AHAHA WHAT’S WITH THOSE SKETCHES?!
… Ahem, one thing at a time. This anime is another one of those death game shows where a bunch of people need to kill each other for some stupid reason. In this case, it is because the orchestrator of the game loves murder. Yeah, it is shallow and stupid but HEY at least there is a motivation for the villain. Remember the one in Sword Art Online, who was making you think there was a major reason and turned out he had none? So at least this one is honest about what it’s all about. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN I AM A NUTJOB WHO LOVES TO FORCE PEOPLE INTO KILLING EACH OTHER!
It would be more than enough if they left it as simple as that but that is the thing with this show. It tries to be over-the-top in everything. And this is why the orchestrator is the president of a prestige school.
… and is also a talking bear.
… make that a mutated talking bear with magic powers.
… ok, actually it is a remote controlled robot that uses high tech but come on, it is so impossible to believe it can do all that, you might as well call it magic
Now you may start wondering why is a bear managing a prestige school, or what drove it to become so sadistic. You can stop thinking about such trivial issues after you take a look at how the participants of the death game look like.
AHAHA! WHAT ARE THESE CLOWNS?
Seriously, they all look ten times more eccentric and ridiculous than even those in Yu Gi Oh. In our world they wouldn’t be able to take a single step outside their houses without being pointed at and laughed about but over here that is supposed to be normal. Not even the blood looks right; it’s colored pink! Because red would make sense; get it? They say it is a form of censorship and stuff but come on; it looks like everybody is bleeding strawberry juice.
But anyways, if you suspend your disbelief you can excuse it as a way to make the characters more memorable. If they were normal-looking, you wouldn’t have a reason to remember them. And that expands to their personality as well, which is nothing more than a ridiculous pinch in the voice (two of which are even traps) and a couple of quirks based on what they are good at. Technically they are not even characters but representations of archetypes. So yeah, easy to remember but nothing much besides that.
Now, said participants are all teenagers (since we can’t have adults in teen shows) that just transferred (we must always have transfer students) to a new prestige school (there is absolutely nothing else teenagers can go to besides schools). Each one of them is a genius in a specific subject, with the only exception being the protagonist who is … well, good at being average at everything. Yeah, he is one of those vanilla characters the audience is supposed to pour itself into. He seems to be the most balanced of the bunch but for the same reason he is duller than a rusty hammer. While everyone else easily stands out for that something he is good for, the protagonist is a blank sheet that cares only about the retarded ideal of friendship is magic.
So, anyways, they get trapped inside the school and the sadistic magical mutated talking bear tells them to kill each other if they want to graduate. Of course the graduation part is just a troll; the real reason is simply because the bear gets orgasms by looking at people getting killed in brutal ways. And no, they can’t escape the school since all the doors are locked, everything seems to be made of steel, and the bear cannot be captured since it has magic powers (or super technology if that sounds less ridiculous to you) that make it teleport anywhere it likes and can summon deadly weapons out of nowhere (you know what, screw calling it technology; it’s magic). They can’t even rely on the outside world for aid. Nobody out there gives a damn. Literally.
The laughs don’t stop here, since despite all the ludicrous premise so far, the show is also supposed to be a detective story. You know, solving murder mysteries by gathering clues and questioning suspects. That’s serious stuff but when you have a show about clowns and magic bears, you can just imagine how well that will be done. There is no reason to believe the clues they find in the murder scenes are offering the slightest hints of intelligence, since most of them are laughably bad. There is absolutely no way to connect the pieces and figure out who did it since they make no sense and many suspects deliberately refuse to tell you vital information that can save the innocent. Or ever worse, some deliberately change the evidence to help the murderer get away just because it is a fun thing to do, even if this way everybody but the killer dies. And the funniest thing is how after all the clues and the deduction procedures, it never comes down to evidence pointing out the killer but some ridiculous revelation, such as the victim having written the name of the murdered before it died, or the murderer making a slip of the tongue which incriminates him.
Another thing is that not even the tension of who dies next is good, since it is very easy to figure out the next victim. Since the show has very few episodes, it just goes for the laziest of methods, where you try to offer some exposition to a character only a few minutes before you kill him. This is a problem that springs from the fact the series is based on a silly attorney videogame, where you interact with people for a long time before you reach a verdict. The show only focuses on the major events, thus everything feels rushed and just the bones of what the original game was supposed to offer with its ludicrous premise.
Not even the ending attempts to wrap everything properly, since it simply goes for some random last moment plot twist that leaves you scratching your head, since it pretty much neglects a lot of side stories and leaves everything open for a sequel that can’t possibly link with said side stories. You are just left to think it was all pointless and petty.
So in all, it is just another braindead show to waste your time instead of doing something more productive.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (crude)
Character Figures 0/2 (ridiculous)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (semi-artsy)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (retarded but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 0/2 (it seems complicating but in reality it is as random as it gets)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (messy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 1/2 (basic but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (messy to the point it doesn’t matter)
Catharsis 0/2 (messy to the point it doesn’t matter)
VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too much randomness)
Memorability 2/4 (weird enough to remember it for awhile but nothing that will stick with you)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 1/1 (looks crazy)
Sound 1/2 (music is ok, dialogues are not)
Story 0/3 (over the top and makes no sense)
Characters 1/4 (they look crazy but are shallow and forgettable)
*MY SCORE IS BASED IN THE VISUAL NOVEL + ANIME*
First of all, don't be the 'animeonlyfag' if you want to know this show better, clear? Saying the anime is a complete shit without acknowledging the visual novel contents is a big mistake, but it's not your fault rushing to this conclusion, and I'll explain why you should give this a chance.
Why you should play the visual novel and why I think it should be a 26 episodes adaptation:
Like I said, the catch is the visual novel, if you play, (requires a PSP or a neat PC to run the emulator, if you don't have any of those or if you're just lazy, watch on youtube instead, but beware of the spoilers) you'll understand the development of the show and the characters easily, and consequently you'll like the show, because if you deal only with the anime, you'll probably won't like from the beginning. For instance, the story is deep as fuck (mindf*cks everywhere) but they only got 13 episodes to make understandable for everyone, and that's why the long time fans or even the newcomers, like myself in that time, became pissed off about it.
When I decided to give Danganronpa a second chance, I did a little searching first (lies, I did a lot of searching) and I discovered the visual novel, and with some more lurking in the dark places of the internet, I read some people saying to play the whole visual novel first, and watch the ongoing animation after finishing it, so I did the following: I played the visual novel first, understood the story and finished the game with my point of view, like which characters I spent my freetime and bonded with, just for my first impression. Hell, later I even watched what I didn't make in youtube just for character and hidden plot knowledge purposes! Then I finally got my eyes into the anime, and I must say all this work just to understand the series was damn worth my time, because the impression I got is the anime is kinda a crappy summary of the visual novel.
But the big question that I got wandering in my mind for a while is: It was supposed to be this rushed? If I'm right, it was a huge mistake agreeing to make this adaptation.
Further explanation, and what's behind of the negative hype:
The first question I got when I found the root of the fanbase was: Why all the anger, and why a lot of people are saying Dangit Ron Paul is bad? The answer came to me pretty clearly, well, for starters, Dama Bomba: The Animation isn't bad, it's just another case of the animation wasn't good enough to compete with the VN/Manga.
If you want to make a good adaptation of a successful series you MUST gather all the great points of the show, like the investigation, the soundtrack and the main character development, you need to put together even the obviously charming downsides, like the pink blood, the funny looking villain or some goofy executions, everything that make this show unique, it's all that needs to make a grateful and enjoyable adaptation.
In the visual novel the entire development is pretty solid, you start to understand most of the characters and their personalities pretty well with the main story and more and more with the free-time events, take your time and enjoy the ride, also you can always load the chapters if someone you didn't bonded with dies suddenly if you continue the story (heart attack someone? would be hella funny), but sadly in the anime everything happens SO DAMN FAST, it's so dynamic that we even can't understand what the hell just happened! Just like that on the middle of the series almost the entire cast is dead with nothing else more explained with ease, your mind can be kinda like this: WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE? THAT GUY DIED? BUT I DIDN'T EVEN KNEW HE WAS THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! WHY IS THAT TEDDYBEAR KILLING THESE KIDS? AND WHY HE HAVE SUCH A FUNNY VOICE? SERIOUSLY GUYS I NEED HELP AROUND HERE. It's a clusterfuck, seriously.
The animation doesn't have on-screen character bonding too, like Mondo and Ishimaru becoming bros (Fujisaki included, but not that much on the series to be honest, it's more a fanfic thing, the bro trio that I love so much), which the outcome leads people to think about a weird boylove thing! Just because it is very nonexplained in the anime, now in the visual novel they appear together kinda frequently, and with all the talking is self explanatory that a man bond is thicker than blood, and you're part of their partnership aswell AND became respected by those two! But where is this in the animation? 5 minutes? That's unacceptable, just a forgetful beam and that was it? ONE THING I CAN'T STAND IS A RUSHED MOTHERFUCKING ADAPTATION! It was supposed to be there because it IS a important thing to make the story more understandable and enjoyable. Also Fukawa stalking Togami (it appears on-screen but is poooooorly developed, goddammit), Oogami and Asahina bonding can be a little misleading as well (god bless yuri), in the game you can see them practicing sports together, in the same room and eating donuts (you're alone in this one, Aoi-chan), and there's a lot more stuff they don't show us, it's a shame that all those good natured fillers got swerved big time.
The story is indeed deep and interesting, and may or not have some five or six twists. The hope of humanity are those 15 (*cough* 16 *cough*) kids, and they're trapped in the Hope Academy to grow a new population. Why? Well, that's because they're the best in the world on their jobs or hobbies, seems strange? (even I could be there if they needed some masturba- nevermind) Yeah, it's just because of that, at first glance seems shitty, but later on... GO WATCH IT NOW, DAMMIT. And why they're trapped? Sorry, you're asking too much now (don't mind my delirium disorder, please), but you must watch/play the series to know better. Anyways, what I can tell you is something very interesting, this was supposed to be a pacific and a calm place for the new Adam's and Eve's live their lives forever, but because of this fucking bear now they must KILL each other in order to 'graduate', and must be a silent dispatch, nobody can find out who is the murderer, but if they manage to catch the assassin (so many synonyms for killer), and obviously have the proof needed to lockdown the guilty without further doubt, the culprit is executed and everybody moves to the next place of the academy, that's it thank you New York and good night!!! But seriously, Monokuma make his rules very strict, and plays around to always have something entertaining to watch, like giving the kids 'reasons to kill', or if they accuse and vote to kill an innocent person everybody dies and the former malefactor graduate. Well, you're obviously thinking that is fucking insane, huh? The flow of the show with all the murder mystery plot is actually pretty involving when they start investigating, talking and understanding who they are, their reasons to survive and even their background life, so as threatening each other to get the facts straight in the end, just to make the right decision for the sake of their own lives, which is the vital point of the entire series, but unfortunately this have a (ANOTHER?) huge flaw in the animation.
In the visual novel, Naegi, who is YOU (yay you're a scared dingo protagonist), need to search for clues and assimilate the whole damn thing, this is what develop the mystery and get you in the mood of the show, even in those cases that you doesn't need to use your brain too much, the satisfaction to close a case is great! I didn't like so much the most of the murder reasons to be honest, but that is just me. Sadly the anime didn't make very well from the point of view of Naegi, basically what I'm saying is: He don't know jackshit of anything, and from the vastly dungeon of nothingness he suffers from a sudden lapse of knowledge and mysteriously knows what happened and who is the culprit, (if he's somewhat wrong, Kirigiri is right, seems like House M.D all over again) like, what the hell? Even some clues he and other cast members found in the investigation doesn't get mentioned in the class trial for better understanding just because he is the protagonist. And the stupid thing is, IF YOU FAIL THE TEST, SUDDENLY YOU'RE THE CULPRIT! IT WAS ME ALL ALONG, AUSTIN!
The whole point is apprehending the plot, this is not a senseless battle royale, but inauspiciously is what the most people who didn't even knew the series before and went straight to the anime thought it was, just because the lack of information on the animation rushed storyline, I know, this is getting repetitive.
Well, I must say the animation did not impress me thaaat much, I like the unique style of the characters (their eyes for example) and I sure loved seing my favorite ones (Mondo Badass Oowada) in action instead of a weird paperboard figure, powered up with a lot of funny, scary, cute and badasses reactions too, (the priceless Celes angry reactions) and another thing I dislike that is still there from the visual novel, because it's one of the charming downsides of the series, is the MOTHERF***ING SHAKING CAMERA! What I mean is: WHEN A BODY IS FOUND THE CAMERA SHAKES MORE THAN FREAKING SHAKIRA IN A HULA HOOP, GODDAMMIT! Seems like even the cameraman got scared and you'll get scared too just because of this (or is just me, probably is), but seriously, this is extremely annoying, but I can kinda (not really) understand that is a charm from the series, like the pink blood thing, it's the whole OMG I FOUND A CORPSE! LET'S SHAKE WITH TERROR AND PLAY A TERRIFYING SCREAM, HEHOOO.
Now I will beg your pardon, but my fanboyism side is gonna take control for a sec.
OH MY GOD WHAT KIND OF MASTERMIND IS THIS GUY MASAFUMI TAKADA? All the OST is MARVELOUS, mentioning that he worked for Killer 7 and No More Heroes franchise too. I can't get enough of the songs, I listened to this OST a LOT, the entire thing for weeks and weeks, over 4000 executions on my last.fm account I believe, it's just brilliant! At least for me, the entire show is this great because of background instrumental orchestra, it fits perfectly when a song starts with a new scene or change of subject, it can bring you hope or despair (puns, lovely) accordingly with the present scenario. But if you couldn't figure out why the soundtrack is the best thing on this series, I suggest you listen closely when it happens and you'll understand what i'm talking about, it can be on the animation or in the visual novel, doesn't matter to say no less, at least the anime couldn't get any wrong with this OST, you really know when the shit is about to hit the fan just because of the music direction, it is very friendly if you're lost on the dialogue.
Aside from the extraordinary soundtrack (and my fanboyism), let's talk about the voice acting, first of all there is something that everybody should already recognized: Naegi's voice actor is the same as Shinji in the Evangelion series (yay he's a scared jango protagonist too), pretty good work if you ask me, but not that good compared to the visual novel, the effort was not the same, he seems bored all the time when he yells the classic DING DONG YOU'RE ALL WRONG, the same happens with Monokuma's acting, in the visual novel he is a lot funnier, even his iconic laugh is dissatisfactory in the anime, you'll grow tired of this if you played the VN. But the good thing is, that finally we can hear the characters actually talking to each other instead of just being souless paperboard figures just standing there motionless. Also yelling more and shouting a lot more instead of just grunting or repeating the same words all the time, that is the beauty of the animation, because in the visual novel you don't get that many different sounds. I did loved Hagakure saying more words than dabe all the time. And yes, during the class trials and the outcome of the murders, we can still have the conversation with the characters fearing the worst, accusing each other, losing their sanity and crying rivers (I feel you, Ishimaru), that is indeed a spectacular voice acting! I must say I personally love Fujisaki's and Mondo's voice acting. (no shit sherlock)
In a side note, the OP and the EP of the animation are pretty well done too, the OP with a few rap spots, seemed original and lore-friendly for me, and the EP with a good techno jpop with catching lyrics, well done there.
We can't understand the characters that well like we do in the visual novel just because we have the world in our hands, but fortunately the animation got the entire essence of each one to make a neat adaptation, like Kirigiri's mysterious aura, Togami's jerkface attitude or Fujisaki's scary cat personality.
In the beginning we can't see what the first victims are up to, what they do and who they are, sadly this happens in the visual novel aswell, even though we can chitchat with everyone, that's a big downside for who tried to bond with some of the soon-to-be-dead characters better, well you can kinda try to, but you cannot save whoever you want and that got me mad, it's a shame the VN was this linear, because I tried my very best to save her (YOU TRIED TOO)... but, let's just wait for the PSVITA version with the School Mode, shall we? Seems like you can really control the story with the choices you make, and the game doesn't bambooze you just faking the feeling that you're in control, and I'll finally gonna be bro with Mondo and Ishimaru and get my scheme going with the millitary girl, OOPS.
Overall and my conclusion:
* You can enjoy the anime like any other psychological/mystery one, could be a LOT better if was a 24~26 episode with a few OVAS on the way, but it's fine the way it is, could be a masterpiece (fanboyism), but it's just fine... it could be, but isn't... IT'S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMMIT.
* It's a nice murder mystery, the plot is not forgivable in the anime for the lack of information because it's so linear, if you try to search for infos you might get huge spoilers, be careful!
* Monokuma is an incredibly funny villain at most of the times, but eventualy you'll start to understand his true insane form, I can say his theme music helps with the shits 'n gigs atmosphere, but his acting gets kinda boring and predictable too, later on you'll eventually start slooooowly disliking him because he isn't that 'super genius mastermind' anymore, the first theatre is actually decent to make you think about the characters safety, but later on it's just a 'oh well we got a scene here!", and the kids start to get along with the environment and be more confident about their situation. For me he's just a angry teddy bear who fell sideways on black grease and is pissing mad about it.
* There's not so much gore (if any) or bloodshed, they missed a opportunity here, it could be much more gruesome, let me explain my disappointment with this little semi-spoiler: It should have a little more creepy aspects, at least in this specific case, it's because there's nothing remaining of the body, like, it SHOULD be something there if I recall correctly, that wasn't a dissapearence, well, this is something that not got explained, and sounded more like a joke than an execution. Because of that I was starting to doubt the whole 'despair murdering madness I'll drink your tears in the breakfast yar fucker' show.
* There's not much horror, the Hope Academy 'dark aura' it's because the horror is tagged with his buddy mystery, but hey, the blood is fucking pink so who cares about horror? (damn you Andy Warhol and your PopArt influences) But the thing that would scare you the most is the camera, trust me, is the mothershakin' camera.
Err... aaaaaaanyways, moving on, the thing is that you MUST understand you won't get all the prestigious information that could possibly make you a big fan of the show if you don't play/watch the visual novel. Again I'll reinforce this with an example: Myself, I got very interested in all the characters (mainly Mondo, yes it's true, it's true) and the mystery plot, so I spared a considerable amount of time to research the show's world and I did enjoy a LOT when I got things straight. I must say I'm not much a horror/gore lover, I like more when they're together with a mystery plot, oh I love the mystery more than anything else... Actually I'm lying, I love boobs much more, but there isn't much fanservice on this show, which is kinda good because, with a plot like this the fanservice is the least you want it, otherwise it would be a crappy show which ends on a boat [SHOTS FIRED]. Well, actually there is a little from Asahina in the episode 6, god I love her round donuts, and if you want to get nasty search for the fanfics, swig of water for the hentai man!
Lastly, this show is very easy going in the mystery solving, and offers a BIG AMOUNT OF PERSPECTIVES, for me is that the whole plot could be a big reality show, and when a person 'die', him/her starts to help on the next murdering schemes, and yes, only Naegi who doesn't know shit about it. Well, that is my perspective, you'll get your own too, like I said, the show is very forgiving in this aspect, but I can't spoil more for you, if you got really interested I suggest you do the same as I did, spare a couple hours to acknowledge the awesomeness that is this show, because it is worth it your time.
Goddammit now I only need to learn freaking japanese to play Dammit Panga 2 (yes there's a 2, where the story get more and more interesting, or more and more fucked up, your choice).
~FORGET IT BEAM~
I hope my review was helpful and I hope (it's not a pun with the show, I swear) I didn't spoil some crucial point to you, and I hope (SERIOUSLY IT'S NOT) you'll love it as much as I did! Sorry about any grammar errors, I did this review because I treasure Dragonmarpa a lot and I thought people will get more interested if I shared my *ahem* vast knowledge about it, and of course I tried to not be an annoying fanboy so much. (hey, I didn't even talk much about Mondo anyways, HUH? HUH??? AM I RIGHT GUYS?)
Swig of water for the reviewing man, I'll catch your ass down the road.
Goddammit Ishimaru, are you for real?
~Hey, what about a drinking game? Read my review again and, everytime I said 'rushed show' you take a shot, be careful to not throw up! hahahah... oh dear.
Edits will be done in bold.
My humble review of a show commonly known as "Dang it, Grandpa." (Shouldn't it be more like "Doggone Rumba?")
Story: For people who have played the video game, this should be old news, but the story is that a young boy is invited to a school which he thinks is basically Ouran High. But, no, it is actually a death trap with a sadistic cartoony bear as its principal. There are a bunch of other people at the school who are equally surprised to hear that they are part of a game in which only those who get away with murder ("To tell the truth, I am getting away with muuuuuuurdeeeeer!") can leave the school.
The "hero" (if he can be called that) is Naegi Makoto, a generic shounen hero who despises the idea of anyone killing anyone else. He is the main character, and everyone else is either useless roadkill or someone with more than a shred of usefulness who won't be killed off for a while. After a few episodes it's pretty damn obvious who's who.
Now, I have heard multiple opinions of this show, and they tend to fall into three categories. The first, limited to only people who have played the game, is as follows: "What the hell, the game is so much better than this! This is just some advertisement to get people to play the game!" The second is this: "Okay, so this isn't the best anime to come out this season by a long shot, but worse anime have been created, and it's kind of entertaining." The third is this: "OMFG, OMFG, wonderful world of anime, this is beautiful!!!!!!!!1!!!!!one!!!" I, personally, am a member of the second category. I'm sure the game is better guys, and even if it isn't, how the hell should I know? And this isn't great, not even good. But it's way more entertaining than it should be, and I look forward to watching it every week.
But entertainment value can't save a show, and "Danganronpa Kibou Afjoi4janfpaiwojlkxflmailsdjk..." suffers from some glaring issues. First and foremost, the show makes Naegi the most knowledgable character. You know, the one who solves every case, shoots down every theory that is incorrect, and never misses a beat? That one. It's hard to believe in this show when every freaking character is just an assistant to our protagonist Mr. Wonderful. Another issue is that every case is wrapped up in a neat little package with a bow attached to it. There's never any sense of worry that the wrong killer will be chosen (and every innocent person in the room dies), or that anything truly terrible will happen to the characters who supply something to the plot. In addition, the story is very formulaic, with alternating "murder" episodes and "trial" episodes. The period of time after a "murder" episode keeps the viewer on the edge of his seat--who, what, when, where, WHY?--but the week after a "trial" episode is just boring.
One other thing, which is more of a gripe than a real problem, is that the story is told from first-person perspective. Instead of giving the story the feel of having an unreliable character, it just secures the idea that Naegi will never be in any true danger. But any character with half a brain could see that Naegi is the one solving every case, and should therefore try to murder him.
Animation: The artwork and animation are, for most of the show, terrible by today's standards. Sure, character designs are distinct (but most are mind-numbingly weird), but with that minor exception, the art sucks. The animation doesn't fare better, with stiff characters and uninteresting backgrounds. Still shots are used very often, and the moments with slightly-above-sub-par animation are reused.
But now, for the gore.
I have heard that the blood in the original game was colored pink for censorship issues (because everyone knows that red is super-effing-X-rated-extreme and pink is just cutesy), so the anime makes the blood pink.
=BAD! NOT FOR KIDS!
=GOOD! PARENTING APPROVED!
I know that many people hate this, but I actually find it kind of cool, but I would think it was stupid had I not heard about the game. The actual murders are rather tame in comparison to most anime in this genre, but the punishment scenes are clever and thoroughly entertaining. They also have some of the most interesting animation of the show.
Sound: I have noticed that many anime with boring stories, lackluster animation, and bland characters can still excel in the sound department. Now, this show doesn't take this to the extreme that, say, "11eyes" and "Amnesia" did, but it applies. The opening song is a pretty cool English-Engrish-rap-pop hybrid, and it meshes better than my description makes it sound. The OP also has some neat artwork to go along with it, and it avoids the despicable pitfall of containing spoilers. The ending song is beautiful in another way, but it doesn't have the coolness of the OP. The background music doesn't seem as great as it could be, but every seiyuu fits his/her character to a T.
Characters: This... is where it gets fun to write this review.
Naegi Makoto: If you couldn't already figure it out from this review, this guy is the main character. He is the protagonist, and is therefore a special snowflake and deserves your undivided attention. Now, while it does feel like the anime is desperate to make Naegi the likable one, he is ultimately just a bland character whom everyone (well... one super-important person, at least) just adores for some reason, and who can become Sherlock Holmes when the need arises. He is entrusted with luck and ability whenever the plot calls for it, and is probably the least interesting character in the series.
Togami Byakuya: I loved him from square one because, in a sea of weird-ass character designs, he stands out for being as close to a bishie as this series can manage. Hear me out, though. Aside from this, he actually IS a damn awesome character, and is easily the second smartest, and he doesn't even need a little thing called Deus ex Machina to help him out. In addition, he is very important, and is one of those characters a series like this needs--one who isn't just some goody-goody who is super friendly to everyone. Okay, so Byakuya is actually kind of a douchebag at times (other times he's just a jerk), but his cynicism and lack of trust in the others is crucial. In addition, he is half of a little something that will be mentioned in the next paragraph.
Fukawa Touko: (WILL CONTAIN MILD SPOILERS!) She initially seems like a cowardly girl with an obvious crush on Byakuya (you and me both, babe), but it is later revealed that she is a split-personality case, with her other personality being Genocyder Sho, a sadistic serial killer who loves to crucify her (hot male [this girl has some interesting traits]) victims with scissors. Well... damn. Didn't see that coming. But this is actually a blessing, as Genocyder Sho is effing awesome--she's like a flirt on crack, with some yandere thrown in and a whole lot of crazy. So, yeah, Genocyder Sho is the sexiest female character in this series (and I am not afraid to admit it). Plus, as I mentioned in the last paragraph, she (or even Fukawa, if you're more a fan of cute) and Byakuya are the best ship in this show BY FAR (in my very personal opinion), and their chemistry (if you can call it that) practically makes the show.
Kirigiri Kyouko: I have nothing against stoic characters. Really. I don't. But Kirigiri is just BORING! And when she's not solving a mystery or acting beyond suspicious, she's morphing into a tsundere. Basically, she's a character who's really important to the plot, but not to me. Episode 11 did some damn nice things for her character, and I am beginning to rethink my views on her. Unfortunately, episode 11 out of, I think, 13 is a bit too late in the game.
Monokuma: The creepy little stuffed bear who runs the game. The one who makes those damn bear puns. (If I hear any of those, I will BEARly be able to restrain myself from gouging your eyes out.) Other than that, he's just a typical sadistic game leader who doesn't have half the charisma of a certain other killing game leader ("Battle Royale," which if you haven't read or seen or whatever, you should), and is actually kind of... dumb. He overlooks obvious things and sometimes seems a step BEHIND Naegi and crew.
Everyone else: Yes, I am jumbling everyone here. The ones who die off early and even some of the ones who are still alive and kicking are equal, because they are either just filler or not awesome enough to warrant a paragraph. So I'm putting this people here.
Oh, yeah, character development! Ha, say what now? Considering the fact that many people die off early, development is asking for a lot, but even characters still living seem to be static. Character motivations are all the same (GET. THE F*CK. OUT!), and backstories are nonexistent.
So why the relatively high rating? Simple. Byakuya and Touko.
Overall: This show offers up some entertainment value, but it's mostly shallow entertainment. However, I plan to see this show through until the end (especially since episode 10 was practically a wham episode).
When I started to watch Danganronpa I had a mindset that it would be so bad that it would actually be good. I was wrong… it was way worse than I expected. Thing about this anime is that it’s supposed to be some sort of parody (I guess)… but it just happens that it had the worst presentation and director that can't handle it. But seriously, I’m in this anime business for… I dunno, and I have no idea what this is supposed to mock. Archetypes? Common roles/personalities? Wha?
Story was bad and pacing was horrid. First thing we can notice about the story is that it’s structured in a way that there’s obvious 3 characters that will actually do something constructive, while others will most likely die in most peculiar ways, and let’s not even mention that MC is plot armored to infinity, so there’s not much suspense… at all. There’s no empathy for any character because pacing just doesn’t allow any proper flashing, development… or anything to that matter. Most of characters are one-trait-only nobodies, so you just don’t take it as anything dramatic. You just enjoy watching them die and that’s pretty much it. They could literally kill a cactus instead of a character and my emotional response would be the same. No emotional investment whatsoever.
Most of the “drama” around here is overblown to the point of stupid, and while it is part of the style, it still sucks. And yeah, plot twists suck as well. Sometimes characters themselves say that something is a cliché. But guess what, saying it’s a cliché doesn’t excuse it or make it any better; it just says that you’re quite conscious about making this as atrocious as possible, and if you’re not using them in a good, fresh way, then I just can’t consider it as anything good.
It was bad even as a mystery, because there’s no room to guess or process, you’re just watching things unfold and that’s about it. And it’s so damn predictable… except for the ending, but that’s because it made no sense whatsoever and was mostly just cheesy turd. There’s no foreshadowing or anything; things just happen randomly and that’s about it. It’s even sad that it’s too easy to determine who’s the killer… up to the point where they begin to ass pull whatever comes to their mind (and you just see characters looking at books or what not) and there’s no way to guess anything.
Animation was nice, and I’ll give them some props for “unique” character design. Most of the scenes that stood out were taken from the game… but I won’t take that into account. I really don’t care, tbh. OP and ED were not my thing, and nothing really stood out or was particularly memorable, but the general music was fine. And I did enjoy Monokuma and his soothing voice, but that’s about it from pros department.
All in all; NO. Avoid this. Go play the game or something… I heard it’s 10 times better… but there’s a good chance that I would dislike it as well.
Best girl: Monokuma
I can't do this review justice, because it does not compare to the video game that corresponds to it.
Dangan Ronpa is a video game which is MUCH more in-depth and enjoyable than this anime.
The anime is wonderful, but if you want the full Dangan Ronpa experience, play the PSP game.