Danganronpa The Animation Review

This is review number two hundred and thirty three. This anime is part of the Summer 2013 lineup. It’s one of its hard hitters. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Danganronpa the Animation. It’s a thirteen episode anime about a bear forcing teenagers to kill each other. I love this anime because it’s awesome. The fact that it’s a video game adapted anime does seem a bit concerning though. Any show that requires the characters killing gets a gold star sticker from me though. That being said, let’s read on.

Story

Makoto Naegi couldn’t believe his luck. He was accepted in the most elite academy in the country. Hope’s Peak Academy is a prestigious school where the students are carefully chosen for their impressive abilities. The graduates of this school are considered to be among the best of their generation. For a normal guy like Naegi, he feels like the luckiest guy in the world. His new high school life in this school is going to be a memorable one. Perhaps it’s all too real though and he isn’t really lucky. Naegi discovered that the school is shut from the inside and no one can escape. After meeting the rest of the students trapped in the academy, a robotic stuffed bear suddenly appeared. He wants them to play a game.

You want to leave? You need to do one thing first. You need to kill one of your classmates. Here’s the catch though. You need to do it so cleanly that you can’t be caught because if you get caught as the culprit then you’ll be punished, or executed as the bear calls it. If enough time elapsed and you aren’t caught then you get to leave. The rest of the students will then be punished for not catching the murderer, or executed as the bear call it. Of course, you don’t have to kill. Enjoy your life inside Hope’s Peak Academy for the rest of your life with your classmates. That’s always a choice. The mastermind easily gets bored though and he isn’t afraid to stir the pot until someone kills someone else.

Taking the Pants Off

Here we have another video game adapted anime. This is kind of anime that is probably the most difficult one to critic simply because the standards for adapting a game is pretty steep. As much as one would enjoy watching the anime version, a handful of people that played the game will be very adamant on how it doesn’t live up to the original source. I’ve learned my lesson with Devil Survivor 2. To this day, I’ll defend the anime and call it success. A lot of people don’t share the same ideals as I do and it’s honestly easier to hate than to love when it comes to video game adapted anime. When I heard that a PSP game would get an anime adaptation, I knew there would be trouble arising. Danganronpa was something that had a wonderful concept and even those that haven’t played the game immediately had expectations for the anime. After all, it’s really well conceived. A group of kids trapped in a school can only leave when they kill one of their classmates. That idea easily made me want to watch the show. It’s really been awhile but I’ve had the pleasure of watching another anime that I finished in one sitting. These are anime that I can only call so gripping that I didn’t notice the time pass by. Whether or not the anime lived up to the game’s standards is pretty irrelevant because this is one hell of a show. A survival game angle is a pretty forgivable cliché in anime and this is the sole reason why this anime is so amazing. You don’t even need to read this review. TPAB promises that Danganronpa the Animation is amazing and you should definitely watch it.

The premise of the anime is pretty simple. You have fifteen students trapped in Hope’s Peak Academy by a mastermind that controls a stuffed bear called Monobear. The students are asked to live in the place for the rest of their lives and Monobear is willing to provide them with their basic needs. For a bunch of kids who was invited to a prestigious academy and expected a wonderful high school life, forcing them to live in this cage isn’t something that sits well with them. Monobear has given them a choice to leave though but they need to do one thing first: they need to kill their classmates. It’s a pretty interesting premise because you know that things are going to get ugly with that kind of stipulation looming in their heads. It gets better though when a murderer can only be granted freedom when enough time elapsed with the rest of the classmates not finding out they’re the killer. The killer gets to go out and the rest of the classmates are executed. It’s a do or die kind of survival game that just guarantees a wonderful anime experience. The best part about this show is that the expectations of a video game adapted anime seem to be moot. As far as I’m concerned, the anime was able to present all the interesting aspects of the game while also presenting the story as clearly as possible. Perhaps the game was just really easy to adapt. It’s something unheard of though considering how many video game adapted anime have disappointed us in the long history of video game anime.

One of the strongest aspects of the anime is that it feels like a game. It was able to incorporate all the interactive elements of the game in the show. I haven’t played the game, by the way. I read a few entries on Wikipedia and a few youtube videos that gave you an idea of the game. It’s like Ace Attorney where you contradict statements of other people and then find the true culprit. The interactive element is so crucial though because, in the course of the game, you solve a mystery with the use of a rhythm system, a visual novel multiple choice system, and a stricter Ace Attorney gameplay that seems all too intimidating if you’re going to adapt it into an anime. The show really tried to capture all of the elements of the game. The gameplay was nicely incorporated to the point that you truly feel like you’re playing a game. It is so inviting that I am a bit bummed the game isn’t on English so I can finally brag about owning a f*ckin PSP. The pacing of the anime flow smoothly while making sure the interactive elements of the game was present in its full form. The anime was smart to go as far as to make the show look like a video game because I think it’s that simple novelty that made the hurdles of a video game adaptation not a concern for the show. Of course, no matter how the anime captures the interactive elements of the game, it’s still different from playing a game. I’ll admit it. The anime is not perfect. Certain aspects of the game are still watered down and heavily rushed. In the game, you search for clues pertaining to a crime yet the anime cuts that out for the story’s sake. So the excitement of finding out who is culprit was only half the fun the anime presented it to be. It’s like the game is on auto pilot and that’s no fun. Of course, like most video game adapted anime, the characters are also watered down. In the game, you get a chance to bond with the characters through certain “free time” and these bonds can help in certain aspects of the game later on. There is no time to have fifteen students reveal their background so they are poor versions of their video game counterpart. With all that said though, the anime still have a lot of things to offer.

The anime is divided into three plot points. The first one is about the students being forced to live in this academy together. It’s a pretty straight forward plot point. The various characters try to get to know each other while trying to play Monobear’s twisted game. Monobear pointed out that he wanted to show the students what despair looks like and this little experiment of his was the perfect way to achieve that. In the show’s case, you can call this the “free time” period where the characters are introduced and how they relate to the others is presented. You can also call this the calm before the storm because soon enough one of them will die. I was actually hoping for a more psychologically twisted anime considering how dark the premise is. The show is surprisingly calm though and there is very little paranoia arising among the students. It’s not the kind of survival game you’d expect but the progression is still the same. The students know that Monobear is the enemy and not each other. There is no need to play into his hands and murder each other. As long as they keep their heads up then anything Monobear throws their way is easily overcome. The students believe that they can get out of the place without any of them dying.

Then one of them dies. The students will be shocked and Monobear now gives them time to gather clues to find out who the culprit is. I was expecting a psychologically disturbed anime but the true form of the show is actually a mystery one where the students now try and finger the killer. While still in their free period, the students must examine the scene of the crime, look out for clues and collect data that can lead them closer to finding out who the killer is. I was expecting the focus to be on the heinous acts the students would do. Since the show was about a bunch of kids who are bound to kill each other, I was pretty excited to see at least one of them choked to death. This wasn’t the case. The murders are all plot devices to the mystery aspects of the show. In the game, the true fun is actually trying to find out who the killer is. Once the students found enough evidence and information about the murder, the show then proceeds to go to court.

This is the second plot point of the anime and probably the strongest one. The show enters the Class Trials and they proceed to talk among themselves then try to figure out who the killer is. This is the crucial “do or die” part of the anime because if they guess wrong, they will all die. This is also where the students lay out all the facts to try and solve the mystery. This plot point is pretty fun because the audience is able to keep up with the conversations and then try to find a killer themselves. I’ll be fair. The Class Trials is pretty fun simply because we get to see who the killer is. It’s not that engaging though because the riddles are too easy to solve. The anime would introduce new background information about a character during the free time period and you’re basically sure that they’ll be involved in the murder. The show was able to nicely lay out all the clues but it’s given in the most obvious way that you can see the twist coming long before they talk about it. The way the clues are collected, the characters are introduced and the questions of how the victim died are all easily given out to the point it’s not even fun joining in to find the culprit. Sometimes, you’re even annoyed at how slow they are to pointing out the discrepancies that you easily caught long before the trial started. To be fair though, I am a big mystery fan and long hours of being shamed by Detective Conan made my attention to details sharper. Some of the mysteries may be challenging to the right person or if you don’t pay attention but clearly not good enough to be called a challenge.

The Class Trials are exciting though because of two things. One is the revelation of the killer and their motive. This was the one thing the show didn’t present. They hid the motive until the culprit is caught. I personally found this a bit intriguing because the show is pretty light. You won’t see a death coming until it happens because the show doesn’t have any paranoia. There is no sense of betrayal or psychological yandere awesomeness to be seen. Every character is of right mind and body that they are able to come together for a common goal. Even with a couple of pot stirrers and assh*les, the characters are all pretty normal so it’s often a bit interesting to know who killed who and why. The explanations are often a bit fun to watch because you often feel a bit sorry for the characters being driven to commit murder and killing their fellow classmates. Finding out the reason for why they want out of the academy is one of the high points of the show. The second reason the Class Trials are fun to watch is because we get to see a character be executed. Monobear explains that people that breaks the rule and disrupts peace will be punished for their crimes. The thing that makes this fun is that Monobear is one twisted f*ck and the form of punishment given to the characters is a bit extreme. It’s hard to explain without spoiling it but let’s just say it has the flashiness of a stage play, the whimsy of a child’s game and the darkness you’d expect from someone being executed. The fact that the actual cut scenes of the character’s execution from the game is shown in the anime makes it all the more special. It makes me want to play the game even more because I want a save file of that particular death played over and over. I’m pretty twisted myself.

The third plot point is simply WHY. Three letters that is felt all throughout the anime is the final plot point of the show. The reason why the characters are trapped in the academy and the mystery behind the academy itself is tackled in the show. This one is probably my favorite part of the story because it’s really something that I personally want answered. The mystery aspect of this plot point is something the anime nicely paced. It was able to bring up some interesting details about why the students are locked inside the academy. The show often present certain clues pertaining to the academy and I love how it keep teasing on something really huge yet only gives us small hints we can’t piece together unless we keep on watching. The show was really smart about it and, as you progress through the show, you won’t believe how big of a deal the students is actually thrown into. It’s the perfect kind of story that compliments the crazy theme of the anime. As the mystery is also slowly revealed, small details presented in the early parts of the show now seems very clear and I love how the show handled it. It’s gripping and exciting that you can’t wait till the moment of the big reveal.

The identity of the master mind and the guy behind Monobear is also part of this plot point. The name of the evil bastard that created this whole nightmare is slowly revealed in the show as well. I’m personally distracted by Monobear himself that you often can’t help but wonder what kind of evil person is behind the stuff teddy exterior. The show was able to give us a wonderful mystery angle concerning the identity of the guy that it made the whole experience pretty sweet. To be fair though, some aspects of this plot point is pretty confusing. Considering how the anime followed the game to a tee, I can definitely tell you that the game was pretty vague about certain parts of this plot point as well. The reason is actually pretty simple but I’ll keep my mouth shut and let you bastards figure it out for yourselves. I personally found the mystery aspects of this plot point a challenge because the show has easy mysteries to solve. Seeing something vague and a bit hard to predict was fun to solve and ultimately knowing your theories were on the mark is a pretty fun experience. See if you can solve the identity of the mastermind as well before the show gives it away.

The characters made this show special. They’re all pretty stereotypical and generic but it fits well in the format of the show. We have fifteen characters with varying personalities that clashes and compliments each other. It made the show all the more engaging because you’ll soon find one character more appealing than the rest and the idea he/she will die makes it all the more exciting. The main character of the show is Makoto Naegi. One hellish hurdle for a video game adapted anime is capturing the personality of the main character. In most games, the silent protagonist will bite you in the ass if you try to adapt him into an anime. Persona 4 and Devil Survivor 2 lacked the engaging aspects of the game simply because the character in the game is free range. His personality relies solely on the player controlling him and this means disaster for an anime adaptation. Danganronpa thankfully had its main character well rounded before the show even started. He isn’t the silent protagonist type and he is the same kind hearted gullible pussy that he was in the anime. For a survival anime, the pussy character actually works great because his kind intentions and strong will cuts through all the personalities of the other characters. The anime also doesn’t heavily put focus on him. Every character gets an equal chance to show their stuff so there is very little time for this weak character to wallow in self-pity and feel worthless like how his stereotype usually do things. There were enough strong personalities in the show to make sure we aren’t stuck with the main character. He still is a bit unbearable at times though because his kind intentions might be the sole reason no one is blatantly choking another to death or any yandere awesomeness isn’t available in the show. He does stand out though when it comes to investigating mysteries and solving the riddles presented at the Class trials.

The rest of the characters are pretty weak but they served their purpose wonderfully in the show. The anime explained it nicely. There are three types of characters among the students. One type is the ones that follows the rules and wakes up early. They’re as normal as normal can be and they obey the rules to avoid conflict. They’re straight laced and the least to commit any sort of crime. They are most likely to be stabbed by a pair of scissors though because that’s just how they are. Then there are those that wake up a little bit late. They don’t care about the rules and they follow their own. They don’t care about others and they aren’t shy on expressing that idea to any one that bothers them. They’re the unstable kind that seems more likely to kill and the kind of short tempered characters that are more suspicious that anyone else when a murder is committed. Lastly, there are the ones that wake up fairly late. They are usually the pot stirrers and the kind of unfazed bastards that makes the whole endeavor pretty unsettling. They seem to be the type that keeps to themselves yet are extremely suspicious because of how they go against the group. They welcome the opportunity to kill others and they’re the type to create chaos if they can. They’re also easy stand outs because their personalities are so strong that their mere presence is felt throughout the anime.

The anime was pretty smart about presenting the characters. Fifteen characters isn’t something that can easily be balanced. The show divided the show into certain arcs so a character can be fully introduced in a timely manner. Some of them need no introduction though because of how awesome they look. All the characters really had the chance to make a statement and I love how they were all utilized. I’m a bit bummed at how certain characters die though. As I said before, I wanted a truly dark psychologically jarring experience in terms of how the characters die and some of them die rather pathetically. I’m often left with a “that’s it?” reaction because of how disappointing most of them leave the stage. The anime wanted a dark comedy kind of approach to the deaths rather than an extreme one that’ll leave viewers scarred. It’s all good since each character still had some time in the spotlight no matter how short.

We can’t forget about the other important character, Monobear. He is the twisted principal of this school. He is a bit whimsy yet you also can’t deny his dark demeanor. He would often act cute yet he would make sure everything he does is totally bi-polar. He’d be talking cute one moment but then would try to blow up a character on the next moment. He would do something that’ll make you laugh yet you also want to strangle him to death. I love his character because it gives the anime the dark comedy element it needed to complete it. Most executions and death scenes are often finished off with a Monobear trademark that is a bit unsettling and comedic at the same time. He is the Kyuubey of Danganronpa or the Kokopelli (the mouse from Bokurano) of the show to be more precise. They’re the acting mascots and they’re also the face of evil in the show. Most mascots should be as cute and creepy as these guys.

This is an amazing show. The way it was able to crush the video game stigma that haunts most video game anime is amazing. Why is it always the small time studios that punch hard in terms of video game adaptations? I fondly remember Studio Lerche because they did Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! It’s one of my most viewed posts but it’s pretty subpar. I think the video game is just really easy to adapt but I think it takes one special visionary to pull it off so hats off to Studio Lerche. The director also deserves some praise here. Oh my f*cking god, Seiji Kishi must be hell bent on creating the perfect video game anime. People hated his efforts on Persona 4 and Devil Survivor 2. It looks like all the experience he had from those anime culminated in one perfect adaptation of Danganronpa. Most people don’t want to give this guy a break but I hope they give him the deserved praise now. This is an awesome anime from a guy that truly knows how to do great video game anime.

Sight and Sound

One of the first things you’ll notice in the anime is the flashy character design. Rui Komatsuzaki’s design is pretty outstanding. It’s not the kind of design you’d see in anime. The characters truly scream video game characters with how flashy they are and how much awesomeness they emit. Rui’s stand out design is special because of how the skin color is different. He mostly sticks to a brown or tanned skin color and his characters often stand out in a lovely way because of how unusual they look. There is a wide range to the characters look and I love how each of them were unique. The basis of the design is simple but the bold lines and the crazy outfits make the characters all the more special. Even characters that die early on still leave a big impression because of how awesome they look. The characters also dress pretty modernly with the familiar urban style outfit you’d see on most teenagers accentuating their ages. Perhaps it’s the way the designs of the characters eat up every possible space makes them all the more special. One character might be the typical frail character but he’ll have a really crazy design that eats his entire character and makes him all the more memorable. Makoto Naegi looks pretty simple though. It’s typical of a main character in a game. They need to be as simple looking as they can and that’s all right by me. The male characters of Rui are something I really admire because they look so bad ass. The way their outfits matches their personalities is insane. From a high school biker to an otaku, the design is simply yet overly complicated that you can’t help but see more of that character. The female characters are especially pretty but the crazy amount of details they have makes them really awesome. From their crazy hair to the simple yet smartly conceived outfits, there’s a layer of complicated chaos in Rui’s design that I can’t help but admire. I love how Studio Lerche was able to capture the awesomeness of his designs as well.

The animation is pretty inconsistent. Studio Lerche isn’t really that known yet but I’m not a fan of one episode having awesome animation then another having subpar animation. The show is pretty dialogue heavy though so it’s OK. There aren’t any fight scenes and the show is more about giving an aura of dark comedy without any disturbing content. The way the characters move are pretty smooth and the various facial expressions are top notch though. It’s also amazing how they retain the complicated character designs through the various scenes without sacrificing the integrity of the animation. Some episodes lack the intricate details of most episodes though but it’s forgivable. The game aspects of the anime were especially amazing. The way they capture the interactive elements is something only the animation can achieve. From the loading bullets scene to the guilty verdict scenes, I love how they managed to slip them in. The CG aspects of the anime are pretty special as well. They intentionally make certain CG scenes with spinning camera angles abrupt with the characters being 2D to bring out the game appeal of the show some more. The way the camera zooms in and out is something I am a fan of. It often feels like you truly are part of the show with the way the animation is done.

The death scenes are pretty tame. As I said, the anime is along the lines of whimsy and dark comedy. The murder scenes strongly support this. The characters are shown in their dead state but the blood is not red. It’s colored pink so the goriness of the scenes isn’t fully appreciated. Some death scenes are also pretty weak in terms of how an awesome character should die. It was truly missing one psychologically depraved moment and sadly, the anime (and the game) isn’t particularly concerned about it. The cut scenes are my favorite aspect of the animation. The anime actually took them from the game and I love how you can tell it was from the game. The storybook like animation was amazing and the characters look especially pretty with how they are done in the cut scenes. Their looks before they die and the way the stage is set is really unsettling then the moment of their death leaves a big mark on the viewers. It’s a shame it’s not as dark and gory as I’d expect but the effort was there. This was completed with some high beat music that compliments the characters and the style of execution.

danganronpa1

The anime’s OP is “DANGANRONPA” by “Never Say Never” by TKDz2b. This is a nice rap techno song that nicely fits the anime. It’s sung in English and it takes a few listening to get used to it. The rap is especially fast but the chorus is slow and solemn. It does sound cool though and I love the instrumentals in the background of the song.  The OP sequence features all the characters and a nice feel of the game. Rui’s artwork is strongly presented and a flashy techno approach is done in the sequence. The chorus is accompanied with Monobear sexy dancing to the song. It’s pretty crazy but awesome at the same time.

The anime’s ED is “Zetsubousei: Hero Chiryouyaku (絶望性:ヒーロー治療薬)” by suzumu feat. Soraru. Soraru is an utaite. They’re like vocaloids but fan made. The idea of a fan made song making its way to an anime is pretty awesome. The song is really chilling yet catchy at the same time. Soraru’s voice is a nice compliment to the anime’s goal of making a game-like show. The 8-bit avatar of the characters on the rolling credits was a nice touch. The ED sequence features a picture of the characters. Naegi is at the center and when a character dies, they join him in the picture of the ED sequence. It’s pretty awesome. One my personal favorite EDs and I usually skip EDs to watch the next episode.

Overall Score

8/10 “This is an as-close-as-you-can-get adaptation of a medium that often delivers subpar anime. Danganronpa is engaging and thrilling to watch with only a few elements separating the game from the anime.”

Of course, the game is still superior and I know some people are already b*tching about how the anime isn’t accurate. I f*cking dare you to make that statement. This is a great anime and I was ready to give it a ten. In terms of adapting a video game, this anime easily deserves a ten but it’s the various elements of the show that was weak. It’s a trait the game and the anime shares but the interactive experience balances it out. It’s an element that isn’t in the show. If you enjoy thrilling murder mysteries then you’ll love this anime. If you like the survival game kind of shows then you’ll really love this show. If you love engaging characters and some of them dying in a flashy cool way then this show is for you. I highly recommend it.

16 thoughts on “Danganronpa The Animation Review

  1. It’s a nice surprise to see that you thoroughly enjoyed Danganronpa’s anime since it seems that many, many people are displeased with the adaptation and I’ve seen complaints about it all over the place.

    As for me, I can definitely say that there were some issues it had. While I’ve never actually played the original game myself, I feel like the anime didn’t get to live up to its potential because of its 13 episode runtime, and this really screwed up the pacing and character development. Some things weren’t explained properly (even by the anime’s end, though this might be chalked up to the original series saving it for the next game) and some of the mystery developments in the trials weren’t easy for me to predict simply because the evidence couldn’t really be evaluated before it was brought up in the case itself. All that said though, I still had a lot of fun with this anime and my enjoyment was really high in spite of its flaws. Danganronpa was a series I was hyped for even before I’d gotten into it, and while it may have its issues in some places, I had a great time watching it and if they adapt a season 2 for the next game, I will undoubtedly watch it.

    • video game adapted anime are easy to hate. I judge the anime on its merits alone. a few mention of the game and nothing more. there’s nothing gained by listening to the people that played the game. they have expectations the show cannot fulfill. I do not. I simply watched the anime and the show is really good. I’m actually craving more and now wants a PSP Vita so I can play the game as well or watch the impending Danganronpa 2 The Animation soon.

      there were certainly a lot of things unanswered. the TV show plot line, the people backing up the mastermind, the actual state of the outside world, the aftermath of the events, the dead bodies never being seen again and many more. I think the game had those faults as well though but you’d be enchanted by the gameplay that trivial matters like that aren’t a concern.

      what? you really don’t need to evaluate the evidence since the class trials are developing in an obvious direction that you can see the twist coming. maybe I was just paying too much attention but you can spot the killer easily after the students talk to each other and such.

      Also, Celes is awesome. I already have 45 pictures in my folder just so I can stare at her awesomeness. I also have her execution video on my phone. XD

      • You do have a point, it’s inevitable that people who are familiar with the source material won’t find the adaptation perfect most of the time, and it’s annoying when you have the purist freaks who worship the original and bash any adaptation as being the worst thing in creation defiling their holy series. That said though, even having not played the game I understand where Danganronpa game fans are coming from. Probably the only characters I had any real attachment to were Ishimaru and Oowada because of the feels in that case, and it felt like everybody (well, almost) had lots more potential as far as development and depth. The story progressed really quickly too so even ignoring the things the anime left out since it was probably like that originally, it felt like some things weren’t explained as coherently as the game most likely made them.

        Well case 1 was incredibly easy, and in retrospect I suppose cases 3 and 4 weren’t too difficult to figure out either (as I did have my suspicions about the killers both times, though based on nothing more than mere suspicion). But then you have, say, case 2, where the killer came out of left field, and I don’t wanna elaborate on the details because of spoilers. Ironically that was my favorite case by far, but putting that aside, it felt like there was practically no way to figure out who the person was until the exact moment the characters themselves had figured out, and in part because the evidence just sorta appeared briefly before being used. I mean for the other cases you could assume who the killer was strictly by guessing how the story would play out, but it wouldn’t make any logical sense until the reveal itself was approaching. I imagine there was a lot more room for speculation and theorizing in the game as all the pieces are handed to you like in Ace Attorney, but things went way too fast in the anime. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time guessing the killer since it tended to be the case that in about an episode he/she’d show up anyway.

        While I personally wasn’t attached to Celes as far as character goes, I did like her design. Her gothic high class Europeanish look was a treat, and I could say that most of the character designs in Danganronpa were pretty awesome. The anime didn’t get to develop them a whole lot but if nothing else they had personality and this really showed by their appearances.

        • In the anime’s defense, there is no way to adapt the rich character interaction of the game. there’s just no way. there are fifteen of them. Properly introducing them would require a lot of time the show doesn’t have. I honestly have a few characters in mind that wasn’t able to unleash their full awesomeness but it really doesn’t wrinkle the experience. besides, even if they were able to adapt that element of the game, people would still not be satisfied and call the adaptation as a failure. it’s a kind of backlash in video game adapted anime that I have learned to ignore when I write my reviews. They exist but I don’t need them to form my opinion. XD With that being said, the anime is certainly not perfect. All I’m saying though is that no one b*tched about Grave of the Fireflies not being the same as the novel simply because not a lot of people has read it. Why can’t you give other adaptations the same kind of love?

          One of the mystery’s faulty style is that they would introduce characters before a murder so you can familiarize with them. it’s pretty easy to predict the killer afterwards because it’s one of the characters newly introduced. in case 2, I dunno. Maybe I’m just weird but when she was revealed as a trap, I easily narrowed it down to either the Ace Attorney guy or the biker dudes that were in the sauna simply because they were recently introduced in that arc. Yeah, the motive and the manner of killing is something I haven’t figured out but the culprit is easy to spot. Well, at least for me. maybe I’m just too attentive.

          Yeah, the character design is awesome. I can’t wait for the characters of the second season. They look as awesome and something you want to cosplay as just like the first ones. :)

          • It’s true that the anime could not have done a perfect job with it, but there was a lot of room for improvement. I think for me, the biggest issue was that 13 episode time constraint. You can’t develop much of anything in such a short amount of time (unless it’s Baccano we’re talking about), and Danganronpa definitely suffered because of that. A lot of the characters seemed to be there to fill up space and while I’m sure they were not meant to be shallow (mostly anyway, not sure how much depth, say, Yamada could have….), there wasn’t much to them because the anime couldn’t really give them much. I imagine people would bash the adaptation either way, but at least if it were a 2-cour anime there’d be enough substance so that the haters would just be, well, mindless haters who can’t accept anything but the original. Adaptations are a strange case, typically I’ll prefer the original version but I do like the way different mediums can convey the same story. Then there are cases like Chuunibyou, where apparently the anime goes on a big tangent from the novel’s story, but as I haven’t read that and the anime was pretty awesome either way, I have no complaints. Only thing is that there’s probably an issue if I feel like an adaptation didn’t do its source material justice even without having experienced the source material, and as much as I enjoyed Danganronpa that thought has been hanging around in the back of my mind.

            I suppose that’s true for the most part. All but case 1 had the killer take some spotlight at some point during the pre-trial time, though with case 4 that could probably have applied to anybody since there weren’t many people left anyway. Even then though, it pretty much felt like “I know you’re the killer because you probably are even though I have no clue” for lots of it. I imagine there was much more room for meaningful detective work in the VN (especially since you probably get to see the evidence and whatnot Phoenix Wright style) but I wouldn’t know.

            Yeah the character designs are pretty cool and they caught my eye quickly. From what I saw of the second game characters I don’t know if I like them as much as the first games but hey, they might just grow on me. It sticks to the original style well so I have no complaints anyway.

            • Adaptations are certainly a dangerous thing to tackle but I learned that most anime adaptations are meant to ATTRACT people to read/watch/play the original. They would often be just promotional tools for the original source. Good or bad, a reaction is still a reaction and at the end of the day, people will realize a game about kids killing each other with an Ace Attorney setup exists and that’s half the goal achieved. Crappy adaptations still achieve their goal either way. It’s a screwy concept but that’s how the industry do things.

              I also sure that even if Danganronpa can get 24 episodes, there will still people who will hate it. Adaptations will always be second tier compared to the original no matter how closely adapted it is. I pay no mind if people didn’t like something I enjoyed. if their basis is because they played the game then I can already tell their opinion is very much biased. they will rarely acknowledge the merits of the show itself without comparing it to the thing they experience when they played the game. I can enjoy an anime without seeing the thing it adapted. The game has an interactive experience closely personal to the players. The anime has a director’s vision of that experience. My review critics the latter.

              You can watch gameplay videos of the game in youtube. It’s practically the same. The thing that sets the game apart is that you look for the clues yourself. It is pretty awesome. For case 4, yeah, it’s all about suspicion because the 16th member screw up the format. The reveal was pretty awesome but there were a lot of plot holes in the 4th case.

              Lol, did you see the fat version of Byakudan? The island setting is exciting itself but I mostly want to know who was the person behind the reality TV plan and the one backing up the model on her plan. It was pointed out that she can’t do it alone but they brushed the issue aside. I hope they talk about the true culprit in the second season. :)

  2. Sorry for the super late reply, I’ve been extremely busy for the past month and a half due to school, college apps, and whatnot. Still have a few finals to worry about but I’m not nearly so stressed for time as before.

    That’s certainly part of it, but there are a lot of people who don’t get to the source material for one reason or another. Particularly in the case of light novels, where many people just don’t want to read through the story as a bunch of text (especially since some of those series are really long), or more likely, there won’t be a chance to read them because they don’t get translated. In the first place though, I would find a good adaptation to be one that can stand on its own and doesn’t need to rely on its source material entirely. There are those short OVAs that really do feel more like trailers so it makes sense, but it is pretty disappointing to go through a series only for it to serve as a cash-grab with little entertainment value.

    Well that’s true, but there are people who hate every series anyway. Even things like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Steins;Gate have haters, few though there may be. At the very least, a two-cour Danganronpa would’ve felt more complete and could provide more incentive to care about the cast, which for me was limited only to Ishimaru and Oowada (maybe Kirigiri a bit because she’s Kirigiri) because of the events surrounding them. And it is true that people who are familiar with the source material would be biased, but everyone in general is biased so it doesn’t make their opinions any less valid. Obviously there are those crazy fans who will claim the adaptation to be garbage if it is not a one-to-one adaptation that fits every detail perfectly, but it’s not as if most fans watch an adaptation to point out everything it does wrong. As a personal example, I’ve been keeping up with BlazBlue this season, and I’ve seen many fans who dislike the adaptation. While it is true they have their expectations as fans of the source material, as someone who has no knowledge of the series beyond the anime, I find I agree with most of their complaints. I don’t despise the BlazBlue anime, but I do find myself disappointed at the lack of explanations and minimal character development, which tends to connect pretty closely to what I’ve heard about other responses to the anime. Adaptations shouldn’t be evaluated solely in comparison to their source materials, but they also shouldn’t be given a free pass if there are issues in how they adapt the material, particularly if a non-original fan can easily notice said issues.

    I’ve also heard there was a feature that allowed you to give presents to the characters that would allow you to interact with them and learn more about them so I thought that sounded pretty awesome since many of them didn’t have a whole lot of screen time. It certainly sounds appealing to play it Phoenix Wright style to uncover the secrets and learn these things on your own through the evidence, I imagine I’d love the game for that.

    Ah yes, I’ve seen him many times and it really surprised me. I’m also wondering just what the deal is with the whole conspiracy seeing as how Monokuma isn’t gone quite yet. Now I’m curious just what other strange surprises the second game has for me. I wonder if they’ll make an adaptation of that as well, I’ve heard that the second game would certainly need a two-cour adaptation to cover its material.

    • gawd, this comment needs pictures!!!. XD
      almost every anime is like that. It’s still a business and a lot of otome anime would’ve raised the bar by now if they truly want people to have a great time. No, not really. Most of the time, a success of an anime depends on the dvd sales it produces on the japanese market. we can’t forget that’s how business works.

      Yeah, OK. Blazblue sucks because it has a bad story therefore it’s a bad anime. Fans are right to get upset but what I was talking about was something good like Danganronpa. It’s not like Blazblue. Even if you aren’t a fan of the game, you can understand the appeal of the anime. People still hate on it though. It’s not the same for Blazblue. That show is bad. This one is good but it still has haters hating on miniscule details and I’m pretty sure a two cour format would just make haters go on a feeding frenzy even more. This show had a decent balance most video game adapted anime can’t capture. Why can’t we celebrate that aspect of the show?

      Giving gifts increases you relationship with a character and they will help you solve cases and help you during the trials. This would over complicate the anime. I’ve seen Persona 4 add every mini game and side quests and the anime was a hot mess of non sense. This aspect of the game doesn’t fit the progression of the show. I mean, do we really need to see the main character give gifts to people? Is it so fundamental that the anime should adapt it?

      I see you like two cour stuff. Well, I just want another season. The characters of the second game looks interesting. It depends on how the first season fare.

      • It’s just a bit disappointing that studios would go through the effort, time, and money to make a series that’s basically just “Hey look at how much better the source material is than this, if you didn’t like this adaptation then go out and buy the original” type of thing. I guess it all does come down to making money for the originals and whatnot, but a lackluster adaptation really can drag opinions down for whatever the original is and it’s a sad thing.

        I would certainly rank Danganronpa above BlazBlue for sure, although who’s to say what’s “good” or “bad” in terms of both adaptations and anime in general? Danganronpa definitely has the advantage of only adapting one game in a one-cour anime while BlazBlue (for some nonsensical reason) did the same with two games and ended up with a really confusing, unexplained, and undeveloped story. But even then, I can’t help but feel that Danganronpa couldn’t live up to its full potential. For the most part I would say the story was still engaging either way (even if personally I felt the pacing went too fast), though I really do feel that characterization could’ve been better. It could very well be that this was an issue for the source material itself and I really can’t say for sure until I play for myself, but a lot of the characters just felt like plot devices to drive the story and that there really wasn’t a whole lot of development, as colorful as their personalities were. And I don’t see why the anime being longer would gather more hate, that alone certainly wouldn’t stop ALL the haters (because being realistic, literally every series in existence has haters of some form) but I do feel that more development time could’ve been helpful in tackling some of the adaptation’s major issues. I’m not trying to say that Danganronpa is a bad adaptation (first off because I haven’t played the source material, and secondly because I feel “bad” is an arbitrary and entirely subjective label) but I do think it’s worth discussing the positives and negatives to an anime’s presentation and execution.

        On the contrary, I actually felt Persona 4 was a more solid adaptation personally. Persona 4 had a nice mix of the serious, plot-focused episodes and the more goofy down-time episodes that showed the characters relaxing and just interacting with each other. I suppose one might argue that some of those episodes felt filler-ish and weren’t necessary, but I really do think they helped make the characters more endearing and added a great deal to their personalities aside from what you could see from them encountering their inner turmoil through the shadows. Then again, I didn’t play P4’s game so I can’t really say how much the anime did the game justice (especially since I hear those Persona games are REALLY long). In any case, I’m not quite sure how the gift-giving could be incorporated into the game (since, again, I haven’t played it so I don’t know how it progresses, what impact it has, etc.) but I don’t think having at least a bit of it would actually HURT the adaptation any. I think any bit of characterization would’ve helped to add more impact when the characters die, as only a few of them really struck me because of who they were rather than just the fact that someone happened to be dead. Then there’s the matter of the investigations, which I felt weren’t just rushed but nearly pointless as all you could see was Naegi and friends picking up the random items for evidence yet nothing about them was presented as relevant until they were directly used in the trials. I suppose it doesn’t really make that huge a difference (and I wouldn’t go as far as to say it “ruined” the anime by nearly cutting them out) but I personally do enjoy piecing things together in a mystery series and it is a shame when you can’t do that because the information isn’t used until the very end. I feel like making the evidence more relevant to the viewers would have done more to immerse the audience in the game-like atmosphere of the series as well, seeing how the anime made it a point to emphasize the game aspects of the series in presenting the anime.

        I do indeed like two-cour stuff, often more than one-cours since there’s much more room for development, characterization, etc. That’s not to say that a two-cour is always better than a one-cour, and some series work a lot better in one-cour form, but I do find in many cases that a one-cour standalone, while still often very enjoyable and fulfilling, could have done more with the story with even the slightest more time to develop. In any case, I too look forward to the second installment of Danganronpa. I would certainly enjoy keeping up with a second season if it’s released, and in the worst case scenario I’d just get my hands on the games and enjoy those. Just have to see what happens when it comes to this series, I hear it’s very popular in Japan so a second season for the next game is certainly plausible.

        • Well, for an anime fan’s stand point, making money by advertising using another medium might be deplorable but if it’s a sound strategy to make money business wise, I think it’s still going to keep on happening. Let’s just enjoy it for what it means to us and not overthink it. I love it and that’s good enough for me.

          Persona 4 was a bit incomplete because the thing that makes it special is the gameplay. I think the same goes for Danganronpa. I haven’t played Daganronpa but I think it’s a solid argument. While the show just gave us the evidence, I think finding them with the rest of the characters opens up new dialogues that aren’t in the anime and it makes for a more personal relationship with the other characters. Also, I think some aspects of the game are designed to make you ask for help from the other characters to prove the one you’re accusing is the murderer. I’m not sure but playing the game with it’s unlimited time does make a ton of difference.

          Tow cour stuffs are hard to review. XD It comes with its advantage and disadvantages so one can only hope. I just hope a second season is coming.

  3. Great job with the review!! I see no reason why we should compare the anime adaptions to their original games. People should try to appreciate the anime and try to determine its worth by the story line, characters, sounds, how the director portray it, and so on. Hmmmm…

    I personally enjoyed watching Danganronpa. I like the game elements, it was something different from the usual anime. Throughout the series, I felt like I was watching cut-scene from a game (I haven’t played the actual Danganronpa game so I wouldn’t know what the cut-scenes would look like…lol) especially during the court trials. There were some paranoia among the students, it was because of it that many of them committed their crimes in the first place.

    All in all, it was a fun watch. I agree that there wasn’t enough gore but they did made up for it with the hectic animation style and background music. Especially during the execution scenes. I was kinda sad when it ended….it felt like a cliff hanger. But if they do make a season 2, I have no idea how they can carry on the story.

    • everybody is a critic and any body of media has haters. It’s the nature of the beast. I’m just glad there are other open minded people willing to accept the faults of the show and still recognize the good parts of it.

      The death scenes are taken from the game but yeah, the anime tried to capture the appeal of the game. I bet you want to try your hand at the game after watching the anime, right? :)

      There is a second game involving new players. It’s set on a tropical island where students are suppose to go on a field trip. Turns out, they are asked to play the same game. Yknow, kill people to get off the island. It sounds really cool. I hope they animate it.

  4. The only anime I like is Hunter X Hunter, didn’t like any other “Shounen” series. HxH is awesome though, love anime, manga and even games even though I don’t like playing video games at all, only Hunter X Hunter and some dirt bike games every now and then

Thoughts~

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