Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei revolves around a very pessimistic high school teacher named Nozomu Itoshiki who tries to hang himself on a cherry blossom tree. Despite his best efforts, he is saved by a very optimistic girl known as Kafuka Fuura (whose real name is unknown).
She explains to him that it is simply unforgivable to hang himself on such a nice day, especially in front of such beautiful trees. She decides to nickname Nozomu “Pink Supervisor”, and offers to pay him fifty yen to call him by that nickname. After having enough of the strange girl, Nozomu bolts to the school and starts his homeroom class, but the attempt to escape was in vain as he finds that the girl is one of his students.
He tries to install his dark philosophy into his high school class students, but as supposed, he fails once and again.
Evenmore, he gets the reputation of having a great class, mainly because of Fuura Kafuka (Kafka) who is his polar oppopsite. One quick scene describes them as “a man who can see nothing hopeful” and “a girl who can see nothing hopeless” that were “never meant to meet”.
The teacher is in despair because the numerological analysis of his name is completely horrible, and even worse, when his name is written in kanji vertically, it’s Nozomu Itoshiki, but when one of the students writes it horizontally, the “ito” and “shiki” look like they form a single kanji, which combines to make his name “zetsubou” meaning despair.
Besides that, Fuura is constantly trying to rename the teacher “Pink Supervisor“. The teacher’s kimono is colored by moving patterns like in “Gankotsou” which is distracting at times.
In Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, the beloved sensei finds himself locked up in jail and we get a quick flashback to find out how he ended up this way. Apparently he’s been incarcerated in an undisclosed location until exams are over because he’s bad luck for students.
His own class won’t stand for this though, and comes to his rescue in a variety of ways that pretty much review and summarize the personalities of most of the cast. Things are wrapped up when Fuura explains that there’s no way Itoshiki sensei could be bad luck for the students. Actually, the truth seems to be quite the opposite.
Nozomu Itoshiki is the main character, a high school teacher. When his last name is written horizontally, it looks like zetsubou, which fits his extremely paranoid, pessimistic, depressive and suicidal mindset.
Kafuka Fuura is a female student who sees everything in the most positive light possible. Kafuka is seemingly the exact opposite of Nozomu. Often creating bizzare explanations for grim things. For example she calls suicide by hanging “Trying to become taller” or calling the act of stalking “deep love”. Kafuka Fuura is only a pen name, originated from the writer Franz Kafka.
Rin Itoshiki is Nozomu’s sister. Her name becomes zetsurin when condensed, and she excels in many things. However, since zetsurin is also slang for “horny”, she threatens to kill anyone who calls her that.
Mikoto Itoshiki is the third son of the Itoshiki family. He is a doctor in his own “Itoshiki Hospital“, but his patients feel uncomfortable being treated by him because his name resembles zetsumei. He hates being called “Zetsumei sensei” (“Dr. Death”) for this reason.
Kei Itoshiki is the second son of the Itoshiki family, he is a surrealist painter who is quite full of himself. He has a wife named “Yuka”, which is actually a large stain on his wall. His name becomes zekkei when condensed.
Majiru Itoshiki is Nozomu’s nephew. He was sent to live with Nozomu because his parents abandoned him. He is quite prone to psychological trauma due to Nozomu’s students’ antics. His name becomes zekkou.
Tokita is the Itoshiki family butler. He is called Sebastian by the girls.
Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (懺・さよなら絶望先生)
Is a Japanese manga by Kouji Kumeta, serialized in Weekly Shounen Magazine. It is a comedy about a teacher who takes all aspects of life, language and culture in the most negative light possible. In 2007, the manga received the thirty-first Kodansha Manga Award in the shounen category, and was adapted into an anime. This is the third TV anime series, and it began airing in Japan in July 5, 2009. The series is once again animated by Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo.
S1. “Ringo Mogire Beam!” ~ Kenji Ootsuki and Zetsubou Shoujotachi