Video Game: Absolute Despair Girls
Spoiler Warning: This article will contain unmarked spoilers for all material prior to release in the Dangan Ronpa franchise.Absolute Despair Girls: Danganronpa Another Episode
is a side story
in the Dangan Ronpa franchise,
released in September 2014 on the Playstation Vita.
Set between the events of Dangan Ronpa
and Super Dangan Ronpa 2
, Absolute Despair Girls
focuses on Komaru Naegi (sister to Makoto Naegi
) as she struggles to survive in the post-apocalyptic world
created by SHSL Despair
Forming an unlikely tag-team
with Touko Fukawa (a survivor of the second School Life of Mutual Killing
), Komaru must out-gun a legion of deadly Monokuma robots and the fanatical "Monokuma Kids"
, who seek to turn Towa City into a "paradise for children" by murdering all of the adults
Unlike the main series games (which were visual novels), this is a Third-Person Shooter
; Komaru wields a “hacking megaphone gun” that she can use to attack enemies, take control of them, and manipulate the environment.
A translation effort has been undertaken by the fans. Warusou
have teamed up, with the former producing the translation and the latter setting them to video footage. There is also another group of translators, Absolute Despair Translation
, who are performing both actions themselves.
It now has officially been confirmed
for a fall 2015 release in North America, and a European release date unknown.
This Video Game contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: One of the main themes in this game.
- Adventure Duo: Komaru and Fukawa. The two play off each other, allowing for humorous exchanges and game-relevant hints.
- Advertised Extra: The relatives of the Dangan Ronpa cast- Yuuta Asahina, Taichi Fujisaki, and Hiroko Hagakure. All three were heavily advertised, with magazines showing their in-game models, screen shots, and even being featured in the official art. But unfortunately, both Yuuta and Taichi are killed fairly early into the very chapters they are introduced, and Hiroko's primary role is to give the player information about certain characters, with her having very little actual involvement in the story. To add further insult to injury Yuuta and Taichi ended up being the only named characters in the game who died.
- Makoto Naegi and Byakuya Togami also appeared prominently in previews, trailers and the official site, but both are Demoted to Extra in the actual game, with Naegi appearing in two scenes total and Togami appearing at the very beginning before being captured and spending the rest of the story a Distressed Dude.
- Art Evolution: Komarus design is notably different from her appearance in the first game. In general, artist Rui Komatsuzaki has evolved considerably. This is particularly obvious with Fukawa, whose sprites have been redone from the ground up to make her appear older, closer to her canon age of around 18.
- Art Shift:
- The game switches between the game graphics, anime-style cutscenes, and the gritty, classic DR-style cutscenes.
- Fukawa's Fantasy Sequences of Togami are illustrated in a comically overdone 70s shojo style.
- Ascended Extra: In the first game, Komaru appeared for about thirty seconds in a video and by the end of the game it seemed likely that she was dead. The developers said that they didn’t originally have plans for her, but when planning the game decided it would help to have a protagonist that players already knew about. Fukawa to a lesser extent is also this, going from prominent supporting character to main.
- Ascended Meme: One of the Kill List is a member of Maizono's idol group known for her...odd facial expression in fandom.
- Beat 'em Up: Syo's sections of the game are more so this as opposed to Komaru's.
- Big Bad: The Warriors of Hope seem to be set up as this. Specifically it's Monaka Towa.
- Bigger Bad: The epilogue reveals that Shirokuma and Kurokuma are AI Junko.
- Bittersweet Ending: By the end of the game, much of Towa city has been destroyed, thousands are dead and Komaeda and Monaka escape, allowing Monaka to become Junko Enoshima's successor. On the other hand, the villains plans were stopped, Togami is saved, Komaru finds her strength in the end , Fukawa finally has a real friend and the other members of the Warriors of Hope all survive and pull a Heel-Face Turn. All in all, arguably the happiest ending in the franchise.
- Bloodier and Gorier: While the blood is still pink, it can seem a bit jarring to see scenes of civilians violently massacred by Monokumas.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: All of the members of SHSL Despair to an extent. Special note goes to the "Monokuma Kids", who are literally brainwashed using the masks they wear.
- Breakout Character: Fukawa and Syo, going from supporting characters in the first game to playable Deuteragonists in this one.
- Colorful Theme Naming: Shirokuma is an all-white Monokuma, while Kurokuma replaces the usual white half with a very dark gray.
- Continuity Nod: Plenty:
- Komaru's clock seen in the opening is clearly Yamada's favourite anime character, B-Ko.
- One of the signs is for "Pig Boy". Said pig is wearing Hanamura's clothes and hairstyle.
- Fukawa's says in her introduction the exact same line as her introduction in the first game. Likewise, Komaeda's first lines mirror his first lines in the second.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Monokumas slaughter everything around them in seconds during cutscenes. For obvious reasons, they are at most one tenth as effective in gameplay.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared the main series games, Another Episode is much more violent and has much darker content, just starting with all the violence towards children.
- Deadman Writing: Messages left behind by dead civilians are scattered all around the game. Most of them are depressing or downright tragic.
- Depending on the Artist: Minor example, but the art style shifts a bit due to different artists. More precisely, the sprites are done by the franchises main artist, the CGs are done by a new artist and the animated cutscenes are animated by the staff who did the anime adaptation of the first game.
- Difficulty Levels: As an acknowledgement that some fans of the franchise who want to experience the story may struggle with a Third-Person Shooter, there's a Genocide Mode that gives the player nearly unlimited access to the invincible Genocider Syo, who can destroy enemies much more easily.
- Dirty Kid: In the shopping center area, there are two Monokuma kids seemingly looking up the skirt of a dead female citizen. A girl Monokuma kid can also be seen video taping...
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Forceful Kiss Monaka gives Shingetsu sounds a lot like something else entirely...
- Enfant Terrible: All the Warriors of Hope are in Elementary School, but are capable of heinous acts and want to massacre all adults in the city. Special mention goes to Monaka, who is both the sweetest of the kids, and the worst of them.
- Everyone Lives: Well, not quite everyone, but this is the first game in the franchise where every major character survives. Even the supposably killed members of the Warriors of Hope are revealed to be alive in the credits.
- Explosive Leash: The Monokuma Bracelet is this, forcing its wearer to remain within the city (lest the bracelet explode).
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Fukawa's hair has come out of her usual pigtails and is all askew, including an Idiot Hair to show that she's been Promoted to Playable.
- Face Doodling: Nagito spends most of Chapter 4 with his face covered in doodles, likely the Warriors of Hope's doing.
- Foreshadowing: The very first promotional image for the game shows Komaru striking almost the exact same pose Junko Enoshima has in her official art.
- When the kids are discussing Daimon and Jatarou's deaths, it's explicitly noted that in neither case was a body found. Turns out neither are actually dead.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: It's possible to have Fukawa inexplicably comment on something, even if you're playing as Syo at the time. Related to that, it's also possible to enter a cutscene as Syo, only for her to be Fukawa during the scene, and suddenly be Syo again after the scene ends.
- Heel-Face Turn: Shingetsu and later Utsugi. A bonus CG in the credits implies that this is also the case for Daimon and Kemuri.
- History Repeats: An emotionally shunted prodigy learns of the plan of the Big Bad, tries to betray them, fails when she exploits his love for her and ends up having an immense emotional breakdown. Sound familiar?
- Gaiden Game: The developers have said that this shouldn’t be thought of as the third game in the main series, and that the actual third game (currently in development) will be a visual novel like the first two.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The game lets you pick from Genocider Mode (automatically replenishing battery gauge, letting you switch to Syo more often), Komaru Mode (bullets are easier to find), and Despair Mode (which acts as the game's hard mode of sorts).
- Idiot Hair: Continuing the series tradition, both protagonists of this game sport an ahoge despite not having one in their previous appearances.
- Improbable Weapon User: Komaru's Hacking Gun looks like a megaphone, but is actually capable of disrupting the Monokuma with various commands.
- Infant Immortality: The Monokumas are programmed to target adults, not children, and the Monokuma Kids cannot be attacked by Komaru or Syo. However, the Warriors of Hope, who are in Elementary School (which in Japan means that they are around 12 years old or younger), die just as horrible deaths as as the older characters, although we don't see their bodies. Ultimately played straight, as a bonus CG during the credits reveal that all of them survived.
- Just A Flesh Wound: Syo at one point cuts open Komaeda's legs when he tried to get her to fight Komaru a second time. Though he falls to his knees at first, Komaeda doesn't seem to react much to his wounds. Later subverted, as he does remark that it hurts once Syo isn't theatening him anymore, and it takes some time until he's seen walking again.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Describing the game’s plot without spoiling the first game’s main plot is pretty much impossible, if that warning at the top of this page doesn't hint at anything.
- Lazy Artist: The recap of the first game partway through reuses the CGs from the first game, which can get a bit jarring thanks to Art Evolution and the CGs having a different illustrator. They are, however, at least in slightly higher quality than the original CGs.
- Mascot Mook: What Monokuma is in this game.
- Meaningful Name: The main characters are both girls, and they're dealing with the effects of Despair. Also, Monaka is the disciple of Enoshima, and her objective is to push Komaru past the Despair Event Horizon and into becoming "the Second Junko Enoshima".
- Mini-Mecha: Each of the Warriors of Hope uses one for their boss fights.
- More Expendable Than You: Many Future Foundation agents give their lives to ensure Komaru's safety.
- Mythology Gag: The rocket that killed the Hope's Peak High headmaster reappears at the very beginning of the game on a picture of the Earth in Komaru's room, with the rocket crash-landed on the moon.
- A statue of Monokuma eating a fish can be seen multiple times. The fish eating was something he did in the anime adaptation of the first game.
- Nature Adores a Virgin: Fukawa at one point brings up the notion that a woman's power is tied with her virginity.
- No Ending: The ending of Absolute Despair Hagakure is...abrupt, to say the least. After Hagakure reveals to Kanon that she was Kuwata's rescuee and what that means, Kanon leaves to go back to Towa City, saying she's going to try to get revenge on the Future Foundation (though weather actually she is left somewhat vague). Hagakure starts walking away, only to come running back, saying to Kanon that he needs her to get him out of his debt and the story ends right after she gives a vague response.
- Panty Shot: One of Syo's specials involves her flipping upside down to do a spinning attack, leading to one of these.
- After Utsugi is saved from her execution by Syo, she accidentally falls and tumbles down before landing in a position that leads to one of these.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Hapless Towa City citizens are represented simply by colored silhouettes. Typically, the men are blue and the women are pink.
- Press X to Not Die: If Komaru's health drops too low, she enters Despair Time and has to fend off a Monokuma's attack this way.
- Remember the New Guy: Several of the new characters are people related to the first game's students in some way, many of which weren't explicitly mentioned before.
- Replacement Goldfish: The intention of the Big Bad was to force so much despair on Komaru that she would become a successor to Junko Enoshima. When this fails, Monoka uses herself as a back-up.
- Sadistic Choice: Komaru is given the opportunity to destroy the device controlling the Monokuma Robots and the brainwashed Monokuma Kids. This would eliminate every robot, but it would also explode the masks worn by the Monokuma Kids and kill them. While this would put an end to their atrocities in Towa City, killing the children would be an unforgivable act in the eyes of the Future Foundation and likely lead to harsh repercussions. However, leaving the device intact would change nothing and lead to further escalation of the war within Towa City, possibly resulting in a greater number of casualties..
- Saved by Canon: Fukawa is mentioned indirectly in the epilogue of Super Dangan Ronpa 2 as still being alive, granting her Plot Armor for this game.
- This game takes place before Super Dangan Ronpa 2, so anyone who appeared in that game is guaranteed to survive(Naegi, Kirigiri, Togami, and any of the second game's students).
- Save Point: Komaru saves her progress by sitting on potty training seats shaped like Monokuma ducks. She finds them calming.
- Sequel Hook: A few major ones: Monaka has shed all pretence and has turned herself into the direct successor of Junko Enoshima. The other Warriors of Hope are still alive and have turned against her. And Izuru Kamukura retrieves two copies of the Junko Enoshima AI at the end; if one was uploaded into the New World program, then what happened to the other?
- Ship Tease:
- Komaru and Fukawa.
- Shingetsu and Monaka.
- Daimon and Utsugi.
- Short-Range Guy, Long-Range Guy: Komaru and her Hacking Microphone is the long-range fighter. Syo, using her scissors, is the short-range fighter.
- Standard FPS Guns: Break (handgun), Burn (submachine gun), Paralyze (grenade launcher), Expel (spread shot/shotgun, albeit with very low damage), Dance and Connect (both Gimmick Guns). Move and Inspect can't be used as weapons.
- Story Difficulty Setting: The game has an Easier Than Easy mode designed for players that just want to see the story, due to worries about the spin-off being a genre departure from the franchise's usual Visual Novel/Adventure Game style.
- Super-Deformed: Komaru and Fukawa have chibi forms in the menu.
- Super Move Portrait Attack: Syo gets one when Fukawa uses her taser.
- A Taste of Power: In her first battle, Komaru has full access to all of the Hacking Gun's powers in infinite amounts. Shortly afterwards, however, she's captured by the Warriors of Hope and the gun is modified to balance it, leading to it being severely downgraded so that she has to find and reinstall all of its abilities.
- Third-Person Shooter: The main genre of gameplay, albeit with a megaphone rather than a pistol or rifle.
- Time Skip: Six months after the events of the first game.
- To Absent Friends: The Warriors of Hope hold a service ceremony for Daimon, but the mourning seems superficial rather than genuine.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Partial, but one of the trailers prominently show Komaru reacting to Yuuta's death.
- Also, the game's trailer and opening shows the boss fight with Shingetsu about to begin, so when Shingetsu make a Heel-Face Turn without a fight you just know something going to happen.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The 'Warriors of Hope' leading the slaughter of the city's residents are five kids from Hope's Peak elementary school. Their followers are all children themselves, out to kill the 'demonic' adults with their own hands.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: That fact the hacking gun employed against Monokuma by the Future Foundation is shaped like a megaphone is almost never commented on.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: The 'Warriors of Hope' and the Monokuma Kids are out to turn Towa City into a 'peaceful, kids-only paradise'... by murdering all the adults.
- Wham Episode: The end of Chapter 3. To sum up, Syo prevents Utsugi's execution before Shingetsu shows up, reveals he's making a Heel-Face Turn, deactivates Komaru's bracelet and reveals Monaka's own plan isn't to create paradise, but to create a second Junko Enoshima.
- The epilogue, of all places, has a plot-changing reveal when it turns out that Shirokuma and Kurokuma were AI Enoshima this whole time.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The credits and bonus menu have a couple of bonus C Gs showing the fates of the major characters. Most notably they confirm that Shingetsu, Daimon and Kemuri all survived.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
- Four of the five Warriors of Hope have brightly colored hair: flame red, pastel pink, green and light blue, respectively. (Kemuri is wearing a helmet most of the time, though from what we see his hair is light brown).
- Hiroko also has pinkish hair.