Byakuya thought he was Framing the Guilty Party.Contrary to his later claims, he didn't actually see the real murderer leave. He suspected somebody would snap thanks to the short time limit on Monokuma's "motives", however, and was discreetly looking around. When he discovered the body, he assumed that Genocider Syo was responsible, but was smart enough not to leave their obvious Calling Cards behind. Hence, he added those details in. Then, to ensure they were correctly identified, he tapped the most obvious patsy, Naegi, whom had already proven himself easy to manipulate. He spoonfed clues to him so that he could safely pass that information on to the others without placing too much suspicion onto himself. That way, there'd be no chance of the 'stupid commoners' bungling the trial and letting a Serial Killer graduate. He didn't expect Naegi to Pull the Thread and realize he was responsible... or that he'd actually been fooled by Mondo, of all people...! So why lie and claim he did it For the Evulz...? Better than admitting he'd gotten tunnel vision and not considered any other suspects than the one who'd literally fallen into his lap that same night. He'd rather come off as a Manipulative Bastard than admit he was wrong.
The goal of Despair Academy is to test one's resolution.That is, the resolution to kill another human being. The photos that Monobear snatches up after every other execution aren't just red herrings - they're actual pictures of the school building, of what's going on outside. The dead students are really just sent back to the "real world." The punishment for being too cowardly is to be stuck in your despair as things grow tenser.
Fukawa grew up in a Chinatown situation.One of her mothers is just the woman married to her father. The other mother is her biological mother (and sister).
Celes lied about her motive."Queen of Liars", after all. The whole "castle full of vampire-cosplaying manservants" thing? Just another lie. The fact of the matter was, she just didn't want to die quietly in a Gilded Cage — she wanted to be remembered. Pure and simple. And what better way to ensure that than to make up such an utterly outrageous lie? Especially since the others had been Sympathetic Murderers, making her stand out even more.
The Monokumas are possessed by the spirit of a high school student who was dangerously envious.Average in every respect, the boy (or maybe girl?) who would become Monokuma was jealous of every classmate who excelled in a certain field he/she could never thrive in. Torn apart by desire, proto-Monokuma eventually snapped and tried to murder a Super High School Level student, but ended up being done in painfully by his/her own mediocrity. Now, he/she makes Super High School Level students kill each other with utter delight, given supernatural powers from an unknown source.
Final Chapter survivor predictionsAssuming that there are two deaths per chapter, it means that there will be three people in the last chapter (Chapter 4 begins with seven people, removing one victim and one murderer drops to five. Chapter 5 would then remove one victim and one murderer, bringing the number down to three.]] Naegi has to be one of them due to being the main character. The other two would be "the victim" and "the rival", Naegi's opponent in the trial. The rival would be either Kirigiri or Togami, with the victim being the other one, or a Sacrificial Lamb that has survived throughout the game. Now when Naegi and the rival discover the final victim's body, they stare at each other. A trial isn't called because there aren't three students who can witness the body. And then before anything happens Monokuma comes in. He doesn't like the idea of the graduating student being determined by who can kill the other first, so to create maximum despair he introduces his ace-in-the-hole: The sixteenth student. This count as the third student needed to identify the body, and the case begins. In the final trial, Naegi and the rival plead their case before the sixteenth, who acts as the judge and jury. Monobear announces that if the sixteenth pics the murderer, both the s/he and the innocent student are free to graduate (since it would just create a two-student scenario all over again). If the sixteenth pics wrongly, they both die instead and the murderer is free to go. The reason "the rival" is not called "the murderer"? Because Unreliable Narrator may well rear it's ugly head, causing Naegi to be the murderer all along.
Makoto Naegi really is super lucky, and not unlucky like he thinks he isThis possibility was brought up in the Something Awful thread by another poster, but it deserves repeating here. Makoto Naegi ends up getting the only dorm room whose bathroom door sometimes gets stuck...but because the door gets stuck, Makoto is later able to prove his innocence in a murder that was committed by someone who didn't know the true nature of the door.
Kirigiri is Mukuro Ikusaba. It's either a Memory Gambit, or the mastermind erased her memories for his/her/it's/their own purposes.
Kirigiri was framed by Monobear/Mastermind/Mukuro Ikusaba.Monobear set up the crime scene in the 5th chapter to take out Kirigiri once and for all, who's been snooping around. Mukuro Ikusaba is actually either Kirigiri's true identity or the mastermind's identity. The corpse is actually one of Monobear's earlier victims, Junko, placed in there to fool everyone. He set up the arrows in the locker to fool everyone into thinking the wounds caused by spears were arrows, plus the bomb on the corpse to prevent them from seeing its true identity.
Fukawa died from childbirth in the bad ending.There's a blond-haired kid in the ending. She's more delicate than Aoi, and is extremely possessive of Togami.
The Worst, Most Despair-Inducing Incident in the History of Mankind was a form of subliminal brainwashing.We haven't been told anything concrete about the Despairing Incident yet, but we have seen that its effects have caused the collapse of society. However, the mastermind has called SHSL Despair a concept or idea, which has infected the entire world. With this in mind, it's possible that the mastermind achieved this effect by broadcasting a subliminal Brown Note that killed the "hope" of everyone who witnessed it and turned them into sociopaths. This would also explain how the mastermind plans to destroy the remaining hope in the world by broadcasting the despair game; she's not just showing the last hope of the world killing each other, she's also broadcasting the same subliminal despair brainwashing that caused the Despairing Incident.
The person Sakura needs to defeat is an unborn sibling.After all, there's always the possibility someone could surpass her in the future.
Genocider Syo is not Touko.At some point in the two missing years, Byakuya, having access to the file on Syo and having already developed the theory that the hypothesized student behind that name would have to be drawn to Hope's Peak Academy, set out to find him/her, and for whatever reason settled on Touko as the most likely suspect. At the same time, she was developing a crush on him. When they met and he revealed the real reason behind his apparent interest in her, she snapped — and developed a secondary personality who could be the person he was seeking, so as to keep his interest. Togami then inadvertantly fed her all the information about the real Genocider's crimes that she used to "prove" her identity. This explains the fact that he's still alive, and survives to appear in the sequel, despite her well-documented attraction to him, which would ordinarily make him a target for her supposed murderous tendencies.
In the demo version of the game where Hagakure was the first victim, Maizono was the killer.Like in the actual story, Naegi and Maizono switched rooms, though Hagakure took the knife from the kitchen before Maizono did. Despite this unexpected turn of events him over, Maizono managed to slay Hagakure with his own knife, unlike very much the opposite happening as with the canonical situation where she invited Leon.
The Updated Re-release for the Vita will have expanded Free Time Events for some of the characters.In the sequel, each character has at least five free time scenes, even the ones who die early. With the addition of the School Mode where you can play through free time events without anyone being murdered, it would make sense for everyone who doesn't already have at least five scenes to be given additional scenes. This could help to give some extra development to some of the early victims. Of course, some scenes might not be available to the player on a first playthrough, particularly Junko(AKA Mukuro). This would be especially true if her new scenes ended up revealing her true identity before the player was supposed to figure it out.
The Worst, Most Despair-Inducing Incident is actually the plot of Terumi YuukiThe Worst, Most Despair-Inducing Incident that the Dangan Ronpa world is set into is pretty much the dream world of Terumi who thinks that only despair is the truth and everything else are lies. The event is a result of Terumi's plan (Whatever it is) succeeding. This also means that he also comes to influence Junko and Mukuro about the qualities of despair, and although Mukuro had second thoughts eventually, Terumi succeeded beyond the wildest dreams for Junko, making her even love the sense of despair, even her own.
The Worst, Most Despair-Inducing Incident in the History of Mankind was a mass outbreak of Hinamizawa syndrome.
Super High School Level Despair is the Product of a Military ExperimentIt is in essence an attempt to use ideas related to meme theory (in part influenced such things as Anonymous) in order to create a virtual undetectable, unstoppable psy ops weapon. A weaponized meme. The Worst, Most Despair Inducing Event in the History of Mankind was the result of the experiment Going Horribly Wrong and spreading the meme to the general public.
Junko Enoshima is still alive.Given that she survived the first five executions apparently without a scratch, who is to say she couldn't have survived the last one, especially since there's a trap door right below her and the crusher.
Togami is half-Caucasian, specifically French.Togami's Free Times reveal that the head of the Togami family has multiple children with multiple women around the world, meaning that Togami is more than likely not full-blooded Japanese. Add to that his blonde hair in a universe where Japanese characters don't have blonde hair that isn't dyed, as well as the fact that he can speak French.
Some of the gifts in the prize machine were originally owned by the students.After all, it's likely they acquired more things over the regular school year before the Incident than the luggage they arrived with, and if they found something in with their stuff that they didn't remember having before, especially if it were something like a super-limited-edition T-shirt or a fancy radio, that might've raised questions too early. Waste not, want not.
Junko's personalities are all mockeries of the surviving students (sans Naegi.)As detailed here.
And the Obligatory Warhammer 40,000 Theory Is...Junko is the product of Nurgle and Slaanesh having a one night stand after the former took a swig of the latter's wine lake. The reason she remembers her home life being a war is because that's precisely what it was, they being Chaos Gods and all, and her unique strain of insanity is due to her desires for both Excess and Despair. Monobear is a Malaite Demon Engine she roped into working for her, not that he really minds. The Most Despair Inducing Incident Ever was a repelled but still destructive invasion of Chaos, it being a lot weaker due to lack of grimdark, but Malal Cults are still running amok. This also means that, due to Fate and Hope seeming to have a great affection for Makoto, his derailing of her plans in the Good Ending was part of Tzeentch's, since he metaphysically proved that the Changer of Ways is stronger than either Slaanesh or Nurgle. The "thank you" Daemon that inverts Monobear shows up after the epilogue and pledges his services, along with a few suggestions on how to spread hope by any means needed...
Monokuma is/was an actual Eldritch Abomination that drove the mastermind insane, or at the very least helped it happen.
Hope's Peak is a two-year schoolRegular Japanese high schools only cover three years, since ninth grade is included in junior high, and the Hope's Peak admission requirements call for students who are already enrolled in a (different) high school, presumably to allow time to demonstrate their talent. Kuwata, at least, mentions the possibility of returning to his previous school during a free time event, which he couldn't have done if he was talking about junior high since he'd have already graduated. Naegi went to the same junior high as Maizono, and the way they reminisce about it doesn't sound like it was only a few months ago. Also, there's only one more floor in the dormitory building to house all the upperclassmen. Finally, in this case the two years they spent there, if it weren't for what happened at the end of the first year, would have put them on the brink of actual graduation.
The school was built by Fallouts Vault-TecIn an alternate universe where the end of the world was brought about by something similar to Vault 106's psychoactive drugs rather than nuclear weapons. In the early days, thousands were spared the horrors of the end times by taking refuge in enormous underground shelters known as Vaults. The Hope's Peak academy vault was to incorporate elements of Vault 11 (Sacrificing others by vote), Vault 29 (No parents), and a Battle Royale style set up. When the original administrator (The principal) refused to cooperate with the plan, he was replaced with Junko who carried out the experiment on behalf of Vault-Tec. The people actually watching the experiment aren't outsiders, but rather Vault-Tec employees monitoring the experiment
"Detention" wasn't Naegi's intended executionThe mastermind knows who committed each murder, so there's time to prepare the customized executions in advance. However, she prepared Kirigiri's execution expecting that she would be voted as the culprit for the death of Mukuro Ikusaba, and when Naegi took the fall she didn't have time to set up his, so he got thrown into Kirigiri's.
Hope's Peak operates on a Western school year schedule.In the beginning of the game, the forum posts that Naegi looked at to get information about his fellow students are all dated August 20, 2010. Naegi says he accessed the posts the night before he arrived at Hope's Peak, and given the nature of 2ch-style forums it's unlikely that Naegi would be able to see these posts more than a few days after they were made. If this is the case, that would mean that he arrived at Hope's Peak around the end of August. This would explain why the Hope's Peak students were already enrolled in a high school when they were accepted into Hope's Peak - their high school had started in April, while Hope's Peak starts in September.