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 – 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)

Danganronpa: The Animation – 04

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With the first classroom trial overcome, Monokuma opens up the second floor of the school, where there’s a pool, locker rooms, and a library. The students learn that Hope’s Peak Academy has been shut down for some time, meaning someone else took the place over and imprisoned them there. One night, Naegi catches a smitten Fukawa Touko stalking Togami Byakuya, who sends her away.

The next day, Fujisaki Chihiro is found dead crucified in the locker room, apparently killed by a blow to the head with “Blood Bath Fever” written on the wall in blood. The students start collecting clues; Togami recognizes what happened to Fujisaki as the MO of the serial killer Genocider Syo. Just before the second trial begins, Naegi witnesses a very suspicious exchange between Togami and Fukawa.

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The students may have just voted to send one of their own to their doom, but it was the first time that had to happen, and they had to do it in order to save their own lives. Because of this, many are still willing to give friendship and coexistence a chance. Oogami and Asahina were friends coming in; Ishimaru and Ohwada clash at first but an all-nighter in the sauna makes them friends; even Celestia deigns to allow Yamada to serve her tea. Fujisaki considered everyone friends, too, only to become the latest victim.

That brings us to the unlikely “pairing” of the ambitious, rich and powerful conglomerate heir Togami Byakuya and the plain, paranoid, antisocial girl, Fukawa Touko (voiced very nervously by Sawashiro Miyuki). He’s playing to win this sick game, but he wants to be challenged and entertained. She admires him and drools from afar. And their proximity and interactions suggest Togami got her to kill Fujisaki, despite her apparent aversion to blood. Though knowing the twists the trial can throw at us, it’s just as likely neither of them had anything to do with it.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)