Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: ffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

It was yesterday when kransom shot me a most curious message. The message was composed of two parts– one being a youtube link, and the other being a bit of commentary regarding said link. His thoughts on the link were short, to the point and read simply as “fffffffffffffff.” I clicked on the link, and saw it was the opening for the third Zetsubou Sensei series– Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Prison: So Long Mr. Despair.) It was at this point that I ctrl-w’d out of the tab. Buzz was already circulating around the internet about this new OVA, and I wanted to know as little as possible until I saw the whole thing for myself.

Today, just 30 minutes after waking up, I clicked open the OVA , which I had downloaded the night before, and was once again blown away by the sheer depths of SHAFTxSHINBO’s insanity.

Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s opening plays out like a really good MAD movie using Zoku’s opening as its basis. I really like Zoku’s opening (especially the version used in episode 5) but my main complaint about it has been that it’s very static. I appreciate the use of images from the Kaitai Shinsho, but considering that Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s first fully animated opening was so good, the fact that the one in Zoku was so static disappointed me. Over the course of Zoku the opening changed a little from episode to episode, but nothing was really added to it until the final episode. Goku’s opening takes that final opening from Zoku, and mutates it like crazy.

Static portions of Zoku’s opening are replaced with insane spastic bouts of experimental cutout animation, along with choice footage from previous episodes of the series. I would normally get on any studio’s case for reusing in-episode footage, but the way it’s handled here is so genius that I just don’t care. What really makes this piece stand out is the use of cutout animation, though. The imagery depicted by these paper cutouts is gruesome, morbid, and totally nuts. The jerky and awkward movement present in these cutout segments only help to re-enforce the piece’s craziness. It truly is Art with a capital “A”, and totally one-ups the opening for the first series, which I didn’t think was possible.

The episode proper is typical Zetsubou fare, but that’s only a good thing. I watched this first OVA raw, so I could only understand it at a real basic level. However, I still found myself laughing my ass off at the series’ unique brand of cleverly written and executed humour.

Naturally, I am awaiting the next episode with bated breath.

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