Danganronpa Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei

Title:Danganronpa Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei
Bullet Refutal: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair (literal translation)
Danganronpa The Animation
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 The Animation
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: OGATA Megumi
R1 License - FUNimation
Being just a normal student without a special talent Makoto Naegi wins a lottery to attend the prestigious Hope's Peak Academy where only the top prodigies attend. However instead of this being the beginning of a wonderful high school life it's a ticket to despair because the only way to graduate from Hope's Peak Academy is to kill one of your fellow students or be one of their victims.
(Synopsis courtesy of ANN)

13 episodes

"ダンガン" = "弾丸" ("daigan") = "bullet, shot, shell"; "ロンパ" = "論破" ("ronpa") = "defeating someone in an argument"; "希望" ("kibou") = "hope, wish, aspiration"; "学園" ("gakuen") = "academy, campus"; "絶望" ("zetsubou") = "despair, hopelessness"; "高校生" ("koukousei") = senior high school student".
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 7 7 7 5 5 6 Ggultra2764 [series:2760#1552]
Danganronpa is a video-game adapted anime that dabbles into murder mystery in its focus on 15 high school students forced into a game by the robotic bear, Monokuma, to kill each other and take part in a series of mystery games to figure out who the culprit is with each murder, with the lives of the suspect or the innocent parties on the line. The mystery element has its intriguing elements with the series juggling focus on the kids trying to solve each individual murder case, while also trying to learn more about the circumstances leading them to be wrapped up in Monokuma's game that offer some engaging twists. The series also has its rather unique stylish elements that lend to its premise such as the creative ways that Monokuma executes any of the murderers, the purplish blood shown during murder scenes, and how over-the-top Monokuma can be relishing in the sadistic game that he puts the kids through. Unfortunately, this mystery and grandiose style does come at the expense of connecting with characters as they all get tacked on with your typical anime character types and most have little else to show outside of them, some of them being a bit on the obnoxious side. It also attempts to be symbolic dabbling into the old "hope and despair" exploration, but this is clumsily handled for the anime and is not too compelling thanks to the anime having too much love for its spectacle. Overall, I suppose Danganronpa would be more enjoyable for fans of the video game or those looking for a stylish romp as this anime otherwise offers little else of substance to hook you in.

Last updated Sunday, December 03 2017. Created Sunday, December 03 2017.
Unevaluated chibi [series:2760#2380]
This looks like an anime version of Inshite Miru: 7-kakan no desu gemu.

Last updated Friday, July 12 2013. Created Friday, July 12 2013.
Rent Stretch [series:2760#628]
(All episodes watched):

When I first took a look at episode one of Danganronpa, the sight of the black-and-white teddy bear, 'Monobear', locking someone up in a rocket and shooting him into space made me think this show was insane and nonsensical, and I watched something else instead. Fortunately, I later gave the show a second look, because it turned out to be curiously engaging and turned out to be perhaps my third favorite show of the Summer 2013 season.

This anime has a bizarre premise; one ordinary guy and fourteen stereotypical celebrities--the Idol singer, the model, the fighter, the bookworm girl, the delinquent biker, etc, etc, have been trapped by Monobear who says he will only allow anyone out if they kill someone else and get away with the crime. Monobear—whatever he/it is--seems to be a sadist who enjoys reducing people to a state of despair. The concept of despair is mentioned repeatedly and you would almost think it is a physical object with mass and weight. It was initially unclear to me whether this show was meant as a parody or if people's lives would really be in danger. Whatever it was going to be, I was pleasantly surprised that instead of yet another episodic show, Danganronpa seemed to be telling an interesting, ongoing story. The characters, ridiculous as they are, have personalities and I couldn't help wondering if they would start getting picked off one by one. This show reminded me of Bokurano--just a much more absurdist take here.

As it turns out, people do indeed wind up dead. They often meet a bloody fate, and their blood is depicted in a fluorescent color--maybe to keep it clear that the premise is quite absurd and we need not be shocked. Instead, we can try to figure the mystery out: the identity of the killer is kept from the viewer, but a number of clues are provided for us. Initially these clues don't seem to make much sense, but a trial of sorts is held and the characters discuss them and figure out who was responsible. For the most part, they reach a logical conclusion which was complex enough to be interesting without being overcomplicated and bewildering—though the cases did get more bizarre towards the end. As a result, the impression I got was that finding solutions to the murders was challenging enough to be fun. To be more accurate, they are too challenging for me to ever figure out, but it's fun nevertheless as the cast members make sense of the clues and reach reasonable verdicts. In episode five suspicion shifts between several people before the actual killer is identified. The convicted murderers each meet a bizarre fate which Monobear has specially planned for them as a uniquely appropriate punishment. As a result Danganronpa kept me engaged and looking forward to additional episodes.

Cases tend to take two episodes: one or more murders is committed in even-numbered ones and trials take place in odd-numbered ones. The cast of characters is steadily whittled down; only six remain after episode eight. The third case kind of confused me, and I had a hard time keeping track of the sequence in which events happened and why--it would have helped if I had a better memory for Japanese names. Is everyone here (except protagonist Naegi) a potential murderer, just waiting for the right opportunity to pull one off without getting caught? I didn't get much sense of people's personalities being warped by pressure so that otherwise harmless folks consider killing someone. I did like Kirigiri, the thinking girl who played a large part in solving cases. Besides the question of who will get killed next, there's the parallel plotline of the characters trying to make sense of who's behind this deadly game that they have been forced to participate in. One intriguing touch was a clue that Naegi finds in episode seven, which suggests that trying to escape from this place might in fact be the last thing you should try to do. Another neat thing is 'alter ego', a computerized version of the mind of a character that was killed early on but has now attained a sort of immortality.

The climax was kind of confusing; things have gotten to the point that the survivors have no idea what's going on in the world outside the academy, and are tempted to remain inside; but to do so, they would have to commit one last collective murder. It was kind of hard to get a grip on the notion that the outside world might have been 'overcome by despair'. But this show never had any intention of making complete sense, and it works out OK. The way in which we learn whether the students made the right choice or not is interesting. Though it had some problems, Danganronpa was a clever show which I never tired of and am sorry to see it end. The keyword 'Weird' is definitely appropriate here.

Last updated Thursday, October 24 2013. Created Monday, July 08 2013.

Other Sites
Official page at Geneon http://www.geneonuniversal.jp/rondorobe/anime/danganronpa/

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