Sayonara, Zetszubou-sensei, Vol. 12

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

Once again, I don’t really have much to talk about with this excellent volume of Zetsubou-sensei except a string of random observations. Which seems somewhat fitting, given this series.

As I’ve noted before, Zetsubou-sensei has acquired a reputation of burning out translators, with each one before Joshua Weeks lasting 4 volumes. I’ve no idea if this is Joshua’s final volume as well, but it wouldn’t surprise me: this one was an absolute nightmare to adapt, I imagine. The first chapter is an entire chapter based on “explain the Japanese pun”, the final ‘extra’ makes no sense unless you read the weekly Magazines, and another chapter is based around Rakugo. Certainly this is why, after doing notes for Vol. 10, *I* gave up. Still, an admirable job, even if I once again feel there’s too few endnotes. But that’s just me.

Most of the cast of high schoolers tend to have lousy lives in general, but at least can sometimes have a default of ‘happy’ most of the time, even if it’s a psychotic sort of happiness. Manami, though, who graces the back cover with her debt book… wow, her life is simply brutal. Married at the age of 16 to a philandering husband who appears to use her as a name to saddle all his debt on to, she’s also hideously unlucky and tends to get herself into more debt through sheer gullibility. In Volume 11, after hearing some of her complaints, her teacher decides to simply ignore them to save his sanity. Really, we should do the same here. Her face in Chapter 119 as she talks about realizing her husband is the one for her speaks of horrible illicit affairs gone wrong. Luckily, this is a gag manga, so we’ll never have to worry about it.

I also noticed a couple of chapters showing Maria at the receiving end of some of the unfortunate gags, which surprised me. Generally the cast divides into “people bad things happen to” (Manami being an excellent example), and “people who blithely walk through the chaos” (Kafuka is a prime example here). Usually Maria is one of the latter, so seeing her two falls here is rather unusual. Still, no one in the end is safe from a gag as long as it’s funny. Well, except for the aforementioned Kafuka. I think even if a meteor destroyed the Earth, she’d be blithely smiling in her space bunker somewhere else…

The ‘hot or not’ chapter really worked much better in the anime. Probably due to the chilling chirpiness of Chiri’s ‘ari ari ari ari!’ in the original Japanese. Speaking of Chiri, she seems now to be committing murders on an almost daily basis, judging by her having to hide from police disguised as tree bark. And yet she still has a rival: Mayo’s face as she demonstrates the blowtorch is absolutely beautiful. (It was an inspiration for her appearance in the ending to the 3rd season.) And I love Kiri and Matoi sniping at each other as usual.

Then there’s Kiyohiko’s Night. Oi. The folks who watch the anime have an advantage over others, as they’ve actually seen the sequence in question, but here goes: Weekly Shonen Magazine has a special issues with one-shots and short special versions of regular comics that comes out on holidays. For one of these, Kumeta released a 4-page comic that involved a pun on the Japanese version of ‘Silent Night’ and a bizarre man named Kiyohiko. As viewers of the anime can tell you, it was not particularly funny. What’s more, the magazine it appeared in had to be pulled due to a controversy surrounding another artist’s work so very few people got to read it anyway. It was presumably supposed to be in this volume, but Kumeta, realizing it wasn’t that funny, pulled it and instead drew 4 pages of the cast complaining. So now you know! (You can see Kiyohiko on the swing by Maria at the back of the book, if you’re curious.)

Also, Kiri is changing into her sweats for her “don’t open it”, and you can see her semi-naked. I therefore conclude the missing Kiri from Vol. 10 was indeed the usual poor quality control rather than any censorious reasons. (Quality control seems better here.) Lastly, we have some of the Japanese fanart. One piece of which made me absolutely boggle. It involves Kafuka ogling her teacher’s ass. You really should see it for yourself.

And now I’m caught up! Roll on Vol. 13!

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  1. “I think even if a meteor destroyed the Earth, she’d be blithely smiling in her space bunker somewhere else…”
    Well, of course. She’d have caused it.


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