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Tear Jerker / Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School

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Even the "Ultimate Hope" can shed tears...
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    General 
  • The new trailer shows Class 77 during their time at Hope's Peak. While it's great to see them all alive again, including Chiaki, just goofing around and being themselves, knowing their eventual fate makes it very bittersweet.
  • The entire Side: Despair is made even more bittersweet seeing Chisa Yukizome as the hilarious, zany teacher of Class 77, all the while knowing she is fated to die a horrible death in Side: Future.
  • Seeing that the entire class during the Side: Despair arc are generally getting along and being how they were in in Danganronpa 2 only for them to soon fall into despair thanks to Junko Enoshima.
    • The ending credits are particularly poignant because they show pictures of the whole class and Chisa doing a bunch of fun activities; such as having picnics, celebrating holidays together, and going on class trips; and it's like a punch in the gut because you know what will become of all them and how the world will turn into a nightmare on earth. Seeing the credits particularly suck after the episodes where horrible things happen that set the class on the path to despair
    • Most people in the fandom will agree just getting to see the Danganronpa 2 cast again is a tearjerker as well!
  • Seeing all the dominoes that fall into place for Class 77 to become members of Ultimate Despair. If it weren't for a few key circumstances or the wrong people being in the wrong place at the wrong time, like Juzo, Nagito, and Mikan, then it all could've been avoided.
  • It's a somber thought that, aside from Monokuma, this is the last we'll see of the characters we've come to know and love over the course of the series. While we might get occasional references to them in the next game, it really is the end of the Hope's Peak Academy saga.
    "Every story has an end. This will be ours."
  • Zansakura -zanka- is an already melancholy tune, but it's clear that the song's filled with thinly veiled metaphors for the singer's life and thoughts. Christ, Komaeda...
    Cherry Blossoms, as if to fight back against the oncoming winter
    Until the day that this life is completely devoted
    Continue blooming like crazy
  • When you get into the deeper and more symbolic meanings hidden in the opening sequence of the Despair arc, a lot of them are pretty sad or depressing to think about.
    • The opening starts off going through slides of the characters who would soon become the Remnants of Despair with them all being their usual, quirky selfs. Along with a lot of them smiling and acting goofy, the music at the beginning of the song is more upbeat. This is pretty sad because it shows that these people, who are currently the worst terrorists and evil psychopaths in the history of the world, were initially normal kids at Hopes Peak High school.
    • After cycling through the characters, then the opening pans to them, now figure-sized, being cupped in someone's hands. Eventually, it pans out and reveals that Junko Enoshima is smirking down at them while her sister is standing back-to-back with her and armed with her mercenary gear. After a few minutes, Junko lifts the characters up and cheerfully blows on them, sending them flying. Then, the characters are all shown slowly descending through the air in stunned shock, each leaving a black trail behind them. This basically shows how Junko took a bunch of innocent and energetic high schoolers, ruined their lives, drove them to cause mass destruction and death, and then forced them to take the fall and suffer from their actions once they are returned to normal. The falling characters represent them being sent over the edge after living through hell, being betrayed by their teacher (who they didn't know had already been brainwashed), and having to watch one of their best friends die a brutal death. This totally broke them and their despair and suffering turned them into the remnants of despair, who are obsessed with causing suffering and destruction, which is shown by them spreading blackness as they fall.
    • Chisa is seen in her teacher's outfit, basically floating upside down in the wind, looking unconscious and sad. Similar to her students falling, this symbolises how Chisa, a formally sweet and upbeat woman, eventually fell into despair and ended up aiding in her students also becoming Remnants of Despair like her. The fact that she's all alone and sad looking in the opening foreshadows the fact that she is one of the first people for Hopes Peak to fall into despair and, unlike her students, who all had each other and fell into despair as a group, Chisa went through an extremely invasive and torturous ordeal to become a Remnant of despair, and she was all alone in her suffering. Not only that, once once her status as a Remanent is revealed in Side:Future, it ends up totally pushing Munakata over the edge, but he never finds out that it wasn't her choice or that she did genuinely love him and want to help him before Junko brainwashed her, and the implication is that no one knows how or why Chisa became a remnant of despair; like in the opening, she's alone because no one will know her story or the truth of the hell that she went through. Her sad and lifeless expression also can be seen as showing how the original Chisa has been long gone since being tortured into a Remnant; in fact, Despair Arc kicks off with the spirit of the original Chisa watching a movie of her life on a screen in her mind and saying that she died, but she guesses that she should share the story of how she ended up at this point.
    • Right before Chisa is seen in the opening, a pair of title cards reading HOPE and DESPAIR? are flashed, which also goes along with Chisa's narration at the start of the Despair arc that goes; "This is a story of hope that ends in despair...Does this story have a happy ending? I don't know. It might. We just have to watch and see how it plays out." It also shows that this is basically the final battle and that either hope or despair will have to win, and posses the question of which one is stronger.
    • During the first few episodes, the final scene is of a shadowed young girl walking towards Hopes Peak Academy and then turning back to look at the viewers. This girl is actually Chaika Nanami; her face is actually shown later on. By hiding her, the opening is alluding to the fact that, unbenounced to the viewers and the main cast of the Future arc, she was more or less what finally set off the the rampage of the Remnants of Despair and the School life of mutual killing. Junko Enoshima brutally killed her in front of her classmates, who subsequently became the Remnants and sent the whole world into total hell. Chaika is basically the secret trigger of everything that happened in the whole Danganronpa Hopes Peak saga but, like in the first few runs of the opening, she's been more or less forgotten because the only people who remembered her and her death were driven into insanity because of it and forgot her.
  • The ending sequence of the Future Arc is also pretty sad once you get into the symbolism. The ending sequence is basically a shadow boy holding a flower before crumpling to the ground in sadness, interspersed with shots of a large flower with dozens of petals. The flower petals beging falling off of the flower and shriveling up, as if the were burned; they turn giant and burry the boy alive as the fall. The last shot is off the boy being able to emerge from the pile and a close up of his flower, which only has eight petals left on it. Just the overall tone of the song and the purple and black coloring shows how sad, depressed, and damaged that a lot of the characters are after fighting Despair. While it also does seems to be trying to encourage hope as well, you just get the sense of how sad and dark the world has become at the start of this series. The is also the fact that the eight petals left on the flower at the very end can be symbolic of the fact that only eight people; Makoto, Kyoto, Aoi, Toko, Bayuka, Yashuhiro, Mitarai, and Munakata; are left alive after the final killing game. The only people to survive, regardless of how they were involved in the final killing game, were the six survivors from the first Danganronpa and two of the most broken characters in the whole series.
  • The lyrics of the ending for the Future Arc, Recall, THE END, are actually quite poignant as well
    "Along with an aria that signals the upcoming end,
    Miracles wave their torn, white flags, in defeat
    Amid applause that celebrates our escape from this cage,
    Shackles are upon us again!
    Now take a look, you silly pawn of despair...
    At this farce of great judgement!
    Incomparable Valkyrie!
    Eyes kept on the founder,
    Cast your gaze this way, admirable young man
    Break it!
    In this oppressive development,
    Make your way through the crowds,
    Screaming out: My justice is the right way!"
    Make it happen!
    Steadily advancing valkyrie,
    Loss is your only true teacher
    Guide me through, you of great talent
    Fake it!
    An all too vivid encounter,
    Everything is categorized by prejudice
    Nobody knows, only I know
    You already know, it's already over
    Everybody loves despair
    Now
    Recall
    From
    THE END"
    • This song is particularly sad not just because of the tone of the music, but how the lyrics fit the story and actually tell parts of it. "Amid applause that celebrates our escape from this cage, shackles are upon us again" is obviously an illusion to the fact that, after being lucky enough to make it out of The School Life of Mutual Killing, Makoto, Kyoto, and Aoi have been forced into the Hell of yet another killing game. As if the first time wasn't traumatic enough, they have to go through it all again and, from Makoto and Aoi's perspectives, this time is even worse as everyone knows whats going on and what happened during the School Life of Mutual Killing, yet decides to engage in murder and distrust anyway.
    • The parts about injustice, oppression, and prejudice and the part about "Screaming out: My justice is the right way!" accurately describe the Final Killing Game because it's a clash between at least three different versions of hope; Makoto's actual hope; Munakata's hope of annihilating despair by any means possible, regardless of the cost or collateral damage; and Tengan's ideology of actual hope being as ineffective as violence and humans being unable to create hope or beat despair on their own. There is also quite a lot of back-stabbing, hypocrisy, and insanity going on between the Foundation members during the game, despite the fact that they are supposed to be the good guys and the hope of humanity.
    • The "silly pawn of despair" and "Loss is your only true teacher" refers to Miratai's role in the Final Killing Game. The whole killing game was organized by Tengan for the explicit purpose of totally breaking Miratai and making him think that his brainwashing anime was the only logical option left to create hope and end despair. In a sense, the point was to use loss to teach miratai that taking extreme measures to produce hope to counter extreme despair were the only logical choice. Miratai also was very clearly Tengan's pawn in this game and he was taken advantage of by one of the people who he trusted the most.
    • You could also argue that the "pawn of despair" was Chisa, since it is eventually revealed that she was a Remnant of Despair all along and was long gone mentally and personality-wise by then. Munakata was more explicitly an unknowing pawn of the Remnants of Despair because it turns out that Chisa had been discreetly corrupting him and driving him towards despair since before the "Most Tragic Event is Human History" even happened. sakakura was also manipulated by Junko into covering up her activities, and therefore could also count as a pawn of despair. It's likely that either none or most of the events in the Danganronpa franchise would have happened if Junko had been stopped before she could enact her plan to throw the whole world into despair; Sakakura being blackmailed into lying directly led to the events of "The biggest, Most Despair-Causing Tragedy Ever" by ensuring that Junko wasn't discovered until it was far too late.

    Side: Future 
Episode 1
  • Just the look on Chisa's face as pictures of the Remnants of Despair appear on the meeting room monitor and the other branch leaders discuss why Makoto would've saved mass murderers like them. One can only imagine what must be going through her head seeing the fate that's befallen her former students. Although it's kind of thrown out the window when it's revealed she's a remnant of despair.
  • The ending of the very first episode of Mirai-hen. We have our very first victim: Chisa Yukizome, the former Ultimate Housekeeper, murdered and hung upside-down from a chandelier. It was particularly a shock, since she was the focus for the majority of the first episode.

Episode 2

  • Aoi's fake death will hit EXTREMELY hard in Episode 2 of Side:Future.
    • Just the look on Makoto's face upon seeing her body. He thinks he lost a friend he had since the first killing school life. Not only that, but the way she'd been killed, with a fake toy knife into her stomach and covered in red tomato sauce, probably awoke some flashbacks to Sayaka's death as well. Thankfully she wakes up moments later... But then, it turned out that the killer went for Great Gozu instead. The Gentle Giant that trusted Makoto and could have been allies with him throughout the series is now gone.
  • The whole hopelessness of the situation is both very sad and disturbing. While the participants in the first school life of mutual killing game could actually do something to protect each other or stop more deaths from happening, the rules in this game render everyone totally helpless. Just watching Makoto and Aoi in the moments before they are put asleep really hammer in the terror they are facing. They literally cannot do ANYTHING to protect themselves because they are going to be put to sleep; all they can think about in their last moments of consciousness is if they are going to even wake up. Can you imagine the horror of not knowing if you would die or wake up to find your friend murdered next to you and being totally helpless to do anything? This is particularly driven home by Gozu stating that he reinforced the door as best he could and that all they can really do is pray that they'll make it through the round while they are still awake, as he proceeds to do just that. This depressing moment only makes his eventual death even worse; Gozu's prayers were apparently useless because he ends up being the third person killed
  • The look of pain and betrayal on Bandai's face as he is inadvertently killed by Sakakura. Made even worse when Sakakura doesn't even care and goes right back to attacking Makoto, which is what killed Bandai in the first place. Bandai's death as a whole is incredible tragic and pointless, as well. Not only is he not allowed any characterization before he is killed off, but he is clearly the nicest and most harmless person in the group and stills ends up dying a brutal death that he didn't deserve whatsoever. He's clearly terrified and in pain right before he dies and is gone so quickly that it is nearly anticlimactic; all everyone (aside from Seiko) can do is stare in shock as his body goes limp and crashes to the ground. It's only made worse when you realize that, up until not even five minutes before his death, he was out scouting the exits and could have possibly avoided death if he'd came back just a few moments sooner or later. Right before things turned violent, the group briefly considered sharing their forbidden actions before talking about what they should do; if Bandai would have walked in just a few moments earlier, he would have had a chance to share his forbidden action and might not have died if everyone else knew that their fighting would kill him.
    • Even worse, it's an Ignored Epiphany: Sakakura does look horrified for a second at what happened, but then glares at their scapegoat and declares "This must be part of their plan!" It's only made more poignant by the fact that this brief moment of regret was brought on by a distraught Seiko screaming "He's dead!" and Great Gozu asking Sakakura "What have you done?" while doing what looks like praying.
    • Not just that, it's an Ignored Epiphany for the majority of the Future Foundation. At least half the members are either totally or partially for killing each other until they find the traitor, the majority distrust the others and are focused on their own survival and couldn't care less about the others, and some members just watch silently and don't interview despite disagreeing with how things are going. Just the looks on everyone's face as they stare at Bandai's corpse and Seiko as frantically pouring medicine in his mouth in a fruitless attempt to save him are a gut-punch on their own, but then, despite everyone being horrified by the event and appearing to realize that they all were partially responsible, everything resumes going to hell not even five seconds later, despite the fact that they all just killed an innocent person with their arguing. Bandai's death could have convinced everyone to stop fighting and try to work together, but it didn't, so the poor guy's death ended up being totally pointless.
      • A bit of fridge tearjerker that requires reading the analogy manga ensues when you watch The Great Gozu's reaction to Bandai's death; he immediately puts his hand over his heart and looks upward in a praying gesture and then asks Sakakura what he's done; he's one of the few people present who is seriously upset over Sakakura's actions. One of the manga chapters revolves around Gozu helping Bandai restore the greenery on the HQ island and some supplemental materials state that the two later became fairly close as branch heads. The reason Gozu had the strongest reaction to Bandai's death is because he literally just witnessed one of his best friends die a horrible and unfair death.
  • Just look at Great Gozu's behavior and body language when he saves Makoto and it becomes very apparent that he's not at all happy about having to fight his friends. Before he runs off to follow Makoto and Aoi, Munakata screams at him and asks him if he's really willing to betray his own comrades. Even though Gozu's face isn't visible because of his mask, you still are able to get the sense of how deeply those words hurt him; he clearly doesn't want to fight the others, but he still chooses to side with Makoto and Aoi (who he appears to have never even met in person before this) because his conscious won't let him go along with the other's paranoia or allow innocent people to be killed. Even worse is that, after he stops Juzo from stabbing Makoto, Munakata pulls out his katana and proceeds to ask Gozu if he really plans to get in the way of the people who are trying to stop despair. He then follows it up with asking Gozu how he can live with himself after knowing how many of their friends and comrades died in their fight against despair, yet basically turning his back on them be not wiping out despair at all costs. Gozu literally freezes up, stops fighting, and just gives this pathetic sigh, like he's seriously debating if he's making the right choice.
    • It really just hammers in how much the Future Foundation has been warped by everything they've suffered while fighting the despairs; far from the force of good and hope it was meant to be, most of the members are now so focused on wiping out despair that they are willing to use all and any means possible, regardless of the consequences. The top leaders of the Foundation, who were largely responsible for the restoration of some limited amount of order to the destroyed world, have now reached the point were they think that killing each other one-by-one is a reasonable strategy to end the killing game. It's even worse because most of them have previously seen the aftermath of one (or more) killing games first hand yet still think that more violence is the anwser.

Episode 3

  • Kyosuke Munakata. He was shown to be a very nice and supportive person before the events of the Tragedy, even helping Hope's Peak Academy expand overseas. Seeing the way he is now, especially after he says Makoto doesn't know what true despair is like even after watching his friends kill each other, makes one wonder what kind of hell this guy has been through. And now that he's lost one of the only supportive people he had left in his life, there's no telling just how far he might go in his quest to destroy despair. Even Juzo seems to be having second thoughts about him as of episode 3.
    • Same with Chisa, who's significantly mellowed out from her upbeat and energetic personality as Class 77's teacher. Even her colors have become less vibrant.
  • The look of utter helplessness and despair on Makoto's face as he stares in horror at The Great Gozu's body hanging from the ceiling. It's only made worse by the fact that Aoi and Gekohara (via her computer avatar) saw Gozu first and began screaming bloody murder; the way makoto turned slowly and in shock gives the impression that he knew what he was going to see once he turned.
    • The next shot shows the Gekohara, Aoi, and Makoto gathered around Gozu after they get his corpse down from the ceiling. While Aoi and Gekohara are talking as Aoi covers him with her coat, Makoto is just standing there, staring at the body, with the most heartbreaking look in his eyes. This is only made even worse by the fact that Makoto's panicked eyes are intercut with him having flashbacks to his last conversation with Gozu and how he had encouraged Makoto that he was stronger than he thought and needed to not give up hope. Makoto's next action is decide to broadcast what had happened and his forbidden action to the rest of the Future Foundation members, and it's pretty apparent that he blames himself for Gozu's death. It's also pretty obvious that he decided to face the others and stop hiding because of both his feelings of guilt and a desire to honor Gozu's faith in him.
Episode 4

Episode 5

  • How the friendship between Kimura and Andou fell apart. Both had trust in the other, yet due to their own insecurities (Andou just wanting her talent to be acknowledged by someone more talented like Kimura, and Kimura herself just wanting a friend), it eventually crumbled.
  • The death of Tengan. Here, we see an old man who's been nothing but wise, helpful and badass get mercilessly killed off with his warning words falling on deaf ears. Imagine the horror and sadness at seeing one of your own former students and colleagues become a total monster, and give you a, albeit tame compared to the other deaths in the series, still horrible and painful death.
    • Expanding on that: just how horrifically brutal and merciless Munakata has become. We have a man who used to be kind and supportive (hell, in this same episode, it was revealed that he helped Kimura when she got expelled!) suddenly stoop to a level so low, what even is the difference between him and the Remnants of Despair? To see him suddenly delve down into a manic and ruthless killer in his quest to destroy despair really shows how unsettling and upsetting this whole thing's done to him.
  • Kimura no longer in her powered up mode is all alone in a dark hallway. She crouches down and looks at the bottle of Cure W. She then starts crying as she recalls the deaths of Yukizome and Bandai and sobs how she just wanted to save everyone, yet she couldn't even do that. It must hit her harder considering her position as the SHSL Pharmacist.
    Kimura: Where did I go wrong? Just like then (recalls Yukizome's death)...and then...(recalls her failure to save Bandai) I couldn't do anything. I couldn't save anyone. I just wanted to save everyone...
    • Continuing on from that scene, the fact that she kept the first ever candy that Andou gave her when they were kids. Just as time is breached, she looks at it before finally blacking out.
      • Also, adding to that: her being the next one to die. For her to have these regrets and not to have been able to reconcile with Andou really makes the whole situation between the two girls tragic. Unless they pull an Asahina.

Episode 6

  • It turns out Kimura wasn't the only one to die. Izayoi perished as well, leaving Andou completely alone.
  • Munakata final goodbye to the deceased Chisa, as he calls her by her first name, something he never did when she was alive.
  • Poor Mitarai's reactions to all the deaths. While Kirigiri, Kizakura, and he are looking over Gozu's body and kneel for a moment of respect, he has his eyes clutched close and is shaking like he's trying to stop himself from crying. When they stumble upon Izayoi's body, he screams bloody murder and his legs give out. By the time they find Kimura's body, the poor guy has reached his limit and has to go vomit in a corner.
    Mitarai: Why? Why? Why? We're all members of the Future Foundation! So how could they...why are they...? urgh! (throws up)
  • Kizakura doesn't make Kimura's death any better by removing his hat and commenting that that it's sad and unfair because she was so young. It gets worse when you realize that, baring Tengan and Kizakura, all the branch heads an many of the Future Foundation members are in the 20-30 year age zone.All those people should have had long lives, but they all died brutal and rather unfair deaths because of the actions of various crazed psychopaths. And that's not even going into the years of utter hell that they've undoubtedly have suffered during the Tragedy and the ensuing fight against the despairs.
  • Just how alone Munakata is. At the end of the episode we see him sitting in a hallway in the dark as he checks his weapons. In comparison Naegi has numerous allies making the contrast rather striking.
    • Contrast with the beginning of the episode when he and his True Companions were graduating full of hope, optimism, and plans for the future.

Episode 8

  • Kizakura breaking his NG code to save Kyoko's life.
    • His last words make it even more gut wrenching.
    Kizakura: Well... I kept... My promise... Jin.
  • While it qualifies more as tragic and the full circumstances of it aren't knownwhen you take into account Ruruka's and Izayoi's Forbidden Actions. First, you have Ruruka who, despite her personality flaws, you have to feel sorry that she has to ensure that no one else leaves, including her lover, in order to survive. Then take Izayoi, who despite loving Ruruka and her sweets, is in a position where if he doesn't escape or the mastermind isn't caught, he would risk starving to death even if he were to avoid being killed by the mastermind.
  • While it is mostly played for Kizakura being awesome, there is room to feel sorry for Sakakura, when he realized that Kizakura had a point: He just screwed up so many things that he probably thinks that he really is a failure, and his biggest one, letting the Tragedy happen, topped with flashbacks of him lying defeated on the ground, with Junko's taunting Slasher Smile to rub it in his face. So regardless of what happened, he just wanted to make up for his mistakes to Munakata and not wanting to disappoint him again. All these, without realizing that his Munakata has probably gone too far...
  • After Makoto finished his talk with Komaru, Aoi comments that he's such a good big brother. When Makoto was embarrassed at first, then it hit to him that Aoi lost her brother Yuuta during the mess that Komaru went through. And then there was an awkward silence...
  • We also learn the fate of the PE teacher who substituting for Chisa. She and Kizakura were both part of a team trying to rescue the students trapped in Hope's Peak during the killing school life. He compliments her on combat skills and suggests she do it for a living, but she admits she loves teaching PE and would rather dedicate her life to that instead. Despite being the only two soldiers left, the two make one final charge toward the school, only one final shot from the school's defense turrets to obliterate her, leaving only a crater and her bloody helmet.

Episode 9

  • Kirigiri's death. Much like with Bandai, Ruruka, and Kizakura's codes, it's a very unfair one. It's "survive up to the fourth Sleeping Phase with Makoto Naegi still alive".
    • Everyone's reactions to it really sold it. From Naegi feeling all that blame and guilt that what he was told came true and that he is technically responsible for Kirigiri's death (he doesn't have a choice), Asahina's sobbing, Mitarai probably feeling useless for being unable to do a thing.
      • Don't forget how this is the first time in the entire series we have seen Naegi cry.
    • Made all the worse by all the cute Ship Tease she and Naegi got before then, from her showering praise on him and making him blush, her taking off her gloves to hold his hand, reassuring him that she'll always be with him... Mood Whiplash at its finest, folks.
      • It's even worse when you think about why she heaped on so much praise for him. She knew she was walking dead, and refused to sacrifice Naegi for herself again. And she knew the death would hit hard. She did her best to keep him inspired so her death wouldn't cause "Ultimate Hope" to lose hope.
      • And even worse is that upon seeing her NG code, he numbly asks "why didn't you tell me?". Implying he would have killed himself rather than let her die.
      • And this also explains why she was investigating the area instead of sticking with Makoto the whole time. She was trying to assess the situation and put all the pieces together while she still had time. Then all she gave it all to him and asked that he never give up on hope, no matter what. She knew from the get-go she wasn't going to survive this killing game.
    • What's even worse is Kizakura promised Jin to protect his daughter in case something happened to him and he sacrificed his life to save her, but it didn't matter in the end due to her Forbidden Action. Whether he lives or dies, his promise could never have been fulfilled.
      • Perhaps a slightly positive way of looking at it while he did sacrifice himself for her safety, she must've realized that her NG Code was inevitably going to set off, so it could be a twist of luck that she could talk to Naegi one last time thanks to Kizakura saving her. So maybe not entirely in vain, depending on how you look at it .
    • There's also the fact that, moments after they realize that Kirigiri is dead, Munakata uses the intercom to essentially taunt Makoto, asking him if he figured out what Kirigiri's forbidden action was and if he had realized yet that his ideals were useless.
      • There's also the implication that, since Munakata had the list of NG codes from Robot Gekohara's "brain" before the fourth sleeping phase, that he purposefully let Kirigiri die. Likely, he did it to break Makoto and make him suffer the way that he had so that he could prove that his twisted version of "hope" was correct.
  • The circumstances to Izayoi's death. Episode 8 revealed he died from his NG code activating. Episode 9 shows that he put traps all over the room to prevent anyone from leaving so Ruruka's code wouldn't activate. And while they kissed, she shoved a candy into his mouth which activated it.
    • And how does he respond? He accepts it, reassures her she didn't betray him, and even goes on to say he loves her.
      Izayoi: I love you.
    • It's made even worse by Ruruka tearfully screaming that she knows that but, since she will never be able to stop worrying that he will betray her, the only way to guarantee that he won't hurt her is to betray him first before he every has the chance to betray her. Ruruka was so paranoid that she felt that the only way to free herself from her paranoia was to kill the person she loved, even though she knew that it was illogical and wrong.
  • Even though he's still not Rescued from the Scrappy Heap by quite a number of people, there's something rather upsetting about Juzo getting killed off by Munakata.
    • It's the fact that his best friend and someone he's so loyal, devoted to, and constantly supported just mercilessly killed him without a second thought. It's reminiscent like with Tengan's death: Tengan must've been horrified and saddened at seeing a former student of his sink so low to the point there is no difference between this extremist brand of hope and despair. Likewise, Juzo must've been feeling betrayed, hurt, shocked and horrified at seeing his best friend, this once proper and respectful man who shielded and even took people in (like Kimura), just kill him without warning.
    • What makes it even more painful is the reaction of Ruruka, who had been hiding behind a nearby wall and saw it happen. She is bawling and shaking, with her hands clamped over her mouth so that Munakata doesn't find out that she's there and come for her. As distrustful as she is, even Ruruka is clearly horrified by Juzo's murder at the hand of his best friend and can feel some small degree of sympathy for him. What makes it even worse is that, as she is stumbling around trying to find a hiding place, she's trying to convince herself that Juzo deserved to die. She repeatedly insists, rather weakly, that what she saw simply reinforces her beliefs that everyone is untrustworthy and will eventually betray the people who love them. She tells herself that it isn't a big deal and that she doesn't care, even though she is clearly disturbed by what she saw.
    • It's especially jarring when Juzo was clearly affected by all the deaths he knew about. This is at the same time that Munakata has fully embraced his Kill 'Em All attitude. Juzo was partially upset by the death of Tengan shortly before he himself got stabbed. In fact, he had a look of utter shock and horror on his face in response to Munakata's casual, deadpan reply that he already knows because he himself was the old man's killer. One slowly gaining sympathy, one proving less worthy of it.
    • Even though his actions can't be fully excused, Juzo is just a pretty tragic character in general. Side: Despair and the Side: Future analogy manga reveal that, while he's a violent jerkass, more often than not, his motives are usually quite pure. He simply goes about carrying them out in the worst way possible. Such as his beating of Hajime prior to the start of The Tragedy while he was working at Hope's Peak. While Hajime was finally totally broken and driven to undergo the experiment that turned him into Izuru because of the beating, Juzo was genuinely upset about the deaths of Natsume and Sato and his own inability to stop Hopes Peak from harming its students. He thought that the school would murder Hajime to silence his nosiness, so he was desperate to stop Hajime from digging into the incident. As horrible as his treatment of Hajime was, Juzo's intention was genuinely to to protect the boy, unfortunately, it backfired epically. The stinger is the fact that, in the analogy manga, when Ruruka slips all of the Future Foundation heads some of her drugged sweets that temporarily bring out everyone's true nature, it turns out that Juzo is quite possibly one of the most kind-hearted people in the entire group. Compare that with his current actions, and it's quite depressing to think that someone with so much potential for good could also be such an violent extremist.
    • The reason why Juzo is like this is also potentially pretty sad. It is pretty well shown that Hopes Peak actually hurts their students more than it helps, what with its focus on the importance of talent and winning, and that the Ultimate students were conditioned to think of themselves as the pinnacle of human superiority. That means that, in all likelihood, many of Juzo's violent tendencies could possibly have been a result of the school encouraging them and exploiting them to their own advantage over the years that he was a student. It probably doesn't help that he's undyingly loyal and devoted to Munakata, who was actually being discreetly corrupted by Chisa for years.Munakata's extremism and ideology is largely a result of her indirect manipulation, and that fact that Juzo was so willing to do anything that Munakata told him to do begs the question of whether or not he was unintentally, second-hand corrupted as a result of following his friend's orders.
  • Ruruka's final moments. Yeah, she may still be hated by many, but the way she is prior to the fourth Sleeping Phase is just pitiful. She's futilely trying to hole herself up away from Munakata (whom she just witnessed kill Juzo) while reflecting on how her "questionable" actions ultimately meant nothing in the end. Before she goes to sleep, Ruruka keeps telling herself that she will survive this and just make new friends after all this is done. The fact that she says all this in a broken, tearful voice clearly indicates that she doesn't believe her own words. Next time we see her, all we see is her mutilated corpse.
    • This makes Ruruka trying to convince herself that Juzo's death was a forgone conclusion and that she didn't care about it even more heartbreaking in hindsight. What she was really trying to do was calm her own conscious and convince herself that her murder of Izayoi was justifiable.
    • Watching her trying to block the entrance, in particular, is sad, as it seems to reflect that, without Izayoi or even Seiko, she can't do much on her own.
  • Despite his recent actions and attitude, Munakata can be considered this. During his battle against Mecha Gekkougahara, he states Despair stole everything from him and he refuses to allow it to do that to anyone else. In the end, his desperate actions to protect the innocent have twisted him to the point of being just as bad as them. This is shown in his murder of Juzo, he was obviously unhappy to murder his best friend but felt he had to, he even cursed Despair for forcing him to do it.

Episode 10

  • Here, we finally get a full understanding of what's happened to Munakata. Tengan revealed to him that Chisa had been corrupted by despair. We see a flashback of Munakata with her at a playground during the tragedy as she cries over the bodies of several children, asking him why this happened. And during the final killing game, he received a picture that reveals she was the one who killed them. He wasn't kidding about despair stealing everything from him. But as betrayed as he feels, he just can't bring himself to hate her or feel sad over her death. So he chooses to forget her and blame Ultimate Despair instead. Tengan then twisted the knife further by telling Munakata that "everyone is an attacker" and taunting him about Chisa's death. After everything he already lost to despair, he just snaps and decides to kill everyone because he's so enraged at despair for destroying everything he ever cared about. It's only now, after Kyoko's death, that Makoto can get through to him: admitting that if Kyoko had fallen to despair, he still would've been glad to meet her. That's when Munakata has flashbacks of Chisa and he finally allows himself to cry. Someone please give the guy a hug.
  • Munakata's not completely off the hook, though. When Naegi shows up and asks to talk, what does Munakata tell him? "While you mouthed lukewarm platitudes, Kirigiri died. Your ideals cost the life of the woman you loved!" Way to rub salt in the wound.
  • When Naegi tells Asahina and Mitarai that he's going to confront Munakta, Mitarai starts yelling at him, asking how he can be over Kirigiri's death just like that. Cue Naegi turning around and saying he's not, but for her sake he has to be, in a tone that sounds like he's holding back tears. And he may well have been, because immediately after he leaves the room, he has to stop and cry for a few minutes. Poor guy.
  • Naegi's little hypothetical scenario of Kirigiri falling to despair, betraying everyone and only way to stop her being to kill her. It's a whole another level heartbreaking once you realize it applies to his relationship with Junko, of all people, down to tiniest details. Who Naegi STILL tried to save. Despite everything, Naegi is happy to have met her. And unlike Chisa and everyone else who got dragged into despair through Brainwashing and personal tragedy, she was Junko Enoshima. So Naegi hardly has anyone to empathize with him on this, as people would have lashed out at him for even voicing such feelings.

Episode 11

  • We finally understand what happened to the victims. They were all Driven to Suicide by another despair video. We even get to see some of the victims about to commit suicide. And it is brutal. We get to see a gleeful, swirly-eyed Chisa climbing on a stack of chairs with the dagger in mouth, reaching out for the chandelier; a crazed Seiko bashing herself against a wall repeatedly, and a pathetic looking Ruruka rocking herself back and forth in the eerie red light while surrounded by her candies. Gozu's pre-death scene is probably the most gut-wrenching. He's kneeling limply in total horror in front of the monitor and, once the video apparently ends, he proceeds to utterly lose it. He's literally screaming, clutching his head, and thrashing around in agony. When the monitor finally drops the dagger hidden in it, he grabs it and immediately begins stabbing his eyes.''Repeatedly'.
    • This makes Andou's death even sadder as it implies that Andou deeply hated herself due to her actions.
    • Chisa, Seiko, and Andou clearly had regrets and carried a lot of guilt that made prime targets for the brainwashing video. From what we saw of The Great Gozu, however, he seems to have been a genuinely good person who only wanted to protect his comrades, so it's hard to understand what could drive him to kill himself so brutally. If you think back to when he was fighting Munakata, the former was able to shock Gozu into temporarily freezing up by asking him if he remembered all of their friends from the Future Foundation who died during the battle against despair and how he would be able to ever face them again in the afterlife. If that is any indication to go by, you have to wonder if, similar to Makoto, Gozu had secretly been harboring a lot of guilt and regret underneath his polite and friendly demeanor. It's only made worse by the fact that he stabbed out his own eyes during the ordeal, since the implication is that whatever her saw was so horrible that he blinded himself so he wouldn't have to see it anymore.
  • As Naegi decides to test Kirigiri's theory, he watches a monitor seeing the despair video giving him a vision of nearly every one of his fallen classmates from the first game and Kirigiri as they died. With Sayaka reminding him that he promised to save her and Kirigiri blaming him. They constantly ask them why he is still alive and that he should have been the one to die, and in the end, both of them convince him to kill himself and join them so they can finally be together.
    • The fact Mukuro is noticeably missing in his vision. While Mukuro had many flaws, in the end she did everything out of love for her sister and truly did care for Naegi.
    • It's even more heartbreaking when you think about Makoto's situation vs. the one for the Remnants of Despair. Everyone who died in the Neo World Program remains in a comatose state and, although it's been stated that the chances are small, there still remains hope that they can all be brought back. The same cannot be said for the victims of the killing school life. All of them died real, painful deaths either by murder or execution. None of them are ever coming back. Makoto had his memories of his school life restored by the Future Foundation, meaning he remembers all the good times they had together, he remembers the promises he made to get them all out alive, and he remembers the fact that he failed to save most of them.
    • It's only made worse by the fact that the video implies that, for all his hope and genuine kind-heartedness, Makoto actually has Survivor's Guilt and is actually quite broken and messed up inside due to the events of the School Life of Mutual Killing. Going off of this, while, he really wasn't close to the people who died in the Final Killing Game and probably wasn't as affected by those deaths, it still probably had to be total hell to have to live through the experience again. And in some ways; with all the back-stabbing, mistrust, the deaths either being guilt-fueled, brainwashing-induced suicides or people who were supposed to be friends and allies murdering each other out of hate and paranoia, and just the shear brutality and gore; this killing game was even worse than the first one. Even without being close to the dead, this clearly had to be another round of psychological torture for Makoto. As if the poor guy isn't messed up enough all ready.
  • When Asahina reveals that it was all suicide due to a video, you see Mitarai cringe as he realizes that Junko is still using his skills for despair.
    • When Naegi asks Mitarai about the video, you see Mitari starting to repeat that it wasn't his fault, showing he's still traumatized by Junko.
  • Juzo feels that in the end he was a failure. He let himself be blackmailed by Junko, he didn't capture the traitor as there wasn't one and was betrayed by Munakata.
  • In the end of the episode, Munakata is reasonably uncomfortable about seeing Juzo only for Naegi to support Munakata seeing him one last time. As Munakata runs to apologize, he arrives too late and finds Juzo dead. He reflects that he was always too late, or, translated differently, always too slow (as in, too slow to notice things) as the last of his friends has died.
    • Because irony (particularly of the dramatic sort) hates the Munakata Brigade, as Juzo reflects that he's been abandoned, Munakata is racing down the hall to meet him, only to finally arrive and see Juzo's lifeless body still holding on to the switch he'd used to save everyone. To add insult to injury, if Munakata hadn't stopped to argue the point with Naegi and just gone in search of Juzo right away, he'd have reached him in time. So Juzo died thinking that the man he loved despised and abandoned him, when in reality Munakata desperately wanted his forgiveness. Meanwhile, Munakata only realized how important and devoted Juzo was when he lost him for the second time, squandering his last chance to see his best friend. Now he has to live with the fact that he murdered his misguided but faithful friend out of paranoia, destroying his last link to happier times. At times like this, the Ultimate Therapist would have been very welcome...
    • It only gets worse when you consider the fact that Munakata quite possibly thinks that Juzo died angry over his betrayal and hated him for it, when that was definitely not the case. Juzo was upset because he thought Munakata hated him, but flat out states in his final moments that, even if he was betrayed and abandoned, he still wanted the man he loved to keep living. Munakata will probably spend the rest of his life haunted by how Juzo probably felt as he died but, in reality, after shutting down the killing game, saving Makoto and admitting his jealousy towards him, and knowing that Munakata was alive, Juzo died content and somewhat happy with the knowledge that, for once in his life, he had actually been able to do the right thing without further screwing things up. Only, Munakata will never know any of that, and it will probably only make his guilt and suffering worse; if he had only made it to his friend in time, then he would have been able to know that Juzo wasn't angry at him and wanted him to keep living, which would have most certainly made it easy for Munakata to live with himself after everything that happened.
      • Actually, Makoto told him that Juzo wanted to save him from the game and that shutting down the power is a proof of that. While Kyosuke will never learn Juzo's thoughts, the action here speaks for itself.

Episode 12

  • Both Tengan and Mitarai are sad people. In the end they have both given up hope that they can save the world with normal means and have decided that the only way to create peace is brainwashing everyone
  • Mitarai finally snapping and becoming an Anti-Villain, especially considering what he's been through in the whole anime.
  • The episode closes with Chisa and Junko in a theater watching the events that took place play out. Chisa gives a gut-wrenching narration about how the Future Foundation leaders' desire to create hope led them to despair and that all their prayers and dreams utterly failed them in the end. It doesn't help that it's spoken over a montage of all the deaths. It just drive home the fact that, regardless of who they were at the moment of their death, all everyone really wanted in the beginning was to fix the world and make things better. Unfortunately, the loss, conflict, and prolonged destruction warped them to the point that their desire to create a better world was their undoing because they were so extreme and ruthless in their vision and how they would implement it.
  • Knowing who the real mastermind was and why they snapped in the first place only makes all the deaths worse as it was a total act of betrayal by the leader that everyone trusted. Not only that, while you can't totally excuse their actions, even the worst people; Andou, Sakakura, Munakata, Chisa,and even Tengan himself;largely are the way they are because they have been so screwed up over time by the things they were put through. The things that happened during the Final killing game and the way most of them died means that a bunch of already suffering and messed up people were driven through hell yet again; even if most of them were assholes, it's hard to really think that they deserved it. If Munakata's mindset by this point is any indication, as brutal as these deaths were, it's actually kind of merciful for some of the characters because it means that they don't have to keep living in a broken world while deeply scarred and traumatized.
    • Case in point; the whole reason the Final Killing Game happened was because Tengan wanted to break Mitarai so that he would use his brainwashing video to create hope. While casually killing his own friends and comrades was very heartless, there is the fact that the whole reason that Tengan was driven to thinking that it was a good idea was because he saw the Future Foundation that he headed get more and more extreme in it's actions, to the point that they really were not much better than the Despairs themselves. That's not even mentioning all the losses and horrors he had to have suffered and that the fight has been dragging on for somewhere between 3 and 5 years by the time Side: Future rolls around. And the final thing that drove Tengan over the edge was that, upon turning over most of his power to Munakata, who he was already concerned about, Munakata proceeded to lead the Foundation down an even darker and more inhumane path than it was already on. At that point, Tengan probably just wanted the battle to end and likely thought that the people left alive were too twisted by the Tragedy and despair to be able to have hope and win on their own. But you can't really blame Munakata fully, either, once you realize that he was being corrupted by Chisa the whole time and was unknowingly being driven to brutality as a result, with the goal being his eventual descent into despair. Also, it's stated that Munkata's corruption had passed itself on to Tengan and had likely influenced the formers descent into his own extremism. But then it turns out that Chisa had been a Despair for years and that the actual Chisa was long gone; she was basically a stranger in her own body. Not only were all her actions due to being a brainwashed Fragment of Despair, she was driven to despair after undergoing extreme torture at the hands of the despair sisters. Sakakura also seems like a monster; which, to be fair, is at least half true; but he is also a mess and only wanted to fix things, but instead made them worse and actually was one of the big reasons that the Tragedy happened in the first place, which has clearly been eating away at his sanity. Also, seeing how he is undyingly loyal to Munakata, who was corrupted to extremism by Chisa, you have to wonder if, in addition to being a jerkass, Sakakura himself wasn't either flat out corrupted by Chisa or unintentionally corrupted by following Munakata's orders. Event though nearly everyone acts totally immoral at some point and does some simply awful things during the course of the final game, you can't fully hate them because there were a lot of factors beyond their control involved; in the end, all you can really feel for everyone is pity.
  • Knowing why the killing game happened and who was behind it actually makes Bandai's death even Harsher in Hindsight. Tengan wanted all the branch leaders dead because of how corrupt the Future Foundation had become, but Bandai's forbidden action was so rigged against him that, for whatever reason, Tengan appears to have clearly wanted him dead and purposely left him no real chance of making it out alive.
    • A different, but still depressing, way of looking at it is that Tengan recognized that Bandai was one of the three fully sane and uncorrupted leaders and decided to be somewhat merciful by not dragging out his suffering throughout the game or subjecting him to a brutal, despair-induced death. (not that being poisoned was really any better)
      • A third also still depressing possibility is that Tengan set Bandai up to die specifically for the purposes of manipulating Gozu and avoid Bandai's influence on others, to drive Gozu into wanting to protect even more by losing the person closest to him, and to avoid the possibility of Bandai influencing anyone's actions in a way that was dangerous to Tengan's plans.

    Side: Despair 
Episode 1
  • Hajime looking out at Hope's Peak's main building. The poor guy is still deeply insecure about his lack of talent.

Episode 2

  • During its end, it reveals that we will likely be seeing the Twilight Syndrome Murder Case in all its glory.
  • A really minor example, but it's kinda sad nobody gives Kazuichi any credit for building a giant TV monitor to play games on, but everybody sings Chiaki's praises for supplying the games and console. The poor guy never gets any respect.

Episode 3

  • As fated, both Natsumi and Sato are murdered. Then it shows Fuyuhiko looking at his sister's body in a morgue, with Peko punching a wall so hard her hand bleeds, and Mahiru crying in class.
    • Mahiru's situation in general is a real tearjerker when you think about it - She is naturally really talented at photography, and for this she gets constantly bullied by a girl who just so happens to be daughter of a Yakuza family and can pretty much cause as much hell for Mahiru as she wants. The only person who seems to stand up for her is Sato. Then she's separated from Sato because Sato's just a reverse course student, but Natsumi is still there and casually toys with killing Mahiru just so she can have her place as an Ultimate, despite Mahiru's talent being legitimate and Natsumi's "Ultimate Little Sister" being made up and thus not recognised by the Academy. Then Natsumi is killed by Satou and even though Mahiru was horrified Sato went that far, she covers up the crime because she can't bear to turn in her best friend and seemingly the only person who cared enough to defend her, even though she knows it's not right and it's causing pain to Fuyuhiko, her own classmate. This not only likely contributed to turning herself, Fuyuhiko and Peko towards Ultimate Despair, but it goes on to haunt them in the game that was meant to be a second chance for everyone too, as Monokuma knows exactly what happened in Twilight Syndrome. Even though Mahiru didn't kill Natsumi or agree with what happened and genuinely wanted to atone for her own involvement, the actions of Natsumi and Sato ended up with Mahiru dying the same way they did, Peko's execution and Fuyuhiko getting blinded. And now, who knows if she, Peko or any of their friends will ever wake up from their comas? Ouch.
  • The beginning has Hajime walking away from the main gate of Hope's Peak, lamenting his normalcy, while the students of class 77 all walk past him without even acknowledging his existence.
    • What's particularly sad about this is that we know that these same students would bond extremely well with Hajime, if they were given the chance to...in fact, many of the personal issues that Junko played on may not have been such weak points if they had had someone like Hajime to talk them through things.
  • Despite her Jerkass tendencies and her status as The Bully, Natsumi does get a pretty heartbreaking scene, revealing that she has an inferiority complex WORSE than Hajime. Whereas Hajime can least admit there are some things worth more than talent, Natsumi believes that there is nothing more important than talent. She's even driven to tears when talking to Hajime about not being in the Main Course with her brother. Hajime completely sympathizes with her, and two seem to have bonded a bit due the conversation. This makes her death all the sadder, not only did it affect her brother and Peko, but it also affected Hajime, who just lost a potential friend. Her death ends up being one of the reasons that Hajime chose to undergo the Kamukura project since he was unable to do anything for her due to his lack of talent.
  • Hajime and Chiaki's goodbye to each other in Episode 3. Especially since this may be the last time that this Chiaki will see Hajime as himself, before his transformation to Izuru Kamukura.
    • One Hajime's internal dialogue reveals that he wanted Chiaki to be proud of him for having a talent, completely ignoring the fact that Chiaki already accepts him for who he is.
  • The fact that Chiaki, Chisa and Tengan almost got through to Hajime and averted disaster...only for Sakakura to open his big mouth (and raise his fists). In the second game, Junko made it sound like Hajime was an idiot with delusions of grandeur, but here we learn he was hunted down and exploited by Hope's Peak from the start. When a Hope Spot occurred and he started acquiring some self-esteem, he almost made it out with his mind intact...only to have the spirit literally beaten out of him. It wasn't just for his own ego that he became Izuru — it was because he wanted to be useful and protect people. And we know how THAT turned out.
    • Worse still is the irony factor. At the point where he's at his lowest ebb and prepared to sacrifice his "worthless" self for "talent," we learn here that Hajime is talented - he has excellent people skills, integrity, and a curious, analytical mind. He may not be an Ultimate, and Hope's Peak probably wouldn't have much time for that skill set... but those are exactly the skills and qualities that could have saved the school.
  • The fact that the headmaster refers to Hajime as "the subject" — further proof, as if any more was needed, that the school that Hajime worships and trusts is utterly unworthy of such reverence. In their eyes, he's just a test subject and not even worthy of a name. Alternatively, they're getting a head start on erasing his identity — a part of the experiment that Hajime seems oblivious to.
    • Although, it's also worth noting that the headmaster, Kizukura, and Tengan all look and sound pretty upset as they discuss Hajime's decision in the above scene. When you take into account the fact that Munakata, Sakakura, and Chisa were secretly at Hope's Peak to investigate the corruption of the school by its governing board, it's quite likely that the three men were not fully informed of what the experiment would entail. From their brief, somber discussion, it seems like they had no real say in what happened, despite having suspicions that the experiment was a bad idea and not wanting Hajime to take part in it. The school board literally has the authority to mess with someone's head or authorize cover-ups of murders, and the few reasonable adults who actually work with the students and care about them are helpless to stop them from being victimized by the school that they trust so much.
    • The above actually makes the death of Jin Kirigiri and his efforts to protect the class 78th class even more gut wrenching. While the guy clearly played along with Hopes Peak's shady operating practices, he genuinely did care about the students and teachers and, despite his position, was totally helpless to stop the abuse and exploitation of the students by the governing board. Even his desire to protect the 78th class failed, as it turns out that the mastermind of the tragedy, Junko Enoshima, had infiltrated the 78th class; Jin died knowing that she was going to do something horrible to the remaining survivors and that he was helpless to to do anything about it. Following his execution, Junko was then free to enact her School Life of Mutual Killing, and his plan to save the students led to them being put in a situation were the majority of them ended up killing each other. Although there is a bright side, as his actions to save the 78th class lead to Makoto, Kyoto, Aoi, Yashuiro, Bayuka, and Toko being able to survive, rehabilitate the remnants of despair, survive the final killing game, and rebuild a new Hopes Peak high school; not to mention that fact that his actions led to his own daughter being able to survive.

Episode 4

  • Chiaki waiting at the usual spot for Hajime, only for him not to show up. This has been going on for several days.
  • While Andou and Kimura were shown to have problems in their friendship, they could have made up eventually if not for Nagito's luck screwing with them, causing their expulsion and falling out.
  • Due to Nagito's actions Kizakura is on probation while Yukizome is transferred over to the Reserve Branch. Yukizome and the rest of the 77th class don't take it well. It becomes even more depressing when you realize this is why Junko was able to get to them.

Episode 5

  • The ending has Hajime finally undergo the final stage of the Kamukura Project. The final shot has his eyes burst open and glow a deep red, confirming that his old personality is gone.
    • For an added kick in the balls, Hinata's final thoughts before his lobotomy is of how Nanami would be proud of him.
  • When Mikan learns about the situation with Ryota and the Ultimate Impostor, she assumes that they're either going to kill her or they want sexual favors from her. Of course, they turn her down, saying they trust her to keep it secret. She immediately starts bawling, saying that nobody's ever said something so nice to her before. Really gives some insight on Mikan's life before she came to Hope's Peak.
  • Ryota's past of being bullied every day due to his lack of social skills and also interest in anime. Sadly, while he got admitted to a prestigious school Hope's Peak due to his animating talent, his parents' fears came true, he became a Workaholic Hikikomori because his past influenced him. The sadder part is... this is Truth in Television, somewhere out there in real world, there would be someone who's being bullied like Ryota. Especially in Japan when the subject is about anime.
    • Worse still, Mitarai's Workaholic nature goes so bad that he nearly starves himself working. This is also Truth in Television, with Japan's animation industry being notoriously corrupt.
  • The Ultimate Impostor also deserves a mention here as they stoically state that they have no name, family or relatives they can go back to. The fact that their very livelihood depends on having to use their talent to take on someone else's identity just for their own survival is heartbreaking, especially when it's revealed that they're actually a genuinely nice person.

Episode 6

  • The color palette of the opening has become more muted. Even the general color of the main show has become darker and grayer, as 77-B pack up their old classroom and shift to their new one. The old classroom is gray, and the sun seems to be setting as they settle into the new one. Darkness is closing in, literally and metaphorically.
    • Another kicker is that usually near the end of the opening, we have Nanami looking back to the audience. But with this episode, we have Nanami looking back and smiling. She's also the only student whose colors aren't muted at all in the opening. Whatever that will happen to her, it won't be good...
  • Chiaki's still waiting for Hajime, six months later...the Yukizome makes things worse when she panics and assures Chiaki that Hajime is "fine!" making Chiaki think that Hajime has deliberately abandoned her (as opposed to the truth of "he's been kept as a human experiment in isolation for six months and there is no possible way he could see you. And if he did, we've probably erased his memories of you by now. Sorry!")
  • Everyone hates Komaeda. There's certainly justification here — he's been suspended for most of the class's bonding time, and everyone found him weird even before his foray into terrorism that cost them their beloved teacher. That said, even sadistic bully Hiyoko and pervert Teruteru have people who will go up to bat for them (sorry, Leon). Komaeda's idolization of his classmates has only caused them to despise him, and here he doesn't demonstrate the brilliant (and amoral) mind that gives him the upper hand in Danganronpa 2. He seems more pathetic than dangerous, even if the viewer knows that he's downright lethal. Factor in the fact that he's living on borrowed time, and Yukizome's platitudes about "enjoying your youth" look extremely unlikely, even if Junko hadn't happened along.
  • Jerkass though he is, it's sad to see the (fanatically) loyal Sakakura come to the realization that "there's no room" for him in the Munakata/Yukizome/Sakakura relationship, and he's suspected as much for some time. Which makes him beating the tar out of Hajime and berating him for seeking entrance to a group that wouldn't accept him even more viciously ironic.
  • Hajime has no special talent and sees his life as boring. Izuru has all the talents and sees life as crushingly boring, not even enjoying or taking pride in his own talents. Hajime had himself destroyed for absolutely no gain.
    • Even sadder it's because of his boredom that he became an Ultimate Despair. He realized that Hope is predictable and therefore boring and Despair is chaos, therefore unknown.

Episode 7

  • Episode 7 presents us with the infamous Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy. Tragedy doesn't even begin to describe what happened, not helped by Mukuro singing "Tsubasa wo Kudasai (Give Me Wings)". None of these kids deserved what happened to them.
    • A council member (Sousuke Ichino) stabs his fellow member (Kiriko Nishizawa) with a spear who was chasing him down the hall. The worst part of it is that he had a crush on her.
    • A couple (Tsubasa Kamii and Tarou Kurosaki) decides they don't want to be a part of the game and choose to shoot themselves together to avoid a worse fate. Unfortunately, the boyfriend (Tarou) gets stabbed by the above-mentioned council member (Sousuke), who then hammers the spear through the girlfriend (Tsubasa), pinning their bodies together as she dies screaming in agony.
    • A member with plushies in his pockets (Ryouta Someya) decides instead of killing his classmates he'll just kill the ones who started this madness, but this sensible idea that could have prevented more death is stopped by Karen stabbing him to death.
      • And poor Karen only started killing because her mother was kidnapped. Knowing Junko, Karen's mother is probably already dead, so she was killing for nothing the whole time.
    • The girl in the rabbit hoodie (Aiko Umesawa) cries that she doesn't want to die. The really big guy in the room (Tomohiko Gouryoku) tells her everything will be alright....before stabbing her and throwing her dead body across the room. A brief moment of hope, horribly destroyed.
  • As the Reserve Course Students start rioting outside the school gates, Chiaki's thoughts to turn toward Hajime. She hasn't seen him in six months, and now she's more than likely wondering if he's alright.
  • Who are the first students of Class 77 to get dragged into Junko's global plot for despair? Ryota and Mikan... and both of them out of pure chance:
    • Ryota happened to walk by Junko as she was leaving the hospital, and she wanted to know what his talent was and to see the amazing anime he was working on. She then offers to help him since she wants to change the world just as much as he does.
    • After that happened, the Ultimate Impostor asked Mikan to help find him. She goes to check his room, since she figures he'll come back for his stuff. Unfortunately, she arrives to find Mukuro packing up his belongings.
  • The aftermath of the Tragedy of Hopes Peak Academy makes one thing even more horrific when one thinks about the implications; despite what she claims, the fact that Enoshima made Kamukura into The Scapegoat proves that what the real purpose of the killing game was to turn Kamukura into a motivator for the Reserve Course's hatred. All these teenagers, all of them no doubt with hopes and dreams of their own, and they get senselessly killed just so a girl can exploit the schools horrific corruption for her amusement. Even Kamukura looks visibly disturbed over the carnage.

Episode 8

  • While it doubles as Nightmare Fuel, seeing what's happened to Mikan. Junko's already corrupted her from a kindhearted Shrinking Violet into a sadomasochistic lunatic. Junko utterly beats the crap out of her (even smashing a pair of glasses on her ass), but she loves every minute of it, which definitely casts a disturbing new light on her speech from the second game, where she says her "beloved" treated her differently than everyone else. And all of this with the heavy implication that this was NOT the real Mikan talking.
  • What poor Ryota's been through. His entire life, all he wanted was to create an anime so good that it would bring hope to the world. However, Junko came along and completely bastardized it by basically kidnapping him and forcing him into turning his life's work into a weapon of despair. No wonder he ran out of Junko's hideout in tears the second he got the chance.
    • Take it a bit further in the Future Arc, he's shown to beat himself up over it and appears to feel guilty over the situation he indirectly put his classmates through.
    "It's always...It's always like this. I want to save everyone, but I just bring everyone misery..."
  • Chisa's final thoughts before she enters Junko's hideout.
    "I'm sorry, Kyosuke. We might not meet again."
  • The Stinger. While the stingers in both arcs thus far have mostly been either Nightmare Fuel or Oh, Crap! moments for the audience, this one is a straight-up stab in the heart. Chiaki almost immediately recognizes Izuru as Hajime. She hasn't seen him in months, was worried that he might have gotten swept into the Reserve Course student protests, and when she finally does see him again, he's now a shell of his former self, working with Junko, and just shot Komaeda in the chest right in front of her! "The Worst Reunion by Chance," indeed! That poor girl needs a hug.
    Chiaki: Hinata... right?
    • And all she has to go on is the fact that he disappeared six months earlier. With no knowledge of the project going on behind the scenes, who's to say she doesn't think he's been here all that time?
    • And remember that one of the reasons Hajime underwent the Izuru Kamukura project in the first place was because he wanted to become someone he felt would be worthy of Chiaki's love.

Episode 9

  • When we finally see the reunion of Chiaki and Hajime, who is now Izuru, Chiaki seems happy to see him again. But what's Izuru's first response to her? "Who are you?" The look on Chiaki's face shows just how heartbroken she is that he doesn't remember her.
  • Way to tempt fate, Chisa. It's good that she saved Nanami and Komaeda, but in the end, she gets captured by Junko and then forced to watch the despair video. Any attempts of resisting get removed when Mukuro thrusts needles into her head and lobotomizes her into feeling sexual pleasure from despair, erasing her thoughts of Kyosuke in the process. She might seem "okay" in the last seconds of the episode, but the moment was pretty clear to us. Chisa Yukizome—the eccentric, kindhearted Former Ultimate Housekeeper—is gone forever...
    • ...and almost no one will ever know why. She was brainwashed and tortured alone in the dark. No one else aside from Junko and Mukuro knew it then or now... which applies even after her death.
  • During Junko's final conversation with Ryota, she hammers down how his anime will help bring about the world's downfall. It's heartbreaking to see the already-timid Ryota just utterly break down.
    Ryota: What plan is that?
    Junko: Duh! To spruce up that video footage I brought in! Way to knock it out of the park, Mitarai! In fact, I'm gonna make your whole class watch it start to finish! Just think of it—our little "collaboration" will change the very wiring of their brains! Your tricks are gonna cut through their free will like a knife! Those lovely classmates of yours will soon be creatures that wanna plunge the world into despair more than they've ever wanted anything ever! Dig it? LET'S HEAR IT FOR MITARAI; GIVE HIM A BIG HAND, EVERYONE!
    Ryota: That was DIFFERENT! I was gonna use all those techniques to bring about a better world! Using them for the sake of despair... it's terrible!
    Junko: Oh, please! You can play the victim all you want, but you were totally president of the Junko fan club like 20 minutes ago!
    Ryota: My... my life was in danger! I was being held hostage!
    Junko: Oh, right. That is so what happened to you. We threatened to kill you, so you ran with whatever we said! You haven't been responsible for your actions since we met! You can run off this campus with your tail between your legs, and no one would blame you in the least.
    Ryota: I really thought I was helping people...
    Junko: Run, coward, for that despair is yours and yours alone.
  • The idea that the victims of Junko's brainwashing retain their sense of self, but are compelled to follow Junko's orders against their will. She demonstrates this to Chisa by making a guy saw his own head off as he begs and pleads for his life. Later, Mikan tearfully apologizes to Chiaki as she shoves her through a secret hatch, implying the same is true for her.

Episode 10

  • The look on Chiaki's face when she sees Chisa betraying her by pushing her into the elevator and sending her to her death.
  • We are finally shown the fate of Chiaki and the event that sent Class 77-B spiraling into despair. The class is Forced to Watch Junko send Chiaki through a death dungeon, where she desperately tries to evade death trap after death trap—her screams of pain and torment when the traps hurt her make it much worse. Not only are her classmates powerless to help her, but Ryota's brainwashing techniques slowly corrupt them. After a while, Chiaki finds a door marked "GOAL." It initially looks like she'll reunite with her class and their teacher after all... but instead, a spear is fired through her chest right before she's impaled by seventeen spikes that pop out from the floor behind her. Despite all her efforts, Chiaki ultimately bleeds to death, and her classmates become corrupted by the despair of watching their friend die.
    • It should also be noted that though all of the class is broken down to tears, it is the first time seeing Gundham, the Imposter, and Komaeda cry. Komaeda breaks down into a rambling mess—as he saw someone that he truly admired getting killed by the harrowing and cruel situation she was forced into. It shows how much he cared for Chiaki in his own way.
  • Chiaki has one last meeting with Izuru. Despite her best efforts, Chiaki is unable to get Izuru to admit he is Hajime or that he knows her. She laments her inability to help him and curses her own uselessness, before bleeding out shortly after. However, upon her death, Izuru picks up her hairpin and quietly starts crying, implying that he did remember her...but far too late.
    • Chiaki's last words before she bleeds to death are how she doesn't want to die, how she wants to stay with her friends and play games with Hajime.
      Chiaki: I guess... I can't really do anything... to help you... I'm sorry...
      Izuru: In a situation like this, you're still trying to help someone else, aren't you?
      Chiaki: I mean... I... everyone... I love you all... I don't... I don't wanna die! I... I wanted to stay... with my classmates! I wanted to play again with Hinata... We could've played games again...
    • What make it even sadder is that we have a man with all the talent in the world just staring at the girl he once loved bleed out. He doesn't do anything to help her. If there is a small chance to save her and give her medical attention, he would be the best qualified to do it, but he doesn't even try. He doesn't even comfort her when she needed it the most. And to think, this was the man Hajime thought Chiaki would be proud of.
    • The fact that Izuru looks so confused by the tears streaming down his face suggest that it really wasn't a conscious thing. Somewhere, buried deep in his subconscious, are the memories of the time he spent with Chiaki. And seeing her again might have reawakened them. But with her death, that last connection he had to his previous identity has been shattered. Junko wasn't kidding when she said she broke his spirit.
    • The voice acting and animation in this scene were absolutely on point. Chiaki's desperate and futile attempts to stand as well as the obvious pain she's in can't be understated.
  • Juzo's defeat is also pretty sad. Despite being the Ultimate Boxer, he still lost to Junko since she brought backup—which could be viewed as karma lashing out at him for trash talking the Reserve Course. To put this further, his "incompetence" as a security guard caused Junko to get his darkest secret: he's gay and in love with Kyosuke. Then she proceeds to blackmail him by letting her off the hook and claim to Kyosuke that she's innocent... all while humiliating him. We want to say it's deserving for his asshole attitude throughout the series... but why can't we...!?
    • Anyone having trouble revealing their sexuality will find the scene especially hard to watch. Not only does Junko reveal that Juzo loves Munakata, but she and the Reserve Course students she gathered laugh and taunt him for it. They even form a Circle of Shame around Juzo. We're watching a man being bullied and ridiculed for being gay.

Episode 11

  • We finally get a bit of insight into how the Remnants of Despair think: they believe they're doing nothing wrong and bringing people happiness, while in reality they're unconsciously forced to commit atrocities.
    • Or worse. Since they seem to embrace their position as SHSL Despair, they may honestly believe that all the despair they're causing IS happiness.
    • If they've all really been brainwashed into doing thinking they're doing good, it really shows how much these kids wanted to make the world a better place. How much hope and what kind of visions they had for creating a better future, only for Junko to warp them all into mass murderers who plunged the world into an age of chaos and violence.
  • Nearly every moment Yukizome and Munakata are together. While they act like a loving couple due to Yukizome's brainwashing, we know she's just slowly manipulating him to despair.
  • Weeks or possibly months later, Izuru is still holding on to Chiaki's hair pin.
  • Juzo's reaction after he lies to Munakata is to go into the bathroom and punch the wall until his fist bleeds. It really shows how torn up he is about what he's done.
  • The Ultimate Despairs don't acknowledge Chiaki's death at all except through the flowers placed on her desk. And it might not even have been them who placed those flowers there, but Kamukura instead.
    • Their complete ignorance of their dead friend might not even be them not caring, but them caring so much they just don't want to acknowledge what happened. Either one is pretty sad.
    • Given that the flowers were different in Makoto's flashback, Kamukura was definitely visiting, replacing and leaving flowers. Which is still pretty tear-jerking, albeit in a different way.

    Side: Hope 
  • Mitarai being convinced to stop his plan by all of his old classmates. And then him crying and hugging the Impostor, his closest friend.
    Impostor: You made mistakes, but we're with you on that. We all made mistakes.
  • Despite being cured of the effects of Junko's brainwashing video of Chiaki's murder, Class 77-B decides to take the blame for the final killing game in order to prevent the collapse of the Future Foundation and thus the recovery of civilization. By doing so, they lost any chance of being able to return to society.
    • One also has to wonder how badly the guilt of everything they did as Junko's lackeys might affect them. All the people they killed, including their friends and families, all the damage they caused, the lives they ruined, and lord knows what else they did to do Junko's dirty work. And they'll all have to live with that knowledge from now on. Even their confrontation with Mitarai shows how emotionally broken they are.
      Mitarai: You're alright with this!? Because of me... Because of Enoshima... You all fell in despair...
      Hajime: Sure, I want to get rid of the past. But I can't. Pretending Nanami doesn't exist is something I can't do. Thanks to her, we're alive right now. So I can't pretend that didn't happen.
      Nidai: We're still alive. So we must pay the price for our crimes.
      Gundham: That is the destiny of those who survived.
  • Side:Hope is a major happy ending for all of the characters who managed to stay alive to the end... except for Munakata, who spent Side:Future watching everything he cared about and stood for fall to ruin. The Future Foundation, his closest friends, and even the building he oversaw fell. At the end of it all, he had no one left to console him or celebrate his survival. Class 77-B and the survivors of the 78th class have each other... but he's all alone.
  • Even with the happy ending for the characters who debuted in Danganronpa 2, Nekomaru still has his heart condition, and unless he miraculously survives somehow, it's likely he doesn't have much time left before he dies for real. Ouch...
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    Super Danganronpa 2.5 OVA 
  • Fuyuhiko asking Nagito about his dreams is this when you remember that Nagito is terminally ill, past his expiration date, and probably still at least a little suicidal. He smiles when he says no... but there's a pause between the question and the answer that almost sounds like he's searching for an answer that's not. "What's the point?"

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