This post, in slightly different form, was originally posted on Hardcore Gaming 101's forums, but I know from experience that DP's small userbase is a lot more loose and freewheeling so I was thinking you guys might have more fun with it, thus the repost. Also some of my thoughts have been updated a bit.

Attention Students, this is a school announcement from your lovable mascot, Monokuma!

I just wanted to say that this post you're now reading will contain beautiful, delicious SPOILERS.

As such, please read the entire thing, and despair in the fact that you will never have a fresh and unspoiled experience with any story ever again!

Monokuma is kinda stupid, you know that?

Say whaaaaat?

Okay, f___ this, I'm not gonna do the battle of the speaking voices thing throughout the whole post. Monokuma tried to blow me up but since this is a text adventure, I simply loaded an earlier save and distracted him with some nonsense about white mailboxes and underground empires. If he figures out the trick with the granite walls without a walkthru, I'll be amazed.

But seriously, the problem with Monokuma is he outright tells you what he wants you to do. As such, the obvious solution is to... do the exact opposite. So like, if he tells you to read the spoilers because they'll spoil the game for you, then the obvious answer is don't read the spoilers until you've played the game.

Fun fact: I actually went into Danganronpa completely unspoiled. I didn't actually play the game though... I watched Mangaminx play it, because I wasn't about to buy a Vita for it.

Like, I 70% enjoyed it, but it had a lot of "typical anime problems," including one where, by the end, I was so burned out I was more inclined to make fun of it than to take it seriously. Hence why I'm being so flip in this post.

By the way, I only watched her videos for the first game. I tried to get started on the sequel "Goodbye Despair" but when I saw it was a similar concept but replacing a stupid bear with an annoying bunny, I tuned out. So I'm actually incapable of spoiling any game besides the first one. That's what response posts are for.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a Darwin Award simulator and partial ripoff of Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" in which you play as the Ultimate Lucky Student, meaning Gladstone Gander, who is going to go to a school where the point is that stupid kids die--first getting killed by other kids who are dumb enough to fall for a teddy bear's tricks, and then the killer themselves gets found out in a class trial and executed by said teddy bear. Each student is the "Ultimate Something" (and the "Something" can be anything--Baseball Star, Fanfic Writer, Cat Hoarder, and I'm pretty sure a copy of X-Multiply is in there somewhere as the Ultimate Irem Shmup). As you might expect, the people with the less useful-to-society talents tend to be the ones that die.

Gladstone really is lucky though. He'd be up for the chopping block except that things keep arranging themselves in his favor: Despite being an insufferable moron all the girls get the hots for him if they're not either crazy or in love with someone else, and this includes Miles Edgeworth, who fortunately basically baby-steps you through all the trials so Gladstone can feel smarter than he is. Oh and he keeps having defective equipment (I don't just mean what's in his pants) which prevent him from being either murdered or accused of murder. This leads to a situation where by the end everyone is trying to be near him just because they know he'll never die so they're hoping they won't, by proximity.

Other notable characters include the Ultimate Spoiled Rich Kid: Seto Kaiba, the Ultimate Gender-Flipped Super Saiyan whose name I forget, a biker who is basically that dude from Yuyu Hakusho (not Yusuke... I think the YYH character's name was Kuwabara?), some student council nut who really DOES go Super Saiyan at one point, some fat kid who is what the creators think their fans are, some not-really-psychic dude who exists just to make everyone else more likable by comparison, a swimmer chick who resembles most fanart of Mangaminx's wife Krism (which I imagine Minx never acknowledged only because she didn't like Asahina at all), a human version of Fluttershy from My Little Pony, and finally the only really likable character, Toko.

Well, Toko herself is just kinda adorably defensive, its really the person who lives inside her who is likable...

Wait.... insecure girl who has a psychotic split personality and has the hots for the Seto Kaiba stand-in.... SHE'S YUGI MUTOU! Oh god, tell me you don't see it!

I think this game just got awesome.

.... I also just realized I forgot to mention Celeste at all. I'd say "f___ her" but I'm sure some fans want to even though she's boring.

So is that everyone? Did I forget to mention anyone else?

Nope! Can't think of anyone! (Evil laughter)

Right. So, when Monokuma isn't out stealing pic-a-nic baskets and getting whupped by Ranger Smith, he's calling the students to the gym in order to cajole them into killing because he has nothing better to do, and keeps going on about despair despair despair.

LETS TALK ABOUT DESPAIR

(The all-caps wasn't meant to be yelling, it was meant to be a section marker in case you took a break and had to come back to read the rest later).

To be honest, the game does the thing where it tries to turn around and be this hopeful, inspiring thing. Which, I agree with the message, but its one of those weird things where I don't feel its really necessary these days.

I mean, in-context, Team Despair (IE Monokuma) is so freaking weak that at one point it has to resort to blatant cheating. Like, sorry dumb bear but nobody will think despair is stronger after that.

And coming from the real world, I have plenty of reasons to be hopeful and optimistic. If I ever have doubts, I just gotta remember the amount of crap Markiplier went through, where he is now, and how he's still the ultimate nice guy despite his experiences. Or Mangaminx's marriage to Krism, which they somehow made work despite being in different countries (just watching their old Twitch videos when they still had the funding meters for Krism's visa and legal fees, and looking at the fact that they live together now, tells the tale). Or any given year of Awesome Games Done Quick.

Gamers are basically despair-proof. I mean even Ghosts n' Goblins didn't break us.

I mean, its a weird thing, cuz I know if I told Makoto and crew they're just characters in a video game, they'd think I was insane, because they're real to themselves, but like... in my reality, they're just a work of fiction, so anime or manga or visual novels can have any message they want because it really doesn't apply outside of their own setting.

Just to be clear: Hope does win in-game, its just that it wins in a kinda lame way. Anime has a way of making pretty lame circumstances out to be awe-inspiring, and if I were inclined to nitpick I would point out lots of reasons Danganronpa is actually kinda depressing, but you'll probably pick up on a few as I ramble on. It certainly never does anything as epic as the teddy bear that traveled literally around the world only to finally end up with its rightful owner, that's for sure.

(I should note that there's a reward of three chocolate chip cookies for every single reference or allusion you recognize while reading this, so keep a mental count, okay?)

Mainly though, I just hate anime villains whose motive is some nebulous generic concept, and not something a little more... tangible. Not only that but Monokuma's controller ultimately turns out to be yet another anime villain who was actually trying to commit suicide the whole time but wanted to do it in a spectacularly epic fashion because overdosing on painkillers or eating a gun would be too boring.

Like, just shut the f___ up. You had no point to make, you served no purpose, you just existed to die. Like, get a real motive. Even the villains of Captain Planet at least had some sort of short-sighted monetary gain issue going for them!

So, that's enough about the villain.

LETS TALK ABOUT THE SITUATION

(Like before, not meant to be yelling).

So, like... some of the plot twists are pretty obvious, you know? Like I figured out as soon as I saw the "you must not leave" thing that they were all probably in some sort of bomb shelter or something. Actually even the motive DVDs make that clear because I really doubt Monokuma has any power outside the school.

One thing I do find annoying is that the game never says what the "great big really bad disaster" (I forget its exact terminology) actually is. I imagine its that some evil immortal now controls the world and we're all waiting for Quinten MacLeod to go around gathering knowledge because that's somehow necessary to behead someone in a swordfight. Actually I sorta theorized that these kids were in some sort of Truman Show situation and there was absolutely nothing wrong with the outside world, which Monobear even kinda confirms at one point when he mentions there had been rescue attempts.

Like... way to undercut your despair point even more, Monodumbass: The world outside is so bad and chaotic and Fist of the North Star-esque that people tune in to watch a TV broadcast and care so much about these students that they mount rescue attempts. Then again, Monojunkbrain IS suicidal, so...

My initial interest in this game was murder mysteries, since I like Detective Conan and Casefiles of Kindaichi. But I've said before that one of my problems with Detective Conan is it has a meta-plot... admittedly, its one that isn't really all that relevant, but still.

See, the thing about mysteries is they're always a game of sorts, see if the reader/viewer/player/that thing sitting behind you but don't look at it that'll only make it angry can solve the mystery before the detectives in the show reveal all. Conan I feel sometimes got bogged down with the meta plot because I'd rather it be just a little kid solving mysteries and adding serious issues on top of that kinda hampers it.

Danganronpa is even worse in that respect, since after awhile I care less about the individual murders and more about the overall situation and wanting to see where it all leads up, which is a problem even Detective Conan doesn't have.

But another thing is... well, remember how I kept saying these kids are stupid?

It's true, and I know Japan is anti-intellectual (I've even seen actual Japanese media that say as much) but like, seriously this was one of those stories where (and Mangaminx noticed this too) they could've easily solved their problem in like five seconds, but don't only because the game forces you to pick the stupid option.

It's just like those points in every JRPG and 3D Sonic the Hedgehog game where you know the smart thing is to NOT give the bad guy the crystal, but the heroes do it anyway, sometimes for an actual understandible reason but often just because Tails is holding it out as if to say "here, take it!" only to be shocked when Robotnik does precisely that. Isn't Tails supposed to have a high IQ or something?

LETS TALK ABOUT BOYS AND GIRLS

Speaking of stupid things....

Ummm, Danganronpa characters: once the body is dead, their gender doesn't.... well, it does matter, but...

Okay, at one point Gladstone Gander refuses to thoroughly check a body because its a girl and he's mortally afraid of touching corpse boobs or something (and indeed a living female warns him that "even if she's dead, she's still a girl, you know?")

IT IS A DEAD. FREAKING. BODY.

YOU NEED TO CHECK THE WOUNDS. FOR. EVIDENCE.

(that time I was meant to be yelling)

Not to mention, this is the game with female Super Saiyan and a female all-star athlete, and yet it still subscribes to gender roles to the point of them being all like "Gladstone needs to be the man and do all the physical stuff!" I swear characters like Gadget from Rescue Rangers and Lady Jaye from G.I. Joe must've been positively mind-blowing to Japanese audiences (and yes, I know for a fact Japanese dubs of both shows exist, G.I. Joe even got a j-pop theme song).

Like seriously, how can you acknowledge that a girl can be "the Ultimate Martial Artist" but still have the cognitive dissonance to think that strength-related stuff is for the mans?

Thing is, cultural stigmas would in most situations go out the window in a survival situation (hell, the movie Jurassic Park even pokes fun at this) but the only kid in this game who seems smart enough to put the B.S. aside is Female Miles Edgeworth. Yes I know her name is Kyoko Kirigiri but I like Female Miles Edgeworth more. She's pretty much the only person here (besides Toko) who deserves to survive.

This isn't even a feminism thing. This is common freaking sense.

AND BEFORE YOU SAY "BUT THEY'RE ALL HIGH SCHOOL KIDS!"

Siiiigh...

...See, actually, that's kind of the thing.

I've said before that for the most part the only anime I consistently go back to are Ranma 1/2, Detective Conan, and Lupin the Third.

Ranma is different in that its one of the few anime where the characters (Ranma especially) actually are any sort of logical. Insane yes, but they do think and their thoughts make sense in their own way. With the other two, I'm watching shows about people I can feel are smarter than me, not people who I constantly want to slap upside the head with a Clue Stick.

It's a recurring problem not just with anime but with a lot of media. There's an insistence on young characters and especially since the turn of the millennium, on "character development" and "drama." Which often means everyone acts like an emotional child.

It's one reason I prefer the Lord of the Rings books over the movies. In the books, the characters act like mature, stable adults. In the movies they're a bunch of whiny little kids who seem like they'd just as soon cry on Tumblr as go on an epic quest.

And thing is... you grow up fast on epic quests. I don't care how old you are, you don't act like a Tumblrite when you're searching for the Sword of Shannara. Have you ever heard of a mountain climber who angsts over a love interest? Didn't think so.

This goes back to what I said earlier. This is a survival situation, and these kids keep doing things that even an actual teenager would be yelling at the screen to say "no, you idiot!"

HEY, ISN'T THIS A VIDEO GAME?

I can't really comment on the gameplay since, you know, I watched a Lets Play. I'm glad I did though, because I think some of the gameplay would've annoyed me.

I mean seriously? You have to play freaking Hangman during the court trials? (Its even called "Hangman's Gambit" because they weren't even trying to hide it)

What made that worse was very often it was done to get Makoto... errr, Gladstone Gander to realize a very obvious point. Like how the game hammered on for ten minutes that Toko solved the Millennium Puzzle and has a killer inside her, you have to spell out "schizo" (which isn't the same as split personality by the way) before Makoto will "get it" and explain it to everyone. Even though we the players and viewers kinda, you know, already heard Byakuya (errr, I mean, Seto Kaiba) say Toko is Genocide Jack and THAT ONLY MEANS ONE THING YOU FREAKING MORON.

It's just sooooo sad, isn't it?

.... Didn't I just say we are not doing the battle of the narrators thing?

Oh, but I had to liven things up! After all you just spent four sections saying variations of "these people are stupid!" again and again. It was so... despairing. You feel it too, don't you? The despair of knowing you will never enjoy anime (which you're apparently using as an umbrella term for any Japanese media) ever again, because they will always be stupid stories filled with stupid teenagers who do stupid things for stupid reasons... isn't that saaaad? Doesn't that just make you want to give up and give in to despaaaaiiiir?

Actually, no.

Whaaaaa?

I mean, I already said it: I have Ranma 1/2, Detective Conan, and Lupin the Third. I also have a life outside of Japanese media. If I ever get tired of anime tropes I can just put in some G1 Transformers or some Law & Order, or even some anime that isn't dumb. Like I'm reading through the original manga of Akira right now and so far that isn't stupid at all. By "so far" I mean I've read the first three volumes... waiting for the rest to come in the mail.

I mean, the majority of Japanese stuff is stupid, but a majority isn't an entirety.

And as for Japanese media in general.... I mean, if I really get tired of stupid characters altogether, Ghosts n' Goblins and Contra are Japanese too, where's the stupidity in those? There isn't any because they're basically plotless arcade games.

Besides, isn't it true that they're only stupid because you cheated again?

What? How can you say that? Such a harsh and unfounded accusation!

No, actually, I have it on good authority that teddy bears have a history of going around shooting mind-control beams from their stomachs to force certain behaviors on people. More positive accounts suggest they used this to defeat wizards, devils, and talking green faces that lived in books. But surely some went a little crazy, right?

Grrrr.... you got me! I'm actually FUNSHINE BEAR!

Thought so.

Hey, I think its time to wrap this up, because this really is running a little long. But before we go, I have one question.

What's that?

How do you get the key off the Unicorn's neck?

.... Actually, I never figured that out either. Say, what's say we play that game together and see if we can't figure it out?

(Jispy and Monokuma go off to play a game)

(and that was how it stood, until...)

CONTINUATION! New Thoughts Revealed - Stand Tall, Ultimate Nitpicker!

So, after awhile (partly because storms) I wound up watching some of Minx's Lets Play of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. At the moment I've watched up until the beginning of the second Class Trial.

And so far my impression is that I prefer the first game.

How predictable!

Shut up, bear.

Oh, speaking of which, I thought of adding Nagito to this "interacting with characters from the game" nonsense, but thing is I can't think of any way that would go except...

NAGITO: Hope hope hope hope hope!

MONOKUMA: Despair despair despair despair!

NAGITO: [singing to the tune of Frosty the Snowman] Hopety hope hope, hopety hope hope, look at hopey go...

Yeah, not much variety.

My suspicion right now is that the game is trying to provide an artistic counterpoint to the first game's "hope overcomes all" message by instead playing hope as a scary thing, but there's a difference between a crazy man who goes on about hope (and totally sounding like he's hiding something, by the way) and the concept itself having a dark side. Then again, I haven't finished yet so maybe it's not going to go that way at all.

Not to go all Social Justice or anything, but one thing that turned me against Danganronpa 2 almost immediately was the fanservice. You know who I mean.... Mikan. The first shot merely made me facepalm... the second fanservice moment actually grossed me out though, because the artists decided to try to involve food in a sexual context.

Food does not make it more sexy, it just makes it gross. End of story.

Anyway, like I said so far I'm not liking the second game nearly as much. Besides the fanservice, I just feel like its... well, it feels like its trying to be the visual novel answer to Metal Gear Solid 2, where its trying to establish and be a little self-aware of a formula while at the same time poking itself by talking about stuff that happened in the first game and having deliberate parallels to it, but the problem is.... Metal Gear Solid 2 was good (and no, I don't care who disagrees). Danganronpa 2 just feels lazy.

Not to mention, the "Detective Conan Metaplot Problem" I mentioned earlier has only increased, since the main reason anyone would want to play this game is to see if questions from the first get answered, so the murder mysteries themselves--which should be the fun part--end up actually becoming a nuisance that you have to deal with in order to get thru the overarching plot. I kinda wish they had ditched the murder mystery angle and gone more for a straight ripoff of Battle Royale.

Also once again I'm glad I'm watching someone else play, as the new debate mechanics (especially the so-called "improved" Hangman's Gambit) would've just pissed me right the eff off.

It's all so dull.... like, I can't even make jokes about the characters or anything, because I don't care about them at all. It's just like "Oh, annoying perv chef" or "oh, annoying fanservice girl" or "oh, annoying pedo-bait." I was tempted to call Nagito Gladstone Gander Mk II, but then he went all HOPE HOPE HOPE Kill Me HOPE HOPE HOPE and ehhhh....

I don't think I'll survive to see the third game.



(The End)

....

(No, seriously, post over. There's not like secret text or anything.)