Danganronpa: It’s a “kill or be killed” situation. Based on a series of games, Danganronpa will have you on the edge of your seat with every murder!
In A Nutshell
The series follows Makoto Naegi, a young boy who has been accepted by sheer chance into Hope’s Peak Academy, an elite high school that only accepts the most talented students. Ironically, Naegi’s luck is actually quite bad as he and the other students meet Monokuma, who traps them inside the school. The only way out is to successfully commit murder without being discovered. If the killer is caught, they will be executed.
Meet the Characters
This series has around 16 main characters. Some of them get killed off pretty quickly, so we are only introducing the main character and the school’s president to avoid spoilers:
Makoto Naegi is the main character. He gets the title of “Ultimate Lucky Student” after getting into Hope’s Peak Academy, although he starts questioning his luck after the events that start taking place in the school. Naegi is good-hearted and doesn’t want to kill anyone. He’s also quite sharp, being able to pick up on small details to help solve the murders.
Monokuma is the president of Hope’s Peak Academy… and a bear. He is the main antagonist of the series. Monokuma is manipulative and just plain evil. He likes to watch and control everyone inside the school and only appears when it’s necessary or to push someone into killing someone else. He likes playing with everyone’s suffering and wants them to feel the despair in the world.
A Brief History of Danganronpa: the When, Where and How
Danganronpa (full title: Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei The Animation) is an anime adaptation of the successful Danganronpa games. The adaptation was produced by Geneon Universal Entertainment, Mainichi Broadcasting and Showgate and released in summer 2013. It consists of 13 episodes and has a +17 rating for violence and profanity. The anime has two more seasons (not yet aired), and a variety of media like spin-offs and novels.
Why It’s Awesome
Any survival story about a group of youngsters being forced to participate in a “kill or be killed” situation is often very appealing (The Hunger Games, Battle Royale…), so Danganronpa creating an anime version of this scenario already promises a successful series. And, since the series is based on a game, some game-related elements are actually kept in the anime, making the experience much more entertaining and unique.
Even though having many characters means that it’s very hard to develop all of them and make the viewer care for their lives in such a short period of time, the series compensates that weakness by adding a lot of scenes with the characters talking about the situation and reacting to the murders in different ways so it becomes easier to get familiarized with. And, while the execution scenes might be the part of the series that viewers look forward to the most, the trials scenes in which the characters get to play detective and blame each other are also very entertaining and will have you speculating with them.
If there is one thing that has set this series apart, though, is its audiovisual factors. For one, the art style is very unique and so is the animation, especially the one they use for the execution scenes. The soundtrack is also quite distinctive, especially the opening.