Danganronpa: The Animation – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

What’s the show? Danganronpa: The Animation (2013).

Dangan-what-what? Yeah, sure close enough.

Great, so what’s it about? It’s like if somebody made an Ace Attorney game emo.

I don’t know what those things are. Geez, I sometimes forget how out of the loop you are. Um… it’s like if Law & Order was directed by Tim Burton. Is that mainstream enough of a comparison for you?

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Quite. I’m surprised you knew what they were. I didn’t, I had to Google “what crappy shows old people like” and “what things old people think are edgy”.

You’re in fine form today. So I’m still not exactly sure what the show is about? So a bunch of high school kids are kidnapped by a maniacal black and white bear and are held hostage, with their only escape being if they “graduate” which entails murdering one of their other students and getting away with the crime. Every time there’s a murder they hold a “class trial” to determine the killer, if they correctly determine the murderer he is executed while the others remain safe, if they are wrong though the murderer gets to leave while everyone else is executed.

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Yikes! Talk about high stakes! The highest. Only…

Only what? Only it kinda never feels as high stakes as it should, sure the aesthetics and the music and the quick editing give it the illusion of impending doom, but you’re never really worried about the protagonist, which is a big problem for this anime but it’s understandable considering it’s based on a video game.

Why does being based on a video game hinder it so much? Well in a game, the stakes are on you the player, you are the protagonist, and if you stuff up, then it’s game over. Those are stakes you can get invested in, but in an anime there’s not going to be a sudden game over screen for the protagonist, you know how many episodes there are and thus it will keep going until the story is over. It’s like playing a game with cheats on, it’s still fun, but there’s no risk, at least not to yourself.

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Well when you put it like that it sounds like a bit of a failure. Maybe, but there’s no other way they could have done it, and besides there are still high stakes for the other students, they are murdered and executed, even the nice and cute girls. So as long as you can get invested in the other characters then there’s still plenty of tension and drama.

And can you? That’ll depend on the individual but yeah; they’re a deliberately quirky and assorted bunch so you’re bound to find at least one person to latch onto.

Well that’s good. So are the “class trials” at least fun to watch? I suppose, I mean they’re deliberately misleading to give as many “gasp!” moments as possible, the result is seldom obvious and the executions are handled, creatively to say the least…

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I sense another but? But, and I know it’ll probably sound like I’m harping on about it but their presentation feels more like watching a video game being played then something cinematically dynamic. I just feel like they could have loosened it up a little so it didn’t feel so much like the game, and I haven’t even played the damn thing but it feels like I have because of it. Maybe that was the intent but I didn’t find it as visually interesting as it should have been, which is a shame because I do like the art-style.

So you don’t like the way its plotted and you don’t like how visually a main component of the show is presented, other than that? Other than that it’s a really good show, I know it might sound like I just took it to town, but those are issues that while considerable, don’t undermine the interesting characters or the unique setting or even the core mystery of why they are being held there which offers a solid backbone to the series.

So favourite characters? Probably Chihiro Fujisaki the shy computer programmer, Celestia Ludenburg the gambling gothic lolita or Toko Fukawa the gloomy novelist.

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Always picking the cute girls, so predictable. I know right? I’m just so safe with my choices!

Why do I get the feeling you’re hiding something from me? You’ll get no spoilers from me today!

So why isn’t the protagonist your favourite? No, the protagonist is never the favourite! Besides, he looks like he’s out of Beyblade or something.

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Is that a bad thing? I don’t know I never watched it; I just like being belligerent sometimes.

Rightio. So would you recommend it? Sure, it’s by no means perfect but it’s fun and unpredictable (to an extent) and provides some quality thrills and entertaining characters. Even if it does often feel shackled to the source material more often than not. A little short of the bullseye but nothing to lose your head over; 78 out of 100.

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6 comments

  1. I dropped the series at the very second episode, for some reasons it wasn’t able to attract me as much as I wanted it. I’m not a big fan of action or thrillers, but I would gladly binge watch a psychological series only if it’s good enough; an element that I just couldn’t give thumbs up to for this series.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The next show will make very little sense to you unless you play the games. The show takes place after The first 2 main games and side-story game. Not worth watching unless you play the games

        Liked by 1 person

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