This anime is an adaptation of the popular PSP survival/mystery VN game of the same name. Through my assumption, those who haven’t played the PSP game probably would compare the similarities of this adaption with “Battle Royale” (Danganronpa’s setting differs with that of “Battle Royale” though). On the other hand, I assume that individuals who have played the PSP game will of course consider it superior in comparison to the anime adaptation. To be fair, I think we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves so early in the series. Besides, I can already feel that this anime will be deemed enjoyable by the game’s fans and by those who haven’t played it.
The first episode of this adaptation begins where Monobear (Or Monokuma) traps and tortures an unidentified man in an unknown strange space ship. With no explanation whatsoever, sadly the man is dead by the end of the scene (Which gives us a taste of what we are getting ourselves into) and the audience is cast straight into the main story. We are introduced to the main character of the show, Makoto Naegi who is a normal soon-to-be first year high school student who will be attending an academy that is considered the most prestigious in the world. Although he is considered “lucky” to be chosen to attend such a school, it is sad to say that he will find himself in a situation he (And anyone for that matter) would rather not be in. After attempting to take his first step onto the campus grounds, he becomes unconscious and wakes up in an unknown classroom where security cameras are watching his every move and views of the outside are blocked by steel-plated windows. Afterwards, he finds a brochure that advises him to head to the school gym where he runs into a unique group of 14 other students.
The only person familiar to him is Sayaka Maizono who was his fellow classmate for 3 years. Oh and by the way, she is also a Super Duper Idol. Naegi (And us the audience) are quickly introduced to the unique band of characters. But, out of the blue comes a talking stuffed animal called Monokuma who lays out the rules of his survival game. The 15 students are trapped in the school campus and are bound to stay there for the rest of their lives unless they “graduate”. But, graduation isn’t anything formal in this game due to the fact that in order to return to their normal lives, a student must kill a fellow student in any manner he or she chooses. Oh, and that student must get away with it where he or she isn’t caught in the act of killing.
Because of their unavoidable situation and circumstances, the students begin freaking out. Sadly, Naegi is knocked out by a gang-leader called Oowada who was fueled with feelings of panic because of the news they were all given. Naegi then wakes up with Sayako Maizono by his bedside in his assigned dorm room where he is supposed to live during the duration of this entire game. After a cute scene between Naegi and Maizono, the students are rounded up in the cafeteria where they discuss exploring the school and possibly finding a way out.
After 3 days or so, the students found no means of escape and Monokuma decides to spice up his monotonous boredom. For entertainment, Monokuma shows each individual student a DVD that shows morbidly gruesome things happening to their families outside of the school they are all stuck in. While Naegi and the other students are left disturbed and their stomachs pulled inside out, Maizono loses control of her emotions (Well, her mind in general) and runs out of the room. Naegi runs after her where he promises that he will get both of them out of there. The rest of the students are left in the room where they realize how morbidly grim their situation, circumstances, and lives have become.
The first episode of this adaption left me astonished because of the fact that it had many similarities with it’s game counterpart. In my opinion, the feel and atmosphere, plot progression (Even if it is just the first episode), and the introduction of the 15 characters are similar to the game. The characters are portrayed as if they just stepped out of the game and into the anime. The art blends perfectly through the episode where everything from the character design to the usage of color and hues showcases an astounding portrayal of the game.
The opening theme is “Danganronpa” by Masafumi Takada and the ending theme is “Zetsubōsei: Hero Chiryōyaku” by by Suzumu featuring Soraru. I enjoyed the opening in terms of colorful animation and the introduction of the characters, but the ending lacked animation and was just a scroll of credits along with the music. Hopefully, an animation will be able to accompany the ending theme in the next episode(s).
Although, I think the introduction of the characters are relatively short (Well, I guess it can’t be helped because of the situation they have themselves in), my first impressions of their personalities are positive. It comes to the point where I really hope that each character will be able to have their past and background explained. But, I am not so sure about it especially since the director of this adaptation is Seiji Kishi (He directed Angel Beats, Devil Survivor 2, and Persona 4). I would like to say that I have nothing against Seiji as a director, but I hope he will be able to explain the backgrounds of the characters in Danganronpa unlike the vagueness that came with majority of the characters in Angel Beats.
By the way, here are the other 14 students besides Naegi who are caught in this survival game:
So far, so good. Let’s see how the next episode will be like, shall we? 🙂