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All good things must come to an end, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (SZS) chose about the right time to close its curtains. Comedies in general tends to become repetitive and boring as they approach their respective expiray dates, and Goku SZS certainly was showing its signs. I don’t want to repeat anything that has been already said so I will just be commenting on setting, animation and their significance to the comedy of SZS, which I personally found fascinating.

1. Creative use of setting

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English wikipedia entry for SZS was surprisingly sharp on the show’s stylistic elements. It’s interesting how SZS is set in present day, but utilises various aesthetic tropes, such as costumes, architecture and technology, to evoke Showa Period. And the below quote was particularly informative:

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…is what the character Trevor Goodchild (Æon Flux) says, as he delights himself in trying to figure out how organ-less aliens make love. That’s interesting, considering what Peter Chung (director of Æon Flux) once said about his work. To overcome restrictions on the amount of sex and violence that could be shown on television, he claims to have come up with substitutes for sex organs so that things that wouldn’t normally be sexual take on sexual innuendo. For example, the screenshot below on the left depicts two people having ‘sex’ by deflating and inflating their special suit.

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Honestly though, I couldn’t stop laughing. The very notion of a guy moaning and reaching his climax because of alternating pressure was just too much for me. Æon Flux offers plenty more, such as exchanging-eyeball-sex, bird-sex, artificial-vertebrae-sex, and et cetra. Regardless of its intention (comedy? arousal?), there is no denying that they are–as Trevor puts it–inventive.

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“[…]the predilection for stringing together unpredictable compositions in a way that some might say distracts from the story but to me enhances it.[…]the locus of excitment in [Shinbo’s] directing is the space between the shots and the compositions.[…]” – Ben at Anipages Daily

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Why am I still watching Maria†Holic? Is it the comedy? Kinky premise? The guitar maid? Ever since falling in love with the brilliance that was Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, I always wanted to at some point explore Akiyuki Shinbo‘s visceral style of direction, which definitely carries over to Maria†Holic. So here it is! I first want to go over what Deleuze called “irrational cut”, and hopefully I can relate that to appreciating the genius of Akiyuki Shinbo in a different light. Feel free to skip the below paragraph if you don’t feel like too much reading.

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