Friday, June 26, 2009

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei

Overall Rating: A
Summary: Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei translates to "Goodbye, Mr. Despair" in English. Created by by Kōji Kumeta, the series is a shōnen slice-of-life series which follows Nozomu Itoshiki, a pessimistic high school teacher. At the beginning of the first volume we find Nozomu trying to hang himself on a sakura tree. He claims he is a worthless human being with no reason to live, and so he might as well die. However, before he dies, he is saved by the exceedingly optimistic Kafuka Fuura (almost killing him in the process). She claims it's impossible for him to die on such a beautiful day and in front of all the trees (who she gives strange names to like Pink Gabriel, Pink CEO, and Pink Devil).

Kafuka decides to name Nozomu Pink Supervisor, and offers him fifty yen to call him by the nickname, which only leads him further into despair. Nozomu flees to the school where he teaches, and begins his homeroom class, but discovers that Kafuka is in one of his students (SHOCK!) On top of that, every one of his students has a personality quirk or obsession, and the depressed teacher has to deal with them all.

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. I liked the cover art, and so I read the back cover. The premise of the book sounded interesting, so I started reading...and loved it. It's weird and quirky in all the right ways and a fun read. I recommend checking it out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Overall Rating: A
Summary: A comedy/music seinen created by Kiminori Wakasugi, the series follows Soichi Negishi is a shy young man who left his mother and father to tend the farm while he went to Tokyo to go to college and start a Swedish Pop band. Instead he helped found DMC, short for Detroit Metal City, the most over-the-top metal band in the city. On stage he is Krauser II, a livin legend who killed his parents as a child, and is a true demon from Hell.

Negishi despises the band except for when he is performing. While performing he gets into the Krauser personality, which can get him into a lot of trouble. Now he has to try to balance his life as the lead singer and guitarist for the most popular metal band in Japan against his desire to write sappy pop love ballads. Which will he choose?

I had heard a little about this manga before picking it up, but that didn't prepare me for it at all. This one is definitely for a more mature audience, but the situations Negishi gets himself into are hilarious. The only problem I have with it is it talks a little too much and a little too casually about rape. It's obviously part of the persona of Krauser II, but it can feel a little too over-the-top at times. Otherwise I would give this one an A+

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Overall Rating: A
Summary: Baccano is Italian for "ruckus", and that's the easiest way to describe this anime. It involves dozens of stories which cover different time periods being told simultaneously, and involving eighteen "main" characters. Each of the stories in the series consists of  seemingly unrelated plots which intersect each other as they unfold. The stories involve immortal alchemists, mafia operated speakeasies, and insane thieves who dress in garish costumes, and mesh together surprisingly well into an Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy series.

I wasn't sure what to think of Baccano! when I first read the descriptions of the series, but after watching the first disc, I'm impressed. The more you watch, the more connections are revealed and the story starts to take shape. It's a bit of a challenge to try to keep up, but it's not as difficult as I had thought. Definitely worth checking out.