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Fanfic / Transformers: Despair

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"You all are the hope of the future generations. How will people react when they start killing each other?"

The story of a war that was waged eons ago between the two factions Autobots and Decepticons has ended, with the death of the infamous Decepticon leader Megatron. This time, his death is true and definite. The Decepticons are forced to negotiate and as a result they found themselves with a way to integrate back to society. With this, peace has finally come to Cybertron, a shaky truce between the two factions plus the Neutrals leads to the reconstruction of the fallen planet, for 75 years things are pretty much returned to normal, the progress seemed much better than the three factions thought.


Then one day the letter came. An invitation for certain members of both Autobots and Decepticons that played a huge part during the war, to become teachers at Hope’s Peak Academy, where they are the best of the best in their own field which are given the title of “Ultimates”, to mentor new students that emerged from the war and ready to bring hopes to the next generations to come with their extraordinary talents, with the students are given a “Super” title.

But things took a turn when they arrive and take a step forward to the newly established academy at Iacon, they lost consciousness and wakes up inside, trapped inside the walls of the academy with sealed and bolted windows and exits. Those Autobots and Decepticons, thirty in total (14 Autobots and 16 Decepticons), encounters Monobear, a sadistic robot teddy bear that tells them to live within the academy forever or attempt to escape by “graduating”.


“Graduating” is done by killing another teacher and getting away with it. When a murder happens, the rest of the teachers must find clues in hopes to lead for the culprit, and then participates in a mandatory class trial, investigate the case and vote who they think the killer is. When the vote is correct, the culprit is brutally executed for their crime and the rest continues on with their lives trapped. If not, the culprit “graduates” and free to go outside while everyone else will all be killed instead. Although, the malicious bear implies that this is not his first rodeo…

Transformers: Despair is a Transformers and Danganronpa Fusion Fic written by Epicenter. The story takes place in the setting of the former while the overall concept comes from the latter.

It can be read on Archive of Our Own here. It can also be read on here.


Beware of spoilers.

Transformers: Despair provides examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: Hope’s Peak Academy certainly qualifies as this, with the one in Cybertron have many futuristic areas that makes the Hope’s Peak Academy on Earth looks tame in comparison. Too bad the adventure inside was far from fun.
  • After the End: Had occurred already in the past with Cybertron becoming a nearly unlivable wasteland wrecked by war. The past 75 years have involved the Cybertronians trying to pick up the pieces and return Cybertron to its once wondrous state.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Every chapter focuses on specific characters from both factions. Usually around the ones that are affected by the motives the most.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: This is used by Laserbeak in Chapter 1 to get from AV room on the fifth down to the Groundbridge Room on the first floor so that Soundwave can freely move about, since Soundwave himself can’t fit inside the vents.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Every time you violate any rule, commit any murder whether because of the motive or accidentally, all of it will be punished according to Monobear.
  • All for Nothing: Everyone who commits murder will get caught at the class trial, so any reasons to escape will be pointless anyway.
  • All There in the Manual: The cast's status and what they were doing during the last 75 years before coming to the academy are written on the character page.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Player Character in each class trial is different depending on various reasons.
    • Chapter 1: Nightbeat (because he’s the Ultimate Detective and the only one who is skilled enough to stir the first class trial, which none of the cast had ever been in one, to the proper direction).
    • Chapter 2: Onslaught (a personal one due to the fact that one of his men is murdered and Nightbeat is unable to help much due to his broken voice modulator caused by the current motive).
    • Chapter 3: Nightbeat (for similar reasons as Chapter 1).
    • Chapter 4: Smokescreen (he’s the only one other than Hoist that knew the murder scene the most, as well as because Nightbeat died).
    • Chapter 5: Ratchet (he must find the truth of who planted the bomb that resulted in Blast Off’s death, also he’s the only one who can take care for the patients who are almost become murder victims).
  • Anyone Can Die: Played very straight. The deaths of Shockwave and Soundwave should be proof enough.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted with anyone who are caught by the impact of the bomb in Chapter 5, especially Blast Off and Knock Out.
  • Big Bad: Monobear, in spades.
    • Discussed often during (Ab)Normal days, especially in Chapter 5, where Hoist and Onslaught found Nightbeat’s datapad containing possibilities of who the mastermind is.
  • Bizarrchitecture: All the windows are bolted with huge steel plates, from classes to dorm rooms. The clashing colors between the floors, walls and lights don’t help minimalize the strangeness at all.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Almost everyone has questionable morals and things to feel guilty about, due to all of them being involved in the war. Still, they are all more moral than the Big Bad, Monobear.
  • Black Blood: Neon blue, which is the natural color of energon, the lifeblood of Cybertronians.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Knock Out seems to like pulling these types of jokes sometimes, much to the irritation for those around him.
    • The executions in general. Although it’s severely downplayed because they displayed more brutality than comedy.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • For starters, instead of the usual 16 students, it nearly doubles it to 30 teachers.
    • Instead of telling the story through a single perspective, it's in a third-person perspective.
    • The head detective switches every chapter.
    • The culprit in Chapter 3 actually has a very sympathetic motive, in contrast to the culprits of the third trial of the games usually being done for completely unsympathetic motives.
    • A double murder happens in Chapter 4 instead of Chapter 3.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A few of the people selected to be teachers are deciding off-kilter.
  • Call-Back:
    • The third murder case revolves around the victim whose identity is not what it seems to be, along with an antagonist that decides to desecrate the body just for fun and to make the case more interesting to them. It also includes someone that loves another who just so happens to be the culprit. Danganronpa 1 case 2, anyone?
  • Cast of Snowflakes: As always, each character differentiates from one another, regardless of what faction they’re on side with.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: So far, two characters died in each chapter.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The acid Mixmaster created in Chapter 1 that was meant to melt and open a locked door. When it is made clear that he can't use it since Monobear would just gun him down, he just stores it only for it to be stolen the day after. It's the murder weapon of that chapter, although the culprit cleverly hides that fact. That should be the last it's heard about… until Chapter 5, when it ends up as the murder weapon again with it being involved in a botched suicide attempt.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Many clues in the cases comes up well before the murder takes place, such as Shockwave's injection cycle, the railing in the library, the storage rooms, Smokescreen's gambling pool, and much more.
  • Chekhov's Skill: People's skills tend to come back, but the biggest example is in the Chapter 3 murder, as the killer in that case is the only one whose talent is relevant to the motive of the victim in the case.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Partially averted. Each character has one talent that they excels on, but all of them were still soldiers of war and have killed at least more than one during it.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Wouldn't be a Danganronpa story without them. Add in the fact that Cybertronians are harder to kill than humans, and most deaths will fall under this trope.
    • As per usual, the executions kill the blackened in a way that's both brutal and ironic. The level of brutality is arguably equal or even exceeds Danganronpa V3.
      • Soundwave: Rather than executed inside of his own execution chamber, chains from the wall grabbed onto his arm and leg and pulled him to crash the wall. A portal emerged from above the debate circle and pulls him into it as the chains engaged in a tug-of-war, threatening to rip him apart. This ends prematurely as half of Soundwave enters and closes in on him, slicing him in half, vertically, spilling his blood onto the innocent below.
      • Brawl: He fights against a series of increasingly bigger drones while fighting on a thin platform with a pit of spikes at the bottom and an exit on the other side. He successfully manages to fight the drones off and reaches the exit, only to reveal that it was a trap as he entered a hallway with an oversized steel fist and the door closing behind him. The thrusters sent the fist forward at a velocity at Brawl, who is crushed against the door with it.
      • Chromedome: Chromedome is strapped into a chair for an impromptu mnemosurgery. Monobear gets involved bringing out a mnemosurgery device. The machine activates to reveal tentacles with thin needles on it that went into Chromedome's brain in a seemingly harmless matter. It retracts soon after, leaving Monobear to try to get it working again, which happens as the tentacles return again with long blades instead of needles. Chromedome, who can't see his doom coming, is impaled in the head by those tentacles in rapid succession, surviving each thrust of the blade until the last one pierces through the top of the head down to his spark.
      • Ratchet: Ratchet is brought into an area that seems to have a warzone going on before getting caught in an explosion. He survives it but is dragged by the other drones into a makeshift surgery room. He's strapped to it as a doctor drone came in, obviously drunk as it proceeds to engage in a botch surgery, improperly removing shrapnel and using a solder to messily patch up the wounds. The end comes when the medic reaches the final piece of shrapnel, one stuck instead of Ratchet's spark as the medic messily removes the piece, causing the wound to expand and for Ratchet to bleed out.
    • Even some of the murders end up as this.
      • The first murder, Shockwave's, ends up with him being burned alive. Or so it seems at first glance, with the actual cause of death being acid he unwittingly injected into his body.
      • The second murder has Vortex undergo a long torture session and being brutally dismembered. Except all the torturing was done after he was dead to hide the true cause of death. His actual cause of death was being thrown off the fifth floor of the library after already having been stabbed and hitting his head on a piece of jutted metal.
      • The first murder in Chapter 4 has Mirage impaled on the spikes of the behemoth. This doesn't seem cruel, but Mirage survives after the initial impalement to be found by a group of teachers, including his only friend in Hoist, who begs him not to die as Mirage slowly fades away in his arms.
      • Blast Off, the victim of Chapter 5, gets caught in an explosion that injured many others and died in the Med-Bay as Ratchet attempts to save his life. While it seems the bomb killed him at first, the true cause of death was the same acid in Chapter 1, hidden in the anesthetic.
      • Bumblebee, one of the victims in Chapter 6 is stabbed over 15 times, making it a very long and painful death. To make it worst, when his body is found, his brain is missing.
  • Dark Secret: The motive’s theme in Chapter 3. Each of the teachers will receive a datapad that includes the teacher’s own secret and another secret that belongs to one of six names. One name will go away every twenty hours except for one datapad. At the 100th hour mark, all the secrets will be broadcasted all over the outside world.
  • Dawn of an Era: After millions of years of war, the Cybertronians have been striving for a new era of peace and prosperity by rebuilding their homeworld, which has brought an untold amount of cooperation amongst the species.
  • Dying Clue: Comes up from time to time.
    • In Chapter 1, the injector in the fireproof box is this, as Shockwave wanted to preserve the murder weapon that would point to his killer.
    • Chapter 2 plays with this. The dying message from Vortex implicating Swindle as his murderer? He did write it. Problem is, Swindle only attempted to kill him and severely injured him. His actual murderer came after he wrote the message.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Every Autobots and Decepticons have problems that they have personally, almost all of them have dark and troubled pasts that happened pre-war, during or post-war. Of course Monobear exploits this as motives to drive them into despair event horizon and will definitely increase paranoia to anyone.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The class trial portraits of the deceased teachers. Every portrait has the X cross and colored blue, but the culprits’ cross marks are customized similar to the ones in Danganronpa 2.
    • Soundwave, whose cross mark is drawn to resemble Laserbeak.
    • Brawl, whose “cross” is formed by two fists making an X.
    • Chromedome, whose cross is drawn with thin lines to resemble a pair of mnemosurgeon needles.
    • Mirage’s cross is formed by an X with a refined design.
    • Nightbeat, who has two magnifying glasses forming the X.
  • Face Death with Dignity: All of the culprits who are caught for their crimes behave like this as they calmly accepts their fate and encourages the rest to keep on surviving. Probably justified because of the sharpening of their minds during millions of years of war, that death was common during that time, so they have no reason to fear for their own death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In Chapter 3, Chromdeome murders Counterpunch in order to save Rewind, knowing that if he kills him, he’ll likely be executed for it. He wanted to turn himself in after he dies, but Rewind convinces him to instead try to get him out.
    • In Chapter 5, Ratchet, when confronted with the fact that he knows he unintentionally killed Blast Off, chooses to reveal it to everyone instead of keeping it a secret, sacrificing his life for everyone else.
  • It's Personal:
    • In Chapter 2, the victim is Vortex, which makes it very personal for Onslaught, who steps into the role of head detective.
    • In Chapter 6, Wildrider is one of the victims, which makes it personal for his gestaltmate, Dead End, who vows to find his killer.
  • Karma Houdini: Smokescreen and Dead End are the main instigators of Chapter 5’s murder, but neither are declared the blackened. Instead, Ratchet, who didn’t know either of their plans, unintentionally becomes the blackened himself.
  • Living with the Villain: Living with the former villain to be exact. After Megatron’s death, the Decepticons collapsed and are forced to negotiate with the Autobots (despite Starscream scheming ways to take advantage of the situation) so not all of them will be tossed to the slammer. As a result, the faction found a way to integrate themselves into society, barring only a few psychopaths that mustn’t let out no matter the cost. Although, even while a peace treaty between the Autobots and Decepticons has happened, they were still at war with each other for several millions years ago. Resentment between the two sides still exists and being stuck in the school building together with no way out only makes it worse for some of them.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There are thirty characters that are trapped inside in the academy, which doubles the amount of characters that are usually featured in the Danganronpa franchise.
  • Loophole Abuse: In the first trial, Beachcomber does this by pointing out that the rules doesn't say that they have to vote and chooses not to do so. Monobear patches this up before the second trial.
  • Manly Tears: At the end of Chapter 2, when Brawl is declared the murderer, his fellow Combaticons engage in this, although Blast Off is capable of hiding it.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: Varies from death to death, with the most extreme being Vortex's death in Chapter 2, the bombing in Chapter 5, and the executions of chapters 1 & 3 that are easily an 8 or 9.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The war really causes some people to go mad before even entering the school.
    • Wildrider does many things for his own amusement and doesn't mind causing trouble as well. This is best shown in his actions in Chapter 3, where he pulls a Togami where he messes with the body to make it more fun.
    • Dead End, Wildrider's gestalt mate, is no better, as he's a nihilist to his core and talks about death more than anything else, to a disturbing degree.
    • Probably the most disturbing is Smokescreen, who is revealed as the serial killer in chapter 5. Once everyone know about it, his tone changes completely and he’s eerily calm as he talks about it. And even after he's innocent of murdering Blast Off, he's still disturbing.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with regarding Counterpunch and Punch. Since Punch's name is written on Counterpunch’s body, everyone mistakes Punch for Counterpunch at first under the assumption it's a nickname. Doesn't help that they both inhabit the same body.
  • Red Herring: Several ideas seem plausible at first, only for it to fall apart under scrutiny.
    • In the first trial, both Hoist and Skywarp are accused for much of the first trial, since the two seem like the only ones with access to the victim's room. Only with the reveal of a third route are they able to uncover the actual culprit.
    • In the second trial, Swindle remains a viable suspect for the murder, thanks in no small part to the victim writing his name in blood. Only after uncovering much of the hidden answer throughout the trial and ending with a Scrum Debate does the group consider him innocent.
    • In the fourth trial, it seems like one of the Combaticons could be the culprit through their strange behavior and the evidence pointing at one of them. In actuality, Onslaught was planning on having Blast Off kill him, but were thwarted by Mirage's death.
    • In the fifth trial, Smokescreen is revealed to be the serial killer, kidnapped Swindle, assaulted Dead End and Nautilator earlier in the same chapter, assaulted Scavenger in Chapter, and to be the one who planted the bomb. Despite all of this, he's actually not the culprit of the case, as Dead End's suicide attempt had led to his kill getting stolen from him.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Every culprit counts to various degrees.
    • Soundwave is probably the closest to an aversion of the trope, since his plan went off without a hitch, but it is quite clear at the end that he does it solely to get back to his minicons, who he is a father figure to.
    • Brawl's murder of Vortex is completely accidental. In fact, he was trying to help him!
    • Chromedome did it just to protect Rewind from being killed by Counterpunch.
    • Mirage did it just so he could take his only friend, Hoist, out of the school with him.
    • Nightbeat, like Brawl's, was incidental, but he was actively looking for a fight due to finding out Mirage placed a trap for people to find.
    • Ratchet, like Chiaki from Danganronpa 2, never even knew the actions he would take would lead to the victim's death. In fact, he doesn't even know he's the culprit until the final part of the trial!
  • Third-Person Flashback: During the investigation in Chapter 6, due to the complexity of Perceptor’s involvement in the case, Swindle explains to Dead End and Jazz about Perceptor’s breakout from Grindcore (a Decepticon prison facility) back during the war, in which Onslaught was never satisfied with the outcome of the particular case that led to Drift’s defection to the Autobots. The purpose for Swindle to do this is to help shed some light about Perceptor and maybe the mysteries surrounding the school. It's noted that in the end of the first part of the investigation, the story shifts back in time to the flashback from Onslaught's perspective.
  • Title Drop: Dead End’s private poem, “I Feel That Pale Death Creeping In”, is also the name of the title for chapter 4.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 2: Brawl is the one who killed Vortex. Accidentally.
    • Chapter 4:
      • Jazz’s motive video shows the Autobot’s base in ruins and upon close inspection, Optimus Prime is shown dead.
      • Mirage and Nightbeat killed each other with their own traps, making them both the victim and culprit.
    • Chapter 5: So many whams…
      • A bomb detonates at the white line of the racetrack, the explosion injures many teachers, where even some of them were damaged so bad that they don’t participate at the class trial. Knock Out almost dies because of this, but the worst part happens to Blast Off, where his legs are blown off and eventually dies.
      • Smokescreen, an Autobot, is revealed to be one to set off the bomb, which makes him the serial killer in Scavenger’s datapad, and the one who knocked his head with said datapad.
      • Ratchet is the one who murdered Blast Off, the worst part is that he doesn’t even know that he was killing him with the acid mixed with anesthesia contained in a syringe that Dead End prepared with the intention to kill himself.
    • Chapter 6: It actually involves a flashback into its investigation, something never done in the Danganronpa games.note 
  • Wham Line: When Smokescreen reveals himself to be a serial killer:
    Smokescreen: Don't. There's nothing to apologize over. Besides, I'm pretty sure I should offer you [Scavenger] a bigger apology for bashing you upside the head. You were out for quite a while.
  • Wham Shot:
    • After the fifth trial, when Rewind visits Jazz sorting through redacted files and he reads one of them:
      Rewind: What… is this?
      Jazz: Rewind… please-
      (Rewind rushes out of Jazz’s room, with Jazz only sighed but to his surprise when he looked at the headline of the file Rewind was staring at: ULTIMATE MNEMOSURGEON AND LOGICIAN ACCUSED OF INCITING MASS SUICIDE.)
    • At the climax of Chapter 6's (Ab)Normal Days, not only Wildrider and Bumblebee are found dead, Perceptor has his own abdomen split open with his wiring and entrails spread out and barely connected to his body. Even worse, he’s still alive, painfully clinging on to dear life.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Starting from Chapter 6, Onslaught forms a trio to investigate the academy with Swindle (friend) who is his gestaltmate for a very long time and Beachcomber (stranger), an Autobot he befriended and mentored in the academy.

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