Hope or despair?
|I had vague plans to fill this post full of stupid hope puns, but then I realized that “hope” doesn’t exactly work well in puns to begin with. …And neither does despair, really. I could have done a bunch of terrible bear puns, but Monokuma was kind of secondary this episode (aside from the fact that he’s like the apocalypse’s official mascot or something).|
As much as I’m fond of Enoshima’s character, I see it as a very, very good thing that she was only an end reveal. Her personality(ies) dominated the episode and make the ending great, but imagine her being present the entire show. …She would have completely taken over every scene, and that (probably) would get tiresome after a while. The fact that she stands out that much makes a good contrast with Naegi though, since his character is pretty boring when it comes down to it (and it adds to the plot point that the two arch enemies/complete opposites, aside from the established plot point that Naegi is “hope”, where Enoshima is “despair”). Long story short, watching her here was super satisfying, since she was everything she was in the game, and even more since this had movement to it (being animation and all).
I don’t know how well this was explained, but Enoshima’s motives for this entire thing was basically just for the despair. All those deaths and everything else was all just because she really, really just likes watching despair (or sharing despair, or feeling despair, …or really, just despair in general). No, there’s no real reason behind her being like this either. I believe the game’s words were just “she was born that way”, and that’s the only explanation they ever gave. Anyways, the whole broadcast thing too was to show the student’s despair as kind of a message. The students were a worldwide symbol of hope, so watching them go through all of this and purposely kill one another was a way of spreading the despair (since apparently it’s contagious, as Enoshima said). It also accomplished two things at once, since it brought some of the “hope resistance” out of hiding. They never really explained this, but at the very beginning of the game, one of the characters noted that they thought they heard noises from the outside. There were people outside trying to help the students, but they were gunned down just trying to even approach the school. Enoshima was pretty efficient in her planning here.
They never mentioned this either, but this entire thing went just as expected for Enoshima, up until the final trial. She planned from the start to have this final trial with the students, and thus why she let Alter Ego hang around for a bit to give out clues. . …Maybe having everyone turn to hope was unexpected, but who knows how Enoshima’s brain works. The fact that she had her own personal execution all set up means that she must have been expecting her own death possibly somewhere down the line, right?
Let’s take a moment to admire Danganronpa’s “plot”.
I guess despair was her motive for killing off Ikusaba as well. …Or something. The game gave more of an explanation that Enoshima felt like her sister wasn’t portraying her as well as she would have liked (there was more interaction with “Junko” in the game, where she came off as a more down-to-earth girl), and she killed Mukuro off on a whim. The original plan was for Ikusaba to lash out at Monokuma and then be taken away to a dungeon, where she would ditch the Enoshima costume and work behind the scenes. …Obviously, this didn’t happen. Thus why her dying words were something along the lines of “why me?” In the IF scenario, it’s explained that Enoshima treating Ikusaba like this (like, how she talked about Ikusaba in the explanation of why she was dressed as Enoshima here) is her way of caring, so in a way, her killing her sister here is caring too, I guess.
So what the whole plot boils down to is the idea of “Hope VS. Despair”. …To be honest, the whole formula at the end with Naegi going “don’t give up hope due to these incredibly vague reasons!” and the characters going “WHOA, you’re absolutely right!” felt a little lacklustre, but I guess the important thing here is that it worked. Plus Naegi’s speeches to to Togami and Kirigiri were considerably more convincing than what he said to Haragakure and Asahina (ahaha Syo only agreed because of Togami). Thanks to Enoshima’s personality, it feels like they overcame something rather large. So in the end, the students are left to a rather ambiguous future. …Though Fukawa missed the entire thing due to Syo taking her place. If you’re wondering why Syo didn’t answer more about the apocalypse that happened, it’s because Fukawa was the one present during all of that. Syo just knows what came afterwards.
Anyways, back to the ending, things ended on a pretty good note. Sure, more than half of the students died, but a lot more got out alive than you were probably expecting for an anime with the “kill each other or be killed” premise. I don’t think the numbers would have gotten too much lower either, considering that Enoshima was totally planning a full reveal at some point, complete with the vote between total hope and total despair. I imagine she left Kirigiri alive and in the game (it’s not like anyone would have noticed if Kirigiri was dead from the beginning like her father) for the purpose of making the killers lose and drawing out the game as long as possible. I’d also say that it’s safe to assume that the despair apocalypse was a real thing (why would Enoshima lie?). If you’re curious about the unexplained “Most Despair-Inducing Incident”, that plays a rather large part in the second game, and was left as a loose thread in the game here too.
Finally, AHH!!!!! THE ENDING!!! No, I’m not talking about Monokuma miraculously being alive despite Enoshima definitely being dead. Who cares about that. I’m more interested in the rabbit. I really, really hope that Monomi’s appearance here means that an anime adaptation of Danganronpa 2 is on the way in the future. Despite the problems this anime had, I wouldn’t mind seeing the second game animated.
Maybe this wasn’t the best of the games-turned-anime genre, but seeing Enoshima in animated glory was more than satisfying. Actually, as I said in the comments in a past post, I think this worked better with the 13 episode formula as opposed to drawing this out. Maybe one or two more episodes for things would have been nice, but I also like where they ended the episodes each week. Also, there’s a huge difference between playing a game and watching a game’s plot unfold. Maybe they could have spent more time on solving the trials, but where the game forces you to be an active participant and think for yourself, watching people talk endlessly without interaction from the viewer can easily be boring. The thing I wouldn’t have minded them expanding on though, is character interaction. I really missed some of the character quirks that the game went into more detail with, and the fact that practically everyone died before the ending would have had more impact if we knew them better beforehand.
I feel like I complained a lot on the first episode about how similar the anime was to the game, but overall, I ended up appreciating it. Sure, I would have liked to have seen the punishment time animated differently (and maybe the trials in general), but aside from that first episode, I guess I got used to the fusion of game material and animation. Using the same ED from the game from the anime worked well here.
…Or maybe that’s just seiyuu bias. That’s right. You finish the game, only to be greeted by that creepy sun thing and flowers. No, I have no idea if it actually means anything, but it’s weird. And in the end, it’s that weirdness that makes Danganronpa what it is.
…Don’t worry, they don’t all die from air poisoning 5 steps outside or anything.
I wish I could say why I know this, but there are still a ton of things I could potentially spoil from other Danganronpa-related projects~.