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Fan Fic / The Lion's Den

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After surviving the killing school life, Makoto Naegi and the other survivors venture into the despair-filled world and do their best to survive. It's a struggle, but it works until a complete stranger shows up and kidnaps Naegi.

Turns out that the broadcast was watched very closely by Nagito Komaeda, who, upon realizing just how dangerous the world is to the new Hope, decided to take Naegi in, keep him safe, and help him become the very best Hope he can be! What follows is very painful psychological horror as Naegi tries to stay sane and escape the grip of Ultimate Despair.


Arcawolf's The Lion's Den can be read here. or here. The ongoing sequel, From the Ashes, can be found here

Warning: The Lion's Den draws material from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, and Danganronpa 3, and all spoilers for those will be unmarked.

The Lion's Den contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The psychological version is a discussed trope. Naegi doesn't notice Komaeda's affection for him, but the rest of Ultimate Despair do and they disapprove. Surprisingly, Naegi himself becomes one to Komaeda after the latter's heel realization.
  • Affably Evil: Komaeda. Ultimate Despair as a whole could count, but only toward Naegi.
  • All for Nothing: Naegi's escape arc seems to be this as he ends up back in Ultimate Despair's custody, only this time his allies are dead. However, it turns out that Naegi's escape allowed Kirigiri to obtain the information she needed to rescue him.
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  • After the End: The story takes place after the Tragedy when Ultimate Despair is ruling the world.
  • Alone with the Psycho
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Chapters 100 through 104 cover Kamukura's perspective, starting with his birth.
  • Berserk Button: Naegi triggers Komaeda's rather early on, although how and why it's a Berserk Button isn't revealed until much later.
    • Kamukura's backstory revealed that a well-intentioned Komaeda burned his mementos of Nanami. He's still bitter about it by the time The Lion's Den starts.
  • Body Horror: As in canon, several characters cut themselves up and sew Enoshima's body parts to themselves.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Naegi is saved, Ultimate Despair as a organization is completely destroyed with most of their soldiers surrendering. The 77th class is captured and taken to Jabberwock Island by Class 78 and Kamukura to cure them of despair and Komaeda also taken the first step to redepmtion. But Naegi is still broken by what he went through, and Yukizome and Monoka are still at large.
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  • Break the Cutie
  • Brick Joke: Komaeda's snare trap.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Kamukura shows Naegi an anti-brainwashing video that a few chapters later, protects him from the brainwashing Despair Video. Much later in the story, it also protects him from Mitarai's Hope Video.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several.
    • The laptop Komaeda uses to let Naegi talk with Komaru is later used by Naegi to send Komaru's address to the Future Foundation.
    • Tsumiki's public medical show is used by Naegi to broadcast himself to the world.
    • Komaeda forces Naegi to read out Hope Eulogies every night, which causes him to forcefully develop the charisma to give convincing speeches on things he doesn't believe. This skill is used to devastating effect at Enoshima's funeral.
    • Both Alter Ego's ability to mimic his classmates' voices and Naegi's Kuzuryuu mask are absolutely essential to his successful escape.
  • Darkest Hour: Occurs when Naegi fall into despair.
  • Deprogram: Naegi tries to do this to Ultimate Despair and succeeds for some. Kirigiri plans to do this to Naegi once he gets free.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Members of Ultimate Despair have passed this, and Naegi's come close.
    • As of chapter 98, Naegi has crossed this.
  • Despair Speech: Naegi has an internal one before he falls into despair.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Alter Ego appears after hijacking a Monokuma robot.
    • Naegi pulls off his third escape attempt successfully by disguising himself as Kuzuryuu.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • The Chessmaster and I Work Alone. Kamukura's insistence on working alone and manipulating events from the shadows means that Naegi misinterprets his goal and grows to distrust him, something that help pushes him into despair. It also means he tends to be blindsided when people act on "illogical" hope or despair, as seen in the events leading up to Nanami's death.
    • Hope Bringer and Living Macguffin: Naegi's status as the Ultimate Hope means that aside from his classmates, his sister and Iwata, no one truly see him as a person: the Future Foundation and common people see him as symbol of hope, the Remnants see him as Junko's son and heir, Kamukura sees him as the way to cure despair, and Komaeda sees as a metaphorical punching bag. Even Naegi himself falls into this trap, as he slowly loses his individuality to the point where he believe he is Hope itself.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Naegi has this reaction when Kamukura sabotage his near-escape.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Nanami doesn't survive Kamukura's backstory. Neither does Kamukura and Komaeda's friendship.
  • Gaslighting
  • Gilded Cage
  • Heart is an Awesome Power: Naegi in a nutshell.
  • Heroic BSoD: Happens to Naegi a few times.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Alter Ego, after infiltrating Ultimate Despair's base, manages to avoid detection by... doing nothing. He's taken over the body of a Monokuma, so nobody looks twice at him.
  • I Choose to Stay: A negative version of this; eventually, after several escape attempts, Naegi decides to stay with Ultimate Despair not because he wants to help stop them, but because he himself has fallen into despair.
  • I Have Your Wife: Komaru attempts to force Ultimate Despair to return her brother by holding Enoshima's AI hostage. Ultimate Despair chooses to sacrifice Enoshima for Naegi.
  • If I Can't Have You...: A variation of this happens in chapter 23.
  • Interface Spoiler: Newer readers will likely guess that Naegi's story doesn't stop at Chapter 99 due to the amount of chapters yet.
  • The Kindnapper: Komaeda. Or so it seems.
  • Lima Syndrome: Ultimate Despair grow to genuinely adore Naegi and they do their best to pamper him... But they have no intention to let him escape their clutches.
  • Not Me This Time: Ultimate Despair has a tendency to blame Komaeda when things go wrong, leading to confusion when Komaeda isn't behind it.
  • Not So Different: It turns out The Future Foundation are not the people Naegi thought they would be.
  • Nothing is the Same Anymore: As the effects captivity has had on Naegi become more prominent, it becomes clearer that he's not going to leave without a few scars.
    • Early on, after Ultimate Despair as a whole decides to take Naegi in.
    • Later on, when Ultimate Despair is willing to let Shirokuma die rather than hand Naegi over.
    • When Tsumiki reveals she's been cured of despair.
    • After The Reveal.
    • When Naegi finally falls into despair.
  • Only Sane Man: Naegi and to an extent, Kamukura appear to be this at the beginning. Naegi is definitely not this by the end.
  • The Reveal: Chapter 80. Komaeda didn't kidnap Naegi because he wants to help Naegi be a better Hope. He did it because, after a lifetime of losing everyone he cares about and after seeing how easily Naegi forgave in the killing game, he believed that Naegi would be the one person able to love him without being hurt by the cycle of good and bad luck that's defined his life. Furthermore, because he spent years seeing Naegi relatively unharmed by his luck while he struggled and believes that all his suffering has lead to this one person that will stay with him, he feels justified in taking out all of his pain on Naegi and making Naegi as dependent on him as he is on Naegi. What makes this so surprising is that it actually works, not because Naegi's good luck protects him, but because his bad luck is so terrible that it cancels out Komaeda's luck just so that he'll believe it worked and continue torturing Naegi. Nobody saw it coming.
  • The Rival: Kuzuryuu begins to see Naegi as this as Naegi's hope and optimism starts to impact Ultimate Despair.
  • Sanity Slippage
  • Sacrificial Lion: Kuma and Iwata.
  • Stockholm Syndrome
  • Stop or I Shoot Myself: Naegi.
  • Tragic Dream: Naegi's hope of escape gradually become this.
  • 2 + Torture = 5: Komaeda slowly accomplishes this as Naegi starts to accept his world view.
  • Unwanted Rescue: The start of the story, when Komaeda "saves" Naegi from the outside world.
    • Naegi's first escape attempt fails when Ultimate Despair finds him and rescues him again.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Komaeda has a massive one after Kamukura gives him a verbal beatdown.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Ultimate Despair, especially Komaeda and Kuzuryu, sometimes blame Naegi for the awful things they do to him.

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