Danganronpa

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Danganronpa
Danganronpa12reload.jpg
Promotional art for Danganronpa 1-2 Reload featuring characters from the first two games
Genre(s)Adventure, visual novel, shooter, murder mystery
Developer(s)Spike
Spike Chunsoft
Publisher(s)
Platform(s)PlayStation Portable, Android, iOS, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4
First releaseDanganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
25 November 2010
Latest releaseDanganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
12 January 2017

Danganronpa (Japanese: ダンガンロンパ) is a video game franchise created and developed by Spike Chunsoft (formerly Spike) for the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android and home computers. The series consists of three main titles, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, and a third person shooter spin-off, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls. Multiple smartphone titles, as well as various manga and novel adaptations and spin-off series, have also been released, and two anime television series, Danganronpa: The Animation and Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, have been produced by Lerche. The games are published in North America and Europe by NIS America. The series' name is a compound of dangan (弾丸, bullet) and ronpa (論破, refute).

The series follows groups of high school students who are forced into a murder game. The series received positive reviews from critics, praising the series' characters, tone and atmosphere.

Premise[edit]

The series revolves around the elite high school, Hope's Peak Academy (希望ヶ峰学園, Kibōgamine Gakuen, lit. Kibogamine Academy), which, every year, selects "Ultimate" students (超高校級, chō-kōkō-kyū, lit. Super High School Level)[a] talented high school students who are in the top of their field, along with one "Ultimate Lucky Student" who is chosen by lottery.

In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Makoto Naegi, an average student selected to join Hope's Peak Academy, arrives at the school only to lose consciousness and later find himself trapped inside the school, along with fourteen other students. There, a sadistic remote-controlled bear by the name of Monokuma announces that the students will be forced to live in the school forever, offering only one way to graduate: murder another student and get away with it. When a crime scene is discovered, a "class trial" (学級裁判, gakkyū saiban) is held, in which the remaining students must discuss amongst themselves who the murderer is. If they can successfully figure out who murdered the victim, the culprit alone will be executed. However, if they guess incorrectly, the culprit will be able to leave the school and everyone else will be executed.

The sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, has a similar premise, this time taking place on a tropical island known as Jabberwock (ジャバウォック島, Jabawokku-tō). Hajime Hinata, a student who has no memory of his Ultimate talent, along with fifteen other students, are taken there by a rabbit named Usami, who states it to be a field trip to help the classmates make friends with each other. However, Monokuma interferes yet again, turning it into yet another killing game.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, which takes place between the events of the first two games,[1] follows Makoto's younger sister, Komaru Naegi, accompanied by Toko Fukawa, as both of them trek through a city ruled by Monokuma's influence, fighting against a group of murderous children calling themselves the Warriors of Hope.

The anime series, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, serves as both a prologue and an epilogue to the Hope's Peak Academy storyline featured in the above games. The series is split into two arcs: Despair Side, which is a prequel to Trigger Happy Havoc, and Future Side, which is a sequel to Goodbye Despair. In Despair Side, Hope's Peak alumna Chisa Yukizome accepts a position as a homeroom teacher at her alma mater in order to keep an eye on suspicious activities undertaken by the school. In Future Side, Makoto, Kyoko, and Aoi and members of the Future Foundation are forced into another killing game against each other.

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony features a new storyline and has a female protagonist, Kaede Akamatsu. She becomes trapped in the "Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles" and forced to participate in a killing game by Monokuma and his five cubs, the Monokubs. This sequel is only loosely related to the Hope's Peak Academy storyline, as it happens in the future.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay in the main Danganronpa games is split into three main styles: Daily Life, Deadly Life, and Class Trial. Daily follows a standard visual novel style as players explore the school grounds, converse with characters and move the story forward. During designated 'Free Time' sections, players can choose to interact with a character of their choice, learning more about them and earning new skills that can help them in the Class Trial. Deadly is the post-murder investigation part of the story, in which you have to search around certain rooms and gather clues for the Class Trial. The Class Trial is the main gameplay mode of the series, in which students discuss amongst themselves who the culprit is. This involves various different types of mini-games, the most common of which is the Nonstop Debate. Here, characters will automatically discuss the case, and it is up to the player to spot contradictions in their statements and shoot them using "Truth Bullets" containing the corresponding evidence. Other gameplay types include shooting letters to spell out a clue, using rhythmic button presses to argue against a specific character, and constructing a comic strip depicting the events of a murder.

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, unlike the main games, is a third-person shooter in which the protagonist, Komaru, uses a megaphone to issue commands at most of electronic objects in game, including Monokuma Robots and switches.

Danganronpa: Unlimited Battle is an action game where players use touchscreen controls to fling a team of four of the Danganronpa characters at enemies.

Development[edit]

The first game in the series, titled Danganronpa: Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei, was produced by Yoshinori Terasawa, who was inspired by movies such as Saw and Cube. The game uses a distinct "pop art" style featuring fluorescent pink blood. The game's scenario was written by Kazutaka Kodaka, with character designs by Rui Komatsuzaki. In February 2014, Kodaka revealed on his Twitter account that the story of Danganronpa was inspired by the Sega Dreamcast game Illbleed, as he loved how "crazy" it was.[2] The game was originally conceived as a basic visual novel but, as visual novels were growing less popular, new gameplay elements were added to make it stand out.[3] The game was originally released on PlayStation Portable in Japan on 25 November 2010, and was later ported to iOS and Android devices on 20 August 2012. Prior to the game's release, the company released various promotional material, including a playable demo and trailers, which depicted a different victim from the final game.[4] Two smartphone applications, Danganronpa: Monokuma no Gyakushū (ダンガンロンパ モノクマの逆襲, lit. Danganronpa: Monokuma Strikes Back) and Alter Ego (アルターエゴ, Arutāego), were released for Android devices on 27 April 2012 and iOS devices on 23 May 2012.[5] A sequel, Super Danganronpa 2: Sayonara Zetsubō Gakuen, was released for PSP in Japan on 26 July 2012, featuring various gameplay additions.

On 10 October 2013, Spike Chunsoft released Danganronpa 1・2 Reload (ダンガンロンパ1・2 Reload), a compilation of the first two games, for the PlayStation Vita. Along with higher resolution graphics and touch-screen controls, the compilation added an additional 'School Mode' to the first game, based on the second game's 'Island Mode'. On 6 July 2013, NIS America announced they would be releasing the Vita version of the first game in English under the name Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, featuring both English and Japanese audio.[6] This version was released in North America on 11 February 2014, and in Europe and Australia on 14 February 2014. The Vita version of the second game, titled Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, was released in North America and Europe in September 2014.[7] Both games were later ported to Steam in 2015 and were released for PlayStation 4 in 2017.[8]

On 9 September 2013, Spike Chunsoft announced a spin-off title of the series, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, which was released on Vita on 25 September 2014 and was released in North America and Europe in September 2015.[9] A free-to-play spinoff game, Danganronpa: Unlimited Battle, was released for iOS in Japan on 7 January 2015.[10] In March 2015, writer Kodaka Kazutaka revealed that Danganronpa 3 was in early development.[11][12] The game was revealed in September 2015 as Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony for PlayStation 4 and Vita, which was later released in 2017.[13] A free virtual reality technical demo based on the first game, titled Cyber Danganronpa VR: The Class Trial, was released for PlayStation Plus users in Japan for the PlayStation VR on 13 October 2016.[14][15] In 2017, Spike Chunsoft started hiring staff for a new Danganronpa game.[16]

Media[edit]

Video games[edit]

Manga[edit]

The following manga series have been produced:

  • Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生) (Illustrated by Hajime Touya, published in Enterbrain's Famitsu Comic Clear from 24 June 2011 – 18 October 2013)
  • Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生) - The Demo
  • Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei - 4Koma Kings (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 4コマKINGS) (Various artists, three volumes released between 25 July 2011 and 25 January 2014)
  • Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei - Comic Anthology (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 コミックアンソロジー) (Various artists, three volumes released between 25 August 2011 and 25 February 2014)
  • Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei - The Animation (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生: The Animation) (Illustrated by Samurai Takashi, published in Kadokawa Shoten's Shonen Ace from July 2013 – July 2014, published in English by Dark Horse Comics starting in March 2016[21])
  • Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei - The Animation - Comic Anthology (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 The Animation 電撃コミックアンソロジー) (Various artists, released 27 August 2013)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Sayonara Zetsubou Gakuen (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 さよなら絶望学園) (Published in Famitsu Comic Clear from 10 December 2012)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Dangan Island - Kokoro Tokonatsu Kokoronpa♪ (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 だんがんアイランド ココロ常夏、ここロンパ♪) (Illustrated by Yoryu, published by Mag Garden from 30 October 2012 – 15 April 2013)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Chou-Koukou-Kyuu no Kouun to Kibou to Zetsubou (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 超高校級の幸運と希望と絶望) (Illustrated by Kyosuke Suka, published by Mag Garden from 10 November 2012)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Nanami Chiaki no Sayonara Zetsubou Daibouken (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 七海千秋のさよなら絶望大冒険) (Illustrated by Karin Suzuragi, published in Mag Garden's Monthly Comic Blade from December 2012)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Nangoku Zetsubou Carnival! (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 南国ぜつぼうカーニバル!) (Illustrated by Ayune Araragi| published in GA Bunko's GA Bunko Magazine from 14 April 2013)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Sayonara Zetsubou Gakuen - 4Koma Kings (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 さよなら絶望学園 4コマKINGS) (Various artists, four volumes released between 25 October 2012 and 25 October 2013)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Sayonara Zetsubou Gakuen - Comic Anthology (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 さよなら絶望学園 コミックアンソロジー) (Various artists, four volumes released between 24 November 2012 and 25 November 2013)
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Zetsubouteki Ingaritsu no Naka no Souda Kazuichi (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 絶望的因果律の中の左右田和一)
  • Danganronpa 1・2 - Comic Anthology (ダンガンロンパ 1・2 コミックアンソロジー)
  • Small Danganronpa 1・2 Light (スモール ダンガンロンパ 1・2 ライト)
  • Zettai Zetsubou Shoujo: Danganronpa Another Episode - Genocider Mode (絶対絶望少女 ダンガンロンパ Another Episode ジェノサイダーモード) (Illustrated by Machika Minami, published in Kadokawa Shoten's Dengeki Maoh from 27 January 2015)[22]
  • Zettai Zetsubou Shoujo: Danganronpa Another Episode (絶対絶望少女 ダンガンロンパ Another Episode) (Illustrated by Hajime Touya, published in Kadokawa Shoten's Famitsu Comic Clear from 20 February 2015)[23]
  • Zettai Zetsubou Shoujo: Danganronpa Another Episode - Comic Anthology (絶対絶望少女 ダンガンロンパ Another Episode コミックアンソロジー)
  • Danganronpa Gaiden: Killer Killer (ダンガンロンパ害伝 キラーキラー) (Illustrated by Mitomo Sasako, published in Kodansha's Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine from 9 March 2016)[24]
  • Revival Shot!: Danganronpa - Itagaki Hako Sakuhin Shuu (リバイバルショット! ダンガンロンパ板垣ハコ作品集)
  • Triple Bullet: Danganronpa - Watarizora Tsubamemaru Sakuhin Shuu (トリプルバレット ダンガンロンパ渡空燕丸作品集)
  • Danganronpa 3: The End Of Kibougamine Gakuen - Mirai Hen / Zetsubou Hen - Dengeki Comic Anthology (ダンガンロンパ3 The End of 希望ヶ峰学園 ー 未来編 / 絶望編 電撃コミックアンソロジー)
  • Danganronpa 3: The End Of Kibougamine Gakuen - Comic Anthology (ダンガンロンパ3 The End of 希望ヶ峰学園 コミックアンソロジー)
  • New Danganronpa V3: Minna no Koroshiai Shingakki - Comic Anthology (ニューダンガンロンパV3: みんなのコロシアイ新学期 コミックアンソロジー)

Novels[edit]

The following novels have been released in print.

  • Danganronpa/Zero (ダンガンロンパ / ゼロ), written by Tsuyoshi Kodakazu and illustrated by Rui Komatsuzaki (Released from 15 September 2011 – 13 October 2011, 2 volumes)[25]
  • Danganronpa Kirigiri (ダンガンロンパ霧切), written by Takekuni Kitayama and illustrated by Komatsuzaki (13 September 2013 – 15 March 2017, 5 volumes)[26]
  • Danganronpa: The Animation (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 The Animation) written by Ryo Kawakami (20 September 2013 – 20 December 2013, 2 volumes)[27]
  • Danganronpa Togami (ダンガンロンパ十神), written by Yuya Sato (27 November 2015 - February 2017, 3 volumes)[28]
  • Danganronpa 1・2 Beautiful Days (ダンガンロンパ 1・2 Beautiful Days) (12 December 2015, 1 volume)[29]

Additional mini light novels written by Ryogo Narita have been included as unlockable bonuses in the video games. Clearing Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair unlocks Danganronpa IF: The Button of Hope and the Tragic Warriors of Despair (ダンガンロンパIF 希望の脱出装置と絶望の残念無双, Danganronpa IF: Kibō no Dasshutsusōchi to Zetsubō no Zan'nen Musō), while clearing Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls unlocks Danganronpa: Ultra Despair Hagakure (ダンガンロンパ 絶対絶望葉隠, Danganronpa: Zettai Zetsubō Hagakure).

A short story booklet titled Danganronpa: Makoto Naegi Secret File - The Worst Day Ever (ダンガンロンパ Makoto Naegi Secret File 苗木誠、人生最悪の日, Naegi Makoto, Jinsei Saiaku no Hi), written by Kazutaka Kodaka, was included with special editions of the first Japanese Blu-ray and DVD release of Danganronpa: The Animation.[30]

Anime[edit]

In December 2012, Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype magazine announced that there would be an anime television series adaptation of the first game, titled Danganronpa: The Animation, produced by Lerche and directed by Seiji Kishi.[31] The series aired between 4 July 2013 and 26 September 2013 on MBS' Anime-ism programming block. The final Blu-ray/DVD volume, released on 26 February 2014, features an extended final episode.[32] Funimation simulcast the series as it aired and released it on Blu-ray/DVD in North America on 10 November 2015, while Manga Entertainment released the series in the UK on 9 November 2015.[33][34] The anime aired in India on Animax Asia using the Japanese audio with English subtitles.[35]

A second anime series, titled Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, aired between July and September 2016. The series is split into two simultaneously airing parts; Side: Future, which serves as a conclusion to the "Hope's Peak Academy" storyline, and Side: Despair, which serves as a prequel to the first two games; Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair. Seiji Kishi once again directed the series at Lerche, while Norimitsu Kaihō wrote the screenplay.[36] The series was licensed for simulcasting by Funimation.[37] Despite episodes alternating between the Future and Despair arcs when it originally aired, Funimation groups the episodes by arc on its streaming service.[38] An original video animation titled Super Danganronpa 2.5: Komaeda Nagito to Sekai no Hakaisha, was bundled with Danganronpa V3 in Japan on 12 January 2017.[39]

Music[edit]

The original soundtracks for both the games and the anime are composed by Masafumi Takada. The soundtrack for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was released in Japan by Sound Prestige Records on 14 February 2011, with the ending theme, "Saisei -rebuild-" (再生 -rebuild-, Playback -rebuild-), performed by Megumi Ogata, which is also used as the anime's final ending theme. The soundtrack for Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair was released on 31 August 2012. The soundtrack for Danganronpa: The Animation was released by Geneon Universal Entertainment on 28 August 2013. The opening theme for the anime series was "Never Say Never", performed by TKDz2b with Jas Mace, Marchitect and Tribeca, the single of which was included with the first Blu-ray/DVD volume of the anime released on 28 August 2013. The ending theme is "Zetsubōsei: Hero Chiryōyaku" (絶望性:ヒーロー治療薬, Despairity: A Hero's Treatment) by Suzumu feat. Soraru, the single of which was released on 4 September 2013. There have also been drama CDs, as well as bonus soundtracks included with limited edition releases of the games.[citation needed]

Appearances in other games[edit]

Monokuma appears in some downloadable content for Spike Chunsoft's role-playing game, Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars.[40] Costumes of Monokuma and Monomi also appear in the Japanese PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of Terraria, which are published by Spike Chunsoft in that region.[41] Another Spike game developed for the PlayStation Portable, Gachitora: The Roughneck Teacher in High School, allows a player to wear a Monokuma costume if a Danganronpa save file is present upon playing Gachitora.[42] Downloadable outfits based on Monokuma and Monomi also appeared in the Super Sonico game, Motto! SoniComi.[43] Characters from Danganronpa appear as downloadable content in Fushigi no Chronicle: Furikaerimasen Katsu Madewa.[44] The Japanese PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions of Crypt of the Necrodancer feature remixed music from the Danganronpa series, as well as character skins of Makoto Naegi, Monokuma, Monomi, Hajime Hinata, Junko Enoshima, Chiaki Nanami, Ibuki Mioda and Sayaka Maizono.[45]

Reception[edit]

Japanese and Western review scores
As of 7 February 2019.
Game Famitsu Metacritic
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (PSP) 36/40[46] (PC) 82/100[47]
(Vita) 80/100[48]
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PSP) 37/40[49] (PC) 83/100[50]
(Vita) 81/100[51]
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (Vita) 35/40[52] (Vita) 72/100[53]
(PS4) 67/100[54]
Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (PS4) 37/40[55]
(Vita) 37/40[55]
(PS4) 81/100[56]
(Vita) 80/100[57]
(PC) 80/100[58]
Danganronpa 1-2 Reload (PS4) 83/100[59]

In Japan, the game series has sold a total of 930,719 units as of 7 November 2018.[60] The best-selling Danganronpa game in Japan is Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, which sold a total of 258,250 units on the PSP.[61] In Europe and the United States, combined sales of the first two games on PlayStation Vita, Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair, have surpassed 200,000 copies sold as of April 2015.[62] Spike Chunsoft reported in March 2018 that the two games each sold an additional 200,000 units through Steam.[63]

In 2017, Famitsu readers voted Danganronpa among the top four adventure games of all time, along with Steins;Gate, 428: Shibuya Scramble and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.[64]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ An "Ultimate" is someone highly talented in a career or skill

References[edit]

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