Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei 3

Koji Kumeta – Del Rey – 2009 – 30 volumes

Yeah, I definitely get a Sgt. Frog vibe from this series. I’m currently really digging it, and it’s just so indescribably eccentric that I really do enjoy each volume… but I know the novelty will wear off, just like it did with Sgt. Frog. I suppose I could just stop reading when that happens… but that’s just not my way. The one series I swore off forever I recently picked up the next several volumes of.

But! For the time being, this is still very funny stuff.

Again, there are several short, gag-oriented chapters. A gross-out competition. A chapter introducing the classroom’s genius storyteller. A story with bad puns that discusses culture and the expression thereof. A school trip preview trip, where you aren’t allowed to study things closely lest you exhaust the location for the actual trip. A story about a middle-aged man being placed in Zetsubou’s class by a cushy appointment. A weird fall festival chapter. A chapter discussing mistakes, and how and where to find them. One about Zetsubou’s nephew, sort of. One about hibernation. One about “yaminabe of the heart.” And then about 20 pages of end notes to explain all the jokes.

As much as the humor is based on pop culture and Japanese culture, it works because all the stories are just so weird. And short, so it doesn’t linger over-long on any of the (admittedly limited) ideas, and it’s a lot funnier that way. I also like the art, which is very pattern-oriented. I love that every chapter opens with a full body shot of Zetsubou in a different, sometimes beautiful, sometimes strange, kimono design, usually while he’s saying something outrageous.

And… I don’t really have a whole lot more to offer. It’s funny, and really weird, and all the jokes are based off of the idea in the chapter and the various one-dimensional personalities of Zetsubou and his students. It is what it is, and it works quite well. You probably don’t want to read the volumes in big chunks, however.



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