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DANGANRONPA: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei – The Animation – 07 »« DANGANRONPA: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei – The Animation – 03, 04

DANGANRONPA: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei – The Animation – 05, 06

Episode 05

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「週刊少年ゼツボウマガジン (非日常編)」 (Shukan Shounen Zetsubou Magajin (Hi Nichijou Hen))
“Weekly Shounen Despair Magazine (Abnormal Arc)”

I’ve made it pretty clear that the first class trial left me less than thrilled. The problems of the series, mainly one of a diminishing novelty, is still looming over the show, and on entering this second arc this already seem to have struck a good portion of the initial viewers. But even with that said, this second class trial left a far better impression on me than the first one.

On the positive side of things, after having to watch it a second time around, the visual mimicking of the game hadn’t bothered me as much as it initially did in the first trial. By this point, you’ve probably have gotten used to those visual cues or appeals; the loading of the bullet evidence, the shooting of the contradictions and Naegi’s many moments of epiphany. For a mystery narrative going at a blitz the way Danganronpa is doing, it does help to bring your attention to the key points of ongoing discussion, the slight errs in logic that might’ve otherwise been missed at the fast pace Danganronpa carries its exposition. Otherwise, the proceedings are much like the first; you’ll still need that good amount of buy-in into the actual mystery, which tends to assume far too much in the context of its setting and characters. Having said so, this second trial did feel more enjoyable than the first by taking a number of twists and turns before arriving at quite the unexpected culprit. The initial clues pointing towards Fukawa and Togami were eventually revealed to be red herrings, as some might have suspected, but neither were the assertions entirely inaccurate. Fukawa did turn out to be Genocider Sho thanks to a multiple-personality disorder. And Togami did make a mess of the crime scene, forging his own evidence to shift the blame onto Fukawa in what seems to be his own version of a dry-run test. Those who were paying attention to the seiyuu list might’ve had their suspicions validated when the male-voiced Fujisaki indeed turn out to be a trap. And few would’ve guessed (I certainly didn’t) that it was Mondo Oowada who was the killer had it not been for the slip of his tongue. (even if its one of the cheapest of the mystery clichés)

Admittedly it’s not perfect in how they went about the reveal; Mondo gave himself up all too easily the moment Naegi and Kirigiri were on his tail, and they weren’t even pushing with much in the way of concrete evidence. It was also hard to sympathize with Oowada’s supposedly tragic secret: he accidentally caused his brother’s death, which led him to murder Fujisaki in a moment of blind rage at his own weakness. Fujisaki’s gender complex was the bit of silliness you’d expect from Danganronpa, but feels regrettably underplayed in the very basic way it only served as Oowada’s motive.

But then, the emotional appeal of the show never felt like it was Danganronpa’s strong suit; rather, the reason why this second trial felt like it edged over the first is chiefly due to the way it completely indulged in its sadistic tendencies. By the end of the trial, we’ve seen Fukawa’s dirty secret dragged out kicking and screaming by Togami. When Ishimaru’s convictions are betrayed by Oowada, Monobear gleefully tortures him with the fact until he completely breaks down. And boy did that trial punishment left a one hell of a disturbing taste in my mouth. I think butter toast is going to be off my breakfast menu for quite a while. There’s a sadism appeal to the way Danganronpa puts its characters through the grinder and completely breaks their psyches, with the characters helpless to do anything except to play along. And as basal as it seems, it does gives a show a good bit of kick to it.

The end of the episode left us with two clues about this killing game; there’s a possible collaborator amidst the remaining students shown to be discussing plans with Monobear. And sharp-eyed viewers might have already noticed the empty stand during the class trials, presumably for the “16th student” that Monobear brings up. I imagine these will come into play in the later murder arcs, though for now we’re left to our guesses.

 

Episode 06

Danganronpa The Animation   06   01 Danganronpa The Animation   06   02 Danganronpa The Animation   06   03
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「新世紀銀河伝説再び!装甲勇者よ大地に立て!」 (Shin Seiki Ginga Densetsu Futatabi! Soko Yusha yo Daichi ni Tate!)
“Return of the New Century Galaxy legend! O Armored Hero, Stand upon the Earth!”

I previously saw comparisons made to the Survivor game show, and I found the comparision rather apt; here’s a narrative that has settled into its very comfortable game-show-esque cycle, where we get the build-up episodes (the murder, as it happened here) and the climax for each arc (the class trials). Admittingly, the predictability of the episodes has diminished quite a bit of the show’s appeal for me. Still, Danganronpa manages to keep the momentum going in each episode by consistently introducing a bevy of new elements to mull over.

Unsurprisingly the episode brings us to the start of the next murder, but the key focus of this episode was undoubtedly on the laptop restored by Fujisaki and the file decrypting A.I. he left as a keepsake, Alter Ego. It’s a clue left to the remaining students to learn more about the killing game they are trapped in, and what’s been revealed so far is surprising: an impossible photo of the deceased Fujisaki, Oowada and Leon together in what seems to be a normal classroom. There’s a number of things this could imply, and with the show being this cartoony anything would seem like fair game at this point, but some kind of trap by the mastermind seems most likely. While it was noted that the dressing room was completely free of surveillance, I highly doubt the person overseeing the game would be completely unaware of Alter Ego’s existance. Furthermore, the possibility of a traitor was raised in last episode’s ambiguous closing. With Togami raising the possibility again in this episode, it seems all the more likely that the mastermind behind Monobear might’ve already learned of the students’ secret activities through this person.

In fact given its focus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Alter Ego turned out to be the true catalyst for the murder this time around, rather than the 10 billion yen monetary incentive that Monobear brought out; Not to mention it feels less impactful an incentive than the ones he presented in the previous cases. In the case of Alter Ego, both Yamada and Ishimaru were particularly attached to the A.I. program; Yamada found an outlet for his otaku interests, while a simulated Oowada broke Ishimaru out his stupor and bringing him into his hilarious Super-Saiyen mode. And interestingly enough, both of them are the ones to end up on the chopping block this time around. Seems like one hell of a coincidence to make.

That the murdering were happening concurrently to the corpse discoveries also brings another new, real-time element to this arc; as the characters moved between rooms trying to follow the trail of the suspicious character, the bodies were disappearing and reappearing seemingly at random. Yamada’s case was an odd one as well, as going from injured, to dead, to not-so-dead, and then back to dead again, and I’ve few ideas on what to make of it. I’m do already have some inkling on the possible suspects; Hagakure was conspicuously missing throughout the proceedings of the episode, Asahina is bringing her drama to an all-new high in the show, and Celes for whatever reasons was the only one spared by the rampaging suspicious character. But like the previous cases, I’m more interested in seeing how the murder was actually carried out, especially since it all happened right under the characters’ noses.

So alright Danganronpa, keep on with your cycle. In any case, you’ve got my interest again for another episode.

Author’s Note

-Seems like the problems just keep cropping up the moment I came back to my home country, but this should be the last of the delays you’ll see with Danganronpa, so sorry for the past few weeks’ erratic posting. Coverage on the show should return to normal next week on.

-I was pretty amused by the Dragonball shoutouts in this episode; Fukawa changing personalities by sneezing, and Ishhimaru’s super-saiyen mode. Too bad his new power levels didn’t save him from his fate.

 

ED1.4 Sequence

Danganronpa The Animation   ED1.4   01
August 10, 2013 at 6:39 am
38 comments »
  • August 10, 2013 at 7:22 amRazorstain

    I’ll admit, it’s disappointing that there’s the view of disappearing novelty – personally, if anything, it’s growing on me. But hey, that’s the beauty of opinions! I’m glad that you’ll be sticking around for another episode though!

    Danganronpa gives me the similar excitement I get from watching Monogatari and/or Shingeki no Kyojin. Time seems to fly by and before I know it, the ending credits are rolling up and I’m itching for more. If the creators of the show can pull off that edge-of-the-seat thrill and insane anticipation of the next episode… To me, they’ve done their job well and earned themselves a good pat on the back.

    The backstory behind Fujisaki actually made me sad so the episode certainly delivered some form of emotional impact for me. As for Oowada’s backstory and motive behind killing Fujisaki overall gave me mixed feelings. I thought it was adorable that Fujisaki looked up to Oowada as a “strong” person, it’s just a pity that his situation would ultimately trigger Oowada into uncontrollable rage.

    Not much to say about the sixth episode, though I certainly wholeheartedly agree about Ishimaru going super-saiyan! The funky white flames around his body, white hair and red flames from his eyes totally won me over. Shame it didn’t last long. :(

    • August 11, 2013 at 8:12 amAki-Chan

      More or less agree with everything you have said there. I find myself more attached to this anime with every episode

  • August 10, 2013 at 7:25 amRyuuzaki

    episode 6, celes-chan have her good share of airtime even though its not enough for me and for celes-chan fans here! ..and that traitor guy/girl, i havent read any source materials yet, but i think the things in the table when monokuma talk to him/her is the clue.

  • August 10, 2013 at 8:03 amzztop

    Yellow Butter is People! The dark secret behind the ‘I can’t believe this isn’t butter’ campaign finally revealed! (>.>)

    • August 10, 2013 at 8:23 amAsobi

      We soylent green now?

  • August 10, 2013 at 8:25 amGS

    The photo in the ED now makes sense.

    • August 10, 2013 at 9:23 pmTez

      wait… like JUST now?

    • August 11, 2013 at 8:14 amAki-Chan

      …..GS , surely the fact Naegi is there doesn’t make sense though , although it is interesting…

  • August 10, 2013 at 10:04 amTechim

    80kg butter box..Its amazing how that tea table Monobear was using for toast could even balance properly :p

    • August 11, 2013 at 8:19 amAki-Chan

      toast? I thought it was pancakes?

  • August 10, 2013 at 10:58 amP Ko

    Yeeeeees!
    After a small scare, Celest moves on another week.

  • August 10, 2013 at 11:50 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    In terms of the photo (that the others wondered if it was faked or not), we also have Yamada, in his last moments, mention that he had met everyone before these events, which, assuming it’s true, seems to support the photo not being fake and the idea that there’s something connecting each of the people here; that they weren’t simply chosen at random for whatever is going on.

    And my top 3 girls move on! lol (Kyoko, Celestia, and Aoi)

  • August 10, 2013 at 12:15 pmlivevoid

    • August 12, 2013 at 9:09 amStarFang

      Megatron is the mastermind behind Monokuma and the whole game.

  • August 10, 2013 at 2:09 pmtsukioniisan

    I’m a Celes fan. But I’m having bad vibes about her being the suspect of those last murders :(

    • August 11, 2013 at 8:30 amAki-Chan

      I feel the same….her voice is my favourite this season :( If it’s true , i’ll miss hearing it.

    • August 12, 2013 at 11:51 amCherrie

      This is not a spoiler, but just speculation on my part – I think this murder was easier than the others to guess. So I’m going to take a guess…

      Show Spoiler ▼

      Just a theory… lots of holes in it though… like who was the giant robot? o_O

      • August 13, 2013 at 11:43 amAki-Chan

        @Cherrie , it cannot be Kirigiri because , although I can’t remember at what point exactly , but when one of the victims was discovered (or rediscovered) she was in the canteen with Naegi and someone else.
        Not to mention I’d be devastated to the point of no return if she was a murderer,,,but that detail doesn’t matter so much

    • August 12, 2013 at 12:00 pmZen

      She was one of the discoverers of both murders if I remember correctly- which kinda raises suspicions…

  • August 10, 2013 at 7:42 pmmianghuei

    Celes, why you so out of breath?

  • August 10, 2013 at 8:02 pmAndré

    I wann know WTF was that frakin’ robot… This show a cycle, alright, but it keep things frash. It also very fast paced; there not useless drama or romance and that is an awesome thing.

  • August 10, 2013 at 8:23 pmAni_BEE

    Another thing I picked up on at the end of ep. 5 was Monobear collaborator likes this there tea brewed certain way as well. The collaborator was question who the 16th person was. ;)

    • August 11, 2013 at 8:28 amAki-Chan

      So you think the collaborator was Celes?

  • August 11, 2013 at 12:16 am†Croos†

    If I were to recommend this:
    I would just tell people
    “Let the anime finish everything and just Canon it all the way.”
    It’s just so fast paced.

    The mystery is good but the thrill isn’t.
    Its like “oh after another episode of this someone is going to die.”
    It’s like I already know whats going to happen.

    • August 11, 2013 at 12:19 am†Croos†

      I really wise they make the viewers(already played it), make their minds think.
      Mystery isn’t thrilling when they are spoon-fed.

      • August 11, 2013 at 3:49 amCybersteel

        Its way too obvious right now that its the Afro dude.

      • August 11, 2013 at 5:47 pmbolton

        honestly, danganronpa’s a story more than it’s a mystery. even if you had suspicions of who the murderer might be or how the murder was carried out before every case, the answer always makes itself clearer during the class trial, and it’s usually more complicated than what the player/viewer expected. a lot of people i know who’ve never heard of danganronpa seem to enjoy it a lot, and i think it’s the concept (revealing all the players in a murder mystery game) that draws them in more than the actual mystery. the thrill to be found lies in the characters and how/why they came to murder more than the mystery itself, in my opinion.

        playing the game, however, my thrill is having my friends actually want to watch it and hear them try to guess who the killer is or how the murder was carried out.

  • August 11, 2013 at 8:27 amAki-Chan

    So far , for me :
    My favorites-Naegi , Kirigiri , Chihiro , Alter Ego , Aoi
    The ones I have a soft spot for -Naegi , Kirigiri , Chihiro , Alter Ego , Aoi , Ishimaru , Oowada , Celes and Sayaka
    Funniest/most peculiar- Ishimaru and Touko/Genocider Sho
    Least liked- Togami , Monobear

    Everyone else I am just neutral on.

    Thoughts on episode 5: there may have been hints of Touko being Genocider Sho , but for me , that came out of nowhere. And even for Dangan Ronpa , that execution was bizarre to say the least! Still confused as to whether he was turned into pancakes or butter…
    Thoughts on Episode 6: A DOUBLE MURDER????!!!!!! Ishimaru should’ve lived on , it would’ve been so fitting >< And what's with the whole 'who is Ishimaru?' thing-that's his name , after all…..?? And the whole change-back-with-a-sneeze was crazy :)

    Thanks for continuing to covering this series , Asobi !

  • August 11, 2013 at 8:35 amAki-Chan

    Another thing that just occurred to me about episode 6: Why was Aoi looking for doughnuts in a locker room???

    • August 11, 2013 at 9:28 amOtamega

      No, she saw light coming from the locker room and went there to check

      • August 12, 2013 at 11:33 amAki-Chan

        Oh. Right.
        Now I feel silly.

  • August 11, 2013 at 9:56 amLoveAsuna

    I bet Naegi has some string with MonoBear… spooky ah.
    Not spoiler!

  • August 11, 2013 at 5:39 pmbolton

    i love reading speculations from other people, especially when they’re so sure they have the right answer! wonder how much evidence there will be in the next episode… this in my eyes is the only flaw of the show. of course, though, there’s so much to fit in a thirty minute time slot that it’s a little difficult to hold it against them.

    anyway, i’ve shown this to many of my friends and they’re pretty hooked. i’ve even got one to beat the game on my PSP because the story itself is interesting. i’ve recently came to the conclusion that this show is actually pretty decent, and i’m really looking forward to the adaptations, especially the final trial.

    i hope this doesn’t count as spoilers, but for anyone who thinks they’ve got the answer nailed down already, i would suggest you wait for the next episode before jumping to any conclusions. the crime is pretty damn elaborate, and in my opinion, it definitely tops every other murder danganronpa has to offer.

    • August 12, 2013 at 11:39 amAki-Chan

      I certainly look forward to seeing how this one plays one. Because the first 2 weren’t so…premeditated(in a way , you could say that the very first one was , but that was Sayaka planning to kill Leon…..she didn’t plan to end up dead) and therefore more….human? understandable?? By that I don’t mean they were acceptable , but it could be seen as how ordinary , ‘good’ people are eventually driven to murder.
      Anyway , the point is that this one is probably going to be the complete opposite of that at least according to the episode 6 events and what you’re saying. I have a horrible feeling about who the culprit is but I will wait and see :)

      • August 12, 2013 at 11:39 amAki-Chan

        *plays out

        I cannot type…

      • August 12, 2013 at 1:58 pmbolton

        well, technically the first one was premeditated, on leon’s part. i didn’t like that they took this detail out, but when leon pleads self-defense, kirigiri rejects it and presents evidence that leon participated in first-degree murder. her reasoning is that after successfully fending off maizono whom locked herself in the restroom, leon was in no way compelled to go back into his room, acquire his toolbox, unlock the door, and finish her off. it is just another case of “good” people being driven to murder, but leon wasn’t in a do or die situation at the time. the moment he stopped to think that he needed his toolbox turned it into a premeditated murder.

        anyway, hope the ending satisfies you, i’m looking forward to also seeing the adaptation of the class trial for this case.

      • August 13, 2013 at 11:40 amAki-Chan

        Premeditaed on Leon’s part…to me , that makes the whole scenario look a lot different. That’s an interesting thing to know…wonder why they left it out in the anime?

      • August 13, 2013 at 7:40 pmbolton

        time constraints.