I don’t honestly know at this point if Danganronpa is a show I’ll continue to blog. I don’t usually feel this way, but I think this is an instance where familiarity with the source material would actually be helpful because the comparison of the original game to the anime is probably the most fruitful topic for discussion. With no basis for comparison I can only go by what’s in the anime itself, which is pretty self-explanatory for the most part.
Is what’s in the anime any good? Pretty good, so far – I’ve found every episode entertaining enough, though there are the usual hiccups when adapting this sort of media to anime form. Kishi (as usual) seems to be trying to toss a few bones to the game veterans, but I doubt they’ll be enough to satisfy them – and these lead to moments scattered throughout that don’t make much sense to a new viewer. Fortunately the premise of Danganronpa is so transparent that it’s easy to follow along, new viewer or not.
As I mentioned in last week’s post I certainly figured out who the killer was from Maizono’s dying message – which was obvious enough that I was annoyed with myself that I didn’t figure it out when I first saw it. The real mystery here was as to just how Maizono was involved in her own death, as it was made pretty clear she was. The ultimate explanation – an attempt to murder Leon and set Naegi up as the fall guy – was more or less feasible, though I’m still not 100% clear on why he killed her rather than simply subduing her and reporting it to the others. As for the trial itself, it was littered with those odd game passages that felt very out of place, but not badly staged. The person responsible for the truth coming out was certainly Kirigiri (Hikasa Youko) who was the designated “keep your head while all those around you lose theirs” character. She and Naegi did most of the deduction, and there were even signs of a little spark between them in the aftermath.
I keep – by reflex – looking for a point to all this, but it’s clear that there really isn’t one to look for. It’s just a sadistic little snuff film, camped up to the extent that it’s more comedic than horrifying (though the execution scene – and I suspect those to follow – was pretty grisly). I don’t know if there’s going to be any commentary on human nature here but right now it looks more likely that it’s just going to be a celebration of craven adolescents showing their true colors under great stress, and that won’t be pretty. I suspect the murders themselves will get a little trickier to solve, too, though it’s the mystery of Monokuma itself that mosts interest me. The inclusion of the 16th chair in the jury room is an obvious clue to the larger conspiracy plot, and I can’t think it was a coincidence that Naegi made that ESP joke to Kirigiri right before the ED credits started rolling.