Hope and Despair:
Danganronpa is a critically acclaimed visual novel series on handheld systems. The games were based on a “game” played by a black and white bear named Monokuma, who insisted a group of trapped teenagers must kill each other to escape imprisonment in school (Dangan Ronpa 1) and on a tropical island (Dangan Ronpa 2.) The two groups came from Hope’s Peak High School for the gifted.
The premise of all the characters is they have an ultimate talent such as writing or luck that makes them stand above an average person. Each character usually plays off of this talent in the story line, and can be seen using an aspect of it quite frequently. The talents aren’t always positive however and an ultimate serial killer exists as well as a gambler.
The anime for Danganronpa is both a sequel and prequel to the games. There are 26 episodes split into two parts Future, and Despair. The Future arc is the events that happen after the second game, and the Despair arc are events that happened before the first game. Some characters from the games cross over into both parts and continue/expand their stories.
Side Future opens with Naegi being tried for treason by the Future Foundation. After a bit of an argument with what Naegi’s fate should be from the leaders the power is cut from within the building. A smoke grenade is used to put the Future Foundation leader’s to sleep, shortly after revealing that they are under attack and all the exits have been sealed shut.
Naegi and the members of the future foundation wake up, and see a body come crashing down from the chandelier. Monokuma appears on the Tv screen and informs the surviving members that there is a traitor among them that will kill them at scheduled sleep points forced by a braclet they’ve all been equipped with in their sleep. The only way to stop it is to identify the traitor,which instantly causes a riot when Naegi is target and sends everybody running in different directions to keep safe. The bracelets also add an extra feature to the game by giving each person a forbidden action that if performed injects a lethal dose of poison into their bodies.
Side Despair is about the time the characters of the second game spent at Hope’s Peak High School. It focuses on the events that brought them to despair and their pre-game interactions with each other in the classroom setting. Some of the characters from side Future are present, and are working to infiltrate Hope’s Peak High School and find out what is going on with some of the students and questionable cover ups.
If you haven’t got to play the games and read this out of curiosity there is an anime for the first game, but the second is visual novel only. You can buy the second game currently for Ps Vita and through the Steam store. The spin-off game Ultra Despair girls can provide some extra input in the Danganronpa world and focuses on the rescue of Naegi’s sister. Either way a synopsis can always easily be found online if you wish to just enjoy the anime portions of Dangan Ronpa!
Overall this is a very enjoyable watch for fans and newcomers. The episodes are well directed and always end themselves on a perfect note to keep you coming back. The characters are all super quirky, and will keep you entertained throughout the ride. The story is almost guaranteed to be completely solid and with a 26 episode run it has enough time to completely flesh out its story for your viewing pleasure.
What are your thoughts on the final season?