Visual Novel: Dangan Ronpa
Welcome to Despair Academy.Dangan Ronpanote
: The Academy of Hope and the High School Students of Despair
, also known as Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
, is a "high-speed mystery action adventure" released in Japan for the PSP in 2010. It is the first installment in the Dangan Ronpa
The story takes place at Hope's Peak Academy
, an illustrious private school that only accepts "super" students: the best of the best of
the best. The criteria extends to any niche, so in addition to super-geniuses and super-athletes, they take super-idols
, and super-nerds
is an utterly unremarkable Ordinary High-School Student
who is still baffled as to how he got in: being chosen by a random lottery, which admits him on a "super-good luck" scholarship. His luck turns out to be quite the opposite though, as when he is about to begin his first day at school he suddenly loses consciousness.
When Naegi awakens, he finds himself trapped with fourteen other students within the walls of the academy, with the exits and windows all bolted and sealed. A sadistic teddy bear named Monokuma reveals himself as the instigator of their plight and gives the students two options: they can either live out the rest of their lives peacefully within the Gilded Cage
of the school, or attempt to escape by "graduating".
To "graduate", a student has to commit a perfect murder
by killing another student and getting away with it. A class trial is then held amongst the survivors, who investigate the case then vote on who they think the murderer is. If they are correct, then the guilty party is messily executed
for "disturbing the public order". If they are wrong, then the murderer "graduates" and is allowed to leave the school, while everyone else takes the punishment in their place.
As Monokuma, hungry for a spectacle, introduces additional "motives" for the students to kill each other, the tension within the school reaches breaking point and the bodies start to pile up. It's up to Naegi to make sure that the culprit of each murder is found so that the innocent students have a chance to figure out the secrets behind the school and possibly escape.
The game has inspired a series of other works
, including a prequel novel, Dangan Ronpa Zero
, and a sequel, Super Dangan Ronpa 2
. A compilation game has also been announced for the PlayStation Vita
called Dangan Ronpa 1&2 RELOAD
, which includes both games and some incremental improvements
to both, such as a bonus scenario for the first game called "School Mode": a social mode that lets you hang out and form relationships with the other characters without worrying about the main plot progressing.
The sequel also included a side story by Ryohgo Narita of Baccano!
fame titled "Dangan Ronpa IF", a What If?
scenario where Naegi manages to obtain an item called the "Escape Switch" from the gift machine before the first murder occurs, dramatically changing the events that transpire. Please put all tropes relating to the IF scenario specifically in the appropriate section below.
An anime adaptation
aired as part of the Summer 2013 Anime
season. Funimation is streaming it for those in the US.
Be warned that all spoilers below are unmarked
. It's virtually impossible to list tropes for this game without spoiling everything or creating Self Fulfilling Spoilers
. Also, given the large amount of alternate translations for the game, it's best one sticks to the original Japanese unless specifically referring to a certain translation for simplicities sake, as well as referring to everyone by their last name.
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Tropes for the Original Game
- 2½D: You can pan around the environment, but the characters and props are all paper cutouts. You can even pan around said paper cutouts.
- Academy of Adventure: Not the fun kind of adventure, but Hope's Peak definitely qualifies.
- A Day in the Limelight: The first manga series, rather than recount the entire series, basically acted as supplements focusing on specific characters, and was chock-full of Alternate Character Interpretation for several characters. These interpretation make a lot of sense as they're mostly the game viewed from the POV of these characters, especially some of the murderers, instead of from Naegi's POV.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The Despairing Incident is translated by Project Zetsubou as Mankind’s Most Despairingly Maleficent and Monstrous Malefaction. The Japanese term, Jinrui shijō saidai saiaku no zetsubō-teki jiken, has a similar alliterative effect by using words that start with hiragana from the sa line.
- After the End: According to the mastermind, the world as the students knew it no longer exists due to "the Worst, Most Despairing Event in the History of Mankind". Genocider Syo confirms it to be true, but the full extent of the damage done is left ambiguous.
- Alas, Poor Villain: At the end of every trial. The culprits are treated sympathetically, and only killed because Monokuma's motivations drove them to. The later revelation that the students' memories had been tampered with, and that they all chose to stay inside the school may or may not add to the sympathy.
- Alien Geometries: In a level design sense. Somehow the swimming pool on the second floor occupies the same space as the multi-story gym on the first floor.
- All for Nothing: Everyone who either committed or planned a murder (except for the mastermind) did it for a reason that the final revelations of the game prove to be completely pointless.
- An example: Owada snaps in the second chapter in part because of Monokuma's threat to reveal to the world that he caused his brother's death. It comes out anyway in the trial, and then it turns out the whole thing was on national television.
- All Your Powers Combined: A hilarious yet brutal example - when Enoshima loses Chapter 6's trial, she receives all the previous executions in a row as punishment.
- Alternate Identity Amnesia: Exploited. Touko Fukawa and Genocider Syo both have this, but when their shared body is hit with a dose of Laser-Guided Amnesia, only the active personality was affected. This means one of them remembers The Worst, Most Despair-inducing Incident in the History of Mankind — unfortunately, they're unable to provide any concrete details, as it was the other who actually experienced it.
- Always Check Behind the Chair: Monokuma Coins, used to exchange for gifts at the gift machine, are often hidden behind objects in the background.
- Animation Bump: Of a sort. The Trial scenes have more dynamic cameras and full voice acting.
- Anti-Frustration Features: Getting the Bad Ending kicks the player right back to the multiple choice option that triggers it so that they don't have to sit through the entire trial again to get to that point.
- Anyone Can Die: For the record, counting Fukawa and Syo as different characters, seven characters survive.
- Apocalypse Wow: The screens showing the results of the Despairing Incident imply a Class 0.
- Arc Words: "Despair", as Monokuma's goal, is mentioned many times through the game, and to a lesser extent "hope". It even shows up in Enoshima and Naegi's talents.
- Artistic Age: All the students bar Hagakure are supposed to all be around the same age, but certainly don't look that. It gets rather blatant when photos of everyone around two years ago are shown and yet none of them have appeared to age.
- Babies Ever After:
- A particularly depressing variant in the Bad Ending.
- Also Played for Laughs when Fukawa/Syo suggests this to Togami in the epilogue. Needless to say, he's opposed to the idea.
- Big Bad: Monokuma.
- Bigger Bad: The real Junko Enoshima.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Monokuma has monitors and cameras installed throughout the building, except in certain places such as bathrooms, notably the public bath.
- Big Damn Heroes: Chapter 5 has Alter Ego in Naegi's execution - before Naegi is crushed by the crusher block, Alter Ego overrides Monokuma's control and shuts off the crusher, allowing Naegi to pass to relative safety.
- Bittersweet Ending: The surviving students put a stop to the mastermind's plans, causing the mastermind to execute herself. However, only six students are left alive, the world outside of the school has turned into a hostile place due to the effects of Despairing Incident, and the mastermind enjoyed the self-execution.
- Black Blood: Or pink blood, in this case, as a form of censorship due to the Japanese game-rating systems.
- Black Comedy:
- Enoshima keeps up a cheery attitude during her execution, coupled with her methods of avoiding death, at least until the very end.
- The executions in general. Just because someone's getting brutally and horribly murdered, doesn't mean Monokuma won't try to inject some comedy into it.
- Bland-Name Product: Averted. The localization mentions real products a few times, such as Genocider Syo/Genocide Jill comparing the state of the victim to an Italian restaurant serving Ragu or Chef Boyardee. Leon in School Mode even mentions that he's a fan of Pepsi.
- Blue with Shock: The art style uses this for the sprites that depict characters in shock, fear, despair, or similar.
- Body of the Week: The only way out of the school is committing a perfect murder - obviously, someone's going to wind up dead in every chapter. This is subverted in Chapter 5, as an older body is used to fake the crime scene.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Monokuma offhandedly mentions that one of the flowers in the school greenhouse, the "Monokuma Flower" that he named after himself, eats "garbage and plastic and human flesh". It's fantastic for the environment!
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Monokuma starts expositing on the backstories of the culprit and victim in Chapter 2, he says to hold O to skip in case you didn't want to hear all this. Oddly enough, this is the first and only time this ability is mentioned, despite the fact that the tutorials tell you to press triangle to Re:ACT to certain phrases even though the button prompt appears regardless.
- Break Them by Talking: Monokuma uses this to keep driving his students to further despair, picking at any weaknesses he can find.
- Brick Joke
- Hagakure predicts that he and Naegi will each have a child by the same mother. If you get the Bad Ending, this comes true.
- He also predicts that there will be no more murders from Chapter 3 onwards. This comes true: the next deaths are either execution (punishment) or suicide.
- But Thou Must:
- Naegi runs into this a few times, such as being unable to avoid his Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment in Chapter 3 or tell Kirigiri about what he saw in Chapter 4.
- Averted during a choice in Chapter 5. Taking the "wrong" option there leads to the Bad Ending, after which Naegi informs the player that it was probably the wrong thing to do, before the game cuts back to the choice.
- Chapter 6 plays on the trope - the mastermind, after being revealed, offers for the students to join them. Accepting only leads to them saying they were joking. Later on the mastermind forces you to pick one of three identical options, only to immediately declare the player's choice as correct before Naegi even gets the chance to respond in the game just because they didn't want to bother waiting.
- Bullet Time: How apt. During Nonstop Debates, Naegi can concentrate, which is presented as slow motion. This allows you more time to aim and fire your Ammunition at weak points.
- Characters Dropping Like Flies: In the original, only six characters out of the fifteen introduced at the start actually survive until the end.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The "Space Journey" execution - the very first thing we see when beginning the game. While we don't get a direct answer for who was executed, it's implied that it was the original headmaster.
- In Naegi's introduction, and throughout the game, he notes that if there's one thing that makes him unique it's that he's slightly more optimistic than most people. At the very end, this makes him "Super High-School Level Hope", and thus the perfect counter to Super High-School Level Despair - optimism and hope are basically the same thing.
- Most cases have important evidence that's introduced well before the murder actually takes place, or may still seem irrelevant until the trial is underway. An example of this is Owada and Ishimaru's sauna duel.
- If you spend time with Fujisaki in Chapter 2, the topic of Artificial Intelligence comes up. In Chapter 3, it is discovered that Fujisaki installed an AI, known as Alter Ego, on a laptop, to help assist the survivors.
- There is an empty seat in the trial room. When asked about it, Monokuma says that the room was built with a capacity of sixteen people and that there's no further meaning to it. At the end of Chapter 2, Monokuma admits to The Mole there actually is a sixteenth student, but refuses to elaborate further beyond the fact that they're his "ace in the sleeve". Their identity is only discovered later, at the end of Chapter 4, and Chapter 5 has said student supposedly murdered. Chapter 6 then reveals that it was an older body used, someone who died all the way in Chapter 1! Come the start of the last trial, and Monokuma takes the sixteenth seat.
- Chekhov's Gag: At the end of each chapter, an 8-bit sequence video would pop up where Monokuma walks up the chapter's culprit and drags them away with "GAME OVER" being displayed on the screen. Come the last trial, where the mastermind is executed, and they go willingly with Monokuma whilst "CONGRATULATIONS!" is being displayed instead. It could be showing how hope has overcome despair, or alternatively if "GAME OVER" was a message to the culprits, then "CONGRATULATIONS!" is a message to the mastermind, who wanted this execution and succeeded.
- Chekhov's Lecture: Some of the "Monokuma Theatre" segments foreshadow future events. One example is his lecture about the difference between "I killed someone" and "I ended up killing someone" - later, somebody is murdered, not out of intention but out of a loss of control on the culprit's part.
- Clear My Name:
- Naegi has to do this in Chapter 1, since the attempted culprit had set him up to take the fall for them.
- Also in Chapter 5, if Naegi refuses to betray Kirigiri by pointing out her lie he becomes the main suspect because he's the only other without an alibi. Monokuma ends the trial early to have him executed before he can prove his innocence to the others, but Kirigiri manages to reopen the case in Chapter Six.
- Closed Circle: All of the doors and windows in the academy are covered with steel bulkheads, and the school greenhouse has a painted blue sky over top.
- Collective Identity: The "Ultimate Despair" identity, or more accurately an ideology or concept, as described by the mastermind.
- Color-Coded Characters: Minor example. As each student introduces himself/herself, there's a different colored background behind each of them. Here's a list:
- Makoto Naegi - Black (no introduction screen, but that's the background when we first see him); Orange (in the animation)
- Kiyotaka Ishimaru - Dark Blue
- Touko Fukawa - Violet
- Sayaka Maizono - Pink
- Leon Kuwata - Gold
- Hifumi Yamada - Magenta
- Aoi Asahina - Yellow
- Chihiro Fujisaki - Light Green
- Kyouko Kirigiri - Purple
- Junko Enoshima - Red-Violet
- Mondo Oowada - Red
- Sakura Oogami - Brown
- Byakuya Togami - Light Blue
- Yasuhiro Hagakure - Dark Green
- Celestia Ludenberg - Crimson
- The Corpse Stops Here: Most of the students have a tendency to leap to conclusions. Fortunately, Naegi is not one of them.
- Crapsack World: The results of the Despairing Incident. Monokuma faces are everywhere, buildings are razed, and people on the streets are beating and killing each other in the name of despair.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The executions, obviously. Each execution is specifically tailored to its victim.
- Dark Reprise/Reprise Medley: The music for the first two executions, "Space Journey" and Kuwata's, feature similar thematic elements to Monokuma's theme. Enoshima's execution theme seems to remix elements of nearly all the execution themes as well.
- Dark Secret: One of Monokuma's motives has him pass out cards to everyone with one of their biggest secrets written on it. He claims that if someone isn't murdered before 24 hours pass, he'll reveal these to the outside world. Only four of the dark secrets are revealed: Naegi's - because he's the player character - where he used to wet the bed until 5th grade. Fujisaki's dark secret comes out during the investigation; Fujisaki is actually a boy wearing girl's clothing, in a misguided event to not be seen as weak. After Owada is revealed as the culprit, Monokuma reveals Owada's secret for him: Owada got his own big brother Daiya killed accidentally, and spread a lie saying his big brother got himself killed. Finally, Togami reveals during the trial that Fukawa's secret is her secondary personality: Genocider Syo.
- Death by Irony: Monokuma tailors his executions around this, in addition to Cruel and Unusual Death, and sometimes the murder victims have ironic deaths as well. There's more on this in the Fridge Brilliance section.
- Despair Event Horizon: Monokuma's stated objective is to bring despair. If the students don't start killing each other, he'll just keep pressing buttons until someone's pushed to the point where they murder.
- Despair Gambit: Monokuma/Enoshima's goal extends to the entire world: he broadcasts the footage of the world's best-of-the-best students murdering each other, to tear at the last shreds of hope left in the world after the Despairing Incident. This is inadvertently what screws Enoshima over in the end.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Near the end in the localization, Kirigiri christens Naegi the Ultimate Hope. Sure enough, if you open the e-handbook and look up his report card, his title has been changed to... Ultimate Despair.
- Discussed Trope: Tropes are repeatedly discussed (especially towards the end), parodied, and the fourth wall is broken repeatedly.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: The footage from the omnipresent security cameras is being broadcast nationwide as propaganda for the mastermind.
- Dub Name Change:
- Averted with Monokuma, upon request by Spike Chunsoft to keep his name in the official localization. Applies to Celes, who became Celeste, and a few minigames in the Class Trial (Machine-Gun Talk Battle became Bullet Time Battle, Flashing Anagrams became Hangman's Gambit, and Climax Inference became Closing Statement with Climax Inference as a subtitle).
- While the characters originally addressed each other mainly by their surnames, in the localization they're mostly on a first-name basis. Yasuhiro Hagakure, Kiyotaka Ishimaru, and Aoi Asahina also got the In-Series Nicknames Hiro, Taka, and Hina.
- Amusingly, a minor character gets a rather hilariously awesome one. Sakura's boyfriend goes from Kenichirou to... Kenshiro.
- Dwindling Party: Fifteen students in a school where the only way out is through murder. Surely no one will take Monokuma up on his offer of graduation!
- Easter Egg: The last gift you receive for finishing the game - a literal "Easter Egg", styled like Monokuma. Using it on the gift machine gives you another item, an "Escape Switch", which unlocks a bonus movie clip of everyone escaping from the school. The Escape Switch is later used in IF as an important plot point, as Naegi obtaining it is what sets off the major change in events.
- Easy Amnesia: Played with. Yamada recovers his memories through the classic method of being brained with a hammer. Unfortunately, the blow is also fatal.
- Elaborate University High: Implied with regards to the Academy, as shown by the top-secret documents hidden in the library.
- Emoticon: Monokuma learns how to speak in these prior to Chapter 4's Class Trial. He never does so again.
- Empty Chair Memorial: The court room has a seat for every student - plus one, due to the court room being built for sixteen - and whenever a student dies, Monokuma puts up a portrait in their place.
- The End... Or Is It?: After the students escape and the credits roll, Monokuma begins talking again even though the mastermind is gone... and his head lifts up.
- Equipment Spoiler: This 4koma◊ illustrates how early in the game 'Junko' has an uncanny love for rations...
- Everyone Went to School Together: As the game progresses, evidence turns up that all of the students knew each other before attending Hope's Peak, even the unknown sixteenth student. And it turns out they did - they just had their memories tampered with.
- Eureka Moment: During one conversation, Togami abruptly realizes something thanks to a comment Naegi made. However, he's not about to share his revelation with him. This Is A Competition, after all.
- Everyone Is a Suspect: Everyone except for Naegi and Kirigiri is suspected of killing Ogami in Chapter 4. There were multiple attempts on her life, and at least three people confessed to having done it.
- Evidence Scavenger Hunt: Before each trial, you need to gather evidence in the form of "evidence bullets" in order to find the true culprit.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Electronic Student ID Card.
- Explosion Propulsion: When Genocider Syo tries to unmask the body in Chapter 5, the bomb rigged to destroy its face sends her flying. After a brief panic on the part of Asahina and Hagakure she reappears unharmed, just reverted to her normal personality.
- Failure-to-Save Murder: At the beginning of the second chapter, a tearful and guilt-ridden Fujisaki feels that they killed Kuwata by voting for him as the culprit. The others hasten to remind him that they didn't have a real choice in the matter.
- Fair Play Whodunnit: Usually. In most cases you can gather enough information before the trial starts to expose the culprit. However, a few cases have the murder scenes tampered with, usually by people with no involvement as victim or culprit, unfairly screwing everything up and having the player re-think the scenario. One case doesn't even get properly solved until the chapter after! Rule 10 of Knox's Decalogue (No identical twins or duplicates) is also broken.
- Fake Longevity: Trying to get all the presents essentially boils down to replaying Class Trials a bunch of times to grind for Monotokens, as well as constantly replaying School Mode to max out the Relationship Values for each character for their underwear. It's actually worse in the original release, which lacked School Mode. As a result, it takes an incredibly long time to get all the Free Time Events. To expand on that, there 19 opportunities to preform Free Time Event's (the first locking you into Maizono) and over 40 Free Time Events. It takes 3 playthroughs just to get all of them.
- Fiery Coverup: Chapter 5's murderer plants a bomb on the corpse in order to conceal the identity of the victim.
- Figure It Out Yourself: Kirigiri and Togami both engage in this regularly. Kirigiri does this as a sort of Stealth Mentor deal, while Togami just wants to solve the cases himself.
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: Togami uses a form of this in Chapter 4 in order to prove that the contents of a vial of poison had been tampered with. By gulping it down in the courtroom and then, as Syo and Hagakure go nuts, announcing that it's protein powder. Kirigiri verifies this with the standard fingertip.
- Fission Mailed: Get the Bad Ending in Chapter 5, and you'll get thrown back to the key decision before the execution is performed. However, if you make the right choice, Monokuma will cut the trial short and pin the crime on Naegi. Fortunately, he survives due to Alter Ego's intervention.
- Foe Yay: In-universe, Syo seems to see this between Asahina and Togami.
- Foreshadowing: Nearly everything about Junko Enoshima, before her death. For example, one of her magazines covers reads the phase "Monokuro de Kawaii", and yet another has a title beginning with "Twin."
- Forged Message: In case 4, Hagakure is convinced he killed Sakura after he smashed a bottle her over the head (he didn't). He then tried to write a Dying Clue in Sakura's blood implicating Toko, like what happened in case 1. During the trial, one character pointed out that it was written with a person's finger, while Sakura's hands were clean.
- Four Is Death: Of Justice Robo's four hammers, only the fourth actually kills someone. Possibly an Invoked Trope, as Celes had Yamada kill Ishimaru first with the #4 hammer, and then staged assaults with Hammers 1-3 (including faking Yamada's death with the third hammer), to make it seem as though they happened first.
- Freudian Trio: Though they aren't always in conflict, three characters roughly correspond to this:
- Jerkass Has a Point
- Togami is an utter creep, but there are times when his arguments make a certain amount of sense, such as when he repeatedly reminds Naegi not to keep assuming that everyone will be able to dismiss Monokuma's "motivations" as easily as he can.
- There's another example, where Monokuma is correct in that some of what happened in Chapter 4 could have been avoided if Asahina had realized the victim's note to her she read couldn't have been the real one, since the personality of the note didn't match the victim's personality.
- Karmic Death: As well as being ironic, Monokuma's punishments deliberately invoke this, being specially tailored to each victim. The exception is Alter Ego, who Monokuma only "executed" to toy with the surviving students.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Playing right into Monokuma's desire to sow discord among the students? Maybe. But it's oh so satisfying when Asahina takes a swing at that Smug Snake Togami.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: All the students had their memories of their time at Hope's Peak after attending erased, to set it up so that they had never come to the school before, with the exception of two students who did the brainwashing themselves.
- Last Episode Theme Reprise: The final discussion involves Naegi trying to give Asahina, Hagakure, Syo, Togami, and Kirigiri hope so they can stop the mastermind. Once you convince the first four, the main theme kicks in when the discussion loops back around and Kirigiri's previously untouchable statement changes to a weak point.
- Last Name Basis: Almost all of the students call each other with their surnames, including Monokuma. With some exceptions: Yamada uses Full-Name Basis instead, Fukawa/Genocider Syo calls Togami by his first name, Syo calls others by nicknames based of their first names, Asahina calls Oogami by her first name, and Celestia is generally called Celes.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- In chapter 5:
- Another one in Chapter 5, when discussing the locked biology lab.
Hagakure: Based on what we experienced so far, it's probably some kind of a freaky creature. A gigantic last boss type.
Asahina: But... this isn't an action game...
- After the final trial, as the survivors prepare to leave:
Naegi: We stood there, as if we were in an epilogue that comes before the ending credits.
- During the sixth trial, Junko says she's tired of expositioning stuff.
- Left Hanging: What the Despair Incident was, what Enoshima's despair group is, how the students lost their memories, why Enoshima and Ikusaba have different last names and what actually happened to the survivors after the vault is opened in the epilogue is left unexplained. Most of this has been answered in the sequel, however.
- Limited Wardrobe: Despite being locked up in a boarding school for at least a month, none of the students ever change their outfit.
- Locked Room Mystery: Chapter 4's murder appears to be one of these. With less complicated solution than normal, though; the room was locked because the culprit locked it themselves.
- Logical Fallacies: The "Machine-Gun Talk Battle" sections of a trial occur when a student starts using ad-hominem attacks instead of logical arguments.
- Long Title:
- The Japanese title of Chapter 6 translates to: "The Reason Super High School Level Bad Luck Enticed Super High School Level Murder and Super High School Level Execution and Super High School Level Despair"
- Thankfully shortened (but not by much) with the use of the word "Ultimate" in place of "Super High School Level" in the official localization, turning it into "Ultimate Pain, Ultimate Suffering, Ultimate Despair, Ultimate Execution, Ultimate Death".
- The title of the game can be counted as this as well as the original japanese title translates to Dangan Ronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair
- The Anime of the Game is titled as ''Dangan Ronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair: the Animation''
- Loophole Abuse: Monokuma's rules all have loopholes in the wording.
- For instance, students aren't allowed to sleep anywhere but the dorm rooms - but they also don't have to sleep in their room specifically.
- Students cannot have others' IDs lent to them. However, there are no rules forbidding borrowing or stealing one.
- In Chapter 4, Monokuma makes a new rule stating that students are not allowed to break down locked doors. However, barred doors that never had a lock in the first place are a whole different story.
- Lucky Charms Title: Show Within a Show Demon Angel ☆ Pretty Pudgy Princess. Yamada corrects Naegi when he doesn't pronounce the ☆.
- Madness Mantra:
- The Man Behind the Man: The mastermind behind Monokuma, Junko Enoshima.
- Manslaughter Provocation: Discussed during the first case: while ferreting out the murderer, it's revealed the victim lured them into a trap that backfired. Once exposed, the murder tries to claim they had no choice; however, it's pointed out that rather than killing in self-defense, they actually broke into where the victim hid after their trap failed.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Kirigiri and Naegi are seen as such by fans. Neither one looks at all androgynous or behaves in explicitly cross-gender ways, but Kirigiri is more proactive and emotionally distant, while Naegi is more passive and provides emotional support to others, the opposite of expected social norms for the genders. Thus the joke that Naegi is the heroine.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Meta-example with Monokuma himself. Monokuma locks students in a school and drives them to kill each other for the fun of it, and makes up rules that have easy loopholes making it easier to kill, and gives them "motives" to kill each other if they won't do it themselves such as showing them videos of their loved ones being gone, threatening to reveal their darkest secrets, offering them a million yen, or revealing the identity of a mole so the students will be motivated to kill the mole. Who plays this abomination? An elderly lady named Nobuyo Ooyama... voice actress for Doraemon!!!
- Meaningful Echo: Maizono likes to say exactly what Naegi is thinking, then claim she can read minds, giving him time to react before saying it's just "good intuition". Later, when Kirigiri asks how he knew what she wanted to talk to him about (Maizono, in fact), Naegi replies "I can read minds" and gives her a moment to boggle before telling her he just has good intuition.
- Meaningful Name: A fair amount of characters have names which give some indicator of their personality.
- Makoto means "truth" (which reflects his role as the detective or "truth finder" in the trials), Naegi means "sapling" (perhaps to emphasize his "herbivore" nature).
- Sayaka Maizono means 'bright garden of dance' (which suits her "Ultimate Pop Sensation" appellation).
- Kirigiri is composed of the characters meaning "fog cutter" (indicative of her role in the trials).
- Fukawa is made up of the characters "rotten" and "river" (the "fu" is the same character in "fujoshi").
- Ogami means "large deity" (she is very large in size, and the strongest fighter).
- Mukuro Ikusaba probably has the most telling name in that Ikusaba is composed of the characters of "war" and "blade" while Mukuro means "corpse."
- During a free time event in the original translation, Kuwata mentions sharing his surname with a well-known singer and baseball player. The localization changes this to a Beatles reference.
- "Celes" is the name of one of the heroines in Final Fantasy VI, appropriate for someone who ends up associating with Yamada the fanboy.
- The best friends Aoi Asahina and Sakura Ogami both have flower names—hollyhocks and cherry blossoms, respectively.
- Sakura Ogami and Mondo Owada are two of the largest and physically strongest members of the cast (Ogami, in fact, has been declared the strongest person in the world); in both cases the "O" in their surname is the kanji for "large."
- Medium Awareness: This conversation between Celes and Yamada during a Flashback in Chapter 3:
"...This is where my flashback ends."
"Who are you talking to?"
"You wouldn't understand..."
- Medium Blending: The Climax Inferences are manga panels.
- Metaphorically True: Monokuma insists he never lies, relying on this and Exact Words frequently. This breaks down completely in Chapter 5, when he lies outright about either Kirigiri or Naegi being responsible for the murder of Mukuro Ikusaba. If she survives, Kirigiri uses this against him.
- Moe: In-universe, Fujisaki, who has a sizable fanbase due to looking like a "small, frightened animal".
- The Mole: The end of Chapter 2 reveals that one of the students is in league with Monokuma, but does not show who it is. The presence of a mole amongst the students is the theme of Monokuma's fourth motive. The twist is that he reveals who it is right off the bat - and openly orders them to kill one of the others.
- Motive Rant: In one chapter, Monokuma actually does this for the murderer, who doesn't want to explain what happened even after exposure. Lampshaded by Asahina in Chapter 4, when she demands to know why the others want her to explain everything to them just because she's the culprit (she's not the culprit).
- Mundane Made Awesome: The school trials are some of the flashiest debates you'll ever see— you literally shoot down your opponents' arguments as they fly across the screen in text form.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Twice in case 4. Aoi Asahina first, when Monokuma gleefully informs her that the suicide note that caused her to try to frame everyone else was a fake, so Asahina badly screwed up. The second one is by everyone else, who admit that the real problem was that they all got angry at Ogami in the first place, so they decide to let bygones be bygones, not punish Asahina, and unite against Monokuma.
- Never Trust a Trailer: Promotional material showed all fifteen students in the trial scenes (obscuring who dies in Chapter 1) and heavily implied that Maizono would be the main love interest for Naegi (when she's actually the first victim). The free demo goes so far as to change the victim of the first case to Hagakure. This was repeated in trailers for the anime.
- New Game+: You can replay chapters after completing them, letting you keep any skills you've gotten from the other characters. This is required to view all the scenes for certain characters who don't make it past the first chapter.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Naegi stumbles into this in Chapter 3 by taking Ishimaru to see Alter Ego, leading to its pep talk making Ishimaru obsessed with it. This doesn't end well.
- Aoi Asahina is another example, because she read a fake suicide note written by Monokuma tricking her into thinking Ogami killed herself out of despair, and that caused her to try to get everyone else punished out of revenge. Subverted, though, because the other students decide to back Asahina up anyway, and then they all decide to rally together against Monokuma, even the selfish prick Togami! So Asahina's scheme ended up causing something good after all!
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Chapter 2 introduces the mens' idol group Tornado.
- Noodle Incident: We never do find out what the Despairing Incident actually was - at least, until the prequel shed some light on it, and the sequel even more so.
- Not Me This Time: After Genocider Syo is exposed, she makes this claim - and she's right: she didn't kill Fujisaki.
- Not So Different
- Monokuma gleefully states that he and Togami share the same mindset. Togami doesn't appreciate that.
- In a previous chapter, Celes also tries to invoke this with Togami. It didn't work either.
- Older Than They Look: The players/viewers are lead to believe that the students are all first year high school students, aged 15-16, and the students themselves believe they are 15. However, it is revealed in Chapter 6 that they had been at Hope's Peak for two years as students before the start of the game and their memories as students were erased, meaning they are actually the ages of third year high school students; 17-18, with the exception of Hagakure, who is 20/22 throughout the game, as he failed two or three grades.
- One Steve Limit: It becomes a plot point that there's two different students with the name Yasuhiro. One has it as a given name and one as a surname, and only one of them is common knowledge.
- Ontological Mystery: None of the characters have any idea how the school was locked down (or even if they're still in the school). However, Monokuma explicitly permits the students to investigate what's going on, as long as they abide by his other rules.
- Pac Man Fever: A meta-example, in that the game, while not having any video games within the game, features monochrome 8-Bit representations of all of the students, and the executions feature 8-bit animations of Monokuma dragging off the culprit to their doom, complete with sound effects ripped straight from the Atari 2600 port of Donkey Kong. As if to reiterate to the characters that this is a game to the Mastermind. The anime ups this with the end credits that spoof an NES title screen.
- Pair the Spares:
- Spoofed in a tie-in Yonkoma, in which Celes concludes that if she doesn't do something fast, she's going to end up with Hagakure◊.
- In a meta example, all the students bar Hagakure are paired up in official artwork. More precisely, the duos are:
- Naegi and Kirigiri.
- Togami and Fukawa/Syo.
- Maizono and Kuwata .
- Asahina and Oogami.
- Fujisaki, Oowada and Ishimaru.
- Celes and Yamada.
- Enoshima and Ikusaba.
- Panty Shot: During the event cutscene at the end of Chapter 3, where Monokuma and Oogami are fighting, we get a brief flash up her skirt that reveals that Oogami wears a thong.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: Played with. At one point, Kirigiri finds a door with a password lock and uses every bit of information she can find on the man who set it up to try and figure the password. Turned out to be subverted - the password to the headmaster's private chamber is "kyokokirigiri", but since his daughter hates him and assumed he didn't care about her, she didn't think try it.
- Playing The Player: The choice to reveal Kirigiri's lie in court in chapter 5. A Genre Savvy player would think they're playing a Phoenix Wright-style game where the truth counts over everything, and therefore reveal her lie, but in this case they're actually playing an "outwit-the-mastermind" game, where throwing Kirigiri under the bus is what Monokuma wants. And the game makes sure to rub it in your face if you're Wrong Genre Savvy.
- Poor Communication Kills:
- Some of the students are more willing to cooperate with Naegi than others, but it's not unusual for somebody to hold back information until the trial.
- Poor communication almost kills everyone! In chapter 4, Asahina reads a fake suicide note by Monokuma implicating the others, so she tries to frame everyone for murder so they'd all be taken down. The others forgive Asahina, though, because their own poor communication skills caused them all to get angry at Ogami in the first place since they thought as the mole Ogami was going to kill them and they didn't even talk to her to confirm it, which made it necessary for her to commit suicide to calm the discord and chaos.
- Potty Failure: Used as a minor throwaway gag, but it technically counts. In Chapter 2, Monokuma attempts to motivate the students to commit murder by threatening to reveal everyone's worst secrets unless one of them gives in and kills someone. Apparently what Naegi, the player character, considers the worst secret in his life is that he used to wet the bed until 5th grade, and since the threat of having that revealed doesn't motivate Naegi to kill someone, it's not apparently too bad of a secret to him.
- Precision F-Strike: During the final trial in the English localization.
Makoto, to Junko: Give and take? You're so full of... shit!
- Public Execution: The fate of every culprit who fails to get away with murder. The audience seems to be limited to the surviving students, until it's revealed that each execution, along with the rest of the happenings in the school, had been broadcast to the entire world since the very beginning.
- Rape as Drama: Invoked and Exploited when Celes lies to Yamada that Ishida assaulted her. It's ambiguous whether or not she's believed or her mark just accepts it as another excuse for murdering him.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- Monokuma loves to insist that the students are the real villains: according to his logic, if they just quietly lived out the rest of their lives in their Gilded Cage and didn't try to 'graduate', then nobody would get hurt. And when they solve the trials, aren't they only doing so to protect their own measly lives...? Like everything else Monokuma says, it's technically true, because he's relying on an extremely narrow concept of what it means to be responsible for one's actions. The logic behind that reason you suck speech is that if you make a choice to cause someone's death (by killing someone or convicting a murderer so he/she will be executed), and you had another option available, you're responsible for that person's death. What he leaves out is that due to the situation he's created, the students do have other options besides killing or convicting someone but those other options are allowing themselves to die or murdering someone or remaining prisoners their whole lives. So Monokuma's speech is technically true but spiritually incorrect since he's artificially narrowed the range of options the students actually have.
Monokuma: The murder we just had occurred because you bastards want to get out, wasn't it!? It's you bastards, who can't let go of the outside world, who are the bad guys here!!
- Subverted in case 4. Monokuma gives a nasty one to Asahina, but Naegi correctly points out that Asahina's behavior was due to a fake suicide note Monokuma wrote, and the other students decide they were wrong to be angry at Ogami in the first place, so they all decide to rally behind Asahina so they can all take Monokuma down.
- There's also one from Kyouko to Byakuya in Chapter 4 when he finds himself unable to comprehend how he failed to figure out the mystery.
Kyouko: You still haven't realized? We don't all act according to calculations and cost-benefit diagrams. That's what makes us so complicated. That's what you don't understand, and that's why you couldn't solve this case. (Byakuya is left speechless) See? Didn't I tell you? When you dismiss other people's feelings, it'll always come back to bite you in the end.
- Red Herring: The Justice Hammers. More specifically, the numbering of the Justice Hammers, from smallest to biggest. Everyone thinks that they were used from one to four, but it's eventually discovered that the culprit used them out of order to throw everyone off.
- Relationship Values: Naegi can hang out with the other students and give them presents. They'll reward him either with skills to be used during trial scenes, or by raising the maximum number of skill points Naegi has during trials, depending on how far he's progressed in hanging out with them. The downside to this, however, is that there's a limited number of "free time segments" in each chapter. When students get killed, they are no longer available to spend time with, and their skills cannot be acquired. Furthermore, even if they're still alive, some characters may be unavailable to spend time with for plot reasons. Fortunately, skills and free time progress both carry over on subsequent playthroughs, and in the rerelease they can be earned at leisure in School Mode.
- Retcon: Subverted by the manga. The way it treats Maizono's murder initially come off this way, but all that's shown in game is based on Naegi's deductions and what actually happened is never shown. Played straight by later materials in franchise, which seems to of phased out certain details from canon.
- Revealing Coverup:
- In Chapter 6, the mastermind goes out of their way to avoid showing Enoshima's face in any images depicting her before the memory-wipe happened and the Deadly Game started. This is a necessary measure to prevent the characters from figuring out that she doesn't look like the "Enoshima" they knew, but it makes it really obvious that she's the mastermind. Indeed, Naegi uses it as a crucial piece of evidence to come to that conclusion.
- Earlier, in Chapter 1, some of the major pieces of evidence against Kuwata besides the dying message come from his attempt to destroy his bloodstained jacketnote . Not only does it not burn completely, leaving a piece of bloody sleeve that matches his Limited Wardrobe, the other debris he leaves near the locked-down incinerator indicates it was turned on in a way that could only have been done by someone with his particular talent. All in all, he might have done better just stuffing it under his bed.
- Then, in Chapter 2, the clinching piece of evidence is Fujisaki's broken e-card, which was taken from his body and found in the sauna. This leads to the question of who would have an opportunity to find out how the card could be broken, such as someone who previously went into the sauna fully dressed.
- Role-Playing Game: The game has several play-by-post tributes, generally on Tumblr but also other sites.
- Rushmore Refacement: One of the images of "the outside world" that the mastermind shows the class in the final trial is of several famous monuments with Monokuma's face added to them. While it's real (as Genocider Syo proves) and is stated to be one of the things that happened due to The Worst, Most Despair-inducing Incident in the History of Mankind, it's still undetermined to what extend the total damage is.
- Sadistic Choice:
- Kill one of your classmates, or spend the rest of your life in captivity - and when it comes down to the trial, fess up and receive a gruesome punishment, or escape with the blood of everyone else on your hands.
- Ogami was presented with one as well - work as a mole for Monokuma and then violate her personal integrity and sense of morals by killing someone when Monokuma asks her to, or refuse Monokuma's demands and lose her family's dojo. She manages to get around this choice, however; see Take a Third Option.
- Enoshima also offers one to the surviving students: kill her but be forced to leave for the outside world, which could very well be deadly, or sacrifice Naegi and spend the rest of their lives in peace.
- School Uniforms are the New Black: All of the characters keep wearing the clothes they arrived in throughout the game, which means this trope for everybody who showed up in their junior high uniforms - Maizono, Ogami, Fukawa, and Ishimaru. Naegi and Hagakure also seem to be wearing their uniform jackets over their street clothes. This is a particularly odd example as all of the characters have long since graduated from the schools their uniforms came from; nobody wears an actual Hope's Peak uniform except in photos from previous school years. Justified for Ishimaru, since he states in a Free Time event that he has several copies of the outfit he's wearing.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Byakuya Togami.
Naegi: Can high school students even participate in the stock market?
Togami: My name is Byakuya Togami.
Naegi: (Was that... an answer to the question?)
- Seinfeldian Conversation: The students have a tendency to get sidetracked by small tangents marginally related to the task at hand, usually Deadpan Snarking aimed at another character making a stupid addition. It gets lampshaded by Hagakure when Byakuya joins the main group in chapter 5, with his no-nonsense attitude flying in the face of how they never get straight to the point (though he ironically falls into the same trap inside that conversation too).
- Sequel Hook:
- Monokuma rises again after the students escape. Plus, we still don't know what happened in the outside world... or if anything happened at all.
- Also, the escape switch, and the bonus movie that it unlocks, foreshadows Dangan Ronpa IF.
- She's Got Legs: Many female characters wear ridiculously short skirts. Due to the way sprites are viewed, though, this isn't very noticeable except in trial scenes.
- Ship Tease:
- Aoi and Sakura are teased practically out of the gate. They band together apparently due to their shared athletic interests; after the beginning of the game they're never seen separately, except when they deliberately split up to accomplish a task. Aoi refers to Sakura as "Sakura-chan", which would be standard, except that nobody else calls her this; most refer to Sakura as "Oogami-san" or some variant (Hagakure even calls her "the Ogre"), making "Sakura-chan" a deliberate display of affection. Sakura reacts very strongly when Fukawa/Genocider Syo starts making disturbing sexual comments towards Aoi, becoming so threatening that Aoi at one point worries she might actually attack Fukawa/Syo in Aoi's defense. And of course, there's Aoi's reaction to Sakura's suicide, and her continual references to her feelings for Sakura throughout the game afterwards — she looks towards memories of what "Sakura-chan" would do or say, and the memory of Sakura's death, as motivation for herself not to lose hope and make Sakura's efforts meaningless.
- Ishimaru and Mondo develop a seriously intense bond. Of course, this could be interpreted as a bond of "brotherhood", but the fact that Ishimaru was willing to condemn everyone — including himself to spare Mondo's life is definitely indicatively of something; and he completely shuts down after the execution, wandering around aimlessly and not responding when prior to this he has been extremely vocal and driven. Official artwork also shows Ishimaru and Oowada together in "peculiar" situations. For instance, Ishimaru nitpicking Oowada's messy eating habits and tying his scarf for him, Oowada cheering Ishimaru on during an athletic competition, Ishimaru putting his small white jacket on Oowada while the biker is asleep, and etc. It's also interesting to note that, taking both Ishimaru's own Friendless Background and the events of the manga's fourth chapter, Oowada might be Ishimaru's first real, close friend. Ishimaru also isn't fully aware of how to make friends as seen from his free time events, so to Ishimaru, these are what he believes are normal signs of affection.
- Naegi, despite not being a classical Chick Magnet, doesn't do so bad in this game.
- Naegi and Maizono start out with lots of teasing. Maizono says that Naegi is saving her by being around her. She even calls herself his assistant. She also says that in middle school, she always wanted to talk to him and was always looking at him. This may be subverted though, given that Maizono planned to pin her murder on Naegi, plus she's the first victim.
- Naegi and Kirigiri start some major teasing after chapter 2. Kirigiri and Naegi are the ones that generally lead the trials and work together to solve the crimes. Kirigiri confides only with Naegi and only asks for Naegi's help. Asahina, Hagakure and Monokuma seems to think the two are dating and in Chapter 3 when Naegi defends Kirigiri, Togami says, "Don’t tell me you’re in love with her". After Naegi keeps a secret from Kirigiri, she ignores him for three whole days, while making snide comments about him in the company of others. She only starts talking to him after the secret is revealed and she could understand his reason for doing so. She even blushes when saying sorry. Not trusting Kirigiri during a crucial moment in Chapter 5 will get you the Bad Ending. After Naegi is nearly executed, she personally comes to rescue him. At the end, she even says she looks forward to the future, if people like Naegi are with her. And then there's her free time events. Spending time with her can prompt her to admit with a slight blush her growing interest in Naegi. In her third free time, Naegi compliments her smile and calls her pretty to try and get a reaction out of her. This appears to fluster her, but it turns out she'd guessed what he was up to and was just playing along to make it backfire on him. In her last free time, she jokingly gives him an implied proposal and chuckles at his reaction with a blush.
- Naegi and Asahina have minor teasing that becomes pretty major in places. In her last free time event, when you go to her room, she asks for you to pretend to be her boyfriend. After they call it off, she asks with a blush what kind of girl Naegi likes. In the main storyline, she does say with a blush Naegi is cool during the trials. She also treats him the best out of the remaining students — she hates Togami and Fukawa, and she seems annoyed with Hagakure's stupidity (though we never get to see how close she is with Kirigiri).
- Ikusaba also seems to have her eye on him, between offering to set him up with an "aggressive" girl in her free time events and pretty openly hitting on him in School Mode. If outrights confirms it.
- Kuwata's crush on Maizono is fairly obvious, as he does things like ask Naegi what kind of guys she likes so he can switch hobbies accordingly; their positions (with his arm nearly around her) in Naegi's class portrait suggests she reciprocated during the last two years. Also, as they were some of the earliest character designs, they frequently appear together in promotional art.
- Naegi keeps getting invited to people's rooms in their final free time events. Possibly taken out of tease level in School Mode, where once he reaches the good ending with a character's Relationship Values maxed-out he gets a pair of their undies.
- Shout-Out: Has its own page.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: The students usually respond to Monokuma like this, particularly after each trial ends.
- Spoiler Opening: Along with introducing the cast, the opening sequence contains brief flashes Foreshadowing in-game events, most prominently borrowing from a Cutscene showcasing one of the murderers' punishment.
- The Stinger: After the credits for the first game, we see a scene where Monokuma comes back to life.
- Stripperiffic: Averted, despite there being characters who are idols or fashion models. Female characters do tend to show more skin than male ones, but they are all dressed realistically and fairly modestly. Possibly the sole exception is Asahina, though even her outfit isn't as extreme as some examples.
- Strong Family Resemblance: The children in the bad ending are practically clones of their fathers.
- The Summation: Climax Inferences boil down to this, with Naegi giving his take on how the crime was committed before calling out the murderer. You don't get a Climax Inference summation in chapter 5, because you never actually solve the entirety of how the murder happened. If you reveal Kirigiri's lie in court, Monokuma cuts the trial short and executes Kirigiri. If you don't reveal Kirigiri's lie in court, Monokuma cuts the trial and tries to execute Naegi, who is saved at the last minute by Alter Ego.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Hagakure during the investigation phase in case 2. "I most certainly wasn’t checking the contents of that letterbox!" Though when he presents his discovery at the trial it turns out he didn't check enough to find out "Kuwata's" card was broken.
- Take a Third Option: Ogami took one. It's eventually revealed at the end of case 4's trial that the reason Monokuma was able to persuade Ogami to be the mole was because Monokuma was holding Ogami's family's dojo hostage. Ogami either had to kill someone and thus lose her moral integrity, or lose her family's dojo. What does she do? She kills herself, which simultaneously satisfies the dojo-saving requirement of killing someone while preserving Ogami's moral integrity by not actually killing any of the others.
- Tempting Fate: If a character is too happy, you can bet they're going to be involved in that chapter's murder. Sayaka implies that she has a crush on Naegi? Not only is she killed, but she had him pegged as her fall guy. Mondo and Ishimaru become friends? Mondo kills Chihiro and Ishimaru becomes completely broken. Yamada finds his "ideal 2-D girl" in the ironically male Alter Ego and Ishimaru bounces back after meeting Alter Ego? Ishimaru's the next victim and Yamada is killed by the person who convinced him to murder him. Sakura and Aoi, by far the kindest students? Sakura is The Mole and commits suicide, leaving Aoi heartbroken. Alter Ego gets over being a computer program and promises to help? Monobear steals and crushes it. Naegi helps Kirigiri screw over Monobear? In the bad ending, Kirigiri's the next one to be executed thanks to Naegi himself.
- Ten Little Murder Victims: An interesting case of this. Junko Enoshima is both the first mole who set up the murder game in the first place, but she operates from a distance and uses two moles through the course of the story, neither of whom kill anyone. One of them outright kill themselves while the other ends being the final victim.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The mastermind decides to kill herself with EVERY execution she has given to the killers in one big swoop.
- This Is Reality: Spoken in Chapter 3. Monokuma also states this during Chapter 1:
We aren't living in a Shōnen
manga story. There is no such thing as dying without dying. This is reality!!
- Trailers Always Spoil: One of the first trailers released for the official English release of the game makes it blatantly obvious that Kuwata is the first killer, as well as showing the lack of Maizono and Enoshima in the first trial scene. Then there's the one that not only shows Naegi on the conveyor belt in "Detention" getting closer to the crushing machine, but the parts where he falls through the trapdoor into the garbage room.
- Transfer Student Uniforms: Most of the students wear what are presumably the uniforms from their previous schools (or at least customized versions of them), with the exceptions being Celes's Elegant Gothic Lolita getup, Asahina's sweatshirt, tank top and shorts, and Kuwata's studded jacket.
- Truman Show Plot: It is revealed by Monokuma in Chapter 5 that everything happening inside the school is being broadcast all over Japan. To go even further, the game even ends like the Trope Namer movie, with the characters leaving the only world they know to venture into the "real" one.
- Tonight Someone Dies: In contrast to the previous chapters, Chapter 5 shows you the upcoming corpse at the beginning of the chapter. However, since the body is masked, you can't tell who's going to die...
- Two Dun It: Near the end of the game, it's revealed that there are actually two Masterminds who are collectively Super High-School Level Despair. Subverted in that one of them betrayed and murdered the other early in the game.
- Two-Teacher School: Despair Academy is suspiciously lacking in faculty - aside from Monokuma. And his idea of "teaching" is trying to get people to kill each other. The school also once had a human headmaster, though he is murdered before the game begins. The flowers on the desks in the staff room imply they were all killed as well, and the mastermind says everyone at the school died except for her class.
- Undignified Death:
- All the executions count as this. There's being bludgeoned to death by a pitching machine, being turned into pancake topping by a high-speed motorcycle stunt, being burned at the stake and then run over by a speeding firetruck, and being crushed into a ball by construction equipment. Monokuma seems to get off on killing people in sadistically comical fashion.
- Cruelly, cruelly subverted with Kirigiri's execution in Chapter 5's Bad End: she's crushed to death by a giant block. The subversion is that Kirigiri starts with a stoic expression, then becomes fearful, then shows acceptance while being fearful. So poor Kirigiri's death swings from Dignified to Undignified and back again.
- Same goes with Naegi in the Good End of that chapter: he sweats bullets and almost gets crushed until Alter Ego overrides the machine and stops the block. Still ends up falling down a garbage chute, though.
- Oowada and Celes also Face Death with Dignity, undignified as the method of execution turns out to be, and Alter Ego doesn't seem to be entirely aware of what's happening, but Kuwata has to be physically dragged from the courtroom after breaking down and begging for his life.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: School trials can be broken down into Non-Stop Debates (literally shooting down contradictions), Bullet Time Battles (breaking through ad-hominem arguments in a Rhythm Game), Hangman's Gambit (filling in blanks), and Closing Statement (assembling how the murder went down by placing events on a comic-style timeline).
- Unishment: Junko Enoshima's and execution qualifies big time. She starts out having a full on Villainous Breakdown from losing the final trial, but then her despair fetish kicks in, and she realizes that she finds the despair of death absolutely wonderful, so much that she promptly rejects Naegi's offer of a Last-Second Chance, and gleefully executes herself.
- Utsuge: There are 15 kids that are for the most part very likable and interesting characters. Since this is a killing game, you will watch most of these teenagers be killed or kill their fellow students through either conventional murders or executions in order to survive. If you happen to get attached to any of the doomed cast members, you will feel bad, and even if you don't, the set ups of the cases can be rather depressing.
- Viewers Are Goldfish: Flashbacks to not even a full scene ago happen fairly often, with one flashback showing something that happened roughly thirty seconds beforehand.
- Voice Grunting: For the most part. However, some scenes (generally those with a fullscreen illustration) and all Class Trials are fully-voiced.
- Wacky Homeroom: With all their super high-school specialties, the cast is certainly quirky - and homicidal.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: The second murderer is much harder to take down than the first was, letting players know just how easy they had it in the tutorial case. This case is far twistier than the first, since you go through two red herring suspects before figuring out that the crime scene location was altered to conceal the true sex of the victim. You only unmask the true culprit through getting him to divulge information he couldn't have known if he wasn't involved.
- Warmup Boss: Kuwata is by far the easiest culprit to nail, for several reasons. The dying message left by Maizono, "11037", is the biggest tipoff, since when read from a certain point of view it reveals his name.
- Wham Episode:
- Let's start with Chapter 1. The first victim is Maizono, and shortly after that, Enoshima is killed for attacking Monokuma. See Never Trust a Trailer.
- Then at the end of Chapter 2, it's revealed there is a mole among the students, and there's also a seperate sixteenth student that Monokuma is hiding.
- The end of Chapter 3. After learning about it from Kirigiri, Naegi finds a secret room in the boy's restroom. Before he can take a good look around a mysterious masked man attacks him from behind, knocking him unconscious. When Naegi wakes up he finds that the room has been cleaned out. Then when he staggers to the gymnasium he finds Ogami fighting Monokuma and they have a conversation implying Ogami is The Mole.
- Chapter 4's one of the biggest wham episodes. Monokuma reveals Ogami's identity as the mole right off the bat...and then Ogami is killed...and there's a bloody message with Fukawa's name just like with Kuwata!...no wait, that was Hagakure framing Fukawa, he killed the ogre, he even confesses!...no wait, actually his strike didn't kill Ogami, Fukawa and Genocider Syo confess to it...no wait, Asahina framed everyone, she confesses to the murder!...no wait, it was actually a suicide! And Monokuma gave Asahina a fake suicide note! Nice going, Asahina...no wait, everyone decides not to punish Asahina and they're all against Monokuma now! Looks like Monokuma can't execute anyone...no wait, Alter Ego, NOOOOOO!!! And then, at the very end of the chapter? Kirigiri suddenly reveals the name of the sixteenth student!
- Chapter 5's bad ending turns it into another wham episode, because this is the first episode where pointing out a lie in court, which you've been doing the whole game, nets you a bad ending where you (re: Naegi, Togami, Asahina and Hagakure, and Fukawa until recently) all live happily ever after, with no more murders, but in a gilded cage. And if you don't get the bad ending, and choose to trust Kirigiri? Naegi gets judged guilty, and sent off to be executed, and it's only from a last-minute surprise interference from a virus planted by Alter Ego that he doesn't die. He's still trapped in the basement with no way of getting out, though.... but then Kirigiri herself comes to rescue him.
- Chapter 6 is made up of Wham Episodes. Monokuma agrees to do a re-trial of Ikusaba's murder and seems to be slowly losing his sanity. Part of Monokuma's deal is that the students have to solve every mystery in the school. One of the sixteen students is the mastermind. Kirigiri discovers her father's remains as well as hints that he really did care about her. Furthermore, all of the students had attended Hope's Peak before, but had their memories erased. The biggest part? Mukuro Ikusaba was disguising herself as Enoshima, and the real Enoshima was the Big Bad all along.
- Wham Line:
- Chapter 2 had two of them, one about the victim ("She is... a man!"), and the reveal of Genocider Syo's identity ("It's Touko Fukawa.").
- Then in Chapter 4: "I am sorry... for keeping quiet." Spoken by Ogami, confirming that she is the mole.
- And then in the trial: "It's because I killed the ogre!!" No one expected Hagakure, of all people, to confess.
- Followed by...
Asahina: I killed Sakura-channote !
- And then the biggest one in that chapter:
: It's a suicide letter. The one Ogami-san wrote. Naegi
: S... Suicide letter...!? But Asahina-san already...! Monokuma
: Oh, I wrote that one
- From Chapter 5, which pretty much blows all others out of the water:
Monokuma: This school life of mutual killings is being completely broadcasted live on TV all over Japan!
- Later on:
Monokuma: I've been waiting until all of you get here. We can't begin without the entire group, can we?
- It might not be too shocking, but it's still big.
Kirigiri: Because [the headmaster]'s my father.
- Invoked in Chapter 6, which doesn't seem like one until the Fridge Horror kicks in.
Monokuma: There are 16 and only 16 high school students participating in this school life of mutual killing... By the way, ever since we started this game, those beary same students are the only people to have set foot in this school.
- Writing Indentation Clue: In Chapter 1, Kirigiri uses this to figure out that the victim called the murderer into the room where she was killed.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- Togami, who quickly adapts and embraces the circumstances as a competition, believes he's the most likely winner/survivor. In Chapter 4, all the students decide to band together against Monokuma, which eliminates the competitive aspect of the trials. So because no one will lie awake in fear of being murdered anymore, the game has lost its "thrill", and this causes Togami to withdraw from the game and unite with the other students against Monokuma.
- A meta example: The player is potentially this if they choose to reveal Kirigiri's lie in court in Chapter 5. See Playing The Player for details.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Hair like Kirigiri's and Oogami's, which is super-pale (and purple-tinged in Kirigiri's case), goes unremarked upon. Maizono (Blue) and Fukawa (Purple, occasionally rendered as black) also fall under this.
Tropes for the School Mode
- Alternate Universe: Maizono's ending strongly implies that School Mode takes place in this. School Mode!Naegi even has a flashback from Chapter 1 of the main story!
- And I Must Scream: Played for Laughs. Some of the Monokuma backups buildable in include the "entertainment" model, which moans that its life is a travesty and welcomes the sweet release of Monokuma smashing it to bits, and the "adult" model, which has a zipper on the back and a voice inside it screaming to be let out.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: The reward for getting a character ending? That character's underwear. Um... yay?
- Bellisario's Maxim: Invoked in the tutorial, which lampshades the fact that the regular sequences of free time events are identical to the ones in the original game; hence, characters talk about killing even when Monokuma just has them building robots and hasn't actually said a thing about "graduating" yet.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Excuse Plot involves the students being ordered to create backup bodies for Monokuma, who says that he'll need them because not only does he explode in the prologue, they dissect him in Chapter 5.
- Call Back: When you receive Imposter!Enoshima's panties, the game takes care to note that despite being built for combat, it is not spear-proof.
- Captain Obvious: Some of Naegi's possible observations during "trips", including observing to Celes "That's an accordion" and asking Asahina "So you like donuts, right?" His classmates can be caustic about it.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Subverted. At the end, Monokuma declares that he's going to punish Naegi first because plain guys like him either become the main character or wind up dead. Then Usami comes to life and promptly kicks Monokuma's butt.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The ending has Usami show up to save the students. Monokuma complains that she isn't supposed to show up yet.
- Entertainingly Wrong: In the ending of School Mode, "Junko" seems unsettled after Monokuma's defeat. Asahina says they're probably thinking the same thing, "Junko" is visibly shocked... and Asahina worries about if they'll stay in touch after they leave the school.
- Everybody Lives: In this universe, Monokuma assigns them with creating a robot for a project, and as Naegi bonds with the other students, the robot turns out to be Usami, brought to life because of the bonds the students made, who proceeds to kick Monokuma's ass while the latter is flabbergasted since she's supposed to appear LATER. With that, Usami gives the students the exit switch and they all escape together.
- New Game+: School Mode allows you to carry over the accumulated skill levels for gathering materials and cleaning the school to a new playthrough. The in-story justification is that Monokuma forces the students to start over after being dissatisfied with all the backups they build in fifty days.
- Relationship Values: Finishing the free time events for all characters is one of the requirements for the good ending. School Mode also has a new set of Relationship Values, viewable by asking Monokuma, which determine whether a character gets a concluding scene during the ending.
- Ship Tease:
Tropes for Dangan Ronpa IF
Tropes for the Animation
- Abridged Series: Dangan Ronpa Abridged Thing. And a not-so-abridged variant, Dangan Ronpa The Misrepresentation
- Adaptation Distillation: The introductions for all of the other students are toned down to a few sentences, whereas in the game they received several short paragraphs. The pacing of the story moves much more quickly. How much more quickly? Episode 9 out of a total of 13 features the trial surrounding Sakura's death. In the game, this is marked as the halfway point.
- Adaptation Expansion:
- In episode 4 of the anime, they give a shot of Fujisaki working on something that anyone who played the game will recognize. How and when Fujisaki had time for this was never explained in the game, and its existence was only foreshadowed in a Free Time event you may not see. The anime gives us a little more direct foreshadowing and explaination.
- And in another act of foreshadowing in that scene, we see that Fujisaki is using his toolkit.
- Additionally, in episode 6, the entire remaining cast gets to see the first suspicious class photo courtesy of Alter Ego, rather than simply Naegi stumbling upon it.
- And in the final episode, Naegi doesn't just spout out "You must not lose hope!" alone but goes on a whole Rousing Speech for each of the surviving students to keep their hope up.
- Auto-Tune: Used in the credits theme, "Zetsubōsei: Hero Chiryōyaku".
- Bowdlerize: Toyed with. On one hand, the first crime scene is as bloody as in the game and the Impaled with Extreme Prejudice death is "upgraded" to Human Pincushion levels. On the other, the first execution is noticeably censored, specifically as there's FAR more focus on the surroundings (and specially the machine that delivers said death) than on the victim.
- Call Back: During the trial in episode 7, Monokuma can be seen eating pancakes with the butter Mondo was turned into in the previous episode.
- Design Student's Orgasm: The opening theme. Could also apply to Hope's Peak Academy in general.
- Dies Wide Open: One of the victims is found like this◊.
- Evolving Credits:
- The ending credits. The first episode has a blank screen, but the second episode features an empty classroom, with Naegi and the first dead characters. More characters added as they die.
- Any trial/execution episodes would skip the opening and "Naegi plus dead students" ending scene, instead showing how the trial is about to begin, and the students' horrified reactions on the executions respectively. Episode 7 is the exception to this opening rule, as the episode begins not with the trial, but with the discovery of Hagakure in the Justice Robo outfit. As of Episode 10, the surviving students are also included. And in the final episode when the picture is back, the fake Enoshima has been replaced by Ikusaba while the real Enoshima stands behind Naegi.
- As of episode 6, the opening credits have evolved to add Fukawa switching into her Genocider Syo personality.
- Fanservice: Episode 6 opens with Asahina crying on her bed... while wearing nothing but a revealing sleeping suit.
- Female Gaze:
- Funny Background Event: During the 2nd trial in episode 5, you'll often spy Monokuma eating honey as he did in the 1st trial. This may also double as a Shout-Out to Winnie-the-Pooh.
- Gonk: Monokuma's animation is noticably more cartoony than the other characters, though this is probably deliberate.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Very oddly, despite every other execution in the anime being nearly identical to the game's version, Million Fungoes/The 1000 Blows never shows Kuwata being hit with the baseballs.
- Kick the Dog: Monokuma shows further how much of a bastard he is in episode 7 by eating the Mondo Butter pancake throughout the whole trial, as if sentencing Oowada to his execution wasn't demeaning enough.
- Male Gaze: In the final episode, there's quite a bit of focus on Junko Enoshima's breasts. They even appear to be a bit bigger than from the game.
- Meaningful Background Event: In Episode 9, when Asahina reveals what she thinks is Oogami's suicide note, Monokuma starts giggling in the background.
- Mood Whiplash: Monokuma attacking "Junko Enoshima" with his claws out for refusing to participate in the class trial, followed by her promptly stomping on his face, followed by what happens to her as a result.
- Off Model: There is actually a manga adaption of the anime (not to be confused with the manga adaptation of the game, which is very different). To say its art is bad would be an understatement.
- Ondo: The opening of Episode 3 is one, appropriately titled "Monokuma Ondo."
- Pragmatic Adaptation:
- Many of the characters' backstories are condensed or left out in order to accomodate for the show's length.
- Significant details on the setting are also left out. For instance, the anime completely skips over the revelation of how one room in the library is filled with top-secret documents, files, and records from all over the world, and chooses to focus solely on how it has important files on Genocider Syo.
- Similarly, in episode 5 the trial skips important details about the victim's identity as a whole (in the game we find out about Fujisaki's "secret" when Oogami inspects the body in front of everyone, but in the anime Kirigiri finds out off-screen and then explains it in the trial). However, Genocider Syo's very dramatic trial appearance and a certain character's reactions to the trial's results and the execution that follow are expanded.
- It also upgrades the student ID cards to touch-screen devices that incorporate ID, map, and evidence retention to emulate the game mechanics you could use in the game through the same menu that had your ID.
- Episode 7 also skips a lot of several important details (such as Yamada's tendency on calling people in last name-first name order, which reveals Celes being the mastermind). However, some of the cut off parts might end up for a better light on Celes. In the anime, her statement that she has a Lack of Empathy and has no problems in manipulating and disposing others for her own gain was removed, removing some of her unsympathetic points, and on the other hand, only Naegi was shown noticing her bluff instead of two people, making her scheme less blunder-filled. On the other hand, however, Naegi's monologue about how Celes was faking her smile to hide her fear of death was also removed.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Togami is presented as more of this than a Jerkass, though he's still as cynical as he was in the game.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Done a lot by Togami.
- Sequel Hook: Usami is seen waving at the end of credits...
- Spoiler Opening: Averted. The opening credits show all fifteen students on the trial elevator, in order to hide who dies first.
- Surprisingly Good English: The opening theme, featuring a rap outfit from Delaware called the 49ers.
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: The number of episodes clocks in at 13, unsurprisingly.
- Twelve-Episode Anime: Thirteen Episode Anime actually, as said above. While the short length may make it seem too rushed at times at the cost of character development, it's hard to deny that the number suits the series well.
Tropes for the Stage Play
- Adaptation Distillation: It's bound to happen when the adaption is of a game that's 20+ hours. Because of this Ishimaru never becomes Ishida as a new rule comes into play that those who voted wrong will be executed with the murderer if the majority vote right, but by spears not a custom execution.