Three seasons long, with a few OVAs here and there. When I think about it, one of the reasons lots of people still haven’t seen Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is probably that it’s not a short show. Not to even mention the fact that after the point where the anime ends, the manga still goes on for another hundred chapters or so. It’s also no longer the most recent anime to air, and unless you like Shaft’s and Shinbou’s visual styles and experiments (or Kouji Kumeta’s character designs and original art, for that matter), it’s probably not the best-looking show either.
And as for its story and characters, it’s not the simplest show either, thanks to how Kumeta likes to do things. That is, the show is extremely dense with information, both relevant and irrelevant, which caused me a a ton of trouble when it came to actually watching the show. To be specific, I had to pause every episode tens of times so I could read all the text on the blackboards as well as the extensive lists scrolling by. This, I think, was the reason why I couldn’t really enjoy the show even though I thought it was fantastic in many ways.
Interestingly, out of all the people I know, the people who seem to like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei the most are two Finnish friends of mine (both consider it their favourite anime of all time). Is this why I, too, thought it was fantastic? It’s very possible, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Is there something about it that appeals to Finnish people in particular, and why? With any other show it’d probably be relatively easy to find an explanation, but SZS contains so many different elements that it feels impossible. In any case, I think it’s a show worth watching, even if it can be difficult to watch.