Anime Review: Danganronpa the Animation 

Yeah, this is the series I watched while My Little Monster’s site was being glitchy. Such a juxtaposition… I’m also pretty tired, so I’m not going to elaborate much on my pros and cons.


Summary: Hope’s Peak Academy is an elite high school that accepts only the most talented students. Individuals who successfully enroll receive their own unique titles, suitably reflective of their skills and traits. Of the fifteen candidates admitted to the peculiar school that year, Makoto Naegi is a completely ordinary individual who has been accepted by sheer chance, with the title of “Super High School-Level Luck.” Naegi and his fellow classmates are initially ecstatic to be chosen to study at this prestigious institution, but these feelings of happiness are short-lived. They are soon confronted by Monokuma, the principal and resident bear, who traps them inside the school. The pupils’ hopes of escape and graduation hinge on one of them successfully murdering one of their peers without being discovered. However, if the killer is caught, he or she will be executed, and the remaining survivors will be left to continue the deathmatch until only a single victor remains.

Story: 3/5: The story had potential. When I first heard about it, my first thought was of The Hunger Games but with a mystery/crime twist. That’s what caught my eye. 

In some ways, DR pulls this off great. The trials (where the students share the clues they’ve found and attempt to discover the killer)  are pretty enthralling, and the plot twists are really good; I didn’t see some of one twists coming. This was a really creative, if a little ridiculous idea. The mysteries were also really well crafted, and for the most part, they logically flowed. 


However, the video game adaptation bit was really obvious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does make things overwrought and skims over details. It also feels a little overly ridiculous at times; there were moments when I couldn’t take Monokuma seriously, despite the fact that he was portrayed as threatening, and was a clear threat. He could’ve been creepier, is all I’m saying. There are plenty of horrors that take cute things and make them creepy, but that didn’t quite work out here. And the pacing felt really rushed to me; a lot felt skimmed over.

Plus, I’m not sure if I like the direction it took in the last few episodes. Some of the things that happened were a little too much, even in an insane show like this. But in the last two episodes especially, when all the answers were revealed. They had foreshadowing, but it just didn’t follow for me.

Characters: 3.5/5: Again, they had potential. SO MUCH POTENTIAL. I heard they are at least 10X better in the video game, and after doing some research, I may just watch some game play throughs at this point. Because they sound like they’re actually good characters, but in the anime, they just felt glossed over at some points.


The main character, Makoto Naegi, is okay. He isn’t the best protagonist ever (not that colorful,) but unlike most “all loving hero” types, he actually has a brain and uses it during the trials. While he may not be a genius, he is able to put clues together and blow up alibis. He is also the most emotionally resilient character, and is able to inspire the other students to remain hopeful.


Kyoko Kirigiri is my favorite, she was the most fleshed out. She’s also the smartest of the characters. Even Monokuma considers her a threat. She’s the detective who puts together all the clues into a logical solution. While she seems cold hearted and detached, she’s not a robot; she deeply cares for Naegi, and they develop a friendship that is similar to Holmes and Watson, but not quite. She’s also very mysterious; she later reveals that she’s actually an amnesiac.


The guy is Togami, and if you thought Kirigiri was cold hearted, you haven’t seen this guy. He’s one of those like/hate characters; he’s interesting, but such a jerk…like, yes, you’re smart, but you’re so arrogant and full of yourself, I’m happy whenever you’re wrong.  Fukawa is the girl. She’s an anxious mess, seemingly on the edge of a breakdown half the time. She’s also obsessed with Togami. Why, Fukawa, why? He’s such a jerk to you, why do you like him? She also has a split personality.


Of course, there’s Monokuma, the principal of the school. He had potential to be really creepy, but not once was I scared by him. I don’t know why, I just couldn’t take him seriously. Even though he was a serious threat, he never disturbed me. 

There are a ton of other characters, many of which are killed off before I can like them. I wish the anime had gone into more depth about their stories. 

Animation: 3/5: I don’t like the art style that much. It’s just not my thing. The character designs were cool, if a bit wacky. But the art style is not my thing. 


The animation itself was good, but not anything spectacular. But one thing that stood out were the excecutions; the art style and animation, as well as the coloring, changed a lot. I have a feeling they were trying to mimick cut scenes from the game. While they looked really cool, it was a little disconcerting, since the art style and animation changed so much. It kind of made it feel less real to the anime, like they were different shows.

Sound: 4/5: The OP song, “Never Say Never”, was okay. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not bad. It also includes some pretty decent rap in the beginning in English. But it was the end credits song, ” Zetsubousei: Hero Chiryouyaku”, by Suzumu and featuring vocals from Soraru that I really liked. The lyrics were cool and matched the show’s themes, the beat and melody were catchy, and of course, the vocals. Soraru has an amazing voice, I absolutely love it. He sounds amazing. And the image is of the last viewing of the ED; before this, it started with an empty clasdroom. But as students slowly die, the chairs become more and more filled. P 


This is one where I have to say I liked the subs more than the dub. The sub voices sound really good and match the characters, but the dub (to me) left more to be desired, 

World Building: 3.5/5: They sort of skimmed this over. Hope’s Peak Academy was a pretty interesting setting. It was unique, and had a lot of story and mystery behind it. I only wish they went more in depth, just like with everything.

Pros:

  • Interesting idea: at its core, this sounds like The Hunger Games, but with a mystery and crime twist. Pretty cool.
  • Twists: Let’s just say I did not see some of these plot twists coming.
  • Surprisingly addictive: even if I sound overly negative about this series, I don’t mean to. I enjoyed this series, especially in the moment even while knowing it’s flaws. Let’s just say this was very addictive in the moment; I just had to know all the mysteries!

Cons:

  • Rushed: from what I’ve heard, the game is long and goes in depth. This is 13 episodes. No wonder it felt so rushed.
  • Kind of shallow: they go into detail with some characters, but not all. It made me less emotionally attacked. And it doesn’t help that from what I’ve heard about the game, both the characters and the world building get way more in depth.
  • Lack of investigation: Maybe one of the reasons the twists were so big was because of the lack of onscreen investigating…hmmm..

Final Grade: 3/5. This had so much potential, and was pretty addictive and twisty. But it suffered from poor pacing and and lack of depth and detail. I may watch game play through son YouTube; I’ve heard it’s better than the adaptation.

9 thoughts on “Anime Review: Danganronpa the Animation 

  1. I really liked your review! I understand what you mean about the game adaptation. Monokuma, from what I played, sounds the same as you describe him, but I guess it’s because I imagined him with his actual voice. 😅 I guess if I imagined him in the game with a slightly more threaten voice, he would’ve been creepier. (I don’t know, haha, I’ll have to try.) I’ve only played part of the game, because my friend let me borrow it, and haven’t watched the anime, because I didn’t want to spoil the rest of the game. But I’ve been told I should watch it, so maybe I will sometime. 🙂 I’m glad that you’re checking out the game too, I hope you like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve just seen so many things where the cutest things are the creepiest, so I guess I was hoping for that with Monokuma. I just found myself unable to take him seriously at times, he never seemed threatening, even though he did bad stuff. I guess it was just his presence…?
      From what I’ve read, the game is better (especially with the characters) so I recommend you finish playing the game first, then watching. You’ll have to let me know how the game goes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen things where cute things are creepy too. (Mostly I see dolls.) I talked to my friend who played the whole game through, and she also said that the game is much better than the animation. And I’ll have to let you know once I start playing again!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When have dolls not been creepy. 😅 Don’t worry, I’ll let you know once I am able to play the game again! (It was borrowed so there’s no telling when just yet.) And I hope you find a good channel that has a good walkthrough!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a really good review!
    I agree with most of your opinions on the series. I watched the series before going to the games and I thought the anime was…alright. The character designs are cool and unique, but the art style was so different compared to the game. It looked more like an actual anime than a game.
    As for the story, I agree that it had so much potential, and same with the characters! Both the development for the story and characters are so rushed compared to the game! (I watched the gameplays after viewing the series.) I wish that there were more episodes, to be honest. The series would have been a lot better if Makoto Naegi had more interactions with the characters and if the series had more special character moments. That way, the series would have more likable characters and the story would be much more praised in the anime.
    If you look past the first season of this franchise and watch or play the games, the story and concept makes a lot more sense and the characters are much more understandable. I watched the gameplays of the second game and fell in love with the franchise that way. The characters are developed so much more and the story develops from the first game and series. Plus, there are themes that are more relevant than in the anime.
    Again, wonderful review! I look forward to reading more reviews from you. 🙂
    Also, if you want, you can read my review of Danganronpa here: https://geekygirlwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/review-of-danganronpa-the-animation-season-1/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it.
      I really thought this had so much potential, both plot wise and character wise. I think it suffered from being 13 episodes; it was so crammed. Glad to hear the game plays are good. I haven’t gotten around to them yet. I also wish Naegi had talked to the other characters more; it would’ve had more development, therefore helping the story in the long run.
      I definitely want to look at game plays when I have the time, but I haven’t so far. It’s good to hear it’s better than the anime though, especially with the characters and story. Again, so much wasted potential in the anime.
      I will check out your review as soon as I can!

      Like

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