Why do the first executions in each game always stand out as a Cruel and Unusual Death even compared to the rest of them? Simple, it's because they're the first execution. In each game everyone is usually skeptical of Monokuma's claims at first and doubt he has as much power and brutality as he says like he does. In making the first punishment as agonizing and brutal as he can, he sets the precedence that he's every bit as scary as schoolmates planning to commit murders, and defying him just flat out isn't an option. It's also meant to shock out any hope that they have that this experience won't be unpleasant as it's made out to be, and getting caught if you decide to take the leap is going to be bad, making the future murders more elaborate and better planned.
Monokuma tailors each of his punishments to fit the victim in ways beyond the immediately obvious. For instance, while the connection between the first murderer and their method of punishment is blatant, spending Free Time with Leon reveals another layer: Leon frequently skipped practice, feeling he didn't have to go because of his natural talent. Monokuma literally drags him into the batting cage and forces him to stay there until he's finished.
The same goes for the second execution. Mondo is basically a person built on weakness and lies, that is the entire point of his character arc. He was looked down upon for being in his brother's shadow, he lied about his mistake getting his big brother killed, and he couldn't overcome his weakness and finally snapped when Chihiro could. So what does Monokuma do? His punishment, forcing Mondo to ride a motorcycle at speeds that turn him into paste, basically strips Mondo of any presence he has, even his corpse, which Monokuma eats. Even in death Mondo's presence is ineffectual and eventually erased from existence.
Additionally, Mondo can't even kill people from a position of strength. He didn't kill his big brother directly; his big brother died saving his life from a truck he was about to crash into. And he didn't even kill Chihiro on purpose; he lost control of his emotions and doesn't even remember bringing the dumbbell down on Chihiro's head. And, he couldn't even frame another culprit, Genocide Jack, by himself. The main reason chapter 2's trial was so hard was because Byakuya Togami interfered with the crime scene for his own reasons that had nothing to do with Mondo. Finally, he's not even the final Machine Gun Talk Battle in Chapter 2's trial; Kiyotaka Ishimaru has to jump to his defense and fight you in his place. Mondo's influence on the world might as well be pancake butter, even as a murderer!!!
A slightly more meta example: the second execution is based on the tale of "The Story of Little Black Sambo" which, incidentally, is very popular and well-known in Japan. A tale, mind you, about how the humility of the boy prevails over the strength of the tigers.
Similarly, Chapter 3's execution makes more sense in light of the murderer's character: Celeste presents a romanticized front, and wished to go out in a blaze of darkly dramatic glory, an image she tried to maintain at the very end. Monokuma deliberately plays on this, making her believe she's going to die in a suitably Gothic fashion — before pulling a bait and switch at the last moment.
There's another possible brilliance if one also reads the manga. Monokuma going for bait-and-switch at Celeste was supposed to pull on the despair of Taeko by nailing the fact that she's such a plain person who's hiding behind the romanticized lie of 'Celestia Ludenberg' that her death would be something that's more befitting of a plain person: truck crash.
Chapter 5's execution (or at least the "Bad Ending" version of it) is called "Detention." As in, a punishment you give to a bad student. And what is the nature of the execution? Being crushed to death by a huge block. What else does a student fear, besides being put in detention by her teacher? Being grounded by her parents! Monokuma sadistically made a child's fears of being "grounded" real, by crushing Kyoko into the ground!note This last part is extremely dubious, as it's very unlikely that the pun also works in japanese.
There's also the fact that Kyoko was late to the trial, so she gets sloooooooooowly carried off to the giant piston. Her secondary "crime" fits the "Detention" name as well.
It goes beyond that. Kyoko went through the game with a calm and collected presence no matter what happened. Always looking ahead without fear or hesitation. So what does Monokuma do? Puts her on a slowly moving conveyor belt facing away from a very loud, constantly moving crusher. Notice how at first she seems to be her usual unshaking self, until you keep hearing the crusher, and seeing the screen vibrate with each crush, as it gets closer and closer but she can't turn around to see it. Watch how her expression changes from stoic, to worried, to terrified, and finally to quiet acceptance. The entire thing was meant to finally break Kyoko's composure.
He also literally crushed Makoto and co.'s chances of solving the mystery and escaping Hope's Peak, via taking away the assistant that helped Makoto to solve the cases when he was stuck.
And even more so: Who created Hope's Peak, gathered the kids first, and then disappeared? Jin Kirigiri aka the Headmaster. And now his daughter and Makoto's closest ally, Kyouko, is the one being executed. That is Monokuma's ultimate "fuck you" to both Kirigiris: the one killing the daughter via using a punishment that's very similar to a child's fear of being grounded... is the father's murderer!
When Makoto's strapped into it, the whole thing doesn't fit him nearly as well... which is probably why it doesn't actually kill him at all.
Even the fact that Makoto doesn't have a special Execution is quite suitable when remembers that Makoto had a complex over not being as special as the others.
A number of alternative/concept executions (for all of the non-executed students) were released in the official fanbook (which can be seen on the Danganronpa wiki, and are explained in further detail below), one of which involves Makoto being punctured by spears while locked in a barrel. Technically, this means that all characters have a special execution, but as these didn't appear in the final game, it goes without saying that the concept executions are non-canon.
There's more to it! If you look at the board on which the execution name is written, it clearly states that the date of Detention is April 1st — that is, April Fool's day, a day on which people pull tricks on each other. This would point towards the fact that this execution was just devised to fool the students into thinking that Makoto was guilty through this trick, when the guilty party is actually Junko.
Actually, since the point of the trial was to get Kyoko executed, it's more than likely that Kyoko's punishment was the only one he had prepared.
Also, the fact that Alter Ego was able to save Makoto but not Kyoko can be attributed to one simple explanation: Makoto got lucky. His talent saved him from death once again, just like when his ill-fitting bathroom door acquitted him of Sayaka's murder.
The meaning behind Space Journey execution with the one being executed being the former headmaster and Kyoko's father can be found in one of the Monokuma Theatres, far sooner than one would be able to decode it. Specifically, Act IV, long before we discover who the victim was. Remember, the headmaster was the one who came up with the idea of sealing everyone inside the school to begin with. Monokuma uses a spaceship as a metaphor for the school in Act IV, saying everyone is on a trip in space and is far away from the earth. What is the headmaster sealed inside? A spaceship.
To add to that, it's stated in later material that Jin Kirigiri was inadvertently responsible for letting Junko get away with everything due to his love for talent. His death literally has him being shot into the stars and then forcibly pulled back to earth.
Even Mukuro's execution is ironic. She was the Ultimate Soldier, who had never received a single wound on the battlefield. Her Execution involves being wounded so many times she dies. Also, she was a soldier betrayed by her comrade.
Doubly so when you consider that it's not uncommon for soldiers to refer to themselves as brothers-in-arms. Who betrayed Mukuro? Her own sister!
Maizono is forced to utilize every one of the skills she sacrificed so much for in making her idol career, only for the points counter to get smashed so she can be mangled by a giant bear-trap. As if to imply the fragility of fame...
Fujisaki's plays upon his fear as he's chased down by Monokumas in a scenario straight out of a Creepypasta. To add insult to injury, the machine is of his own creation (hinting at the sequel's method of killing).
Ishimaru, who places the value of effort above all else, is suddenly (and satirically) handed his ultimate goal: an inauguration as prime minister, through no effort of his own (before a Cold Sniper ends it all). One imagines he would absolutely despise every second of it.
(Different troper for this and the rest of the unused here) Sakura was known as the strongest human on Earth, and with her honorable nature, would have preferred to die having been defeated by a worthy foe. Instead? Monokuma calls upon an alien invasion to do her in, and when it looked like she was going to make it out alive, crushed her with a final gang attack disgracing her.
For Asahina, she was known for her love of donuts and is a fierce competitor when it comes to sports. So it would be fitting to have the biggest eater of them all be devoured by one of the hungriest and most naturally competitive predators in the deep blue: sharks.
Also, magicians frequently perform feats that are merely elaborate tricks. Asahina was known to be one of the more kind-hearted and idealistic students, believing they could all make it out together. By making her 'disappear', it was Junko's way of saying her positive outlook she always tries to bring is nothing more than an 'illusion'.
Hagakure often boasts about his predictions, which he claims have an accuracy of 30%. So his end forces him to prove it by giving him a 1/3 of choosing death, and he guesses wrong twice and escapes death both times. But then, when he finally gets it right (not choosing the door that will kill him), he dies anyway. As if to say how little his predictions affect others, right or wrong, in the grand scheme of things.
Fukawa is head over heels about Togami and constantly thinks of him as her 'White Knight' no matter how much he tells her otherwise. So of course, her execution rolls it (and her) flat to show just how paper-thin her relationship with him actually is.
Togami's final moments have him, the proud, pristine, perfect heir of the Togami Corporation who possessed a high status in life and disliked those who were not on his standing, being treated worse than a hobo before finally dying alone in the snow. Basically, a living example of 'pride goeth before a fall', and how despite his status, his fate was exactly akin to the very person he detested: a commoner.
Another interpretation is that it references what happens to the Togami siblings (all 108 15 of them, to be precise) after they are cast out of the family. Stripped away of their status, name, and reduced to basically nothing. Something a certain affluent progeny tried to avoid at all costs.
Finally, we have Naegi, whose execution basically has him trapped in a confined area and dodging spears until the inevitable happens, proving that despite being the Ultimate Lucky Student, his luck really is no good after all.
In Naegi's case, it was also probably a reference to Pop-up Pirate, with the goal to stab the pirate and send him out of the barrel through sheer guesswork and luck. The fact that Makoto couldn't escape and never gets out means that even when he makes a lucky guess, it's all worthless in the end.
In Case 3, Celeste is very obvious about being the murderer. It seems odd when she is supposed to be a good liar and have overall decent luck, what with her being a "Ultimate Gambler". However, this makes much more sense when you realize she's up against Makoto, who is specifically stated to be the "Ultimate Lucky Student". To put it in poker terms, she just got dealt only a pair of twos while Makoto has a royal flush — you can only bluff so far with that. In one of Celeste's Free Time conversations, she discloses to Makoto that the most important thing behind being a Ultimate Gambler is luck. So, when she came against someone said to have luck as his one and only talent, she lost.
Also, Celeste was the only one who actually planned her killings. The major complications in the first two cases occurred through circumstances out of the culprit's control — for Leon, Sayaka pre-framed Makoto, and for Mondo, Byakuya tampered with the crime scene. Maybe most high school students just aren't that good at plotting murder.
Once you come to the end of Case 3 during your first playthrough, you might be questioning why Celeste would give Hifumi her real name, especially since this is what would later lead to her downfall. Cue the finale, and you realize that there's a chance that Hifumi may have in fact regained his memories before he died, hence why he remembered Taeko Yasuhiro and that "he met everyone before he met everyone"...
At the start of Chapter 4, Hiro makes a prediction that no more murders will occur. Since this is around the halfway point of a murder mystery game, most players probably laughed it off as blind optimism. It actually ends up being closer than you'd expect. From that point on, no more homicides occur. The fourth case ends up being a suicide, the fifth case's victim died weeks ago, and the sixth case has no victim. Meanwhile on the execution side, the 4th and 5th executions both failed and the only person Junko has to blame for her death is herself.
Additional Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that this is one of three predictions Hiro makes (the other two being that he and Makoto's kid will have the same mother, and that leaving the academy will only bring suffering). Hiro mentions that 1 out of 3 predictions of his come true, and this is that one. Plus, in the bad end where it doesn't come true and Kyoko is killed by Junko, the second prediction comes true and Makoto and Hrio both have kids with Hina. So, no matter what, Hiro maintains his 1/3 success rate.
All the way back in Chapter 1, Junko broke a rule, and Monokuma killed her by summoning spears of Gungnir. This notably happens before the first execution, where we find out that Monokuma tailors the executions to the culprit. Given that Junko didn't murder anyone and got killed in such an unfitting way can be chalked up to that it's not a trial, and any other inconsistencies (such as her choice of words) can be explained away. However, if "Junko" was a soldier who took part in a mercenary group called Fenrir, and conspired with the mastermind as a fellow Ultimate Despair, then this is put into a whole new light! Leon wasn't the first execution: Mukuro Ikusaba is! And given her choice of words, it's likely that she was betrayed by the mastermind.
Especially fitting is the name of the weapon. Gungnir. The spear of Odin, which he is fated to use in the battle of Ragnarok to stab Fenrir.
Then, to delve further into Norse Mythology, Fenrir's sibling Hel is half-living and half-dead... or, in some versions, half black and half white.
Also, in some versions of the myth, Gungnir is said to never miss its target. Ever. Even the Ultimate Soldier, who dodged everything thrown at her, couldn't dodge a weapon that would relentlessly hunt her down until it finally struck home.
Also, how was the ultimate soldier, who survived every battle she was in during a time where there was worldwide conflict, killed? In a violent ambush that, by her reaction, she never even considered the possibility of.
FridgeNightmare Retardant? In Chapter 6, we find the cold storage where all the mutilated corpses of the victims are stored... which must include that tub of Mondo butter.
Mondo may not have actually been turned into butter. It's possible that Monokuma just took him out of the cage before he got turned into butter, and he just put a regular tub of butter with Mondo's face on it in there.
The final execution pauses at the very last second before killing its victim. Why? Junko has a fetish for despair. She was smiling throughout all the executions, but she has a puzzled expression when the crusher doesn't fall on her. The pause was for getting rid of all the accumulated despair before going for the kill.
Adding to this, the pause is very short, only long enough for Junko to get that puzzled expression. If it had waited any longer, she likely would have begun to feel despair over not being killed. Similarly, it mirrors the way Mukuro Ikusaba was killed, as both of them felt confusion before they died; Mukuro because she didn't think she would be killed, and Junko because she thought she would.
Also, one could call this little pause a hope spot.
In Chapter 3, Kiyotaka goes through a massiveHeroic BSoD after it was revealed in the previous chapter that Mondo was the murderer, and was executed as a result. In a Free Time segment, Kiyotaka reveals to Makoto that he's never managed to make a single friend or even carry a regular conversation with anyone before. When you take that into account, it's no wonder that Kiyotaka was so affected by Mondo's death; Mondo was the first real friend Kiyotaka had ever made, he turned out to be a murderer, and was subjected to a Cruel and Unusual Death immediately afterwards.
During trial 5, you have a chance to throw Kyoko under the bus or bluff for her. Should you point out her contradiction, you get the bad ending. If you bluff, Makoto is nearly executed but you get the good ending. It might seem like unfortunate implications at first, but if you think about it, what is Makoto's Ultimate title?
On the bad ending; Makoto, Byakuya, Yasuhiro, and Aoi are all shown being alive and with children, with Toko being the only one who is shown as passed away. On an initial playthrough, this may just seem like an arbitrary choice... until you get to chapter 6, where it's revealed that Genocide Jill actually remembers the circumstances of The World's Most Despair-inducing Incident in the History of Mankind. So what would the best way to keep that secret from being revealed to the surviving students? Murdering Toko, and thereby killing Jill at the same time, thus preserving the secret!
That, or Toko was just taking the picture and Byakuya held her photo as a placeholder.
This is unlikely, though, due to Japanese funerary tradition — a framed black and white photo adorned with ribbons, such as those in the game and that which Byakuya is holding, is displayed at funerals and home shrines.
As well as the fact that it was the same type of picture that was used for those deceased in the Class Trials.
Or it could be simply that she HAD to be behind the camera, and her photo was not crossed over with a red X like all those who passed away. Besides, who is to tell that they have not found the "funeral photo" of everyone, possibly even their own?
Dwelling further into the previous idea, it is possible the picture symbolized the death of Toko, but not Jill.
Despite being a serial murderer, Genocide Jill never murders anyone, despite the others' fear of her — because she knew about the current state of the world and didn't actually want to leave the school.
Plus, she herself says that the point of murdering inside the school is to NOT GET CAUGHT. Killing the way she always does would mean they will surely know it's her real quickly, and she doesn't want to kill any other way.
A related bit of fridge horror is addressed in Genocide Jill's free time events — why Genocide Jill didn't kill Byakuya (or anyone else, for that matter) during the two-year time gap. She mentions that Byakuya is the first person she's fallen for who she hasn't had an urge to kill, and that she'd give up killing if she could be with him.
Also, after the cast discovers Chihiro was a boy, Jill exclaims that she "should have killed him first." This comes after arguing that she wouldn't have killed anyone while trapped in the Closed Circle of the school. It seems with the reveal that she was actually wishing she'd killed Chihiro during the "normal" time at Hope's Peak.
Monokuma, at the beginning, comments how girls can be killed with sharp objects and boys with blunt ones. Students that are murdered follow this rubric.
It winds up setting the fact that Chihiro is a boy when we find him killed with a dumbbell.
Sakura wasn't killed with a sharp implement... because she wasn't murdered.
A couple involve the trial decor:
Ch. 3's courtroom is decorated with with blue wallpaper and moons. Of course there would be a celestial theme to the trial where Celestia is the culprit.
Ch. 5's courtroom is eye-searing, being colored with a clashing checkerboard of hot pink and puke green. Considering that the Ch. 5 murder was staged, it only makes sense that there'd be something "off" about its corresponding courtroom.
The manga did a lot of Alternate Character Interpretation that does good to sympathize both Leon and Celeste, and they're making a lot of sense that there was no way for Makoto to know how Leon was getting the screwdrivers not to hunt and kill Sayaka, but to calm her down (in vain), and compounding that, Leon has troubles in spitting out that fact it's the reason why he did that due to panic, or the fact that regardless of what he tells, he's screwed either way. Likewise, Celeste only keeps things for herself, tells mostly lies or plagiarized stories to others, and there was no way Makoto could realize what she was like when she was Taeko and how she was suffering due to her unremarkableness and must keep up the charade of Celestia Ludenberg at all costs, leading to becoming really greedy and commiting the double-murder. While that wouldn't absolve them from murder, all of it could still be happening in canon, and the canon series being in Makoto's POV prevents us to realize them right off the bat.
In the final Class Trial, it seems that Junko is copying some of the surviving students' personalities. When she is in her "princess" personality, with a Cool Crown to boot, it's similar to Byakuya's (Ultimate Affluent Progeny) arrogant personality, her punk persona is similar to Genocider's loud and aggressive personality (don't forget the tongue), when she puts on glasses and becomes Ms. Exposition, her tone and how she says it is similar to Kyoko's analytic personality, then followed by Aoi's cutesy personality (when she talks about donuts and proteins), and afterward has Toko's depressing personality.
The ones that doesn't fit are her "Dio Brando" personality, her Monokuma personality, and her final one, a blank, emotionless one; plus her Villainous Breakdown expressions. Now, the first two are respectively something that could scare Yasuhiro, and (obviously) Monokuma; but the third one is used in response to Makoto declaring that nobody will fall into Despair. This is when Junko stopsplaying charade and assumes a truly "Despair" persona: it's Hope vs. Despair, and she's going against the Ultimate Hope. The blank Ultimate Despair persona may very well be the true self. It's the equivalent of The Joker dropping all humor and theatricality in his behavior and showing the emptiness and raw, hateful malevolence that's always been at the core of this sick, sick person.
At first, Junko Enoshima's death seems weird, and not just because she's the only student who is neither murdered by another student or executed. Of course, this strange death foreshadows who the mastermind is, but there's something else. Monokuma is the one who charged at Junko and she just held him down with her foot. It really doesn't seem like an act of violence against the headmaster. Then, at the end of the game, we learn that the "Junko" back then was really Mukuro Ikusaba, Junko's twin sister. When asked by the others why she killed her own sister, Junko flippantly remarks that it was because she was a bad actress. Junko murdered her sister on a whim, in order to prove a point to the others. No wonder Monokuma instigated the whole thing! Also, according to IF, Junko would've had the trial rules explained on that day even if nobody had been murdered yet (though one would think that the murders she wanted would be more likely before anyone knew that graduating would cost everyone else's lives) and gave Mukuro a script to follow that involved stomping on Monokuma and didn't end in impalement. There was quite a bit of premeditation involved.
The end-of-day Theater where Monokuma rambles on about how things like war and pollution immediately sound better when you tack a -chan on the end. Once revealed, Junko occasionally refers to her dead sister as "Mukuro-chan." What does that come out to, given her Meaningful Name? "Corpse-chan."
In chapter 6, when photographs are given out containing all students but the ones that they were given to, the reason that they aren't in them is that they were the ones taking the photos.
The reason that Junko's surname is different from her sister may be that it is a stage name. Enoshima is also the name of a 'Picturesque island' near Tokyo. It's also quite possible that Mukuro Ikusaba is another code-name. "Mukuro Ikusaba" can translate to "Corpse Warblade;" Mukuro was a highly skilled soldier who worked for the mercenary group Fenrir. The fearsome and cool-sounding "Mukuro Ikusaba" could be an alias or a nickname she went by during her days with Fenrir.
Celeste said that if she's reincarnated, she'd be Marie Antoinette... and it actually held more than 'ending up getting executed again'. Celeste must have been trying to invoke the image of Marie Antoinette even throughout her life, starting from her extravagant life and dream, as well as doing horrible things that would cause her to be hated and vilified by those around her (as seen by Aoi in the game), and decided to Face Death with Dignity. And it even goes meta: when Celeste's reasoning was first revealed, a lot of fans would accuse her as a shallow murdering bitch, like how Antoinette got all those... degrading insults. However, as time passed, with Monokuma doing a lot more despicable things and other interpretations of Celeste (the manga, especially) were revealed, opinions on Celeste has softened up, kind of like how the more recent discoveries that Antoinette wasn't as much as a bitch she was accused of, and how her executors also doing worse things than what they accused her for... helped fixing her reputation.
The barred windows and vault to the main entrance. Yes, if the students woke up with no memory and told they were trapped in there for demented purposes, they would believe them. However, upon further inspection, the screws and nuts are on the inside. Since they locked themselves in the school to survive the Despair, that'd make sense.
There are actually two hints very early on that Mukuro is posing as Junko Enoshima and assisting her. When the students all first assemble in the gym, Mukuro is the one to point out that the students' cellphones are missing. The second hint comes when Makoto tells Mukuro that she doesn't look the same as Junko Enoshima does in the magazines. Mukuro laughs this off and states that the pictures in the magazines are photoshopped, and the issue isn't pressed any further. In retrospect, maybe Junko made the right decision in killing Mukuro because she wasn't a good enough fake.
In IF, the mastermind briefly pretends to be a Hope's Peak upperclassman named "Besshiki Madarai." In Danganronpa Zero, there's a Hope's Peak student that is an upperclassman named Isshiki Madarai who is part of a set of octuplets with 1-8 based Numerical Theme Naming (Isshiki, Nishiki, Mishiki, Yoshiki, Goshiki, Rokushiki, Shichishiki, and Yasshiki).
According to one of the side-stories, Makoto wasn't actually the initial winner of the lottery, that being a girl whose pass into the Academy was inadvertently destroyed by Makoto's actions, forcing them to redo the lottery. Seems irrelevant until one realizes that this creates a dark Call-Forward to the Chapter 5 Trial, where something very similar happens between Kyoko and Makoto. And, like before, the trial has to be redone, this time with Makoto winning.
At first, Toko's sudden infatuation towards Byakuya comes out of nowhere, especially since there had been no hints towards it bar them standing next to each other in crowd scenes. Then I read Danganronpa Zero and it hit me when, at the end [SPOILERS FOR DANGAN RONPA ZERO]Junko states her love for Matsuda was so strong that it survived even her losing her memories. Who's to say the same thing isn't true for Toko? Better when you realize that it's indicated she was in love with him during the students' normal time at Hopes Peak.
Yasuhiro's Tohoku Regional Accent is largely associated with country bumpkins. In one free time event, though, Celeste maintains her parents were European, she admits she was raised in Tochigi, another comparatively rural part of Japan. Then her chapters in the manga show her desperation to escape the "mediocrity" of her life as Taeko Yasuhiro by reinventing herself as a glamorous sophisticate. No wonder she dislikes Yasuhiro so much — even his first name's a reminder of what she's trying to leave behind.
During the talk between Monokuma and Sakura Oogami about the 16th student. Monokuma jokes about not giving his three sizes. At first, it seems like another stupid joke of his. But then, Fridge Brilliance kicks in during Case 6; it was Junko Enoshima's and Mukuro Ikusaba's three sizes that put a connection between those two and helped Makoto realize Mukuro is the one who died instead of Junko during her supposed death.
It's also, in retrospect, a clue that the mastermind is a girl, since that sort of thing doesn't seem like the sort of thing Monokuma would bring up if it was a guy behind the bear.
The cafeteria is always locked at night. Probably because it's when Junko is getting her meals. This also explains why Monokuma is almost never seen at night.
Monokuma mocks Makoto for getting the room with the bathroom door with the unaligned doorknob, calling it ironic that the so called "Ultimate Lucky Student" would have that kind of room. Later, this bit of "bad luck" is what not only proves his innocence in the first trial, it helps reveal the real culprit. This entertains the idea that Makoto's "bad luck" may really be "good luck" in disguise.
When you stop and think about the remaining students, they all have one major thing in common. They were all accused of murder at least once. Makoto was accused in the first trial, Genocide Jill and Byakuya in the second, Yasuhiro in the third, Aoi in the fourth (including Yasuhiro and Touko), and Kyoko in the fifth. An interesting deduction to make that you probably wouldn't catch your first time around.
A tiny case with Sayaka's free time trophy, "Psychic." It's a single non-compound word, so it's a little less obvious than the spoofed movie titles of the other trophies; at face value, it's a reference to her "intuition." Then recall the Decoy Protagonist of Psycho, Marion Crane — a bird Sayaka is associated with — and the most infamous scene in the movie. Also, Marion ended up at the motel because she was on the run after stealing a large amount of money; Sayaka fled into the bathroom after trying to kill Leon.
So how did the boys manage to avoid a Megaton Punch or an Armor-Piercing Slap after spying on the girls during their bath (like would normally happen in this situation)? Because Toko was in the midst of slipping through the air on a bar of soap and probably distracted everyone when she landed in the water.
Although, Kyoko is looking directly at the screen with a surprised look on her face, near enough confirming she can see the boys peeking in. However, she likely didn't care or simply hid her angry emotions from the boys.
Actually, the door is on the other end of the washroom. Kirigiri was looking at the wall where the sauna door was, but the boys were looking into the room from the opposite wall.
Keeping surveillance on students would be a very tiresome task, even for Junko. However, the Monokuma doll in the courtroom comes back to life after her execution and presumably contains her AI self. If she has an AI version running the show, she can easily keep the killing game going while having enough time to take care of her health.
Hina's celebrity crush on Jason Statham makes a lot more sense when you consider that Statham is a former competitive diver (who represented England at the Commonwealth Games, no less).
You probably wouldn't notice it at first glance, but in School Mode, the game is pretty specific about how it places two characters in your list of who to go see.
Chihiro is placed either at the end of the boys or at the start of the girls, fitting for a character who lets everyone assume he is a girl.
Monokuma, which is controlled by a girl, is at the very end of the girls.
One of the better ranking items you can give to Junko during free time resembles an army ration. She appreciates it so much because she is actually Mukuro, the ultimate soldier and would most likely be used to living on this kind of food normally.
At first, I thought it was kind of unnecessary that Genocide Jack refers to herself as "Genocide Jill" after her identity is revealed, since Syo was always just Syo in the Japanese version. But it makes sense — of course she'd prefer a girl's name she picked herself to a guy's name slapped onto her by the media. (And it's made clear to be just a personal preference, because the other students call her Jack half the time anyway.)
In the Danganronpa's beta, DISTRUST, Beta!Junko was executed via guillotine after killing Beta!Kirigiri. At first, this doesn't seem like much other than to show off the beta's grim atmosphere. However, it makes sense given the symbolism of the guillotine back in France in which during the 18th century the use of the guillotine by the Revolutionaries was meant as a symbol of a person being equal in death as of life and there were no special privileges, in a contrast to their previous rule. Compared to the other Ultimate's, Junko was a celebrity among celebrities and with her beta execution it was meant as a message that no matter how popular, famous, rich or powerful you are just a human under it and you can (and most likely will) face the consequences of your actions if you commit a crime, status be damned. Considering the tone for both the beta and DISTRUST, this was more than fitting.
Junko Enoshima (the real one) has been described as Brilliant, but Lazy. While she's hardly lazy (she'd have to be quite a hard worker to go to the trouble of setting up and carrying out her scheme), it would make perfect sense if she was, as despair and laziness are both aspects of the Deadly Sin of Sloth.
Danganronpa 3 reveals that she was dependent on Mukuro for the Tragedy plans, so perhaps she was indeed a bit lazy, if brainwashing by despair anime instead of Hannibal Lecturing is any indication.
In the climax, Junko often drops her manic energy and just stands and stares blankly at someone. While she did this once to Kyoko, the person she does this mostly to is Makoto, usually after he outright defies her. While this could be seen as her dropping her "crazy" persona and revealing her true colors, with the release of Danganronpa 3 shows a different reason why she would be doing this: Junko is devoting all of her brainpower to trying to analyze Makoto. But due to the contradiction of the most ordinary, usually most cowardly person also being the one that stands against her constantly: She simply CAN'T understand him.
In discovering the dead body the title of the chapter changes from Daily Life to Deadly Life. In Chapter 3, when you first discover Hifumi's body this change surprisingly didn't happen. It is when you discover Kiyotaka's body the title changes. Why? Because at that time Hifumi was Faking the Dead.
The diagram of sexual reproduction in After School Lesson is a Visual Pun. Monokuma is basically telling Kyoko/Makoto that they're fucked.
In Case 1, before the murder actually happens, everyone makes a big deal about what bullshit Monokuma is spouting if he actually thinks the students would ever resort to murder. Besides, Makoto thinks, they all seem like such nice people, don't they? (Mondo's bad temper, Toko's paranoia, and Byakuya's jerkass tendencies aside.) Well obviously, a murder does happen, but that's obvious when it comes to this game. The Fridge Horror kicks in when Monokuma executes Leon Kuwata, the first murderer: everyone crowds around to watch the execution up close! Everyone! Nobody tries to stop the baseball machine from beating Leon to death, nobody throws up, nobody even averts their eyes. They just...stand there, like members of a lynch mob who aren't actually participating in the lynching. Certainly they all call Monokuma a monster, say this is too cruel, etc., but that's after the execution is over. While it's happening, they all crowd around outside the batting cage like solemn judges. This is the player's first clue that all the students are capable of murder, and thus everyone is a suspect in every case.
Their facial expressions suggest that they're too scared to do anything. Too scared to protest, to move, to even look away. Even Kyoko and Byakuya, who've likely seen some terrible things, are standing in terror at what Monokuma is both capable and willing to do.
What would happen to Sayaka if she succeeds in framing Makoto? She will learn how her friends in the idol group died and nothing more. Because Monokuma gave a Literal Genie question in the video. If she is released into the outside world, she might have to find out about their death by herself.
Sayaka's friends were never confirmed to have been killed, just kidnapped. Additionally, in Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, one of her bandmates, Ayaka Haneyama, was confirmed to have at least survived up to the attack on Towa City. Whether or not she survived afterwards is unknown, but at least one of Sayaka's friends was alive and well when she put her plan in motion.
In Case 4, Alter Ego's execution involves it getting compacted into a metal ball by getting smashed by an excavator's claw, which is bad enough on its own. But Monokuma made it worse by making an offhand comment about not wanting it to go to waste, implying it was originally meant for someone else. Considering the events just prior to the murder, that was supposed to be Sakura's execution.
Oh, ho, it's even worse than you let on. You notice how Alter Ego was destroyed with demolition equipment? It's very likely that Monokuma was going to wring the maximum amount of despair out of Sakura by destroying her along with her most cherished family heirloom: the 300-year old dojo, the very same one she tried to protect by assisting Monokuma.
Speaking of which, with the revelation of the mayhem in the outside world, what are the chances that the dojo has already been destroyed?
Speaking of Alter Ego's execution, as he earlier mentioned that Naegi carrying him under his shirt tickles, Alter Ego (or at least the laptop) must be touch sensitive. Which means that he feels pain during the execution like any other one, too.
Uh, Jossed. All the students who didn't get executed had a separate execution planned, and Sakura's involved getting overwhelmed by an army.
In Chapter 4, Sakura Ogami's suicide note implies that she was originally completely willing to commit murder to protect her dojo, but Monokuma told her to wait after Sayaka Maizono starts the killing game before she had the chance to, and she grew softer after spending time with the other students. In Chapter 1, Aoi Asahina has Sakura stay with her on the same night Sayaka Maizono attempts to murder Leon Kuwata. Aoi Asahina brushed with death and nearly died at the same time as Sayaka Maizono.
Chapter 5's bad ending. It's actually set up like a happy ending at first: after Kyoko is executed, the murders stop for good. So everyone lives life in bliss inside the school, as depicted in a photograph you see while Makoto is narrating. What makes it both "fridge" and "horror" creeps in through three ways: first, Makoto, Byakuya, Aoi, and Yasuhiro are alive in the photograph, but Toko is not, she's just a photograph like all the previously killed students. It's never explained whether Toko was killed, committed suicide, or was executed. Second, the murders may have stopped and life in the school may be happy, but these students were all Ultimates when they arrived, which means they're trapped in a gilded cage where the world can never appreciate their potential. Third, there are three children in the photograph. A boy by Byakuya, a toddler by Makoto, and an infant by Yasuhiro. The thing is, Toko is dead...which means Aoi is the only one who could've given birth to the children...which means Aoi is continuing the students' family trees inside the school by herself! Although that last one might be less Fridge Horror if you interpret the situation as Aoi making the best out of the situation as it's possible, and thus having three men to herself in a sort-of harem.
On the other hand... Since we don't know when Touko Fukawa died, it's not unlikely that her death happened quite recently. Therefore, there's at least the possibility that one of the three children might be hers — including the boy fathered by Byakuya. Does this mean that she fell victim to Death by Childbirth, and maybe by giving birth to the child of the guy she either loved or believed that she loved? Remember, the infirmary of Hope's Peak isn't much different to the one of a normal school and most likely not outfitted for childbirth, which can be pretty risky if not supervised. Plus Touko is a rather slender girl, unlike Aoi who at least is quite athletic and has wide child-bearing hips... Eeeeeeep.
Also, Aoi so far has only given birth to boys. (Unless Touko was the Missing Mom of one of them). Which means potentially they're gonna have to keep trying to get a girl, if they want to continue their bloodlines. Incest ahoy.
You're also forgetting that the air purifying machine will stop working when Junko dies. Though she might live longer than the remaining students, she won't live forever. And then those kids that only knew life inside the school would have to leave or suffocate inside— and considering that Junko has the only means of opening the door to the outside world, well... the odds of survival are not in their favour.
That, or Toko was just taking the photo and Byakuya held her photo as a place holder.
You saw the Fridge Brilliance entry about the last execution? If no-one deliberately tampered with the crusher, then Junko (or rather her Monokuma personality) deliberately designed that Hope Spot to deny herself despair. She's that fucked up.
Actually, someone may have. Alter Ego has already shown that he/she/it can tamper with executions when he/she/it stopped the crusher during the Chapter 5 punishment. Who's to say Alter Ego didn't want to give Junko her last bit of despair before her demise?
Everyone is wearing clothes that are either casual or the uniform of a different school, despite having all been shown in the past as wearing the Hope's Peak uniform. There's no real reason for all of them to have changed into their old clothes, so Junko must have stripped and redressed them to keep up the illusion that they had not yet been to the school.
Mercifully not the case. The headmaster's videos show that they redressed themselves into their game outfits of their own will after the WMDIEitHoM hit.
This point also leads to some Fridge Logic: How did nobody notice that they aged two years? Considering almost all of them are teenagers, they should have grown a lot in that time.
It's actually hinted that some of them did notice. Though it's never explicitly spelled out, it's likely that this is what Kyoko was talking about when she asked Monokuma what he did to her body at the end of Chapter 3. Sakura also mentions that something has happened to the students' bodies in her final note, which causes Monokuma to stop reading it immediately.
But taking this further, why did Mukuro Ikusaba's measurements match the ones in her student profile? The school shut down a year before the game, so she should have grown from that time, right? Yet Kyoko says that they were an exact match. It would be acceptable if her height had finished growing by that age, but not her other measurements.
Additionally, in the prologue Chihiro ponders whether he has met Makoto before in life, implying the fact that he had a trace of his memories of the academy remaining. Makoto just dismisses this concept and denies the idea that the two of them have met prior instead of dissecting the statement of Chihiro's.
At the end of the game, the chickens in the fifth floor greenhouse most likely suffocated and died when the surviving students left — unless they remembered them and went back to get them, which is unlikely.
One bit of fridge horror sets in once you learn about the two years of missing memories the students had. Some of the photographs found during Chapter 6 suggest that Genocide Jill was both active and infatuated with Byakuya even back then. Given what Syo usually does to guys she likes, how did Byakuya manage to survive long enough to get locked in the school in the first place?
This question does get answered during Genocide Jill's free time events, as seen in the Fridge Brilliance entry above.
Sayaka's first case of "good intuitions" is telling Makoto that she's not a doll — "I'm very much alive!" Apparently she's that used to people thinking of her as a pretty face, not a person.
Seeing all of both "regular" Toko and Genocide Jill's free time events reveals that Jill eventually traveled all the way to Shikoku to kill the boy who publicly humiliated Toko in elementary school.
The good ending of the Lighter and Softer School Mode/Dangan Academy is rife with this. Usami causes a time paradox to beat the stuffing out of Monokuma, and everyone lives and promises to stay friends after they leave the school. But they still don't know who was behind Monokuma, they have no idea about their missing memories, Kyoko's father is probably still bones in a box, and they're likely to get an exceedingly unpleasant surprise once they see what's happened to the outside world.
When Genocide Jill is introduced, she calls herself the Ultimate Serial Killer, which implies that the staff at Hope's Peak knew about Toko's split personality and gave her the title. In addition, this implies that the staff covered up the fact that there is a serial killer among the student body and were possibly studying her regardless of the lives she's endangering and/or took. This is worse when you read Danganronpa Zero and realize this is exactly the sort of thing the staff would do.
Speaking of the school staff, it's implied in (at least the translation of) School Mode that Kiyotaka's grandfather was a Hope's Peak alumnus, as he's described as "the official Ultimate Manager." In that case, while he fulfilled the school's reputation for guaranteed success by becoming prime minister, he crashed and burned soon afterward. Maybe they just couldn't save him from himself or whatnot, but given all the other questionable things the academy's canonically been up to, you've got to wonder how long they've been turning out screwed-up prodigies.
When you look at Togami's backstory, the events of the killing game beginning becomes more horrific for someone in his shoes. In order to even acquire his status as the Ultimate Heir, he had to come out as King of the Hill in a battle of wits, skill, and pure cunning against 14 of his own half siblings. And, when he wakes up in Hope's Peak, he finds himself pitted up against 14 students who, due to Junko's amnesia, he would consider to be complete strangers. This is someone who's had to grow up in a life where not even his own family were safe to trust when they were pitted up against one another. As far as Byakuya, who has run the mill in this sort of "game" before, he would have even less of a reason to trust anyone else there. Especially when murders start to actually happen.
In the game's prologue, Makoto informs the player that he did a minor research schedule the night before enrolling in the academy. When the forums themselves are graphically shown to the player, the only two 'Ultimate' characters mentioned by their title on the computer screen itself are the Ultimate Pop Sensation, Sayaka Maizono and the Ultimate Baseball Pro, Leon Kuwata by anonymous users. The additional others who are mentioned by their Ultimate title on Makoto's behalf only are the fashionista, Junko Enoshima, the biker gang leader, Mondo Owada, the martial artist, Sakura Ogami, the fanfic creator, Hifumi Yamada, the gambler, Celestia Ludenberg, the swimming pro, Aoi Asahina, the programmer, Chihiro Fujisaki, and the clairvoyant, Yasuhiro Hagakure.
During the last class trial, the students determine that the Puppetmaster must be inside the school because Monokuma's Control Room is inside Hope's Peak Academy. Since that was the case, why did the students need to determine Mukuro Ikusaba's killer before discovering who was the Puppetmaster or why did they begin to blame Makoto? Through logical deduction, the Puppetmaster was controlling Monokuma during the first trial, which means that only Sayaka Maizono or Junko Enoshima could be the Puppetmaster.
Before they realized Mukuro Ikusaba was disguised and died as Junko Enoshima, it was possible she was controlling Monokuma at the time, since she was also a Super High School Level Despair.
Monokuma is forcing them to do it in that order. At the one point where they do try and skip ahead and discuss who the mastermind is Monokuma interjects and tells them they need to solve Mukuro's murder first. It sort of helps that they have already figured out the Puppetmaster is the last killer.
Even given that gender roles are more strictly enforced in Japan than in the West, how the heck did presenting as female allow Chihiro to (implicitly) escape all gender-based bullying from the time he started to when he entered Hope's Peak? Wouldn't some female bullies have gone after him for some non-reason? And depending on when Chihiro began presenting as female, why did none of his tormentors recognize him?
For the recognition, it's completely possible that Chihiro is that good of a crossdresser. Either that, or perhaps Chihiro stopped presenting himself as a girl during his time attending Hope's Peak. As for the gender roles being strictly enforced, it's basically been heavily implied, if not outright stated, that Hope's Peak doesn't care who its students are or not. As long as they meet the age requirements and have proper talent, they're allowed into the Main Course. While this may not have avoided as Chihiro's ElectroID (if they even had that back then) from classifying him as male, it may have allowed him to avoid the staff there from questioning the situation of his crossdressing.
On the fifth floor, there's a classroom that looks like the site of a massacre, something that the students deduce, with Monokuma stating that he did not alter the room. Only problem, Danganronpa Zero infers that the event being referred to happened in the old school building, which the game very clearly does not take place in. Furthermore, with the revelation that the students locked themselves in, how is a bloody classroom even there? The Steering Committee was willing to commit brainwashing and outright murder to keep the incident under wraps. Given how the students spent a whole year in the school, why wasn't the room cleaned and why would what was supposed to be a shelter have the site of a massacre there?
In-universe, Monokuma was lying. Out-of-universe, it's almost certainly a result of careless retcons. Note that Monokuma also says he had nothing to do with that incident, which Super Danganronpa 2, Danganronpa Zero, and Danganronpa 3 collectively establish is an outright lie (it happened directly because of Junko Enoshima's influence.)
Celestia has an in-story fridge logic moment in School Mode when she wonders aloud who exactly has been preparing the meals for the 15 students (the assumption in the main story being that the students are given the ingredients and make everything themselves). She brings up the possibility of Monokuma doing it, when in the main story we find out that the machine is just an extension of Junko (while this version of reality starts up mainly because there's only one Monokuma around, and he needs the students to build back-ups for him). If it really is Junko doing it while the cafeteria is locked up, one wonders when she sleeps.
If Makoto and Kyoko's execution falls on an April Fool's Day that also happens to be a Wednesday like the blackboard claims, does that mean the killing game is set in 2015?
Based on the school layout, the iron-plate-covered windows for several rooms don't point outside, they point into other rooms. This is especially obvious with the dorm rooms.
Why is Kyoko Kirigiri's "ultimate" title treated like a big secret deal? It should have been glaringly obvious to everyone, since she has exactly one thing she's good at and does it with obsessive, monomaniacal focus. Most of the other students are much less single-mindedly devoted to their ultimate ability, so it seems odd that nobody even took a stab at guessing hers whenever it came up. She also says she forgot it herself; couldn't she have at least taken a stab at it when questioned? It's not exactly a difficult deduction to make.
How do we know the thought didn't cross her mind once or twice? If anything, it was more of a You Never Asked situation on both ends: the only one in the group to grill her on being too cryptic was Kiyotaka early into the first chapter because she wasn't acting like a team player, and the rest just left it alone until Byakuya opened the question again for the same reason (Aoi pretty much reflected everyone's opinion on the matter when she mentioned that Kyoko rarely talks about herself; put plainly, no one cares). It only seems obvious because Makoto's the only one who she'll occasionally confide in or trust with certain tasks, while everyone else mostly sees her as that quiet girl who occasionally disappears. Kind of a testament to how little interest the group has in getting to know each other, and how miraculous it was that they decided to unite at all. And being good at solving mysteries is vague enough of an ability to mean any number of talents: Makoto's first guess after getting to know her better is that she might come from a family of assassins.
Junko mainly tries to hide the fact from Kyoko herself, not that it was enough.
Why did Celeste make her murder plan so absurdly complicated? There's no way it could possibly have succeeded.
Most parts of her plan (having Hifumi play dead, then luring him to another room to kill him there after moving the bodies) serve to make the murder more complicated, but didn't actually do anything to protect her — did she think the group would just shrug off the question of how Yamada's body made it from the first floor to the third? If she wanted to succeed, she needed to present them with a coherent story implicating someone other than her, and the absurd complexity of her plan meant that she couldn't do that.
Additionally, why did she go with a plan that required that she call so much attention to herself? She was hugely conspicuous for the entire third chapter, since she had to constantly direct everyone to exactly the right place; even Yasuhiro notices that she's acting out-of-character at one point.
Also, her entire plan hinged on Monokuma giving a corpse-discovery announcement for Kiyotaka exactly when everyone discovers Hifumi. If they'd discovered Kiyotaka's body even a little bit early, the whole thing would have been instantly ruined, since that would mean the lack of an announcement for Hifumi would give the game away.
Although a possible Fridge Brilliance explanation for this part: If it had gone badly at that point — after Hifumi killed Kiyotaka but before she killed Hifumi — she could have aborted the plan and simply revealed everything in the Class Trial. She wouldn't make any friends, but she hadn't actually murdered anyone yet, so she would have survived — even if Hifumi revealed everything, it wouldn't have helped him or hurt her much, and if he tried to lie to frame her, she could easily win, because she'd be telling the truth, because she knows all the details of the crime, and because Hifumi is a dumbass. She was only committed to things after she killed Hifumi herself; up until then, she had an out if things went wrong.
Did she really have an out, though? She helped Hifumi with the costume and everything, so she's an accomplice. I may be misremembering this, but aren't accomplices also executed along with the blackened if caught? Along with not being able to graduate, this is one of the reasons being an accomplice isn't to anyone's advantage.
And while she's supposed to be both extremely intelligent and a master at deceiving others, she makes a very basic mistake in her trial — she argues against nearly every single bit of logic anyone else uses (and fires off a Machine Gun Talk Battle very early on), which only makes her more and more suspicious-seeming as the trial goes on.
Her strange behavior was likely a conscious effort to build up an imaginary threat-level represented by the robot, and with everyone running around like confused, headless chickens during the incident, it was most assuredly working. It only comes off as obvious to the player because we have the benefit of free-time events, multiple playthroughs, and access to the transcript, whereas normal people don't pick up as easily on drastic characterization shifts. As for the Complexity Addiction, a popular fan-interpretation of her character porports that she has something of a Riddler-like compulsion to control and dominate her opponents as a symptom of her low self-esteem/emotional immaturity, and will refuse any easier, more-pragmatic methods if they somehow imply she's unable to defeat someone in a match of wits/cunning. Had the variables like Hifumi's cleaning cloth, Yasuhiro's printing, the bloody wheel, and Kiyotaka's broken watch not come up, her evidence against Yasuhiro would've been damning enough that any other interpretations or inconsistencies could've been chalked up to baseless conjecture ("maybe he was stronger than we gave him credit for" she could've said; these kinds of arguments are what she argued with during the trial, and they only stuck out because of how badly the plan had been compromised by that point). Basically, she sized her bets and determined she had a winning hand, structuring things like a game instead of an actual crime.
After discovering the morgue in the bio lab and noticing that there's one fewer occupied freezer than there should be, why didn't they immediately search each one to figure out which corpse was missing?
It was never made clear if the units can be opened. The reason that one particular storage drawer was opened, as guessed by Kyoko, was that Mukuro's body was hastily carried in there sometime during the fifth trial and Junko never got the chance to close it (hence why Toko passed out shortly after walking into the place).
No, that's wrong! You search the room in Chapter 6 before Toko arrives there and they're all closed. You later go back there after Monokuma's final incentive and find Toko there with one freezer open (the implication being that Toko opened it, then fainted at what she saw).
I got it! The reason you can't open the freezers is that Makoto doesn't know how.
When they have access to Monokuma's control room, why didn't they immediately start smashing the equipment? That control room was the only reason the Mastermind was able to control anything — the fact that the mastermind wasn't there at the moment meant it was safe for them to do as they pleased, and smashing it would immediately strip the mastermind of all their power, ending the game on the spot.
Aoi asked Makoto if they could leave under the fear of the room being boobytrapped, which he agreed with (since destroying "school property" is still a punishable offense). They only found out a minute later that The Mastermind was totally helpless in that situation. And it's not as if those two would be able to think that far ahead.
Alternative Title(s):Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc