Here’s another post for the series that nobody asked for!
I’m discussing the game that was developed and published by Spike Chunsoft (also responsible for Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon and the Zero Escape series).
Let’s start back when I was constantly looking for new anime back in 2016. I’d seen this poster of this animated series with this black and white bear (y’all know where this is going). I decided to watch it and I found it very interesting. And then the games that the anime was based on came out on Steam. So I bought them and played them.
Danganronpa is essentially a visual novel about a group of talented teenagers that are trapped in a school by a black and white bear called Monokuma, who proclaims himself to be the headmaster of Hope’s Peak Academy. There, he launches a killing game, where the students have to kill one another in order to escape.
Once a murder has occurred, there must be an investigation, followed by a trial. If the culprit gets away with it, everyone else is punished. If the culprit is found, then they are punished. The punishment comes in the form of an execution tailored to the culprit.
You play as Makoto Naegi, a student who was accepted to Hope’s Peak Academy after winning the lottery, thus becoming the Ultimate Lucky Student.
Themes and Extras
The main plot-point of the story (and runs through the series as a whole) is hope versus despair.
We also get blood that resembles Pepto-Bismol. To be fair, this was to conform to censorship regulations. However, I suppose it does add its own flair to the game.
The game is separated into two main sections – Daily Life and Deadly Life.
Daily Life is always the first half of each chapter, and you follow the story and take part in Free Time events, where you increase friendship with the characters. This doesn’t generally affect the way they interact with you outside these events, but it helps with the achievements.
Deadly Life is the moments after a body discovery has happened, and this involves the investigation, the Class Trial, the execution and the aftermath. There are no Free Time events within this section.
Free Time also segways into the MonoMono Machine and the School Mode. School Mode can be unlocked after completing the story, whereas the MonoMono Machine gives items which you can give to other students to increase friendship. The items that you can give with a positive response depends on the items, so choose wisely! School Mode serves as a dating sim, taking you through a plot with no mutual killings, but instead you’re building robots for Monokuma while romancing the other characters. You can also be rewarded with Trip Tickets, taking the characters to parts around the school.
Oh yeah, once you’ve completed the dating sim routes, each character will give you their underwear. Nice.
The brilliant soundtrack was composed by Masafumi Takada (also responsible for The Evil Within and Crypt of the Necrodancer). Speaking of Necrodancer, Takada was responsible for the Danganronpa-themed arrangements in the free PC update for Necrodancer, so you were able to play the game utilising the reimagined soundtrack for the game.
Three games were released that take place after the events of Danganronpa – Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Danganronpa: Ultra Despair Girls and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony. DRV3 is largely unrelated to the rest of the games, however it is fundamental to play them all to have an understanding of what you’re doing.
A sequel anime series was released: Danganronpa 3. This had two (technically 3) sides – Future and Despair. Future is set after the events of DR2, while Despair goes into the backstory of the cast of DR2, as well as how the events leading to DR1 took place. A third title, Hope, released as the conclusion to Future side.