Danganronpa Series Overview
Danganronpa is a hugely popular series that gained its popularity due to its strange characters and unique storyline. The art style pops out against the grim backdrop of its universe and it dishes out as much dark humor as it can. Now that the first saga is over we are jumping into the third game installation known as V3. As such we have put together this article to feel you in on the gameplay and story for the complete first saga to get you all set to jump into this demented world ruled by Hope and Despair.
What is Danganronpa?
Danganronpa falls under the visual novel genre more commonly known in America as choose your own adventure. Interestingly enough Danganronpa is one of the few visual novels that don’t have multiple story endings. Instead, you can choose to spend your times in different ways learning about your classmates. The whole game revolves around a high school called Hope’s Peak where the best students of Japan are assembled to have higher education. These students are referred to as ultimates and all specialize in concentrated abilities like Luck. This, of course, goes haywire eventually as gathering some of the greatest minds together tends to eventually cause a friction nobody predicted.
The gameplay consists of a blend of adventure where you explore areas looking for clues and a book where you read along with the text. The game also features several mini-games you will have to play in order to progress to the next stage in mystery solving. You will also be given free time events that you use to strengthen your bonds with other or find collectibles throughout the game.
The first game takes place at the Hope’s Peak High School where a class of 14 students has been locked inside with no means to communicate with the outside world. The game has the characters waking up dazed and confused in a classroom. As they venture out they eventually find Monokuma the antagonist of the series who explains their situation to them. It’s simple they are now it what is called a killing game and are trapped inside the school unless they can successfully get away with a murder. After each murder, the class will be allowed to investigate the scene and then have a class trial to try to figure out who’s guilty. If they get it right the murder will be executed if they get it wrong they will.
Of course, the students at first refuse to go along with the game causing Monokuma to bring in some incentives. The first set comes in the form of DVDs for each student. Each DVD shows the thing most important to them in pain or being destroyed to encourage them to break out to see what’s going on. This, of course, causes the game to start its chain of events. After each trial Monokuma puts in more incentives or uses the students to mentally break each other down. He even executes a student for defying them for extra shock value with the class. This causes mass hysteria among everyone driving them deeper into desperation and madness.
The story proceeds to reveal that the killing game is actually being broadcast to for viewing pleasure around the world. The students also learn there is a 15 student hiding somewhere in the building and try to find them. This eventually has the main player framed for murder and almost executed in an attempt to stop the remaining classmates from figuring out the truth. They then confront the mastermind in one final trial where she plays the role of murder. If they can figure out exactly what happened she will execute herself and let them escape safely As the game goes they do beat her and escape, but soon learn that the world around them has completely destroyed beyond their imaginations.
The second game is much like the first one where a set of 15 students is trapped in a remote location. Only this time that location is set on an island and no one has any idea how they got them or that they had ever met each other before. They then meet Usami a pink bunny who encourages them to get to know each other and find hope fragments. The main character along with a student named Nagito get a strange feeling about the whole situation and decide to investigate. As they meet their classmate they slowly become more comfortable and eventually decide to join their new found friends in the ocean. This is exactly where Monokuma makes his reappearance and explains that they have to kill each other to escape the island. Usami tries to stand up to him but is quickly defeated and the class then begins to desperately search for a way to escape.
The students soon try to form an alliance together to keep murders from happening. This ends when Nagito tries to start the killing game off in order to see “hope overcome despair.” Because of this, the student with the most knowledge of the game ends up dead and the first execution takes place. Events are quickly put in place by Monokuma to encourage killing further like revealing that one of the students had a hand in another student’s sister being killed. It is also revealed that one of the students is a traitor who is helping keep them all trapped they’re against their will. This causes even more divided among the group still they become even more unwilling to kill each other. This leads Monokuma to release a disease to drive them into despair causing two deaths and an execution.
The next two executions are forced as well. With two characters killing each to let their classmates escape from a foodless castle Monokuma has trapped them in. The next murder is a calculated suited to expose the traitor. During the trial, it is revealed the traitor actually was keeping the class there for their own safety and the mystery soon begins to unravel rather quickly. It’s revealed that the class is actually known as the ultimate despair and helped lead the world into the chaos it’s currently in now. As it turns out they are all actually in a simulation made to rehabilitate them into uncorrupt human beans and it was infected by a virus the mastermind from the last game made to upload her consciousness into their bodies.
Danganronpa Another Episode
There is also a spin off game that explains the organizations in the universe and gives you a look at the world outside the killing games. The game focuses on a city where 5 children have taken over using an army of Monokumas. Their goal is to execute all of the adults in town making a wonderland for children. This, of course, gets challenged by the sister of Danganronpa one’s protagonist and a classmate that survived with him. The game also features the despairs causing havoc before they got put into the island simulation.
The whole plot of this game basically ties up most of the loose ends in between the games and sets up for the anime series that completes the first saga. The game is played differently than the visual novels and instead is a shooter where you have to manage ammo and kill Monokumas. The game is still insanely story heavy and features a lot of visual novel elements that will pop up as you complete each area.
The third part of Danganronpa is an anime cut into two parts on is a prequel that leads up to the games and one part is the future arc that concludes the saga. The prequel arc focuses on the class from the second game and how they became ultimate despairs. It also showcases the members from the future arc giving them backstory of their histories between each other. The prequel is intensely psychological and shows the mastermind as she tests out the perfect way to make the killing games and show how corrupt her motives behind the whole series truly are.
The Future arc displays the last fight between the worries of hope and Monokuma. It all starts when they warriors of hope gather for a meeting about the treason of the first game’s protagonist. As it turns out he was the one who wanted to help rehabilitate the ultimate despairs instead of killing them. This quickly turns bad when Monokuma appears and traps them all in another killing game. With tensions between the council of people already high, it takes close to nothing to provoke the bloodbath that happens throughout the episodes. On top of all of this, each player has a bracelet that kills them if they perform the action written on it.
Danganronpa V3 is separate from the story of the other games although it does feature robotic Monokumas. This game has the same gameplay as the first bit and features other students from a different school all with their own well-crafted talents. The game is set to release in September in the States and already has been released since January in Japan. The demo is currently up to download through the Sony Store.