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Alright, folks! The final day of your precious carefree school life has arrived! Whether that makes you wanna jump for joy or weep till ya die, doesn't matter! This is it! So for the rest of the day, do your very tippy-toppy best!
Monokuma, Danganronpa 1.2 Reload
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 and even criminals. Students with these extraordinary talents are given an "Ultimate X" titlenote .

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.

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 invokedWord 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:

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    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: Unlike most examples, Danganronpa uses this as the earth-shattering reveal (rather than an openly-presented selling point) in the first game. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is set in an environment where students are trapped for a long period of time and forced to kill each other. Why don't the police ever show up? An event, known as the Tragedy, happened that caused a huge worldwide conflict, and there are no police or even people to control what is happening inside the school. Plenty of people tried to rescue them, but were killed by the heavy weaponry installed around the school. 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 — at least, for the areas that are not directly controlled by Ultimate Despair — 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 the Unreliable Expositor Big Bad. By the second game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, we learn that Junko was telling the truth about the Tragedy, but that things are starting to look better thanks to the efforts of the Future Foundation in successfully overthrowing the Ultimate Despair and capturing 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 game accomplishes this goal rather well.
    • 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 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.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: For a Recurring Element. Ambiguously Brown girls whose names starts with A (Aoi, Akane, Angie).
  • 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 installments of the series are ordered.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The cast, locations, cases, and a new Ontological Mystery, 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.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: The entire series is based around lampshading tropes, whether they be anime tropes, action tropes, or coincidence tropes. It simply doesn't hesitate to debate and debunk its own logic to get an answer from itself.
  • 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, Kyousuke Munakata, and Shuji Fujigawa wanting to kill everyone associated with despair even if they are children brainwashed against their will, friends of those in despair, or everyone in the world respectively, and especially Chairman Kazuo Tengan, who wants to brainwash the entire world into feeling nothing but hope 24/7, creating his own killing game to make that happen. 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.
  • Character Death: One of the most significant parts of the series is that characters die. And when they do, they never come back. The exception to this is Trial 6 in the first game, due to Junko Enoshima, of whom died in Chapter 1, returning to the cast as her true self. And then dying after that return, and then returning throughout the series over and over again. The other exception to this is Danganronpa 2, ignoring Chiaki- and even then the "dead" characters remain unconscious until Danganronpa 3.
  • 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: Hope’s Peak Academy accepts students for one talent and one talent only, and “talents” can range from actual occupations, to hobbies, to crimes, to simply being born into certain conditions. Naturally, this is deconstructed throughout the series in many ways:
    • The talents do play a role in the games’ plots, but the killing game setting seldom allows the students to use their skills at their full potential.
    • The characters have other interests and skills beyond the reasons why they became Hope’s Peak students. For example, although her Ultimate Talent is swimming, Hina is sporty in general and is on several sports teams. Children are drawn to Maki despite her disdain for them, which allows her to masquerade as a child caregiver before Kokichi outs her as an assassin. Leon is so good at baseball he remains the best player on his team without going to practice, but dislikes the sport and would rather become a musician.
    • The talent-based hierarchy normalized by Hope’s Peak convinces some characters that they are worthless without their status as Ultimates. This is especially the case in Danganronpa 2, with Hajime and Nagito having severe inferiority complexes over their talents, or lack thereof in Hajime’s case, that clash with their worship of Hope’s Peak and the idea of talent in general.
    • Some of the students’ talents force them to associate with themselves with the darker parts of their lives on a daily basis, such as Nagito’s supernatural luck cursing him with diseases and dead parents, Mikan’s nursing skills originating from her being forced to fix her wounds when no one else would, Maki’s role as an assassin being something she was coerced into, Ryoma’s tennis skills getting him involved with the mafia that killed his loved ones, and Shuichi being guilt ridden by his crime solving skills convicting a Sympathetic Murderer, which he is forced to do again throughout the killing game, including to his closest friends in the cast.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Nearly every murder and execution is worthy of that title, with special mention to the executions since they are not only flashier and more violent, but there's the extra layer of humiliation that comes with them being themed-around the culprits' talents, desires, and/or general interests:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • The very first moment of the series is Jin Kirigiri’s execution, which involves a blindfolded Jin trapped in a spaceship, a spaceship of which gets forcefully blasted into orbit, only to then crash back into Earth at full speed, disintegrating everything making up Jin’s body except for his skeleton.
      • Mukuro, while pretending to be her sister, is impaled by several spears courtesy of said sister.
      • Leon is pelleted by a thousand baseballs at high speed
      • Mondo forcefully spins so fast, he is liquefied and turned into butter.
      • Celeste is slowly burned alive, before finally perishing when a firetruck runs her over.
      • Alter-Ego is repeatedly smashed by an excavator.
      • Kyoko is crushed by a compactor in the bad ending.
      • Junko goes through all the previous executions, and the compactor is what finally kills her.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
      • Teruteru gets covered in batter, and is then dropped into a volcano that fries him alive.
      • Peko is forced to attack samurai dummies as Monokuma puppeteers her, accidentally injures Fuyuhiko, and is then stabbed in the back by one of the dummies.
      • Mikan is blasted into space, but what kills her is never revealed.
      • Gundham is trampled by animals.
      • Nagito stabs himself in every limb, then tricks the other surviving students into a throwing a poisonous smoke bomb, leading to Nagito inhaling the poison and releasing a spear he set up to impale him in the abdomen.
      • Chiaki and Monomi are crushed by giant Tetris blocks.
    • Danganronpa 3: Future Arc:
      • Bandai, Izayoi, and Koichi are killed by poison that turns half their body purple and makes the eye of that half release blood after violating their NG codes, unintentionally on Bandai and Izayoi's part.
      • After being brainwashed into comitting suicide, Yukizome stabs herself in the abdomen, the Great Gozu gouges his eyes out, Seiko crucifies and stabs herself, and Ruruka chokes herself with candy and mutilates her body.
      • The real Miaya is killed off-screen by Monaca, who snaps her neck.
    • Danganronpa 3: Despair Arc:
      • Almost every member of the Student Council dies horrifically, with some highlights such as 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).
      • Human!Chiaki slowly dies from blood loss after getting impaled by numerous spears, but not before being progressively weakened by injuries caused by booby traps.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Kaede is simultaneously asphyxiated and stoned to death while being literally roped into poorly playing the piano.
      • Ryoma is knocked out, then forced to drown, and his corpse is later eaten by piranhas.
      • Kirumi is continuously injured by thorns and buzzsaws, and then falls to her death.
      • Korekiyo is boiled alive and melted by salt as a ghost.
      • Gonta is repeatedly stung by mechanical bugs, his abdomen is impaled by a robotic mantis, and Monokuma finishes him off by incinerating him.
      • Kokichi is shot by poisoned arrows and then crushed by a hydraulic press.
      • Kaito is quite possibly the only aversion. He 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.
  • Dangerously Garish Environment: The game is known for its signature 'psycho pop' style, using flashy colors, hot pink blood and clashing patterns to contrast the morbid, psychological nature of the Killing Games. The Funhouse in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair accentuates this, having bright red and green walls covered with the images of strawberries and grapes, with a trial ground full of obnoxious patterns and colors.
  • Darker and Edgier: Each game steadily reveals more and more of the bleak state of the world and the corruption within Hope’s Peak Academy. 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.
  • Deadly Game: The franchise’s, especially the main series, bread and butter. Teenagers are trapped and forced to live together under strict rules established by “headmaster” Monokuma. If they want to escape, they have to kill a fellow classmate and get away with it, and not just by killing someone when no one else is watching. Culprits have to wait for other people to find their victim’s body. Once a corpse is found by at least three people, the surviving students have to investigate and figure out who the killer is in a class trial. If the culprit is successfully outed, then they will be executed in front of their former classmates. If the students fail to solve the mystery, then the culprit will get to “graduate”, aka escape with their life, and everyone else will be executed instead. The killing games also have individual rules depending on the installment.
  • 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 Danganronpa 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.
  • Dramatic Irony: Intertwines with Right for the Wrong Reasons and Cassandra Truth. On occasion, more than once in some trials, characters have the correct suspicions for a certain character's relevance in a murder case.
    • Hiyoko accused Fuyuhiko of killing Mahiru in revenge for Mahiru covering up the killing of his little sister. She turned out to be correct, but not in the way she anticipated. He instigated the meeting with her, along with being the one who planned to finally kill her in an ironc revenge, but the person who killed Mahiru finally was Peko.
    • Himiko was correct in suspecting Maki had shot Kaito with a crossbow, purely out of desperate accusation and conviction. She knew that Maki could make her own crossbow and use it.
  • 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.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: It’s standard practice for a game to save some earth-shattering revelations about both the game itself and the state of the world for the very last chapter and trial.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: 99% of the cast can be traced back to Hope's Peak Academy.
  • The Executioner: Monokuma is an example of a Psycopath Executioner. He is responsible for executing the students who have been found guilty of killing another student, or broken his rules. He gets outright ecstatic over having the chance of executing someone, shouting proudly in his insane manner of speaking "IT'S PUNISHMENT TIME!" before the execution begins.
  • 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: Occasionally pops up in the main storylines, but all main series games have secret scenes that have plenty of it:
  • 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.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Super High School Level Luck, beginning as a plot device to get an ordinary high school student protagonist into the same school as a bunch of Ultimates, is retconned into an actual intrinsic ability that Hope’s Peak scouts for by random drawing, and it’s considered one of the more prized talents by the staff.
    • Seems to be the unofficial motto of Hope’s Peak in general. Whether you’re the best teenage neurosurgeon or swimmer or mangaka or programmer, they want you. Even if your talent is abstract and only barely distinguishable (30% success rate) in your field, if it’s recognizably the best, you’re a guaranteed student.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Junko Enoshima tends to show up near the end of most works in the franchise.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Averted. For all its focus on high school students committing murder and gruesome executions, the series is filled with some 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.
  • 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.
  • Idiot Ball: This is rather common to the series. In spite of all the sharp observations and specific flashbacks made by the cast on average, they do act highly oblivious to something as clear as daylight to the player. A glaring example of this is in Chapter 3 of Dananronpa V3 when no one, bar Kokichi and Miu, had a true, straightforward suspicion for Korekiyo being the culprit, both because of the fact that he adored the katana that killed Angie in his research lab, and because he held responsibility for performing the séance that killed Tenko. Even though he was always a suspicious person that could kill at any time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Intentional Mess Making: This is a surprisingly rare tactic for killers, as most tend to clean up the crime scene to avoid leaving evidence behind.
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Celestia has Hifumi spray blood everywhere to fake his death before killing him for real not long after. This actually gives away what happened as after the class mistakenly pronounced him dead, he wiped off his glasses in order to navigate the hallways, so they were clean when his corpse was found.
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Nagito does this in an extremely disturbing fashion. He ties himself up and stabs his limbs with a knife to make it appear as though he was tortured, and sets up several Monokuma cutouts by the doorway so when the other students rush in, the cutouts will fall over like dominoes and start a fire by knocking over an oil lighter. The end result is an extremely confusing and messy crime scene that obscures what actually went down.
    • In New Danganronpa V 3, Korekiyo covers up his murder of Angie by taking her body from the spare room he killed her in and leaving it in her lab where he takes some swords and stabs her effigies which hang from the ceiling, obfuscating the fact that he spun one around to catch the sliding lock on the door when he exited, creating a locked-room mystery. When the students enter, the whole place looks like a horror show.
  • 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 with the History of Hope's Peak.
  • 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 Main Characters Do Everything: Or, at least, main character. Whenever the trial happens and a corpse is discovered, the only peer of the group who does a thorough investigation and carry everyone through to the end of the killing game with completely accurate information, deduction, and skepticism is The Protagonist, except Kyoko Kirigiri, who shows to be perfectly capable of carrying everyone through the murder trials by herself despite not actually doing so, acting as Makoto's Stealth Mentor.
  • 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 successfully brought down most world governments, and employ tactics like Brainwashing, robot invasions, and the titular televised killing game to further spread despair throughout the population.
  • No Fourth Wall: The series has loved fourth-wall breaking meta jokes right from the first game's prologue, and this gets taken farther and farther as the series goes on until it's taken to its peak in the ending of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, where the remaining students find out they are fictional characters in a video game and TV series called Danganronpa.
  • Not Afraid of Hell: In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Gundham makes a Badass Boast just before being executed, claiming he will 'fill Hell with true hell'. After the execution, he is ironically being portrayed as going to heaven instead.
  • 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.
  • Ontological Mystery: Every killing game has its participants’ memories partially wiped out or reconstructed to fit the way the game is designed. When they’re not busy solving cases or trying to relax, the students investigate the place they’re trapped in to figure out why they’re here to begin with.
  • 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.
  • Overly Long Name: Although some games and mangas have exaggeratedly long names in Japan; a example in-universe, and existing in both versions released in Japan and in the West, is The Tragedy, or also known as The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History and also known as The Worst, Most Despair-inducing Incident in the History of Mankind. It is so absurd that some characters recognize this and refuse to say the whole name.
  • Plot Armor: All the protagonists, with the exception of Kaede. However, Makoto is almost executed on false charges in the first game, and only survives because Alter Ego hacked himself into the system and saved him.
  • 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.
  • Rainbow Speak: Danganronpa uses different-colored text like Ace Attorney, but also has the Re:ACT system, wherein you can press Triangle once purple text appears to interrupt and inquire further about purple text. The Non-Stop Debates also use Orange text for possible contradictions and purple for chatter.
  • 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).
    • A character that serves as the Sir Swears-a-Lot of the group (Mondo, Fuyuhiko, and Miu).
    • A Heroic Sacrifice is a key part of the end of the game: Sakura kills herself to unite the survivors, Chiaki confesses to murder to save the other students, Juzo Sakakura bleeds out while disabling the Killing Game, and Kee-bo destroys the entire school by exploding himself.
    • A character with a non Japanese name (Leon, Sonia, Angie).
  • 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 the second game's first case, where Nagito uses his fake murder plan to cover and cooperate with the murderer. A double red herring is ithe first game'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 A.I.s 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
  • 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. 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 is shown to have actively defrauding hundreds of average-joe students of their parents' money through the Reserve Course 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 and high tuition to create the infinitely talented but soulless transhuman nihilist Ultimate Hope, 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. Danganronpa 3 shows that the main course students don't even have to attend class, and are there to be studied rather than get an education.
  • Seeking the Intangible: Nagito's main goal in life is to find a 'strong hope'; he acts like it's something he's actually capable witnessing rather than an abstract concept. He's even willing to go to extremes for this obsession. It's not pretty.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shouting Free-for-All: This is an actual game mechanic in the Nonstop Debates. During these sequences, characters talk and yell over each other as the protagonist/player tries to find relevant statements to either contradict or prove with Truth Bullets, while simultaneously shooting down the unhelpful white noise. This is especially true of the Mass Panic Debates in Killing Harmony, where the screen will be crowded with people's overlapping arguments, making it harder to pick out weak points.
  • 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 robot teddy bear.
  • Spot the Imposter: Besides the Ultimate Imposter from Danganronpa 2 (who truly was Ultimate at being an imposter because they convince even the player he's the real Byakuya Togami), the game is based around doing this in two contexts: finding the blackened in the cases, and finding out who the mastermind of the Deadly Game really is.
  • 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, Monaca, Kazuo, 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.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Monokuma's reaction to the killing game going according to plan, and the absolutely joyous attitude he has while the students are suffering from his enactment. When he kills the culprit via execution, he's seen very much so taking pleasure and putting all of his efforts into the lethal labour of killing someone who killed another, having no regrets.
  • 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 Dun It: The series does this a lot; aside from the fact that Monokuma is the Big Bad responsible for every murder as the host of the Mutual Killing Games, nearly every case has at least two culprits, though usually with one being the central planner and murderer.
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Chapter 1: Leon was the one who killed Sayaka, but Sayaka herself was trying to kill Leon first- Leon fought back and killed her in the heat of the moment. The manga also has it be an Accidental Murder on Leon's part.
      • Chapter 2: Mondo murdered Chihiro, but Byakuya tampered with the evidence to blame it on and draw out Genocide Jack, the Serial Killer hiding among them.
      • Chapter 3: Celeste tricked Hifumi into killing Kiyotaka, then killed Hifumi herself to keep him from talking.
      • Chapter 4: Sakura was Driven to Suicide, but Aoi was manipulated by Monokuma into trying to get everyone else killed as well.
      • Chapter 5 and 6: Eventually, it's revealed that there are two masterminds behind Monokuma, collectively known as the Ultimate Despair. However the mastermind who was manually controlling the bear, Junko Enoshima, murdered her accomplice Mukuro Ikusaba early in the story by baiting her into breaking the rules. This was done to hide the fact that they had swapped identities.
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
      • Chapter 1: Teruteru killed the Ultimate Imposter, but Nagito goaded him into it in the first place. Teruteru was actually aiming for Nagito.
      • Chapter 2: Subverted. Peko killed Mahiru, but it seems that Fuyuhiko ordered her to do it. Turns out Peko did it of her own accord.
      • Chapter 3: Also subverted. It seems that Hiyoko may have been an accomplice to the murder of Ibuki, but she was not; Mikan killed both of them on her own.
      • Chapter 4: Gundham killed Nekomaru, but they fought in a duel to the death- had Nekomaru won, he would have killed Gundham.
      • Chapter 5: Chiaki was the direct killer of Nagito, but Nagito himself set things up so she would accidentally kill him.
      • Chapter 6: There are in fact two-to-three masterminds: Nagito, who manipulated the other students and set up much of the conflict; Monokuma/Junko, the host of the killing game; and Izuru Kamukura, Hajime Hinata's Superpowered Evil Side who put the Junko AI into the Neo World Program.
    • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls: The war between kids and adults in Towa City was set up by Monaca Towa and AI Junko Enoshima, the latter disguised as Shirokuma and Kurokuma.
    • Danganronpa 3 Side:Future: The spy who set up the Final Killing Game is actually three people. Monaca, disguised as Miaya Gekkogahara; Kazuo Tengan, the Future Foundation Chairman and primary mastermind; and Chisa Yukizome, who brought Tengan to despair in the first place.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Chapter 1: Kaede set up the trap to kill the mastermind, but said mastermind, Tsumugi, saw it coming and killed Rantaro to frame her.
      • Chapter 2: Actally averted; Kirumi is the sole culprit behind Ryoma's murder this time.
      • Chapter 3: Subverted; while it seems like Angie and Tenko may have been killed by two different people, Korekiyo murdered both of them.
      • Chapter 4: Miu, the victim, was trying to kill Kokichi, only for him to manipulate Gonta into killing her.
      • Chapter 5: Kaito killed Kokichi, but at his request as part of a Thanatos Gambit.
      • Chapter 6: Monokuma masterminded the game with the help of Tsumugi and Team Danganronpa.
  • 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, its take on Meta Fiction grows 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.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: In every game in the series, the attempts by each protagonist to get the trapped students to work together and fight against the Killing Game is inevitably undercut by the students giving in to personal grudges and feelings. This also extends to the Future Foundation itself- despite being the symbol of Hope in a world run by the Ultimate Despair, the organization turns out to have crippling infighting issues:
    • Nagito Komaeda, while not a Foundation member, is trying to secretly help them, but sows despair believing that despair builds character.
    • Haiji Towa from Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, the Adult Resistance leader, refuses to work with the Foundation because he believes them to be the real mastermind behind the Ultimate Despair, and is fully willing to go to war with the Foundation.
    • Shuji Fujigawa from Killer Killer wants to eliminate despair by killing everyone, putting him at odds with the Foundation members.
    • In Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, the factionalism comes to the forefront:
      • The Foundation council actually splits up into two factions; one faction supports the efforts of Makoto Naegi to reform the Remnants of Despair enemy agents, while the other faction believes that the enemy agents should be executed. The leader of the latter faction, Kyousuke Munakata, is not as extreme as Shuji, but still thinks that everyone even associated with despair or trying to help people in despair should die.
      • The prime example of this is when it is revealed that there is a spy among the council dedicated to subverting them, and has trapped them all in a final killing game. The council members readily turn on each other out of paranoia, while Ruruka Andou becomes more concerned with saving herself than aiding her friends. The spies are Monaca Towa (disguised as Miaya Gekkogahara), Chisa Yukizome, and Chairman Kazuo Tengan. Chisa wants to further Overarching Villain Junko Enoshima's agenda, Monaca wants to toy with everyone one last time, and Tengan is opposed to the extremism of the others- because he wants to brainwash everyone into feeling hope, not kill them.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The original game’s setting is established to be Towa City, which can be pretty much anywhere in Japan.
  • Widget Series: Not always, but it certainty has its moments when Monokuma is involved.

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