Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, Vol. 10

By Koji Kumeta. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics.

It can be difficult to do full reviews of this title, no matter how much I enjoy it. It’s one of my favarites, but does not have “plot” or “characterization” per se. It’s a gag manga that revels in its gag manganess, its characters are stereotypes by design, and sometimes people get killed and then show up again the next chapter as if nothing’s wrong. One thing it does have, however, is references. Each chapter has more than 35-40 obscure references to Japanese pop culture, something that your average Japanese fan will pick up a heck of a lot easier than North American ones. Kodansha’s release of Vol. 10, meanwhile, has 12 endnotes. For the entire book.

My previous reviews of the post-Joyce Aurino Zetsubou volumes have discussed this in great detail. So for this volume, I wanted to try something different. There is a Japanese wiki page, run by Kumeta fans, devoted to picking out every single reference in his chapters. It is amazing, and the people who write it are gods. I wanted to use my knowledge of written Japanese – wait, that’s wrong. I don’t read any Japanese at all. I wanted to use my ability to cut and paste things into a translate program, combined with my ability to then plug things into Wikipedia and Google, to see if I could create a working list of the references in Volume 10 of Zetsubou-sensei.

I started to do this in August. And just finished it.

Can I say that I have a healthy new respect for both David Ury and Joshua Weeks, the adapters of this particular manga? This is *hard*. Really hard, even if you have an encyclopedic knowledge of every Morning Musume member in existence. Kumeta is a giant pop culture nerd, and every bulletin board, door and shop sign in this manga is plastered with discussions of political scandals, celebrity scandals, or Yes! Precure 5. There is no way I would ever do something like this again for free, and I totally get that they are picking and choosing the references they feel need to go into the North American release.

At the same time, my mind reels on how many levels of comedy Kumeta is working on here. We only get the top layer of jokes, missing perhaps 3-4 others per page. It’s fantastic to look through this and see even a glimpse of what we’re missing.

So, in lieu of a review, I give you this. I didn’t put page or panel numbers, so you’ll have to follow along with your books. Also, I would like to reiterate, in case it was missed the first time, I don’t read Japanese. So some of these are just guesses. And some references have me saying “I don’t know what this is.”.

One last thing, because it’s not a Zetsubou review without it: Kodansha, your copy editing is still shoddy. There were pages missing here for no good reason, and two characters had their bios on the character list flipped for no real reason. I’m starting to move from “it’s an editorial policy for Kodansha not to credit their editors” to “Kodansha’s editors want to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.” Though to be fair, I did not spot anything as gratuitous as “Nodoka56…” from Negima 31.

Having said that, I hope they don’t kill me for this. :)


Back cover: Harumi’s doujinshi is a parody of the Arabian Nights. There are only 801 nights here, as 801 = yaoi.

Story So Far:
— John Mazzo is a typo, it’s actually John Ken Nuzzo, an American tenor who sings in Japan.
— Piano no Mori is a manga title running in Weekly Morning, about a bullied child and a supposedly broken piano in the middle of the forest. It’s 19 volumes and counting.
— UFO Robo Grendizer is a Go Nagai giant robot anime from the mid-1970s, and is known to be one of the most popular giant robot shows ever in Europe.
— Shiina Takashi is a manga artist for Shogakukan, best known for Ghost Sweeper Mikami and the current series Zettai Karen Children.
— note the illustration is filled with Zetsubou’s ‘hidden gags’ – Matoi, dog with stick, Taro Aso, Sakurai Yoshiko, the stork, etc.

Zetsubou Literary Compilation (at the back):
— this is all basically a riff on Crime and Punishment, only with manga popularity.

Kiri Komori’s “Don’t Open It!”
— completely missing in the English edition, though it’s uncertain if it’s censored or just the usual horrible editorial practices. It features a nude Kiri covering herself in front of a bath. There’s a box labeled SHAFT at the top of a locker in the bathroom, the first of many, many references to the anime in this volume.

Chiri’s Magical Shovel
— this whole thing is a parody of the anime Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan, including mocking the theme song. It’s also riffing on Chiri’s name, as it can also be read as ‘to bury’.

Contents page:
— Harumi reading yaoi doujinshi, this apparently from Comiket 72 (2007). The doujinshi is a parody of Yes! PreCure 5, though I’m not sure who the actual BL pairing is.

Character Intros:
— another mistake, as they have Kafuka’s name and description under Maria. And no, it wasn’t the same way in the Japanese.

Kaere’s lawsuit:
— referring to the events in Chapter 96

— as always, excluded from the Kodansha Edition here. This is not exclusive to Zetsubou, however. Kodansha Comics only includes it in their Negima and Fairy Tail editions. There’s 5 pages of it, including some highly questionable shotacon art. >_>

Paper Blogs
— as always, some references to current events here, with the “Did I reach my goal?” bit referring to race walker Yuki Yamazaki.
— discussion here of the Wii, and the practice of buying them to resell them later for inflated prices.
— possible riffing on the manga Suzuka, which was ending right about this period. Definitely making fun of Hayate the Combat Butler again, another constant in Kumeta’s works.
— the manga artist talking about drawing manga for himself at 15 is Eiichiro Oda, author of One Piece.
— “when that voice actor tells me that Kaizo was actually funnier” is apparently Ryoko Shintani, the voice of Nami, referring to his previous work for Shonen Sunday, Katteni Kaizo. Shintani is apparently a big Kumeta fan. :)

Animage parody
— Also a parody of Newtype and other media magazines of that ilk. Apparently when Zetsubou’s first anime debuted, Hayate the Combat Butler got the magazine covers instead. (As I said, it’s very hard to tell what the relationship between Kumeta and Hata is, aside from Hata being Kumeta’s old assistant. A lot of the jealousy does seem genuine… though then again that’s part of Kumeta’s basic persona.)
— Animes parodied on the cover: Kekkaishi, Mononoke/Higurashi: When They Cry, Sky Girls, Oh! Edo Rocket, Doujin Work, Gundam 00, Crayon Shin-chan, Big Windup!, Familiar of Zero, and Dennou Coil.
— Nozomu is drawn here to look like Lelouch from Code Geass.
— the 2-page special following this is Zetsubou-sensei reimagined as a magical girl show called “Lilycure!”, and would be used in the 2nd anime season, complete with its own theme song. The whole thing is obviously a parody of Pretty Cure and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, but ‘Masked Teacher Zetsubou” has a Kamen Rider feel to it, and “An effective medicine for despair” is riffing on the manga Zetsubou ni Kiku Kusuri – One on One, which ran in Young Sunday at the time of publication.

(Note: I will skip the references which were already noted by Joshua Weeks in the back of the Kodansha Comics edition.)

Chapter 91, “If you work by reason, you grow rough-edged; if you choose to oar into sentiment’s stream, it will sweep you away. Demanding your own way only serves to constrain you However you look at it, the human world is a three-way standoff”

— The title is a parody of the beginning of the Japanese novel Kusamakura, by Natsume Soseki.
— Released April 18, 2007.
— Cover pic has Kafuka in a kimono, along with various interpretations of three-way standoffs.
— Bikkuriman was a popular Japanese franchise based off of stickers found in a snack. They were divided into Devil, Angel, and Charm.
— Fire, Water and Grass is talking about Pokemon.
— Block/Attack/Throw is referring to Street Fighter III.
— Sword/Spear/Axe is referring to Fire Emblem.
— The discussion of standoffs in bands could be any number of groups. Deep Purple in particular are known for hating each other.
— You can see a copy of the Famicom game “Mother” in the rubble on page 10.
— Rin being described as having God’s Touch (and the obvious fakery involved) is referring to disgraced archaeologist Shinichi Fujimura.
— Kumeta loves making fun of the 2006 World Cup team (which had high expectations, but came in last in their group). Former player Takashi Fukunishi is mentioned by name.
— Weekly Shonen Jump’s three principles are Friendship, Determination and Victory. Harumi and Nozomu’s discussion refers to the large number of BL fans that have come to be reading the magazine, and whether Weekly Jump is catering to them by providing more ’emotional friendship’ moments between young men.
— That’s Death Note, Prince of Tennis, and Naruto yaoi doujins there.
— The “Hoodlums, Moe, Sports” is referring to Akita Shoten’s Shonen Champion magazine, and the creation of its moe-oriented spinoff Champion Red.

—Despair list:
—Yoko Ando, Christel Takigawa and Yoshiko Sakurai are all famous female TV news presenters. You’ve seen Sakurai’s face hidden in each Zetsubou-sensei chapter since Vol. 4 or so, and she also appeared in Maria’s boke/tsukkomi chapter.
— I’m sure you all know who Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar are, but I’ve no doubt this is actually referring to the Evangelion computers that bear their name.
— Chunichi, Hanshin and Hiroshima are all teams in the Central League of Professional Baseball. Chunichi won the league, but lost to Hokkaido in the World Series in 2006.
— A reference to Morning Musume (a j-pop girl group), their first “leader” Yuko Nakazawa, and their producer/writer, Tsunku.
— Lee, Cullen, and Hirayama are all J-League soccer players.
— Raizen, Yomi and Mukuro are the Three Kings of the Demon realm in the manga Yu Yu Hakusho.
— Yasuo Tanaka is a Japanese politician known for his opposition to public development projects that saddle Japan with more debt.
— Tsundere is explained in the volume. Kuudere is someone who is stoic and ‘cool’ towards people, then gradually warms to them – Nico Robin from One Piece might be a good example. Tennen is short for Tennen boke, and refers to a type who is naturally a boke – saying dumb things that deserve whacks – but is not trying to be – they’re naturals. All 3 types are very ‘moe’.
— Pet stores are notorious for being less regulated than they should be – there’s a reason they’re called “puppy mills”.
— “Dreams, copyright and time” is a reference to the pop singer Mackey and his ‘borrowing’ of passages from Galaxy Express 999 author Leiji Matsumoto – Matsumoto was quite displeased.

— Saitama/Chiba/Ibaraki lists:
— Kei Igawa grew up in Ibaraki, and is far more beloved in Japan than he is by Yankee fans like me. Grr. His decline is noted here.
— Zico, aka the “God of Soccer”, is a Brazilian player and coach who moved to Japan.
— The Ibaraki Golden Golds are an amateur baseball team.
— Natto is a specialty of Ibaraki
— Makuhari Messe is a convention center in Chiba, which hosts many game and anime events.
— Chiba is known for its rolling hills, its pricey real estate, and its many real estate scandals. See: bubble economy.
— Mother Farm is a famous entertainment farm in Chiba.
— Fuuta-kun is a baby panda at Chba Zoo.
— Suzu Chiba is a freestyle swimmer, and is actually from Yokohama, but is on the list due to her name.
— The Urawa Red Diamonds are a J-Jeague soccer team from Saitama, known as the Reds.
— Teletama is a Saitama TV broadcasting company.
— The Saitama baseball team, the Seibu Lions, were found to have been bribing amateurs.
— Saitama Super Arena, a multi-purpose arena for sporting events.
— Saita Manzo is a comic singer whose lyrics take inspiration from Saitama.

— Yuko Ogura, aka “Yukorin”, is a gravure idol in Japan, and was seen in an earlier Zetsubou chapter telling Maria her ‘boke act’ was a facade.
— Lots of incredibly famous mangaka have written for all three major shonen magazines. There are even a few who have hit all four, counting Champion: Osamu Tezuka, Go Nagai, George Akiyama, Takumi Nagayasu, and Kimio Yaganisawa. Koji Kumeta has had major works in both Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magazine. Kafuka’s remark here is showing both Kumeta’s typical self-loathing as well as Kafuka’s epic sense of trolling. BTW, for shoujo artists, there’s only two who have done the “grand slam” of publishers (Shueisha, Kodansha, Shogakukan and Akita Shoten): Moto Hagio and Keiko Takemiya.

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki – at the bottom of page 11, behind Nozomu.
—Kaere’s panty shot – Page 10, as everyone is falling
—Emperor Penguin – Page 7, sitting in the river
—Yoshiko Sakurai, top of page 15, in her triangle
—Stork with baby – Page 7, 2nd panel, on the far left
—Dog with stick in its butt – Page 16, bottom corner, as the girls enter the ruin
—eye with a black tear – Harumi is drawing one on Page 7
—Taro Aso – page 14, a bust of him reading a book in the background

Chapter 92, “Time to celebrate, though in this world there’s nothing worth celebrating”

— The title is a reference to the last words of samurai Takasugi Shinsaku, “It takes a great spirit to live an interesting life in a world without fun”.
— Released April 25th, 2007.
— This was one of the rare Zetsubou-sensei chapters to feature color pages, in order to celebrate the anime release. They were, of course, cut from the tankobon, and aren’t here either, but that’s typical of color pages in magazines.
— Cover features Nozomu surrounded by Daruma dolls, in a New Year’s celebration pose.
— The magazines featured in the newsstand are all variations on anime media magazines, a la Newtype and Animage.
— I admit I’ve no idea about the Kentucky ref. Or the Doraemon-esque boy getting the GPS adaptation.
— That’s the obi for the 8th Zetsubou tankobon that Nozomu is suggesting have the “Anime… how about it?” reference.
— Shonen Magazine didn’t turn 50 until 2009, but note the date on the magazine Nozomu is mocking. I believe that’s meant to be American-born Japanese singer/model Leah Dizon on the cover.
—the obi celebrating 10 million copies is, of course, around Negima, another frequent target of Kumeta.
— “Some people buy three.” One to read, one to shelve, and one to give out to people. Lucky Star also noted this otaku behavior.
— This is TV Oja Manbou (Sunfish), which is a variety show.
— The JSDF training film, designed to bring in young people, was apparently controversial and rather out of touch. It didn’t work.
— the man on the bike is wearing a helmet based around Char from Gundam.
— Maria’s enka performance might be a reference to the un-retirement of legendary Japanese idol Masako Mori, who divorced her husband of 20 years and came out of retirement right around the time of this chapter.
— Hidetoshi Nakata is a former World Cup player, who retired after the 2006 World Cup, about 2 months after this chapter came out.
— That cardboard box labeled SHAFT is back again. Once more referring to the anime production house.
— The kid asking for a Wii is using a phrase generally associated with Sadako of The Ring…

—Despair List:
— The politicians shaking hands in rice paddies sounds like a reference to politician Kakuei Tanaka, the Richard Nixon of his day (in fact, scandals removed him from office right after Nixon). See “Lockheed bribery scandals” for more info.
— Awkwardly translated, this refers to manager Marty Brown getting angry at a Japanese umpire’s ball/strike counts and kicking dirt all over home plate.
— The pro-Japanese, anti-Japanese statement is a reference to South Korean actress Yoon Son-ha, who was very popular in Japan till she married a Korean man and talked about disliking Japanese food compared to Korean.
— “playing soccer with kids in the slums” – Hidetoshi Nakata again. See previous note.
— I think this is talking about Eriko Sato (Japanese actress) breaking up with Ichikawa Ebizou (Japanese kabuki actor) and going into great detail about it on her blog.
— Kago Ai, an actress/singer (and inspiration for Zetsubou’s Kaga Ai) was photographed smoking while underage in 2006. She was placed under house arrest for a year, and apparently forced to serve tea at her talent agency as penance.
— Shōzō Hayashiya IX is a Japanese voice actor and rakugoka, but the reference escapes me, sadly.
— Hichori Morimoto is a Japanese baseball player, who tends to be “wacky” in the best Jay Johnstone tradition.
— Akihibara recently has been sold to tourists as a mecca for otaku to get Americans to spend more money there.
— Not sure who this is referring to. Ken Akamatsu?

— That is one of the worst Winnie the Pooh’s I have ever seen. Winnie the hamster? Also note the Kiri/Matoi rivalry pops up again.
— the receipt is a parody of the real-life Japanese drug store Matsukiyo, combining it with a Comedy Team.
— The total, 2943, can be read as “Hate”.
— lots of references in the shot of Kiri and Matoi “taking over” Nozomu’s room. Pinky House is a takeoff on fashion store Pink House. CanCam (with an m) is a Japanese fashion magazine. The Nana manga should be obvious. Deep Love is a J-Drama from 2004 about a Japanese prostitute trying to make good, and the reference to Matoi’s “deep love” is no doubt deliberate. The balance ball is used by many young women to keep fit in Japan. And oh look, I guess Pooh *is* a hamster.
— 60 Minutes of Women in Charge was a Japanese show targeted to housewives that ran in the 1970s and 1980s.
— Not sure about the returned copy boxes. Zetsubou manga?

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki – has a role in the story, so is easily spotted.
—Kaere’s panty shot – Page 28, behind Manami as Usui shows off his shaved head.
—Emperor Penguin – Page 24, in the window of the store advertising the lottery
—Yoshiko Sakurai – Page 27, on Harumi’s Be Beautiful magazine she’s using to cover her face after being “late”.
—Stork with baby, dog with stick in butt, adn the eye crying black tear are all in the examples on Page 24 of signs.
—Taro Aso is right under the despair list on Page 29

Chapter 93, “I’m telling you, I’m not myself these days. Every little thing makes me so mad”

— The title is a parody of the 1942 short story by Osamu Dazai, Seigi to Bisho.
— Released May 9, 2007.
— The cover features Maria, along with her fellow illegal immigrants.
— The untranslated poster behind Nami on Page 36 is a reference to a feud between Kōhan Kawauchi and his protege, Shinichi Mori, about lyrics.
— Amusingly, the eye we normally see crying a black tear has a white tear here, possibly as this is an unnatural reserve.
— The poster behind Kafuka on Page 39 referring to a hunting ban being indefinite is about the constant hiatuses of ‘Hunter x Hunter’ in Japan.
— The map Nozomu is holding shows the location of eternal rivals Shueisha and Shogakukan. Note the eternal rivals are across the street from each other – that’s true in real life.
— The museum’s roof resembles the pyramid of the Louvre courtyard.
— The round windows of the museum are a reference to the 2007 election campaign of architect and wannabe politician Kisho Kurokawa, who ran for governor to highlight the environment. He drove a car that had red stylized bulletproof windows that looked like the ones seen here.
— the Hand of God is another reference to Shinichi Fujimura – see Chapter 91 for details
— The poster for “An Unnatural Truth” is a parody of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.
— Given most of the girls in Zetsubou are drawn without noses (except in profile), the hypocritical humor is obvious here.
— The poster for Greenpeace behind Nozomu at the bottom of page 40 is referring to the rise of “Eco-terrorists”.
— The poster partially hidden by Nozomu on Page 40 (left bottom) is talking abgout the divorce of husband/wife musicians “Le Couple”.

—All the following is on the top of Page 41:
— Here’s Shōzō Hayashiya IX again – the present saying “empty congratulatory money” is a reference to his tax evasion.
— “Nutrition Costs” (the poster in front of Kaere) is about giving money to baseball teams to keep their athletes well fed and in good health. Frequently they are bribes.
— “Fake Email Evidence” refers to the founder of Livedoor, Takafumi Horie, and his security fraud. His sentence to 2 1/2 years in prison had begun right as this was published.
— “Clone” in front of Nami refers to Hwang Woo-suk, a professor who claimed to have succeeded in cloning stem cells. It was fraud.
— The bag of money labeled Fuji refers to the enka singer Keiko Fuji, who tried to bring $400,000 cash with her on a flight to Vegas. The DEA confiscated it, saying she would use it to buy drugs. It took 3 years to sort out (she got the money back). She’s the mother of popular singer Hikaru Utada.
— the windchime in front of Mayo is referring to a study a Japanese show did about high-frequencies and wind chimes that turned out to be phony.
— the cardboard box labeled “Memories” is a reference to gravure idol Abiru Yuu and her cheerful admission of theft when she was a teengager, to the point where the store she and her friends stole from went out of business. It’d be a bigger scandal if she didn’t have 80 other scandalous stories about her. Abiru Kobushi’s name might be taken from her.
— “Depressed Country” is mocking the Shinzo Abe book “Towards a Beautiful Country”.
— untranslated behind Abiru’s head is a sign reading “Tamiflu”. More about this in Kafuka’s Positive List.
— “Structural Calculation Sheets” – another architect who falsified information, Hidetsugu Aneha. He got 5 years in prison and to this day, shoddy buildings in Japan are called “Aneha”.
— I think the hand mirror in front of Harumi refers to Kazuhide Uekusa, the Japanese economist and sex offender, known as “Mirrorman” for using a hand mirror to look up skirts on the escalators.
— I believe the hot spring sign is referring to bath salts, but am unsure.
— O.J. Simpson – This one should be obvious.
— Child’s bruises – Sadly, this one is also obvious.
— “Birthing Machines” refers to Japanese Minister Hazuo Yanagisawa, who blamed women for the low birth rate in Japan and called them “Birthing Machines” and “Baby Making Devices”. Even in Japan, this got him in trouble.
— The NASA videotape refers to those who think the first moon landing was faked.
— The TV noting “I drank alcohol 6 hours ago” refers to kabuki actor Shido Nakamura, arrested for DUI earlier that year.

— The angry woman beating a rug under Rin’s ass on Page 41 is a reference to Miyoko Kawahara, who got upset when her new neighbor did not greet her after she moved in so spent the next 4 years playing loud music, honking a horn, shining lights in the neighbor’s house, and beating a rug while screaming at them. No, really. She eventually got 20 months in prison. She even became a meme – “Miyoco”.
— The unnatural apology behind Nami at the bottom of Page 41 refers to the president of NHK, Katsuji Ebisawa, about embezzlement.
— There’s Takafumi Horie of Livedoor again (as well as a generic stock trader) behind the girls all staring in horror at Chiri’s boobs.
— The guy behind Chiri at the top of Page 43 is controversial businessman Kazuyoshi Miura, arrested for shoplifting earlier that year.
— The “Unnatural marriage” refers to actor Ken Matsudaira and his first wife, former Takarazuka actress Mao Daichi. Ken’s image and films feature prominently in gay festivals, and Mao is, well, a Takarazuka actress. Many thought they were “beards” for each other. Nozomu is yelling at Rin because the rumors appear to be unfounded.
— The ad on the back of Harumi’s Jump is advertising those memory enhancement games.
— Behind Harumi at the magazine stand: The poster at the top refers to Kou Shibasaki’s reaction to the video game Mother 3 in an advertisement. She is visibly holding back tears.
— Elementary School Student F-Cup is a reference to gravure idol Saaya.
— Yumi Mama nude refers to the mother of actress Yumi Adachi, Yuri Adachi. The mother debuted as a porn actress at age 51, to the surprise of, well, everyone.
— Harumi’s discussion of “unnatural endings” is referring to two recently ended Jump series, Shaman King and Waqwaq. Both were cancelled, and told to wrap up their plot in the next couple of chapters or so. This led to very contrived endings for both series. Shaman King got to come back 5 years later with a slightly better ending when it was republished in Japan.
— The shoes thing mostly baffles me, but may have something to do with North Korea’s rocket launch.

—Despair List:
— Unnatural priest is actor and Buddhist priest Naoki Hosaka.
— Unnatural replacement of voice actors could refer to any number of shows – Saint Seiya, Ai Yori Aoshi, ZZ Gundam…
— Hachi’s unnatural retirement – the actress in the first live-action Nana, Aoi Miyazaki, did not reprise her role in the sequel.
— Unnatural candidacy of architects – see earlier note on Kisho Kurokawa.
— Unnatural study abroad and return to Japan – refers to Japanese singer/actor Jin Akanishi, who left Japan for 6 months to study English in Los Angeles, and had just returned 3 weeks earlier.
— The unnatural swap is about a baseball trade. Tamura was injury prone and many thought the trade was unbalanced.
— Kase-kun is actor Ryo Kase, and this refers to his film “I Just Didn’t Do It”, where he plays a man accused of groping a woman on a train.
— Refusal to pay insurance after unnatural deaths is about suicide victims, and how insurance companies would not pay off if they’d bought a policy right before they killed themselves.
— Natsuko Toda has been in Zetsubou-sensei before, and is famous as a translator. She hadn’t read Tolkien, though, and her translation of the Lord of the Rings movies was bad enough to get international attention.
— I think this refers to commercials with Tokyo actors speaking in bad Kansai accents.
— The unnatural anime adaptation in question is the 1985 film Angel’s Egg, which bombed at the time but is now a cult classic. Many accuse the creators of Wall-E from stealing from it.

— I think the two ‘political corruption’ examples Kafuka uses speak for themselves.
— The TV Station one seems to be referring to mixed martial-artist Yoshihiro Akiyama, who was filmed applying grease to himself before a fight. Which, is, of course, illegal.

—Super-Positive List:
— Unnatural ODA seems to be about anti-Asian slurs hurled about at football games, but I’m not positive.
— Unnatural interest is, of course, about the horrible rules governing interest rates around the world.
— Unnatural bankruptcy is also fairly self-explanatory these days.
— Unnaturally 17 – women lying about their age, usually to secure jobs that normally go to teens. Kikuko Inoue, the voice of Manami in Zetsubou (as well as Kasumi Tendo, Belldandy, etc.) is currently celebrating her 17th birthday for the 29th time.
— Unnatural deals is about the sumo wrestling scandal, with the discovery that the matches were fixed.
— Unnatural resumption of imports: American beef.
— Unnatural auction prices: referring to the fun of “low bidding” for contracts.
— Unnatural high-profile selection of directors: Goro Miyazaki being asked to direct Tales of Earthsea, though he only joined the production as a consultant. This caused a row with his father Hayao, who felt he was too inexperienced. It could also be talking about the father-son soccer coaches Ivica and Amar Osim.
— Again, corrupt talent scouts is something that’s universal, I’m pretty sure.
— Adult video games: self-explanatory again. Sure, she looks 6, but she’s really 19!
— Unnatural certification process for drugs: We saw Tamiflu before on page 41. It was thought to be a miracle drug for influenza and H1N1, but many say that it did not really get the rigorous testing it needed before being approved for use.
— The Entertainment industry cash-out system is discussing pachinko legislation.

— The 10,000 yen photos of Arisugawa that’s under Maria on Page 46 is referring to an elaborate sting in 2004 where people were invited to what was thought to be a wedding with the Royal Family as guests, then bilked out of as much money as they could get.
— Kaiyodo are a producer of figures and “garage kits” in Japan. This no doubt refers to the popularity of bootleg figures that can look so bad it’s hilarious – ‘Sader’ from Fate/Stay Night being the most infamous example.
— Apparently one station mixed up Episodes 11 and 12 of the first season of Zetsubou. Which was a shame, as they were the only two that actually had any continuity between each other.

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki: Page 37, behind Nozomu’s speech bubble saying “We have to protect him!”. Also Page 45, where he says “Those things shouldn’t be pampered!”
—Kaere’s panty shot: Top of page 43, as the others decide to avoid discussing Chiri’s fake breasts.
—Emperor Penguin: In the reservoir on Page 35.
—Yoshiko Sakurai: Page 46, in the news article about Nozomu’s disappearance.
—Stork with baby: Same article, different picture.
—Dog with stick in butt: Bottom of Page 45, as Chiri threatens Nozomu.
—Eye with black tear – Page 38 top, though as noted, the tear is unnaturally white.
—Taro Aso: Same page, behind Chiri and Nozomu as she reminds him of “their” plan for marriage.

Chapter 94, “When the Fruits of Exposure Ripen”

— The title is a parody of the 1919 novel by Toson Shimazaki, Sakura no Mi no Jukusuru Toki (When the Cherries Ripen).
— Released May 16, 2007.
— Cover is Harumi running a sprint. The doujin she’s holding is another Yes! PreCure 5 reference. There’s also some Girl Who Leapt Through Time in the pic as well. Stopwatch says SHAFT, more anime company refs.
— Of note, the expression “April Flowers bring May Showers” had to be explained in the Japanese Zetsubou fan wiki. :)
— The girl on the T-shirt of the hoodlum previously appeared in Chapter 56, as a supposed “new character”. She’s not based on any specific series, just otaku fetishes in general.
— The riverside sign saying “beware of sparring” refers to any number of cliched boxing mangas showing fighters running along a riverbank; Hajime no Ippo is merely one of the more obvious.
— the reference to Tominaga when discussing dojos is talking about an old variety show from the 1970s called “Cartoon Comedy Dojo”. A famous manga gag artist, Ichiro Tominaga, was a regular.
— the “comedian” is wearing a Bambino! T-shirt. Bambino! is a long-running cooking manga from Shogakukan’s Big Comic Spirits. A young chef comes to Tokyo to perfect his skills at Italian cuisine… and finds that Tokyo is not Fukuoka, the small-time city he made his name in.
— The Sharp X68000 is a home computer released in Japan between 1987 and 1993. It would be like telling your boss you can only work on an Apple II GS.
— Harumi’s referring to the Weekly Jump series Zan. It ran for only 2 volumes before being cancelled.
— Abiru, deadpan as always, notes that Zertsubou starting in an April double-issue (Golden Week holiday) means there was less time for it to get going before it became May and fans got tired of it.
— The Yomiuri Giants had started the 2007 season strong, then went on a big losing streak in May.

—Despair list:
— Plastic surgery, an obvious reference.
— What a surprise, those dollar-store items suck. And yes, there are many 100 yen stores in Japan.
— This is another Yomiuri Giants reference.
— Besides school starting in April in Japan, many businesses schedule yearly health checks then.
— Oh no, now my friend knows I’m an otaku! Obvious reference.
— Cable and satellite company bait-and-switching viewers, not unique to Japan
— New schools, new terms, new girls, old boyfriends.
— Again, watch for hidden fees, “New Life Campaign” or no.
— Pyramid schemes are called “multilevel marketing” in Japan, and are quite lucrative. They’re not TECHNICALLY pyramid schemes, and not TECHNICALLY illegal, but they basically are filled with dirty tricks. Once we get to Volume 17, we’ll meet two new characters who will bring this point home – pyramid schemes are their schtick.
— Some religious cults apparently gained members through school clubs – such as Aum Shinrikyo.
— Commercial Dating sites are not always pure and innocent either.
` — I think this speaks for itself, and is quite an issue in a suicide-prone nation such as Japan.
— Kusumi Koharu joined Morning Musume at a young age, and revealed she had been captain of her school’s volleyball team before joining the idol group. A big deal was made of this. My guess is someone challenged her.
— There was a leak of forthcoming manga chapters on Winny a couple of weeks earlier, including a rough draft of Zetsubou Chapter 92.
— Pure cynicism here. As we expect from this manga.

— Satsuki Katayama is a Japanese politician, who was Deputy Minister of Economy around when this was written. She was a financial expert, and much was expected of her. Unfortunately, various scandals and leaks (including military secrets leaked on Winny – see, and you thought it was just raw manga!) led to falling expectations for her.
— Satsuki Arida is a Japanese TV personality and the former wife of Fuji TV commentator Kei Wada. Her reasoning when asked about the divorce is pretty much what’s stated in this panel.
— This refers to the theory that My Neighbor Totoro is the God of Death, and that the reason the children can see him is they are near to death. It states Mei drowned in reality. No, really, this is an actual theory. Ghibli had to debunk it on their site.
— As noted in the footnote, Rin chose these examples merely as the names matched with the topic.
— Harumi’s athletic abilities come to light again. Both of those distances noted would be close to a record for high school females.
— OK, I admit it, I can’t really make out what that poster behind Harumi as she’s dragged off is meant to be about.
— The bottom of Page 56 is referencing two manga. The baseball one is Captain by Akio Chiba (Monthly Shonen Jump, 1972-1979), and the soccer manga is Whistle!.
— “The dam incident” is likely referring to the events in the backstory of sound novel/manga/anime/franchise Higurashi: When They Cry. Chiri would fit right into that cast.
— The Balalaika poster is another reference to Kusumi Koharu and Morning Musume.
— Manami is making paper flowers, a cliched job for housewives and people with no money, of which she is both.
— Kino Kuniya hasn’t had much of a part in the manga at all till this chapter, but now that he gets his reprehensible fashion sense, he will pop up far more often. The girl with the buns is named Marui, and generally only pops up to have a crush on Kino but be horrified by his taste in clothes. Sadly for her, he has a crush on Ai Kaga, which begins later in this volume.
— The one telling kids not to run in the halls (poster behind Marui on page 58) is Duke Saraie, a Japanese doctor famous for advocating walking.
— the sign partially obscured at the top of Page 59 might be referring to “Relaxed Education”, an alternative method of learning in Japan different from the usual cram schools and nervous breakdowns.
— sign lower down on the same page: SHAFT pops up again. “Barebare Pleasure” is likely a reference to Hare Hare Yukai, the ED theme from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Forming groups to dance the ending was very popular at this time.
— R-25 is a free newspaper. Its contents are not explicit, so it is not worse than R-18, the Japanese XXX rating.
— Given Meru’s overprotective father and general build, I am sadly unsurprised she wears little girl’s clothes at home.
— Likewise, Kaere’s secret surprises absolutely no one.
— The untranslated sign above Nami at the bottom of page 59 is congratulating Hitomi Yoshizawa, who had recently retired from Morning Musume after a long stint as leader. Kumeta seems to have had Morning Musume on the brain this chapter.
— Tab Clear was sold internationally, and was a failure, mostly as it only came in cans – when you couldn’t see it was clear.
— I suspect the comments about Nozomu being a womanizer with a blond hair complex are referring to the chapter where he goes to a high-rise, has sex with a blond model then tries to drown himself in Dom Perignon. Likely Matoi is the accuser.
— Babel was a film that had ‘flashing blinking lights’, like the Pokemon controversy.
— Kinoko no Yama are chocolate cookie snacks.
— Hi-chew is a chewy Japanese candy.

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki: Bottom of page 59, behind Nozomu as Nami berates him.
—Kaere’s panty shot: Behind Rin’s head in the center of Page 55. Very hard to make out.
—Emperor Penguin: Page 60, as part of Nozomu’s chart. Also next to Maria at the bottom of the same page.
—Yoshiko Sakurai: Page 60, as part of Nozomu’s chart.
—Stork with baby: On page 52, flying low over the river.
—Dog with stick in butt: Page 60, as part of Nozomu’s chart. Notice him taking it out. Mayo will beat him up for that.
—Eye with black tear: Behind Harumi at the bottom of Page 55, in the textbook of the sleeping guy.
—Taro Aso: Page 59, as Nozomu asks everyone to come clean with their secrets.

Chapter 95, “You must profit from disaster at Kinkaku”

— The title is a parody of Yukio Mishima’s 1956 novel Kinkaku-ji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion). It’s (fictionally once removed) about the burning of a famous Japanese reliquary in 1950 by a disturbed acolyte. It was Mishima’s international breakthrough.
— Released May 23, 2007.
— The cover silhouette goes to Mikoto Itoshiki, a rarity. it seems to be a takeoff on the title parody.
— the untranslated poster behind Kafuka’s head on page 63 is mixing together the politician Taizo Sugimura and the Ultraman actor Taiyo Sugiura.
— the impossible to make out things sitting next to Mikoto on page 4 (to the right of Kumeta’s self-portrait) are all manga references: The Young Sunday title “An Effective Remedy For Despair”, which I think Kumeta noticed for obvious reasons; Team Medical Dragon, a medical manga from Shogakukan’s Big Comic Superior; Otanko Nurse, a mid-90s medical manga from Big Comic Spirits; Say Hello to Black Jack, which was at the time running in Kodansha’s Morning; and Dr. Koto’s Clinic, a long-running medical manga which began in Young Sunday and after that folded moved to Big Comic Original. Naturally these are Mikoto’s reference books. :)
— A reminder that Mikoto likes being called Dr. Death about as much as Nozomu likes being called the Despair teacher.
— This is apparently a genuine thing in Japan, with many restaurants feeling that bad publicity is better than no publicity, and trying to get people to come see how bad their ramen/curry/noodles/dango are. It works quite well.
— The 1904の79662 poster on the phone pole behind Nozomu is another Higurashi ref.
— This is the home of the manga’s resident gross otaku, Wataru. In Chapter 63, we saw it burn to the ground (you can see his sister in the newspaper article), and saw him rescuing his anime girl body pillows. Clearly his family took advantage of the insurance money to build a swank house.
— The CD sales line is referring to DJ OZMA, a pop singer who had his female dancers wear unitards that made them appear nude on a TV performance.
— This particular celebrity scandal ref is referring to Mona Yamamoto, a Japanese announcer, and her affair with a baseball player which rocked the scandal websites (he was the one married).
— Sumo magazine sales went way up (including Kodansha’s) after the sumo scandal led to many lawsuits against the press.
— The Den-En-Chofu ref Matoi makes is not only footnoted well by Joshua Weeks, but actually works as an English pun, sort of.
— This first man is Koichi Toyama, a street musician and fringe politician. He became famous for an inflammatory speech when running for Governor in 2007. He denounced voters as his enemies and gave them the finger. Needless to say, this became wildly popular, Youtube’d, ringtoned, and was used by M.I.A. to open her 2008 tour.
— The man walking about corporate takeovers is Warren Lichtenstein, the head of hedge fund Steel Partners, who made a hostile bid for condiment juggernaut Bull Dog Sauce.
— The moviemaker is referring to “Battle Royale”, which pretty much went as he says.
— This is actor Shiro Kishibe, who made his name as part of the cast of Saiyuki in the late 70s. He went bankrupt in the late 90s and was reclusive for years, but staged a comeback selling himself as a laughing stock. It worked.
— The guy with the sparkles around his head at the bottom of 68 is a singer from the group Something ELse, who had a #1 hit with the song “Last Chance”. No doubt it fits the examples in some way I can’t understand.

—Despair list:
— This is the TV drama Oniyome Nikki, starring Alisa Mizuki and Gori. It’s about a shrewish wife and her timid husband.
— Another TV drama, Konshu Tsuma ga Uwaki Shimasu. A man finds his wife is planning an affair and turns to chatrooms for advice on how to fix things.
— The boxer is Masayuki Koguchi, who had his wig knocked off in a fight and became known as “the Wig boxer” afterward. He gained fame, and also started using a product that brought back some of his hair.
— The dog was in Tokushima, and became a news story as rescuers tried to rescue it from the concrete grid it had gotten stuck in. Needless to say, the dog became a celebrity. The endnotes refer to this, but not here. :)
— The Chilean wife is Anita Alvarado, one of Japan’s most famous prostitutes. She married Yuji Chida, a wealthy accountant, for his money. He then got busted for embezzlement, so she wrote a book about the whole thing. She’s notorious in Chile.
— EE Jump was a J-pop band in the early 00s. It featured a teen boy/girl duo. the boy kept acting out, and eventually the girl, Sonim, started recording under her own name. She did much better as a solo performer.
— I believe this refers to actor Hayami Mokomichi, but am not sure why it’s here.
— Bubka is a slimy gossip rag published by Core Magazine. It leaked photos of Japanese singer/idol Manabu Oshio that caused him some trouble. It also gained him fame. (He’s currently serving 30 months in prison for giving a club girl Ecstasy and then failing to do anything for her as she died, but that came after this chapter.)
— Abashiri was one of Japan’s most notorious and terrifying prisons. It’s now been turned into a museum that draws tourists wanting to hear about how notorious and terrifying it was.
— The Yubari melon is a very pricey cantaloupe that routinely sells for a million yen – and higher – for the first ones of the season.
— The teams demoted from J1 (the top soccer league) to J2 tend to have the more interesting games, as they get in fights a great deal more.
— Haru Urara, a race horse, became famous for losing race after race. The media discovered her after she’d lost 80 in a row. She ended up with 113 losses and 0 wins before she semi-retired in 2004.
— This is about NHK’s subscription fees, which come up a lot in Zetsubou-sensei. They’re similar to the TV license fees in England.
— This is Japanese TV personality and actress Akiko Matsumoto, but I can’t find details of the incident.
— Hiromi Go is a Japanese singer who did a cover version of Livin’ La Vida Loca called Goldfinger ’99. Known for loving publicity, he’s even had Hard Gay do stuff with him.
— I think the record company thing is about the collapse of the bubble economy and VATs.
— Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei had just won (along with Dear Boys part 2, it was a tie) the shonen category of the annual Kodansha Manga Award.

— The poster “W in concert” behind Abiru is referring to the breakup of the band W, as Ai Kago was dating a man 20 years older than her and smoking again, which is frowned upon in the Japanese pop idol world.
— Apparently Harumi’s ‘huge losses in that mutual fund’ comment drew a rare protest to Kodansha over this chapter, as Konami was not particularly happy with it. They got over it – they later sponsored the anime. (Possible I got this wrong).
— The poster behind Harumi is about plagiarism, but I can’t figure out the details.
— Kafuka’s telling Kaere to show her boobs is a reference to DJ OZMA, see above.
— The Mixi thing refers to Takami Akai, who had just resigned from Gainax after disparaging Japanese fans on a Mixi blog.
— This is one of the very, very few times in the manga we ever see Kafuka without a smile on her face. It’s utterly jarring. Naturally, she’s doing it deliberately.
— Speaking of which, is that a marijuana plant behind her dejected self?

—Getting burned list:
— Bad reviews of restaurants on blogs can lead to lawsuits… and courts have found against the reviewer.
— The mirror refers to disgraced economist Kazuhide Uekusa. See previous note.
— An arsonist who compared herself to gravure idol Toko Kumada was busted after talking about it too much on her blog. Kumada’s popularity also dropped as a result of the publicity.
— “Machine for Giving Birth” – see earlier comments on Hakuo Yanagisawa.
— Actress Akiko Yada, who married the notorious Manabu Oshio. See previous note.
— The city of Yubari (famous for its melons, see above) filed for bankruptcy in 2007, and the government refused to help it. Its government resigned en masse, saying they felt no obligation to help the city.
— Yuki-kun – see EE Jump above. He was the male half.
— A moth was found inside a Fujiya chocolate in 2003. They still haven’t really recovered.
— Dreamtime Battle – see note above about Leiji Matsumoto and the plagiarism lawsuit he started.
— Deep * Breath is referring to the Gainax/Gurren Lagann scandal mentioned above.
— Underage – Ai Kago again.

— R-15 is indeed the equivalent of an R rating in Japan.
— the poster behind the class as they turn from Nozomu refers to the famous 1971 single by Saori Minami, ’17 years old’.
— the sign (untranslated) behind Meru’s head now appears to call for “cram education”. See previous chapter.
— Nozomu is watching his own anime, the Mikoshi episode with various people being carried on shrines (Chapter 26).

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki: fairly easy this time, though note she disappears almost as fast.
—Kaere’s panty shot: Behind Rin at the bottom of page 71.
—Emperor Penguin: Top of Page 74, turning away with the rest of the class.
—Yoshiko Sakurai: Bottom of Page 74, next to Chie.
—Stork with baby: Page 67, above the fancy neighborhood.
—Dog with stick in butt: Page 71, on top of the concrete wall with Nozomu, as well as in the newspaper photo.
—Eye with black tear: Page 68, on the baseball cap of the movie director.
—Taro Aso: Page 71, where everyone is gossiping about Nozomu.

Chapter 96, “I will not return to Japan, I could not make that promise”

— The title is a parody of a line from the 1947 novel Harp of Burma, written by Michio Takeyama. It was also made into 2 well-known Japanese movies.
— Released May 30, 2007
— the cover silhouette features Manami shopping while surrounded by choices. The signs are all adverts for various types of curry.
— fitness guru Billy Blanks had toured Japan earlier in the year, and was a big sensation. You can see his Boot Camp posters at the top of the video store ceiling.
— yes, Prison Break is the FOX TV drama.
— The “Yes! Smile 5” poster is a parody of both Yes! Precure 5 and a Morning Musume song.
— the clerk is wearing an apron which has Neo Yuumu written on it. This may be a reference to the early 1990s manga Yuumu, by Fujiko F. Fujio of Doraemon fame.
— the titles in the right-hand row are all of various movies. One shelf is decicated to Death Note parodies. And yes, there is a movie called Udon.
— these are both thinly disguised parodies of Clint Eastwood’s two WWII movies, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. The latter had come out in Japan about 5 months earlier.
— and the movie Nozomu decides to get is a parody of the 2006 movie Check It Out, Yo!, which is indeed a rap love comedy.
— the shop Nami is in front of is named after a song by idol broup Berryz Kobo.
— Hitoe Fast Service is a parody of idol singer Hitoe Arakaki, who was a member of the group SPEED.
— Chichibu Ramen is a gag in that the name is associated with ramen (and oden) from vending machines.
— And Super-Kamiokande is not a Super K, but a neutrino detector.
— “We have Nobels” is a reference to said neutrino detector, as well Nobel is also a candy maker in Japan, so it’s a double-layer joke.
— The Pana Wave cleaners is a dark reference to the Pana Wave laboratory religious cult, known for their white uniforms and masks.
— I presume we all know Scott bathroom tissue. The other one seen is a takeoff on a mid-90s gag manga, Dr. Toilet.
— We discussed TAB Clear before. Coco Cola should be obvious, though the kanji makes it “Juku girl Coco Cola”, a reference to the Harajuku Girl subculture. Aquarius is a grapefruit flavored sports drink put out in Japan by Coca-Cola.
— the mineral water briefly seen at the end of Meru’s choices is a VERY dark joke, referring to Toshikatsu Matsuoka, the former Misister for Agriculture and Fisheries. He was found to have spent 5 million yen in utilities, which he claimed to have spent on mineral water, as he couldn’t drink tap water. After being grilled by the Diet for hours, he went home and committed suicide. 2 days later, this Zetsubou-sensei chapter appeared.
— what Meru eventually buys is a parody of the energy drink Dekavita C, described as “the poor man’s Red Bull”. The parody name is a takeoff on sentai show Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger.
— that TV looks suspiciously old for being a 19-inch screen TV…
—the 4 choices in the quiz: a) is a Gundam reference, b) is another religious cult, c) is the name of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, and d) refers to martial arts actor Kane Kosugi.
— Bodansha is a thin parody of Kodansha, of course.
— C-ute is another Japanese idol group. Love La Dor is a pun on Labrador Retriever. Both mangas are typical – one sports, one romance.
— as one can see by the tagline “a romance about a man and woman with dog hair”, Kumeta is making fun of the light novel franchise Inukami!.
— needless to say, Kumeta is mocking his own receipt of the Kodansha manga award here. The fact that he tied with Dear Boys Part 2 apparently led him to feel he’d lost by default – not that it takes much to get Kumeta depressed.
— Trying to choose between the Toyota Mark X and the Nissan Skyline, both real Japanese brands, you end up getting a Honda Civic instead.
— Harajuku is a neighborhood based around the station of the same name, and I can only imagine apartments there would be tiny, given how packed with goth lolis it is every day. it’s the fashion center of Tokyo. Hoya, now known as Nishitokyo, is within the city but very suburban (by Tokyo standards). Nishiogi (not Nishioka) is a 3rd neighborhood in Tokyo, known for its antiques shops and used book stores.
— trying to decide whether to get his girlfriend a schoolgirl uniform or an iPod for her birthday… he gets her Umaibo, which are corn stick snacks, and sell for 10 yen. I suspect he’s getting dumped soon.
— The cast, already mocking Nozomu’s catch phrase, join in with him here. There’s another Bambino! reference on the sign behind the “We’re in despair” speech bubble.
— The Coca Cola cigarettes sign is, I believe, another reference to Ai Kago smoking.
— Tokyo-fu is an old Japanese city that became part of Tokyo proper in the 1940s. Given Zetsubou-sensei takes place in a fluid timeframe where the previous emperor never died, who knows, Tokyo-fu might still be around.
— Nakata Travel is another reference to soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata.
— Third Alternative City is footnoted, but it’s also an Evangelion reference (Tokyo-3).
— Third Sake is a parody of Third Beer, a soybean-based beer that is not make the way the two other beers in Japan, beer itself (which by law has to have at least 67% malt), and happoshu (lower malt brews). Third Beer is lower still.
— The sign behind Nozomu as he is saying “It’s neither yes or no” is conflating Steve Jobs and Jolt Cola.
— The third sector sign behind Nami at the top of page 86 is talking about the “Public” and “Private” Sectors, and how there is now a third sector of bureaucrats.
— Kino almost picked a Jaws T-Shirt, which would also have looked horrible on him.
— I’m not certain about the empty prayer bags reference.
— The game Harumi is discussing is Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side 2nd Kiss, the second in Konami’s spinoffs of Tokimeki Memorial designed to appeal to female gamers.

—Super-Positive list:
— this is NOT about Qatar’s World Cup win, which didn’t happen till 2010. It’s about the soccer player Márcio Emerson Passos, who had played in Japan a few years earlier and then changed to Qatar in 2005.
— the player development contract thing is about Norihiro Nakamura, a baseball player who has had many financial difficulties.
— this is another reference to Earthsea and the fact that Miyazaki’s son directed it.
— this is about the 2004 baseball strike in Japan, which began with the idea of two teams merging and ended with interleague play.
— this last one sounds like Kumeta himself

— DoCoMo and au are both Japanese telecom brands.
— Morumoru is better known as MolMol, the island where Su from Love Hina was born.
— Tamayo Marukawa is a former TV announcer and current Japanese politician. She was elected around the time this chapter ran.
— Japan had recently announced (one month before this chapter) that it was setting up a ‘baby drop off hatch’ at select hospitals for unwanted infants, mostly as so many were getting abandoned in parks and shopping centers.
— The ‘Demon Mail’ slot is a reference to Gegege no Kitaro.
— Diary No. 326 is not only referring to Chiri’s epic precision, but also the author 326.
— Chiri is seeing if a name change would give her a better fortune. See Chapter 1 for more details.
— the signs behind Chiri and Nami are referring to the 1st Zetsubou-sensei opening theme and the anime ef – A tale of Memories.
— Chiri has used this knife on Nozomu before, in Chapter 53.
— Nami doesn’t know Chiri very well – the other choices were likely the shovel and a metal bat, both of which she has used as murder weapons in the past.

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki – again, fairly easy to spot on Page 83, and disappears just as fast.
—Kaere’s panty shot – bottom of 84, behind Kafuka’s speech bubble.
—Emperor Penguin – Page 87 in the middle, with Nozomu sunk into the earth.
—Yoshiko Sakurai – Page 77, on the left hand shelf
—stork with baby – Page 88, as the sign for the baby drop-off
—dog with stick in butt – top of 83, as Nami finds she cannot escape.
—eye with black tear – as part of the logo of the Iwojima DVD, page 77
—Taro Aso – Page 80, behind Ikkyu on the quiz show.

Chapter 97, “Concealment in the Ranks”

— title is a reference to the book “One Soldier” by famous author Katai Tayama, based on his experience in the Russo-Japanese war.
— Released June 6, 2007
— the anime had started to be televised, so throughout this chapter Kumeta subtitles the character with the seiyuu portraying them. Kiri is the lone main cast exception; her seiyuu was revealed at the end of Volume 9. The anime episode adapting this chapter went one step further and had the seiyuu swap roles throughout.
— the cover silhouette features Nami with a toothache. Spot the Katteni Kaizo cameo!
— one of the dentist’s anesthetic bottles is labeled ‘Dream’ – another reference to the Mackey/Matsumoto plagiarism controversy.
— Nami’s father is reading a paper talking about raiding the “Yagushi Group” a reference to former Morning Musume singer Mari Yaguchi.
— the hoodlum on Page 93 is wearing a shirt saying “Miyabi”, which may be a reference to Visual Kei star Miyavi.
— by now we all know about Kago Ai, right? Nozomi Tsuji is a idol singer whose announcement of her engagement and pregnancy had just occurred when Kumeta was writing this. Tsunku is a producer and lyricist for several idol singers.
— in case you missed the Katteni Kaizo reference before, here it is again, on the dental poster.
— the poster on the left references Warau Salesman, a Fujiko Fujio manga.
— the wall is cracked and plastered due to Chapter 90, where the otaku guy burst through the wall on hearing that Chiri was an “imouto” type.
— Osamu Mizutani is a famous Child Welfare activist in Japan.
— the pubs seen at the top of Page 95 are all parodies of Japanese izakayas. There’s another Morning Musume ref in there somewhere too.
— likewise, Hotel Love Machine is a Mornimg Musume song reference. The other love hotel signs are also various idol project singles.
— more fixed sumo match jokes…
— the cardboard boxes have a lot of references. Death Note, Appleseed, Secom (the security company), another Fujiko Fujio manga called “Q-taro the ghost”, and 090, the area code for cell phones in Japan.

— Maria and Majiru’s collection:
— the book with ’48’ on it in the top left is likely a sex position manual done up as Ukiyo-e.
— the cardboard box is referencing Amway, believe it or not.
— Comic Rakuten can be seen next to the box. It’s a pornographic manga magazine from Wani Books.
— the bag with mushrooms is a drug reference. Cultivating ‘magic mushrooms’ is illegal in Japan.
— High School Teacher (aka Kou Kou Kyoushji) was a staggeringly popular live-action drama in 1993, remade as another very popular one in 2003. It’s about forbidden love between a teacher and student, and also featured lesbians and sexual assault. Don’t watch it with your parents.
— Q2 (under Majiru’s chin) references the bluetooth headset.
— Next to the bag of mushrooms is a medicine bottle, containing speed.
— Ai Miyazaki is a porn actress in Japan. I believe that’s meant to be a pregnancy test with her name on it.
— Surgery Clinic refers to breast enhancement and other cosmetic surgery.
— back in the 70s and 80s, Coke and Pepsi gave cash back equivalent to the number on the bottom of the bottlecap as a promotion. Naturally, kids went into stores and stole the bottlecaps but left the soda.
— The zeroes on all the test papers should be obvious.
— Emmanuelle should be familiar to most by now (famous 1974 softcore film from France), but I doubt it had an artbook. :)
— Book:”The Lottery Winner”, a booklet that tries to tell people who have just had such windfalls not to be idiots and spend it all.
— various how-to sex manuals, credit fraud schemes, porn videos, drugs, cigarette packs (called Lucky Stars, natch), religious cult manuals… honestly, this is getting exhusting. ^^;;
— Maria is sitting on a cushion that was awarded as a vocabulary prize in the variety show Bokyabura Heaven.

— that’s the Cream Lemon series of adult anime videos behind Maria. And Nozomu is right, she’s really flaunting her orphan status here.
— the poster being put up is for the 2004 movie Nobody Knows, about 4 kids trying to survive without parents.
— Hey, it’s that PreCure 5 pairing Harumi likes… and there she is! (And honestly, how surprised should Harumi really be, given how obvious she is about her BL doujins? Also, Chiri is her best friend, and is EVIL.)
— the Scandinavian porn should be obvious. Sorry, Ukranian porn. (Hetalia?)
— the Zuizui math is a reference to an NHK educational program, I think, but I’m not sure why it’s Oya Shirazu.

— Despair List:
— Parents who give kids adorable nicknames… if school bullies find out, bullying ensues.
— Scribbling on the jacket is another bullying reference.
— fees for getting school lunches are increasingly common in Japan.
— Fanroad is an anime and manga info magazine, geared for 10-15 year olds.
— Many shoujo manga now have explicit sexual scenes, particularly Shogakukan’s Shocomi and Betsucomi (home of Black Bird!).
— Wall hangings are generally NOT $100, but if it’s woven rather than printed, it might go that high.
— No example needed here, I think.
— referring to the cuckoo’s habit of giving birth in the nest of another bird.
— The second son of actress Mita Yoshiko was convicted in 2000 of having a ‘Speed party’ in his basement.
— another reference to actor Shōzō Hayashiya IX.
— This is a Gundam reference.
— And this is a very obvious Death Note reference.
— were Kumeta’s parents aware Zetsubou-sensei was being made an anime?
— the anime and manga can diverge quite a bit. Zetsubou’s 2nd season was known for this. In fact, the 3rd season was criticized for NOT diverging enough. Negima is a more obvious example, though.

— Rin backing into the fort is another reference to her voice actress also doing Crayon Shin-chan.
— “Please come home sometime” is another reference to the “shotgun wedding” of Nozomi Tsuji and Taiyo Suguira.
— Megumi Okina is an actress whose marriage to CyberAgent president Susumu Fujita had ended in divorce recently.
— ‘I didn’t do it’ is a reference to the film of the same name. See previous references.
— Kazuo Tokumitsu is a Japanese TV presenter.
— The building on page 102 is the main auditorium of Tokyo University. Most of this page is referencing the bitter student strike of 1969.
— the framed character in Itoshiki-papa’s study is … well, just go here:
— poor Chiri, she’s easily the most psycho of the characters, yet Mayo always wins in the ‘inflicting pain’ sweepstakes.
— Maeda is Kumeta’s asistant, who has been roundly mocked in the pages to date. He plays himself in the anime adaptation. (Kumeta does not play himself; when he appears, he’s voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya, the voice of Nozomu.)

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki – getting easier to spot as she does more (as she will from about here on)… she’s also barely visible In the second panel of Page 95, where her feet can be seen behind the man giving a payoff. More obvious on page 99.
—Kaere’s panty shot isn’t as visible as usual – you can barely see them on Page 94, in her page spread.
—Emperor Penguin – 3 of them. Behind Nami yelling about dumb puns on page 92; behind Majiru on page 97; drinking from the coke bottle at the top of 98.
—Yoshiko Sakurai – poster on page 99, 5th panel
—stork with baby – bottom of page 99, behind Rin
—dog with stick in butt – Page 97, on the outside of Maria’s fort.
—eye with black tear – Above Chiri’s head on page 96, panel 2
—Taro Aso – on the Tokyo University building, left side, page 102.

Chapter 98, “The serene realm beyond entitlement”

— the title is a parody of a short story by Japanese author Kan Kikuchi, Onshū no Kanata.
— Released June 13, 2007
— there was another color page in the magazine with more anime announcements; again, this was not included in either the Japanese or North American release.
— the cover page shows Ai running away from a number of Jizo Buddha statues. Her hand is posed in a typical tsundere fashion.
— “the same prices for 30 years” is a very cliched phrase with Japanese shops.
— this is a horrible, horrible pun about a) the Mazda Rotary Engine, and b) Matsuda, a music and voice actress producer who had recently been arrested for allegations of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old girl.
— the peach can is a reference to the single ‘Momoiro Kataomoi’ by pop idol Aya Matsuura.
— this is Taro Sekiutsu, who sold his name to Maria back in Volume 1.
— the cardboard box says ‘cabbage’ on the bottom of 106. This is likely a reference to the game/anime Yoake Mae yori Ruriiro na, where a poorly animated cabbage started a meme.
— Nozomu’s story sounds suspiciously like the beginning of the song “Coffee Rumba” by Sachiko Nishida.
— Tsubohachi is an Izakaya chain in Japan. The tag line is apparently condescending.
— the wine bottle labels are all anime references. Gundress, Musashi Gun, and Yoake Mae yori Ruriiro na.
— the sign by the register is yet ANOTHER Yes Precure 5 reference, as well as a pun on a Tokyo Mew Mew character.
— the face on the beer sign is that of Monta Mino, a TV presenter.
— that’s Shinzo Abe at the top of page 111 (Kumeta draws him as a dog).
— smiles being free is a McDonald’s thing.
— the employee here seems to be Kei Yasuda, a Hello! Project singer.
— the Happy Meal is called the Happy Set in Japan, it would seem. Makes sense…
— Puchiko’s store is, of course, a Digi Charat ref. By the way, Puchiko and Maria share a voice actress.
— The barber shop owner’s surname is Yoshida, a very popular surname for barbers in Japan.
— Chiri and Harumi are sharing a sherbet snack called Papico.
— Bone conduction headphones are being sold at the store, it would seem.
— the shop name apparently references the J-drama Keitai Deka Zenigata.
— the character on the Family Plan card is a parody of DoCoMo’s mascot.
— And the W plan is apparently a parody of Softbank.
— the sign behind Nozomu, which seems to say “Is it all right to fight back?”, is a reference to the DoCoMo 2.0 campaign, which had debuted in April.
— “works with Skype” is self-explanatory.
— The ‘Take ’em! 0 Yen’ sign is referencing the ‘Take It! Sailor Uniform!’ OP for Lucky Star.
— The movie that premiered in Japan before the rest of the world was Spider-Man 3. This was just due to the International Date Line.
— “For the customer!” seems to be talking about a campaign for leasing company Apamanshop.
— Chiri’s anger is referring to the fares for Tokyo cabs, which do indeed get higher after 11pm.

— Despair List:
— The nuclear weapons quote is referring to North Korea.
— I think everyone knows what the Iraq reference is.
— I honestly don’t know what the Magazine/Sunday ref is. Special issues, perhaps?
— “Be intoxicated by my play” is a reference to the manga Prince of Tennis (Atobe Keigo specifically).
— This is regarding claims of doctors extorting money from patient in exchange for care.
— The cell phone company saying they’re doing you a favor when it is, in fact, their job.
— Hosts are not generally supposed to be jerks like that. Unless, of course, that’s the “character” they’re playing…
— Beaujolais Nouveau is best drunk right after it’s ben harvested, so has to be sold fast.
— The panda thing is regarding economic relations between Japan and China.
— Smokers are not smoking so they can help the government with taxes. They’re addicts.
— The Italian carmaker is Enzo Ferrari, who apparently said this after splitting from Alfa Romeo.
— Lastly, Kumeta’s typical self-deprecation.

— the name of the temple is a reference to the song Let’s Go! Onmyouji, sung by Buddhist monks as part of the insane fighting game Shin Goketsuji Ichizoku: Bonno Kaiho.
— one of the men leaving the temple is wearing a T-shirt referencing a singer in SMAP.
— the switch from Analog to Digital was not due to customer demand at all.
— Let me just quote Wikipedia straight out: “The Social Insurance Agency computerized their records in 1979 and in 1997 the SIA attempted to integrate three different databases together. Numerous problems resulted from this and in May 2007 it was exposed by the then-opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan that 50 million pre-1997 premium payers could not be matched to any citizen enrolled in the system. The then-ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party, subsequently suffered a loss in the 2007 election, which was partly attributed to the pension scandal.”
— sports scholarship scandals are rife in Japan, usually involving Koshien teams.
— see the above reference regarding Matsuda’s sexual misconduct.
— the Zetsubou anime had end cards after the credits drawn by other famous mangaka (Rumiko Takahashi, etc.). Two of Kumeta’s former assistants, Hikawa Hekiru (Paniponi) and Kenjiro Hata (Hayate the Combat Butler), drew cards for the 2nd season, but not the first one. They’re also both male. Perhaps he’s referring to someone who turned him down?
— this note would take too long. Basically, Kafuka is correct: read about the history of religion in Japan.
— Ai’s notes reference the Education Rebuilding Council, and their attempt to introduce better morals into Japanese education. It had begun the previous year.
— Ironically, shortly after this chapter came out Ai Kaga’s popularity *did* skyrocket in fandom, and she does very well in character polls. There’s even an “Ai Kaga is My Wife” website. I doubt it has much to do with her acting like a tsundere here, though.
— This is also where Kino’s crush on Ai begins, and it becomes a small running gag.

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki: Page 110, behind Nozomu saying “You’re a gratitude thief!”
—Kaere’s panty shot: Page 114, on Kumeta’s T-Shirt.
—Emperor Penguin: Page 106, under Nozomu’s balloon saying “You did a good thing.”
—Yoshiko Sakurai: barely visible on the jacket of the man at the bottom of 114.
—Stork with baby: Page 115, on the school’s establishing shot.
—Dog with stick in butt: Page 107, where Nozomu is telling his story.
—Eye with black tear – it’s a white tear here, on the cell phone in the middle of page 112
—Taro Aso: Behind Ai on Page 115, with ‘Nobel Prize’ above him. He had called the International Manga Award the “Nobel Prize of Manga” recently.

Chapter 99, “A landing amply rewarded”

— the title is a reference to the novel “Juliette, or Vice Amply Rewarded” by the Marquis de Sade.
— first published June 27, 2007
— the cover features Chiri dressed as a stewardess, ad the stork with baby is really easy to spot this time, mostly as it’s a parody of Japan Air Lines’ old logo.
— I’m not too sure about the signs behind the class on page 120, except they have something to do with a Hayate the Combat Butler guide book that had come out recently.
— the Kumetan wiki has a long section on defining hard landings and the history thereof, which I’m not going to bother with as Nozomu explains it perfectly well here.
— the telephone pole has a sign saying Junjo Kirari, a TV drama starring Miyazaki Aoi as a girl who wants to be a jazz pianist.
— the shirt the dieting girl is wearing is a parody of Tokyo Tower’s mascot.
— the name of the company refers to the larger numbers of retired people who are part of the post-war baby boom, which happened in Japan too.

— Despair List:
— total volume controls refers to the regulation of real estate prices in the early 90s, which led to the collapse of Japan’s economic bubble.
— Genki Sudo is a former mixed martial artist and kickboxer. His retirement 6 months earlier was a huge shock.
— This is talking about Hidetoshi Nataka, a former Japanese soccer player. See previous entries above. I’m not sure about the odd nickname.
— Referring to Hello! Project. We’ve discussed Kago Ai before; she’d just been fired. Asami Konno, who had graduated a year before, then announced she was returning.
— Tamayo Marukawa is a politician who joined the Diet in 2007. See above.
— this refers to the anachronistic order of the Haruhi anime’s first broadcast.
— no doubt this is referring to Capsaicin in chili peppers, very popular in Beijing.
— recent headlines about the “Ecole de Paris” closure.
— the plugsuit from Evangelion is form-fitting. If you cosplay in it, you’d better have a body to match.
— Spitz is a Japanese rock band. They did not get popular and really find their sound till their third album.
— you’re debuting with expensive Vivienne Westwood ballerina shoes? Too high a level for a beginner gothloli.
— this is referring to Toshihiko Tahara, an idol singer and actor. This is referring to his hairstyle in a famous late 80s TV series.
— lots of choices, but I suspect this is referring to the director change in “Lucky Star”. The series started very slow, and had a replacement after the first 4 episodes.
— don’t you think technology is moving too fast these days? Kids today with their smartphones and their Kindles…
— Bulgaria and Romania had joined the EU in 2007.
— more self-deprecation – Shonen Magazine’s sales have been in decline.

— The simulator looks a lot like the Sega game Afterburner. Note it seems to have been built by the Itoshiki family themselves.
— Given Chiri is Harumi’s best friend, you’d think she’d have picked up how to do a soft landing in manga…
— Civil Service retirements tend to be lucrative in Japan.
— Note that Matoi is a horrible stalker – she didn’t do a soft landing when she began stalking Nozomu at all!
— This is likely referring to Kumeta’s own path – his prior 26-volume series, Katteni Kaizo, only got an anime this year (2011).
— And this is North Korea again.
— The alien, of course, first arrives in Area 51.
— This is a fairly well-known scenario… “The Puppet Masters”, “They Live”, “V”…
— Kafuka is referencing the Peter Jackson movie Bad Taste here, where aliens harvest humans as fast food.
— And star system 64 is related to the “Aim for the Top!” Gunbuster anime.
— Usui landing on his face – his desk says “Bombardier”, a reference to a Canadian aerospace company that had had an accident in Japan recently.
— Kino developed his crush on Ai last chapter, and is now trying to seduce her with his bad taste in clothing. Perhaps he heard she likes crab? (She has mentioned this before.)
— the sign over the blackboard says “Konkon Pavilion”, this is yet another Asami Konno reference.
— Kumeta’s pop quiz. He’s already done a sports manga, “Go! Southern Ice Hockey Club”. He’s done romantic comedy too, “Sodatte Darling!!”. Fantasy series? Yup. “Taiyou no Senshi Pokapoka”. Drama about overcoming illness likely refers to the controversial ending of Katteni Kaizo, where the story was revealed to be the product of the hero and heroine’s mental illness. Story where the heroine dies is probably the novel Socrates in Love. Story where the heroine gets pregnant… see Chapter 101 for why this is unlikely to happen. It’s one of the last big taboos of shonen manga. The battle manga ending after 10 volumes could be any one of 87 Jump series.

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki: Page 121, behind Nozomu as he reveals his schedule.
—Kaere’s panty shot is right next to Matoi, over by the desk.
—Emperor penguin is peering over the edge of Chiri’s torture wheel on page 130.
—Yoshiko Sakurai: Page 125, on the instruction manual.
—Stork with baby: The cover shot.
—Dog with stick in butt: behind the telephone pole on 123.
—eye with black tear: on book being read by the guy at the bottom of 125
—Taro Aso: Not paying any attention to Kaede’s tits on Page 127.

Chapter 100, “A roadside artist”

— The title is a parody of the famous Yuzo Yamamoto novel, A Stone by the Roadside.
— First published July 4, 2007.
— the cover page has Nozomu and Rin watching as 50-foot Chiri rampages. They’re in Akihibara. The stores are all various generic Akihibara stores. Watch for the guy wearing the “new character” from Chapter 56 on his shirt.
— it’s another Tanabata chapter, so we get various wishes on the bamboo. Yoshiko Sakurai’s is referring to her brand new book, “Be Noble, Strong, and Beautiful!”, a political work for the Japanese people.
— Giga Zombie is the monster antagonist of the 1989 Doraemon movie “Doraemon: Nobita and the Birth of Japan”. He wants to conquer the world.
— Colette Nightmare is, yes, another Yes! PreCure 5 reference. Try to contain your surprise. Bet Morning Musume’s in here somewhere too.
— This is another Koichi Toyama reference, the fringe politician. “Scrap and scrap” was his proposal for Japan, which he felt was beyond saving in its present form.
— The demand for iron coming from China (most of it asking Japan) was likely about the Beijing Olympics and the need for materials.
— “I hope nothing happens.” – Ah, there it is. Morning Musume reference, there had been a number of scandals and controversies with the group recently, most of which are mentioned above.
— The ex-koala thing is about the divorce of actress/singer/politician Junko Mihara and her husband, media personality Happy Happy.
— the barely readable strip behind Kafuka is NHK asking for fees.
— As I stated earlier, Zetsubou-sensei, as a gag manga, rarely gets color pages in the magazine. However, to celebrate the anime coming out, it had recently gotten two (which were not included in the volume). Apparently they were supposed to have one for this 100th chapter, but the creator was too busy with the anime.
— More references to Japan’s “bubble economy” collapse.
— the wish almost completely obscured behind Nozomu is referring to actress and spokesperson Makiko Esumi, who in 2003 did a campaign telling people to donate salary to a pension fund. It was later revealed she didn’t actually do this herself, and there was a minor scandal.
— the cigarette shop might be another Kago Ai reference. Lucky Strikes are a cigarette brand, and may be conflated here with the anime Lucky Star.
— Bimbo is a Mexican baking company, the largest one in the world. They are well-known for sponsoring soccer teams.
— Kimutaku is SMAP member and actor Takuya Kimura; the movie in question is 2006’s Love and Honor, which is the final film of Yoji Yamada’s famous Samurai Trilogy. It won three Japanese Academy Awards, hence Chiri’s disbelief.
— Sorata, despite what X fans might tell you, seems to be an uncommon name in Japan.
— The untranslated sign behind Nozomu refers to Katokichi, a frozen food company embroiled in scandals in 2007 for using falsely labeled minced meat.
— Note the TV ste is a call back to jokes in Chapter 96.
— given the criminal being searched for killed a police officer with a shovel, I think we can take an accurate guess at who it is…
— the fan the man is waving as he stares at the TV says ‘Depression’, which is a poke at Shinzo Abe.
— There is indeed Asahi Z beer. It’s a dry lager.
— OK, I surrender on the Happiness Concert thing. Something to do with Hiragana Mama, a Sesame Street-esque program, or the housewife show Minna no Uta. It also implies that woman is Harumi’s mother, with reasoning I can’t really translate enough to understand.
— Keiko and Marc, in the English problem Chiri is showing us, are Keiko Yamada and Marc Panther from the band Globe.
— Kumeta’s wish to be reincarnated, as well as Nozomu bitching about the anime, are both typical of this series.
— The Nobel prize reference may have something to do with the International Manga Award that had just been created that year.
— The Szechuan sign is no doubt referring to the Chinese province, one may assume it’s a restaurant.
— The July 7th reference I believe refers to the anime as well, it debuted that date.
— The voice actresses mentioned at the funeral as possibilities for the widow are: Mika Kanai (who had just gotten a divorce that year from Koichi Yamadera – they’d been married 13 years), who is best known for “cute” voices such as Mimete in Sailor Moon and Satoko in Higurashi; and Satomi Korogi, who also does very ‘cute’ voices, such as Chi in Chi’s Sweet Home and Menchi in Excel Saga. The joke, I suspect, is that the widow’s voice was very high-pitched and squeaky.
— The liquor store behind Abiru is named Shido Liquor after Shido Nakamura. Who had recently been arrested for druink driving. Hence the irony of the sign.

— Despair List:
— The obvious wig line refers to Hidetsugu Aneha, mentioned above, who was arrested for horrible crimes against architecture. Literally. Presumably he wore a wig.
— The Oricon chart placing has indeed gotten more chatter than the anime lately. Lucky Star, Negima and Haruhi Suzumiya are good examples.
— This next one is fairly self-explanatory, I think, and not limited to Japan.
— Chiaki Mukai is a Japanese astronaut who went aboaard Columbia and Discovery in the 1990s. Her husband is a doctor, Makio Mukai, and he presumably has an impressive moustache.
— The bento must be dull if one is drawn to the newspaper it’s wrapped in.
— Ichikawa Ebizo is a kabuki actor, the latest in a long line of actors with the same name. News reports at the time tended to focus more on his celebrity than his roles.
— Yuki Saito, a Japanese baseball pitcher named The Handkerchief Prince because of his habit of using one to wipe his brow during games. He’s been mentioned in the manga before.
— Ryo Ishikawa is a very famous professional golfer, who had just started his career when this chapter came out. He was nicknamed “The Bashful Prince” for his shyness.
— Not sure about the exact reference, but NEWS was a famous Japanese boy band who did a single that was used for the World Volleyball Championship. Johnny’s is the agency that promoted them.
— The Beckham reference speaks for itself.
— This refers to a 2006 movie, Sugar & Spice, starring Yuya Yagira.
— another self-explanatory reference.
— This would be Korea, of course.

— If you want to know what happens to the rest of the cast after Kumeta cuts back to Kiri and Majiru, you can watch the anime, which animated this all the way through and showed Chiri growing to hundreds of feet tall to defeat an alien. Which admittedly sort of ruins the entire joke Kumeta is making here, but hey, it was exciting.
— The mailing label on Kiri’s package is apparently from Yamato Transport.
— The book next to the TV is, I believe, a history book about Hikikomoris.
— Kaori Manabe is a Japanese TV personality. Note Majiru has already thrown out items he had bought of her roles, just because it was rumored she was dating. And you thought it was just moe 2-D girls who had this problem…
— The baseball player next to Harumi is Norihiro Nakamura.
— The two pages with Kiri showing off her bathing suit were added for the tankobon, and were not in the original chapter. A little extra Kiri service in a chapter that is just a blatant excuse for it anyway. (Kiri is one of the most popular characters in Japan, likely due to her yamato nadeshiko behavior and hikikomori persona hitting the right buttons.)
— Kiri’s makeup on her sink is a parody of a real Japanese makeup, Shiseido Kesho Wakusei. It’s marketed to be sold only at convenience stores.
— SHAFT, Zetsubou’s anime company, gets another reference here.
— I believe that is a candy company (white chocolate) that the alien meteor is about to plow into.
— Kiri worrying about her weight is a joke in itself – she’s probably the lightest of the whole cast, with the possible exceptions of Maria and Meru.
— The poster on the wall there is referring to Boku no Piko, a shotacon series of H-games. Kumeta tends to waffle between Kiri having a thing for Majiru (i.e. a shota complex) and being obsessed with Nozomu. Usually it’s whatever is funnier at the time.
— The other poster is, I believe, another reference to the Zetsubou anime.
— The CD being listened to seems to be Yutaka Ozaki, a Japanese singer who died young.
— Majiru’s entire rant about boring conversations, and indeed possibly the entire chapter, are a parody of the first episode of Lucky Star. It began with a long discussion about how to eat a chocolate cornet (adding a lot of stuff not in the original), and the slow pace and pointlessness was so controversial the first director was fired. After the replacement, the pace of the show picked up significantly.
— 50-Foot Chiri is standing over a building called Meat Hope. This company was in a scandal about mislabelling their meat at the time of this chapter.
— Apropos of nothing, I’d love to see an AMV of this anime scene with PJ Harvey’s 50 Foot Queenie.
— The joke about the survey spiking for this chapter is obvious. The 3 main magazines do popularity polls constantly, with Jump’s being the most famous, as the order in the magazine allegedly depends on them. The ‘increase’ on the bulletin board probably refers to the 2 extra pages we got in the tankobon version.

Can you spot them?
—Matoi Tsunetsuki: Page 145, behind Nozomu and Nami gaping at 50-Foot Chiri.
—Kaere’s panty shot: page 144, right at the top.
—Emperor penguin: Next to Kafuka on page 133, as a mosquito catcher.
—Yoshiko Sakurai: Same page, with the “Be Beautiful” tag.
—Stork with baby: Page 139, in the panel where Nozomu says “normal”. It’s in shadows, look closely.
—Dog with stick in butt: back on page 133, between Chiri and Kafuka.
—eye with black tear: Page 137, above Chiri’s head in panel 3
—Taro Aso: on the TV screen on page 145.

That’s it. Yay!

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  1. This is awesome! I give you thanks from the very bottom of my OCD nerd heart. <3 ^_^ <3

    "There were pages missing here for no good reason"

    Wait, what? There are pages omitted from the English version? The hell!?

    Does this mean I have to buy the Japanese books too?

  2. Wow!!!! This is amazing :D Thanks for doing, and sharing, all this research! I may have to read through the post a few pages at a time, but I’ve got my copy of SZS 10 in hand, ready to start! *reads on in awe*

  3. This is awesome. I haven’t got to volume 10 yet, but I’ve read through some of this anyway, and once I do get the book, I will definitely be coming back to this post.

  4. Wow. Thank you so much!

    Of course I knew that there was no way that all the references could be translated and transfered to the English version of the series, but I think that it’s pretty sloppy that the translation notes section seems to be getting thinner by the volume.
    It’s still really enjoyable, but we’re missing so many little details here which could turn it from enjoyable into amazing (for me at least).

  5. This is amazing, fantastic, exhaustive… and completely insane. Kudos for doing what Kodansha wouldn’t. Maybe they should just get in contact with those Japanese superfans themselves. I don’t think I’ve picked up a single Kodansha release that hasn’t had one typo or a left out bit of content. Seriously, I wish they would step up their game.


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