Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Book 8

With Del Rey becoming just a distributor for Kodansha U.S. in December, it’s difficult reading their recent books, knowing that they are likely to be the last Del Rey Manga titles I see. (Of course, we don’t know what Kodansha plans to do, since little information has been forthcoming from them. They may continue many of these series, or very few of them. I’m preparing myself for the worst while hoping for a better outcome.)

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Book 8 cover
Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Book 8
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Looking at this series in the bigger picture, then, I’m forced to admit it’s become rather predictable. The pessimistic teacher notices something, which leads into a rant with lots of examples listed. One of the students puts a twist on it, with another list. End chapter, and repeat. I suspect that this winds up playing better as an anime at times. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with formula if the result is enjoyable.

The observations are often thought-provoking, as when he points out how many obligations people put on themselves that no one is requiring, like blog updates, or how the public likes familiarity in their entertainment, with key bits and costumes repeated out of habit. (This one shows up again in a slightly different form in a chapter about trends, with some amusingly exaggerated art.) A cell phone number portability rule spurs discussion of both how you can’t shake your childhood nickname and the manga convention of two characters magically switching personalities. Other chapters tackle getting pulled into other people’s drama, rites of passage, deception, and useless gifts.

I suspect, in looking at the book’s repetitive structure, I’m engaging in sour grapes, finding things to dislike so I won’t be so disappointed if we never see more of the series. I enjoyed many of the chapters, taken on their own, especially the one about people doing things that aren’t age-appropriate. And the art is still impressive, with its stark contrasts. There’s a lovely image of most of the cast in traditional dress with gorgeous patters in the New Year’s Eve chapter. (The publisher provided a review copy.)

8 Comments

  1. “They may continue many of these series, or very few of them. I’m preparing myself for the worst while hoping for a better outcome”

    Same. I’m guessing thath Fairy Tail and

  2. I accidentally hit enter…and it submitted, sorry.

    I’m currently reading the following titles…
    From the series in question I’m reading…
    •Air Gear
    •Alive
    •Fairy Tail
    •Ghost Hunt
    •Moyashimon
    •Nodame Cantabile
    •Princess Resurrection
    •Pumpkin Scissors
    •Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
    •School Rumble
    •Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
    •The Wallflower
    •Yozakura Quartet

    I feel like Fairy Tail may be a shoe in to continue. I’m most concerned about Alive and xxxHolic continuing, those are the two titles I care the most about from my list. I don’t have much Pumpkin Scissors hope since Del Rey just sort of stopped releasing them a while ago, but I would welcome more volumes enthusiatically. I’d love it if Kodansha USA re-released Sailor Moon in a better format, and I also wouldn’t say no to more Kindaichi Case Files.

  3. I’m not sure Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei works better as an anime – it’s very text-heavy, forcing one to freeze-frame constantly to get all the background jokes and the various lists [let’s not even think of annotations, either]. And at 2-and-half chapters adapted per episode, it also gets repetitive very quickly. It does help that the anime picks and chooses the “best” chapters, in non-chronological order, though.

    I find myself weirded out a bit by you reviewing Book 8 now : over in France, it came out months ago and Book 9 is already out.

  4. I’m horribly worried about Del Rey’s folding and how Kodansha USA will handle future series. I am really upset at the possibility of never seeing future volumes of Moyasimon…arguably one of my favorite mangas out there right now because it’s so unique and fun.

    I’m currently following

    -xxxHOLIC
    -Shugo Chara
    -Moyasimon
    -Alive
    -Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei

    as my most important mangas. I really, really want to see these series completed in the US. It just isn’t fair that I pay up to $13 a book, only to have it cancelled midway (or in Shugo Chara’s case- only 2 volumes from the end) or delayed forever and ever and ever. I hope that Kodansha can really blow me away, but somehow, I just can’t imagine that happening.

  5. […] 1, which is next week. (Yargh! Where does the time go?) From that batch, I reviewed I Am Here! and Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Book 8. Del Rey Manga, I’ll miss your upscale quality and diverse line. Here’s hoping the […]

  6. SZS is up to vol 23 in Japan, and still good (well, seeing as it’s a bit beyond my reading level, what I can actually understand of it is good).

  7. […] Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei 9 (June), Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei 10 (August) […]

  8. […] start with an old favorite. I haven’t read Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei since book 8, a year ago. Book 12 is consistent, more of the same, even on its third translator […]

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