ダンガンロンパ: The Animation
Recommended : 100% YES!!
I know, I know. I binged the series so that I could watch the new ones live and never got around to finishing anything. I’d blame the heat wave but that only really started this week!
Based on the game of the same name (minus obviously the animation part) Danganronpa is a fight between Hope and Despair. Pitting 15 Super High School Students, the Ultimates of their society, against each other.
Only one side can win. Either that or everyone will end up dead.
There are many MANY reasons to recommend this show so I apologise in advance for what could turn out to be me telling you how much I love it.
Quite simply without spoilers, it is a beautifully crafted story with really amazing characters. The animation is superb, the story telling is well paced, albeit the game does give more detail then the animation, and even though you can second guess a lot of the twists there are plenty you WON’T guess and even the ones you do guess are great.
The main character, Makoto, isn’t anything special AND THAT IS PART OF THE STORY, he’s just a ordinary kid that lucked out but ended up in a situation that made him flourish. At no point did he become anything more or less then what he started off as.
All the characters around him, no matter how long you spend with them ultimately, have such strong and magnetic personalities. All of them over the top but all of them being relatable in their own ways. Even if they had a season following each student around you would never feel you had enough time with them. They were unique and even though they were way over the top they never really felt like they were in some weird kind of way. They were there to have the hope sucked out of them and you became protective of them all.
The premise was simple. 15 students are locked in a school, they are told the only way out is to kill each other and not be caught. After a trial if they are found innocent and someone else found guilty they would walk free and the others would die.
Now on the surface you might get the wrong idea. It sounds bloody and gory but that isn’t the point at all.
Its story is about Hope. I keep saying its a war between Hope and Despair for that is what it is. These students were the Hope of society and they have been pit against each other to destroy all the remaining Hope in the world.
They don’t just go out and kill each other either. This isn’t like the Hunger Games or some such, whilst its still a game of death the students themselves are put in a pressure cooker. Whilst they don’t have the “kill or be killed” aspect to their game, if no one gets murdered then they get to stay in the school for their natural life, that isn’t what really is going on at all.
Every murder has a story behind it. Only one was thought up as a cold blooded way to kill someone and escape and even that was just to play the game. These characters were kids. They woke up in a school and were told to kill each other, shown things that would make anyone go crazy, not knowing what was happening. It was always meant to be a situation that would force someone to do something rash and once it started to happen it was hard to put the lid back on it. No one was trained for it, no one knew it might have happened and no one really wanted to be part of it either.
The mystery wasn’t just a murder mystery, the whole situation was a mystery. You see Makoto walk into the school and then he blanks out and wakes up to this new life.
It will make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll make you want to solve the mysteries surrounding the whole thing.
Go no further if you don’t want to be spoiled though.
The writing was its biggest plus. The story itself was so well put together it kept you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Again other then one time none of the murders were ever planned so there were a whole lot of issues that came up each time to explore. The anime did it faster then the game but it was just so refreshing. The question was “what would make you kill someone?” and it was answered in some of the saddest ways.
Spending a lifetime building a Dream just to be told the people you built it for have been hurt (you see more of this in the game then the anime, Sayaka’s character is a lot better overall in the game), self defence and a hint of opportunity to turn it to their advantage, self sacrifice, a Gambler playing the ultimate game and jealousy.
None of the characters were cold blooded killers, other then one but that one managed not to kill anyone, they were just kids that ended up in a horrible position. They came into the school maybe being the Elite but with their own stories and their own weaknesses which the Despair’s used to their advantage when handing out “motives”. Even then so many circumstances played a part of each murder and ultimately what killed them was uncertainty.
Why were they here?
This was Hope’s Peak. The top school in the whole world.
Why was this happening?
In the end the answer was one of the best twists but also one of the saddest stories.
It turns out that two years of their lives had been wiped from their memories. They think this is their first time stepping into the school, that these people are just strangers, but they were wrong. They’d spent two years together and were friends. They were the Hope of the world.
When the Despair Terrorists took over the world THEY THEMSELVES locked themselves away to keep safe. It just so happened two of the Despairs had infiltrated them anyway. With that they wiped their memories, killed the real Headmaster, and started broadcasting the game to the rest of the world.
If they had been pre-warned about what was going on outside, if they knew what they used to know then there would never have been any deaths at all. Taking away that knowledge that there basically wasn’t a world to go to anymore and that they wanted to stay safe within the walls of the school meant that events outside the school could be used to hike up the pressure being put on them to escape. Makoto see’s a video of his home being destroyed, why wouldn’t he want to leave the school instead of stay in safety?!
What really helps to make it even sadder, especially at the end, is just how nice the characters are. Even the ones that aren’t so nice kind of are nice. You like all of them. They had a bright future ahead of them but instead ended up being twisted around by sicko’s for entertainment.
It is such a well written show that to be honest I’ve spent so much time telling you about it that I don’t really have much time to tell you about anything else!
The murders are all unique, well thought out, gruesome in their own way and memorable. It isn’t the important part of the story really but it helps with the Despair theme as well as showing the trauma the kids must be going through having not only to see the bodies but then examine them and the scene around it. I loved that the blood was all bright pink/purple, it was very artistic and didn’t focus on the gory side.
There were some genuine shocks in there. A mole who you’d never expect, a 16th student showing up from time to time.
But it really was the characters that just made it. From episode one you loved the whole cast and didn’t want them to die just because it meant you wouldn’t be able to get to know whoever died better.
There is just so much that you will love about the anime so you really need to watch it.
So do that!
I’m sorry if this review kind of peetered out, I’m still dying from the hottest day of the year. Seriously though I could talk about this anime all day long so just go out and watch it!