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Danganronpanote  is a series of "high-speed mystery action adventure" visual novels created by Kazutaka Kodaka, and released by Spike (now Spike Chunsoft) for the PSP, PS Vita, PS4, and Steam. The games combine mystery-solving with elements of shooting and even rhythm gameplay.

The premise of the first two titles in the series thus far take the same formula (while the third game exists in a new story arc, it generally sticks to this formula as well); the player takes the role of a new student at Hope's Peak Academy, a prestigious high school in Japan which only accepts the cream of the crop for its classes. This mentality extends towards any sort of niche, including unconventional ones like otaku and gamers. Students with these extraordinary talents are given an "Ultimate X" titlenote .

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Unfortunately, things start to go awry once the new kid steps inside the school itself, as they lose consciousness and wake up elsewhere, with no memory of the interim. They soon find that all the exits and windows are locked to prevent escape, and meet several other students in the same predicament. Before long, the thing who put them there reveals himself—Monokuma, a sadistic, sapient teddy bear.

He quickly reveals that the students will be forced into a "school life of mutual killing". If a person murders a classmate, the rest of the student body will have a class trial to determine the killer's identity. If they get it right, the culprit is executed in a showy display tailor-made to their personality traits. If they get it wrong, however, the killer "graduates" and gets to leave the school, while the rest die in their place.

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Of course, the students swear against something as extreme as killing each other. And yet, horrifyingly, the bodies begin to pile up. Throughout the game, Monokuma continues to give them all new motives to kill each other, and the player must find the killer in each chapter to make sure the survivors all have a shot of escaping together.

The series is rather complicated, consisting of a series of stringing plotlines over several mediums. It also has has a number of translations (official and unofficial) varying in consistency, so that context may affect how certain examples are written.

The series is currently in a sort of limbo as Kodaka has left Spike Chunsoft to open his own company, Too Kyo Games and no new plans about it have been revealed while ambiguous news about whether Kodaka would be helping a in a new game or not spread.

Compare to Ace Attorney, Zero Escape and When They Cry for similar visual novels.


Works in the series in release order:

Main Installments
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc note : The original game, starring Makoto Naegi in Hope's Peak Academy. (Japanese release: 2010, English release: 2014)
  • Danganronpa Zero: A two-part light novel prequel to the first game written by Kazutaka Kodaka, starring Ryoko Otonashi in Hope's Peak Academy. (Release: 2011)
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair note : The official sequel to the first game, starring Hajime Hinata on the Jabberwock Island Resort. (Japanese release: 2012, English release: 2014)
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Original anime airing in Summer 2016, split into two concurrently-airing arcs, Future Arc and Despair Arc. Acts as the Grand Finale to the Hope's Peak Academy Saga.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony note  - the third main series game and the beginning of the Gifted Inmates Academy Saga. Despite its name, it is confirmed by Word of God to be the fourth main entry. (Release: 2017)

Spin-off Games
  • Danganronpa: Unlimited Battle - A Japan-only free-to-play iOS game similar to Monster Strike.
  • Cyber Danganronpa VR: The Class Trial - A tech demo utilizing the PlayStation 4's Virtual Reality headset, the PlayStation VR.
  • Kirigiri Sou: A sound novel based around the gameplay of Chunsoft's Otogirisou, centered on Kyoko Kirigiri, a character from the first game. It was released as a pack-in with the third special edition Blu-ray box set of Danganronpa 3 in Japan.

Novel/Manga Spin-offs
  • Danganronpa IF - a short story about a What If? scenario for the first game, unlocked by beating the second one.
  • Danganronpa Kirigiri - a prequel novel series about Kyoko Kirigiri, a character from the first game; the first book was released September 2013, and there are now currently five.
  • Makoto Naegi's Worst Day Ever - a short story released with the Danganronpa anime DVD/BD.
  • Ultra Despair Hagakure - A novel included in Ultra Despair Girls that can be unlocked after completing the game.
  • Danganronpa 1 ・2 Beautiful Days - A series of non-canon short stories written by multiple authors, based around the daily lives of both main installments' respective casts.
  • Danganronpa Togami - a prequel novel series about Byakuya Togami, written by Yuya Sato.
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Kazuichi Soda in Desperate Causality - a spin-off centered on Kazuichi Soda, a character from the second game.
  • There is also a collection of supplementary manga series for both the first and the second games, complementing and even expanding the events depicted in the Visual Novels by adding missing details and different points of view.
  • Danganronpa Gaiden: Killer Killer: Manga spin-off written by Yuichirou Koizumi and illustrated by Sasako Mitomo. Was initially published and advertised as a standalone work, but was revealed and subsequently rebranded as a side-story to Danganronpa 3 in the third chapter.

Animated/Live-Action Adaptations
  • Danganronpa: The Animation - An Anime of the Game adapting the first installment.
  • Danganronpa: Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei The Stage - a stage play adapting the first installment.
  • Super Danganronpa 2: Sayonara Zetsubō Gakuen The Stage - a stage play adapting the second installment.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibōgamine Gakuen The Stage - a stage play adapting the anime Danganronpa 3: Future Arc.
  • Super Danganronpa 2.5: Nagito Komaeda and the Destroyer of the World: an OVA that comes with the limited edition of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony in Japan. It's set after the events of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and before Danganronpa 3: Hope Arc.

Warning: the rest of the page contains unmarked spoilers. You Have Been Warned.


Tropes for the series as a wholenote  include:

    open/close all folders 
    Tropes A - M 
  • The Ace: The only way to be accepted into Hope's Peak Academy or the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles is to be scouted because they are absolutely the best at what they do. Although some talents, like Student Council President and Detective, appear more than once, hinting that talents can be hereditary or not absolutely exclusive to one person.
  • After the End: Courtesy of the Ultimate Despair and The Tragedy, the world has apparently been caught up in a state of social unrest, war, widespread terrorism, coup d'etats, mass suicides, and general anarchy for at least two years. This is the real reason nobody could rescue the students trapped in Hope's Peak, despite their killing game being broadcast worldwide. Of course, this is all revealed by an Unreliable Narrator. By the second game, we learn that they were telling the truth about the Tragedy, but that things are starting to calm down thanks to the efforts of the Future Foundation and the capture of the Remnants of Despair. Killer Killer even implies that society is recovering fairly quickly, with the idol industry, hospitals, and the manga industry back up and running.
  • All for Nothing: This series tries as much as possible to invoke despair in the cast AND the player, and by making sure that the events have no other meaning than giving the characters a lesson by placing them in a situation where their talents go in conflict with one another.
    • The first ending of the series involves Junko revealing how pointless it is for everyone to have murdered each other, just to enter a world that most likely doesn't exist anymore.
    • The second ending of the series involves everything being in a virtual world, or a "game", therefore rendering everyone's attempts to survive such a despairing experience moot. The only symbolism each case has is that it replicates the factors of the last game's original four cases, and that's only to lure the previous survivors into a trap.
    • Another Episode's ending has Komaru Naegi nearly become Junko Enoshima's successor, all the will to do that being taken from confidence and accepting herself through the game Monaca and Nagito prepared.
    • Danganronpa 3's Hope Arc ending isn't really that beneficial either. Makoto Naegi has similar traits to the previous headmaster, Jin Kirigiri, and there's a chance that the same mistakes made prior could be committed, causing another potential apocalypse because he didn't do a student body check before allowing people to attend.
    • Danganronpa V3's ending is establishing everything to the highest level of a Meta Fiction Despair Gambit possible by making everyone's personalities and memories completely fictional.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The series tries to include every single type of topic it can, from what we learn in childbirth to what we learn halfway through education to what we learn in our senior years. It ranges from talent, to scientific processes, to all possible methods an area of innocence can be used to kill someone else.
  • Always Murder: Most of the deaths in the series are murders, although there are a few stray subversions.note 
    • The manga interpretation of the first game's first case turns out to be a manslaughter in self-defense, and the biggest crime committed by the killer was covering it up.
    • The first game's fourth case turns out to be a suicide.
    • The second game's fifth case was set up entirely by the victim to the point where the killer was duped into delivering the finishing blow. No one in their right mind (i.e. Monokuma) would hold the killer criminally liable for the victim's death in this case.
    • In the Side: Future arc of the anime, all of the serial murders that occur turn out to be suicides.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: When first beginning a game or animation adaption, this is played straight. The longer the recipient progresses through the story, this trope gradually becomes averted and it's blunt how the instalments of the series are ordered.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The cast, locations, cases, and ontological mysteries are different every time the series gets updated with a new version of a Deadly Game.
  • Anyone Can Die: The first game plays this very straight. Afterwards this trope is played with quite heavily, as in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair almost all of the "dead" characters are revealed to be comatose and eventually wake up in Danganronpa 3 - Hope Arc and in Ultra Despair Girls all but two minor characters' deaths are revealed as fakeouts. However, Danganronpa 3 and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony play this straight again, with the former ending with only two newly introduced characters alive and the latter ending with three survivors, the lowest amount in the main-series games.
    • Sayaka Maizono, the deuteragonist of Danganronpa 1, Byakuya Togami, a survivor from the previous game (but an imposter) returning in Danganronpa 2, and the protagonist themselves in Danganronpa V3 also become victims in the series.
  • Arc Number: 11037. It appears as the first victim's dying message in the first game, as a password in the second, and as part of a very long password in the third.
  • Arc Words: "Hope", "despair", "talent", "killing", "traitor", and "Ultimate" are singular words that frequently crop up in Danganronpa.
  • Artifact Title: Due to the series title relating to the class trials (literally translating as "bullet rebuttal"), any installment that doesn't have them falls under this. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is averted for this, however, as Komaru uses Truth Bullets shot from the Hacking Gun provided by Byakuya in the prologue.
  • Artistic Age: Most of the students in the first two games are supposed to be virtually the same age, but sure don't look it. Adults, however, have it much, much worse whenever they appear.
  • Author Appeal: The creators are admitted fans of punk rock, which would explain why there's a character who's an open fan in both the first and second games.
  • Bag of Holding: The protagonist, and, therefore, the player, collects items, post-chapter presents, and post-trial Monocoins in the hundreds. They can be gifted to the gifted students in a Free Time sequence when restarting the games.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: While the intent behind them is just as gruesome, the female executions can usually be counted on to pull the camera away (Peko), darken the screen (Kyoko), happen quickly enough that nothing explicit is seen (Chiaki) or keep the eventual state of the victim's body ambiguous or hidden from view (Celestia, Mikan). By comparison, the male executions will almost always show the executed as they're dying or show the gory results of their death. This makes it all the more shocking when female characters are graphically killed on-screen, such as Mukuro and her sister. This is mostly averted in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, where Kaede's and Kirumi's executions can be considered even more brutal than Leon's execution.
  • Being the Hero Sucks: In-Universe? Yes, definitely. But for the one playing as them? We're on the 'entertainment' partitioning of the horror that is Danganronpa.
  • Big Bad: Monokuma, true name Junko Enoshima as the end of the first game reveals, is the host of the Deadly Game in each main installment, and every other villain in the series has at least a connection to them.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The ongoing battle of Hope vs. Despair. Despair, represented by Monokuma and the Ultimate Despair, is completely dedicated to bringing chaos, death, and destruction to the world For the Evulz, while Hope, represented by Makoto and the Future Foundation, is the better side- to a certain extent. Makoto is a Messianic Archetype and Incorruptible Pure Pureness, but is often shown as naive, and his allies are good people but have their own share of problems. Meanwhile, the Future Foundation wants to restore hope to the world, but it often has people of questionable moralities doing what they feel is best to stop despair and make the world a better place, no matter how many people die in the process. From Nagito Komaeda inflicting despair in the belief that it will build a greater hope, to Haiji Towa and Kyousuke Munakata wanting to kill everyone associated with despair even if they’re children brainwashed against their will, and especially Chairman Kazuo Tengan who wants to brainwash the entire world into feeling nothing but hope 24/7. And they all spend as much time fighting each other as they do fighting despair.
  • Black Blood: The blood in the series is pink, used as a stylistic choice. This is however not the case in Danganronpa 3: Future Arc and text descriptions in-story make it clear the blood is red In-Universe.
  • Bookends:
    • The Hope's Peak saga both begins and ends the same way: Makoto Naegi, alone in a classroom in Hope's Peak itself. The first time, he's there as a captive in the Killing School Life, the second he's headmaster of the newly remade school.
    • The first person to be executed by the mastermind in the timeline was Chiaki Nanami, as depicted in Danganronpa 3's Despair Arc. The last person in the timeline to be executed by the mastermind was the Chiaki Nanami AI, as seen in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.
    • Junko's second killing game, the Killing School Life, is an Immoral Reality Show where Anyone Can Die set in the utopian building of Hope's Peak Academy to influence despair outside. Team Danganronpa's last killing game, the Killing School Semester, is also an Immoral Reality Show where Anyone Can Die set to invoke despair entertainment in the peaceful utopian world outside.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Finding every Hidden Monokuma within the respective games grants the player the ability to look at Monokuma flaunt all of his expressions, trophies and a collection of all the Monokuma cutouts and figures found throughout Jabberwock Island and the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles.
  • Canon Welding: Due to the Jigsaw Puzzle Plot, connecting the sequel to the first game solely because of Byakuya Togami's presence and then finding him as the first murder victim of Monokuma's dilemma can lead to a collective debate on when and where the game is. Members of the original cast combined with the notion of the Tragedy being present can undeniably confirm that the timeline is the same.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: In all three main-series games, the students participating in the killing games all physically stand out from one another in some way, despite the casts in general following certain traditions. It's stated by the creators that they envision the character as coming from different series and genres (such as Sakura from a Martial Arts Manga and Aoi and Leon from a Sports Manga) to make them so different.
  • Clue from Ed.: Whenever one of the main games mentions something that otherwise only appeared in a non-game side story, it usually mentions the title of the story in question, even if it involves Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Complexity Addiction: The downfall of most murderers: coming up with insanely complicated and boderline nonsensical killing methods, which end up leaving plenty of evidence behind.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: In Monokuma's intermission known as "Monokuma Theater", temporarily named "Monodam Theater" in V3, Monokuma tends to act philosophically about a particular topic or necessity and casually turns it into something sociopathic, with a completely different definition. Players are usually prompted to say that his ideology isn't incorrect, per se, but they don't actually tend to agree with him either.
  • Covers Always Lie: Not here, though. The covers of the games actually manage to represent the complicated behaviour of each talented character and Monokuma counterpart.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Practically EVERY character has ONE talent, one thing they're experts in their field at, like Chiaki Nanami, who is an expert gamer, but verges on being a shut-in, having no real social skills. This is subverted with the mastermind's Killing Game concept, where the Ultimate Despair teaches the world that idol prodigies can give incriminating evidence of how one-dimensional they actually aren't, like Sayaka Maizono, who is portrayed as a generic, airheaded character who seems trustworthy until the class trial reveals her to be capable of plotting a murder case and framing the person who entrusted themselves to her. Another case of this is Kirumi, where despite being an overpowered maid who created a makeshift ropeway, she also committed the murder for her role as a de facto prime minister. In fact, the more oblique way in which someone having only one talent is the fact that they're incapable of considering every possibility before deciding to kill someone with a strangely complicated method, giving all of the individual trials a very particular theme to them. Kirumi also provides an example of this by not finding a way to safely retrieve the ropeway she used, or prevent the fabric of her gloves from ripping off due to the rope burn.
    • Izuru Kamukura is an example of crippling overspecialization with the use of MULTIPLE talents. Hope's Peak Academy lobotomized Hajime's brain with universal ability so much so that he views the world as boring since he's capable of nearly everything and can't find anything new to use that entertains him.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Practically every murder and execution is worthy of that title:
    • The very first moment of the series is Jin Kirigiri’s execution, which involves a blindfolded Jin trapped in a spaceship, which is forcefully blasted into orbit and then crashes back into Earth at full speed, disintegrating everything about Jin’s body except for his skeleton.
    • Trigger Happy Havoc’s victims end up getting stabbed in the abdomen by a kitchen knife (Sayaka), speared in multiple areas of their body (Mukuro), bludgeoned by a dumbbell (Chihiro), hit in the head by silly-looking hammers (Kiyotaka and Hifumi), and committing suicide through poison (Sakura). As for the culprits, their executions are getting quickly pelleted by a thousand baseballs (Leon), spinning so fast that they are liquefied and turned into butter (Mondo), slowly burned alive and then crushed by a firetruck (Celeste), being repeatedly smashed by an excavator (Alter Ego), and getting slowly dragged towards a compactor that crushes them (Makoto and Kyoko in the bad ending, although Makoto survives). Junko’s punishment is a combination of every previous execution, and the compactor ends up killing her.
    • Goodbye Despair’s victims are stabbed multiple times by an iron skewer (The Imposter), hit in the head by a baseball bat (Mahiru), slowly strangled by a rope (Ibuki), get their throat slit (Hiyoko), fall to their death and break into multiple pieces (Nekomaru), and stabbed in every limb, poisoned and ultimately speared through the abdomen (Nagito). The culprits are dropped into a volcano and fried (Teruteru), stabbed by multiple dummies (Peko), sent into space (Mikan), trampled by animals (Gundham), and crushed by Tetris blocks (Chiaki and Monomi).
    • Most of the Future Arc’s victims either get half of their body poisoned after violating their NG codes, to the point where the poisoned half of their party becomes purple and the eye of that half becomes bloody (Bandai, Izayoi and Koichi) or brainwashed into brutally committing suicide (Yukizome stabbing herself in the abdomen, The Great Gozu gouging his eyes out, Seiko crucifying and stabbing herself, Ruruka choking herself with candy and mutilating her own body). Other deaths include Tengan getting his throat slashed, Juzo losing too much blood after getting stabbed and cutting his own hand off, and the real Miaya getting her neck snapped.
    • The Despair Arc’s notable casualties include almost every member in the Student Council, whose demises include getting impaled and then having your corpse forced into your partner’s body, impaling them as well (Taro and Tsubasa), and falling on a live chainsaw and decapitating your head (Asukasei), and most notably human Chiaki, who slowly dies from blood loss after getting impaled by numerous spears, but not before being progressively weakened by injuries caused by booby traps.
    • Killing Harmony’s victims are bludgeoned by a shot put ball, initially believed to have fallen on their head (Rantaro), knocked out, drowned, and then eaten by piranhas (Ryoma), knocked out and stabbed in the neck by a katana (Angie), get a sickle forced through the back of their neck (Tenko), strangled by toilet paper (Miu), shot by poisoned arrows and then crushed by a hydraulic press (Kokichi) and blown up by self-destructing (Kiibo). The executions include being asphyxiated while being literally roped into poorly playing the piano (Kaede), getting injured by thorns and buzzsaws and then falling to their death (Kirumi), being boiled alive and melted by salt as a ghost (Korekiyo), and being repeatedly stung and impaled by mechanical bugs and then burned (Gonta), and getting crushed by a giant rock (Tsumugi and Monokuma). Kaito was supposed to die the same way as Jin, but he ended up slowly succumbing to his disease and dying rather peacefully compared to the other deceased characters.
    • Speaking of V3, The Monokubs also meet rather harsh ends; Monokid and Monosuke were both crushed, Monodam walked directly into fire, Monophanie’s stomach was torn apart by a mechanical bug that forced itself out of it. Said bug decapitated Monotaro. They all come back in the final trial, only to be blown up one by one by Monokuma.
  • Darker and Edgier: In the first game, Hope's Peak Academy was portrayed as a good and noble institution, where students lived together in harmony and got a quality education, before being perverted into something horrible by the machinations of Junko Enoshima. By the second game, Hope's Peak Academy was actively defrauding hundreds of average-joe students of their parents' money just to keep financially afloat, was riddled with bullying and dysfunction that they swept under the rug to keep up their reputation, and used mad science to create the horrifically transhuman nihilist that was Izuru Kamukura. Junko only had to give it the least push to get it all to come crumbling down. Ultra Despair Girls more-or-less reveals that huge sections of the school, including the "Elementary" branch, were horribly abusive towards their students, with one kid's parents who were also teachers at the school treating him more like a lab rat than a son with the institution's apparent approval. The finale anime shows that the main course students don't even have to attend class, and are there to be studied rather than get an education. The retool first outright puts the whole human race into a Fantastic Caste System, renders the Earth uninhabitable, then cuts out the middle man and turns the whole thing into a sick lie and an In-Universe Excuse Plot for a popular Blood Sport television program in which volunteers are implanted with false "backstories", then let loose to kill each other.
  • Death Is Cheap: Monokuma says the name of this trope verbatim in V3 after he notes that his children are expendable.
  • Death Is the Only Option: Due to the dilemmic nature of Monokuma's games, bar Danganronpa 3, the cast is capable of deducing their only options through the fact that they're involved in a "kill or be killed" predicament. The trope is most relevant in Chapter 2 of V3, where the culprit kills a weak character who has no reason to live due to having to serve and protect the entire nation of Japan.
  • Deus ex Machina: Everyone who is a protagonist has this justified by having inherited luck, giving the protagonist their luck as a result of it being universal, or being related to someone who is lucky.
  • Deuteragonist: Every entry in the franchise has more than one “protagonist” besides the Player Character. The protagonist trios for the first and second games even have a nickname used in official material, the Trial Point Getters.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Chapter 5 in each of the main games, as the last murder in the game is committed, Monokuma claims the last trial will be held, and the investigation theme even receives a remix to heighten the effect. However, each main game has six chapters, with the true last chapter being about the characters solving the Ontological Mystery behind their imprisonment.
  • Dresses, Gowns and Skirts: Mainly skirts exclusively. The majority of Danganronpa's female characters have skirts but never wear complete dresses (The top half of their uniform is a more common uniform class for characters of their age group, specialized for their specific, unique character design. Exempli gratia, sailor fukus with varying tie and bowtie designs (Sayaka, Chihiro (Gender subversion), Toko/Genocide Jack/Genocide Jill, Sakura, Peko, Ibuki, Maki, Tenko, Miu), ties combined with an unusually general or generally unusual rendition of a school uniform (Kyoko, Celestia, Mahiru, Komaru, Kaede), hooded jackets (Chiaki)). Skirts are completely averted in the dress code for most prominently Aoi Asahina. Even her Future Foundation uniform is modified to lack a skirt, and instead has dark, leather shorts amalgamated with her long socks. Other female Future Foundation members who are wearing their more formal uniforms have the crux of lacking a skirt.
  • Due to the Dead: Every victim in the series, barring Rantaro Amami until Chapter 6 in Danganronpa V3 as Kaede Akamatsu was executed on false charges, is avenged by the execution of their culprit. This counts into the mastermind's defeat as well considering they're the ones forcibly obligating the people to murder in the first place (Junko Enoshima, Alter Ego Junko, the Warriors of Hope (though they survived their executions), Kazuo Tengan, and Tsumugi Shirogane).
  • Dysfunction Junction: No matter which installment it is the majority of the cast will have Hidden Depths and a Dark and Troubled Past, giving most of the "villain"s a sympathetic motive or backstory, bar Junko Enoshima herself. Monokuma will do anything he can to try and drive them to their Despair Event Horizon and as a result anyone who survives a killing game will be forced to endure a Trauma Conga Line as they watch those around them be forced to kill or be killed in return, with the characters who aren't forced into playing rarely being any better off with the murders mysteries that still surround them.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: While the characters themselves serve as interesting deconstructions of the archetypes they represent, the first game is jarringly lacking in the plot-particular Deconstructor Fleet elements the series is known for afterwards.
    • The first couple major installments usually tends to have a few main/playable characters in the story with being responsible for the events that went on in the story. Starting around Danganronpa 3, there has multiple main/playable characters with Danganronpa 3 having Makoto, Kyoko, Chisa, Ryota, Kyosuke, Chiaki, Junko, and Hajime/Izuru and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony having Kaede, Shuichi, Himiko, Maki, Keebo, Kaito, and Kokichi.
    • It should be noted that the first couple of installments lack of any direct romance and they mostly rely on Ship Tease. Starting around Danganronpa 3, a lot of characters ended up being involved in an Official Couple and they actually were involved in a direct romance.
    • The executions in later installments were much more brutal in comparison to the executions in the first two major installments.
    • The first game is the only one with the Re:Action feature.
    • Whenever a Truth Bullet is obtained in the first game, the music currently being played always starts from the beginning once again. The later games fixed this sound problem and made sure the music plays continuously.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes:
    • Byakuya Togami's lifestyle shows that his family take extreme indulgence in him, but also don't forget to enlighten him.
    • Chihiro Fujisaki has a soft, weak demeanour, and becomes a Posthumous Character after Chapter 2. The artificial intelligence he creates also leads to the Neo World Program the sequel is set in.
    • Junko Enoshima's a fashionista - simultaneously, she's an Insufferable Genius who takes pride in her fame and intelligence simultaneously, manipulating it to her own will.
    • Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu eventually becomes more of an easygoing character that the rest of the cast becomes fond of. Hiyoko also attempts to reconcile with him before she's killed by her target of her snide attitude, Mikan, out of extreme love for Junko.
    • Sonia Nevermind is a polite princess with a slightly awkward attitude and lack of knowledge about Japanese culture. Despite her outward appearance, she seems to be intelligent.
    • The Ultimate Imposter Byakya Togami is a leader who unifies the group and protects it from Monokuma's game. His death is rather sudden and the cast, along with the story, recall information about him later.
    • Hiyoko Saionji traditionally adheres to Japanese choreography, knows how to be blunt when necessary, and has a rich family that provides a lot of traditional resources for her, like Japanese candy. As is a necessity of someone whose talent relates to tradition.
    • Kaede Akamatsu is admired by everyone else once she gains their trust and unites them all to prevent them from participating in the Killing School Semester. There are also frequent moments of Ship Tease between herself and Shuichi Saihara that don't go unnoticed by anyone.
    • Miu Iruma claims that everyone loves her in-universe, since she constantly boasts about her being as a 'gorgeous girl genius with good looks and a golden brain'. Eventually her boasting turns into truth and she becomes a contributor for the events of Chapter 4 and 5, what with the creation of an electromagnetic pulse emitter and a hammer that can disable any electronic device, both inventions being significant in battling against the mastermind in the endgame.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Danganronpa V3's intentionally disappointing Deus ex Machina of an ending that ruins the fourth wall more than the other games alters the fans' perception of the series and developer intentions due to fate and their own extreme, emotional dedication to the characters, shifting it from devotion to bigot extremity. Maybe they were offended by the reveal of the audience, and how the text being used to emulate their behaviour that came to fruition after Monokuma demanded them to reveal themselves?
  • Everyone Went to School Together: 99% of the cast can be traced back to Hope's Peak Academy.
  • Expository Pronoun
  • Faceless Masses: Most extras are depicted as faceless blue (or pink for females in Another Episode) silhouettes, even if they do have distinct voice actors.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The reasons as to why the protagonist is the only one who has to stop a potentially circling debate between the characters is because the protagonist is the only one who ever actually manages to investigate thoroughly and collectively without bias, since the main goal of each trial is to save everyone from execution by pinning the identity of the only one the evidence lines up with.
  • Fanservice: A Killing Game made with sophisticated literary intention will include this.
  • Fantastic Caste System:
    • How Hope's Peak worked: students without talents were seen as cash cows, subjected to education of lesser quality while paying enormous sums of money, all that money was used to invest on the students of the main course, who had a habit of burning money away like there was no tomorrow and the school's secret experiments on talent, this eventually led to The Parade.
    • The Gifted Inmates Saga, which starts with Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is implied to have the same situation, but expanded through the country, instead of just a school. The government has the "Gifted System", which gives privileges to those who prove their talents.
  • Flashback Cut: In the premise of the entire series, this happens very frequently, mainly as a way to keep the player's memory consistent with the events the characters are conversing about and subconsciously remind them of past events. A most prominent example of this happening too often with the same event is Kyoko Kirigiri telling Makoto Naegi about Mukuro Ikusaba's identity as the 16th student, labelled as Ultimate Despair by her peers.
  • Foreshadowing: Starting with 2, the series begins Leaning on the Fourth Wall in ways that aren't Played for Laughs, often with twists that involve the story being manufactured as a 'game' by some character. In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, this is taken to its logical conclusion, with the franchise of Danganronpa being fictional and the cast, real people who have been turned into characters in the new, live-action entry, having to confront the fact that their world is fictional.
  • Gambit Roulette: In nearly every instance, the Big Bad's Evil Plan will usually be extremely risky and complicated, with a good chance of utterly collapsing from only the tiniest of random chance events going wrong. This gets lampshaded in the first game, Danganronpa Zero and Danganronpa IF: by her very nature, Junko can't stand to see a plan go perfectly and would rather insert a chance of her own failure just for the chance to feel despair. In spite of all that, The Plan almost always goes off without a hitch.
  • Genre-Busting: Many of the characters were designed with different genres in mind according to Word of God, and the series changes its genre on the drop of a hat.
  • Geodesic Cast: The casts of the two main installments in the Hope's Peak Academy saga share a number of reflective traits, with the primary difference being that one represents hope while the other represents despair, with a traitor who goes against this (Junko and Chiaki).
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Hardly a single character in the series doesn't have a sprite that involves them pointing at someone. The only type that's more common is the thinking/concentration sprite.
  • Grief Song: A murder mystery without a horrible soundtrack to immerse the audience into the scenes where people's motivations are sympathetic would never be reputable (or maybe it would), so Danganronpa includes many for outcomes of that manner.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Whenever the Player Character discovers a body (presumed dead as well, as proven by Hifumi Yamada's discovery in the 3rd chapter of Trigger Happy Havoc), a compilation of surreal sounds plays at once, concluded with a screeching at a significant point in the discover.
    • Different machinations of this sound appears depending on the game (Trigger Happy Havoc with Despair Pollution Noise Music, Goodbye Despair with Hope's Breaking Noise, and Killing Harmony with Body Discovery A to E), and there is always a subtle alteration of the original incarnation in every individual discovery too.
    • Trigger Happy Havoc's first discovery of Sayaka Maizono uses the original version of Despair Pollution Noise Music, with the screeching included.
      • The second discovery includes a more atmospheric tone, conclude with a deep impacting noise as Chihiro Fujisaki's body falls from the top of the screen, without the traditional screech.
      • The third discovery of Hifumi Yamada acting as a corpse in the nurse's office has a piano chord compiled with the screech play as the body itself drops to the floor, and the fourth discovery of Kiyotaka Ishimaru is the first discovery in the series that focuses on the protagonist's shocked expression before focusing outward on the corpse of the victim, the focusing also concluding with a piano chord. The fifth discovery including Hifumi's perishing final formation and Kiyotaka's transported corpse focuses on both the protagonist's and Byakuya Togami's expression, also concluded with a final focus on both bodies correlating with a piano chord.
      • The sixth discovery including Sakura Ogami's determined, sitting corpse has a dashing amalgamation of reversed pianos and then concluding with a higher reversed piano, as to present a complete line of shockwaves the protagonist had from touching the lack of warmth the body has. Keep in mind the victim this time is someone actively concluding the murdering, and succeeding eventually.
      • The seventh and last discovery of Mukuro Ikusaba's corpse, as used to trap Kyoko Kirigiri, operated by the mastermind enters from the sky above the corpse, and plays the traditional screech before the piano chord plays and zooms directly onto it.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Junko Enoshima tends to show up near the end of most works in the franchise eventually.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Averted. For all its focus on high school students committing murder and gruesome executions, the series is filled with genuinely good, moral people. Those who do kill are only driven to do so thanks to Monokuma's manipulations and are often remorseful about their actions. Even the remnants of despair, who've committed some of the worst crimes in the series, are given a second chance through rehabilitation.
    • Ultimately played straight, and hard, with V3, though. The reason the franchise is even going on? Every single entry in the series is part of a twisted Reality Show where the contestants are all brainwashed and refitted with a new personality, and all of the contestants, save one, was in it for fame and glory. No one even minds the fact that we're seeing hundreds of people die (enough to go on for 53 seasons) because it's all so exciting. Then again, it's not clear how much of it is real.
  • Idiot Hair: A trademark of the series protagonists. No less than six main characters have one, two of whom did not receive it until being Promoted to Playable.
  • I Reject Your Reality: How all three protagonists succeed and keep the remainder of the Killing Game participants as survivors.
    • Makoto Naegi defies Junko's word that the rural outside world from landmarks to the whole population is now surplus, telling her that hope still exists within that despair.
    • Hajime Hinata defies Junko's dilemma by encouraging everyone to pursue their futures even if they have to return as the villain, Ultimate Despair.
    • Komaru Naegi fuels herself up with the assistance of Toko's bonding, powering up a 'Hope' Truth Bullet and defeating Big Bang Monokuma.
    • Shuichi Saihara rejects fiction rather than reality in order to save the remainder of the cast from participating in another game, preventing the Danganronpa series from continuing.
  • Humble Hero: Every. Single. Protagonist. None of them act arrogantly when praised for saving everyone from death and claim that they're doing what they should be doing. In Chapter 4's trial in Danganronpa V3, this trope is finally invoked as the living cast praise Shuichi for being affable enough to work everything out about the case for them.
  • Irony: The first game reveals in Chapter 4 that the Killing Game is being broadcast to the world at large like a television show with many people tuning in. It's supposed to lead us to believe that the World and Society outside of the school is very messed up for allowing this kind of game to be held in the first place, but it all makes sense when it's revealed that the World fell to Despair and any semblance of normal life and society has been destroyed in the ensuing apocalypse, there's no order anymore. Fast forward to Danganronpa V3 when it turns out this Killing Game actually IS being held in a normal world where the Fall to Despair never happened, it's just a society who loves watching people killing each other in a reality show, and even has people begging to sign up to join in the next installment, this game marking the 53rd installment of Danganronpa in-universe.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Each entry in the franchise creates new plot threads for the next entries to pick up. It can get a bit complicated to follow everything, not to mention requires a lot of reading.
  • Lampshade Hanging: An endeavour this series partakes in frequently is this. However, different characters decide to do it in a sequence, and not only the protagonist does it, in order to establish the Morality Kitchen Sink. Danganronpa V3 is the most prone to this as it dissects characters in more depth than the previous two games, ranging from Kaede's naive will to Kirumi's constant devotion.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: This trope is Played Straight in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc by making it the main twist, and the same applies to Danganronpa 2 where it's the first motive. In Danganronpa Another Episode, this trope is averted since Komaru never had her memories removed, and Toko had hers returned. In Danganronpa V3, this trope is deconstructed over the course of the game, as the Flashback Lights give the students memories about their talents, the Gofer Project, and the remaining students their status as the new students of Hope's Peak Academy, and then subverted when the last trial reveals that these memories are all fake due to inaccuracy.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Taken Up to Eleven.
    • The first sentence in Danganronpa Zero gives away The Reveal of the first game.
    • The character roster of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (seen on the game's front cover) gives away the fate of one character from the first game.
    • By Ultra Despair Girls, the series is clearly expecting people to know everything about the previous games before even trying to look up anything about the new instalments.
    • Danganronpa Kirigiri does this to itself. The cover to the fourth volume depicts three characters who were introduced in a case in the previous book, a case of which had four people, one of whom was the culprit. While no direct visual image of the characters is shown there, enough information is given that the reader can match them to the fourth cover and the identity of the culprit (Korisu Kakitsubata) becomes obvious through exclusion.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Each game is pretty manageable cast wise, but putting them together the cast is enormous. With at least a dozen new characters introduced each game, the series has well over 50 characters, most of them very fleshed out.
  • Love Hurts: While the first game doesn't have much romance to do this, starting with Danganronpa Zero, this trope is in full effect. Needless to say, if two have some kind of romantic relationship, implied or otherwise, it is near guaranteed to end in tragedy.
  • The Many Deaths of You: Each game has many executions and methods of murder for each of the characters.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Each character has their own unique set of poses as a result of their combined talent and upbringing. For example, Makoto wouldn't imitate this sprite of Kaede because his upbringing is submissive compared to Kaede's upbringing involving performing in front of people.
  • Meta Fiction: The entire franchise is this to some degree, and it gets more obvious with each installment in the franchise, especially starting with the second game onwards.
  • Meta Guy: Byakuya Togami, Nagito Komaeda, Nagito again, and Kokichi Oma.
    • Byakuya is a meta character by thinking that the game he's playing is a game of betrayal, a life or death game, where there's only one winner and everyone else loses. He begins to show this side of his persona in Chapter 2's Daily Life, and it's countered by Chapter 4's Deadly Life. Similarly to the protagonist rivals in the two games after, Nagito and Kokichi, he thinks that the only way to win is to kill someone and make the case unsolvable. Because of the constant declaration he makes, Chapter 2 onward makes him a Red Herring culprit. In Chapter 2, he only alters the crime scene. In Chapter 3, Celestia makes a series of events transpire to frame a specific character, which is what Byakuya would likely plan as well. In Chapter 4 after finding out Sakura's role as the traitor, he becomes the most aggressive toward her, interpreting her existence as a waste and saying that everyone should be suspicious of her. The attitude he has here is also why Aoi suspects him noticeably more than Yasuhiro and Toko.
    • Nagito is an intelligent adolescent being obsessed with the philosophy of hope, desiring to create despair in order for other people's hope to thrive. It's similar to Junko's goal of creating despair for the sake of doing it, and "not yearning for despair so she doesn't have to hope for it" and vice-versa. Being the rival of the protagonist, he engineers the first murder by allowing Teruteru to hear about his own plan to start the game. This is so he can "become the class trial" and "give people an enemy so they become stronger", according to his explanation after Teruteru's exposure. Monokuma actually seems to have these intentions when he abruptly places Japan's most intelligent line of characters in a zero-sum game for the sake of despair while they don't know anything about the truth of them once being classmates. Both Junko and Nagito have a reason for their detrimental obsession with their opposing ideals, as Nagito's yearning for hope is fueled by his universally favouring luck, and Junko's yearning for despair is fueled by her ability to perfectly predict the outcome of a situation.
    • Kokichi is the example that most obviously shows that he's supposed to represent an audience's initial thoughts on what the goal of the game is. Similarly to Kyoko, he acts completely disappointed in everyone else's failure to search for a cold, hard truth to prevent mass execution, and of the opposite to what Kyoko does, he actually makes the trial sequences much longer than they should be, rather than shorter, by complaining, unnecessarily interfering, and mocking everyone else's attempts to survive Monokuma's spontaneous antics. He's also prone to intentionally keeping important information secret until an appropriate moment during the class trial because he mostly desires for the fight for everyone's life "entertaining". Likewise to Nagito, he eventually engineers a case that would be impossible to solve without his direct participation, but only in the fourth trial, by attempting to kill everyone except the most innocent, unintelligent, naive character still living, Gonta Gokuhara, and stop Monokuma's game. This murder is also initiated within the Neo World Program, an authentic simulation of the real world part of the main plot of Nagito's game.
  • Mood Whiplash: The tone can swing wildly between highs and lows. It's common for silly asides or pop culture references to appear in the middle of tragic reveals.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The moral grounds of the entire series. Hope versus despair are elaborated on in many different ways.
    • The most notable examples are Makoto and Junko. A Big Good creates a force strong enough to oppose and fight against the Big Bad once they reveal their true identity and exposition their whole plan.
    • Nagito Komaeda is basically Makoto with his values and optimism amplified to a lethal excalibur. Amplifying it as such results in the most enticing, morally manipulated murder case in the series.

    Tropes N - Z 
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The Ultimate Despair are the ones responsible for the Mutual Killing Games. Initially a small cult founded by popular high school Fashionista Junko Enoshima, they are a group that seeks to spread despair across the world. To this end, they infiltrated Hope’s Peak Academy, killed multiple students and faculty, and recruited the experiment Izuru Kamukura to their cause- with him on their side, they became unstoppable and caused mass rioting, leading to The Tragedy. As of the main story, they have become The Empire ruling over the post-Tragedy world, and employ tactics like Brainwashing, robot invasions, and the titular televised killing game to control the population.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Invoked with the protagonists until post-story alternative modes. Makoto, Hajime, and Shuichi, three completely average adolescent males who have rarely had an intimate relationship prior Junko's despair pursuing, are surrounded by unique, prodigal female characters with great voices, theatrical hair, chronically susceptible outfits exclusive to their person, and an interestingly subverted past life that leads to their role as an Ultimate. All of the protagonists, including Kaede after calling Tsumugi "sexy," make sure to not compliment anyone's appearance mentally or verbally throughout the Killing Game, while in the class trial, the rest of the cast makes more inappropriate comments than all four of them.
    • The only characters who are more obviously constantly sexually alerted to compensate for having incompetently innocent characters are Sayaka, Toko, Junko, Nagito, Teruteru, Ibuki, Tenko, Miu, and Korekiyo. The only reason as to why the protagonists are so average is to represent the personality of the player no matter how much they pay attention to the surrounding cast.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted in the first game as a plot point with Taeko Yasuhiro and Yasuhiro Hagakure. The spin-offs avert this ruthlessly, with lesser characters often sharing common names with more important ones (though sometimes the writing is different), to the point that there are no less than three unrelated characters with the first name Rei; Rei Mikagami, Rei Naruko and Rei Shimizu.
  • The Only One: The Trial Point Getters are often the only ones capable of making any major breakthroughs in the trial, while everyone else follows along. Characters who understand more than most are Kyoko, Byakuya, Nagito, Chiaki, Kokichi, and Maki.
  • Orgy of Evidence: The game's framejobs almost always turn out like this, with the 3rd case in the first game looking so damning that one character starts calling it a setup before the trial has begun. The second case in the second game meanwhile ends up making the patsy an impossibility as far as suspects go because of all the inconsistencies in her characterization with the evidence left behind.
  • Plot Armor: Makoto Naegi's unpredictable luck, Nagito Komaeda's universal luck, Komaru Naegi's relation to Makoto, and Shuichi Saihara's role as the detective-by-luck. Kaede Akamatsu doesn't count as her pianist role doesn't allow her luck that keeps her alive; it only gives her more charisma and will than the previous protagonists.
  • Prolonged Video Game Sequel: Danganronpa has this as a tendency among the main games, with each game being considerably bigger and longer than the ones prior. This reaches a peak in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, in which the first trial alone can last up to three hours, not counting the rest of the chapter.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Monokuma. He sounds like a young adult, has the values of a young adult, has the sense of humour of a senile man, and has the quirks, and perception of humour of a child...and that's likely the only simplistic way to surmise his personality.
    • Hifumi Yamada also counts as this in Chapter 3 by assisting Celestia in her plan because of her manipulative abilities.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Played straight and likely invoked with the entire series since the script is written by adults. Everyone involved in the series may be teenagers, but them being intelligent shouldn't allow them to be Sophisticated as Hell so cleanly. However, they have their occasional moments of silence, disgust, anguish or confusion due to their situation and lack of internal knowledge.
  • Recurring Element: The franchise is known by having several, and as far as the main series games' casts go, all of them have:
    • A pretty generic protagonist (compared to their classmates) with an ahoge that expresses some insecurity towards their talents and end up with an Implied Love Interest (Makoto, Hajime, Shuichi). The ‘insecurity’ part is especially prominent with Hajime and Shuichi. Kaede could’ve broken that trend, but you know…
    • A student with a Non-Standard Character Design (Hifumi, Teruteru, Ryoma) that all die in the first half of the story. All of them killed someone else at some point (although Ryoma only did it in his backstory) and died playing different roles in different chapters: Ryoma was a victim in Chapter 2, Teruteru was Chapter 1’s killer, and Hifumi was both a victim and a killer in Chapter 3.
    • A Big Guy that dies in the fourth chapter (Sakura, Nekomaru, Gonta). Nekomaru is a victim, Gonta is a culprit, and Sakura is both due to her committing suicide. Additionally, in the first two games, the character embodying this archetype has an athletic talent (Martial Artist and Team Manager) and befriends the characters representing the recurring element below.
    • An Ambiguously Brown girl whose name starts with A (Aoi, Akane, Angie). Hina and Akane share even more similarities because they have an athletic talent (Hina is a swimmer and Akane is a gymnast), befriend the Big Guy of their group, and survive their respective killing games.
    • A student that cannot initially remember their talent (Kyoko, Hajime, Rantaro).
    • A particularly smart, but morally gray Jerkass that antagonizes the other students, tends to solve cases quicker than the others but abstains from blatantly spitting out facts, and makes it very far in their killing games (Byakuya, Nagito, Kokichi).
    • A cheerier, but oftentimes stupider than average Cloudcuckoolander that acts like a “bro” to the protagonist and also makes it very far in their killing games (Yasuhiro, Kazuichi, Kaito)
    • A Token Mini-Moe character who looks far younger than someone in their late teens (Chihiro, Hiyoko, Himiko). Coincidentally, they all play an important part in their respective games’ second cases.
    • A student whose talent represents their leadership of a criminal organization (Mondo, Fuyuhiko, Kokichi again).
    • A girl whose talent is related to music in some capacity (Sayaka, Ibuki, Kaede).
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: If Monokuma (and most of his fellow mascots) sporting one wasn't a clue the presence of at least one red eyed character in every installment of a murder mystery based series is bound to cause either some examples or subversions of this. As an added bonus every single red-eyed character seen so far has continued the trend set up by Monokuma by continuing his "dangerous duo persona" motif to varying extents.
  • Red Herring: Each murder case has a red herring in order to give the player expectations to have subverted. A single red herring example is in Danganronpa 2's first case, where Nagito uses his fake murder plan to cover and cooperate with the murderer. A double red herring is in Danganronpa 1's second case, where Byakuya uses Mondo's plan to frame Genocide Jack as well as himself once his alterations to the crime scene are revealed. Danganronpa V3's cases have triple red herrings, such as the second and third case where Himiko is implicated, but isn't actually able to commit the crimes involved in those cases.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Hope's Peak Academy actually exists to avert this, collecting high schoolers with exceptional talents for the decades (the first games cast belonging to the 78th year) and helping guarantee them a successful future. Hajime even says that many leaders of various industries are alumni of the school. The effects this has had on society are noticeable, with things like advanced robotics and AIs being somewhat commonplace.
  • Religion of Evil: While merely implied in the first game by the Monokuma masks worn by the rioters, the lines drawn between the Ultimate Despair get more explicitly compared to a cult in the sequel when Monokuma is describing their mantra of having no purpose behind the despair they cause, only spreading despair as an offering to "their god." By Another Episode, someone even outright tells a member of the Warriors of Hope that they were all swayed into joining a cult by Junko's honeyed words delivered in their most vulnerable hour.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The entire series is full of traits that ensure this trope. Characters' dialogue noticeably becomes more metatheatrical when talking about the way the Killing Game works, Monokuma's suspiciously specific way of describing the actions of said characters makes more sense when reading the story from the villains' side, and the protagonists' basic thought process being described as 'plain' and 'predictable' makes sense when the player themselves isn't paying attention to another character's dialogue and taking all exposition for granted.
  • Rotating Protagonist: In order to justify the series' anonymous way of distributing information, each game's protagonist is different. This produces an In-Universe consistency of the characters having different upbringings, memories, information, and moral-political compasses.
    • Makoto Naegi is the first protagonist to encounter in the series, who is brought up again with an evolved personality in Danganronpa 3's Future Arc, a reliant personality in Hope Arc, and devoid of personality in Despair Arc. He is related to Komaru, and so their upbringings are similar, but he is more firm in his optimistic beliefs. He represents the 'Hope' section of the series, the part that ends with him saving his Class 78th, and the rest of Class 77-B from Junko Enoshima, giving her a totally outnumbering despair from her defeat.
    • Hajime Hinata is the second protagonist, and has his arc as a Reserve Course student set out in Despair Arc, and he returns in Hope Arc to combat with Future Foundation. He is less optimistic and uses logistics more than Makoto does, which makes him more determined to find the killer and doubt the other students than the other protagonists. As a Reserve Course student, Hajime's firmer, broader personality is more of a shock to the students as he doesn't have an inhereted or assigned talent, like Class 77th and 78th or Makoto, respectively. He represents the 'Despair' section of the series by being associated with the Ultimate Despair cast in the sequel.
    • Komaru Naegi is Makoto's little sister, who was a victim of Junko's plan to spread despair across the world and is the only protagonist that can be played in the outside world itself, where the Tragedy is transpiring. Her moral compass is constantly debating between hope and despair, and is indecisive on what expidites a bigger benefit. While this compass evolves throughout the game, it is being used as data for Monaca in order to make her into Junko's successor. She represents the general indecisiveness between black and white, and decides to be neutral by attempting to protect both the children and the adults from forthcoming tragedy.
    • Kaede Akamatsu has ambiguous upbringings [use Dangan Salmon to add information about her past here]. All that's mentioned is that she constantly played the piano in her youth and was rewarded for having talent. Her personality is similar to Makoto's, except her optimism is amplified to the maximum in a different way from Nagito, who only had Makoto's ideals of hope amplified. She believed that they could escape right after Monokuma announced the Kiling School Semester [and used an escape route Gonta found], that everyone would escape alive together, and that Shuichi's plan to capture the mastermind would work [although she actually didn't due to her belief that the mastermind would shift the time limit until mass execution back, so interfering with her own plan].
    • Shuichi Saihara is an unconfident yet affable character who doesn't appreciate finding out about the truth of someone else's murder due to a vengeful culprit he uncovered in the past finding seething anger toward him an appropriate response. While completely normal and predictable, his personality is being meek and lacking confidence due to having his talent rather than not having one. Kaede is his companion of contrast for the first chapter of the game, until she's executed by Monokuma and he replaces her.
  • R-Rated Opening: Unlike Doki Doki Literature Club!, this series doesn't specifically have a warning based around the visuals of people's deaths that can be read clearly before entering the menu. So, instead the Greater-Scope Villain Monokuma warns the protagonist and the viewers of the Killing Game concept, and the brutality of it. As Danganronpa is a grand way to teach people who don't want to directly socialise with anyone human out of an intense fear of being discriminated, the warning being placed into the story after an innocent opening of the student admiring the academytwice and a student exiting a locker in confusion, is a more entertaining method of warning those who desire to learn creatively about the world surrounding them in a more creative spotlight about how much betrayal and shocks, or "Thrills, chills, kills!" they'll receive. ...Oh, that and when the first game in the series is started, the player is introduced to Monokuma executing a blindfolded adult with intense atmospheric heat.
  • School Forced Us Together:
    • Invoked. Most games involve classes of students being forced to participate in a mutual killing game with a school setting.
    • Heavily exploited by the mastermind in Danganronpa V3. None of the students knew each other prior to waking up in the school and all have drastically different personalities and backgrounds. Nonetheless, they form relationships with each other during their stay. After The Reveal it turns out the characters were originally fans who auditioned to be on the killing game reality show, Danganronpa, and had their personalities and memories fabricated to satisfy the audience.
  • School for Scheming: Hope's Peak Academy is outed as a rather realistic example, being horrifically corrupt and damaging to everyone involved. By Danganronpa 3, it's practically the Greater-Scope Villain of the series.
  • Series Mascot: Monokuma for the franchise and the first game in particular. Each game also has its own specific 'mascot' character.
  • Self-Deprecation: Throughout the series, the script slowly becomes more prone to mocking its use of 'convenience' tropes, almost as if to mock its feeble first attempt.
    • The entirety of Danganronpa 2 uses this trope.
    • After Sakura's suicide, no other mutual killing game features someone independently committing suicide as a victim for other people's cause. Instead, it tricks the player: Mikan strangles Ibuki in the music venue and then hung her corpse on the stage bar, Gundham and Nekomaru planned to duel each other and have only one winner despite Monokuma's rules, Nagito inhaled poison that caused him to release a spear into his abdomen, Ryoma didn't insert himself into the piranha tank because of its height, and Tenko was propelled upward into the weapon via a loose floorboard.
    • Another Episode is an entire game made to deprecate the idea of the characters having convenience, and how their only justification is inherited luck. Makoto is the establishing protagonist of the series, and so it can be assumed that his legacy post-the first game is other characters being lucky with their survival.
    • Danganronpa V3 mocks the entire concept of the Killing Game by giving the characters snide comments to make about their ambiguous situation, and also includes an alternate universe where characters from the first, second, and fourth main games never had to experience Junko's despair addiction apocalypse.
  • She's Got Legs: Major amounts of female characters have abnormally large thighs as Fanservice for the zealots of the franchise, making the female characters who have their fat thighs exposed very subtle epitomes of Ms. Exposition and Ms. Fanservice. Protagonists themselves never. Remark. ONCE—in Danganronpa itself about the capacity of fat a female character's thighs contain.
  • Shmuck Bait: Monokuma's motives. Every single one of them. And every student that falls directly or indirectly for them seems to be caught right into Monokuma's execution procedure. Celestia Ludenberg plays right into the money, and Kaede defies the mastermind by attempting to kill them, not out of stress from being killed by a time limit ending but strong will.
  • Signature Style: The fusion of bright colors, wild and wacky character designs inside uncanny environments with realistic and brutal imagery, or as the creators call it, "Psycho Pop." However, for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony the style becomes a variation of it called "Psycho Cool".
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: Serial killer Genocide Jack (also known as Toko Fukawa) is attracted to blonde young capitalist Byakuya Togami, swordswoman pseudo-serial killer Peko Pekoyama has a relationship between herself and blonde yakuza Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu, and anthropologist-serial killer Korekiyo Shinguji decided to kill Angie Yonaga (who has white hair but outside of their own universe that would more plausibly be considered light blonde) out of the fear that she would tell the others about his construction of a seesaw trap.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Every character bar the mastermind metaphorically does this by having their memories of it first happening being removed. Komaru, despite not adhering to the trope, still knew too little about the Tragedy because she was imprisoned.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: The series as a whole slides back and forth between both sides, though how much depends on the installment. Things like murders, class trials, and executions are counterbalanced by funny dialogue, cartoonish sound effects, and the sheer absurdity of some of the situations. Not to mention the main villain is a sadistic robot teddy bear.
  • Strictly Formula:
    • As the franchise goes on, a lot of patterns keep popping up per chapter:
      Chapter 1: A heavily advertised character, one presented as important to the plot or who seems to have ties to previous casts, is killed/executed (Sayaka, the Imposter, Kaede, Yuta). The first attempt at murder doesn't kill the intended target (Sayaka was trying to kill Leon but got killed herself, Teruteru was aiming for Nagito, Kaede tried to kill the mastermind). The first execution is usually one of the most brutal to set the tone. The first culprit falls under Monokuma's provocations, causing a rift between the group and a promise to never murder again in order to halt a potential trial.
      Chapter 2: A murder occurs because someone flew off the handle due to something in their past (Mondo/Chihiro, Peko/Mahiru, Kirumi/Ryoma). Usually a tragic reasoning. The victim has an opposing connection to the culprit, which results in a more complicated murder case than the first. First cases are established as tutorials for the players and the cast while the second cases are established as unforgivable, usually leading to no one further wanting to continue with Monokuma's game's internal laws.
      Chapter 3: Double murder (Kiyotaka/Hifumi, Hiyoko/Ibuki, Angie/Tenko), with one of the victims being a comic relief character getting shooed out (Hifumi, Ibuki, Tenko). The murderer also does it for a completely unsympathetic reason (Money, "love", transporting a surfeit of females to a deceased sibling, also female). Additionally, the secondary murder victim being a comic relief character is the circumstance that causes the next murder case to be for a noble reason. The culprit having an unsympathetic motive most likely is a result of Monokuma not being fair over the last two culprits, attempting to reconcile with him by working according to his own unsympathetic motives for creating a torturous game.
      Chapter 4: Big Guy Fatality Syndrome is in full effect (Sakura, Nekomaru, Gonta). The trial ends in a Tear Jerker and the death was committed for a noble cause (Mitigate the internal conflict of the group and motivate them to unite, release the group from the captivation of the Funhouse, attempt a mercy kill so no one can gain witness to the apocalyptic outside world). After finding out that submitting to Monokuma the first time when he gets the satisfaction only, the second time when Monokuma's atrocious adamant idea to have everyone participate is highlighted, or third time when someone decides to be as unsympathetic, doesn't allow anyone's survival to be pertained as they themselves desire, the culprit allows someone to die for the sake of the rest of the group's survival in order to remove the rift participating has caused.
      Chapter 5: One of the main characters is in danger, pretty much sought out by the mastermind (Kyoko and Makoto, Nagito and Chiaki, Maki and Kokichi). The murder is part of a trap/larger plan rather than an end in itself (stop Kyoko's investigation, kill the Despair members, fool the mastermind). The class trial is blatantly unfair (Monokuma himself is the culprit, and he forces a premature voting time; the Blackened "culprit" is randomized and unidentifiable; the victim is unidentifiable and the primary suspect is allowed to remain anonymous in the class trial). The last death is especially brutal, but it sets the stage for the Killing Game ending once and for all (Mukuro is stabbed by multiple spears, her corpse is then combusted. The identity of the mastermind is found out through this act, however, and is defeated at the end of the game; Nagito mutilates himself to have his prompted murder appear as a torture act, is forced to inhale poison and is stabbed in the abdomen with a spear, accidentally done by the traitor assigned by the Future Foundation, Chiaki Nanami; Kokichi has a duo of poisonous arrows shot at him for Maki's interrogation as she wants a clear explanation for 'his role' as a 'Remnant of Despair' to be his dying words, and has to crush himself under a hydraulic press before the poison infects the flow of his blood entirely as to save Maki from execution). The trial ends in the execution for a character among the main group (Makoto (though he survives), Chiaki (despite being an AI), Kaito) and the last victim is always an antagonistic character (Mukuro, Nagito, Kokichi). For the player, this case is a demonstrative battle of hope and despair, preparing them for what the mastermind is capable of when they attempt to participate in the game themselves anonymously.
      Chapter 6: The Mastermind is revealed, the truth of their situation comes out. It's usually a person that no one expected (Junko, Izuru Kamukura and Junko again, Kazuo, Monaca, Tsumugi). After the fifth case's demonstration of the mastermind's ability to form a second rift in the group after the one already existing is removed in the fourth case, the entire sixth trial is dedicated to the true battle between hope and despair where the cast locate who the mastermind is and make sure the ones who have survived extremely complicated, appropriately prodigal murder cases that would result in mass execution if one person never found any condemning evidence themselves survive as a remainder.
    • Danganronpa 3 - Side:Future doesn't have Chapters like its parent games did, but it still follows the formula: Chisa is killed off early, Bandai is killed because of Juzo furiously hitting someone, Gozu dies, Ruruka gets one of the gorier deaths, Kyoko's rule is rigged in the Mastermind's favor either way and almost dies, Juzo's death sets the endgame in motion (and in some fashion succumbs to Big Guy Fatality Syndrome as well) and the Mastermind wasn't exactly expected.
    • In a grimly amusing example, even the very first killing game runs through the above plot points in the 5 minutes that it lasted. Ikuta, the most outspoken member, gets shot point blank by Mukuro to get the other kids to play along. Karen goes off the handle once when she figures out her mom's been kidnapped. Tsubasa and Taro get killed by a very bitter Kurosaki. Hino actively antagonized Kamukura, and had the grimmest death out of the cast through getting his head torn up by falling on his own chainsaw. The mastermind was Junko, a girl who wasn't involved with the student council at all, and it's revealed afterward to Kamukura that the whole thing was being used to brainwash people into despair through an altered video of their deaths. They even have a missing member; when it was all over, Murasame managed to escape without anyone noticing.
    • One franchise staple is an Advertised Extra who gets promoted as a main character and then wasted in the first chapter:
      • On the first game pre-release, Sayaka Maizono is presented as Makoto's love interest. She is the first victim, and the real Deuteragonist ends up being Kyoko Kirigiri.note 
      • In Danganronpa 2, both Nagito and Byakuya are played up as important during the pre-release stage, especially since Byakuya is one of the characters from Danganronpa 1. The fat Byakuya is an imposter who got killed in Chapter 1, while you are playing as Hajime with Nagito as his foil...although the player temporarily controls Nagito in Chapter 4's investigation sequence.
      • In Danganronpa 3, Chisa Yukizome is presented as one of the few reasonable Future Foundation members and is the narrator in the trailer. She dies in the first episode of Side:Future; she is still important in Side:Despair, but as we found out eventually she is an Ultimate Despair.
      • In Danganronpa V3's early advertisement, it was hinted that the protagonist would be the robotic Makoto Expy that was later named Keebo. The second PV reveals that the protagonist would actually be Kaede Akamatsu, a character not revealed in the early material, and she became heavily promoted. Then it turns out she is a Decoy Protagonist, being the culprit in Chapter 1 and thus executed, leading to Shuichi becoming the real protagonist. However it was followed by Keebo temporarily, when Shuichi suffers a Heroic BSoD in Chapter 6.
    • Something related to the medium an installment is done in will play an important role.
      Games/Programming: Chihiro's self-learning AI in 1, the Neo World Program in 2, Komaru and Touko being railroaded right where the Warriors of Hope want them in Absolute Despair Girls.
      Books: Otonashi's journal in Zero, the Despair Book in the Togami novels.
      Manga: The Mad Artist author in Killer Killer.
      Anime: Ryota's "hope anime" in 3.
      Series-wide: Monokuma's constant gestures to the audience in all the installments he appears, and the very concept of a successful killing game franchise in V3.
    • By the time V3 was announced this trope had been played so common that there are quite enough fans to guess the above points, although V3 made a habit of playing with the formula while still sticking to it, creating a mind game effect.
  • Speech-Centric Work: Another Episode aside. Even the "action" segments largely involve talking aggressively in dramatic debates.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Danganronpa or Dangan Ronpa? Both spelling have been officially used, though you can usually tell how long someone's been a fan of the series by how they spell it. Fans who got into the series through the NISA translations spell it as one word, while fans who have played the unofficial fan-translation that came out years before spell it as two words.
  • Stylistic Suck: The game completely fails to hide that the vast majority of the world is largely flat planes, even the characters. Part of this joke even extends to the occasional Monokuma Copy you find in the game, which, more often than not, are basically a flat cut-out of Monokuma.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Nearly every killer in the series is this due to legitimately having a duress defense for their actions or having their moral agency compromised in some other way. The only clear-cut aversion is series Big Bad Junko Enoshima.
  • Total Party Kill: Very nearly accomplished on the authority of the mastermind by adding an even more trepidatious dilemma on top of "kill or be killed" in Danganronpa 2's fourth and fifth case, and Danganronpa V3's first case. In the former two, Monokuma uses hunger as a way to kill the remaining cast after his previous attempts at executing everyone didn't work, and Nagito becomes an Unwitting Pawn by having his obsession with hope manipulated into Monokuma's grasp by getting the remaining cast bar Chiaki executed so Junko's Egopolis plan can be somewhat purused. In the latter, Monokuma tells everyone that if they don't kill within a two day time period with the additional advantage of a perk that allows them to leave the conflicting situation themselves, all of the cast would be killed by multiple Monokuma units with the assistance of Motherkuma.
  • Troperiffic: Danganronpa can be most appropriately summarised as an 'experimental parody', since its concept is based on omnipresent clichés in fictional works, an amalgam with the fourth wall seemingly not existing to the viewer. Self-aware is what it is.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: So far, it has been some sort of trend with tritagonists, Another Episode excluded, i.e. Makoto, Byakuya, Kyoko in the first game, Hajime, Nagito and Chiaki in the second, and Shuichi, Kaito, and Maki in the third. In Danganronpa 3 the dynamic belongs to Kyosuke, Juzo, and Chisa though they're not exactly the main characters, and the dynamic is inverted with Makoto, Kyoko, and Aoi. V3 has an inversion as well, given that the sole survivors of the game are Shuichi, Maki, and Himiko.
  • Up to Eleven: As a franchise, Danganronpa takes the concept it has and manipulates everything to its advantage. For example, it's take on Meta Fiction growns deeper and deeper with each new Visual Novel.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Danganronpa is centred around a lot of philosophical speech involving slow pacing and long reaction times. As such, it involves long explanation of how something works and what "the killer did" in complete detail.
  • Villain-Based Franchise: Monokuma is a very murderous bear.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: At first it may seem like the complete opposite of this type of story since Makoto Naegi is an innocent Hope Bringer protagonist who is ecstatic about participating in Hope's Peak Academy's student body. But by the end of the story of each game, it turns out the villains plan everything for the cast of presumed heroes to react to; the less discrete examples being the motives and the executions, where Monokuma tests every student's will with the motives and their ability to witness a crueler form of dying than the original case in the executions.
  • Visible Silence: This occurs too frequently between members of the cast.
  • Walking Spoiler: This series is mostly comprised of murder mysteries (emphasis on both murder and mysteries). The series is almost impossible to talk about without spoiling anything, and almost everything about the series can potentially spoil something; this includes the characters’ fates, the truth behind each murder, the origins of the killing games, and even character secrets such as their own talents. A fair amount of students are impossible to talk about without spoiling a huge or important section of the plot, with the biggest examples being Junko, Nagito, and Kaede.
  • Widget Series: Not always, but it certainty has its moments when Monokuma is involved.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Celestia Ludenberg, Sayaka Maizono, Chiaki Nanami, Ibuki Mioda, Sonia Nevermind, and Maki Harukawa.
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