Hope!!! Despair!!! Hope!!!
Man, Danganronpa is so fucking weird. But I love it. For those who don’t know anything about it, the premise is that a bunch of kids are locked in a game where they have to murder each other. Basically just as you get attached to a character they get brutally murdered. It’s great.
This anime was a lot better than the first one, which was pretty much a straight up adaptation of the game. This one was made directly for anime, although by the creator of the game, and his influence is quite clear. However, unlike other video game creators who have gone on to making anime *cough* Jun Maeda *cough* he actually took the difference between the two mediums into account to make quite a strong anime. It’s particularly impressive considering that from what it looks like, he had hardly any budget whatsoever.
In some ways, he did better with the medium of television anime than most professional anime directors— I especially liked how he split the show into two sets of episodes, “Despair” and “Future”, with every other episode being a flashback related to the current episode set in the present time. This unique setup worked out great.
Also, just like in the video game, everything fit together very nicely, despite (actually, because of) jumping around in time and space and characters. The deaths had a lot of impact, even after so many people have already died, and the ending was fabulous.
My favorite episode was in the future arc, when Touka and Naegi’s imouto battle the green-haired loli girl. It’s these two little girls armed with rocket launchers taking on an army of killer bear robots. Then it turns out their enemy wasn’t the one doing bad things after all, she was just a bored hikkikkimori. Then her roomed turned into a spaceship and she played video games in space. It was completely ridiculous, but it was an amazingly entertaining episode.
WARNING: you really do need to either watch the first anime or play the first game, and also play the second game, before you watch this. I imagine it will not make any sense otherwise. Also, the order you watch the episodes in is critical: start with Future 1, then Despair 1, then Future 2, Despair 2, Future 2, … and finish with the Hope episode.
- Storytelling – B – Great use of the format, clever reveals, entertaining throughout.
- Voice – A – It’s Danganronpa, nothing like it…
- Characters – B – They’re all nuts, it’s great.
- Attention Grab – B – Kept my attention throughout.
- Production – D – Definitely this show’s weakness. I particularly hated the color scheme for the future arc. But amazing they did so well with what they had.
- Overall – B