The Best Episodes of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Last Updated: May 24, 2019
Itoshiki Nozomu is always in despair! Even simple things like paying for the toll on the subway can send him to a despair so deep only attempted suicide is the answer. How Strange is it then, that he should be the teacher of a High School Class filled with students with even more emotional problems than his. This great Comedy will leave you in anything but 'Despair' as you meet each of his students and watch their wacky adventures.
#1 - Dark Despair Women / On This Month, On This Night, The Moon Shall Be Clouded by My Tears
Season 2 - Episode 11
Detective Nozomu Itoshiki is called upon by an investigator Jinroku to cooperate with the serial murder case, which took place in Sakebu Itoshiki's mansion. Sakebu was a famous artist, who was known for taking care of twelve girls in his mansion, but he has recently died of a chronic disease. After finding out that each murder resemebled various scenes of well-known anime, Nozomu initially suspects Kagerō Usui from his deduction. However, he later discovers the hidden truth behind the serial murder in Sakebu's underground storage room. In the second part of the episode, everyone is celebrating the Tanabata by hanging their written wishes on a bamboo tree, but Nozomu is initially doubtful about the Tanabata custom. However, Kafuka Fūra manages to convince him that every wish will eventually come true in the afterlife, even if it seems impossible to achieve in the current life. Suddenly, everyone in Tanabata festival is convinced of her idea, so they begin to form a cult based on her belief.
#2 - The Glory of Landing / Role of a Certain Woman / Pororokka Came Riding a Wave
Season 2 - Episode 12
Nozomu Itoshiki teaches his students to get themselves used to summer vacation gradually as he believes that a sudden change of state is unhealthy for everyone. Suddenly, Nozomu is in despair, because there are too many instances of 'hard landings' in current society. In order to teach how to do a proper 'soft landing', he prepares a flight simulator for the students. In the second part of the episode, Nozomu meets a taxi driver, who is about to do the last driving before his retirement. However, he ends up paying ridiculous amount of taxi fee as he was unwillingly drawn to taxi driver's dramatic situation. Subsequently, Nozomu is constantly drawn to many other dramatic situations despite his desperate attempts of scape. In the third part of the episode, Nozomu discusses various instances of 'backward flow', where people are drawn to various interests in reverse way. While Nozomu considers phenomena of 'backward flow' quite embrassing, Kafuka argues that it is a manly thing to do like a wild salmon climbing the flowing river. Meanwhile, Chiri forces other people to approach their interests in proper way instead of the usual 'backward' way.
#3 - Deteriorating Stream / A Fool's Adequacy / The First-time Condition
Season 2 - Episode 10
Nozomu Itoshiki watches a live baseball game and is reminded of a fact that many baseball stadiums intentionally reduce the flight range of baseball to make the game more enjoyable to watch. He suddenly realizes that such practices of intentional 'detuning' are quite popular in Japanese society. Nozomu points out that some people use 'detuning' as an excuse for their faults, Kafuka explains that people in general feels more comfortable with 'detuned' products rather than the cutting-edge one. In the second part of the episode, Nozomu states that there is an increasing tendency of saying 'not bad, not bad' at terrible things to comfort the victims. However, Nozomu explains that such instance can turn out to be a 'mini-propaganda', which could unknowingly mislead other people to believe in the same way. In the third part of the episode, Nozomu refuses to teach the first period class, because he was previously rejected by a restaurant in Kyoto as he was a first-time customer. He realzies that the Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei anime series could have been difficult series to approach for the first-time audience, so he decides to start the first-time-friendly episode. However, he is annoyed by the constant inquries from the first-time audiences. Thus, he decides to only invite regular audiences, but they seem to knows too much about the series. Ultimately, he decides to also reject the regular audience from the show.
#4 - Team Play / I Always Called That Person A Leftover / The Other Side of an Act of Kindness
Season 2 - Episode 5
Nozomu Itoshiki and his students enjoy the festival of Tanabata and talk about instances where people pay more attention to the trivial details of many objects rather than the main subjects. In the middle of their conversation, which Ikkyū-san later joins, the alien race El Niño suddenly invades Japan with their mecha army. Fortunately, Chiri digs up an ancient mask and activates its hidden power to defeat the alien force. The aliens admits their mistake of paying attention to trivial aspects of Nozomu's students rather than the progress of their invasion. At the end, Nozomu and Ikkyū-san do not remember how Japan was saved from the alien invasion, as they were paying attention to trivial details of the battle scene. In the second part of the episode, Jun Kudō is reading books in the school library, while Nozumu is worried about Jun's desire to read everything in the world, which could eventually include Nozomu's own embarrassing mind. When Nozomu's other students visit the school library, Jun tells heart-warming stories that move every one of them to tears. Nozomu feels even more certain of Jun's ability to read people's minds, so he puts himself in a freezing room full of penguins to prevent Jun from reading the conclusion of the episode. The third part of the episode shows what happened between Nozomu's nephew, Majiru Itoshiki, and Kiri Komori while the alien invasion of the 'A Painter by the Roadside' episode was undergoing outside the house.
#5 - Dismissal of Myohonji in Kamakura / The Voice of Daidouji Shinsuke / Under the Assumption of Siblings
Season 2 - Episode 13
After dismissed from the school as a demon, Nozomu Itoshiki wonders where the devils will end up once they are dismissed from everyone. Nozomu suddenly argues that dismissed people should be provided with a new employment after their dismissal, otherwise dismissed people will end up being 'wild' people in the street. Nozomu's students brings various wild people to his house and ask him to take care of them. Nozomu flatly refuses the offer, but he cannot help but to take care of them. Unfortunately, Nozomu is fired from his school for his suspicious conduct and he himself becomes a 'wild' teacher. In the second part of the episode, Meru Otonashi's dad wants to find a suitable voice actor for her as she has inferiority complex of her voice. However, no one seems to have a voice that matches with Meru's character. After the failed audition, she goes throught a number of troubles thanks to the voice transmitter attached to her neck. In the third part of the episode, Nozomu complains that people seem to have too many statements on the premise of something as it is a serious breach of etiquette. While Nozomu makes a visit of a Tsundere cafe in Akihabara, he finds numerous instances where unnecessary premises are made. Moreover, Nozomu confronts an enemy character, but they end up being friends together on the premise that the anime series is indeed derived from a Shōnen manga.
#6 - That's Impossible Isn't There an Original
Season 1 - Episode 11
The girls are watching a particularly awful movie. Outside, they meet with the director, who defends himself by saying that he is just "following the original story." Chasing him, they arrive at roads that are used by many people to escape or to shift blame from their mistakes. In the second part, Nozomu, Majiru, and Matoi are sitting in a kotatsu in Nozomu's house. Chiri then arrives to clean up everything. After the cleaning, Nozomu keeps wishing that humans can hibernate and finally he and the regular cast decide to take a winter hibernation. However, after the group nearly dies of carbon monoxide poisoning, Nozomu decides to simply leave. Fūra goes to find him, only to witness him being struck by a runaway trolley. The episode ends at the hospital as the entire class waits for Nozomu to leave surgery.
#7 - When I Came Out Of The Tunnel It Was White
Season 1 - Episode 2
After confiding in his latest despairs to Ms. Arai, she asks Nozomu to visit one of his students who hasn't shown up to school — Kiri Komori, a hikikomori. In the end Kiri goes to school but decides to be a hikimori there. The next day, Nozomu notes that another of his students, Matoi Tsunetsuki, didn't show up that day. Ms. Arai brings Nozomu to the counseling room, where she explains Matoi's obsessive-stalker tendencies to Nozomu. That night, he attempts to dissuade her from bothering her last boyfriend; however, his strategy backfires on him. This turns him into Matoi's latest object of affection.
#8 - Seventeen Years Old Don't You Want To Grab Your Wrinkles? / Duty and Soldiers / Don't Say It So Casually! Melos Stood and Retorted Furiously
Season 2 - Episode 3
Harumi Fujiyoshi is listening to a Zetsubō Sensei radio show at home while working on her yaoi dōjinshi. The radio show is actually derived from a chapter of the Zetsubō Sensei manga, which portrays Japanese people's indifference to their ages and introduces a new character, Manami Ōkusa, who is a married high school student. In the second part of the episode, Nozomu criticizes the society where individuals are compelled to serve their 'duties' to meet other people's expectations. These 'duties' are often very superfluous and trivial. However, Kafuka points out the irony that Nozomu himself is a part of such a society, as the girls around him are expected to serve their various 'duties' to take care of their teacher. In the third part of the episode, Nozomu is in despair about society, where serious matters are often taken too lightly. Several of Nozumu's students provide their experiences of such a trend. After Rin Itoshiki makes an appearance as one of Nozomu's new students, Nozomu and his students decide to reverse the trend by treating various trivial matters with serious attitudes, which eventually becomes an addicting habit for everyone.
#9 - Removing Toxins and Stains
Season 1 - Episode 5
On physical examination day, many of the girls are feeling stress about their weight, measurements and fitness. Nozumu distracts them by deciding to judge the "social worth" of students so that they will know whether they are living "above their station." Kitsu seizes on this idea, scolding everyone who possesses any luxuries, appalling Nozumu to the point where he decides to go on a hedonistic binge before killing himself. In the second half he encounters some of his students at a hot spring and is frightened to learn the spring has the power to remove their "toxicity" giving them well-adjusted personalities.
#10 - Go Fly Over That Country
Season 1 - Episode 3
This episode is a pastiche of parodies about foreigners and Japanese attitudes concerning them. A foreign student named Kaere Kimura transfers into the class. Kimura is a blonde girl with multiple personality disorder stemming from cultural identity confusion. Nozumu prevents her from committing suicide but sees her underwear and is sued. While Nozomu is absent from school Chiri investigates his students and discovers that Maria is an illegal immigrant.
#11 - From Elbow to knee
Season 1 - Episode 4
Chie dispatches Nozomu to investigate rumors that the invariably injured Abiru Kobushi is suffering from domestic violence. He pursues Abiru's father while he shops, causing him a great deal of inconvenience, before discovering Abiru's obsession with pulling the tails of dangerous animals. The latter half of the episode concerns Meru Otonashi, who is silent and shy in person, but remarkably abusive via text-messaging, her only means of communication.
#12 - What an Incredible Bother!
Season 1 - Episode 12
The first part of this episode introduces Ai Kaga, a girl who always takes blame for everything, even though it is not her fault. Nozomu takes the class to a "guilt scramble" to explain that history has led to the "guilt complex" such as Kaga's becoming the Japanese mentality. After being overcome with guilt himself, Nozomu and Kaga travel the world to try to stop burdening others. The second part introduces another girl, Mayo Mitama. Her evil-looking eyes have led to her being misunderstood - that is, she actually is evil, but people try not to prejudge her and assume she is actually good. She commits several cruel acts that Nozomu bears witness to and is blamed for, being the only other nearby party. He becomes so concerned with not prejudging that he doesn't blame her when she hits Majiru over the head with an aluminum bat or when she drops a brick onto Nozomu's head.
#13 - Spynapple Pudding / When The Fruit of Exposure is Ripened / A Half of the Criminal Investigation Report
Season 2 - Episode 8
When Nozomu Itoshiki tries take photograph of his nephew and Kafuka Fūra in the public swimming pool, he is accused of being a spy by another woman. Nozomu blames the society, where everyone, including those who do not have any malicious intent, is suspected of being spy. Suddenly, Kafuka gives him a secret mission and Nozomu has to escapes from the greater suspicion by finding a good place to isolate himself. At the end, Kafuka devises a plan of 'positive counter intelligence' to help him out by leaking unreliable rumors such as urban legends to confuse everyone in the society. In the second part of the episode, Nozomu claims that pretentious side of everyone is ultimately exposed in May. At the end, many of Nozomu's students' hidden secrets are exposed, though some of them are merely his imagination. In the third part of the episode, many things in the world are not divided exactly half and half despite their claim. To correct such mistakes in the world, Chiri Kitsu enforce the ratio of everything into exactly 50/50 ratio, which produces various results at the end.
#14 - Goodbye, Zetsubo Sensei
Season 1 - Episode 1
Kafuka Fuura is cheerily walking to school one April morning when she suddenly spots a man trying to hang himself in a fit of despair. Kafuka manages to use her weight to snap the rope, thus saving his life. Nozomu Itoshiki, the man, eventually cannot take anymore of the girl's ridiculous ramblings, and runs off to school to start homeroom at the beginning of a new school year. When Nozomu walks in the door, he finds Kafuka is one of his students.
#15 - Look, the Baron's Reckless Remark / There Are a Lot of Problems in This Class So Please Be Aware of That
Season 2 - Episode 1
Nozomu Itoshiki, a direct marketing businessman, is chased by a mysterious religious group called Hamasho. At one point, he is caught and his body is modified like a mole cricket. After his long adventure, he is discovered by Kafuka and he then becomes a high school teacher. Students in the class start calling him "Left-wing Guerrilla" (apparently in lieu of "Pink Supervisor"), making him want to die again. Right before he jumps off a cliff, Kafuka suggests he "mock marry" a girl of the Holy Nosebleed Empire. A card reveals that the entire segment is a gag based on a summary from the jacket of the manga's first volume. In the second segment, Nami Hitō, who has been missing classes, finally decides to attend her school as no one really seems to notice her absence. Unfortunately, she does not get much attention from her classmates as the high school is full of extraordinary characters. At the end of the episode, most of the major characters are introduced and Nami is labeled as the 'ordinary girl' in the school.
#16 - Forelocks Yet To Be Opened / Adornment At Tiffany's / Rouse Up, O Old Men of the Old Age
Season 2 - Episode 2
The first part of this episode is supposed to follow this storyline from a chapter of the Zetsubō Sensei manga. Perry has come to the school on the anniversary of the school's founding. He is an American Commodore who known for opening up Japanese ports to foreign trade (in Japanese, the phrase "opening the school" (開校?) is pronounced the same as "opening the ports" (開港?)). After he opens up various things in the school, he tries to open up Nozomu Itoshiki's mind. Suddenly, Nozomu releases a mysterious wave that reveals the dark side of the world, which is full of despair. Finally, Perry learns the lesson that he shouldn't try to open up everything in the world. However, all the characters speak unintelligible gibberish, and the subtitles suggest that Perry is Son Goku looking for the Dragon Balls and that Nozomu is an alien bent on stopping him. In the next part of the episode, Nozomu is complaining about the over-decoration of various things in Japanese society. However, Kafuka Fūra denies it, saying that it is just a trend among stylish elites. In the next part, Nozomu meets his old time friend Ikkyū-san, who likes old things. They discuss together how old things are often ignored in modern Japan. Ultimately, he wants to obtain a former-surname by marrying Nozomu's sister Rin. Rin tries to escape from Ikkyū by calling her butler, but he ends up persuading Ikkyū-san to marry her. However, Kafuka manages to find out at the end that Nozomu and Ikkyū are not old friends, but rather one-day friends during the first day of school.
#17 - Leap Before You Look
Season 1 - Episode 6
Kafuka comes down with a cold during the summer and has to go see the doctor, Mikoto Itoshiki, who happens to be Nozomu's brother. Later, Chiri and Kafuka find out from Mikoto that Nozomu has gone back to his hometown in Kuraizawa for an arranged marriage. One way or another, the girls somehow all end up arriving at Kuraizawa, where they are taken to the Itoshiki residence by Tokita. Here they find out that the Itoshiki tradition for arranged marriages simply involves both parties exchanging eye contact. The rest of the episode involves Nozomu and his attempts to avoid eye contact with the girls and various other people/objects.
#18 - I'm a Social Outcast by Fate
Season 1 - Episode 8
This episode begins with Usui Kagerou lamenting about how he never gets noticed by anyone, when he nearly gets run over by a truck who does not notice him. He runs into Nozomu in the shadows, who begins to talk about how some people are destined to be overshadowed by others, no matter how hard they work. The second part of the episode has the class undergo criticism training. Usui continues to be ignored until a divine wind blows away his hair, revealing his bald head and allowing everyone in the class to see him. He fears that people in the class will begin mocking him, but Kafuka suggests that Chie insults him instead, which he seems to enjoy.
#19 - You Mustn't Burn the Raw Yatsuhashi
Season 1 - Episode 10
The episode begins with Nozomu announcing there will be a cultural festival, which he decides to not participate and explains that they are not cultured people, believing that they will grow to be bad people if they do pretend they are. The second part of the episode starts with the class taking a field trip preview, where Chiri make a large itinerary guide of the place. They move quickly all over Kyoto until they come to a temple. There the monk enlightens them about the use of preview. The episode ends with Nozomu take Chiri to visit his preview funeral and gravesite, where she gets angry and hits him, sending him to the hospital and putting him in a coma (which Kafuka calls a "preview of the afterlife").
#20 - One Morning, When Gregor Samsa Awoke, He was Carrying a Portable Shrine
Season 1 - Episode 7
This episode begins with Fujiyoshi bumping into Nozomu while she is on her way to make copies of her doujinshi. Through a misunderstanding, Nozomu ends up going to Comiket to sell his doujin literature with mixed results. At Comiket, Chiri reads Fujiyoshi's yaoi doujinshi. On the way back from Comiket, they meet Kafuka, who talks Chiri and Fujiyoshi into drawing more manga that strictly adheres to the above mentioned format. The second half of the episode involves the girls at a matsuri, where overzealous festival-goers begin piling random objects and people on portable shrines and dancing and parading around with them.
#21 - The Evening Primroses on Fuji are Wrong
Season 1 - Episode 9
Nozomu notices a few members of the class playing a "spot the differences" game. Nozomu tells them that it is important to spot mistakes, and he instructs the class in how life is filled with mistakes. He asks the class to identify mistakes in their lives, after pointing out several of his own. After Nozomu contradicts himself, saying that a mistake was the correct action, Kafuka reasons that if a mistake comes to light, it is correct, resulting in many people approaching her, confessing their mistakes, making them correct. In the end of the first part, a boy approaches Nozomu, calling him "Dad." The second part of the episode reveals that he is actually Nozomu's brother's child, Majiru Itoshiki. Nozomu asks him to prove that he is indeed his nephew, and then asks all of his students to prove that they are the real one. When Majiru asks Nozomu to prove he is genuine, Nozomu is unable to come up with a response, and runs off. The episode ends with a sequence that deals with Majiru's apparent hair fetish.
#22 - Highway to Hell / The Spring Postman Always Rings Twice / Withering Heights
Season 3 - Episode 1
As the school exams approach, Nozomu sniffs at the idea of good luck charms. Just then, he is arrested by mysterious people for being a potential bad luck charm for the students and locks him up in solitary, which he is quite pleased about. However, the girls break in and rescue him, and it comes to light that the students actually see Nozomu as a good luck charm. Next, everyone has different opinions of what tells them spring has come, which for some people involve strange dancing people. Later, Nami tells Nozomu she is going on a trip to find herself, whereas Nozomu says it is really a journey that exposes a person's true nature.
#23 - Yeah, It's a Surprise, I Muttered Hollowly / Confession Crepe Team / The Last, and the First Enoden
Season 3 - Episode 8
Nozomu shows how, in a suspicious society, there is more "reverse-surprise" than surprise itself: people, in fact, are more surprised when they expect things to happen, but they do not, than when they really do. Chiri finds out Nozomu standing in front of a Police box, he tells her that he's training to confess. Modern Japanese people are not able to admit their fault and need this kind of training. Nozomu gets on a train which apparently has no destination. On the contrary everything, even the train, has got a previously decided destination. People, in fact, ask questions about things they have already analyzed and chosen. The 3rd part of the episode has been made with an experimental graphic technique.