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DANGANRONPA: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei – The Animation – 02 »

DANGANRONPA: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei – The Animation – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「DANGANRONPA」 by 高田雅史 (Masafumi Takeda)

「ようこそ絶望学園」 (Yokoso Zetsubou Gakuen)
“Welcome to Despair Academy”

The moment Monobear sends a bounded man up and around to his annihilation in the “The Space Journey”, you’ll understand that there’s something gleefully demented about Danganronpa.

And yet, the start is surprisingly conventional. Hope’s Peak Academy is where the elites of the nation study. No one can enter Hope’s Peak unless they are personally scouted, and graduation from the school ensures lifelong success. Within this setting enters Naegi Makato, (Ogata Megumi) our completely average, utterly normal, and slightly effemine protagonist. For him, admission to Hope’s Peak Acadamy was a dream that could never come true, until he gets scouted for –of all things– his super duper high school luck. But when he enter the school, his dreams are a far cry from the reality he finds. Thus, the curtains open on a game of betrayal and survival.

Let it not be said that Danganronpa is a story that strays from convention. It treads on very familiar grounds for the genre of its calling; the survival thriller staple of an average joe, trapped in a situation beyond his understanding and forced to play along to the rules of an arbitrary gamemaster. And true to form, this episode was very much about laying the groundwork for the killing game that follows. The 15 students who make up our cast are affirmatively trapped with Hope’s Peak academy; indestructible steel plates are bolted to windows, while their movements are restricted by vault doors, shutters and…cordons? Monobear offers them a choice: live out the rest of their lives in the academy, or seek escape by killing another student and getting away with the crime. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of an engineered killing game if there’s no killing; there’s no doubt characters are going to die, even without the show affirming it by ending with a survivor countdown.

But for a setup that seems dime a dozen these days, what Danganronpa offers up feels refreshing because it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. There’s neither is an attempt to be profound, nor does it shy away from the staples it so liberally draws from. Rather, it takes them and cranks it up to twelve, like the hilariously elaborate death sequence that opens the show. Danganronpa is gleefully over-the-top in its demented setting, and this tone is consistent with the cast as well; from a gothic gambler to straight-laced prefect, a haughty heir to the token mystery girl, each character is made an incredibly overblown stereotype with their very own super duper high school label. Danganronpa doesn’t put any restrains on the characterizations or designs, and maybe because it is this overblown that every character seems to be made more memorable for it.

Perhaps nowhere is this tone exemplified more than in Monobear himself, a product of Japan’s obsession with adorably demented mascots. It is crazy to think that Ooyama Nobuyo –Yes, it’s Doraemon– is the voice behind this creepy bear that sassies around hilariously, all while pushing the students into killing each other. There’s an element of ridiculousness inherent to Monobear’s character that contrasts the severity of the context, and it’s a compelling thing to watch, upupupu.

But the most intriguing part of Danganronpa is what we have yet to see, since this first episode introduced the setting of this killing game without actually proceeding into it. The gears have been set in motion by Monobear’s pressuring, through his constant surveillance and through the personal videos of each student. The notion of escape is now reinforced in every student’s mind, and it wouldn’t be long before we see our first attempt at it. Once that happens, we’ll finally get to see the main “twist” Danganronpa promises to bring to its brand of survival thriller: that of a murder mystery narrative. Placing the focus on whodunnit is an interesting change of pace from the predominant action or battle of wits that we usually see in a survival thriller. In bridging these two genres, I’m curious to see if it can retain the excitement of its survival thriller peers whilst keeping that challenge of wit one gets from an involving mystery.

Then there’s that little niggling bit that this is another one Kishi and Ueza’s game adaptations. The director/writer team has become particularly infamous for their subpar game adaptations, but (at least in my eyes) they’re still far from turning into the Uwe Boll of anime. Keep in mind they still have an established pedigree to their names, and what’s uplifting to know is the amount of passion the pair has reportedly shown for this adaptation; Both were fans of the source material even before being hired for the job, and Kishi is personally handling the storyboards for key events himself. The pair seems much more in control of Danganronpa’s direction than any of their previous works, and if anything, news like that makes me slightly hopeful that this will result in one of their better efforts. As far as I can tell, they’re performing an extremely faithful job with episode one, and nothing of significance seems amiss.

Characters and their Specialties

Show Spoiler ▼

Author’s note

Yes, I feel it’s a bit of waste that I couldn’t get every single character intro shot into my screencaps, so I’ll be adding a handy characters list to this post once I wake up tomorrow. *Updated, see above.

Tentatively, there are no plans at RC to blog this show, but I might just carry this on till we reach the first kill to see how the murder mystery side of things play out.

Full-length images: 11, 12, 19, 31, 36.


ED Sequence

ED: 「絶望性:ヒーロー治療薬」 (Zetsubosei: Hero Chiryoyaku) by スズムfeat.そらる (Suzumu feat. Soraru)


July 5, 2013 at 12:39 am
  • July 5, 2013 at 12:47 amDdadain

    Finally, something I can enjoy watching… >_> Damn, this season is slow…

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:50 amZean

    Having played the PSP fan translated game, I have very high expectation of this!

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:54 amSingerOfW

    Nay to Super-Duper, yay to SHSL!

    This is going to be a very difficult game to adapt, but seeing that the original writer is supervising the script, my hopes are higher than they probably should be.

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:59 amAndro

    Interesting show, but whats up with all the recent game to anime adaptation having the words “The Animation” in it?

  • July 5, 2013 at 1:06 amzztop

    The complete Dangan Ronpa playthrough from Something Awful, in case anyone wants to compare gameplay with the anime’s events:

    • July 5, 2013 at 6:14 amStarFang

      Let’s thanks orenronen for the LP and slowbeef for the advertisement.

    • July 5, 2013 at 7:26 amSingerOfW

      A word of warning: they currently have two banner ads that spoil the whole thing, so get your ad blockers ready. Also, the website might be down for guest users from time to time, and the only way to solve it is by buying an account (which costs $10).

  • July 5, 2013 at 1:08 amzztop

    Just to confirm, the big, buff, dark-skinned martial artist’s a girl, right?

    • July 5, 2013 at 2:40 amHelvetica Standard

      Yep, Sakura is a girl.

      • July 5, 2013 at 6:58 amshifobrains

        I think the real question is whether this character is really a girl. I have no knowledge of this series at all, but I’m getting “trap” vibes from that person.

      • July 5, 2013 at 12:30 pmKarl

        I think he is boy. The voice is enough.

      • July 5, 2013 at 8:00 pmsamsamy

        You’d think that but actually they just wanted to give her a unique voice

    • July 5, 2013 at 8:40 amDeletion

      She’s a super duper fighterrrrrrrr

  • July 5, 2013 at 1:09 amTheMoondoggie

    Ok time to post my Let’s Play DR vids here!

    Show Spoiler ▼

    So yeah, @Croos like I promised, I’ll play(and even make LP vids of it) since RC did blog it.

    Offtopicness aside I have read the summary, the walkthroughs, the reviews, the interviews and watched this episode. At least the first episode didn’t put me off like how DeSu 2 did. I’m totally hyped for this already.

  • July 5, 2013 at 1:17 amUngas123

    • July 5, 2013 at 11:02 pmhaseo0408

      Let´s hope not, otherwise I think Makoto is gonna have it rough, she´d be the prime candidate to commit murder and get away with using her yandere charm!.

  • July 5, 2013 at 1:25 amJonas

    please please blog this, its going to be amazing :D

  • July 5, 2013 at 2:35 amCybersteel

    I say the adaptation is well-paced. A job very well done to Lerche.

  • July 5, 2013 at 2:45 amHelvetica Standard

    Filed under snapshots. Not being covered at all.
    I wanted it to be blogged to be honest.. but the sheer amount
    of spoilerrific content would ruin the fun for many.
    And since there are plenty of spoiler trolls here at RC…

  • July 5, 2013 at 3:52 amAcerbus

    Instant follow~

    I beat the game recently so I’m both excited and worried about how this adaptation will turn out.

  • July 5, 2013 at 4:17 amLuxrays

    I can’t say there was anything in particular that held my interest and stood out within this first showing but nevertheless, there’s something about this seemingly average first episode that has me wanting to come back next week and see more.

  • July 5, 2013 at 4:46 ambaseone

    Number 29 picture has a different link to it but if that was intended damn that’s good and creepy.

    • July 5, 2013 at 7:53 amEbisu

      Really good D:

    • July 5, 2013 at 9:58 amAsobi

      Oh good, I thought no one would’ve noticed. :)

      • July 6, 2013 at 2:14 ambaseone

        So it is intended! nicely done man!

  • July 5, 2013 at 5:03 amRakkyo

    ED is best song of the season.

    That’s all I wanted to say.

    • July 5, 2013 at 6:54 amCybersteel

      No love for the OP? DANGANRONPA – Masafumi Takada

  • July 5, 2013 at 5:04 amdeand

    If everyone has to kill somebody to get out, how will no. 15 get out?

    • July 5, 2013 at 6:18 amRazgriz

      Haven’t seen the episode so not sure if they explained it and you just missed it or Monobear hasn’t said it yet, but he should explain it very early on. Still, spoiler warning (maybe?) Show Spoiler ▼

    • July 5, 2013 at 7:51 amEbisu

      The rules have yet to be explained regarding graduation. Don’t worry about that.

  • July 5, 2013 at 6:23 amkirigiri

    I have hope for this adaptation. Looking good so far if they pace the story right!

    • July 5, 2013 at 6:51 amモノクマ


  • July 5, 2013 at 8:24 amHeeHo

    “Then there’s that little niggling bit that this is another one Kishi and Ueza’s game adaptations. The director/writer team has become particularly infamous for their subpar game adaptations, but (at least in my eyes) they’re still far from turning into the Uwe Boll of anime.”

    Considering that the duo’s (only) previous adaptation was Devil Survivor, that’s a bit harsh, innit?

    Granted, DeSu was kind of a trainwreck, but still. The first episode’s paced well and it’s obvious that it’s hell of a lot more faithful to the original game than DeSu was.

    (The fact that the original game soundtrack is being used is definitely a plus for me.)

    • July 5, 2013 at 10:01 amAsobi

      Kishi also has Persona 4 under his belt which I considered less than stellar, but I’m not gonna let his record affect my perceptions too much.

      And yes, I’m also glad they decided to fully incorporate the game’s soundtrack, which was pretty great all around.

      • July 5, 2013 at 3:51 pmHeeHo

        “Kishi also has Persona 4 under his belt which I considered less than stellar, but I’m not gonna let his record affect my perceptions too much.”

        I meant it’s their second adaptation specifically as a duo; Kishi’s also directing the upcoming Persona 3 movie and Uezu’s worked on the anime adaptations of Utawarerumono, School Days and Legend of Heroes:Trails in the Sky.

        Either way, I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic about this series.

  • July 5, 2013 at 8:29 amkatsudon

    This is probably my second most look forwarded to show of the season (Monogatari is first) and having played the game, there’s a lot of material they can work with here. The animation is slick and the pilot was paced well, introducing the cast in a quick and effortless manner, before setting up the rules for getting out and kicking off the murder game. This is always a fun concept to base a story around, and I have high hopes for this adaptation.
    Also, I can’t help but think of MonoKuma as evil Doraemon, since they are voiced by the same person…

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:43 amstarss

    O . O INTENSE!

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:52 amCassiee

    This wasn’t as dark and creepy as I would’ve expected (considering I just finished Mirai Nikki) and the art still kinda bugs me, but the whole premise is really interesting, and it’s one of the few ‘serious’ shows airing this season, so I’ll give it a shot anyway!

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:53 amAki-Chan

    That bear is going to give me nightmares…..but I think this anime will be worth it , this episode has me hooked…

  • July 5, 2013 at 10:56 amEdios

    Every show that has “The Animation” in the title seems really boring to me, i can’t understand why. Is it because it’s targeted to specific audience? what audience is that?

    I tried to like Persona the animation – simply couldn’t stand it
    same with Devil Survivor the animation, and now this, what is the link between these shows that i can’t simply stomach them at all?

    • July 6, 2013 at 3:23 pmnosajj

      How about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – The Animation?

  • July 5, 2013 at 10:56 amPringlesXD

    This was so gold.

  • July 5, 2013 at 12:36 pmRyanAshlight

    Mirai Nikki – KUMA STYLE!

    Plan, you say? Pfft, I don’t need any so-called plans! It’s just damn fun watching you punks run around like a bunch of chickens with your heads cut off! XD

    Indeed, there’s nothing quite like the enjoyment of watching a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and just has fun with it (Problem Children, anyone?).

    Here’s hoping for a continued blogging!

  • July 5, 2013 at 5:47 pmGinobi666

    This series pretty much stands out in this season. Glad to see i have a brief break from getting hit by the Moe Hammer this season

  • July 5, 2013 at 7:28 pmTSouL

    I really like the unique character designs in this show, they all stand out quite well. Hope someone at RC does pick this up to blog, seems to be high quality animation, and the story is already done.

  • July 5, 2013 at 8:07 pmCitrus

    As someone who has finished this game, I will have to say that it indeed is very faithful to the game. Just hoping that they won’t rush the character development.

  • July 5, 2013 at 9:27 pmlivevoid

    First he teaches children life lessons and morals, now he’s making them kill each other. When did Doraemon become such a sick f*&^?

  • July 5, 2013 at 10:13 pmberrish17

    PSP <3 love the characters

  • July 5, 2013 at 11:18 pmAndro

    The opening strangely reminds me of DeSU2′s opening….is it meant to be intentional or what..

    • July 6, 2013 at 8:02 amJay

      Nope. The Dangan Ronpa anime OP is based very closely on the OP of the Dangan Ronpa video game, which was out way before Devil Survivor 2 was on the cards to be made into an anime.

  • July 6, 2013 at 12:58 amKai

    One of the few anime with openings that doesn’t have anyone singing in it. Interesting.

    • July 7, 2013 at 2:10 amAki-Chan

      And even better , it fits really well with the anime.I somehow can’t imagine Dangan Ronpa with a vocal OP song…

  • July 6, 2013 at 2:41 amAozora

    Already loving it! Please blog it!

  • July 6, 2013 at 3:35 ammianghuei

    Dat amount of food!

  • July 6, 2013 at 4:10 amKingofConquerors

    The animation takes a little while to get used to and the CGI is pretty sloppy but this can be my prime guilty pleasure of the summer.

    I haven’t played its game version but given the good buzz i hope it delivers.

  • July 6, 2013 at 4:54 amEspada

    [Asobi: Remember to put appropriate warnings for spoilers] Game SpoilersShow Spoiler ▼

  • July 6, 2013 at 7:48 amlittlelovergirl

    the art of the anime is so-so. (in my opinion)the art in the game was so good I was expecting something similar with the anime so… I guess that’s all I have to say.

  • July 6, 2013 at 11:47 amcreep

    i am going to be honest here, i dont like it as much as i thought i would.
    the concept is good, very good actually but everything else seems rather misplaced:
    the animation is good but looks more like it belongs to one of these adventure mangas with the crazy hairstyles and the exaggerated clothing.
    the part when he gave them a motive lacked impact, i mean ok they saw their house ruined but the fact that they were all like :”oh im so happy and doesnt really care>sees movie>i must get out of here at all costs”,i mean they didnt even doubt whether or not the video was fake.
    basically i feel like everything shouldve been darker and more serious for a concept as good as this.

    • July 6, 2013 at 12:20 pmHelvetica Standard

      Danganronpa is not meant to be dark or serious, like..at all..
      Take it as a “satire” for all those creepy and gory kill game shows out there..
      I suggest you give it a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • July 6, 2013 at 12:39 pmagr0n

    I’m really liking the story so far and the characters are a riot! Wild guess Miss Super Duper Highschool ??? is a detective, she just totally gives off that vibe. Right now I’m rooting for Celestia the Gothic Gambler, she seems dark, cunning, and sly my type of character!

    Does the animation style remind anyone else of Persona 4? Monobear sounds just like Teddie from Persona 4 different voice actor too. Sakura reminds me of Luna’s dad from My Bride is a Mermaid :D

  • July 6, 2013 at 1:42 pmDiyedas

    I’m pretty much already in love with Kyouko Kirigiri.

  • July 6, 2013 at 5:46 pmshugima

    the game has just been officially confirmed to have a north america and european release by nis america on the psvita.
    I’m currently unable too copy paste the link, but it has been announced at anime con.
    n4g news has links to it.

  • July 6, 2013 at 6:54 pmSei

    Everyone’s going crazy about this, so just to voice a different opinion, the dialogue in this anime feels like it’s written by a six-year-old. Character reactions are unpleasantly unrealistic, and though the opening sequence and OP were interesting, dropping this unless the murder mystery does some pro salvage work.

  • July 6, 2013 at 8:34 pmJel

    Hmmm… well can’t say I loved this first episode. I’ll keep watching since this plot is intriguing to me. The only way to get out is by killing someone without notice, and their motive (for now) is to go help their own family? Got pretty interesting around there… but I can’t help but wonder how legit that part was with the videos of their families… I mean, that’s pretty damn convenient that Monokuma brings that up out of nowhere just so the kids can have a motive to kill each other and get out?

  • July 7, 2013 at 12:15 amLuso1221

    I hope the Director (won’t ruin this just like what he did with DS2
    First episode rushed a couple of things.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • July 7, 2013 at 12:53 amHelvetica Standard

      They’ve only got 13 episodes to work with, 12 as of now. Plenty of stuff WILL be rushed.
      I was hoping for a 2 cour but..well nvm..

      P.S. That “prop” won’t go missing, I can assure you.

  • July 7, 2013 at 12:32 amDoubt

    Ahh…… Reminds me of Hakomari.

    • July 7, 2013 at 2:13 amAki-Chan

      Out of curiosity-how so?

    • July 7, 2013 at 9:15 amAsobi

      After slowly reading through it over the week, I see what you mean there. Gotta say, it’s a very interesting read.

  • July 8, 2013 at 7:11 amskylion

    I won’t harp on and on here; this being a First Impression and all, I’ll give it, and let it be that.

    I know this is something, given it’s theme and style, not to be taken seriously. But that cannot be anything but a thin excuse.

    This is dreadful. The animation is almost on par with Flash. The character design, thou suited to the game style, is over wrought here, and the characteristics aren’t even troperific, the characters are the wet sound a trope makes when it hits the ground.

    I don’t want to insult anyone, If you enjoy the show, then enjoy it, don’t let me get it down. But really, this feels like an insult.

    • July 8, 2013 at 1:43 pmHelvetica Standard

      Flash, pffft. You think no one here knows shit or what?
      I dare you to do better with just a sheet of action script 3.0 and your guts.

  • July 8, 2013 at 10:50 amthenightsshadow

    This is going to be funny. Everyone that’s played the game is wondering, will it be the same story or will there be different people dying?

  • July 8, 2013 at 11:09 amMagoiichi

    What the hell lol

    I liked Devil Survivor 2′s adaptation so hopefully Danganronpa will be just as good.

    Is it wierd that I find Sakura cute XD?