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Fanfic / I'd Trade My Life For Yours

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"I'll save everyone, and I'll find the mastermind. It's a promise, Saihara-kun."
Three different sacrifices are made, and three different survivors stumble out of the rubble.

I'd Trade My Life for Yours by grayimperia is a Danganronpa Alternate Universe Fic where Shuichi Saihara, the canon protagonist of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, is voted the killer of Chapter 1's trial while Kaede Akamatsu keeps the role of main lead.

Compare Three-Point Shot, in which the ringleader is discovered in the first trial, and System Restore, a Danganronpa 2 fic with a similar premise.

This fanfiction assumes the reader has completed the game. Thus, all spoilers for the actual game will be unmarked.


Tropes in I'd Trade My Life for Yours include:

  • Acquitted Too Late:
    • Kaede finally proves that Shuichi did not kill Rantaro in the fourth case.
    • After the fifth trial, in which Kokichi was executed without concrete proof that he killed Maki, the students find concrete proof that he didn't kill her: Maki is alive.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Story elements found late in the game's story get revealed early on. This includes the mastermind's hideout, the existence of Motherkuma, the weapons Miu invented for Kokichi, and Kaito's illness. Without the others slowing them down, Maki and Ryoma are able to cross through the Death Road of Despair one case earlier.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Downplayed. Half the surviving cast gets this in the fourth case, with Kaito, Maki, Ryoma, and Miu admitting an attempt on Kokichi's life, though Maki and Miu attempted to do so in canon (albeit under different circumstances).
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    • Purposely invoked when Tsumugi tricks the remaining students into thinking Kaede is the mastermind thanks to the Flashback Light she left in the dining hall.
  • A Day In The Lime Light: Chapters 31 and 32 start with the POV of Tsumugi going about the events of the story providing vague hints about her true interest in the killing game. When the actual trial takes place in Chapter 33, she takes on the role as the POV protagonist in order to advance the trial.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: This happens to Kaede and Ryoma right after receiving collateral damage from Miu's last stand.
  • Alone with the Psycho: At the start of the 6th Chapter, Tsumugi reveals herself as the mastermind to Kaede while both of them are in the latter's room alone.
  • Anger Born of Worry: When the true culprit of the fifth trial is revealed, Kaito calls them out before saying he's happy they are alive.
    Kaito: "You—you killed Maki, and you faked your own death just so you could lie and manipulate us, and-and put me through hell. And I’m never going to forgive you for any of this.”
    Kokichi: "You shouldn’t. In fact—”
    Kaito (runs up to hug them): “And I’m so fucking happy you’re alive.”
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Kaito of all people gives this to Kaede when she insists on holding a trial against Maki to execute her in Case 5.
    Kaito: Akamatsu—haven’t you killed enough people already?
  • The Artifact: The premise is that three different people survive the game. It turns out there are four survivors: Kaede, Tenko, Ryoma, and Tsumugi.
  • Assassination Attempt: Maki attempts to kill the person she thinks is the mastermind twice. She is impeded by Kaito during her attempt to kill Kokichi. She then attempts to kill Kaede after watching a Flashback Light that claims she's the mastermind, but Kaito saves Kaede.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: In the eyes of Motherkuma, the dramatic and murder themed events of the killing game are good for ratings while the pleasant and tranquil events between the students are bad for ratings.
  • Battle Couple: A platonic example. In Chapter 6, Maki and Kaito both take on Monokuma's armed forces with Maki in the open range wielding a laser bazooka and Kaito operating the purple exisal.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why Ryoma forms a bond with Gonta. Also applies to Maki and Kaito when the latter warms up to her despite Kaede's protests.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Kaito and Kokichi end up being this much to the former's chagrin. Also applies to Ryoma and Gonta.
  • Bookends: The first and final trial conclude with the same sentence: Kaede's world stops. The former is when Monokuma convicts Shuichi, and the latter is when Kaede tackles Tsumugi out of a falling boulder's path.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: In Case 5, Kaede and Kaito have an argument about whether or not they should look for the victim's body in order to start the trial. To them, it's pretty clear that Maki killed Kokichi. Kaede wants justice for Kokichi and doesn't want to risk the timer running out, while Kaito doesn't want to send Maki off to her death and would rather see what happens when the timer runs out.
  • Break the Cutie: Oh boy, now where to begin?
    • Kaede goes through this a lot in the story. Not only does she blame herself for Shuichi and Rantaro's deaths, some of the survivors have doubts over her competence as group leader and keep themselves from her at arms length.
    • Tenko is bereft not only by Himiko's death, but also because her murderer avoided exposure during the third trial.
    • While it's not obvious at first glance, Ryoma's suicidal tendencies reach new depths right after losing Gonta. It gets so bad that he offers himself to Maki as a scapegoat or accomplice if she decides to be the blackened.
  • Break Them by Talking:
    • During the fifth trial, the operator of the Exisal uses the machine's voice changer application to torment Kaede with the voices of Rantarou and Shuichi.
    • Tsumugi intends to invoke this during the 6th trial so the survivors can succumb to despair.
  • Breather Episode: After the intense and heartbreaking resolution of the fifth trial, we're treated to chapter 36 which involves vignettes of Kaede engaging in Free Time Events with the other students.
  • Cartwright Curse: Mere minutes after Miu and Keebo agree to go on a date should they escape, Keebo is found dead. It gets even sadder when Miu is revealed to be his killer.
  • Call-Back: Some of the events throughout the story are inspired by past Dangan Ronpa titles.
    • Shuichi's execution is a cruel take on Dangan Island's "Shot Through the Heart" mini-game. And unlike Kaede, he gets dragged in a fashion similar to previous first trial culprits.
    • Tsumugi makes an off-hand remark about a certain gothic lolita gambler when the group gains access to the casino.
    • One chapter has Kaede and the group hold a memorial for their dead classmates like in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair's third case. Unlike the previous title's comical scenario, this event is mostly somber and Played for Drama when people start feuding because of Angie's overbearing influence.
    • In the fourth case, Tsumugi mentions how things would have been worse if the group was left to starve in the virtual world.
    • The execution in the fifth trial is an exact homage to Celestia's Burning of the Versailes Witch execution. Kaito rushing towards Kokichi in a (failed) attempt to save him is similar to how Fuyuhiko tried to reach out to Peko during her execution.
  • Chained Heat: Kokichi handcuffs himself to Kaede as part of his blackout scheme. The reasons he does this is to guide Kaede across the school to provide clues that will be crucial in solving Gonta's murder while also keeping an eye on her to see if she would take advantage of the situation and try to murder again.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The drone Miu took back from Kokichi inspires her to replicate Kaede's death trap in the virtual world. While the trap worked, it ended up killing someone other than her intended target.
    • One of the purple Exisals is used as a hiding spot for Maki after pulling off a Fakingthe Dead gambit with Kokichi.
  • Compliment Backfire: At the aftermath of the fourth trial, while discussing the rule of only two people being allowed to leave the Gifted Inmates Academy, Ryoma and Kaede earnestly claim that Tenko deserves to be one of the two to survive for her diligence and good heart. Tenko detests the idea as it would mean everyone else would have to die just so she can live.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: As is the standard for any Danganronpa story, the executions are both cruel and ironic.
  • Cruel Mercy: At the end of the story, Kaede saves Tsumugi's life to avoid giving her any satisfaction of dying for Danganronpa.
  • Dead Man Writing: In chapter 37, Kaito and Kaede read a letter with messages from both Maki and Kokichi saying their final words to Kaito before pulling off their Thanatos Gambit in Case 5. Though this becomes partially subverted on Maki's part when it's revealed that she was alive all along.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Rantaro appears in one during several chapters. This segment was inspired by another fanfic called System Restore.
  • Deal with the Devil: Tsumugi convinces Kaede to hold off from exposing her as the mastermind early on in exchange for more clues about the Killing Game.
  • Death by Adaptation: "Three different sacrifices will be made." The survivors of the original game die.
    • Shuichi, The Protagonist of V3, is killed off in the story's first case.
    • Himiko is killed by the mastermind during the third investigation.
    • Maki ends on the verge of death after sustaining multiple injuries from Monokuma during her gambit to ruin the Killing Game in chapter 38.
    • Zigzagged with Kiibo - he is murdered in the fourth chapter, but his AI is saved by Miu's meddling. He later pulls off the same Heroic Sacrifice at the end to help the survivors escape.
    • Though they also die in canon, Korekiyo and Gonta die one case earlier than they did in the original, and Gonta is a victim rather than a culprit.
  • Debate and Switch: At the start of the story, Kaede decides to find the mastermind so she can kill them for trapping them in the killing game and torturing them for their amusement. Her friends with more clearer values such as Kaito and Tenko are unsure as to whether killing them would be the right course of action, especially if they were a fellow student. During the 6th trial, this is brought up again when Tsumugi is revealed as the mastermind. While her friend Tenko is shocked that she would be willing to kill her, Kaede insists that it's the only way to ensure that her crimes do not go unpunished.
  • Despair Event Horizon: This happens in the fourth trial when Ryoma and Maki reveal to everyone that the outside world is no more. Everyone is in despair over whether their actions and the deaths of their friends were meaningless and if it would be better to purposefully vote wrong in order to end their suffering. Fortunately, Kaede is able to snap them all out of it.
  • Destroy the Evidence: The mastermind destroyed one of the microscopes in Gonta's lab to prevent anyone from learning the existence of the Nanokumas.
  • Disney Death: The end of the last trial is marked by the sentence "Kaede's world stops." It implies that she was crushed by the boulder that she tried to save Tsumugi from, but Kiibo saved them both.
  • Dramatic Irony: During the fourth trial, after the group realizes that four people tried to kill him, Kokichi openly claims that he, Tenko and Tsumugi are the only ones who have not tried to or have already murdered someone.
  • Duel to the Death: Korekiyo and Kirumi agree to do this to each other in order to win the killing game. The winner ends up being Korekiyo who then places Tenko's motive video to frame her.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The end of the fifth trial reveals that Maki and Kokichi, infamous among their peers for their antagonistic relationship, ended up working together in order to create an unsolvable murder that would ruin the credibility of the mastermind. They were even willing to give up their own lives in order to make it work.
    • At the end of chapter 37, Kaede willing puts aside her negative feelings for Maki in order to help her carry out her plan to strike back against the mastermind. Maki accepts her help without question.
  • Epic Fail: Due to ineptitude and lack of foresight, Miu's murder plan easily unravels.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Kaede learns while discussing with Kokichi that his analytical paranoia gives him reason to believe that anyone among the group has potential to be the mastermind.
    Kokichi (referring to Kaito): "Picture this: terminal illness patient wants to be a hero before their death and sets up a killing game where everyone will love them as one last hurrah! What do you think?"
    Kaede: "That's horrible!"
    Kokichi: "So it is, but what about this—you’re the mastermind, and to throw everyone off your tracks, you befriend one of your victims and then act super heart broken over their untimely death to garner sympathy."
    Kaede: "Tenko-san? She’s your pick for mastermind?
    Kokichi: "No. But that’s how she’d do it. Hoshi-chan’s pretty similar—though with a hardcore case of faking depression thrown in—Shirogane-chan would just be a girl too boring to be the mastermind hiding in ‘plain’ sight, and Harukawa-chan who’s so obviously violent and unstable that you assume she isn’t the mastermind to the point where it’s a twist when she is."
    Kaede: "You. You are… really fucking paranoid. You suspect everyone?"
    Kokichi: "“Just everyone who I don’t have proof isn’t the mastermind, so to answer your question, no I don’t really trust Momota-chan."
  • Fanservice: Following Kaito's declaration to form an anti-cult group dedicated to 'manly bonding', Miu becomes ecstatic to see what type of activities they'll engage in behind closed doors. To her displeasure, none of the boys end up revealing much skin during their bonding as per tradition of Danganronpa fanservice scenes as many of them are properly clothed. The only one who shows any skin would be a shirtless Kaito.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • A physical example occurs in chapter 32 between Kaede and Kaito.
    • Happens again near the end of chapter 40 as Tenko refuses to go through with Kaede's desire to execute Tsumugi.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: A lot of the hints Kokichi hands out to Kaede require her to think them through before using them to aid her arguments.
  • First-Name Basis: Thanks to Kaito and Tenko's emotional support, Kaede is comfortable enough to call them by their first names. They in turn refer to her by her first name. Unfortunately, Kaito goes back to using her surname after their falling out in chapter 32 while the following chapter has him referring to Maki and Kokichi, both of whom he had come close with, by their first names. Once he and Kaede talk things out in Case 6, he uses her first name again.
  • Flat "What": Tsumugi says this when Tenko asks which killing game Rantaro participated in at the end of Chapter 33.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • The premise of this fanfiction is that the original survivors die in place of three others.
    • While the events for each case are different this time around, they still hinge on the same motives provided by Monokuma in the main game.
    • A death was bound to happen right after Kirumi saw her own motive video. She just didn't expect her own demise to occur afterwards.
  • Foreshadowing: There have been multiple hints throughout the story that foreshadow Tsumugi being the mastermind of the killing game.
    • In the memorial service that is held during Chapter 3, she is the first one who brings up how they mustn't give up hope and should not fall into despair.
    • During the 3rd trial, she asks how it was possible for Himiko to create the blackout and gain access to the mastermind's secret room. Most likely to ensure how it was done to avoid letting it happen a second time.
    • In chapters 31-33, the POV is given to her where she goes about her day and provides vague details about her interest in the killing game. Then when Kaede walks out of the investigation, she becomes the new POV protagonist as she searches for clues for Kokichi's murder. This even extends to the 5th trial where she guides the discussions and prods the other students for information as a way to get as much drama as possible.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Averted with Kokichi who neither forgives nor forgets Kaede's murder attempt, though it doesn't stop him from giving her a hand for his own ends.
  • Frame-Up:
    • Tenko's motive video was placed on Kirumi's corpse to pin the blame on her.
    • Kokichi purposely puts himself on the chopping block during the third trial to guide Kaede to the true culprit.
    • The mastermind paints Kaede as the mastermind in order to keep the game going.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Tenko does not take The Reveal of the killing games very well and begins to panic over the grim implications. She manages to regain herself but the revelation still shook her to her core.
  • Good Is Boring: Motherkuma discusses with Tsumugi how the peaceful Free Time Events between the students aren't worth being aired; the footage is instantly deleted without a care.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Angie puts on a smile even after being covered in blistering hot wax during her execution.
    • Also applies to Kokichi during his execution; he is particularly touched to see Kaito try and reach out to him during the ordeal.
  • Gone Horribly Right: To Miu's self-horror, the trap she devised to kill Kokichi ended up working... on Keebo of all people.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: Tsumugi brings this up after revealing herself as Himiko's killer to Tenko. She ponders with amusement as to how the aiikido master was able to restrain herself during this revelation as she expected Tenko to throw her across the room like in the past. This is eventually used against her in the next chapter when Kaede and the others taunt Tsumugi by saying that they've grown beyond their written characterizations.
  • Heroic BSoD: Almost everyone has this reaction when they learn of the outside world's ruined state.
  • High-School Dance: During the events of Case 2, Miu improved an outer space projector turning it into a sound system resulting in a dance party for the students.
  • Inferred Holocaust: In-Universe. During the 6th trial, after learning that there have been 53 killing games total, Ryoma estimates that more than 500 people have died participating.
  • In Medias Res: The story starts off right in the middle of the first class trial with Shuichi contradicting Kaede's lie to prevent her death.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Angie establishes the student council in spite of Kaede's leadership saving their lives in the second trial.
  • Insane Troll Logic: One of Kokichi's "reasons" for distrusting Kaede is because she wears pink, the color of lies.
  • Insult Backfire: Both Kaede and Kokichi have done this to Maki on separate occasions much to her annoyance.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Aside from her own self-loathing over what happened to Shuichi, Kaede blames herself for inspiring the fourth culprit to commit murder in the simulation world. Ryoma also feels this way about himself when Gonta is killed in his place.
    • Miu gets this upon realizing her trap unintentionally killed Keebo instead of Kokichi.
  • It's Personal: This happens to Ryoma when the killing game claims Gonta as its third victim. He even coldly silences Kaede when the latter tries to empathize with him.
  • Jack the Ripoff: The Rube Goldberg death trap that killed Rantaro is the inspiration for the death trap that kills Keebo.
  • Japanese Honorifics: Since this fanfic was written before the game's overseas release, the whole cast refer to each other with honorifics to match the Japanese version.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Kaede sometimes feels this way whenever she has to obscure certain facts, such as the location of the mastermind's hideout, or lie about them in trials.
  • Killed Offscreen: Failing to attend the final trial is punishable by death, so Maki and Kaito are presumed to have been executed by Monokuma.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The entire story as well as comments from the readers spoil a lot of content taken from the game.
  • Lotsa People Try to Dun It: This happens in the fourth case. Kokichi becomes the target of no less than four different people.
  • Love Hurts: Maki lampshades this when Kaito of all people brings up the issue of falling in love during a killing game.
    Maki Harukawa: "Akamatsu liked Saihara, and Chabashira liked Yumeno, and Hoshi liked Gokuhara... and half of those people are dead."
  • Many Spirits Inside of One: For the fifth trial's Theory Armament portion, the exisal takes on the voices of all the deceased students as they each take critical shots towards the futility of the killing game and how it only serves to entertain the audiences.
  • Miscarriage of Justice:
    • Shuichi was wrongfully executed at the end of the first case. Unlike the canon case, he knew he was entirely innocent.
    • At the end of the fifth case, nobody can prove whether Kokichi killed Maki or it was a suicide. Monokuma executes Kokichi anyway. Maki turns out to be alive.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Because of Kokichi's antics, four people (Maki, Kaito, Miu, and Ryoma) try to kill him during the group's stay in the virtual world.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kaede becomes more horrified upon realizing she may have given Kaito the idea to murder Kokichi.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The second trial ends with all but one vote cast for the killer and one vote cast for the protagonist, just like in Danganronpa V3.note 
    • Korekiyo being Kirumi's killer should have been obvious from the start to seasoned players as her fatal injury was a slash to the neck. In the game, both his original victims died from similar wounds.
    • The usage of gold glitter as a clue to pinpoint Angie as Gonta's killer was inspired from the original game's investigation for the third murder.
    • After revealing themselves as the true culprit of the fifth trial, Kokichi mentions that he initially planned to fool everyone by calling himself the mastermind in order to halt the Killing Game. But he decided against it since there were too many variables that could result in the plan falling apart.
  • Neck Lift: Like with Kokichi in the main game, Kaede is on the receiving end of this from Maki for attempting to reveal her true identity to everyone. Fortunately, she is saved by Tenko and the other students.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: Even when Kokichi does a lot of shady things that lead up to the third trial, he is clearly not the suspect behind Gonta and Himiko's deaths.
  • Never Trust a Title: The title for Chapter 31 is The Fifth Body Is Known as Tenko's body is found near the end of the chapter. Fortunately, unlike the other cases where the bodies were corpses, Tenko is revealed to be alive and was only unconcious.
  • Odd Friendship: Gonta starts one with Ryoma to cheer him up.
  • Oh, Crap!: A few characters usually get this when things are tense.
    • Miu has this reaction when she realizes the mastermind was aware of her and Kaede stumbling unto their secret lair. She gets another one when unceremoniously dragged to her execution.
    • Kaito realizing that Kokichi pickpocketed Miu's robot-hijacking remote from him.
    • Tsumugi has this reaction in chapter 36 when Korekiyo comments on how she, Kaede and Kirumi would make wonderful friends for his sister.
  • Painting the Medium: The trial chapters contain segmented conversations meant to simulate the debate discussions featured in the original game.
  • Pair the Spares: The reason Kokichi constantly 'flirts' with Kaito is because all the other boys are either dead, together, or uninteresting to him.
    Kokichi: "See, Kiiboy, is just a useless robot, and Gonta and Hoshi-chan only like each other, so that just leaves you!"
    Miu:"So you only wanna bone him by default?"
  • Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye: Kokichi gives one of these to Kaito before going off to be executed. He hugs the astronaut to help calm him down while also saying some parting words to him and the other survivors.
    • In chapter 38, Kaito says his final goodbyes to his friends as he decides to stay alongside the critically wounded Maki while they go to the final trial, knowing fully well the consequences of what will happen to them for not being able to attend the trial.
  • Reality Ensues: By the penultimate chapter, Kaito's illness has worsened to the point where the group has to take breaks while exploring alongside him.
  • Recurring Element: A common theme for each case is that Tenko has always been one of the first three people to discover a corpse.
    Tenko: “Tenko would… really like to stop discovering her friends’ bodies…”
  • Sadistic Choice: Maki presents this to Kaito as part of her Assassination Attempt on Kaede. She first shoots both her and Kokichi with poison covered arrows that will slowly kill them if left untreated. She then informs him that there's an antidote in Shuichi's lab but he can only take either Kokichi or Kaede with him, leaving the other in her mercy and also keeping him out of her way. Thanks to Kokichi, Kaito ends up taking Kaede with him.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: During the final trial, Tsumugi reveals that one of the three survivors will end up returning for a future killing game. Ryoma and Tenko fight over wanting to sacrifice themselves so the others can leave. Kaede points out how futile it is since it's only giving Tsumugi and the audience what they want.
  • Shipper on Deck: Tsumugi seems intent on shipping Kaito together with Maki and Kaede to form a Love Triangle, most likely for the sake of ratings.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The burning arrow at the end of Shuichi's execution was "inspired by a certain spoiler-y death from RWBY".
    • After the class gains access to Maki's lab, Tsumugi references Persona 3 when Kokichi plays with one of the gun props.
    • Fruits Basket is also referenced during the fourth trial.
    • Tsumugi says the iconic 'OBJECTION' line from Ace Attorney while filling in as the POV Protagonist during the fifth trial.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Miu gives a rather epic one to Kokichi for trivializing Keebo's death.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: One of the main themes of the story.
  • The Sociopath: Pregame Kaede is revealed as this when her audition tape is shown. Along with her having no faith in humanity, she openly admits that she loves the social aspect of the killing games and how fun it is to manipulate people without their knowing. She claims that it wouldn't take long for her to betray someone to make the game more exciting.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Kaede, Tenko, Ryoma, and Tsumugi are the survivors who stumble out of the rubble.
  • Spot the Imposter: During the fifth trial, everyone believes that Kiibo was operating the exisal and was impersonating as Maki to fool everyone. But they realize something is wrong once the real Kiibo awakens from his tablet and the Kiibo riding the exisal refuses to give up his impersonation.
  • Spotting the Thread: Unlike in canon, Tsumugi's inability to cosplay as real people is brought up during the final trial. Kaede remembers this and uses it to tear down Tsumugi's belief that all of them are fictional and not real people.
  • Start My Own: When Angie created her student council, Kaito retaliated by recruiting all the boys who haven't been converted, along with Tsumugi, to form their own group and engage in 'manly bonding'.
  • Swapped Roles: In the fifth trial of the canon game, Maki made every effort to convince everyone to vote for her as Kokichi's killer in order to protect Kaito, the real culprit, who was hiding in an exisal. In the fifth trial for the story, Maki is the one inside the exisal while Kaito is outside trying to convince everyone that he was the one who killed Kokichi in order to protect her. This eventually extends to include Kokichi. Kaito takes on Maki's original role as he tries desperately to save her even if it means throwing everyone off. Maki takes on Kokichi's role by creating an elaborate scheme to expose the killing game as a farce while also supposedly killing herself via hydraulic press in order for the plan to work. And Kokichi takes on Kaito's role by going through with Maki's plan and operating the exisal during the fifth trial. He even willingly goes through with his execution without a trace of fear.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kaito gives a vicious one to Kaede after being fed up with her insistence on wanting Maki executed for the sake of revenge in chapter 32.
    Kaito: "You know what, Akamatsu—I guess I did make a mistake with Maki, but I also made a mistake with you. You’re the pettiest, most hypocritical, most vindictive person I have ever fucking met. And—and. And I guess I made a mistake listening to Ouma last night, too.''
    • However, Kaede gives one in return in the next chapter, calling out his hypocrisy.
    Kaede: "You keep going on, and on, lying and lying. And maybe you’re telling the truth now, or maybe you were telling it earlier, but either way that means that at some point during this trial, you were—or maybe still are—willing to let everyone die!”
  • The Starscream: Monodam does this to his own father during Angie's execution. Monokuma in turn retaliates by killing all three of his remaining cubs during Miu's execution.
  • The Stations of the Canon: The motives given by Monokuma are left unchanged, though the circumstances for each one vary greatly from the game, resulting in different murders and tricks.
  • They Know Too Much: The reason the mastermind targets Himiko, Gonta and Ryoma during the third case. Himiko managed to find the mastermind's secret base which resulted in them killing the young mage in cold blood. And in chapter 29, Ryoma discusses how he and Gonta discovered the Nanokumas and how they were being videotaped. Not wanting to have this secret revealed to the others, the mastermind sets them up as potential targets for Angie.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Kaede, Tenko, and Ryoma feel this way about the people they care for getting killed.
  • ¡Three Amigos!:
    • Kaede forms this with Kaito and Tenko in the beginning chapters with much of the storyline focusing on them and their efforts to stop the Killing Game together.
    • From Chapter 5 onwards, Kaito becomes less involved with the main girls and spends more time with Maki and Kokichi, forming their own unofficial trio.
    • Likewise, Ryoma unintentionally replaces the astronaut in the main trio. This is further cemented when he, Kaede and Tenko end up as the sole survivors in the 6th trial barring the mastermind Tsumugi.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Tsumugi invokes this when Keebo gets murdered in the virtual world.
  • Title Drop: Monokuma mockingly does this when Kaede confronts him for picking Shuichi as the blackened.
  • Together in Death: At the end of chapter 37, Maki is left in critical condition after receiving devastating blows from Monokuma's assault. The bear then declares that a final trial will be held and anyone who doesn't attend will be killed, giving him the perfect opportunity to kill her. Wanting to stay by her side and realizing that he doesn't have long to live, Kaito decides to stay behind with her so she won't be alone.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: What Angie thought Ryoma was being by defying her attempt to rule over the students' lives. This leads her to plan his murder so she can hide his body and avoid a class trial while keeping her followers under control at the same time. Unfortunately, she didn't expect Gonta to appear instead.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Shuichi's hat is this for Kaede who always wears it to remind herself of him. During the 6th trial, Kaede reveals that she wore the hat not because she had any intimate feelings for the detective but to punish herself for allowing two innocent people to die because of her mistake.
  • The Un Twist: For many fans, the reveal that Tsumugi was the mastermind. This also applies to the survivors during the 6th trial. Kaede knew it was her since Tsumugi revealed her true colors in private at the start of the 6th Chapter, Tenko learned of this from Keebo while helping him set up the broadcast, and Ryoma knew based on deductive reasoning.
  • Visions of Another Self: The beginning scene of Chapter 6 features a vague narration by Kaede before she become involved in the Killing Game.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Kaito and Tenko form this once the latter becomes friends with Kaede. The reason for their fighting mainly comes from Tenko's uneasiness with Kaito, an awful boy, being so close with Kaede. Despite her early mistrust, Kaito does his best to tolerate her accusations while also showing willingness to tease her when the occasion arises.
  • Was It All a Lie?:
    • How Tenko reacts when she learns that Ryoma was willing to kill even if it meant dishonoring Gonta's memory.
    • Kaito has a similar reaction during the fifth trial when Maki admits to killing Kokichi even though she promised Kaito that she wouldn't kill anyone.
  • We Have Reserves: After revealing herself as the mastermind to Kaede, Tsumugi casually claims that any of them, including herself, can be replaced during the killing game if necessary. This renders the possibility of Kaede killing Tsumugi to end the game as pointless.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The third case has Himiko's killer go unpunished much to Tenko's grief. This was intentionally done to stir up paranoia within the group and cause them to turn on Kokichi.
    • The fourth trial ends with Kaede and Ryoma wounded from gunfire caused by Miu resisting the Exisals. Fortunately, they get better by the next case.
    • During the halfway point of the fifth case, Maki shoots Kaede and Kokichi with poisoned arrows after being tricked by the Flashback Light the mastermind had set up.
    • Near the end of chapter 37, Maki is revealed to be alive and rallies the survivors to help her in officially ending all killing games. Keebo is also revealed to have completed his hijack over the school system to help in delivering her message to the viewing audience.
  • Wham Line: Tenko delivers this line during the fifth trial, completely changing the direction of the discussion.
    Tenko:: "Tenko isn’t sure about that, and she also knows she wasn’t there for the Flashback Light, so maybe she’s just confused, but which killing game was Amami-san in?"
    • Then in chapter 37, we get these two lines from Maki during her assault on Monokuma.
    Maki: "Find cover. This place is about to become a war zone."
    Maki: "To put is simply, we show the audience exactly how much the mastermind’s game has failed. We’re going to contact them directly and tell them this killing game—every killing game—is over.”
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Maki understandably calls out Kaede for defending Korekiyo when he's revealed to be Kirumi's killer. Likewise, Kaede feuds with Kaito for defending Maki after her secret identity has been exposed.
    • Kaito gives a short but big one to Maki and Kokichi when both of them fight for Miu's remote after her execution.
    Kaito: "The hell is the matter with you!? Iruma was just killed seconds ago, and you're fucking arguing over her stuff!? While you're literally holding Kiibo who watched her fucking die!?"
    • Kaito ends up on the receiving end in Case 5 when he openly declares that he'll kill himself if any of his friends ends up dying from their final stand against Monokuma. Maki is quick to call him out on his stupidity and carelessness.
  • Yandere: Maki is implied to be this in Chapter 33 when the others assume that she must have tortured and killed Kokichi along with wanting to be voted as the culprit because of her affection for Kaito. Tsumugi admits that she finds the trope to be bad and lazy.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: How Kaede reacts whenever Kokichi praises her lying skills.

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