OP2 Sequence

OP2: 「Never Say Never」 by TKDzZB

「イキキル / (非)日常編」 (Iki Kiru / (Hi)nichijou Hen)
“LIVES CUT / (Ab)normal Days”

It won’t be much of a survival-thriller-murder-mystery if there’s no corpse, so lo and behold, Danganronpa gives us our first victim. Now the big question; how much did Danganronpa surprise you with its choice of victims? Because honestly speaking, I think that’s going to be the scale upon which you’ll measure how well you enjoyed this episode. There’s always going to be that sadistic tendency with survival thrillers to play around with the lives of its characters. And speculating who’s next to bite the dust has always been a particular charm (however sadistic it is) with these type of killing games.

I think giving the characters such distinctive archetypes have certainly helped for this reason. We’ve already been placed into the mindset of assigning the likelihood of death to each character based on a combination of gut feelings for their associated stereotype and knowledge of mystery-genre tropes. So I don’t think many people saw that Maizono would be the first to be offed, given the relatively important role she held in the first episode; maybe as a constant threat to the balance of peace, given her yandere vibes, but certainly not the first victim. And before it even had time to sink in, what followed immediately after was the sudden death of Junko by Monokuma’s hands. But hey, in the off-chance that you did see this coming, feel free to refute my assertions about whether you enjoyed this episode.

I mean, we pretty much knew this was how Danganronpa was going to play out from its introduction; a thrill-ride of a killing-game that banks heavily on the sensationalism inherent to survival thrillers, and the involving romp of solving the mysteries in the show. All wrapped up in its gleefully demented and silly context. With episode two in the bag, Danganronpa has been playing it incredibly straight; there’s nothing particularly deep about the killing games except to have fun in seeing how it unfolds. And Danganronpa constantly revels in itself for being silly, pulp entertainment; Monokuma’s every arbitrary action is a constant recognition of this, and in this episode’s case, Junko death is played for laughs with Fukawa fainting on sight. (And yes, I did chuckle. And then wondered if I was right in the head.)

Otherwise, this episode was in many ways a continuation of the exposition dump in episode 1. With Maizono’s death, we finally learn the specifics of the killing game: Once someone is killed, a class trial will be begin to unmask the killer. Success means the killer is punished. Failure means the same for everyone else. And of course, this is a killing game; punishments are delivered in the form of executions. This trial for survival forms the basis for Danganronpa’s murder-mystery.

In fairness of the game Danganronpa seems to want to play, I won’t be speculating much on the events behind Maizono’s death. The biggest takeaway I should note is the way it basically blitzed through the “build-up” of the murder case, and I’m already seeing discussions on how it completely eschews the viewer involvement in the mystery, none a more sacrilegious taboo for the genre. And I confess, I’m no mystery aficionado; I can’t tell you how a murder-mystery narrative needs to be executed to be considered good. That said, I’m not quick to condemn the the anime; the class trials are purported to be the key events of the murder cases, and I’d rather refrain from judging how well this plays out until after I’ve actually seen the trials. What I think I can tell you is that it boils down to is how you like your mysteries served: With the anime only giving us a cursory glance at some points of interest, it’s clear that these murders cases are not the kind to slowly build and establish themselves. Danganronpa’s narrative has been repeatedly compared to Phoenix Wright for the way its trials play out; and to be frank, the legal-drama game didn’t play out like your traditional mystery stories either, if you could even call them mysteries in the first place. That said, they were enjoyable for what they were; brilliantly entertaining pulp fiction, and if that’s what Danganronpa can bring to its animated class trials, well now, that there’s something for me to look forward to.

Author’s Note

-You might notice two things about this post: the half screencap length and that it’s a snapshots. I haven’t yet decided on whether I want to pick it up; Danganronpa is fun, but I’m still unsure on how well it can fit into my schedule. So I’ll be covering up until next week before coming to a decision on this.

If you’d remember from the schedule, Stilts also mentioned that certain shows will be featuring half-caps length starting this season, and Danganronpa will be one of them. This is mainly for me see how well it’ll fit into my schedule, but I’d also appreciate any feedback you might have on this.

-On a side note, NIS America recently announced a localisation of the PSVITA port for Danganronpa 1. Good news for those who want to try their hands at the game.


ED1.1 Sequence



  1. Since the surprises are a big factor in enjoying Danganronpa, I’ll be taking a page from the LP of the game and impose a few spoiler rules for the duration of my coverage:

    1) All discussions about things that have not been shown in the anime must go under spoiler tags

    2) No implying or referencing anything that’s going to happen, implicit or explicit. That mean no “Can’t wait for next week’s episode reaction.”

    3) All spoiler tags must come with noticeable warnings like: [STORY/CHARACTER SPOILERS]

    Of course, I understand that it’ll be hard to separate troll attempts from actual speculation and guesses, so I hope everyone will be considerate as well and refrain from discussing game content, or make comparisons between the show and the game.

      1. Blood is hardly just one shade. Depending on the location on the body, the differing oxygen and carbon dioxide levels will affect the color of the blood. More oxygen means more active hemoglobin, making blood redder. Having done a fair share of experiments on animals, I must say that the human blood has the most vibrant color it looks so pretty too. Can’t believe that such beauty exist inside of me.

      2. The blood was coloured pink in the game due to subtle restrictions in the Japanese rating system… I am amused and pleasantly surprised that they decided to keep the same shade in the anime as well.

  2. Wow, they killed the cute girl and the “idol” (dunno what else to call Junko) already? Certainly didn’t see that coming, especially with how episode 1 ended with all the reassurance that was given to Sayaka. x_x

      1. No, that info is not correct about Junko. The literal translation of her title is “Super High-school Level Gyaru”. “Gyaru”, or rather, “Gal” is a specific Japanese fashion subculture, which usually involves very heavy make-up, bleached hair, detailed nails, and lots of accessories. So although she does do some modeling because she’s a very famous Gal, being a supermodel is not her special ability/title. It’s a bit like her being famous for punk fashion (“Super High-school Level Punk” or something) and as a result of that appearing in a lot of punk and fashion magazines. Gal culture can also have elements of rebelliousness against conventional fashion culture, which is another reason why supermodel does not really fit.

  3. So I don’t think many people saw that Maizono would be the first to be offed, given the relatively important role she held in the first episode; maybe as a constant threat to the balance of peace, given her yandere vibes, but certainly not the first victim.

    Spot-on. I mean, I can feel that her “nice girl” appearance is just a facade, since she strongly reminds me of Yuuri from Hakomari (Game of Idleness arc), but to be killed first? Also, the opening implied that she is the main heroine, so that was really unexpected.

  4. I liked how a lot of the scenes are exactly the same in the game, even the pink blood, although I’d wish it was actual blood color.

    After watching the first episode I went and played the game which I just finished today. For those with a PSP I really recommend it, particularly if you are a fan of games like Phoenix Wright.

    Despair is a great word to describe this story.

    1. I think changing the blood color would take away from the feeling this whole stuff gives off.

      Danganronpa is all about surrealism and complete out-of-your-mind design choices. Unusual blood color just adds to it.

  5. This is adapting the VN incredibly well thus far, love the little touches of the game the anime has brought with it like the acquiring of evidence screen and the pink blood.

  6. [GAME SPOILERS] (Asobi: As a rule of thumb, if you want to discuss game content, it’ll be safer to keep it in spoiler tags. There seems to be a lot of references here that could give away what’s to come.)

    Show Spoiler ▼

    1. Why did I get disliked? Is something wrong with the Randomc community? There isn’t a single spoiler in my post and I don’t even get how it gives away what to come? Can someone explicitly point what did I even say before thumbing me down that offended anyone?

      All I said is that I wish Maizono being alive instead of being dead. Sometimes I really can’t get what is criteria for like and dislike and the tolerance of the people on the internet. There are so many posts that get disliked such as even saying “Monokuma is best bear”. I’m pretty sure people disliked me the moment they saw “spoiler” without even knowing what I said gave nothing away. It did not gave any clues to who is the culprit and everyone knows that someone is gonna die. I did not even say who will die or how will the story end.

      Jesus Christ, the intolerance of the people here sickens me.

      1. Obviously, I won’t always be able to tell whether or not there are spoilers in your statement, but by virtue of discussing game content, there’s the risk of accidentally giving away implicit hints in the story even if you weren’t meaning to. So as I had recommended, it’s better to keep game content discussion in spoiler tags.

  7. I gave 50/50 chance that Maizono would be the first to die. The reasons she would live were obvious. The reasons that she would die is because it’s common to butter up a character right before you kill them, and she also didn’t seem to have what it takes, from a narrative point of view, to survive the rest of the series. That said, I’d be happier if she didn’t die.

    I see three ways of this show ending. One would be that the killer isn’t caught and everyone dies — naturally this would be the protagonist. I think. The other is that the numbers are slowly whittled down until there’s only two left, and… they both graduate? The third option is that a lot of people survive. This of course, could also turn immediately into ‘everyone but the killer survives’ route.

    The thing is this show would get a bit tiring if everyone is going to die. There should be useful character development, right? Maybe a love interest, or a team of good guys? I think that would be the protagonist and Kyoko Kirigiri (Super Duper High School ???). Or she dies. I mean, if she’s good at solving cases, it would make sense to kill her, right? That’s annoying.

    Since two of the cutest characters died already (meaning there’s a higher ratio of characters I don’t care about left alive), this show needs to do something more than just killing people to keep my interest…

    1. They should have shown more of Naegi reactions and thoughts during the investigation. It’s really hard to connect any dots like that, so I assume they’ll give the explanations in the class trial (the class trial image from the opening had Maizono alive in :D). They should have given Maizono more lines too :3

  8. There seems to be a lack of suspense due to the format:

    Since it is stated *everyone* is executed if they guess wrong, that seems to follow that (for most of the series, anyway) they will always correctly find the right murderer in each trial.

    The game might be more potent if a failed guess did not cause an existential end, but instead resulted in, say, two random executions instead of a termination of the game.

    1. The whole idea of what happens if they guess wrong sounds like a potentially massive exploit for anyone innocent. If everyone thinks Person A is guilty when they’re in fact innocent, then all Person A has to do is do nothing to prove their innocence (or try to make it look like they’re guilty), and everyone else dies, and then Person A (presumably) “graduates.”

      I’m also curious about what would happen if someone were to commit suicide.

      Frankly, I find Monokuma’s rules for this whole game rather… lacking. And highly questionable in general. I’m curious to see if anyone exploits any loopholes or gray areas. And then there’s also a simple curiosity about the problem you pointed out, concerning the likelihood of every trial ending in a correct accusation. Will the show just be relying on the mystery of how they prove the guilty party, perhaps, rather than figuring out who is guilty?

      If nothing else, I think “curious” is a good way to describe my feelings for this show so far. I’m not even sure what kind of expectations I have of it, but it’s at least piqued my curiosity enough to be intrigued by how this whole survival game is going to be handled.

      1. That’s not quite how it works – in your scenario, if Person A were innocent but did nothing to prove their innocence, they would be executed along with everyone else EXCEPT the actual culprit, who then ‘graduates’.

        I’ll have to say that the pacing is much better in the game, mainly because it doesn’t have to rush through the investigation phase (which is where the clues are dropped). Since there are only so many episodes, though, I guess they can’t be blamed for condensing it.

      2. Yeah I was thinking about loopholes after watching the episode, and was wondering what would happen if someone was crazy enought to kill off all the classmates at once, since you technically can’t get caught if there’s no one to catch you… I doubt it’d ever happen but it’s a thought.

  9. A welcome amount of action in this episode. Awesome. This was much more interesting than the first which was basically just introducing the characters and plot.

    Got interesting when Maizono was killed (at 1:30am at that, guess someone is going against their inside rule of no roaming at night). Finding out later that hers and Naegi’s room plate’s were switched was a bit interesting too. Don’t they have keys to their own room??? Or are they just unlocked and locked from the inside-only (lol this might have been mentioned, but I’m a bit scared to watch again since I’m kinda weak to scary music at night)? Why did Monokuma not say anything about the fact they were in “the wrong rooms”? And does this mean the killer knew or did they intend to kill Naegi? Well I guess it might not matter who they killed, but still…

    The class trial is interesting too. Judging from the fact that this is intended to be a series of episodes, we’ll get to see some reasoning next week about who and how they killed Maizono.

    Don’t know how I feel about the pinkish blood, but after reading comments I guess it fits with the atmosphere of the seemingly serious-but-not feeling of this show.

  10. Maizono had some interesting facial expression when she was finally alone in Naegi’s room. Like she knew what she was doing. I wonder if she shows up again later. Like that pink-haired girl in Shiki.

    1. Honestly, I started reading it like that before I realized they were numbers, haha. nick12 mentioned the “LEON” bit above as well.

      I also can’t help but wonder if it continues behind the body, either as more numbers or letters/words, but no one wanted to touch her in order to check. (Or maybe someone did, which we’ll see next?) Pretty typical way of misleading the viewer in such a mystery series.

  11. What I’m about to say is from my experience with the game. I felt like this episode left out some points and that it would be unfair to any of the viewers who are actually trying to solve the mystery to be without. Again this is mostly for people that want to solve the mystery/murder so don’t read if you don’t want spoilers OF ANY KIND
    Show Spoiler ▼

  12. Such a shame they wont be showing the characters Free Time events(in game allotted time where you can hangout and talk with the characters). CHARACTER SPOILERShow Spoiler ▼

  13. If the trial accuses the wrong person, does the wrong person die, followed by everyone else? Or does he survive and see everyone executed for accusing an innocent man? If the latter, that seems like it would be a fairly straight forward way of getting out as you could persuade people that you did the murder by acting shifty, then watch them all die when they accuse you wrongly.

    1. If the class accuses the wrong person, then that person will die and so will the rest of the class, except the murderer. The premise is entirely based on the murderer fooling the rest of the class and getting them to vote for an innocent person, so they will walk free.

    1. I found that bit touching, in a series that will probably be characterised by violence and chaos. Not that I don’t like the rest of it , its just that bit stood out to me.

  14. Damn, even if it’s the voice of Doraemon, I want to strangle Monokuma so badly. Such an evil character.

    Still, this series is surprisingly entertaining. Can’t wait for the game to be out.

    1. Honestly? No, not really. The anime may seem to go at a fast pace right now, but if they want to cover everything in only 13 episodes, they have to pick up the pace. And this is excluding any extra information about characters that would be learned in the Free Time events that isn’t plot relevant. I find this a real shame, because the Free Time events really helped flesh out characters and made them empathetic. I’m surprised that the first case took up three episodes (this is assuming they will wrap it up in the next one); I can’t help but wonder if the rest of the trials will get this treatment.

      Even if they did cover everything, it might make first time viewers feel a disconnect from the mystery or characters. One of the nice things about the game was that you ran around and collected clues, all the while forming your own theories about the culprit and case. Since collecting evidence was only shown in a montage in episode 2, a lot of evidence will be revealed in the trial, which means new viewers won’t be able to really speculate about the killer. . .which is honestly one of my favorite parts of Dangan Ronpa.

      This is only based on the episodes they’ve shown so far though! They could very well take a completely different approach to the other cases, but we won’t know until it comes up.

  15. 2 random and far fetched theories regarding Sayaka’s death: 1-the intended target was Naegi as they had swapped rooms…not to mention the whole nametag swap business., 2-it was suicide on Sayaka’s part.
    I know both are ridiculous , but anyone have any opinions on this ??

  16. I was actually guessing she would be the first killer. So I saw an early death because I knew the first murderer couldn’t get away with it. But I was not expecting her to be the first death.

    Junko’s death on the other hand I saw coming a mile away. Still a total shame though, gyaru’s always get the short end of the stick.


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