As the first two weeks of the summer 2013 season draws to a close, Kelloggs and I have split the season into two and shall proceed to offer our definitive and undisputable humble opinions and first impressions on the season so far.
So, without further ado…
Danganronpa is adapted from an excessively popular Japanese murder mystery visual novel (unfortunately, not the KEY kind but more, I would imagine, in the style of Pheonix Wright), in which the player and fifteen other elite high school students are hoodwinked into a hermetically sealed high school where the only way out is to kill a fellow student and get away with it. The school is run by the principal Monobear, who is the teddy bear version of that venus flytrap guy in Naruto. In general, I have no personal interest in JRPGs or JRPG adaptations, and as the past two notable game adaptions, Persona 4 and Devil Survivor 2: the Animation have proven lacklustre, I approach this series with a heavy dose of cynicism.
Our main character is, as ever, an average high school student, who received a letter inviting him to a school that purportedly gathers extremely talented (or in their own words, “super-duper high school something-or-another”) students.
(Kelloggs’ note: stop hating on hoodies)
Ignoring realism factors which dictate that a school must gather a narrow subset of talents instead of the best in every talent, as it is in art schools and engineering schools, Hope’s Peak Private Academy’s selection criteria for gifts and talents is dubious at best.
I am not even going to bother commenting on their hairstyles and character designs that dropped out of sixteen different genres.
Aesthetics aside, the first episode suffers in much the same way you would expect a show with a complicated gladiatorial setting and more characters then episodes might; way too much exposition, too much blocky dialogue by overly quirky characters, most of whom I will have difficulty sympathising and caring about.
Also, the main female of interest, a high school idol from the same middle school as MC, who is incredibly friendly to him despite never having conversed with him previously, has got a death flag raised so high they might as well plant one on her head.
(K: I don’t see you stepping up to do it)
Overall, however, I have a definite weak spot for arena style stories where people get killed off one-by-one, an echo of the primordial, bloodthirsty and chaotic feral instincts that I have otherwise lost, and therefore will continue to watch Danganronpa, until it inevitably ends mediocrely so I can use it as yet another example of why JRPG adaptation wouldn’t work next time one comes out.