Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei Vol. #07 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, August 19, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Zetsubou's new epiphany: technology is complicated
Writer/Artist: Koji Kumeta
Translation: David Ury
Adaptation: David Ury
What They Say
Zetsubou-sensei is angry again, and this time he's turned his sights on Inconvenience. Modern-day inventions are supposed to make our lives more efficient, but the sensei sure doesn't see it that way. TV remote controls are meant to save us time and energy, but how much time do we waste just trying to find the remote? Our cellphones are supposed to keep us connected no matter where we are, but we spend half our time walking around trying to find a signal. Zetsubou-sensei has had it with so-called conveniences! Luckily, he's come up with the perfect solution: "Convenience Through Cloning." Because what the world needs now is another Zetsubou-sensei, and another, and another and...
It's started becoming clear to me that Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei is the sort of series that you really need to consume in appropriately-sized chunks. Taken a chapter at a time, there's sometimes a genuinely funny bit or two in the topics that Kumeta covers; but anything more than that, and the series's repetitive tendency starts getting more and more aggravating. In fact, I'm now realizing that I've basically gotten my fill of the series from just one volume: everything past the first review I've written for this series, I'm struggling to find anything substantial to discuss besides the raw funny-gag-to-groaner ratio.
Even by that measure, the series's seventh volume is one of the low marks among the handful I've read so far. Like before, the problems stem a mixture of jokes that read like they died in translation -- the entire first chapter, which pokes fun at the "connections" of the deceased, smacks of this problem -- and running gags that aren't strong enough to stand up to repetition. At their worst, some of Zetsubou's topics are beginning to read like lame stand-up comedy routines; one rant about how people use the word "half" too loosely is especially bad about this, leaving the reader wondering if Zetsubou's classroom is filled with literal-minded obsessive compulsives. (And really ... a manga written in 2007 was just then getting around to cracking Michael Jackson jokes?)
As for the rest: meh. Kumeta can still get some laughs out of me when ironic and/or violent things happen to poor, poor Zetsubou (or robots made in his image) at the end of most chapters. Can't argue it's worth buying and reading the volume for that alone; but hey, it's something at least.
I'm not going to deny that there's an audience out there for the kinds of comedies that stick really closely to their basic formulas -- the fact that this series has passed the 200-chapter milestone in Japan is proof positive of that. I do have this suspicion, though, that anyone less than rabid Zetsubou fans will probably be best served by just grabbing a random volume or two and calling it a day. (And if you do fall into that category, this might not be the random volume you'll want to grab ... Volumes 4 or 6 seemed like slightly better candidates to me.)
Mania Grade: C-
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Released By: Del Rey
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei