Something that the series has constantly stated is that peoples feelings for a person survive even the loss of their memories, something that Dangan Ronpa Zero was practically about. Despite this, absolutely no one bar Nagito reacts if you give them a portrait of Junko. Not even Mikan, who is all but stated to of been in love with her reacts. What.
- This can be explained due to the characters not having lost their memories, but are simply avatars created from specific memories from the Ultimate Despair members. The point of the New World Program was to take the memories of what they had before they entered Hope's Peak and add new memories to replace the old ones that they had. Due to their memories of Ultimate Despair having never been given to their avatars, they would have no feelings for when they see Junko Enoshima.
- That isn't actually how the New World Program works. The students aren't avatars, their the actual students, whose brains are connected to program. After all, everything points to the lost memories being an updated version of Matsuda's research that was used on the students from the first game. If they were avatars, then that would create a lot of holes, such as why Nagito still acts like he is suffering dementia and how Mikan and nearly Akane can recover their memories like how Hifumi did in the first game when he was dying.
- Nagito still showed signs of his dementia because he was diagnosed before he attended Hope's Peak Academy, since he said it and his being accepted balanced each other out. Even if Nagito is a simulation only using data from the first day his state of mind can be explained by that or because his subconscious awareness of his condition is making it appear in avatar!Nagito. Mikan's memories only resurfaced due to the program itself, since obviously despair fever is a construct of AI Junko's, at which point it could simply be the Junko unloading data from Mikan's complete memories to corrupt Avatar!Mikan. After that point any recovered memories could still be the result of the memories being forcefully uploaded into the avatars instead of recalling them naturally like Hifumi did. Also not only was it explicitly stated that everyone was based on when they first arrived with goes with the first suggested theory more than the second (and Hiyoko's appearance in game vs. her real body proves this to be true) but there is very little chance of anyone improving or updating Matsuda's technique as he has been dead for at least 4 years, had no back-ups or understudies, and the work itself was likely lost in the destruction of the world.
- From the top...
- 1. Brain conditions do not work that way. Dementia couldn't be replicated, after all, it is the physical rotting of the brain. There is no way it could be replicated, not to the smallest details. Subconscious uploading doesn't work if the damage is physical.
- 2. Monokuma did not do that. Actually it's actually impossible for him to do that. It is an important plot point that AI!Junko/Monokuma has the same restrictions that Usami had when she was in control, hence why she has to let Hajime and Chiaki into Nagito's cottage in Chapter 5, despite clearly not wanting to. Her being able to do something like that would suggest a much greater level of control, and the only thing despair fever is indicated to do is make the victims act nothing like how their supposed to.
- 3. Going off the previous point, the idea that the other memories were forcefully uploaded is full of crap. Reread the scene in Chapter 5 where Akane tries to kill Nagito. The explicit implication was that Akane's rage nearly caused her to revert until Chiaki, who has even less control over the program than Junko, calmed her down. This is a lot like how Ryouko nearly regained her memories multiple times when she was put under pressure.
- 4. Actually, there is a way they could have Matsuda's research. The infodump on the New World Program mentions the Ultimate Neurologist as one of the people who contributed to the project. Just because he was dead doesn't mean that they wouldn't have it on file.
- Sorry but I still object:
- 1. Okay you make a sound point with Nagito unless they only had enough of his info to fill in some of the blanks, and the fact that yes Nagito's brain is very damaged while making said Avatar is why it is still present but if they are only the actual students without any avatar or programming related help then have could Gundam have his hamsters with him? If he was an avatar having the hamsters be semi-dependent AI based around him and his avatar's actions would work but if it wasn't there is no way for these dead pets to be here and their presence would not have been a priority for all the excess work involved. The fact they vanish after his death means they can't just be like Chiaki or Usami, and being like them would make no sense.
- 2. No this theory is not "Full of crap". Adding dangerous elements to the program is exactly what AI Junko/Monokuma can do and does do on a very regular basis, since Usami's rules are very flexible as the re-establishment of the mutual killing proves. Those weapons could not be there in this safe, ideal, school field trip simulation otherwise. If adding dangerous elements were not possible then there could be no executions, no easy access to weapons of any kind, and no way of inputting the information about their past selves. Comatose kids who are living in a simulation can't get physical illnesses from their pods (Especially not ones that can spread from kid to kid) so it must be Monokuma's handiwork on their in-game selves, making this an entirely data-based issue. If he can mess with their data to get them "sick" and has all this information at his disposal then why can't he do this? Getting them "Sick" by corrupting their data is not causing them damage directly as per the rule: "The supervising teacher will not interfere directly with student activities, unless any rules are broken." Just like how making the "student activities" the "game of mutual killing" and "Being trapped in the fun-house until a student kills another" were also valid actions Monokuma could take.
- 3. I did re-read that section and I can safely say that you are using the word "explicit" wrong and explicit implication is an obvious oxymoron since implication means the information is implied, or hinted at, and explicit means it is clearly stated. No, it didn't seem like despair Akane was coming back, that was normal Akane going berserk which is very much in line with how she has always been when the lives of her friends or herself is in danger ("I will avenge Fuyuhiko" Even though he was not dead and nearly got them killed before comes to mind, and why she nearly got Nekomaru killed by attacking Monokuma). There was no Despair in Akane's actions only her Rage. The only one there that showed any signs of a despair obsession was Nagito, and while Akane's attack and Ryouko's had parallels they were not the same because Chiaki could snap her out of it.
- 4. Then why would the kids from the previous game want to use something they have seen fail in such a high risk situation? Alter Ego is on their side, so him making avatar's would be easier, safer, and have a higher chance of succeeding (And allow Chiaki to blend in better since she is also an avatar) while Matsuda's would not only risk backfiring, if another Hifumi situation came up, but instead of overwriting the memories like they want the Ultimate Despair kids could have the bad memories returned to them at a later point like what happened with the survivors. Matsuda's help being mentioned does not mean it was based on that pet-project of his (which is what the makers knew most fans would assume after DR0), but in the ''many'' other brain-based aspects in this program.
- tl;dr: Risk vs. Reward says Avatar's are the best plan overall and more likely than simple brain uploading with partial memory erasure. Also the point made about appearances was never addressed in your counter-points, which is very important in why they have to be avatars since if it was just their brains with minimal editing the would not view themselves like this enough to appear this way.
- Actually here is the relevant quotes from the last trial with the information in question bolded:
MONOKUMA: This world was created by a Future Foundation program called the “New World Program” …
MONOKUMA: It acts directly on the user’s brain to create a virtual world.
MONOKUMA: So your bodies currently exist in the “real world” as well.
MONOKUMA: Of course … just like you’re in a dream, your mind is completely occupied with this game world.
MONOKUMA: To put it simply, you’re … uh, what I’m saying is … no, not aviators …
KAZUICHI: You mean “avatar”? The thing that represents you inside a game …
HAJIME: But … we’re not just avatars, are we?
MONOKUMA: Avatars who have been rebuilt after removing “something” from the real bodies … that’s what you lot are.
FUYUHIKO: After r-removing … what?
Removing “something” … of course … it must mean this.
- our times with our families
- our Super High School Level talents
- our memories of our school lives
- our memories of our lives before school
HAJIME: That’s it!
HAJIME: What got removed … was “our memories of our school lives,” right?
KAZUICHI: S-so … We’re avatars made using just our memories from before we started school?
SONIA: And that is why we have no memories of our experiences at Hope’s Peak Academy…?
- So yes making digital avatars for all the students with absolutely no memories of their time at Hope's Peak, and thus none of their memories of being or becoming Ultimate Despair, is exactly and explicitly how this program worked. This process means none of the "Phantom memories" that people with Matsuda's technique often experienced are possible since the memories in question are not suppressed as they are non-existent in this state.