Either watch this alternating between the Arcs like this Ep1-Future, Ep1-Despair, Ep2-Future, Ep2-Despair, etc (The same method as the intended airing pattern) or view this before the Future Arc. After both Arcs, view the Hope Episode.
This Arc takes place at the beginning of it all, before the original season. This is a story oriented Arc that doesn't involve a killing game. The starting and realizing placed some doubts on this Arc, but the story component is really interesting which made it good overall. Basically the story goes back to how everything began and the despair concept put into play. Junko Enoshima plays a big part here and she gets a good amount of screen time which I found to make this very interesting since she is the original mastermind behind the despair viewpoint. As the title "despair" indicates, this Arc is rather dark and brutal. It contains quite a few torture based scenes which are actually welcome as they capture that punishment time vibe from the original season.
The cast of characters were all wacky and unique enough to live up to expectations based on the original season. Introduced are also the characters and their original roles that form up the foundation and plot of characters in the Future Arc. The original art style with its signature neon pink blood are kept in place here which is great.
Overall I thought this was quite well done minus the somewhat boring and different start. The story really drew me in since I am very partial to an evil (despair) type of story, and it got better and better with each episode. I am a Junko and despair supporter rather than the side of hope, so this catered very perfectly to that desire. The lack of a killing game though is my only issue here, and from a brief investigation, it looks like that component makes up the 2nd Danganronpa Game.
Review of Season 1 ; Scored 9.5
Review of Future Arc ; Scored 6
Review of Hope Arc ; Scored 3.8
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