As I binge re-watched the first season to get back on track for this new season its obvious I’ll be reviewing it.
The series is split into two separate series. This the Future Arc and another called the Despair Arc. We start with the Future Arc….
It is undeniably Danganronpa.
I know that means very little but it is very exciting.
The thing I loved most about Danganronpa, the anime and the game, is that it kept me guessing, it twisted and turned and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. No matter how many times I watch it I blub like a baby, I laugh like a loon and I’m hooked to every word.
Whilst I don’t think I’ve clicked with this episode like I did the very first one it did all of the above whilst trying to introduce more new characters and take a stand all on its own.
The Future Arc as you might have guessed is based after the first series. Makoto is being arrested for helping the Ultimate Despairs, the actual group of Hope’s Peak Academy Students who changed the world for the worst. We never get to the bottom of what is going on with that as the Future Foundation, again filled with Hope’s Peak Academy Graduates, whilst being the good guys don’t seem to do things the way you’d think a good guy would do them. Makoto is being labelled a traitor and without asking why the hot head of the group, Sakakura, attacks him.
After the meeting is ended so that Makoto can get patched up the entrances to the building are blown up, sleeping gas is deployed and the group wake up to the familiar face of everyone’s favourite sicko Headmaster Monokuma.
Monokuma is here to tell them that this, THIS, is the last fight between Hope and Despair.
There is already a pile of dead bodies before this final game begins too.
So why didn’t it click for me?
I think its possible that somewhere deep down I was hoping for it to be a straight continuation. We’ve jumped from them leaving to them having a actual purpose in this war against Despair. It might have helped if I had played the second game (I’m about 10 minutes into it) but for someone who might not play the games ever it is quite the jump. Not that I care about the jump too much but you had grown attached to the characters in the first series. You’d seen the worst things that could happen, happen to them. It would have been nice to have a breather and instead of having the Worst Tragedy in History explained have the gap between series explained.
So it isn’t anything that the anime did wrong, its just me going into this with hopes for some kind of full stop to the first series THIS is what happened next kind of thing before heading into the new series.
That being said I’m hooked and it only didn’t click like the first one because of the baggage I brought. By the end of the episode it was all out of my mind though, other then gaps in knowledge for not playing the game, I was already invested in the new characters and the new game.
So I wouldn’t say any of that was a negative but I felt like I had to explain that feeling now just in case it rears its head later on.
The new characters are just as vast and crazy as the old lot but there looks already to be a lot of human stories that will make them relateable.
The nicest character, of course, dies by the end of the episode. Chisa Yukizome, the Ultimate Housekeeper, spends the episode really doing what you’d expect the Ultimate Hope to do. She goes around to everyone being the voice of reason, trying to get Makoto to see things the Ultimate Student Council President, Kyousuke Munakata, way. If only the two of them could get on the same page she thinks they have a chance, and she was probably right.
Sadly almost instantly she’s gone again.
One thing I found striking, tried to explain on Twitter and failed miserably, was the colour change with the blood.
In the original series that blood was always a neon pink colour. It was extremely artistic and kinda of in its way took away from the murders. It was like it was trying to focus us on the important things which wasn’t the way people were dying but the mysteries and human stories. In this episode the blood, including in the flashback (if you can call it that) of Junko’s death, is all red. There was something about it that just stood out.
Its hard to explain without sounding like I’m wiping away the horrid events of the first series but it did feel kinda of like the first series the deaths weren’t important, insomuch as they were all either going to die or live and it was just a matter of who lives and how. The murders themselves were just markers in a twisty turny tale.
Seeing the blood red for me kind of made it really real. It feels like this is going to be the end. If they don’t survive this then Despair will have won.
Whilst obviously the deaths in the first game WERE real and there is no coming back for the people who died it just feels completely different and the colour change kinda of hit the first time you see it.
The Despair Arc seems to focus much more on what happened to make the students who became the Despairs the way they are so the flashes of the fights they had with the Future Foundation at the beginning of the episode just made me crave finding out more about them. I can’t wait to see what the story on the other arc is going to be and it might hold a lot of answers for what is going on in this arc.
It was nice to see that at least four of the students from the first series are still together. Aoi, Kyoko and Makoto are all stuck in the building whilst MY BABY HIRO is outside smashing more crystal balls he spent WAY too much money on (the anime never pointed out just how much of a goof Hiro really was and I just fell so in love with him in the game I can’t even put it into words.)
As for the new bunch… Well.
They seem prone to violence, whether that is just the situation they’ve found themselves in or they were that way to begin with we don’t know. Then again seeing that they all would have seen the fight the original anime series showed us you’d think amongst themselves, even if they think someone might be a traitor, there would be less violence. They are meant to be the Future, but they don’t really to me look like a group of people I would want handling my future. On first appearances they seem childish, entitled, violent, ready to anger, closed off to listening and extremely up their own bottoms. First appearances mean little though and there are many characters I can’t wait to get to know.
The killing game is afoot though. Who survives? We’ll just have to wait and see!