Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei 1

March 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm 10 comments

The story opens with a typically cheerful high school girl walking to school, admiring the Spring and cherry blossoms, until she comes across…

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She performs a daring rescue!  (Or actually just kind of pulls on his legs until the rope snaps…)

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Er, no he really did.  The world is a dark and horrible place for a variety of reasons…

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It seems she knows this because her father repeatedly tried to make himself taller (usually because of things like going bankrupt) and occasionally her mother would try as well.  It’s no wonder this girl is positive to the point of insanity…

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And because this is a wonderfully weird and wacky manga, on the next page you find out that he’s actually her teacher.  The school does not seem to have a problem with a depressed suicidal teacher who tries to convince his students that the future is hopeless.  They just make him visit the school counsellor, who doesn’t seem to care that much either.

These two work beautifully together – in the second story Itoshiki-Sensei visits one of his students who is a shut in.  His goal: get her going back to school!  He doesn’t really want to go (after all, his problems are a lot more pressing) but eventually caves.  Unfortunately he runs into Fura (our super-positive girl) who joins him on his mission.  Of course she puts her weirdly positive spin on the situation and decides that the shut-in is actually a zashiki-warashi who brings good luck to the house and *shouldn’t* leave.  Chaos insues, shut-in girl is scared out of her wits and begs to be let out of the house.  This is not quite the happy ending you’d expect, though, since once she gets to school she then refuses to leave.  I think she just lives at the school now…

That’s sort of the template for each story in the book.  Weird student is introduced, wackiness ensues, class goes back to normal but the cast of characters gets a little bigger with each chapter.  We get to meet a returnee with a split personality (also designated panty-shot girl), the shy girl who can’t speak but emails just fine, an illegal immigrant, the (rumored to be) abused girl who shows up with strange injuries (shown below) and a girl who’s either a stalker or really really intense when it comes to love.  (Nah, she’s a stalker.  And that was one of the stories that had me laughing out loud.)  All girl characters so far, now that I think of it…

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Each story ends with a snapshot and caption for the character we meet in that chapter, but I particularly like the intro pages:

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This one introduces the truant girl who comes back to class and finds out that in a class of incredibly strange characters she’s ordinary in comparison.

I really liked this manga.  I had previously seen the first episode of the anime but didn’t have time to follow up on it.  (I find anime too time consuming these days.)  When I recognized the title at the comic store on Wednesday I grabbed it right away.  I love the twisted humour in the book – even with a so called suicidal teacher.  He seems more depressed and negative than anything, and seems startled when his attempts nearly work.  And really, no one at school blinks when they find him hanging outside the windows… (Gosh, that sounds dark, doesn’t it?)  The students are a great twist on the kind of characters you’d normally find in manga, too.  I don’t really want to give anything away, though.  It’s much more fun to be surprised.

I enjoyed the art as well.  I was trying to think of how to describe it, and the only thing I could come up with was xxxHolic meets Love Roma.  But I think that’s because of the mix of dark inks and wide eyed, forthright characters.

I’m looking forward to reading volume 2, and I think I’m going to recommend this one to my 16 year old nephew as well.  I think the dark humour will really appeal to him.  :)

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Entry filed under: manga.

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10 Comments Add your own

  • […] (Slightly Biased Manga) Connie on vol. 15 of O-Parts Hunter (Slightly Biased Manga) Cathy on vol. 1 of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei (it can’t all be about manga…) Sadie Mattox on Solanin (The Extremely Graphic Novel […]

    Reply
  • 2. badzphoto  |  March 6, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    “(Or actually just kind of pulls on his legs until the rope snaps…)”
    I’d think that speeds up the death, doesn’t it? The cord tighter, right?

    “xxxHolic meets Love Roma.”
    This sounds delightful. I actually thought sensei from the cover does look like Watanuki.

    Reply
  • 3. cathy  |  March 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    “I’d think that speeds up the death, doesn’t it? The cord tighter, right?”

    Heh, yeah he was kind of upset about that considering he was hanging there by his own choice. One of the panels I left out has him saying “What if I died?” which leads me to believe he doesn’t take the suicide thing as seriously as he wants you to think…

    Reply
  • 4. badzphoto  |  March 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    he’s so twisted ;)

    I just read a josei manga “Walkin’ Butterfly” by Chihiro Tamaki (4 volumes – only 3 in English so far) – it’s good – I thought you might like it. Here’s the review that got me interested (http://www.popcultureshock.com/manga/index.php/reviews/manga-reviews/walkin-butterfly-vols-2-3/). Also The Name of The flower is good so far.
    Btw, how did you like Kasumi?

    Reply
  • 5. cathy  |  March 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Yeah, I actually have Walkin’ Butterfly. I try to support josei when I can. I really like that series and I hope #4 doesn’t take too much longer. One josei series that I *really* liked was Suppli and I’m depressed that it’s published by tpop. :(

    Hmm. I meant to mention Kasumi, didn’t I? It was okay. Nothing I’d buy, I think, unless volume 2 was really good. One of those series where the mysterious guy is much more interesting than the lead girl.

    I liked the first volume of Name of the Flower, but I found that there were a lot of scenes that were repeated. Did that bother you? It’s one of my “buy the second volume because I’m sure it’ll correct itself given time” books. :)

    Reply
  • 6. badzphoto  |  March 6, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Yeah, same as Aria – there was a high demand for #3 last month caused the spike in the price on amazon market. Thanks goodness the book is available again.
    I saw #3 of Suppli available for preorder. I tried #1 but didn’t finish because the art is a bit confusing, I should give it a second chance. Argh, TP, so frustrating. I’m still waiting for #8 Gatcha gacha :(
    I’d probably check out Kasumi for the mysterious guy ;) if I can find a copy in the library – maybe I can suggest them to buy :)

    Re “Name of the flower” – I forgive the repeating scenes because of the bespectacled character :D, amusing side bars and the bonus manga – that’s really funny. I think I’d get the whole series just because it’s so short (only 4). Another series I meant to check out is March of Life (2 volumes complete) about an aunt taking care of her orphaned nephew.

    Reply
  • 7. cathy  |  March 6, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    March of Life sounds interesting. Is it available? I heard Viz licensed some josei books but haven’t really read much about them yet. I seem to be a “wait until it’s published” person. I should be more proactive…

    Reply
  • 8. badzphoto  |  March 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    “March of Life sounds interesting. Is it available?”
    According to cmx website 3/25/09 – and they have its preview here (http://www.dccomics.com/cmx/?action=on_sale&i=11210)

    “I seem to be a “wait until it’s published” person. I should be more proactive…”
    It’s better for your pocket that way.

    Reply
  • 9. cathy  |  March 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Oooh. CMX does good stuff. Thanks for the heads up! I will definitely check it out, even though I’m trying not to buy much this month. (I’m going to New York at the end of March and it’s going to be pricey!)

    CMX puts out Land of the Blindfolded and Penguin Revolution, two of my much loved series… Penguin Revolution is almost done, sniff!

    Reply
  • 10. XenMaster  |  March 8, 2009 at 12:18 am

    I’m almost done downloading the first few episodes. I’ll let you know what I think. But you have to finish Suzumiya!

    Reply

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