These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
It may never be clear how much of Ikusaba-as-Enoshima was just an act. Especially since all we really know about their personality comes from an Unreliable Expositor. IF somewhat clarifies this, stating that most of Ikusaba's personality was scripted, but she went out of character when talking to Naegi. Still counts, given that even then its vague with what she said on how true it was literally, especially since Enoshima has a Mysterious Past.
Similarly, how much of Maizono's act about liking Naegi to set them up was motivated by their desire to go out and retake their career at any costs, and how much via having conflicted feelings about him? Naegi initially thinks that it may have been just to spite her killer rather than any sympathy on her part, but Kirigiri says that she believes Maizono may have cared for them deep down, even despite their own actions, and that's why they left her Dying Clue, in an attempt to both apologize for what she did and save him from being executed. The manga more or less confirms it to be the latter.
There's lots about Celes, since she's a Consummate Liar - her behavior in the Chapter 3 school trial certainly comes to mind, as does her dream of living in a castle full of vampire-dressed man-servants and her motive to kill. The manga gives one that many Fanon seem to accept judging from how many fanarts of that version of Celes is. It characterizes Taeko Yasuhiro as someone so plain, unremarkable and suffers greatly because of it that once she discovered her talent as a gambler, she decided to embrace her stage persona Celestia Ludenberg as her own self, absolutely never wanting to go back into her old lifestyle due to how she suffered. A reason why she committed all the crimes was because if she fails, she'd stop being Celes and would be forced to live her life as unremarkable Taeko again. Worth noting that in the manga, Celes wasn't drawn as deranged when she starts freaking out.
The manga also presents one for Kuwata: His retrieval of his screwdriver to open the door is used as proof by Celes in the game that he wasn't acting in self-defense, and the questioning stops there, implying that Kuwata opened the door just to murder Maizono. But in the manga, Maizono's death was an accident—he broke in to try to calm her down, but she still had the knife despite her broken wrist and she was stabbed in the ensuing struggle. He's guilty of questionable decision-making and concealing evidence in a panic, but the murder he committed was accidental, and after his execution only Monokuma knows the truth.
Anti-Climax Boss: Many feel this way about Celestia, the culprit of Chapter 3's murder, due to their behavior in the trial, which comes off as odd given that the culprit is apparently a good liar.
The final argument, where it's incredibly obvious what you have to do. Doesn't stop it from being awesome though.
Naegi, the protagonist himself. Some give him flak for being a Generic Guy out of a cast of more complex and in-depth characters. Others think that he received a decent amount of Character Development over the course of the game and is the most likeable of the cast.
Sayaka Maizono is pretty divisive too. Some like her and believe that even when she's not justified in attempting to murder Kuwata and framing Naegi, she did it upon being broken and pressured by Monobear hitting her weakest spots. Others believe that she's just a self-serving murderer for the actions depicted above. Made worse that unlike Celes and Kuwata, the manga section for her seemed to play her plot straightforward instead of giving her a slightly better Alternative Character Interpretation, aside from confirming Kirigiri's supposition that she left her Dying Clue out of remorse instead of revenge.
The "Monokuma Theater" segments at the end of each ordinary day. It's Monokuma giving speeches about topics that are seemingly irrelevant. Occasionally subverted when a Monokuma Theater segment foreshadows events to come.
Hagakure's impassioned speech about how fortunetelling is different from the occult, which derails itself into a rant about cattle mutilation and how having his hamburger abducted by aliens made him realize it wasn't 100% beef. Naegi isn't sure what to make of it, either.
There are a fair amount of people who were disappointed when it was revealed that Junko Enoshima was the mastermind. This might be partly because the JUNKOS meme became a Discredited Meme on Something Awful around the time that the Let's Play reached the last trial, and people had been arguing for and against its increasing credibility.
The anime of the game is slowly causing this. Some fans find the adaptation disappointing since it has scenes that look like they came directly out of the game (such as executions and trial scenes) and there is nothing new, not to mention they cut down on many character-establishing scenes, while others enjoy it and are happy that it is so faithful and occasionally add up extra scenes that enhances the existing scenes (such as Kuwata's breakdown and desperate attempt to escape, or Ishimaru's utter breakdown at Oowada being guilty and not defending himself.
Dangan Ronpa IF, too. Some people praise it for dwelling more on the relationship between Enoshima and Ikusaba as well as making the latter an Ascended Extra. Others accuse it of making Ikusaba a Mary Sue/Creator's Pet.
The pink blood, especially in the anime. People who aren't familiar with the game thinks that it ruins the suspense and it's not as scary as real blood, while fans of the game accept it and see it as stylistic choice for censorship.
The various differences in each translation, between the Let's Play, the fan translation, and the official localization. It's nigh-impossible to find people agreeing on which is better.
The Dying Clue "11037" in the English localization, which is "LEON" upside down and backwards. It was a bit more obscured in the original, since the intended audience didn't have English as a first language. For icing, while Leon Kuwata is usually called by his last name in the original, in the localization everyone's on a first-name basis, so it's that much easier to make the connection. In-game, it's this for Kirigiri, who figures it out before everyone else and eventually has to outright tell them to turn it 180 degrees when they're stumped.
This is also arguably the case for Celes being the Chapter 3 culprit. Its quite obvious by the end of the investigation that Hagakure is being framed and Celes acts very suspiciously, as she leaves some large holes in her testimony. Then during the trial, she's the main person pushing for her frame job, much more blatantly than Kuwata or Oowada, so she becomes even more suspicious as Hagakure is gradually proven innocent. How intentional this is is up for debate.
The reveal that everyone had already gone to the academy is so heavily hinted at in the latter portion of the game that the only thing preventing it from being a non-event is the internal logic behind how happened, which the game doesn't actually give you.
Fans tend to forget that regardless of the situation pushed by Monokuma, Celes still committed two premeditated murders (unlike Kuwata and Oowada, who killed in a fit of rage and/or by accident), making her one of the most depraved characters in the game. But she carries herself in such an elegant, amusing manner that even her Freak Out is often considered a plus point instead of showing how sociopathic she is.
There's also Genocider Syo, who's unabashed in her status as a Serial Killer. Her reason for not killing anyone in the game is solely for Pragmatic Villainy instead of Even Evil Has Standards, making her someone you would not want to meet in an alley alone, especially if you're a hot guy.]] Of course, when you're under the grip of Monokuma, it's easy to get fans tone down your depravity.
Similarly, more than one Kuwata fan completely excuses his murder of Maizono. Truth is, while he's not evil, in the original VN and the anime he could have just left her inside the bathroom that had its door jammed in, and then gone to denounce her, but he chose to kill her instead. The manga interpretation kinda helps this camp though, see Alternate Character Interpretation above.
Ensemble Darkhorse: While most characters have its share of fanbase and haters alike... Mondo's brother Daiya seems to enjoy quite a popularity, even if his contribution is just Death by Origin Story, only seen in flashbacks.
Between the first two chapters. Owada is the one who furiously demands to know how Kuwata could kill Maizono; he turns out to be the killer in the next case. Also, Owada mentions both in-story and during free time events that his brother taught him never to hurt a woman, to the extent that he's reluctant even to practice fighting with the much-stronger Ogami. When he does kill, his victim is someone who was assumed to be a biological girl up to the postmortem Unsettling Gender-Reveal.
Dangan Ronpa was released in 2010, but The School Life of Mutual Killing takes place in 2012. The Worst, Most Despair Inducing Incident in the History of Mankind took place roughly one year earlier. The Sendai earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster took place in Japan in 2011.
Its a Running Gag that Oogami's imposing appearance constantly frightens people, to the point that Hagakure constantly refers to her as 'The Ogre'. Asahina's breakdown at the end of the fourth trial has her screaming that none of others ever actually saw Oogami as human.
In Ishimaru and Owada's argument in Chapter 2, Ishimaru says that Owada resorts to violence so easily because he's a coward. In a moment of weakness over his belief that Fujisaki is calling him weak, Owada snaps and accidentally murders Fujisaki.
In If, Monokuma attempts to turn the group against Maizono by telling them how she planned to murder Kuwata and frame Naegi for it, but before he can, he's destroyed by Kuwata, who thought he was trying to take her hostage. Maizono later plans to confess to Kuwata about what she was originally planning to do. Kuwata thinks it's a completely different kind of confession...
Ogami had two goals in mind when she committed suicide: she wanted to stop her friends from killing each other and to start the chain of events that would bring about the mastermind's downfall. She succeeds on both accounts.
Ikusaba-as-Enoshima's snipes at Maizono, the Decoy Damsel, once you learn about her soft spot for Naegi in IF. In her introduction, Ikusaba tells Naegi that Maizono's face is just as photoshopped as hers. Then in Dangan Academy, if he expresses interest in hearing Maizono sing, she insists that she lip-syncs.
Starting up the game, the title screen generally displays Naegi and Leon first. Gets funny once you play Chapter 1 and Leon turns out to be the first murderer.
Minor example. During one of Naegi's free time segments with Ishimaru, he insists that you can tell whether or not to trust someone after they take their clothes off. There's no deliberate homosexual content, but it's still enough for the yaoi fans.
Not to mention that Ishimaru and Owada become bros after spending a night together in the sauna.
Taken Up to Eleven in the Anime!Mangas rendition of the scene where Ishimaru becomes Ishida, which features Ishimaru and Oowada naked together, with dialogue stating that their "becoming one".
Asahina/Ogami is quite popular among some circles. In-game, they become such close friends that their relationship even gets lampshaded by Syo at one point. They're also described as a "couple" when students pair off in a tie-in Yonkoma (the other pairs being Naegi/Kirigiri and Togami/Fukawa). Canon partially sinks the pairing with the reveal that Sakura has a boyfriend named Kenichirou, but fans often ignore this, mainly because it's very likely that he's already dead by the time she commits suicide. Bringing it up in School Mode will cause Oogami to grumpily accuse Naegi of acting like Yamada and storm out in a huff.
Syo herself also makes some suggestive comments about Asahina's bust, and Fukawa goes on a disturbing tangent speculating on her vulgur club activities that leaves Asahina rather flustered.
In the murder-free School Mode/Dangan Academy, once Fujisaki reveals his gender to Naegi he grabs his hand and presses it against his own body when Naegi refuses to believe him. In the English localization, Fujisaki has Naegi specifically feel his chest.
All underwear collection aside, Naegi can also weird out Kuwata during a one-on-one dinner in Dangan Academy by asking what he likes to do at night.
If Naegi agrees with Kuwata's idea that he still wants to play baseball in Trigger Happy Heart, Kuwata will remark that Naegi is like his soulmate.
Naegi and Togami engage in a bit of this as well, particularly in his Free Time Events.
Back in the pre-translation days, this question was posed at your own risk: Is Chihiro Fujisaki a male-to-female Trans Sexual or not? Then watch supporters and detractors of said theory tear each other down. When a Japanese person note (actually, a Japanese trans woman) attempted to explain her own point of view about the issue, she was called all kinds of slurs and harrassed until she had to leave Tumblr. Even after the issue was resolved in the rerelease and the game was localized it still continues.
Mentioning you prefer the English dub to the Japanese tends to cause this, though all but the most fanatical fans will at least admit both are well-made. It mostly comes down to weather or not you actually agree with the translation choices or not, given some of them are rather questionable.
Many people, even those who have not played the games all the way through, have become aware that Junko Enoshima is the mastermind behind Monokuma. Hell, there is even official promotional material that spoils this twist. In fact, don't even bother googling their name since the VERY first image results will always show them together with Monokuma.
Fukawa being Genocider Syo is another example of this.
Just try to go five minutes in Chihiro Fujisaki's tags without coming across someone bringing up/debating the Wholesome Crossdresser vs Transsexual debates, thus also bringing up The Reveal of the character and throwing it around like common knowledge.
The fact that Kirigiri's ultimate talent is Detective is not a secret among the fanbase. Even those who've never touched the game are capable of figuring it out just by looking at how she's depicted in certain fanart or fanfics. Even the opening spread of the manga more or less gives it away. Fortunately, the blow is somewhat softened by how well-telegraphed that particular twist is.
Despite it being what's supposed to be a shocking twist, the fact that Maizono is the first to die and tries to frame Naegi for murder is well known, mostly because its rather difficult to talk about Kirigiri's role otherwise.
In general, for fans, the whole plot is this. Most fans don't even care about hiding spoilers for the original, given that, if you want to get into the franchise, you're more or less expected to know the full plot, least you get hit by Late-Arrival Spoiler.
Fukawa. She's antagonistic and constantly assumes the worst of other people, but she also has abysmal self-esteem, and her Free Time events reveal that she had no friends and had extremely bad luck in love in the past. The fact that her other self is Genocider Syo doesn't help matters, either; it seems that part of the reason she pushes other people away from herself is to keep them safe from Syo.
Celes becomes this in the manga, in which their Dark and Troubled Past was revealed (because they only kept it to themself). As Celes recalled, she was once Taeko Yasuhiro, who was extremely plain and the plainness made her ostracized as an unremarkable nobody, her adopting the persona Celes and taking on every of her aspects, including the darker ones, were her only escape from such plain and suffering life. Her romanticized dream of living in a castle full of manservants makes more sense here that she came too far being the persona of 'Celes', if she lowered her standards, if she stops being Celes, she could fall into that plain life that made her suffer.
Naegi is shippable with everybody; he is most commonly shipped with Kirigiri and Togami, however.
Ishimaru counts as well, he's been paired with Oowada, Fujisaki, Celes, Kuwata, Naegi, Daiya, Ishida and more.
Magnificent Bastard: The Mastermind, if their regular Moral Event Horizon crossing doesn't turn you off of the idea (and they may be a little too unstable to truly count.) She has the cast wrapped around her finger almost from beginning to end. Even all the moments where the cast thinks they've got the leg up on her, she knows what they're doing the whole time, and it's all according to plan (when she wants to follow the plan herself, at least.) The only reason she doesn't get away with everything she's doing is because Naegi is practically hope personified, compared to Junko's status as despair personified. Even her defeat is a victory for her because it was what the whole plan was building towards the entire time.
Memetic Sex Goddess: Asahina, considering her status as Ms.Fanservice. She's also the mother of Naegi's, Hagakure's, and possibly Togami's children in the Bad Ending.
Moral Event Horizon: Though Monokuma was pretty much dancing on the MEH line, some fans loved him for it - until Chapter 4, where he publicly ordered Ogami to kill one of her friends, leading to her suicide, and then stole the suicide note, leaving a fake one for Asahina so she'd try to take the blame. Topping the trial off with the execution of Alter Ego just rubs salt in the wound.
Before every trial, Naegi delivers a ridiculously overblown soliloquy:
Naegi: And then...the curtain rose on... A trial for life, and a judgment of death... Deception in life, and treachery in death... Betrayal for life, and betrayal for death... The riddles of life, and the mystery of death... Justification for life, and rationalization of death... Faith in life, and trust in death... The Class Trial to live...or the Class Trial to die...!!
For some, the intense Tear Jerker that took place when Ishimaru almost crossed the Despair Event Horizon near the end of Chapter 2 was totally ruined by his ridiculous face. One can understand that said character is extremely expressive, but in scenes like that one such things tend to backfire badly.
Then there's the art in the manga when he's dragged away by the throat begging for his life. The angle on his face is a bit unfortunate.
Applies to the obscure manga adaptation of the anime, which, will it does include student details that the anime omitted, renders every scene this by the virtue of terrible artwork.
In the English dub, the culprits in the first two chapters shout a lot less than in the original. While one would think this would cut down on potential Narm, this leads to a scene where Mondo Owada flies into a violent rage and bludgeons someone to death while screaming that he's stronger than anyone while his voice clip declares, sounding somewhat irate, "You son of a bitch."
While Togami desecrating Fujisaki's corpse was a truly vile act - though he had his reasons - people act like he tampers with crime scenes on a regular basis, to the point where they treat it like it's his hobby.
Kirigiri inspecting Fujisaki's and Yamada's corpses without hesitation has convinced people that she has a fetish for them.
Ishimaru has only cried in the end of episode 5 and 6/Chapter 2, and in his free time events. It's not very surprising to see a lot of fanart of him in tears.
Naegi also gets a lot of flak for not being as sharp as Kirigiri, even though he's just behind Kirigiri and Togami in terms of mystery solving skill. Him not able to figure out Maizono's Dying Clue in particular gets this, even though he's Japanese and couldn't possibly read English like that, when Kirigiri, the one figures it out, is stated to of studied overseas.
One-Scene Wonder: The real Junko Enoshima only appears for a brief time, but is utterly unforgettable.
A common complaint aimed at the trials. Part of problem is that there's a lot of evidence that could get the mystery solved much, much faster than it ends up being and about half of the students main role being to say things that just waste time. The infamous conversation at the start of fifth trial where you have to convince Hagakure that Kirigiri isn't a ghost is a prime example.
As it turns out, 90% of the second trial turns out to be this, and it was actually InvokedIn-Universe. Togami witnessed the crime and knew who the culprit was all along. But he didn't come out and say it because he wanted to see who was smart enough to be a threat to him if he committed a murder of his own. Instead, he tampers with the crime scene, resulting in two Red Herring plot threads.
Paranoia Fuel: The entire premise of the game thrives on this, and Monokuma exploits it for all it's worth whenever he can.
Player Punch: If you got all of Fujisaki's Free Time conversations, you'll tell him that Oowada is the strongest. Now skip to Chapter 2's trial and feel like an asshole.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: That said, his decision to ally with the remaining students after Chapter 4 did redeem him in some people's eyes. Production materials also imply his worse behaviour is largely the remnant of his earlier role as The Rival before it eventually became an investigation partner. The Manga and Anime also tone his behaviour down a good deal, making him more likable.
Celes gets quite the flack in the comments to the Something AwfulLet's Play. Reasoning ranging from murdering two people with no regrets whatsoever and being an Anti-Climax Boss for someone deduced to be a "SHSL Gambler" (she was called uncharacteristically OOC, being too "blatant" in "covering her crimes", so not living up to her title) and on top of that, her petty, one-dimensional motivation unlike Owada (accident) and Kuwata (self-defense). However, this gets alleviated a bit since she's a Consummate Liar, and even these unsympathetic motives could be just lies she spread, for reasons we probably will never know. The manga at least gives some hints that might put a tiny bit of sympathy on her, though.
The manga segments that end each Class Trial can cross into Guide Dang It territory, since you're expected to summarize the entire murder by filling in blanks using nothing but tiny, textless thumbnails that may esoterically depict the event they're meant to represent. Even if you know exactly how the murder went down, you may screw up and lose credibility points just because a thumbnail was too vague for you to figure out. For example, chapter 4's trial features two thumbnails of Fukawa either entering or exiting a locker. Which one is which? Who knows—the clues distinguishing the two are very small. She's sweatier in one of the thumbnails. This one goes with the panels of her covered in sweat. It is worth points, so good luck!
A meta example for those who can only access the game via the Let's Play on Something Awful is the paywalls that pop up periodically on the site, preventing anyone who won't shell out ten bucks from reading the damn thing. Especially since it is completely unadvertised, so no planning ahead, there is never a schedule for how long they're supposed to last, and some have even claimed that the paywalls have increased in frequency and length ever since the popularity of the playthroughs of this game and its sequel. At least this one is on LPArchive now.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: Surprisingly averted most of the time. Despite the frequent instances of Broken Base and Fan Dumb and the fandom's penchant for Shipping, major fights over who should end up with who are relatively uncommon. This may be because romance isn't a big focus of the game, or it may be because most characters die anyway.
It's easy to feel this way about the victims of the game. In particular, one of the mid-game victims is killed shortly after seemingly taking on a fallen friend's spirit.
Some of the readers believe that Celes's motive made them too one-dimensional, but others believe that was precisely the point - the motive of the chapter was simple cash and some people in real life do murder simply for that. Their case also serves as a contrast towards the other murderers - some are sympathetic, some aren't, which some people find realistic, as not all real-life murderers can exactly be portrayed sympathetic. Fortunately, the manga gives hints or Alternate Character Interpretation on how her motivation came to be and slightly made her into a Jerkass Woobie instead. Unfortunately, the canonity of the manga isn't clear as of yet.
Unpopular Popular Character: Ishimaru. Most of the other students consider him either intimidating or irritating, its made very clear that Oowada is his Only Friend and barely anyone reacts when he's killed. Even the writers admit he was supposed to be unlikable in the main story provided one didn't read his Free Time Events. And yet, he's well loved by the fandom and scores highly in polls. Many appreciate his earnest attempts to uphold the group dynamic and keep people working together towards a common goal, while yaoi artists in particular like the copious amount of Ho Yay he has with Oowada.
The Untwist: Kirigiri's talent being revealed as Detective, which is even lampshaded by Orenronen in the LP. The proceeding twist of her being the headmaster's daughter was also not very surprising either.
Values Dissonance: Chihiro's reason for cross dressing is because he was constantly belittled for not being strong like most boys in Japan are expected to be. He tried to escape the bullying by cross dressing, because his weaknesses were viewed to be more fitting for a girl, and he was left alone. But he didn't find himself happy because all he wanted was to be acknowledged as a boy, and he believed that the only way that would happen was if he was stronger. Such an idea would go over the heads of, or even be misunderstood by, many Western fans, especially since gender roles in the West are nowhere near as strict or enforced as they are in Japan.
Fujisaki, who lacks confidence and strength to the point that it's clear that the murders are hitting her the hardest. Later, the audience finds out that she is really a boy who crossdressed as a girl in a misguided and completely desperate attempt to avoid being mocked for not being masculine, which unfortunately ended up crushing the kidís self-esteem further. Poor kid.
Asahina as well. It's hard to see such a fun and lighthearted character undergo the immense pressure of the game. She does not take Ogami's death well, and it very nearly breaks her, though she mostly recovers from it.
Ishimaru has been through so much crap it's hard to not feel bad for him. Before going to Hope's Peak, he literally had no friends and never even bothered to make them at all. But when he finally makes his first and only friend ever, he dies and Ishimaru is driven into depression. And later he gets killed after falsely being accused of rape. It gets worse once you go through his Free Time Events. His family is disgraced and in heavy debt because of the spectacular fall of his grandfather, the former prime minister, and all his life he's been saddled with the burden of redeeming their name. He wants to show that an ordinary person like him can change the world, only for him to fail horribly by the time he dies. It also doesn't help that he's The Unfavorite to almost everyone in-universe and nobody seems to care about his death as the 3rd trial was more focused on Yamada (albeit in large part because Yamada was both a victim and a culprit).
The Project Zetsubou translation turns the fujoshi pun in Touko's name to one about slashers (not the serial killers, the slash fic kind).
Despite what some fans may think, there is a reason why "Genocider Syo" was localized as "Genocide Jack" in the official English Adaptation. When Syo is first mentioned, the player is supposed to believe that they are male, mainly because "Syo" is more commonly used as a male's name in Japan. As a result, the revelation that Fukawa's split personality is Syo is more surprising. This joke, for lack of a better term, cannot work in English because most western players don't realize that "Syo" is more commonly a boy's name. So in order to preserve it, Syo was localized as Jack which not only works in tricking the player, but is also a nice homage to a real infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper.
In the English dub of the game, Celes speaks with a very obvious fake French accent in a rather monotone manner. This would catch some players off guard, especially those who played in the original language first, but if you think about Celes' real personality, it fits with her character. It's especially effective when, in Chapter 3, Celes' has her Freak Out over being accused and completely drops the accent all together, but is still constantly struggling to keep it. Her nickname is also modified into 'Celeste' for this.
The English localization has the characters refer to each other using either their first names or nicknames (Hina for Asahina, Taka for Ishimaru, etc.) It's a strange decision at first, since in Japan people usually refer to each other by their last names unless they're close friends or family, but this change was for good reason as determining one of the clues for Chapter 3's trial is entirely dependent on knowing how a certain character refers to the others. Hifumi Yamada refers to his classmates only using their last name in a formal matter in both languages, and this fact is important in determining that Yasuhiro is Celes. In English, this clue wouldn't translate very well unless the player was aware of how Japanese culture worked. So the most logical change would be having the other characters refer to each other by their first name or a nickname like they would do in English (for example, Naegi is called "Makoto", while Asahina is called "Hina"), that way Yamada's mannerisms would stand out more.
While most of the name changes to the trial mingames are largely pointless, Kokoronpa from School Mode (a pun which only works if one has a working knowledge of Japanese) was changed to Trigger Happy Heart, which works in regards to retaining the original meaning.