Danganronpa: The Animation – 13 (Fin)

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Enoshima Junko exposits at length before the remaining students, revealing that they’ve been at Hope’s Peak Academy for more than two years. A year after they enrolled, a calamity befell the world, which fell into despair. The principal turned the school into a shelter for its students, most of whom died, leaving only the sixteen surviving students, including Junko and her sister, whom she killed out of contempt. Junko announces it’s time to vote: either for her despair or their hope, sweetening the deal by saying they’ll all live if they sacrifice Naegi.

She also says the air in the outside world is contaminated, and if she’s killed, the school’s air purifier will shut down, killing them all. However, armed with “bullets of hope”, Naegi gives uplifting speeches to everyone, and they all end up voting for Junko. She willingly accepts her punishment: a combo of all the previous executions. Naegi uses her controller to open the front door to the school, and everyone steps out into the world. Monokuma reappears in the trial room, still talking and moving despite Junko dying…

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Call it hokey if you must, but it turns out this wasn’t a battle between hope and despair, but rather trying to reach a place where both coexist. The high school life of mutual killings was an exercise in despair and despair alone, but Naegi was accepted to the school as almost a fail-safe, in case despair went too far. His hope spread just as readily to his peers (who, as it turns out, were all his friends prior to losing their memories), and the world represents that place where they’ll likely run into both, but that’s life. Unfortunately we don’t see one bit of what becomes of them after stepping outside.

Prior to their escape Junko adopts multiple personas during her long-winded speechifying, but she doesn’t end up saying all much. She paints in very broad strokes that are somewhat dull and unsatisfying, a contrast from the intricate detail the murder trials brought to the table. Maybe she’s being intentionally mysterious…or more likely the series is withholding all the answers for a sequel down the road. But as with Blood Lad, we’re content with just this one season. It was fun, but the lack of a single 8 rating or higher is a sure sign of a series that  never really wowed us.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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Danganronpa: The Animation – 11

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Before the students can confirm the identity of the body they presume to be Ikusaba, the classroom trial abruptly begins. Narrowing the timeline, Togami accuses the long-absent Kirigiri as the culprit, but Kirigiri turns suspicion upon Naegi. Monokuma calls for a vote, and Naegi protests. He’s voted guilty and sent to be execution, but Alter Ego hacks the system and saves him. He still falls into the garbage-filled basement, where Kirigiri saves him. After climbing to the top, they confront Monobear, who introduces a new challenge: the remaining students will win if they can discover all of the school’s mysteries.

The mastermind is all about despair. The whole intent “high school life of mutual killing” project is to put the students in a state of abject despair from which there is no escape, before killing them off. But as of recently, the project has stalled. The last student to die wasn’t a murder, but a suicide, and of Monobear’s agent, no less. The remaining six students aren’t in any hurry to kill each other, another student’s digital alter ego continues to cause trouble, the super-duper detective is regaining her memories, and perhaps most damaging to his plans, Naegi absolutely won’t give up hope, and his optimism is proving contagious.

Apparently the mastermind thought to eliminate Naegi by having Ikusaba murder him, then frame it on Kirigiri. But Ikusaba ends up dead (by Kirigiri’s hand? Who knows…), and even when Naegi is convicted and sentenced, he manages to escape death, and with Kirigiri’s help, emerges more hopeful and fired up than ever. Unable to bend more rules to get his way for fear of angering the reality TV audiences, and fairly convinced more mutual student killings aren’t on the horizon, Monobear/the mastermind decides to put everything on the line hoping his myriad secrets are safe from the students. That’s right, it’s come to this: the despair junkie himself, relying on hope.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Nice use of the Droste Effect at the beginning of the episode. We love us som Droste.
  • Naegi survives quite a fall! His execution scene is quite creepy (well, they all are).
  • Kirigiri Kyouko: even with a noodle cup and naruto in her hair, she still looks dignified as hell.
  • As Naegi says, it’s really no surprise Kirigiri’s title is detective, considering her actions throughout the ordeal.
  • We still don’t know who killed Ikusaba, or even if that was Ikusaba. If she’s still alive, will we ever see her face?
  • It’s interesting to note that of the remaining students, none seem likely to commit a murder, and thus haven’t: Fukuwa is too scared; Syo is too obvious; Togami is too pragmatic; Aoi is too nice; Hagakure is too dumb; Kirigiri is too righteous, and Naegi is too…Naegi.

Danganronpa: The Animation – 09

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In the fourth trial, Hagakure and Fukawa admit to hitting Oogami with bottles, then Asahina confesses to killing her, but can’t explain the locked door. Kirigiri finds a glass shard in the poison bottle, meaning Asahina switched the poison bottle with the protein shake cup after Naegi broke the window.

In an effort to stop the infighting, Oogami locked herself in the rec room and committed suicide, and Asahina tried to kill everyone by making them vote for her. As punishment, Monobear destroys Alter Ego. Kirigiri learns and tells Naegi the name of the sixteenth student: Ikusaba Mukuro.

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When you have a dead body in a room with only one door locked from the inside, suicide is the most likely culprit. Of course, this series never jumps right to the most likely culprit, but none of the other possibilities hold up against that one certain fact: once that door was locked, no one could get in or out.

As someone with warrior’s physique, we expected her to also possess warrior mindset, in which if the most profitable move for the greater good is to give up your life, you do so. Combined with her remorse for working as Monobear’s agent, Oogami was the most likely of the remaining students to off herself.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We believe this is the first instance of a studnt trying to kill everyone, in this case Asahina, who felt that it was her and everyone else’s fault Oogami killed herself, and so none of them deserved to live either.
  • Funny how Monobear knew about Alter Ego all along. So much for their digital ally!
  • Monobear lets slip that the mastermind “did something” to the students’ bodies, but doesn’t elaborate.
  • Kirigiri discovers the sixteenth student’s name…so where is he/she, and what’s their story? 
  • More to the point, how did Kirigiri learn of this, and is all of her helpfulness simply setting Naegi up for an eventual betrayal?

Danganronpa: The Animation – 08

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Naegi catches Oogami Sakura fighting with Monobear, leading him to suspect she’s the mastermind’s agent. The fourth floor contains the chem lab, music room, data processing room and principal’s office, but the latter two are locked, and Monobear creates a new rule prohibiting breaking down locked doors. Fujisaki’s Alter Ego AI discovers new facts about Hope’s Peak Academy, including a past incident that led to the plan to incarcerate students executed by the principal.

Monobear announces Oogami was his agent, causing strife amongst the students and leading to a fight between Asahina and Fukawa. Later, Alter Ego tells Naegi and Kirigiri he wants to fight with them; they connect him to the network in the hidden room. Later, they and Asahina find Oogami locked in the Rec Room. Naegi breaks the window to unloc the door, and they discover Oogami is dead. Asahina believes the culprit could only be Togami, Fukawa, or Hagakure.

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This was a hefty episode with a lot going on, hence the long synopsis. Not only is progress made in discovering who’s behind all this in the first place (thanks to Alter Ego), Monobear’s mole is revealed, and turns out to be the person we least suspected (other than Naegi). In order to ensure the safety of certain unnamed hostages, Oogami was to kill someone if there was ever a lull in the killing. But with a steady pace of murders more than half the student body is gone, and Oogami must have had enough to decide to turn on her master.

At first we were wondering why Monobear was being so lenient with her (Junko met a sticky end for opposing him, after all), but then it’s clear he turns her into a catalyst for more murder by outing her. The Togami/Fukawa/Hagakure alliance clashes with the Oogami’s loyal friend Asahina, with the calm, logical Naegi and Kirigiri in the middle. Oogami ends up dead in a classic locked-room murder mystery. As usual, while there’s a list of obvious potential culprits, Oogami’s actual killer may well be none of them.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)