DANGANRONPA: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei – The Animation – 08
「オール・オール・アポロジーズ」 (Oru. Oru. Aporojizu)
“All All Apologize”
I guess we were bound to arrive at one of these eventually. The murder-mystery genre’s- or more specifically, murder mystery animes’- beloved “locked-door” mystery.
A new floor with two locked doors. What big reveals could Monobear be hiding behind the data and principle room? Alter Ego seems to have managed to give us a glimpse of what’s behind those doors; another mysterious photograph -this time showing the dead Maizono, Celes and Yamada- the a response plan to the “Most despair-ridden incident” that would lock the students of Hope’s Peak in the school, possibly for their entire lives. But really, these just seem to give more questions than answers. While we have an inkling as to why the students are trapped, what is this incident that occurred a year prior to the story, which almost forced the school closure? And how has that resulted this killing game?
But I can’t say I dislike this style of drip-feeding us the clues, more akin to a classic mystery build-up and reveal than the machine gun debates of the murder and trials. It’s a relief to see that the overarching mystery seems to actually be going places with this survival game, which rarely happens in this battle royale genre, and (I hope that) it would certainly make for a better climax than another pop and shot class trial.
It’s a pity that we’re only now going deeper in the dynamics of the characters, what with the issue of trust regarding Sakura’s reveal as Monobear’s spy, her friendship with Asahina and her dynamic with a group that is wary of her every move. Likewise, there’s the sub-plot of Naegi and Kirigiri shaky trust in each other, which was sadly over as soon as it began. (That single blush just isn’t enough. We need more of this emotional tension!) And it’s not like I don’t like seeing the dynamics of the characters more, but this narrative shift feels more likely a result of necessity in this particular case, where Monobear outs Sakura to destabilize the group into another murder. It’s a very classic survival trope but an interesting one nonetheless, which also leads to a most different case we’ve seen in terms of motives and methods.
Lest the golden witch’s magic is afoot (and we really don’t wanna go there) who actually dunnit, when no one could’ve conceivably gotten it nor gotten out? We see in the episode Naegi having to break through the window on the door to move the stuck chair and unlock the way. So unless there was a hidden passage in the room itself, the killer would’ve been locked into the room as well. This is well and true a classic locked-door scenario, which leaves a scant few theories as to how the murder actually went down. For one thing, it definitely wasn’t through brute strength. Sakura might’ve had blood all over her head (likely an attempted murder, if the broken bottle is anything to go by) but I highly doubt this Fist of the North Star extra would go down from something like a bottle to the head. Which leaves the other, more likely explanation: poison, which was brought up early at the start of the episode (ironically, by Sakura herself) and most likely the suspicious powder that was found on her foot. Kirigiri even makes note of the blood in Sakura’s mouth, which just seems to give this theory more credence. If we’re speculating that the poison has a time delay, it seems entirely possible for some manner of a locked room mystery to occur. It could’ve very well been a “you’re already dead” scenario.
But asides from the cause of death, Asahina also accuses the trio of Hagekure, Togami and Fukawa of being the culprits, having met Sakura prior to her death. If the poison theory holds true, it seems likely Sakura was assaulted twice with the bottle and the poison, and I’m speculating that one of that group was responsible at least one of the attacks.