age of consent is not 13 for older people; in most districts, it only applies to other 13 year olds, and an adult dating a child is HEAVILY illegal and frowned upon if it’s not with parents permission.
  • If Rin was so adamant about marrying into another family to change her surname, then why the hell did she object when Ikkyu wanted to marry her? They both get what they want — he gets an "old" name, she gets a new name, it's win-win!
    • No, she'd have kept her own name. Hence her objections.
    • Ikkyu doesn't have a last name so that means Ikkyu has to adopt the Itoshiki name. Rin will still have "Zetsurin" which she's trying to get rid of.
      • Ikkyu probably has a last name we aren't told of, but in Japan it's traditional for a man to take his wife's last name, if his family is less prestigious than hers. In practice Rin has to marry someone above her social status to get rid of her name, and that's not an easy feat, considering how high in the social ladder her family seems to be.
      • Which in the end, is part of what her name is referencing. She's "peerless" in the sense that she can't find a husband with equal or greater social status.
  • Why is Itoshiki afraid of the school counselor's evil eye when he's already attempting to kill himself in her office. What more could she do to him?
  • Who's the Ensemble Dark Horse of this show?
    • Doesn't look like it's anyone.
      • Is that even possible with a cast this big?
      • It might be Chiri; she seems to show up a lot more compared to the other girls, barring Kafuka, who's more of a main character to begin with.
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    • Mayo fits the bill from a trope worthy POV, for a character who was only featured in one part of one episode, only to revert to a mere voiceless background charater afterwards, she sure shows up as an example in a lot of tropes.
  • How does Kiri move from school to Itoshiki's house, being such a hikikomori?
    • There are hints that she's not so much a hikikomori as she is extremely agoraphobic; she quite happily interacts with other people (unlike a typical hikikomori), but always carries that blanket around so she always has a small, closed-in space to retreat to. Plus she's always hiding in a small space here or there, quite content. Plus, in Season 1 Episode 7: "I don't like it outside!" She probably worked up the nerve to go between Nozomu's home and the school just to follow Nozomu around (and, later on, to be with Chie (school) and Majiru (home)).
      • According to an episode in season 3, Nozomu actually lives on school property (he mentions that he can't legally do that which is why he's listed as living with his sister), so Kiri would technically not have to leave the school to get to his house.
      • My personal theory is that she got the number of the moving company who brought her to Nozomu's family home in the first season and uses them whenever she wants to move about. Also, in the episode where Chiri tries being a ditz, there's an Easter Egg where Kiri is shown walking outside in a "blink-and-you-miss-it" moment.
  • In what way does Itoshiki resemble Yozo from No Longer Human? From what I've read and watched, apart from depression and coming from a rich family, they barely have anything in common.
    • That's pretty much it really. You know what the ironic thing is? Yozo only contemplated hanging and never got around to doing it.
  • I've only read a few chapters, but is Kiri Komori an orphan or something? She seems to be the only one who was driven out of the house when they boarded it up and filled it with creepy dolls...
    • No she's not, her father appears in the anime. Also they only boarded up her room. If anyone's the orphan it's Kafuka.
    • I heard her father's home burned down eventually, after she left. I suspect Kafuka.
    • That may just be a reference to the Japanese spirit Zashiki Warashi, a spirit that resides within a household and brings good fortune...until it leaves and the household starts to experience misfortune such as fires.
  • I just thought of something, what would it be like if Itoshiki found the Headscratchers page?
  • The English title is Goodbye, Mr Despair, due to it being a Shout-Out to Goodbye, Mr Chips. So why do people keep calling it So Long, Mr Despair or Farewell, Mr Despair?
    • Likely because they don't know about the title it's based off.
    • I've thought about this, and, even knowing the reference, So Long, Mr. Despair feels funnier to me. (I haven't seen much of Farewell, Mr. Despair, which doesn't work at all.) Goodbye, Mr. Despair keeps the reference, but sounds like a failed pun - the two-syllable "Despair" doesn't sound enough like "Chips" to work. On the other hand, "So Long, Mr. Despair!" strengthens a comic double meaning, since it makes this sound like a show about getting over depression. "Goodbye, Old Man Trouble! So long, Mr. Despair!"
    • Regarding farewell, it's because that't the correct translation of sayonara.
      • Indeed. 'Sayonara' is a long-term valediction- you don't expect to see the person again, or not for a long time, much like 'so long' or 'farewell'. 'Goodbye' can be short-term or long-term.
  • Is Kafuka suicidal? Because in one episode she had bandage on her right wrist.
    • I'm no psychologist, but from what I've read most people who self-injure aren't suicidal, so the bandage would actually be evidence that she isn't suicidal.
    • A bandage doesn't prove anything but that she hurt her arm: Kafuka might have tried to slit her wrists, be masochistic or have a particularly nasty mosquito bite. (And that logic is a bit flawed, most people aren't suicidal in general, but some still do it...)
      • She has taken the form of Abiru in this episode.
  • I'm relatively new to the series and am only at episode 1 of the second season, but this has always really confused me about the show. What, exactly, is the continuity of the show? I mean, the first episode of the second season introduces him as Kafuka's class' new teacher? Wait...what? Didn't they already know him from the first season? Also, how is it that he had a [massive surgery in episode 11 and then by episode 12 he suddenly got better? I don't get it at all.
    • There is no continuity. Each episode.. actually about every 5 minutes is an entirely self contained story.
    • At the beginning, at least, there's a sort of continuity as Nozomu gets to know the students. Season 2 episode 1 is actually near the beginning of the timeline. They just used that episode in the second season for whatever reason.
  • In episode 6 Nozomu is avoiding eye contact with everyone due to the nature of the marriage ritual(eye contact means the two have to get married). why doesn't he just close his eyes?
    • Its just that it goes against the rules and probably Tokito will find a way to open his eyes anyway.
  • What kind of musical styles are the opening and ending themes? Because I would love to find similar music.
    • The endings sound more like Cabaret music (Zetsubou Restaurant, Omamori and Koiji Romanesque) but its not a particular genre as far I know.
  • If Kafuka is a ghost and all the main girls are her host, why does she get jealous of them when it involves the teacher? I mean she can possess them at any time and pretty much "wins" as far as his affections goes. Which is why this Troper finds her jealousy confusing.
    • Kafuka its not a ghost that posses people, but instead its a shared conscience that takes over one girl in particular. Thus, if one girl is jealous about another girl having the attention of sensei, the Kafuka she plays will be so.
  • Who was Kafuka in control of when she first met Nozomu? How did he even recognize her as Kafuka? He had never met Kafuka or any other of the girls that day because it was his first day teaching. And for that matter, how does he recognize Kafuka AT ALL? He doesn't have any of her organs, and again, he'd never seen her before, but it becomes evident by the end that he can definitely see Kafuka as herself whenever she's controlling someone.
    • Nozomu met Kafuka when he was in high school and she was in kindergarten. The still idealistic Nozomu found Kafuka got lost in her school trip and tried to help her, but Kafuka being Kafuka, she proceed to make his life hell and turned her into the despairing Nozomu we knew. And once again not long before the start of the series, with Nozomu chasing after her flying hat, just before she got hit by a car. While the "Nozomu recognized Kafuka without having her organ" part, it was implied that he stalked her remains and gathered her host into the class 2-He.
  • The first appearance of Rin Itoshiki in any given episode is always her looking over her shoulder. Why does she do that? Sure it's not because we should be reminded of her petite buttocks... Is it a cultural thing or reference?
    • Crayon Shin-chan reference. They both share the same VA. For the record, she's been doing that pose in the manga ever since the anime has been announced.
  • Why does the manga use the Showa calendar and possess other such anachronistic details? I hazily recall that there is some sort in-universe justification, but I'm curious as to why the author made this decision, stylistically speaking.
    • There is an in-universe explanation, ending spoilers: the students are possessed by ghosts from the Showa era and Nozomu is an exorcist that gave the surroundings a Showa flair so they could stay anchored to the living world and do their unfinished business. Outside of that, I guess he just likes the Showa aesthetic and seeing what the series is about, pokes fun of Modern Japan and the "good ol' days".

I'm in despair! Things bugging people have left me in despair!