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ダンガンロンパ(Danganronpa) is a franchise about the eternal battle between Hope and Despair packaged as a few Visual Novel mystery Games. Interestingly, however, most of the franchise’s media comes in the form of spin-off manga.


Unfortunately, I have few specific things to say, because it’s been a while since I’ve played the games, so I’m only going off of what I remember.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

The first of the Danganronpa games is very good, and provides a solid foundation for the rest of the series.
The most significant issue this one has is that some things are repeated excessively. The most infamous example of this would be Mukuro Ikusaba, the 16th student hiding somewhere in this school, the one they call the ‘Ultimate Despair’. This actually somewhat proves my point, since I don’t remember many specifics, having played the games a while ago, but this single sentence is ingrained in my mind due to how often it was repeated.
Along the same lines, the game occasionally goes off on barely-relevant and long tangents seemingly to set-up a red herring. However, the fact these go on for so long makes it fairly obvious that it’ll be a red herring.
On the good side, I found the mysteries in this game (and the series in general) to be very well written and quite compelling; I often find myself using Danganronpa as an example of a well-written mysteryA). I find the gameplay appealing as well, and after I finished the whole series, I was disappointed there weren’t more trials to work through.


The anime is an accurate adaptation of the first game. I can’t remember off-the-top-of-my-head what changes it made to the story, because I remember it as being almost the same.
The game is obviously more detailed (having more time to work with), and the anime leaves some stuff out. Thankfully, it chose not to repeat some things in the way the game did, but this has the downside of making the anime less meme-able.


To be clear, I’m talking about the manga - Danganronpa: The AnimationB).
The manga is also an accurate adaptation of the first game, although it’s longer and covers more than the anime. From my own hazy memories, the manga includes more details than the anime
The artwork is also quite impressive, matching the art-style of the game very well.
I don’t have much to say on the manga that wouldn’t just be unfiltered praise. Of the ways to experience the Danganronpa storyline itself, the manga is probably the best. It streamlines the story, but keeps many of the details intact (per my memory). For those who want to just go through the story, I guess I’d recommend this.

Super Danganronpa 2

This was the first Danganronpa game I actually playedC), and it’s an experience I don’t think I’ll forget…because it was the first time I felt like I was forced to think about what I was doing in regards to the mysteries.
Previously, I had been fairly passive with mystery stories. Most of my experience was from watching TV shows, where I simply waited for the mystery to be revealed. Granted, TV show mysteries are poorly constructed in the first place, but the point is more the passivity. Danganronpa 2 really made me stop and think about the mystery, and I was surprised to find I could do it quite well.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Danganronpa 2 is what awakened the critic within me, as I started to more carefully analyze media after having played it. Now, I should mention I wasn’t exceptional, as I still let the game guide me, so it’s not like I solved the case after sitting down and thinking before starting the class trial.
On the issues side, the second game solves most of the problems of the first (although it manages to make hangman’s gambit much worse!). There isn’t excessive repetition of details, and if there were unnecessarily long side-tangents, then I can’t remember them.
However, a very serious issue shows itself here for the first time, although it’s not clear this is an issue just yet. This is the attempt at topping the reveal of the last game. The first game had a shocking reveal at the endD), and this game attempts to top it. I’ll say it’s debatable whether it succeeds or not, because within Danganronpa 2 itself, it’s executed well. Unfortunately, I believe this became the start of a trend that future installments ended up following to the detriment of their own stories, and the franchise as a whole. I’d argue that there’s very little that could be more shocking than the reveal at the end of the first game - which was effectively the definition of despair - and this game attempts to top it by going at it from a different angle.

Danganronpa 3

This is an anime and serves as an overall ending to the original ‘series’. This anime singlehandedly created a lot of confusion, and will continue to create confusion into the far future.
To be extra clear, this anime serves as a sequel to Danganronpa 2, which itself is a sequel to Danganronpa. This anime is split into two ‘arcs’ - the Despair arc, and the Future arc. It ends with a special episode called the Hope arc. The Future arc is the de-facto sequel, and the Despair arc is a prequel (to Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc).
If this appears simple to you then you should know that it gets more complicated than I’ve laid out here.
The anime is intriguing, and annoying, in that it demands watching the two arcs inter-changeably, starting with the Future arc. I have yet to actually do this, as I didn’t realize it before I started watching. I first watched the Future arc, and then watched the Despair arc.


It showcases the characters from Danganronpa 2 prior to their turn to Despair. My complaint is that they are portrayed too idealistically. Consequently, they come off as less ‘real’ than characters from the games.
There are additional issues such as:

  • Mukuro Ikusaba is portrayed in a way that doesn’t line up very well with her characterization from Danganronpa and Danganronpa IF. This isn’t noticeable to those who haven’t read IF, or gotten her free time events in Danganronpa, but it’s very noticeable to those who have. This annoys me in particular, because she’s one of my favorites.
  • On occasion, characters act like complete morons. Due to this, it’s understandable now how Junko managed to destroy the world, but this has the effect of making it far less impressive.
  • Some plot details are just nonsensical. Unfortunately, I cannot remember specific examples.


I remember very little about this in particular, except that it has similar issues to Despair. Some things in here are just completely nonsensical, even by the standards of Danganronpa.

New Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

This is a sequel that leaves behind the previous storyline in favor of a new one. While I, and presumably others, expected this would lead to something different yet similar…no, well yes, but no.
The budget for the game is visibly higher than for the others, likely due to the unexpected popularity of the series. V3 is probably the prettiest of the Danganronpa games, which extends to the artwork as well as the 3D backgrounds.
The mysteries in this game are also very well written, as is now custom, just that V3 may have made a mistake in making the first the best and most interesting one.
V3 suffers from the issue that I laid out in Danganronpa 2, which is that it attempts to out-do the other games, which has led it to make a few very serious mistakes.
The biggest of these is the ending, which comes off as insulting to the Danganronpa fanbase, and has the added bonus of making the entire previous storyline come off as pointless. I’d be admiring how impressively bad this ending was if I wasn’t one of the fans disappointed by it. I can’t be specific…because I can’t remember it well at this point.
The minigames are greatly improved over the previous games, although I distinctly remember being disappointed by the lack of a presence of some from the previous games.
There’s an extra mechanic added to the debates that allows you to lie. But outside of using it when it was introduced, I never used it during the game at all. This is one of the missed opportunities of V3, and the lying mechanic comes off as needless.
The bonus board-game mode is surprisingly fun, and it really doesn’t surprise me that it got spun off into its own game…which I’ll definitely end up buying at some point.

The mis-step that is V3 is probably comparable to the Rebuild of Evangelion, due to the increased budget and popularity, and the presumed confidence of the creators. This point of comparison will require more thought, so I’ll leave it there for now.

Spin-off manga (collective)

One of the big surprises of the Danganronpa franchise is that if you count up all the official media together, you find that most of the franchise is comprised of manga. This isn’t all that surprising for a Japanese multi-media franchise, but is surprising if you consider that Danganronpa’s core is comprised of Visual Novel mystery Games - of which there are only 3.
The spin-off manga I’m referring to here specifically is that comprised of all the anthologies, which adds an extra layer of ‘what’ to Danganronpa. I personally can’t think of another franchise that has as much anthology content as Danganronpa.
Off-the-top-of-my-head, here’s how many I can think of:

  • Anthology for the original game.
  • 4コマ anthology for the original game.
  • Anthology for the animation.
  • 4コマ anthology for the animation.
  • Anthology for the second game.
  • 4コマ anthology for the second game
  • Anthology for the first & second games.
  • Anthology for the spin-off game.
  • 4コマ anthology for the spin-off game.
  • Anthology for the third game.
  • 4コマ anthology for the third game.
  • Anthology for the series as a whole.

Those are the ones I can think of, and it’s entirely possible I’ve made a mistake somewhere here by leaving something out or putting something in.
Being manga anthologies, each individual chapter has a different art-style, and different tone. The 4コマ ones are exclusively comedic however.
Having gone through…a lot of them, I can say that they are great supplements to the series as a whole, and quite entertaining. Of course, if you’re not accustomed to Japanese humor, then you likely won’t enjoy yourself as much.

All these anthologies have the effect of confusing me. I’m not sure how these all came to be created. It’s possible that after the second game, it simply became habit, but exactly why the creators thought it was a good idea is a mystery to me. I should be clear that I don’t think it was a bad idea, it simply perplexes me.

  • The Wikia - Actually pretty good.
  • This series has had the unintended (or perhaps, entirely intended) effect of making me think long and hard about Despair. The result of this thinking has been an integration of the Naegi-school of Hope into my personal life philosophy.
  • The Danganronpa series instantly became one of my favorites once I got down to play the games, and has been useful in identifying what kind of media I like.

A) Although I should admit I don’t have much experience with good mysteries - the Danganronpa series isn’t merely the best I’ve experienced, but potentially the only good one. Prior to Danganronpa I had only seen Death in Paradise, and miscellaneous episodes of Poirot and Miss Marple (here I’m referring to the adaptations, which are reportedly vastly different from the books), none of which are particularly well constructed mysteries.
B) It’s understandably confusing (I had to look it up to be sure). This manga is theoretically an adaptation of the anime rather than the first game…but I think it sticks a bit more to the game.
C) Somewhat heretically, I watched a let’s play of the first game…which is how I learned about Danganronpa in the first place. Thank the TTV Channel on YouTube for getting me into Danganronpa!
D) I should be clear by stating the twists in these games are generally handled well, with plenty of hints prior.
lb/danganronpa.txt · Last modified: 2024-04-25 13:39:33 by ninjasr

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