Anime / Dangan Ronpa 3

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"Every story has an end. This will be ours."
Monokuma

Dangan Ronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy is an anime set in the Dangan Ronpa universe. It is the Grand Finale to the Hope's Peak Academy Saga begun in the original Dangan Ronpa, with New Dangan Ronpa V3 being a Retool.

The world continues to suffer from the aftermath of "The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History". The forces of "Ultimate Despair" launch terrorist attacks without reason or ransom across the globe, purely as a means to cause despair. Opposing them is the Future Foundation, an organization founded by the elite graduates of Hope's Peak Academy.

Makoto Naegi, the hero of the School Life of Mutual Killing, is called to trial by the leaders of the Future Foundation. He is accused of betraying the organization by rescuing fifteen of the most notorious members of Ultimate Despair and granting them safe haven. As the leaders argue over his guilt, their headquarters is suddenly attacked and everyone inside is knocked out.

Captured by the remnants of Ultimate Despair and their mascot Monokuma, the sixteen senior members of the Future Foundation are forced to play a final killing game that will decide the fate of the world. Every two hours, everyone is injected with a sleeping drug except for a designated "traitor", who is given a time limit to murder one person of their choosing. If no-one is dead when everyone wakes up, then all of the survivors will be allowed to leave. Furthermore, each participant has a unique "Forbidden Action" that will kill them if performed, such as "running in the hallway". With their actions broadcast to the world, the Future Foundation is pitted against each other in a battle to identify the murderer within their ranks and secure a future of hope for the world.

Aired in the Summer 2016 Anime season from July 11 to September 29, 2016, the anime is uniquely split into two separate series. While Side: Future tells the story of the Future Foundation's killing game, Side: Despair is a prequel to Dangan Ronpa and Super Dangan Ronpa 2 that reveals the events leading up to the The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History and how they connect to Side: Future, with both series concluding on the shared finale of Side:Hope. In May 2016, it was revealed that a new manga series called Killer Killer was actually an official side-story to Dangan Ronpa and was thereafter rebranded as such.

Expect unmarked spoilers for Dangan Ronpa and Super Dangan Ronpa 2!

Tropes:

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     Tropes common to the entire series 
  • Anti-Villain: Lots of them. The only antagonist characters who aren't shown in a sympathetic light are Junko and the Steering Committee. Even Tengan's sympathy depends on whether one can accept his actions, as his goal is still based on Hope.
  • Arc Welding: To insane degrees. Random incidents spread over the franchise are revealed to form a web that encompasses both sides.
  • Art Evolution: The anime features a darker color palette more akin to the anime cutscenes in Absolute Despair Girls than the anime adaptation of the first game.
  • Art Shifted Sequel: The style of art used is drawn to look more mature than the previous incarnations. This gives the feeling that characters are taller and more mature even though Kazutaka Kodaka has stated they haven't actually grown taller as it is merely a style change.
  • Back for the Finale: Lots of characters from across the franchise return for this final installment.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The entire show has Big Bads out the wazoo. In Side:Future, there's Munakata (who undergoes a Heel–Face Turn in episode 10) the attacker (who we find out isn't even a character, let alone a villain), the mastermind who's also Future Foundation's figurehead and Mitarai, while in Side:Despair, there's The Steering Committee, Junko and Chisa.
    • Evil Versus Evil: What the above frequently leads to. Junko is actively trying to use everything the Steering Committee created against them and, as far as we know it, she is successful. Munakata becomes The Heavy in Side:Future, actively trying to kill all of the participants so as to get the traitor in the process and ultimately it turns out that this happened largely through the influence of Chisa after she became Despair, who wanted to drag him down with her, leading to this trope until Munakata's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Bookends: Side:Despair starts with Chisa in a movie theater watching her death. Side:Future ends with Chisa, and this time Junko, in the movie theater again watching the events of the episode unfold.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Oh very much yes. Not only has the Black Blood been averted for the first time in the franchise's history, but being a late night anime allows it to go much farther with the violence. To give an example, Sayaka was merely stabbed in the bathroom and the Imposter didn't have a visible wound and just a pool of blood. Yukizome, on the other hand, is graphically shown hung upside-down from a chandelier. Side:Despair, while still keeping the pink blood, is still very gruesome at points, particularly During the First Killing Game and the scene where Junko forces a reserve course student to cut off his own head with a hacksaw.
  • Black Blood: Averted. For the first time, the blood is very, very red. In Side:Future anyway; It's still pink in Side:Despair, even during the very messy and violent First Killing Game.
  • Break the Cutie: Present in both Despair and Future. In Despair, we have the torture and Ultimate Despair-ification of Chisa, and the death of Chiaki being used to turn all of class 77 into Ultimate Despairs (with Mikan already being one at that point) and in Future we have Aoi and Makoto's reactions to the (apparent) death of Kyoko.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Invoked, Side:Future begins to take a less grim and more action-packed tone around the same point in which things start going to hell in Side:Despair and Side:Hope has the most uplifting and hopeful tone of all the episodes.
  • Darker and Edgier: Dangan Ronpa 3 plays this viciously straight. No more funny antics and Black Comedy, this Deadly Game is a dead serious Ten Little Murder Victims scenario where people suffer and Bloodier and Gorier is the norm (with the iconic Black Blood gone completely), with the ever quirky Monokuma Demoted to Extra. And, despite initially looking Lighter and Softer, Side:Despair quickly becomes even worse, with scenes of violence that are legitimately horrific.
  • Driven to Suicide: The "Gloomy Sunday" version of Monokuma Theater brainwashed its viewers to kill themselves. In Future Side, this is what actually caused all the killings by the "Attacker", with the victims being woken up during the sleep periods, and upon viewing the video on the monitor, the victims killed themselves. In Despair Side, this is revealed to be first sent by Junko herself to the Reserve Course students during The Parade, which caused all two thousand something students to kill themselves
  • Demoted to Extra: Pretty much all of the returning characters to varying degrees, with the exception of Naegi, Kirigiri, Asahina and Monomi in Side:Future and Hinata and Nanami in Side:Despair. This is especially notable of Monokuma and Komaeda, the Series Mascot and Breakout Character respectively, who here have much smaller roles.
  • Doorstopper: A meta example. The material written by Kazutaka Kodaka is 200 pages in Microsoft Word. Bear in mind that this isn't the scripts.
  • Evolving Credits: The Opening of Side: Future features the current survivor count, which naturally decreases with each death. The hypothetical deaths shown for each character also change between the first episode and the second onward: in the first episode, the characters are fully rendered with uncolored blood, while the later episodes feature silhouettes and garishly colored blood. Later episodes also feature slight changes in coloring and effects.
    • In the first episode of Side: Despair, Chiaki appears in the opening as a silhouette. In the second episode, she is fully shown. Later, in episode 6, with Junko joining the school and Hajime turned into Izuru, the OP background went from white to purple and darker pastel colors were used, including showing class 77 with red eyes, as they had as Remnants of Despair. Not only that, but Izuru fully appears on the OP while Hajime has his image with lower opacity and interference.
  • Eye Scream:
    • In the first episode of Side:Future, Mikan Tsumiki (as a remnant of despair) is about to do this to some poor bastard, but Seiko Kimura manages to prevent it. In the fifth episode, a mutual attack between Tengan and Munakata results in Munakata slashing Tengan's throat open and Tengan forcing a metal bar through Munakata's right eye. At the end of the episode, he's seen with the ruined eye bandaged as part of an Evil Makeover that shows just how much he's losing it. The eleventh episode reveals that the Great Gozu stabbed his own eyes under the effects of the brainwash video.
    • The sixth episode of Side:Despair has a very disturbing scene, where Junko Enoshima gouges out a trustee's eye (with a spoon no less) to bypass a retina scanner. Demolition Man style.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Being the Grand Finale, the anime in no way skirts on what to include. Everything, from the main games to obscure side-material gets included.
  • Grand Finale: As the subtitle indicates, it is this to the Hope's Peak Saga, though Word of God implies the anime will lead into the following saga.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Just like in the DR1 anime, Funimation chooses to stick with the original Japanese terms rather than the ones NIS uses in the games.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: To be expected, given its status as the Grand Finale to the Hope's Peak Saga:
    • The teaser alone includes a mass of terms and images related to Dangan Ronpa, Dangan Ronpa Zero and Super Dangan Ronpa 2, many of which are tied to spoilers from those installments. The first proper PV summarizes the entirety of the first two games.
    • The main visual also spoils the fact that Makoto, Aoi, and Kyoko survive the first game.
    • Monaka Towa's appearance at the end of Episode 4 is a major spoiler for Absolute Despair Girls. The other Warriors of Hope also appear in Episode 7, revealing that they survived their supposed executions in Absolute Despair Girls.
    • Mukuro and Junko appearing in Side:Despair spoils a lot of the secrets in Dangan Ronpa.
    • The fact that Side:Future and Side:Despair were being aired at the same time will spoil some moments in both arcs depending on what order you watch the arcs. Of course, both are supposed to be watched as such, and both ultimately lead into Side:Hope anyway.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The anime has far and away the largest cast of possibly the entire franchise, with a total of 16 characters on either side, along with two mascots, that equals a total of 34 characters. And that's far from all of them.
  • Love Hurts: Wouldn't be DR without this trope in play. For added fun, we have four couples this time.
    • Nanami and Hinata: All Nanami's influence on Hinata ultimately does is add fuel to him becoming Kamukura. She then spends a year waiting for him until she finally meets him as Izuru, who personally states he doesn't remember her. He then watches her die, triggering some level of too-late recollection as he cries, and holds onto her hairpin in grief and memory.
    • Munakata and Yukizome: Munakata losing Yukizome drives him insane. Then for added fun it's shown Yukizome was tortured into Despair during Side:Despair and has been spending the time between Side:Despair and Side:Future corrupting him into the man he is currently.
    • Naegi and Kirigiri: Kirigiri willingly sacrifices herself, refusing to betray Naegi again leaving Naegi heartbroken. Subverted when it turns out at the end she didn't really die.
    • Ruruka and Izayoi: Despite Izayoi's loyalty, Ruruka murders him so he can't betray her in the future. Izayoi still responds that he loves her, leaving Ruruka full of regret and self-loathing.
    • Adding insult to injury, unrequited and platonic love are also used to the most hurtful degrees, such as Junko using Juzo's Unrequited Love for Munakata as a way to manipulate him and using the fact that Chiaki is the most loved person in the 77th Class to throw the rest of the class into despair.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Of the 32 characters on both sides, only a handful (Naegi and Mitarai in Side:Future and Hinata, The Imposter, Nanami, Koizumi, Tsumiki and Sonia in Side:Despair) actually wear the proper uniform. Everyone else either wears the uniform customized or not at all.
  • One Degree of Separation: Side:Despair reveals many of the new characters actually have connections to older ones; Yukizome was the homeroom teacher for Class-77-B, Mitarai was a member of Class-77-B and had his identity used by the Ultimate Imposter, Kizakura was best friends with Jin Kirigiri and so on.
  • Retcon: A number of them:
    • Hiyoko was shown in one of the Twilight Syndrome photos to be wearing the normal uniform. In the anime, she wears a kimono, and wears her hair differently. Additionally, the events of Twilight Syndrome play out much differently than in the game (Sato never confesses her murdering Natsumi to Mahiru, Mahiru never helps her cover anything up, and Sato's body is found after three days instead of one). It's possible Monokuma lied like Word of God says, but it's still a noticeable discrepancy.
    • Nagito explicitly states in Chapter 0 of Super Dangan Ronpa 2 that this is the first time he's ever met Izuru. Episode 8 of Side: Despair has Izuru confronting and shooting him, which needs the Hand Wave that Izuru just erased both their memories of the event.
    • Episode 11 of Side: Future shows the events directly after the Gainax Ending of Dangan Ronpa, with what exactly the surviving members of the 78th class first saw upon leaving the school and the result of the Tragedy on the world. Toko in DR:AE and the emails in SDR2 of the 78th class Survivors becoming FF members implied that the Survivors were surviving in the hostile environment of post-Tragedy Earth for a while on their own before they finally were found and joined Future Foundation. However, according to this episode, Munakata and Tengan already had an FF Rescue Squad lined up to arrive at Hope's Peak the moment Naegi and the others opened the door, meaning they were picked up almost immediately upon them escaping, contradicting what other sources said prior.
  • Rotating Protagonist: The main characters jump in and out of focus depending on the situation. Side:Future has Makoto, Kyoko and Munakata as main characters, while Side:Despair has Hinata, Junko, Nanami, Mitarai and Yukizome.
  • Serial Escalation: In more ways than one. Most notably, prior DR instalments stuck to having about 2-3 main characters for brevity's sake. DR3 has eight main characters (Naegi, Kirigiri, Munakata, Yukizome, Hinata/Kamukura, Nanami, Enoshima and Mitarai) all of whom drop in and out of focus as it suits the narrative.
  • To Be Continued: Both the Future and Despair sides end with the message "Continued on the hope side" following The Stinger.
  • Torture Porn: The anime has quite a lot of disturbing scenes, especially in Side: Despair, with Nanami's execution taking the cake.
  • True Companions: Naegi and the other surviving members of the 78th Class, the 74th class trio and, thanks to the influence of Yukizome and Nanami, Class 77-B.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The two guys are Munakata and Sakakura, and the girl is Yukizome. However, by all appearances, Munakata is the "girl" that the "guys" Yukizome and Sakakura have a rivalry over. Side:Despair Episode 6 reveals Sakakura's deal to be something else entirely.

     Tropes for Side:Future 

  • Actionized Sequel: Due to the radically different rules for the Final Killing, the anime puts a much greater emphasis on action over mystery.
  • All for Nothing: Andou's attempts to keep everyone from leaving through the secret exit to prevent her NG code from being broken, like attempting to kill Kirigiri, was all for nothing because the exit was a dead end and they're at the bottom of the ocean. To add insult to injury, she ends up being the fourth victim of the killer.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Future Foundation's headquarters is attacked in the first episode.
  • Anyone Can Die / Dwindling Party: It wouldn't be Danganronpa without this. By the end of the anime, the only survivors are Makoto, his classmates, Mitarai and Munakata.
  • Arc Words: "I just wanted to save everyone." and "Where did everything go wrong?"
  • Artistic Licence Biology: In Episode 5 Tengan ends up with a Slashed Throat that produces some serious High-Pressure Blood, only to hang on say a few words before dying. While surviving for a little while after one's throat is cut is easily possible, that amount of blood would only be produced if one cut the deeper arteries, which would have killed him instantly.
  • Art Shift: Like before, Fukawa's fantasies are in a slightly different art style, but not to the crazy degree seen in Absolute Despair Girls.
  • The Artifact: Probably used deliberately: in the world outside of Hope's Peak, the former students' Ultimate talents don't count for much. If anything, the Crippling Overspecialization comes back to bite them: those with violent talents (Boxer, Blacksmith) can't keep their heads long enough to figure out a plan that doesn't involve hitting things, those with more practical talents (Farmer, Housekeeper) are completely outside their comfort zone (even though we've seen Chisa be effective in the past) as the world goes to hell, and those used to being in control (Student Council President, arguably the ex-Headmaster) expect to be obeyed as a matter of course without doing anything to earn trust and support, and suffer a Freak Out when they're not obeyed. Only the more flexible ex-78th class, who knew better than to rely wholly on their talents, can really make use of them.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Remember Makoto saving the Remnants of Despair in Super Dangan Ronpa 2? Turns out, that had very, very serious consequences for him.
  • Awful Truth: In Episode 5 (but not revealed to the audience until Episode 10), Tengan informs Munakata that Yukizome (and possibly everyone else involved with Makoto's trial) was corrupted by despair. Munakata also comes to the conclusion that she murdered several children during The Tragedy. This was so shocking that it completely shattered what was left of Munakata's sanity.
  • Bait and Switch: Episode 2 really wants you to think at the end that Aoi has been killed. This is proven to be incorrect by the very next episode.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: In the tenth episode opening, the survivors' counter claims that six participants are alive, these being: Makoto Naegi, Aoi Asahina, Ryota Mitarai, Kyosuke Munakata, Juzo Sakakura and Yasuhiro Hagakure. However, Side: Hope reveals that Kyoko Kirigiri survived thanks to Seiko Kimura's medicine.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Juzo does this in Episode 11 to stop Makoto from killing himself.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The Remnants of Despair are Terrorists Without a Cause, whose only goal is to bring death, destruction, and chaos to the entire world. The Future Foundation, an organization dedicated to rebuilding society, is full of jerks and extremists, many of whom only seem capable of working together because of their mutual hatred toward despair. They also have little issue with placing execution orders on people they suspect of being dangerous.
  • Body of the Week: Naturally, as soon as the deadly game starts, the Future Foundation members start dropping like flies. And because of the distrust between the members, not much investigating to root out the identity of the traitor has happened yet.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: A wounded and unconscious Asahina is found by the brainwashed soldiers. Munakata is also last seen fighting off the brainwashed soldiers.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 7 is focused entirely on the characters outside the Final Killing and as a result is much more light-hearted than prior episodes. Then the ending happens.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being absent in every bit of DR material since the original in contrast to other survivors, Aoi finally returns as a major character. Another Episode and Dangan Ronpa 2 characters return in Episode 6, when Naegi calls to the Future Foundation outside.
  • Call Back: Great Gozu lays his coat over Yukizome's body much like Mondo did for Junko/Mukuro in the anime of the first game. And then Aoi later does the same thing to his body.
    • Ruruka's death is very similar to Nagito's: impaled, slashed across the limbs, rope/chain somewhere nearby and something stuffed into/across the mouth. Both deaths were also self-inflicted, and occurred as the victim plunged across both the Despair Event Horizon and Moral Event Horizon. That's not the only reference to Nagito and his demise either — after Munakata's attack, Juzo ends up impaled through the midriff and minus a left hand.
  • Call Forward: Archive footage from the Tragedy shows that Fuyuhiko lost his right eye in the real world at some point, just like he does later on in SDR2's simulation. Hiyoko and Ibuki are also shown performing together as they do at one point in SDR2.
  • Ceiling Corpse: Chisa, Great Gozu and Seiko are all suspended from the ceiling in some way when their bodies are found.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Episode 2, Asahina tried to use a fire extinguisher on Munakata, but it was defective. In Episode 10, Makoto tries to use that same fire extinguisher against Munakata by throwing it at him. While Munakata deflects it, the fire extinguisher activates and rockets toward Munakata and hits the back of his head.
    • In Episode 2, Juzo comments that, with Naegi's luck, it would be easy for him to slip out of ropes if they tied him up. Guess what happens when Naegi watches the despair anime in Episode 11.
    • Kimura's Cure W, which Kirigiri uses to survive her poisoning.
  • The Cameo: Every dead member of the 78th class except Mukuro and Junko appear in Naegi's dream in episode 11.
  • The Coats Are Off: Pretty much everyone does this.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Kirigiri's visibly shown writing in her notebook from the first game.
    • During a conversation with Komaru, Naegi ends up referencing the death of Yuta Asahina.
    • A very tragic one in Episode 8; you know that photo of a young Kyoko with her father? Turns out Kizakura was the photographer.
  • Crapsack World: While it was indicated beforehand, this installment hammers home how bad the post Tragedy world is. Even after what's indicated to be at least a year, the world is still wreaked by terrorism and psychopaths. And this is while things are supposedly calming down.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Kimura and Gozu are two characters who are completely dressed in black and associated with dark colors. They are also some of the nicest characters in the show, if not the entire franchise.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 7 is one for the Absolute Despair Girls cast. The episode is even named "Ultra Despair Girls" in homage to this fact.
  • Deadly Game: The Final Killing Game. It's a little different than the previous two, as there are no murder investigations or trials. Instead, everyone is fitted with a bangle that will administer a sleeping drug after a time limit has passed. Once everyone else is asleep, the traitor/attacker has a limited time to kill exactly one person. Everyone also has one action they can't perform, otherwise their bangle will administer a lethal dose of poison. If nobody is killed within the limited window of time, the other participants win. And just like the second killing game, this is all being broadcast live to the entire world. Except not really.
  • Dramatic Irony: Aoi calling Miaya a Warrior of Hope. While it was meant to be a sign that she considered Miaya an ally, the one controlling her, Monaca, was the leader of the villainous Warriors of Hope in Absolute Despair Girls. In fact, Monaca briefly freaks out because she thought Aoi had figured out her true identity.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Juzo uses his last moments before bleeding out to FORCEFULLY END THE GAME!
  • Establishing Character Moment: As expected, Episode 1 functions as one for much of the cast:
    • Munakata is introduced loudly declaring that Naegi must be executed and disrespecting Tengan in the process. His scene with Yukizome proceeds to establish his more emotional side.
    • Yukizome's scene with Naegi where she tells him that she hopes that he and Munakata can work together for a greater future.
    • Sakakura physically assaulting Naegi after he's placed in handcuffs.
    • Andou and Izayoi are introduced with Izayoi nestling his head in Andou's lap as she pets it and feeds him sweets. Andou proceeds to then start acting abrasive and threatens Asahina with Izayoi, with Izayoi throwing his kunai to prove she's serious.
    • Bandai's bizarre voice and Word Salad Philosophy. This ends up being all the characterization he really gets.
    • The Great Gozu threatening Munakata should he act out of line.
    • Mitarai is introduced bumping into Kirigiri in the hallway, acting nervous and being late for the meeting itself.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Yet again, the Mastermind enforces betrayal by means of a killing game. Several NG Codes are geared towards this, but they're hardly needed once paranoia and fear set in. The most notable instances include Ruruka murdering her lover by setting off his NG Code, and Munakata's murder of both his mentor and his best friend.
    • As it turns out, even before the game, Chisa was a traitor to Munakata.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: All the Future Foundation leaders present are former students or faculty of Hope's Peak Academy. Not all of them attended school at the same time, however. Still, more than half of them attended in the same five year span.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Everyone has their hairstyle changed to some degree. Makoto has cut his hair shorter, Kyoko has undone her braid and now ties her hair in a ponytail, Aoi's hair is slightly longer and in a lower ponytail and Yasuhiro's is now tied back.
  • False Flag Operation: The Final Killing Game is one orchestrated by Chairman Tengan to press Mitarai into enacting a Heel–Face Brainwashing scheme on the entire planet. Ultimate Despair has no role in the killing game this time, only represented at all in the storyline by Chisa, the first victim, and Monaca, who is only spectating on her own and shortly thereafter says Screw This, I'm Out of Here! and takes off for space.
  • Five-Bad Band: The Radicals:
  • Five-Man Band: The Foundation members within the killing game that side with Naegi:
    • The Hero: Naegi.
    • The Lancer: Kirigiri.
    • The Big Guy: Great Gozu. After his death, Tengan took his place as the main combatant.
      • Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: Ironically, both Gozu and Tengan are the first two of Makoto's group to be killed off, and in the next episode after formally joining.
    • The Smart Girl: Gekkogahara. Kizakura also picks up this job later on when he joins up with Kirigiri's group.
    • The Chick: Asahina.
    • Sixth Ranger: Mitarai and Tengan, who both side with Naegi in Episode 4. Kizakura also seems to formally join the group as of Episode 5.
  • Forever War: Apparently, in what seems to be at least a year in-universe, the battle between the children and adults of Towa City is still going on. This is despite the destructive battle in the source game being about a week long.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted to hell and back. When Makoto starts succumbing to the brainwashing, he starts having visions of all of his fallen classmates from the very first Danganronpa game, which now includes Kirigiri.
    • Kimura and Juzo seem to remember all those that died in the game.
    • Played straight with Ruruka, whom nobody remembers and was not even mentioned after her death, even though they must have assumed someone died during the fourth sleeping period.
  • Foreshadowing: Wouldn't be DR without this:
    • The OP has plenty.
      • In the beginning montage of the participants, Tengan is shown striking an action pose, hinting at the later revelation to him being a Badass Grandpa.
      • Each one of the death images in the intro demonstrates how each participant will be killed. Though not in the way you might think - they're symbolic representations of the characters deaths.
      • Aoi's death image shows her stabbed with a knife. Guess what happens to her in Episode 2? Or rather not, since it turns out to be nothing more than a toy knife and some tomato sauce. The real knife ended up in the actual victim noted below.
      • Bandai's death image shows him grabbing his chest. He would later do the same action while dying from poison.
      • The Great Gozu's death image shows his corpse being hung from chains. As the real victim of Episode 2, we see him hanging from the ceiling, tied up in electrical wires, and he's the one who got stabbed with a real knife.
      • Sakakura's death image shows him being cut by a katana, foreshadowing Munakata's betrayal. Juzo being cut in half also refers to his death by blood loss, caused when he cut off a part of his body (his arm) to get rid of the bracelet.
      • Gekkougahara's death image is being vertically split in half. Ultimately, she was "killed" in the exact same manner as her death image.
      • Kyoko's death image is her being hung by a rope, a common method of suicide. One can argue that by violating her NG code by refusing to kill Makoto before the 4th round she technically committed suicide.
      • Izayoi's death image is him being burned while tied to a cross, a combination of Joan of Arc's and Jesus's deaths - both known martyrs. Letting himself die so his girlfriend can live makes Izayoi a pretty big martyr.
      • Tengan's death image is him being electrocuted by live wires. He was strangled by his many convictions to different parties and ultimately dies because of them.
      • Mitarai's death image is him being hit by arrows, the same arrows as the ones from Tengan's chuusen. Sure enough, Tengan completely and utterly fucks Mitarai over.
      • During the opening there is an image of the Future Foundation building with a very detailed reflection of it. It's revealed that the "reflection" is in fact an actual building located below the original building, under the sea.
    • Tons towards Gekkougahara being Monaka's robotic avatar.
      • Her design is very, very similar to Monaka's. Both have the same distinct hair clumps, both sit in wheelchairs and the Scarf of Asskicking even mimics the ribbon on Monaka's DRAE outfit.
      • When the voice actors were being revealed, Gekkougahara was revealed with Asahina, Hagakure and Monomi. All three of those are returning characters, hinting that she was someone fans already knew.
      • Despite being purportedly a Therapist, Gekkougahara is completely mute and seems to have a massive expertise in electronics. Monaka was a well-established robotics expert.
      • When everyone is taking votes on who the traitor could be Kizakura casually points at Gekkougahara on a hunch. Keep in mind that he's described to have a good intuition, and he's a talent scout, so it's his job to figure out when people have talents... Like deception.
      • Gekkougahara's death image shows absolutely no blood and she never once blinks. Both of these make a lot more sense when you know she's a robot.
      • Gekkougahara claims that her Forbidden Action was to turn right, but when told to escape with Naegi she turns right, and yet she's somehow unharmed.
    • Notice how, despite Monokuma saying the Final Killing is being broadcast, there isn't a single camera in plain view? That's because, as Episode 6 reveals, that fact is a complete and utter lie.
    • Despite Munakata's hypothesis that the mastermind's ultimate plan requires Naegi alive, Monaka mentions that she's helping Naegi and Asahina because they amuse her. Turns out that Monaka isn't the Big Bad.
    • Three of the NG Actions revealed in Episode 8 were heavily hinted at by prior episodes; Sakakura, despite his talent, is never shown punching anyone (using either weapons or his legs), Izayoi throughout the killing game kept rejecting Andou's sweets (despite unquestionably eating them in every other instance), and Kizakura is always shown with his left hand in his pocket.
    • Kyoko noticing the lack of the dent in the wall left by Izayoi and avoiding using the Secret Exit hinted at the secret behind the game stage.
    • There were actually plenty of hints to the identity of the attacker, or attackers, before the reveal in Episode 11.
      • The most significant one being the brightly lit monitors next to the body of each victim.
      • During the case of the second victim Gozu was closer to the monitor than Naegi, Asahina, and Gekkougahara.
      • The closed-room cases of the second and fourth victims, Gozu and Ruruka, especially since no one was near Ruruka during the time of her death.
      • In episode 7, Monaca states that she didn't know who the mastermind was, even though she would have likely seen the attacker, due to Gekkougahara being active during the sleep cycles, indicating that the attacker and the mastermind were not one in the same.
    • In Episode 3, Tengan is rather lax when they wake up after the second sleeping time, which Kyoko notes. This foreshadows that he knows the mechanics of the game.
      • Likewise, the fact that Tengan already seemed to know Sakakura's NG Code.
    • After Kizakura figures out Sakakura's Forbidden Action ("attacking someone barehanded"), he observes that the game would be extremely one-sided if Sakakura didn't have his Restraining Bolt. The same applies to one other key participant: Mitarai, whose Brainwashing Video would allow him to instantly pacify everyone if he was allowed to use it.
    • When the group discuss Tengan's dying message, Mitarai stares at his phone and starts muttering. It later turns out that the "hope" Tengan was referring to was the brainwashing program on Mitarai's phone.
  • Four is Death: Kyoko's NG Code is "Allow Makoto Naegi to survive past the fourth time limit". Also, four people triggered their NG Codes, and four people successfully committed suicide due to the despair anime.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In episode 9, when the group rush towards Kyoko's not moving body, a tiny bottle can be seen rolling away on the ground. It turns out in Side:Hope that it was actually a special drug Kyoko obtained from Seiko's body, which allowed her to avoid being killed by the poison.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Leon Kuwata's bloody, bruised face in Naegi's brainwashing dream in episode 11.
  • Happy Ending Override: Super Dangan Ronpa 2 ended on a relatively hopeful if ambiguous note with Naegi seeing the Remnants of Despair off. From the first episode, it's shown that Naegi got court-martialed, much of the Future Foundation besides his friends hate him and everyone gets thrown into another Deadly Game. Side:Future Episode 6 shows things aren't going so hot for the Remnants either.
  • A House Divided: Despite being trapped in a killing game, most of the Future Foundation members are more interested in settling personal grudges rather than actually trying to find the killer.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted horrifically. Episode 10 reveals in a flashback that Munakata took in children from the Tragedy, only for Chisa to kill them and pass it off as being the actions of someone else as a means to corrupt him. It's implied that this was not a one-off occurrence either.
  • In Medias Res: The first two episodes Cold Open at roughly the halfway point of each episode.
  • Interface Spoiler: A variation; on the official website, characters are divided into two sets, the initial cast and important additions are added to one portion, while more minor characters or un-recurring characters are added to a second set. After Episode 4, Monaka was added to the latter, giving away that she had a more minor role than first impressions would have you believe.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • In Episode 10, Munakata finally reveals that Chisa is one of the Remnants of Despair.
    • In Episode 11, Sakakura reveals to Naegi that Junko blackmailed him from telling Munakata about her actions. And Mitarai reveals that Junko used his animation techniques to create her brainwashing videos.
  • Irony: The whole mess started when the most powerful members of the Future Foundation wanted to execute Naegi for becoming a "traitor" and shielding the Remnants of Despair, maintaining that only death was an appropriate punishment for Hajime and Co's despair-filled actions. Not only does it turn out that Naegi is one of the very few members of the FF who wouldn't turn on his friends at the slightest provocation, the FF has always been sheltering one of the most dangerous Remnants - Chisa, who played a major role in dragging her class into Junko's clutches. And, unlike class 77-B (plus Hajime), she's been running around unchecked.
  • Ironic Echo: "As long as there is despair in people's hearts". That phrase is used in the first and last episode of Side:Future and what that phrase implies changes between these episode. In the first episode, Monokuma uses that phrase to explain why he's still alive but in the last episode Mitari uses that phrase to justify his plan to brainwash people to good.
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot: In the OP, Naegi and Kirigiri both have their faces juxtaposed against Monokuma: Naegi against the black half, and Kirigiri against the white.
  • Kill the Cutie: Yukizome is the series' first casualty. However, as of Episode 10, she appears far less cute due to her apparent slaughter of a pre-school. Episode 9 of Side: Despair does show that she was brainwashed by Junko, but that doesn't make her actions any less horrific.
  • Light Is Not Good: Munakata and Andou are heavily associated with clear colors, they are also two of the biggest jerks of the franchise, both being The Scrappy of the fandom. Yukizome is also associated with bright colors, however it's revealed that she was a Remnant of Despair in episode 10.
  • Lost in Translation: For Makoto's Shut Up, Hannibal! moment towards Munakata in episode 10, Funimation decided to translate his response as "That's not hope!" Anyone who knows Japanese will know that he's actually saying his counter-argument Catch Phrase, "No, that's wrongnote !"
  • Metaphorically True:
    • Everyone thought, when they found the secret exit, that they would be able to leave the building and leave the game, but it turns out the exit is a dead end and the building they're in is at the bottom of the ocean. But the room also leads to the power room that can shut off all the power in the building, including the monitors that drove the victims into committing suicide and everyone's bracelets, so technically they were able to leave the game.
    • Tengen claims he's not the attacker, but says that everyone has the potential to be. He also reveals that his forbidden action is to answer a question with a lie. It's later revealed that all the victims were simply brainwashed into committing suicide - so technically, he was telling the truth.
  • Mind Screw: The ending of episode 12 returns to the deceased Yukizome and the theater from Side:Despair, except this time, the equally deceased Junko joins her.
  • Misery Poker: Munakata's attitude towards Naegi is based on this: basically, he believes that being mind-wiped and stuck in a building with a psychopath forcing you and your friends to kill each other is nothing compared to Munakata's struggles in the disaster-struck outside world, therefore Munakata, having "suffered" more, has more right than Naegi to talk about "hope" and decide what needs to be done.
  • The Mole: There's one in the Future Foundation, murdering people when they're unconscious. There's actually at least two, with Monaka-as-Gekkougahara in cahoots with the real Big Bad. Yukizome was definitely one, up until her death, being a brainwashed member of Ultimate Despair.
    • Subverted in that the "attacker" turns out to be the victims themselves.
  • Mood Whiplash: The ending of Episode 9. Makoto and the others start waking up after another Sleep Phase, and they are all in high spirits after having survived it. But then, Makoto notices something: Kirigiri isn't moving and is bleeding from her left eye, both clear signs that her NG code has triggered and killed her. The rest of the episode takes a sharp nosedive in tone.
  • Official Couple: Andou and Izayoi mark the first instance the franchise has pulled this card for a pairing out of the starting gate.
    • Munakata and Yukizome are heavily implied to be this, having started a relationship between the two sides of the anime.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the time between episodes 6 and 10, Class 77-B managed to repel an entire Future Foundation fleet and steal one of their ships for themselves.
  • Opening Narration: Kyoko narrates the introduction to the Remnants of Despair in the first episode.
  • Poor Communication Kills: While revealing one's NG code is incredibly dangerous, especially with the traitor around, it's also possible for allies to accidentally kill each other if they don't know each others' codes. Such as when Sakakura gave Mitarai a knee to the gut, inadvertently triggering Bandai's NG code, "Witnessing Violence Between Participants".
    • Arguably the cause of the rift between Seiko and Ruruka, leading to their conflict and, ultimately, death. Ruruka thought Seiko was constantly rejecting her sweets because she didn't think they were good enough, and Seiko came to believe that Ruruka was ultimately just using her for her skills and medicines. The truth was that Seiko's condition meant that sugar could be lethal in combination with her medicines, and Ruruka thought she was trying to show Seiko how amazing she thought she was with her talents to get her to try her sweets. If the two had sat down and really talked it out, they might have come to an understanding.
  • The Psycho Rangers / Similar Squad: Munakata, Yukizome, and Sakakura to Naegi, Kirigiri, and Asahina, respectively. Although Yukizome never actually antagonized the 78th class trio, it was confirmed in Epiosde 10 that she is a Brainwashed and Crazy member of Ultimate Despair.
    • Munakata to Naegi: Both are the charismatic, de facto leaders of their respective groups that work to restore the world and eliminate despair. The difference being is that Munakata is a skilled fighter that believes in Might Makes Right, while Naegi is a Non-Action Guy that believes in Right Makes Might.
    • Yukizome to Kirigiri: Both are skilled investigators, and serve as the apparently devoted Love Interests to Munakata and Naegi, respectively. However, in terms of personality, they are complete opposites. Yukizome is usually friendly, energetic but occasionally can be abrasive, while Kirigiri is usually distant and calm, but occasionally has her tender moments. There is also the dark implication that Chisa has been slowly driving Munakata to despair, while Kirigiri has done everything she can to keep Naegi hopeful and optimistic.
    • Sakakura to Asahina: Both have ultimate talents relating to competitive sports. Arguably, they are the most physically capable of their respective trio. Both are extremely devoted to their friends and will go to great lengths to support and protect them. The main difference between them is that Sakakura usually acts like a Jerkass to almost everybody, while Asahina is a generally friendly person.
  • Reality Ensues: Despite being The Hero, Munakata correctly notes that Naegi's Non-Action Guy status is a massive detriment to everyone outside of the Mutual Killing. Sure enough, Naegi is basically stuck as The Load, requiring his friends to bail him out of danger due to his inability to fight back.
  • Recap Episode: Played for Laughs in Episode 9 when Monokuma sets the episode up as one, then immediately drops it.
  • Recurring Element: Many points of this arc are similar to the first two games.
    • The presence of the Gentle Giant, Great Gozu, similar to Sakura in the first game and Nekomaru in the second. Similarly to them, he also dies.
    • The first death is of someone who got the spotlight enough so that it wouldn't be thinkable that they would die. Yukizome was introduced as if she was going to play a major role in the show.
    • Ruruka Andou represents the girl who goes crazy midway through the game and kills two other characters, as she killed Izayoi and Kizakura. Just like Celeste in the first game and Mikan in the second.
      • In episode 9, she represents another one: She is the last official victim to be "murdered" and the most brutal death of the game. Similar to Nagito and Mukuro.
    • A person in the game is told that if they are to survive, one other has to die. Instead, they choose to end their own life, rather than be forced to kill another to survive. They also ensure that they can help the remaining people to survive, even after death. It was Sakura Oogami in the first game, Chiaki in the second, and here it's Kyoko Kirigiri.
      • The final death of a participant of the killing game was a Heroic Sacrifice. In the first game, Sakura killed herself so the killing between friends would stop, in the second, Chiaki gave herself to execution so Nagito's plans would fail. This time, Juzo, of all people, uses his dying breaths and all his Heroic Willpower to shut down the building's energy and stop the killing game, saving Munakata, Makoto, Asahina and Mitarai
    • The number of survivors of the Final Killing Game ends up being roughly the same, 5-6 participants (either 5 or 6, depending on one's point of view), as the previous two. The survivors were Naegi, Munakata, Asahina, Mitarai, Sakakura, and the seemly dead, Kirigiri. However, Juzo dies shortly after the Final Killing Game ends.
      • Additional, most of the survivors follow the same archetypes of the previous killing game survivors, including The Protagonist (Makoto), the attractive dark-skinned girl (Asahina), the well-dressed Jerkass who Took a Level in Kindness (Munakata, like Byakuya and Fuyuhiko before him.), and the easily frightened/timid guy (Ryota, like Hagakure and Kazuichi before him).
    • The characters executed for violating their NG codes seem to parallel the order of executed characters of SDR2, excluding Mikan.
      • The first NG Code violator was Bandai, who happened to be the participant with the Nonstandard Character Design, much like Teruteru, the first executed character of SDR2.
      • The second NG Code violator was Izayoi, who happened to share a lot of similarities to Peko. Both acted as a calm, devoted bodyguard for the person they loved (Ruruka and Fuyuhiko), and ultimately died for them.
      • Here the order skips over Mikan, as the third NG Code violator, Koichi, seems to parallel Gundham instead. Both Koichi and Gundham are intelligent Bunny-Ears Lawyer what were able to utilize the traps set up in the building they were trapped in to their advantage. Both also ended up being executed as a result of a Heroic Sacrifice.
      • The final NG Code violator ends being Kyoko who, like AI Chiaki, was the leading female character and the apparent Love Interest of the The Protagonist.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Remnants of Despair are all shown with red glowing eyes in the introduction.
    • Naegi himself after viewing Monokuma's Gloomy Sunday.
    • Sakakura, as The Brute, has blood colored eyes.
    • Hajime's glowing red eye at the end of Episode 6.
    • The robotic receptionist seen when Togami and his men enter the building at the end of episode 8, just before the building blows up.
  • Red Herring: Monaka.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: The world after The Tragedy has a perpetually red, cloudy sky.
  • Revenge: Seiko and Andou use the Deadly Game they are caught in as justification for attempting to murder each other, but really they are just trying settle the score they had back in high school.
  • Sadistic Choice: A few of the NG Codes are specifically designed to force this on the wearer, specifically Ruruka's (prevent anyone from escaping or die herself) and Kyoko's (ensure that Naegi dies or perish after the fourth time limit). Others aren't as explicit about this, but end up having the same effect like Kizakura's (let his best friend's daughter die or break his NG code and die himself.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Monaca gives up trying to be Junko's successor after she realizes the pointlessness of trying to fight hope, as well as having no desire to end up becoming someone like Nagito. Instead, Monaca decides to exile herself into space to live as a NEET.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: A few characters make noble sacrifices that fail to achieve the intended result. Kizakura dies to save Kyoko, but she's already doomed if she lets Naegi survive the next knockout — and she refuses to kill her friend. Izayoi accepts Ruruka's betrayal gracefully, refusing to fight back or seek vengeance as she kills him...but she's the next victim.
    • Somewhat averted in the first instance in that, while Kirigiri still died, if Kizakura hadn't saved her, she wouldn't have been able to galvanize Naegi's determination before he confronted Munakata, and Asahina wouldn't have found her notebook and discovered the truth about the killings.
  • Ship Tease: One can make a case that Makoto and Aoi have a decent amount of ship tease. Makoto and Aoi spend most of the anime together with Aoi being his main protector. They have several moments where they comfort and support each other. When Aoi passes out from the poison in episode 11 her last thought is of Makoto. This all ends up being negated in the end since Kyoko survives to have a heavily implied Happily Ever After with him after her own heavy bout of it.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A bunch of people are trapped somewhere with no escape, equipped with bracelets loaded with both an anesthetic that is administered at regular intervals and a poison to execute them should they step out of line, and forced to play a Deadly Game. Sound familiar? It's probably worth noting that Zero Escape creator Kotaro Uchikoshi is a good friend of Kazutaka Kodaka, so this is not exactly surprising.
    • At one point in the dubbed Episode 4, Monomi says, "My body is ready!"
    • Episode 7 has Monaca having a speech about Junko's death is likely a nod to Gihren Zabi's speech about Garma's death from Mobile Suit Gundam.
    • Also in episode 7 has Chibi Komaru-chan during Touko's fantasy. Coincidentally, Chibi Maruko-chan is voiced by TARAKO, the current voice of Monokuma.
      • That same fantasy also has Togami siting on the hood of a moving car in the exact position used in the "Akio Car" Stock Footage.
    • Also in episode 7, Monaca launches herself into space, and then remarks that she's decided to stop thinking.
    • Monaca's NEET outfit in episode 7 is clearly based on Umaru Doma's "Indoor Mode" from Himouto! Umaru-chan.
    • In episode 8, when deducing Juzo's forbidden action, Kizakura points his finger in a fashion similar to how characters point in Ace Attorney.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Makoto and Munakata in particular represent a conflict of this, with Makoto representing the "idealistic" voice that believes Despair can be rehabilitated, whereas Munakata's "cynical" stance argues that eliminating it entirely is the only option.
  • Something Completely Different: The Deadly Game in Side:Future is not the Mutual Killing from previous game, being a Ten Little Murder Victims scenario closer to events in the side novels.
  • Skyward Scream: Munakata at the end of his confrontation with Naegi in Episode 10, when he finds out that Yukizome was Evil All Along.
  • The Stinger: Episode 5 has one. Munakata patches himself up and injects himself with what looks like the same serum that made Kimura hulk out.
    • In Episode 8, Togami and his team finally enter the building. However, they end up triggering a bomb in the process, destroying the building.
    • In Episode 10, a boat is sailing away from Jabberwock Island.
    • In Episode 11, Mitarai, while talking to Naegi, receives a text message from Tengan.
    • In Episode 12, Naegi is saved by Hagakure and Togami, and Izuru/Hajime is shown walking towards into the Future Foundation building after having defeated an army of brainwashed soldiers. This is soon followed by the words, "Continued on the hope side".
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Makoto and those willing to hear him out are the good, those in the Future Foundation wanting to prosecute him are the bad, and Monokuma and the traitor are the evil. Monaca ends up fitting neither, and Munakata does a Heel–Face Turn back to Good; considering everybody else is dead, there's just the Good and the Evil by now.
  • Three Lines, Some Waiting: Generally speaking, there are three main plotlines, each spotlighting a main character:
    • Naegi, Asahina, and Gekkougahara's efforts to survive the Final Killing.
    • Kirigiri and Mitarai's investigation into the murders.
    • Munakata's slow descent into despair and insanity.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: At the end of Episode 7, Monaca claims that Makoto's actions are going to lead to the death of one of his classmates (which the ending Cliffhanger heavily suggests is Kirigiri at Munakata's hands). Since she isn't the mastermind, and shouldn't know what's going to happen, it remains to be seen how this will pan out.
    • Subverted until Episode 9. Kirigiri ends up dying thanks to her forbidden action: "Makoto Naegi survives past the Fourth Phase."
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth:
    • Bandai is a Nice Guy who is in charge of food distribution in the war-torn world. He gets killed rather unfairly due to his NG Code forbidding him from witnessing violence.
    • The Great Gozu saves Naegi from Munakata and encourages him to keep his hopes up despite the situation, only to be murdered by the attacker during the next sleep phase.
    • Seiko, despite being part of the radical faction, just wants to help people with her medicine, to the point where she's willing to treat her ideological rivals' wounds. During the third sleep phase, she's brutally crucified by the attacker.
    • Kizakura promised to Jin Kirigiri that he would protect his daughter, and he does so when he activates his NG Code to save Kyoko from a pit trap.
    • Subverted with Yukizome and Tengan, who are seemingly sympathetic when they are killed, but later it's revealed that the former is a brainwashed mole for Ultimate Despair and the latter is the mastermind.
  • Troll: Considering how they set up an elaborate, prank-like ruse to make it seem like Aoi was dead just to mess with Makoto, its safe to say that the traitor is this. Subverted, it was just Monaka being a childish dick.
  • Villain-Based Franchise: It wouldn't be Danganronpa if Monokuma didn't show up. He's returned for one last shot at driving the members of the Future Foundation into despair and murder. Subverted however, in that Monokuma is ultimately Demoted to Extra.
  • The Unreveal: In Episode 5 Tengan reveals to Munakata who the attacker is, but the viewer is unable to hear due to the audio being muted.
    • Happens again in Episode 7 when Monaka reveals she knows who will be killed due to Makoto only to refuse to actually answer and instead leave.
    • And happens yet again in Episode 10, which ends with Asahina and Mitarai finding Naegi and Munakata and revealing they know who the attacker is thanks to Kirigiri's notes, only for the episode to instantly cut to the credits after Naegi and Munakata's reactions.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Even though no one died after the fifth time limit, the bracelets were still active and the game continued. How intentional this was could be debatable, however, as by this point the mastermind was already dead.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The bracelets, worn by the participants, injects its owner with a sleeping drug every two hours, leaving them vulnerable to the Atacker. It also contains a lethal poison, which will be injected in the participant if they violate the Forbidden Action.
    • Averted with Miaya Gekkougahara, whose Forbidden Action is "turning right". Since the Miaya present in the Final Killing game is a gynoid, neither the poison for violating the forbidden action nor the sleeping drug has any affect on her.
  • Wham Episode: Kazutaka Kodaka openly said he hopes every episode surprises you. Needless to say, he succeeded with flying colours:
    • Episode 4 has multiple big bombshells occurring at once; the 76th trio were all students expelled from Hope's Peak Academy, Tengan manages to talk Munakata down after getting impaled and Gekkougahara is outed as being actually a robotic avatar for Monaka Towa.
    • Episode 5: Munakata goes completely off the deep end, killing Tengan and more or less falling into despair. And it's heavily implied that the traitor's identity is what causes him to snap, which certainly has dark implications...
    • Episode 6: Holy. Shit. Izayoi is found dead. Naegi gets a message out to Togami, who reveals that Munakta's sending the Future Foundation's Peacekeeping Force to Jabberwock Island, and Togami agrees to come help them. After the broadcast, Togami and his men talk about how the real Miaya has been murdered. Togami contacts Toko and Komaru, presumably to go and find Monaca, who they believe is in Towa City. And, of course, see Wham Shot below for the final scene.
    • Episode 7: Surprise, Monaka isn't the Big Bad, or even close to it. The episode then ends in Munakata seemingly about to kill Kirigiri.
    • Episode 8: Andou is confirmed to be Izayoi's murderer, and her NG code will kill her if anybody exits the building. Kizakura dies saving Kirigiri; she, Sakakura and Mitarai find the secret exit, and Togami and the rest of the Future Foundation (sans Hagakure) enter the building... just to activate a security system that seems to be making the whole building collapse.
    • Episode 9 takes the cake with (Robo)Miaya, Juzo, Ruruka and Kirigiri all getting killed, the former two by Munakata, along with the discovery that the facility the killing game is taking place in has been underwater all along.
    • Episode 10: Yukizome was a despair, Munakata pulls a Heel–Face Turn and, at long last, the remaining participants learn the attacker's identity.
    • Episode 11: It's revealed that all of the "attacker's" victims actually committed suicide after watching a brainwashing video, Juzo is revealed to be alive and saves Makoto from killing himself, and then he dies after forcefully stopping the game.
    • Episode 12: It turns out that Tengan was the Big Bad, having organized the Final Killing game for his plan to spread "hope". Oh, and Mitarai decide to continue Tengan's idea of hope by ''brainwashing the world'' .
  • Wham Line: In Episode 10. "The killing is over! I found out who the attacker is!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of Episode 2, after the sleeping drug knocks everyone out and the attacker strikes, Makoto awakens and finds Aoi seemingly stabbed in the stomach. It was actually fake.
    • Episode 4 ends with a shot of Monaca Towa controlling a robot Gekkogahara, dressed up in her Junko-esque outfit from the end of Absolute Despair Girls.
    • Episode 6 ends with Munakata's peacekeeping forces heading to Jabberwock island, with someone who looks like Hajime watching them from a dock. The final shot has a closeup of his eye, which opens to reveal a red pupil as he says "This is so boring."
    • Episode 8 ends with Byakuya's team accidentally triggering a bomb inside the Future Foundation base, causing the building to start sinking.
    • At the end of Episode 9, when everyone awakens, they discover Kirigiri has died due to her forbidden action.
    • The end of Episode 11 shows Ryota's cell phone with a text from the thought-to-be deceased Tengan.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: In Episode 12, it's deduced that Mitarai wasn't supposed to attend the hearing, implying that someone called him to it against Tengan's will. Whoever that person is is never revealed, as the point is completely dropped in Side:Hope.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Downplayed. Before Makoto decides to confront Munakata once and for all, Mitarai calls out Makoto for just leaving Kirigiri's body behind and not feeling sad about her death. Makoto explains that while he is sad that she's dead, he understands why she would sacrifice herself and he has to push forward for her.

     Tropes for Side:Despair 

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Everyone loves Nanami. Junko knows this, and forces them to watch her execution to push them into Ultimate Despair.
  • Advertised Extra: The anime heavily promoted the return of the entire cast of SDR2. In reality however, everyone besides Hinata, Nanami and Komaeda end up with relatively minor roles after the first two episodes.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Seems to be the case in episode 8, knowing what's likely going to happen afterwards.
  • Battle in the Rain: Peko vs. Mukuro in episode 8. Juzo and Kyousuke fighting off the reserve course students also applies.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Nagito's luck gets him several cans of "Dr Hopper" and Chiaki plays Galaomega on her Nantendo Game Girl Advance.
    • While Ryota is working on his anime in a new location, Junko gives him a mini-fridge filled with a Red Bull knockoff, replacing the bulls with bulldogs for its logo. She also references the real life product's Catch Phrase.
    Junko: Have you got wings?
  • Blatant Lies: Even as Hajime is put under for the surgery, a scientist/doctor tells him that he may feel a bit confused when he wakes up, but he'll soon be back to normal. Apparently they didn't see fit to mention that little Death of Personality / Grand Theft Me issue. And worse, poor Hajime has no idea that this is their intent.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the second part of episode 5, Junko looks to the camera and says: "Alright! In the B-Part, it's the Enoshima time you've all been looking for!".
  • Call Forward: Being a prequel, this is to be expected.
    • The building that Munakata is building in the first episode is the headquarters of the Future Foundation and the setting of Side:Future.
    • In a picture during the ending song, Peko is shown with a Sparkling Justice mask.
    • A picture in the ending song shows Chiaki, Ibuki, and Hiyoko having a session together, which is a special event in SDR2.
    • Episode two has Kizakura referencing Celestia as a potential student he's scouting.
    • Episode two also has Nekomaru playing as a robot in a fighting game. For an extra kick in the gut, his opponent, Gundham, notes that he is a worthy and determined opponent, and declares that they will fall together. This is exactly what happens in Super Dangan Ronpa 2: trapped and deprived of food, Gundham sends Nekomaru plunging to his death in the full knowledge that he himself is likely to be executed, in the hope that their deaths will save the others in the group. The idea of these two being the protectors of the class is revisited again in Episode 9, where they stay behind to fend off the angry (and probably brainwashed) Reserve Course students to buy the others time to complete their rescue mission.
    • Nagito is singled out in the Despair opening, floating in front of the silhouette of a gun barrel that holds six bullets — likely the barrel of the handgun that he used to play Russian Roulette in Super Dangan Ronpa 2.
    • Nagito also specifically mentions the term "fragment of hope" when the class are socializing together. The Neo World Program set the students the task of collecting "hope fragments" by bonding with each other.
    • Enoshima can be seen doodling in a notebook throughout Episode 5, likely the same notebook she has as Ryouko.
    • During The Tragedy of Hope's Peak, Kamukura receives a graze on his cheek from a bullet, identical to the one he receives as Hinata early into SDR2.
    • A less obvious example is Ibuki's leggings. In the second game, she wore a pair of ripped thigh-highs, one blue and one pink, but one of the photos from Twilight Syndrome Murder Case showed her wearing a pair of leggings with bone designs on them. Exactly what she wears here.
    • The way Chiaki dies, being brutally impaled with numerous spears, will be the same death Ikusaba will receive in the second killing game, which is kind of karmic.
    • Episode 10 of Side:Despair is titled "Smile at Despair in the Name of Hope". This is a reference to the fifth chapter of Super Danganronpa 2: "Smile at Hope in the Name of Despair.". In both episodes, Chiaki is viciously killed in a video game-like scenario after a Hope Spot where she reaches an exit/goal. The poor girl was murdered twice in the same manner.
    • It isn't very noticeable at first, but if you look closely at the collage of Chiaki in the ending song, you could see that she's holding up a star which has the same shape as the star that the hope fragments in Super Dangan Ronpa 2 form.
    • Episode 11 of Side:Despair is titled "Goodbye, Hope's Peak Academy", a deliberate parallel to the (original) subtitle of Super Dangan Ronpa 2 - "Goodbye, Despair Academy".
    • When Mukuro asked Junko if they should have Makoto killed, knowing that his luck would ruin her plan, Junko decides to let him live knowing that if someone like him ruined her plan it would be very despairful for her. She has no idea how right she is.
  • The Cameo: Maizono is shown on a magazine that Nagito gives to Teruteru in episode 4.
    • Yuuto Kamishiro appears in episode 5. In the same episode, application papers with portraits of both Celestia Ludenberg and Kiyotaka Ishimaru also appear, and Makoto Naegi appears briefly, walking into the school building.
    • Yasuke Matsuda appears briefly in episode 8, watching the "parade".
    • Every character from DR1 is seen in Episode 11, locking themselves in the school.
  • Censor Shadow: Used in the Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy very liberally. The Blu-ray release removed it.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Intentionally invoked with Side:Despair being a much Lighter and Softer contrast to Side:Future, with the first few episodes largely consisting of humorous Slice of Life moments in the 77th class. And then Junko shows up.
  • Continuity Nod: Several of the expressions and poses Chiaki makes echo the ones her AI makes in the second game.
  • Crapsaccharine World:
    • Compared to Side:Future, the art style of this arc is full of vibrant pastel colors. This doesn't make this arc any lighter than the other one.
    • In-universe, Hope's Peak sells itself as not only the pinnacle of education, but as a symbol of human potential and achievement. It has a very fancy campus, its students are allowed a lot of freedom and practically guaranteed success upon leaving school, and it's renowned across the world. In reality, the teachers really don't care about education, the whole school is a glorified laboratory for research on talent, they treat their Ultimate students like performing animals, and the whole thing is bankrolled by the badly-treated Reserve Students, who are inadvertently providing plenty of data on what happens when your Fantastic Caste System is allowed to rampage unchecked. And that's before we get into what's happening in the shadows.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Academy outright encourages this. It doesn't even require that their students attend classes to broaden their knowledge — they're free to go off and work on their talents instead (and no-one, aside from Chisa, will make too much noise if they're just goofing off instead). Chiaki mentions this to Hajime, when she notes that the Ultimates are trapped and limited by their own talents.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Episode 4 functions as one for Komaeda, who had been more of a background character until that point.
    • Episode 5 served as one for the Ultimate Imposter and Ryota, the latter of whom becomes a main character from there on.
  • Deal with the Devil: Hajime's deal with Hope's Peak: he can attend the Academy for free (the substandard Reserve Course, of course, not the actual Ultimate-exclusive school)...but Hope's Peak require his participation in a certain project in return. At the start of the series, it's clear that they've kept him in the dark as to exactly what that project entails.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Most of Class 77. While the Side:Despair trailers and posters tout Side:Despair as their story, they mostly serve as catalysts (or comic relief) in the backstories of Side:Future's cast, at least in the initial episodes. Nanami is the only one with a truly signifigant role in the narrative.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Junko's whole M.O. involves throwing people over this at the speed of light. Chisa and Mikan cross it via torture and brainwashing, and the rest of Class 77-B cross it via brainwashing and trauma, as they're forced to watch Chiaki's gruesome, agonizing death, trapped in a torture-maze with no escape. Special mention to Hajime too, who crosses it when the last of his self-esteem is shattered, pushing him into becoming Izuru.
  • Didn't Think This Through: It seems everyone is doing this in Episode 9. Yukizome going through with rescuing Chiaki without any backup, Class 77-B going to go rescue Yukizome without telling anyone and not considering the fact that Junko is very prepared for their arrival, and Sakakura confronting and planning to fight Junko by himself and while being surrounded by brainwashed Reserve Course students. The next episode shows just how badly they screwed up for their lack of planning as it leads to Yukizome being confirmed as brainwashed, Chiaki's death and Class 77-B being brainwashed after watching her being tortured and then killed, and Sakaura being blackmailed into lying to Munakata about Junko's involvement with the First Killing Game.
  • Divide and Conquer: How Junko kick starts the first Killing Game, as per usual. A threat to a Student Council member's mother gets the ball rolling.
  • Divided We Fall: Initially looks to be the way Junko gets her claws into the 77th class. Nagito is separated from his class early on, but it really starts when Junko hijacks Mitarai, then kidnaps Mikan when the Ultimate Nurse comes to his house to check his wellbeing. The rest of the class become nervous when one of their number simply vanishes... The final classmate to be separated from the pack is Chiaki. Junko then nabs the others in one fell swoop as she forces them to watch the murder of their beloved class rep.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Enforced. Notice all these examples are common in some of the more extreme hentai:
    • After the murder of his crush, Sousuke Ichino decides to kill a couple attempting a lovers' suicide by repeatedly ramming a large, hard metal object into them while the boy is lying on top of the girl. What's more, after the boy dies, Sousuke keeps doing it while we're treated to a shot of the girl screaming in agony as she begs the attacker to stop, stating it hurts.
    • A girl half-undressed while having an ahego and letting out orgasmic sounds is unsettling even for some hentai watchers, and having Mikan doing all these while Junko stomps on her butt with the heel of Junko's pump at a certain area becomes a whole new level of squick.
    • Chisa's literal mind rape. The orgasmic sound she let out as the camera focused on her gainaxing chest and crotch does not help.
    • While Junko is clearly a villain, the way she bullies Mitarai and Juzo are too realistic for comfort. Both feature the victim surrounded by other students as Junko looks down and mocks them. Her bullying of Juzo is cruelly, uncomfortably close to a brutal form of school bullying: not only does she out him as a closeted homosexual, she also stomps on him and humiliates him, with a lot of students laughing at him when she reveals the object of his affection. This is made worse by the fact that this situation is all too common even in the real life of 2016.
    • Episode 11 showcases a pretty "interesting" scene of Junko slapping her sister's ass, knocking Mukuro on the ground and repeatedly stomping on her butt, with the heel of Junko's pump seemingly positioned in a particular area. We then get a close up of Mukuro as she is blushing, with her body moving in a rather suggestive manner in response to Junko's stomping. The fact Mukuro seemed to be out of breath after Junko was done doesn't help with the implication.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Megumi Ogata sings Side:Despair's ending theme.
  • Doomed by Canon: Everyone in class 77 is going to fall into despair (with the exception of Chiaki). All we can do is watch it happen.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted, Mitarai's Attempted Rape by a Brainwashed and Crazy Tsumiki is played for all the horror it entails.
  • Downer Ending: As the description above says: "This is a tale of hope that ends in despair." Sure enough, Class 77-B falls into despair, Nanami dies, Yukizome becomes despair and is already on her way to corrupting her lover into it, and Mitarai is left a depressed, guilt-ridden wreck. It does however end on something of an optimistic note, as his anger over Nanami's death leads Kamukura to start plotting against Junko in Revenge, leading to the events of Super Dangan Ronpa 2 and Side:Hope.
  • Easter Egg: The official website changes based on key events.
    • Junko, physically incapable of subtlety, is the first thing you see upon going to the website as of Episode 5. She takes up the whole page!
    • By contrast, after Episode 5, where he is transformed into Izuru, Hajime vanished from his place front-and center of the Side:Despair image, on the right hand side of the official website, giving us a better look at his ominous alter-ego in the background. Poor guy got erased in the real world as well as the story...
    • As of Episode 6 Hajime's empty spot has been filled by Izuru.
    • Since Episode 10 every character but Chiaki now has red eyes.
    • After Episode 12 of Future everything went back to normal, Izuru has been replaced by Hajime and all the red eyes are gone.
  • Eye Awaken: Hajime/Izuru at the end of Episode 5.
  • Faceless Masses: Non-notable characters have unique designs, but have vague features and are colored a translucent blue.
  • Fair-Weather Mentor: The whole school system, for the Ultimates. Hope's Peak laps up the credit for what their talented students go on to achieve, and is even willing to cover up atrocities if it means protecting the school's reputation. However, you're on your own if you get caught before they can hide the evidence, and Chisa tells her students that failing to perform impressively enough in the end of year exams could cost them their place in the school.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Mikan's Attempted Rape of Mitarai and sadomasochistic love of Junko are absolutely played for horror.
    • Episode 9 graces us with a lovely shot of Chisa's breasts and groin as she's being Mind Raped, tortured, and forced to orgasm.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fanservice Extra: When Teruteru held up the magazine featuring Sayaka Maizono, she was wearing a very revealing swimsuit which shows off a rather shapely body.
  • Fantastic Caste System: As described in Danganronpa Zero, Hope's Peak's student body is divided between the main course, who are scouted by the school for their talents, and the reserve course, ordinary students who have to pay colossal entrance fees for the chance to attend. The two courses have adjacent, but separate campuses, and it appears that main course students can freely wander the reserve course campus, but not the other way around.
  • Flanderization: Due to Loads and Loads of Characters, the necessity to cover a large amount of plot points in a fairly small amount of episodes and explore the backstories for the new characters, this hits much of the SDR2 cast hard. Soda especially gets it bad.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We know that, by the end of Side:Despair, Hajime will become Izuru Kamukura, and everyone in Class 77, with the potential exception of Chiaki, will fall into despair.
  • Foreshadowing: In every shot of the classroom, there is always one seat left unfilled. Episode 5 reveals that seat belongs to Mitarai, who is staying couped up in his room working while the Ultimate Imposter uses his identity.
    • Juzo, irritated that Chisa stopped him from beating up Hinata, says that she's becoming too absorbed in her false identity as a teacher. Several episodes later, she becomes the mask.
  • Frameup: Junko frames Izuru for killing all the student council members during the first mutual killing game to convince the Reserve Course students that Hope's Peak has been using their money to fund the experiments that created him, meaning they're all accomplices.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Episode 4, student profiles for Komaeda and the 76th year trio are briefly shown. While it requires one to pause to read, it reveals the hijacking incident that killed Komaeda's parents, that Andou, Izayoi and Kimura are all Childhood Friends and explicitly confirms that Andou and Izayoi are an Official Couple.
  • Funny Background Event: In Episode 2, for most of the huge fight sequence that is demolishing the classroom, Chiaki continues to play her game and does not react until a bit of debris bounces off her head and breaks her concentration.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite the radically different environment, most of the major relationships from the second game remain intact. This makes sense since, as Dangan Ronpa Zero insinuated, the students' lost memories didn't affect their subconscious memories of each other, so the original bonds reformed quite quickly.
  • Just Before the End: Side:Despair is set before both games, with characters like Jin Kirigiri, murdered in the first moments of the very first game, and Yukizome, murdered at the end of Episode 1 in Side:Future, very much alive and well. The arc begins with a much brighter and more cheerful atmosphere than the oppressive darkness of all other installments, although this doesn't last beyond the first quarter.
  • Meaningful Background Event: During Episode 9, you can see Izuru continuing to stare at Chiaki after Junko and later Chisa interrupt them. This is meaningful because it hints at his piqued interest in her, which is vital to his motivations for turning on Junko.
  • Mind Screw:
    • The first scene of Side:Despair is Yukizome in a movie theater watching her own death. Her own death, which is, for reference, something that happens three years from that point.
    • Ryota's experimental (brainwashing) animation techniques being displayed on our screen as he's discussing them, implying that Danganronpa 3 can affect our mind similarly.
  • Mind Rape: An exceptionally horrific example, overlapping with Cold-Blooded Torture, is given to Yukizome in Episode 9.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 3 has a complete change in atmosphere from the previous two.
    • Played even harder in Episode 4, which seems to revert to the lighter tone, only to end in a massive Downer Ending as Andou and Kimura's already unstable friendship falls apart, they along with Izayoi get expelled and Yukizome is separated from her students.
    • Episode 7 is vicious, and it's obvious from the start that Bad Things Will Happen, but it still takes some time out to show us... a naked Nagito singing in a waterfall after being in yet another plane crash (he never learns). The Ultimate Lucky student once again skirts the borderline between disturbing and hilarious.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the images of Class 77-B in the Side:Despair ED is a track photo identical in composition to the one of Class 78 from the first game.
    • Hinata's former school is given the name of Kodaka High, an obvious reference to series creator Kazutaka Kodaka.
    • As Junko leaks the details of the Izuru Kamukura project to the Reserve Course, the sequence of events is illustrated in a manner akin to a complete Climax Inference, right down to the background music.
    • In Episode 10, Junko kicks off Chiaki's execution by declaring "It's Punishment Time!" and playing a variation of the 8-bit execution intro from Super Dangan Ronpa 2. We then see a brief shot of Chiaki with the same art style as the executions cutscenes before going to a break.
      • And after it's done, the wheels of the Monokuma Vote slot machine briefly appear,
      • Of course, this all works because Class 77-B ends up in the first Class Trial room from the first game.
  • No One Should Survive That: According to the newspapers reporting the practical exam building bombing, not a single person died.
  • Off Model: The anime is quite shaky in the animation department, especially later on. It's most obvious when you compare character heights, Yukizome is listed officially as being 161 cm, but is drawn as being nearly a head taller than both Nanami and Mitarai (both only a centimetre shorter), while Satou is rendered noticeably taller than Koizumi despite the profiles noting her as being a good inch shorter.
  • Origins Episode: The entirety of Side:Despair, which details how Ultimate Despair came to be.
  • Our Founder: Hope's Peak Academy has a statue of Izuru Kamukura to this effect. It conceals a hidden room.
  • The Password is Always "Swordfish": Chisa easily opens a protected file about the Kamukura Project. Not only is the password simply the PC owner's favorite food in plain text, but it's written on a post-it note attached to the monitor. This is unfortunately an extremely common thing to do in offices, but when that password is protecting detailed notes on illegal human experimentation, maybe you should try memorizing it.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Side:Despair is one for Hajime Hinata and the rest of class 77.
  • Reality Ensues: Zig-zagged: nobody pays much attention when Akane and Nekomaru destroy classrooms and their destruction is Played for Laughs, but Komaeda's bombing of school property is taken extremely seriously. Justified in that the practical exams had a massive amount of media scrutiny, as pointed out by the Headmaster, meaning zero chance for cover-ups for what was caught live on camera.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Nagito manages to get away with the stunt he pulls in Episode 4 partially because the sheer amount of luck it required was the perfect display of his talent. Dangan Ronpa Zero suggests that this same attitude will backfire horribly on the staff of Hope's Peak later on when Junko starts putting her plan into motion.
  • Revision:
    • Absolutely nothing in SDR2 implied that Natsumi and Sato were Reserve Course students and not just regular HPA students. Natsumi's talent of Little Sister is turned into one she used for herself as a way of avoiding continuity errors.
    • The way Class-77 was corrupted by Junko. In the game, Monokuma claims that she used More Than Mind Control and recruited them one-by-one, whereas in the anime, they all get brainwashed at once by watching Chiaki's death. This might not actually be a revision, however: in the game, Makoto does say they were brainwashed, but it wasn't assumed he meant it literally because of Monokuma's previous statement.
    • It's said in the game that Izuru Kamukura killed the entire student council in the first killing game. In the anime, he only killed the last guy standing, and only after said guy charged at him with a chainsaw. The other students picked each other apart. The "inconsistency" is explained as Junko framing Izuru for the rest of the deaths, and given that she was attempting to break Hajime's spirit when she told him this, it's very likely she was lying then too.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: The scientists during Hajime's conversion to Izuru Kamukura. Also, during the Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy, Karen Kisaragi just before murdering her classmate with a chainsaw.
  • School of No Studying: Deliberately employed: Hope's Peak Academy's Ultimate students are free to spend time working on their talent rather than attending class (presumably because the school is actually performing research using the students -- educating them is a much less important concern). Even Chisa's attempts to round up her students are more of an effort to get them to socialize rather than to learn.
  • School for Scheming: Hope's Peak is horribly corrupt, and is more interested in exploiting its students as test subjects rather than actually teaching them. This is reflected in their general education policy, which essentially boils down to "let the Ultimates do whatever they want", which only furthers their Crippling Overspecialization and lays the groundwork for their fall into despair. In addition, the school quickly and ruthlessly covers up any event that could get them negative press, such as Natsumi and Sato's deaths, and Sakakura implies that the school would even resort to murder to silence any student that knows too much.
  • Series Continuity Error: A Continuity Nod in Episode 4 occurs when Komaeda's school profile notes the deaths of his parents in a hijacking incident. Only problem is that the profile says he was in junior-high when they died, despite every reference to the event before placing him in elementary school.
  • Ship Tease: The interactions with Hinata and later Izuru and Nanami are about as subtle as a rock to the face. The Imposter and Tsumiki also get this come Episode 5. Akane and Nekomaru also had their moment in Episode 2.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Kazuichi Soda ends up in bandages a lot like Makoto Shishio's after an...unlucky accident.
    • Ibuki playing a flamethrower-guitar, much like Coma the Doof Warrior from Mad Max: Fury Road.
    • Chiaki plays a rather familiar game called Gala Omega, complete with a suspiciously similar jingle.
    • After drinking the Doping Corn Soup, Akane's crazy hair length and combat poses are a dead ringer for Adult Gon's.
    • Episode 2 has Chiaki name-dropping Double Dragon II, along with the cast playing games visibly similar to Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and Bomberman.
    • Episode 4 has Ruruka present her confections to four judges, who react like they had a foodgasm like in Shokugeki no Soma.
    • Episode 4's title is "The Melancholy, Surprise, and Disappearance of Nagito Komaeda", all of which are titles to books in the Haruhi Suzumiya series.
    • Episode 7 has Mukuro singing "Give Me Wings" during The Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy, the same song used in Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance when Shinji sets off Third Impact.
    • The premise of the Student Council Killing Game begins very similarly to Battle Royale, with the killing being started off by the host shooting a student who stands up to them.
    • One of the weapons provided for the first Killing Game is a chainsaw with "Jason Freddy" inscribed on it.
    • Episode 9 has Gundham charging a Pegasus Meteor Fist.
    • Episode 9's title is Chisa Yukizome Doesn't Smile.
    • In Episode 10, when Junko is blackmailing Juzo, the music used is the game over music from Catherine.
  • Slave to PR: Hope's Peak will only discipline its students if they actually get caught by the wider public. They can cover up murder and human experimentation quite comfortably, but when a bomb goes off during the widely publicized exams, they have to be seen to be doing something...and promptly punish all the wrong people, as the scapegoats were the ones seen to be involved with incident, not the ones that masterminded it.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Enforced by Junko when she makes Mukuro sing "Give Me Wings", a sad yet beautiful ballad, as the student council members kill each other during the killing game.
  • Spiritual Successor: Side:Despair is more or less a (much expanded) successor to Dangan Ronpa Zero. Both are prequels that connect to the latest main series instalment, both have a romance between the main characters (Ryouko/Matsuda and Hinata/Nanami respectively) forming the backbone of the narrative and both heavily spotlight exploring the Big Bad of the prior instalments.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Nanami was an Unexpected Character who wasn't advertised at all until the week prior to premier, and has gone on to have more screentime than almost all of Class 77-B.
    • Once the real Ryota is introduced, he and his anime proceed to become absolutely central to Junko's plans and thus the plot, shoving nearly everyone else in Class 77-B to the side in the process. Only Chiaki, Nagito, the Imposter and Mikan continue to have any real relevance after episode 5.
  • Start of Darkness: Side:Despair serves as a prequel to the events of Dangan Ronpa, Absolute Despair Girls, and Super Dangan Ronpa 2, showing how Hajime/Izuru and the others became members of Ultimate Despair. As Episode 9 reveals, it is also one for Yukizome, and Side:Future Episode 12 reveals it to be one for Mitarai as well.
  • The Stinger:
    • The first episode of Side:Despair ends with a meeting in which one of the members present looks at a file containing information on Hajime.
    • In the second episode, Hajime is introduced to a new transfer student named Natsumi Kuzuryu.
    • The third episode has Hajime turning down a new game from Chiaki then arriving at the meeting.
    • The fourth episode has a rather sad one, with Yukizome talking to Munakata on the phone about how she was transferred to teach the Reserve Course, and while this will help her investigation, she's quite sad about leaving the 77th class behind.
    • The fifth episode ends with a smash cut right after Hajime's transformation.
    • The seventh episode has Junko spreading word about the massacre that occurred among the Student Council, followed by the Reserve Course setting up a rebellion against the school.
    • The eighth episode has Chiaki recognizing that Izuru Kamukura is Hajime Hinata.
    • The eleventh episode (and with it the arc) ends on Hinata and Nanami reuniting in the Neo World Program. This is soon followed by the words, "Continued to the hope side".
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Nagito is singing the end credits song as he showers in a waterfall. Bonus points for the fact that he canonically sings the EP himself.
  • Time Skip: Six months pass at the beginning of Episode 5, exemplified by the changing seasons and Hiyoko's growth spurt.
    • And another six months pass in Episode 6, as the seasons change around Chiaki waiting at the Reserve Course gate for Hajime who's already been converted into Izuru.
    • It's implied that another one of unknown length happens in between Episodes 10 and 11, since Junko knows how to erase memories, suggesting that the events of Dangan Ronpa Zero have already taken place.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The advertising presented the arc as a straight prequel, when in reality it functions more as the backstory to Side:Future. Consequently, Nanami (whose inclusion was unexpected to say the least despite her being a main character) and the Side:Future characters were completely excluded from most advertising until the series started.
    • In much of the advertising, Hajime Hinata and Nagito Komaeda continue to appear together/mirror each other, usually dressed in their old school uniforms, suggesting that they are main players and that Nagito's role as deuteragonist will be continued. In the show itself, Nagito is Demoted to Extra and Put on a Bus in the first half, while Hajime only really becomes a main player post-Izuru Kamukura. Moreover, these two never interact while Hajime is still himself — according to the show, their entire relationship, whatever it may be, begins only when they're put into the New World Program, unlike the other students who lapse into their old relationships.
  • Truth in Television: Some curriculums (mostly those involving "special needs" kids) really do have classes meant to teach their students social skills and/or teamwork.
  • Unexpected Character: Chiaki Nanami as a real student at Hope's Peak. The previews to the anime left her out on purpose (since she was believed to be just an AI in SDR2), making the reveal more surprising.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Chiaki has shades of this, in that she literally plays her way through all her scenes. Even when the classroom is in ruins around her.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ryota Mitarai's talent is used by Enoshima to brainwash the students of Hope's Peak. Also applies to Chiaki and Nagito in episode 9, when Junko purposely allows them to escape to get the rest of Class 77-B to rescue Yukizome so she can easily capture them all at once.
  • Wacky Homeroom: Class 77-B basically takes the wackiness Up to Eleven.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 5 has the 78th class joining Hope's Peak, and Hajime undergoing the transformation into Izuru Kamukura.
    • Episode 6 - Junko and Izuru meet and Izuru seems to take up her offer of spreading despair together. She also meets Mitarai and believes it to be a destined event.
    • Episode 7. The first killing game begins... and we get to see the student council kill each other in various brutal ways, all to the tune of Mukuro singing "Give Me Wings". Junko fabricates a story in which Izuru killed them all, sending it to the reserve course and claiming that this is what their money is being spent on. The last scene has the reserve course rioting, and the 77th class watching in fear.
    • Episode 8: Mama mia. It's indeed confirmed that Mitarai's brainwashing techniques are being used by Enoshima to drive the school to despair, as she uses it to make Tsumiki go Brainwashed and Crazy. Komaeda returns, and the entire class goes off to find Tsumiki. Komaeda and Nanami proceed to break into where Enoshima is keeping Mitarai, only for Kamukura to shoot Komaeda in the chest while Mitarai escapes. The episode then ends with Nanami realising Kamukura is Hinata.
    • Episode 9: Enoshima captures Yukizome, with the final scene heavily implying she's now under her influence.
    • Episode 10: Holy shit. Chiaki is forced into a deadly maze by Chisa and Junko, with the members of class 77 being forced to watch. Her death is what finally pushes them into becoming Ultimate Despair. Not only that, but see Wham Shot for the final scene.
  • Wham Line: At the end of episode 2. "Hello. I am Natsumi Kuzuryu."
    • The end of Episode 9. "Chisa Yukizome Doesn't Smile"
    • The very end of Episode 11, "continued to the hope side", confirming the existence of a combined Grand Finale.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of Episode 10, the camera pans up to show Izuru crying over Chiaki's death, with the next episode confirming this is what turned him against Junko.

     Tropes for Side:Hope (All spoilers unmarked!) 
  • Back for the Finale: All of the DR1 survivors and the entire SDR2 cast, though AI Chiaki appears only as a figment of Hajime's memory.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The Imposter, for Mitarai. As soon as Mitarai gets better, the Imposter runs up and they hug. As soon as they are in the boat, he mentions that Mitarai looks skinny again.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Remnants of Despair.
  • Bookends: The Tragedy is started by Hope's Peak Academy covering up a killing game, which is blamed on Izuru Kamukura, and is ended by the Future Foundation (semi-successor to Hope's Peak) agreeing to a cover up of another killing game, with Izuru Kamukura initiating and taking the blame.
    • The beginning of the Prequel has Chiaki telling Hajime how talent isn't everything, and that it's more important to stay true to oneself, while he's looking at his palm and lamenting not having a talent. Side Hope has Hajime, finally having found his inner strength and resolve as a person after the events of SDR2, repeating Chiaki's words and acknowledging the merit of them while staring at her Galaga hairpin in the palm of his hand.
    • The first game showed Makoto waking up alone in a classroom shortly after he and Hope's Peak Academy were introduced. The Grand Finale shows Makoto sitting in a desk that has the same relative row-and-column position as it did back then, shortly before he's revealed to be the headmaster of a reborn Hope's Peak Academy.
    • Works in terms of killing games, though on a darker note: of the characters involved in the chronological first and last killing games, the leaders of their group end up worse off than they did before (Murasame goes into trauma, while Munakata has to carry the weight of his actions).
  • Bittersweet Ending: While its ending is the brightest in the entire Hope's Peak saga, there's still some bitterness in a typical Dangan Ronpa fashion: The Future Foundation is on its last legs due to losing most of its members, Munakata blames himself for his actions as well as losing both Chisa and Juzo, ultimately resulting with him Walking the Earth, and Class 77-B painted themselves as the "scum of humanity" to cover up Tengan's involvement in the Final Killing Game, but Kyoko is shown to be alive as a result of drinking Seiko's "Antagonist" antidote and Mikan saving her life afterwards, the Tragedy is no more, Class 77-B settled down peacefully in Jabberwock Island after inviting Mitarai to join them, and Makoto takes over Hope's Peak Academy, which is now re-opened for business.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: The conflict for Side:Hope. Mitarai is desperate enough to do this, the rest of the cast is trying to stop him.
  • Broken Aesop: The conclusion to the series left us with a few:
    • Hajime's character arc is all about the danger of throwing away your individuality due to feeling inadequate, leading to a nightmarish chain of events where a perfectly decent (and academically talented) young man is erased from his own mind and turned into a talented but heartless superhuman. But the ending shows that those Izuru powers were critical to saving everyone, sabotaging the "you're good enough as you are!" moral. The return of classical Hajime's personality was a key factor in his decision to stop Mitarai (Izuru would be too apathetic to bother)... but everyone in the final episode is awed by "Kamukura's" talents than "Hajime's" decency, courage and people skills, and largely ignore the abuses that led to him having that talent. This is understandably justified for some reason, since both Hajime AND Izuru are the same person through Split-Personality Merge.
    • Though they treat it as their atonement, the Remnants taking the fall for Tengan ironically also undermines the series' theme about taking responsibility for your actions and dealing with the consequences. Tengan may be dead, but no doubt there were others who are no better him in the FF.
    • The dangers of elitism and hubris, another moral mainstay of the series, also get slightly dented — the corrupt committee and immoral scientists who used Hajime as a lab rat technically succeeded in "creating hope" (even if it did require a Hajime/Izuru merge), and the reputation of Hope's Peak and the Future Foundation goes largely untarnished because the Remnants took the fall... so the people who did atone for their sins (who were really victims, not villains, in the first place) are shunned by the world for life, while the two institutions that started all the chaos in the first place retain their status. Given the fact that Junko is involved with the Tragedy and Class 77-B has too much emotional guilt from that event, it's understandable to some extent.
    • The danger of cover up and shady dealings got thrown out of the window by having the Tragedy resolved by a cover up.
    • The idea of moving on from tragedy, an idea hovering over the entire series, is tarnished considerably since Kirigiri's revival means that Naegi ends up the same as he was at the start of Danganronpa 3 (barring a few more therapy bills). The deaths in the killing game sadden him, but he doesn't seem to be close enough to the newly introduced characters to be especially scarred by their demise. To be fair though, this is mainly due to Makoto and the surviving Class 78 students joining the Future Foundation two or three years ago and they're too busy cleaning up the mess Junko made. The only surviving character who actually lost anyone close to them is Munakata, who loses everyone. He's shown as miserable and ends up the only one without a happy ending.
  • Call Back: The title of Side:Hope's single episode is "The Academy of Hope and the High School Students of Despair", the subtitle for the first game's Japanese release.
  • Character Development: Class 77 seems to have gone through this. Hiyoko is nicer to Mikan, bordering on being a Tsundere for her, while Mikan herself is a more active girl, even saving Kyoko's life; Sonia pays more attention and is seemingly more friendly to Soda and Nagito is apparently more stable.
  • Continuity Nod: As Class 77 is giving their speech to Mitarai, each student is doing one of their expressions from Super Danganronpa 2 (Komaeda is doing a little wave, Nekomaru is laughing with a hand over his shoulder, etc,)
  • Cue the Sun: The skies open, revealing a blue sky (instead of the normal red) and bright sunlight when Mitarai's brainwashing video is stopped.
  • Disney Death: Kirigiri.
  • Dueling Messiahs: Between Mitarai and Matoko. Mitarai believes Despair is too strong and plans on brainwashing everyone to save the world. Makoto believes that people can defeat Despair by working together and that the cost of Mitarai's plan outweighs any benefit.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Remnants wake up, Mitarai is redeemed and reunited with his friends while throwing away his brainwashing video and Naegi and Kirigiri are reunited, with Naegi founding a new Hope's Peak Academy.
  • Eleventh Hour Ranger: Class 77-B arrived just in time to thwart Mitarai's broadcasting plot.
  • Elite Mooks: In Side: Future, the brainwashed Future Foundation soldiers all looked the same. Here, a few of them were given unique designs when fighting the former Remnants of Despair. This includes a falcon tamer, a creepy girl with long fingernails, a big guy and even a Mini-Mecha. Also a guy who used Go pieces as a throwing weapon, and a guy who has a hairstyle similar to Guile/Rudolf von Stroheim
  • Foreshadowing: Towards Kirigiri's survival:
    • Compared to prior instances of the NG Codes being violated, the damage on her face is far less severe.
    • One can visibly spot Kimura's Cure W bottle on the floor in the scene where she "dies".
    • When her body is discovered, the version of the body discovery music that played during Asahina's Fake Kill Scare plays.
    • At the end of Episode 12 of Side:Future, during the montage of dead Future Foundation members, Kirigiri isn't among them.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: Even more than the other sides, as it will also include them.
  • Grand Finale: Of the Grand Finale. Yes, you read that right.
  • Happily Ever After: Heavily implied with Naegi and Kirigiri. Further reinforced when they hold their hands together in the official artbook.
  • Here We Go Again: Naegi's decision to re-establish Hope's Peak (or how this decision plays out in later stories), with the final shot of the rebuilt school and Naegi dozing on a desk. While it could be viewed as a lighthearted version with a fresh start and a chance to Set Right What Once Went Wrong by creating a Hope's Peak that truly lives up to the ideals that it preaches while fielding still more talented students prone to wacky hijinks, this decision might've resulted with another Tragedy if left unchecked.
  • It's All Junk: Mitarai throws the cellphone with the sole copy of the Hope Video into the sea.
  • Lighter and Softer: Coming on the heels of everything going to hell in both arcs, Side:Hope is hands down the single most uplifting storyline in the entirety of Danganronpa.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Seiko Kimura, whose medicine was able to save Kyoko's life.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Makoto and the survivors of class 78's killing game (plus Komaru) all survive the final killing game, and restart Hope's Peak Academy. Meanwhile, the former Remnants of Despair, while all alive and cured from the effects of Junko's Brainwashing Despair Video, are unlikely to be able to return to society ever again, due to their actions as Junko's lackeys and the fact that they helped to cover up the Final Killing Game, and due to the fact that Mitarai is now associating himself with them, he's in the same boat (literally). But even then, as former leads of their own game, Class 77-B get their own happy ending in the fact that now they get to live together on an island paradise for as long as they want together as the close friends who bonded so well together thanks to Chisa and Chiaki. Munakata gets it way worse, going off to do who knows what all alone, with the knowledge that the woman he loved was a member of the movement he hated so much, and that his best friend's death is partially his fault. And everyone else is dead.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Making a parallel to the Prequel of Hope's Peak Saga. The episode begins with the main characters surounded and outnumbered by a mind-controlled army, while Mitarai is about to brainwash mankind. Soon, Class 77-B were brought back by Hajime/Izuru and come to save the day. Kyoko is revealed to be alive. Mitarai is convinced by his fomer classmates to stop his plan and rejoins them. The episode ends with Hope's Peak Academy being rebuild, with Makoto Naegi as the headmaster.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silent Scapegoat: The SDR2 cast pretend that they're still Junko's lackeys so that Tengan's actions don't torpedo the Future Foundation's chances of restoring order.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Izuru and Hajime. Hajime became the dominant personality, retaining Izuru's talents. It's suggested that Izuru's personality isn't completely gone, though, as Hajime has one green eye and one red, and occasionally phrase drops Izuru's signature "boring". He also tends to be a lot more self-assured than the original Hajime and doesn't correct people when they address him as Izuru or Hajime.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: After having the spotlight stolen from them by the FF members in Side:Despair, Class 77-B (plus Hajime) end up shoving Side:Future's cast to the sidelines as the former Remnants clear up the Future Foundation's mess and talk down Ryota. Makoto, Asahina, Hagakure and Byakuya sit out the final showdown, and Munakata has to be bailed out by the Imposter.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: On one hand, Chiaki and the other Future Foundation members are still dead. But on the other, all the comatose Remnants of Despair are awake, Hajime retains his personality with Izuru's talent, Mitarai is talked out of going through with his whole "hope brainwashing plan" by his former classmates, Kyoko is alive thanks to Seiko's medicine and Mikan's intervention, Hope's Peak Academy is rebuilt with Makoto as headmaster, and it's heavily implied the world manages to completely recover from the Tragedy. And depending on how you interpret it, some version of Chiaki, possibly a ghost of the original or the AI, lives within Hajime's mind.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Hinata and the students of Class 77-B were able to convince Mitarai not to go through with his plan to brainwash the world.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The Remnants of Despair, as a unit. Mainly because they're no longer working for their boss, but even the originally cruel and unstable members of the group are much more sanguine, and they're more actively altruistic than they were even in their Hope's Peak days.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Addressed and demonstrated. When Ryota bewails the fact that no-one will forgive him, Hajime counters that public approval is not the point of seeking redemption — you do it so that you can live with yourself. The team go on to practice what they preach, annihilating their chances of being accepted back into society and hiding the fact that they were the ones who saved the world from Tengan and Mitarai. Rather than being hailed as heroes — or at least acknowledged as victims — the world will forever see them as the bogeymen of Junko's reign...but that's okay, since they know the truth for themselves.
  • The Worf Effect: While the brainwashed Future Foundation agents have Elite Mooks on their side, they are all easily trounced by Class 77-B.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: Class 77-B take responsibility for Kazuo's killing game in order to protect the image of the Future Foundation. Needless to say, the world will still view them as the Remnants of Despair as a result.
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