Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:John Zakrzewski
Review Date: Thursday, January 14, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kitto Shan-gu-ri-la da yo!

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Koji Kumeta
Translation: Joyce Aurino
Adaptation: Joyce Aurino

What They Say
From the savage mind of Koji Kumeta -a twisted trip of deliciously wicked proportions

One of Zetsubou-sensei's new students, a genius storyteller can melt even her teacher's black heart. Meanwhile, Chiri, the obsessive-compulsive girl who longs to marry Zetsubou-sensei, is thrilled when the morose young man actually invites her somewhere. Has Zetsubou-sensei asked Chiri out on a date, or is he planning a murder-suicide? Either option may involve flowers!

The Review!
To those perusing this review, precious slivers of existence are slipping away while digesting my senseless blather, time that could be so much better spent grappling with the concept of a minimum standard of cultural living, or learning how to make a yaminabe of the heart.  This in mind, stabbing again at your cynical senses with a third biting volume is manga-ka Koji Kumeta's series about a perpetually perturbed high school teacher and his class of dysfunctional students

When concept is king and story a dead pidgin rotting inside some long forgotten storm drain, relating what occurs in a particular book becomes fairly irrelevant.  What needs to be said is Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Volume 3 remains engagingly funny, with content ranging from deftly snarky to outright vicious.  Kumeta's artwork has hit a confident stride when compared to the previous releases: his designs are sharper, and effort overall more consistent.  This seems almost counterintuitive due to the visual simplicity, but Zetsubou-Sensei is nonetheless a lovely looking series.  At its black heart, Volume 3 is essentially a polished extension of the initial installment, one built on the same jagged structure while offering fresh meat for its voracious cast to filet.

Kumeta sustains his series' shallow trappings by presenting material with a flash fire focus.  He dives into a topic, strikes at the matter, then heads for the hills before the reader tires.  Such swift pacing allows this volume alone to feature ten individual chapters.  Touching upon the necessity of previewing one's every intention prior to taking action, or the overzealous nature of local festivals, the pages flow by effortlessly, never hampered by their breadth of content.

Of the first three books, this one at times can be especially perplexing, as it's easily the most aggressively stuffed with dropped names and various pop-culture minutia.  The tsunami of references is, admittedly, ever so slightly dizzying—you will read the abundant Translation Notes, it's just the reality of this volume and the series as a whole.

Much as I do credit Del Rey's attempt at faithfulness to the original text and for painstakingly including extensive appendices, I will fault a particular scene from Chapter 22: although a certain panel clearly shows a man playing mahjong, its dialogue alludes to horse racing.  A curious and minor foible, to be sure, but it does allow a specter of doubt concerning the translation's validity to creep into one's mind.

Summary
Since there's truly nothing worse than trying to explain a joke, I'll end simply by saying read the damn book already, because I'm totally fed up with these penguins!
 



Mania Grade: A-
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Del Rey
MSRP: 10.99
Pages: 176
ISBN: 978-0345510242
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei