Where Talent Goes on Vacation is a Danganronpa fic by Theralion. The fic is a sequel to Where Talent Goes To Die, and stars Class 32 of Talent High School as they embark on a cruise before the school year starts. Monokuma hijacks the cruise ship, takes their teacher hostage, and announces that the only way to leave the trip is to kill someone and get away with it.
Where Talent Goes on Vacation provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: The Side Stories originally planned to include a "Cruise Mode" similar to the "School Mode" in the previous fic's Side Storiesnote , but the author chose not to publish it due to a lack of free time on their hands.
- Alliterative Name: Akira Azuki, Sayuri Sasaki, Miharu Mihama, Himeno Himemiya, and Taiga and Tatsuki Tachibana.
- Arc Number: 33. There are 33 participants in the killing game (16 students in each fic plus the teacher), a total of 33 classes of Talent High School, and Sasaki was up to 33 chapters of her manga when she last checked.
- Back from the Dead: All the students who died during the story are mysteriously resurrected on the final morning of the cruise, though they don't seem to remember their deaths at all.
- Breaking Old Trends:
- No one has an unknown talent in this fic.
- Unlike the previous fic or canon games, in this fic, students have roommates.
- The third case isn't a double murder. It's instead used for the fifth trial.
- A character with a music-related talent survives to the end.
- Bittersweet Ending: All but five of the students are in a coma as a result of being killed while in the Neo World Program and Nagato's mother is arrested by Miura and the other Talent High killing game survivors for her crimes as a member of Ultimate Despair with a nearly-certain execution at the hands of the Future Foundation to follow. However two Hope Spots are provided in the end with Munakata being forced to leave the Foundation as a result of the Final Killing Game ensuring a fair trial for the elder Nagato and the former Remnants of Despair meeting the survivors to help bring their classmates out of the Neo World Program.
- Edogawa's books are featured in the ship's lounge.
- Higurashi asks about whether anyone has any food allergies, and it's briefly mentioned that the cook could poison people. The second murder of the previous fic involved the killer exploiting the victim's food allergies.
- Hikaru Kurogane mentions having a younger cousin named Shiro who's talented at Shogi.
- For the fourth motive, Monokuma brings back the Despair Diseases from the second game.
- At the fifth island's college, the art gallery's Talent High School wing features a portrait of Class 33 with X's over the faces of everyone who died, as well as the portrait of the Class 33 student council Miura discovered during the class' final investigation.
- The Cameo:
- Alter Ego briefly appears during the final investigation period.
- Kyoko Kirigiri appears during the epilogue as Miura and Edogawa are reporting to her about the successful retrieval of the Killing School Trip survivors from the Neo World Program and the arrest of Yukari Nagato. She and the rest of the Hope's Peak Killing Game survivors minus Toko also appear during the first post-credits scene where they meet with the Talent High survivors while recovering from the events of the Final Killing Game.
- Continuity Nod:
- The inn on the first island is known as the "Kumasutra Inn."
- Azuki mentions a schoolmate who was good at drawing doujinshi, but not nearly as good as the future Ultimate Fanfic Creator.
- The record store that the characters visit in Chapter II has music by Sayaka Maizono and Ibuki Mioda in it. The "Tragedy Overture" soundtrack is also based off of the events of Side: Despair.
- Kirishima's execution is called "Evolve or Die," recalling Celestia Ludenberg's Catchphrase of "Adapt or Perish."
- The college the remaining students visit on the fifth island is called Towa University and each of the buildings and labs there are named after a character from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair or Ultra Despair Girls.
- The events of the Future/Hope Sides of Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School are implied to have taken place between the epilogue's final scene and the first post-credits scene.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Akira Azuki is this to Kaori Miura. While Miura was a mild-mannered Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak who only swears once in the entire fic, Azuki is a tomboyish Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a foul mouth. Miura had a "talent" she wasn't particularly proud of, while Azuki has the highly desirable title of the Ultimate Actress. Miura, who discovered that she was a lesbian, looked up to Edogawa, eventually falling in love with her (a feeling Edogawa reciprocated). Azuki, however, is not only heterosexual, but has the highly desirable Ultimate Actress talent, and has two admirers- Nagato, whose feelings for her are platonic, and Kojima, who has an unrequited and unwanted crush on her. While Miura was unwilling to sacrifice the blackened, and gradually came to accept it, Azuki was eager to make the first culprit pay, an attitude she came to regret after seeing the first execution's brutality. In addition, while Miura serves as an Expy of Makoto Naegi, the hero and main character of the series, Azuki serves more of one to Kaede Akamatsu, being a Decoy Protagonist who gets executed as a blackened while providing Character Development for the true protagonist (Shuichi for Kaede, Nagato for Azuki).
- Class Trip: The fic takes place on a cruise that Class 32 takes prior to the start of the school year. Their teacher notes that this is highly unusual for the school, which usually travels within Japan- mainly Okinawa, Kyoto or Hokkaido.
- Decoy Protagonist: Azuki ends up being the blackened in the third case and is executed, with Nagato taking over as protagonist afterwards.
- Dramatic Irony:
- In Chapter 3, Azuki and Hikaru Kurogane discuss the latter's cousin Shiro, with Azuki hoping that Shiro doesn't get recruited to Talent High School or he might find himself in a Killing Game as well. As readers of Where Talent Goes To Die well know, not only did Shiro end up getting recruited to Talent High and get in a Killing Game himself, he ended up being the first victim.
- In one of Azuki's final conversations with Himemiya before her death, Himemiya admits to her that she has a crush on Sasaki, but doesn't plan on pursuing her because she doesn't want to give Sasaki false hope in case either one of them end up dying in the Killing Game. On the fourth island, Sasaki admits to Nagato that she's also in love with Himemiya, but doesn't plan on confessing to her because of similar reasons plus her unsureness about Himemiya's sexuality.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Nagato's reaction to Azuki flippantly suggesting that the students might start murdering each other on the school trip. While the killing game hasn't started yet, Nagato heard about a student stabbing a schoolmate at her old school, so she takes school violence seriously.
- Dwindling Party: As expected of Danganronpa, although considering the teacher counts as part of the class, there are seventeen people at the start of the fic. By the end, five students remain.
- Exact Words: Monokuma says that the traitor is someone who isn't meant to be here. Because the Killing Games are meant to be for the Ultimate Students only, the teacher, Yukari Nagato, shouldn't be here and is therefore the traitor.
- After seeing an abandoned city, Azuki wonders if she slept through the apocalypse, referencing the Tragedy.
- In the first murder investigation, the only two people who go back to the ship are Nagato, who wants to see her mother before the class trial (although she does try to gather evidence), and Yamazaki, who waits outside his room for his laundry to be delivered (since his yukata has blood on it, and he had to wash it off) and doesn't even try to investigate. The latter is the killer.
- Immediately before the first execution, Mihama protests that the condemned is not yet eighteen, whereupon Monokuma asks Mihama if she's sure of his age. This foreshadows that the protagonists have forgotten the last few years of their lives.
- The Twin Switch in Chapter II's trial is foreshadowed in several ways.
- The twins make a point of changing back into their uniforms, since Taiga's birthmark is not visible while she's wearing a shirt with a collar.
- The twins hesitate a bit before going to their seats, temporarily forgetting that they're supposed to go to the other's seats.
- On a few occasions, one of the twins is surprised to hear someone talk about something she did, since the one being spoken to is actually being impersonated by her twin.
- "Taiga" claims she voted for herself, when in fact, she voted for Tatsuki. According to the author's notes, Tatsuki intended to vote for herself, but mistakenly chose her own button, when she should have chosen Taiga's button.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Monokuma challenges Azuki to find six Hidden Monokumas- one on the ship and one on each of the first five islands. After her death, Nagato continues the search in her place.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Averted. According to the author, neither Junko Enoshima nor Alter Ego Junko are involved in this killing game.
- Hot Springs Episode: When the cast stays over at the inn,
- Laser-Guided Amnesia:
- No one in the class remembers anything between when they left for the school and when they woke up in the hotel.
- On the final morning of the cruise, all the students who were killed or executed during the trip are mysteriously resurrected with no memory of their deaths.
- Last Episode, New Character:
- Kaori Miura and the rest of the Talent High School Killing Game survivors show up during the final trial to help out the remaining students.
- Hajime Hinata and the rest of Hope's Peak Class 77-B arrive during the final scene of the epilogue to help the surviving students bring their classmates out of the Neo World Program.
- The Mole: According to Monokuma, one of the students is a traitor, who knew about the killing game and let it happen anyway. The first motive he gives is that if the traitor gets killed, then the person who killed them automatically gets to graduate without a Class Trial.
- Once More, with Clarity!: In Chapter Zero, Nagato experiences a pre-cruise memory with her and Azuki imprisoned together where the latter states that she's heard that their captives are going to use the Neo World Program on them but all proper names in this conversation have been filtered out. During the final trial, Nagato experiences the memory again, but this time, the missing bits are filled in, revealing Nagato's mother has been the one holding them prisoner along with several other members of Ultimate Despair.
- Recurring Element:
- Like in the previous fic, one classmate loathes another for a reason relating to their talent.
- A shot put ball is once again used as the weapon in the first murder.
- Like in the previous fic and the canon games, the muscular character is killed in the fourth chapter.
- Like in the second and third games, The Rival/Token Evil Teammate characters end up becoming the victims of the fifth chapter.
- Red Herring:
- After the third body is discovered, Monokuma announces that for this investigation period only, no trial will be held if a second body is found, though the killer won't be able to graduate. Since this is the third trial, a Danganronpa fan might suspect this might be used to provide the second death that normally shows up in the third trials, but no second death occurs.
- When Nagato finds Karita's written confession while investigating his death that he faked his Ultimate Con Artist talent, one might think that Karita is the traitor, since Monokuma had stated that the traitor was someone who wasn't actually part of the Talent High class. However, after the trial, Monokuma reveals that the traitor is still alive.
- Ryokan Inn: The cast stays in one in the first Chapter, and the first murder takes place there.
- Sadistic Choice: The Alter Ego version of Yukari Nagato forces one onto the surviving students during the final trial: Either choose Repeat and remain trapped in the Neo World Program or Graduate and escape while Alter-Ego Nagato turns the dead students into copies of herself. Or they could activate the Forced Shutdown, allowing everyone to be free to leave at the cost of the dead students being trapped in a vegetative state while the real Yukari is arrested by the Future Foundation and likely executed for her crimes as a member of Ultimate Despair.
- Summer's End, a dark fantasy series in which a significant character gets decapitated, is strongly reminiscent of Game of Thrones.
- When discussing the lack of lifeboats on the ship, Yamazaki suggests a scenario in which only the women and children could get off, reminiscent of Titanic. Azuki, annoyed, demands that he not even think of suggesting re-enacting the "I'm flying, Jack, I'm flying!" scene.
- Karita's backstory, which involves his father killing his mother in a Murder-Suicide, is inspired by that of James "Sawyer" Ford from Lost.
- The later portion of the first trial features a few shout-outs to game shows.
- Yamazaki, after being formally accused, demands to know why him not having his yukata makes him the culprit, and asks Azuki to give her reply in the form of a question.
- Monokuma describes voting time as "the million dollar question" and afterwards states that the culprit "spun Bankrupt when trying to get away with it."
- Yamazaki's execution features the three Lifelines from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. There are four choices for his death- the audience selects stoning through "Ask the Audience", Monokuma selects strangulation by "Phone a friend," and Yamazaki's final demise is inflicted through drawing and quartering and incineration, chosen through the "50-50" option.
- The costume party features various characters dressed up as fictional characters.
- Tatsuki's execution(or at least the one meant for her is titled "Guitar Heroine", and features her being burned alive after finishing a very difficult song- in other words, going "Through the Fire and Flames."
- The aftermath of the third trial features a few to the works of William Shakespeare:
- Following Azuki's execution, Monokuma quips that "You either die a spotless or live long enough to become the blackened."
- During the fourth investigation, while being questioned, Karita points out that he'd be telling the truth if he said he didn't kill the victim if he'd hired an assassin to do it instead.
- Kirishima's execution sees Monokuma bombard him with massive amounts of radiation in an attempt to create a super-hero.
- Take That!:
- In Karita's Free Time Events, Azuki gets offended at the notion that fiction is equivalent to lying, taking a shot at a similar comparison made in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony.
- In Tsukimura's Free Time Events, she tells Azuki about her duties, which are fairly basic for a maid. She then jokes that serving as Acting Prime Minister, like Kirumi from the third game, is "outside the job description."
- In Sasaki's Free Time Events, Azuki notes that Summer's End, the Game of Thrones analogue above, "went to shit in its final season." Later, in Taiga's Free Time Events, Azuki mentions how she isn't too broken up about losing the part of Princess Viseria to a friend and colleague, considering that Viseria "went batshit insane," a reference to Daenerys' Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in the penultimate episode.
- According to the author, Azuki being executed in the third trial as a Decoy Protagonist is meant to be one to V3 having its Decoy Protagonist (Akamatsu) executed so early in the game.
- On the fifth island, Monokuma comments that "in (his) day, people committed murders with knives, dumbells, and hammers, not high tech stuff like giant robots, hydraulic presses, and electric hammers," taking a shot at V3's tendency for incredibly convoluted murder plots.
- 13 Is Unlucky: Rule #13 is the one that defines the brutal nature of the class trials- the spotless have to convict the blackened, resulting in said person's execution, or be executed themselves.
- This Is My Side: Karita and Asakura get along so poorly that they have to divide their room into thirds- Karita's side, Asakura's side and a "neutral" area in which only one of them can be at any given time.
- Unreliable Expositor: During his lectures on the Hope's Peak and Talent High killing games, Monokuma engages in several Blatant Lies- namely the canon one about Kumakura being the one who killed the Hope's Peak student council when it was actually Junko, that Mukuro was executed for attempting to betray Junko when she was actually loyal to Junko the entire time and was the one betrayed by her sister, that Kagami was a member of Ultimate Despair when he was actually just using Junko's philosophies for revenge against the Talent High staff, and that the survivors of both games slaughtered their respective masterminds.
- Virtual Reality: It's hinted several times throughout the story that the "cruise" is actually taking place in the Neo World Program, and officially confirmed during Chapter VI.
- Wham Episode:
- Chapter I, Part 4 features the first murder.
- Chapter II, Part 5. The trial ends with Tatsuki being convicted for killing Kojima, much to Taiga's distress. After the execution, it's revealed that the twins switched places, as part of a plan by Taiga to sacrifice herself for her sister, resulting in the killer surviving after the trial.
- Chapter III, Part 1. It turns out that Nagato is actually the illegitimate daughter of the son of the school's chairman, proving that she got into the school through connections.
- Chapter III, Part 4. The protagonist, Akira Azuki, turns out to have been the Accidental Murderer in the class trial and is executed, leaving Nagato as the new protagonist.
- Chapter V, Part 2. The class arrives on the fifth island and find out about the existence of the Hope's Peak and Talent High School killing games. Monokuma, in an effort to speed up a killing, brings back the first motive of graduation without a Class Trial if the traitor is killed and hints that the traitor is someone who isn't supposed to be part of the class. When Asakura tries to use this to finger Nagato as the traitor since she got in because her mother's a teacher, Monokuma not only reveals Nagato's aforementioned status as the illegitimate granddaughter of the school's chairman, but also reveals that Asakura and the late Kojima also got in because their relatives were part of the Talent High school board.
- Chapter V, Part 3. After both Asakura and Karita both go missing for most of the third day on the fifth island, the remaining survivors split into groups of three to find them, only for their dead bodies to be found at the end of the chapter.
- Chapter V, Part 5. Nagato proves that both Asakura and Karita ended up killing each other, causing Monokuma to demand the remaining students to offer up someone to be executed as per his Rule 16. Higurashi offers himself up to be executed and is killed, but afterwards Monokuma reveals to the remaining survivors that the traitor's still alive.
- Chapter VI, Part 3. In the final class trial, Nagato reveals that the students are in the Neo World Program and unmasks the traitor as her own mother. After she and the rest of the surviving students vote her as the traitor, Kaori Miura arrives to help out the remaining students as Monokuma transforms into a giant Monokuma-stylized version of Nagato's mother.
- Wham Line:
"Tatsuki": Take care of yourself, sisnote , and never forget- I'll always love you.
- Asakura, the last of the students to be introduced, is offended by Nagato claiming to be the Ultimate Tech Support, and when introducing himself, reveals why- he's also the Ultimate Tech Support
- Just before the second execution, this exchange reveals that the Tachibana sisters swapped places.
Monokuma: Let's give it everything we've got! IT'S PUNISHMENT TIME!
"Taiga": TAIGA, NO!
Azuki: So in other words, your dad helped you get in. But he's...
- In Chapter III, Part 1, Azuki comforts Nagato after she clashes with Asakura, only for her to claim that he's not wrong about the reason she got into the school.
Nagato: Dead? Yes, he is. His name is Shou Mitamura. In addition to being a teacher at Talent High School he was also the youngest son of the chairman of the board.
Azuki: You said (the pressure plate trap in the room downstairs) fired twice? And a minute after you tested it?
- Azuki comes to a terrible epiphany about the culprit of the third trial after hearing some information from Nagato.
Nagato: Yes, that's what I said. Is something wrong with that?
Azuki: There might be. Just after the investigation period ended, I saw the trap that killed Mihama go off, then tested the pressure plate near it twice. If what you're saying is true, then the pressure plate downstairs controls the trap in the office, and vice versa. If that's true, then... then... oh fuck.
Azuki: Now that we know where the trigger to the office trap is, there's only one person who could have set off the trap that killed Mihama. Namely me.
Asakura: We all know under these rules, Nagato's the only one who qualifies, right?
- Asakura attempts to use Monokuma's latest information about the traitor's identity to finger Nagato as the traitor, only for Monokuma to throw his reasoning around right back at him.
Monokuma: So quick to jump to conclusions, Asakura-san! What gives you the idea that Nagato-san is the traitor?
Asakura: It's obvious. She's the only person who got in through family connections- namely having a Talent High School teacher as a mother.
Monkuma: [makes a "tsk-tsk" noise] The only person? There's no less than three such people here, including you! Oh, and Kojima-san, but he's dead now. [Asakura and Kurogane turn pale] It just so happens that those two are related to members of Talent High School's board of directors. Asakura's maternal uncle is Jiro Kusakabe, a member of the board, while Kojima-san's mother's cousin is Yukino Ishigami, a fellow member of the board. As for Nagato-san, she isn't just Nagato-sensei's daughter, but Chairman Takehiko Mitamura's granddaughter.
Monokuma: And that's that! I feel a little bit better now that I've gotten to watch an execution.
- Following the fifth execution, Monkuma reveals that even if either blackened had managed to survive to the trial, their efforts still would have been All for Nothing.
Nagato: A little? Is it because you didn't get to watch us confront the killers?
Monokuma: Not exactly, Nagato-san. It's kind of disappointing, you know? After all this time, and all these murders, the traitor's still alive.
Nagato: To add to what I said earlier, Monokuma must not have planned to include the traitor. As such, he had to improvise, and so came up with a role for the traitor to play in the killing game. If that's true, then... of course.
- On the final morning of the cruise, Nagato wakes up saying "Good morning" to Azuki out of force of habit... making it all the more surprising when the long-deceased Azuki answers "Morning, Chiyuri" in reply.
- Nagato unmasks the traitor's identity during the final trial:
Nagato-sensei: Of course what? Did you figure something out?
Nagato: As we discussed earlier, on the previous island, we were told the traitor was someone who wasn't supposed to be here, and I only just realized what he meant by that. Monokuma recognized that person the first time he saw them, so identifying them should have been that easy for the rest of us... even me. [looks into traitor's eyes] In other words, I know who the traitor is. It's you, Mom.