They say the first step is admitting it …
I have a problem… I got addicted to Danganronpa.
It sounded more dramatic in my head, I swear.
In the past five months, I’ve been obsessed with a certain Visual Novel named Danganronpa and let me just tell you how deeply I got into this world of sci-fi hope vs despair battlefield. Visual novels, according to my logic were glorified dating simulation while I already know I am wrong, it didn’t stop me from solidifying this conclusion in my mind.
“Hope’s Peak Academy is home to Japan’s best and brightest high school students — the beacons of hope for the future. But that hope suddenly dies when Makoto Naegi and his classmates find themselves imprisoned in the school, cut off from the outside world and subject to the whims of a strange, murderous little bear named Monokuma. He pits the students against each other, promising freedom to anyone who can murder a fellow classmate and get away with it. It’s up to you to find out who Monokuma really is, and why you’ve been taken from the world you once knew. But be careful what you wish for — sometimes there’s nothing more deadly than the truth…”
The first installment of the series is the introduction to the Danganronpa World and the cast “The Ultimates”. Now the characters are an interesting part of the game because their talent is considered an ultimate as if they excel in that field, Ultimate Swimmer, Ultimate Gambler and so on. Those talents give the characters a personality and insecurity as well.
There’s a certain order you need to follow when getting into Danganronpa world, which anime to watch first and which game to start on, unfortunately, I watched the anime before playing the game so I knew the direction the game was going but to be honest it was more enjoyable for me to play the game than to watch it.
After a murder occurs, you get time to investigate the murder scene to chain the events in your mind before a class trial starts to reveal who’s the culprit. The trial format is almost the same as Phoenix Wright and I loved every minute of it, the music and the whole truth bullet shooting, it excited me. The punishments -when the trial ends and the culprit revealed- is basically an execution scene, are sometimes silly and more humorous. After it, parts of the school gets unlocked which gives you more area to explore and of course find new ways to kill someone.
The game is heavily dependent on the story, so it has a lot of reading, it took me 41 hours to beat the first game and honestly I would recommend playing the game instead of watching the 12 episode anime.
Moving on to the second part Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair takes place shortly after the events of Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. The game is from Hajime Hinata’s point of view as he starts his first year at Hope’s Peak Academy. As he walks into the school building, he is overcome with fatigue; when he recovers, he finds himself in front of a door. He has the strong urge to open it, and once he does, he finds himself in a classroom full of his new classmates. They suddenly find themselves locked in the classroom, and a pink bunny, Usami, appears before them, claiming herself to be the class’ teacher. The classroom around them soon falls away to reveal a paradise-like island. Usami tells them that they are on a school trip and that they are to befriend each other to gain Hope Fragments and make their hope grow. Just as they get used to the peaceful island life, Monokuma appears and takes control of the island, announcing that the students must participate in a life of mutual killing if they wish to escape.
Oh boy, this part was surprising to me because it was more brutal and dark compared to the first one. Even the punishments aren’t as silly as I mentioned in the first part, they are horrifying and I feel guilty that I was entertained. There was a lot of changes implemented in the gameplay and I actually needed a guide to go through the trials, not my favorite confession to make as a gamer. I mean it’s a visual novel, how hard it should be.
I wasn’t really satisfied with the ending because it was confusing but at the same time, my mind was blown how the story progressed throughout the games, spin-offs, and the anime. I think I enjoyed this part more than the previous one, probably because of my newly found sadistic trait that surfaced during the gameplay or because I’ve grown attached to Monokuma … He’s a cute bear.
The lastest game of this series is Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
“Welcome to a new world of Danganronpa, and prepare yourself for the biggest, most exhilarating episode yet. Set in a “psycho-cool” environment, a new cast of 16 characters find themselves kidnapped and imprisoned in a school. Inside, some will kill, some will die, and some will be punished. Reimagine what you thought high-stakes, fast-paced investigation was as you investigate twisted murder cases and condemn your new friends to death. Forget what you thought you knew about Danganronpa and join a completely new cast of Ultimates for a brand-new beginning. In a world where everyone is trying to survive, nobody’s motivations are quite what they seem. Use your skills to solve each new murder or meet a gruesome end. The world is shaped by our perception of it. Fast-paced trial scenes will require lies, quick wits, and logic to guide your classmates to the right conclusions.”
I kept reading the synopsis that it’s new, the characters are new, the school is new but part of me was searching for connections to the previous games, surely there’s something the ties the epic battle between hope and despair which Monokuma keeps hinting. The gameplay has a massive overhaul in-class trials and thankfully it was easier than Danganronpa 2. The killings were creative and I was impressed at some of them, why don’t I feel bad saying this.
Danganronpa triggered the inner killer and also the detective in me, I’ve enjoyed every minute of those games. Also, I have to say Monokuma is adorable, the best mascot ever (it’s the total truth, I’m not held at gunpoint)