Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei The Animation Episode 3: Kill Free or Live Hard: Extraordinary Life
“What the heck? What the heck is this?”
Synopsis: A group of 15 elite high school students are gathered at a very special, high class high school. To graduate from this high school essentially means you’ll succeed in life, but graduating is very difficult. The school is presided over by a bear called Monokuma, and he explains to them that their graduation hinges around committing a murder. The only way to graduate is to kill one of your classmates and get away with it. If the other classmates discover the identity of the killer, the killer is the only one executed. However, if they fail to catch the killer, only the killer graduates and the others are annihilated. Which of the 15 will survive the bloodbath to come?
When I first realized that there would be this ‘Court System’ I had one concern: Would it the cases be intricate enough to keep viewers interested? Nobody wants some half-arsed case in which nothing happens and everything happens and, luckily, that’s not what we a got in episode 3 of Danganronpa. The case made sense. The evidence was all there. No plot holes. A satisfying conclusion. Oh! And how could I forget? A disturbing execution scene just to top it all off… yeah, Danganronpa.
Whilst I’m still curious about the 16 spaces that are available for the ‘jurors’ (a.k.a, does this mean someone else is going to be brought in?) and I am still wondering why only the girls’ bathrooms have locks on them, I do also have put them aside for the more important and prominent question…
Shameless reference’s aside, let’s talk about the episode! MAIZONO YOU BITCH! I knew she had evil intentions after she kick Naegi out of his room but this? Framing the guy who promised to save you? I don’t even care how desperate you were to get out there, that’s f*cked up. Her methodology was still rather skewed though, I mean, either way she would have been caught. She was seen going into the kitchen, y’know? And she wouldn’t have any way to hide the evidence. Those two facts kind of make her plan seem a little… lazy, y’know?
It’s now that we’re beginning to see how ruthless Monobear’s game is, everyone is scared, everyone wants to escape and absolutely everyone is stupid… a part from the girl with the lilac hair (Kirigiri). I mean, seriously ‘Yeah! Let’s accuse Naegi because… yeah!’; that was the impression I got from everyone apart from Kirigiri. There was no thought. No logic. If they had accused Naegi right off the bat like that then they’d all be dead… luckily however, they saw sense and they came together to solve the case. The case itself had a very ‘Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney’ feel, y’know? Just without the classic ‘OBJECTION!’ war cry. Every character had something to say and the rapport between all of them was… fun. This is the first time my mind hasn’t wandered during an episode (other than the bout of odd reviewers insight) and I think that comes mainly down to two things: Monobear and the richness of the conversation. Sure, it (the deliberation, that is) became bland at some points, but other than on those few occasions I think the show managed to retain integrity and deliver an interesting, well thought out case.
I feel sorry for Leon. Thought I’d just put that out there. It’s not really his fault, y’know? Maizono tried to kill him! Anyone else (even Naegi… probably) would have done the same if they’d been put into that situation. But alas, I guess that’s the whole point of the game. Killing. It was… interesting to watch Leon’s slow decline in insanity as he realized he was going to die. The once composed and cocky star of the baseball team became a sniveling, pleading wreck as his world came crumbling down… and ironically killed him. Beating a kid to death with baseballs? How ironically sick.
That Monobear… what a f*cker.
What I would like to know however is… why was Maizono stabbed with the knife? I thought that was her ‘weapon if choice’ and that Leon had the samurai sword? Or did I miss that minor detail? But I digress, the use of the ‘number’ to frame Leon was… smart. I don’t really understand why she drew it upside down, I mean, no matter how she was sitting, moving her arm up that high must have been really uncomfortable… and in her own pink blood? Just casually dipping my finger into the wound, y’know? Ah well, minor details ‘n all.
The music in this episode was rather… lackluster until the end when that one soundtrack played and everything became awesome… although that might have had something to do with Leon being pummeled by baseballs… poor f*cker… And another thing, I don’t feel these characters growing on me, y’know? They’re bad and I know that the enjoyment of aesthetics is completely subjective, but still… Naegi has that annoying out of place clump of hair on his head and… ugh, annoying character designs are the worst.
And another thing, this really does feel like it’s a game to anime adaption… that is all. You were expecting me to elaborate? You were expecting a deep and thought provoking analysis? What do you want me to say? The blatant game overtones mixed in with the games cut scenes and an ambiguous three points speech system make for an overly blatant game feel? Yeah? Is that enough?
Kirigiri… who are you? I’m thinking that she might be a detective of some sort? She gives off that ‘serious adult’ feel. She’s too calm, y’know? It’s like she knows and or understands the situation and is trying to get to the bottom of it. Out of everyone, I vote her least likely to kill another student. She’s a woman/girl (seriously, how old are these kids?!) with a clear head and possibly a motive… I like that. It means she isn’t going go all Maizono on that group and it also means that she isn’t going to be one of those annoying characters who does nothing in the way of adding to the group and just cries… like that one girl (Chihiro Fujisaki) who barely says anything and cries… yeah.
And I guess that’s one of the issues I have with this show. Sure, it has a diverse cast of characters and their personalities are all welcome… it’s just that I’m feeling a distinct ‘Devil Survivor 2’ aura emanating from this show. I’m waiting for the first comment to tell me that ‘the characters were better developed in the game’ and, honestly, I can see that being the case. We as anime viewers are seeing glimpses of these characters, no depth, no development, just… death and despair. A good example would be Junko Enoshima. She died. She just died. We didn’t know her. She spoke like twice. And then she was gone. Poof. It’s sad really.
To conclude, episode 3 was good. Better than the last two by far. Our ‘main characters’ really had a chance to shine and the shows main mechanic was displayed simply and perfectly. Problem is… I just know that these characters are going to be underdeveloped and I can tell that we’re not going to make any emotional connections with any of them… sad really.