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Visual Novel / Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

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Welcome to Despair Academy.note 

"Wherever there is hope, there is most definitely despair."
The Mastermind

Danganronpanote : Trigger-Happy Havoc, subtitled The Academy of Hope and the High School Students of Despair in Japanese, is a "high-speed mystery action adventure" by Spike, released in Japan for the PlayStation Portable in 2010, the PlayStation Vita in 2013, Steam in 2016, PlayStation 4 in 2017, the Nintendo Switch in 2021, and the Xbox One in 2022. It is the first installment in the Danganronpa franchise.

The story takes place at Hope's Peak Academy, an illustrious private school that only accepts "Ultimate" students: the best of the best of the best. The criteria extends to any niche, so in addition to super-geniuses and super-athletes, they take super-idols, super-gang-leaders, and super-nerds.

Makoto Naegi is an utterly unremarkable Ordinary High-School Student who is still baffled as to how he got in: being chosen by a random lottery, which admits him as the "Ultimate Lucky Student." His luck turns out to be quite the opposite though, as when he is about to begin his first day at school he suddenly loses consciousness.


When Makoto awakens, he finds himself trapped with fourteen other students within the walls of the academy, with the exits and windows all bolted and sealed. A sadistic Killer Teddy Bear named Monokuma (or Monobear) reveals himself as the instigator of their plight and gives the students two options: they can either live out the rest of their lives peacefully within the Gilded Cage of the school, or attempt to escape by "graduating".

To "graduate", a student has to commit a perfect murder by killing another student and getting away with it. When a murder happens, a class trial is held amongst the survivors, who investigate the case, then vote on who they think the murderer is. If they are correct, then the guilty party is messily executed for "disturbing the public order". If they are wrong, then the murderer "graduates" and is allowed to leave the school, while everyone else takes the punishment in their place.


As Monokuma, hungry for a spectacle, introduces additional "motives" for the students to kill each other, the tension within the school reaches breaking point and the bodies start to pile up. It's up to Makoto to make sure that the culprit of each murder is found so that the innocent students have a chance to figure out the secrets behind the school and possibly escape — all while a traitor hides among the group...

The game has inspired a series of other works, a list of which is compiled here. A compilation game was later released called Danganronpa 1・2 Reload, which includes both the first installment and its sequel with some incremental improvements to both, such as a bonus scenario for the first game called "School Mode": a social mode that lets Makoto hang out and form relationships with the other characters without worrying about the main plot progressing.

The sequel also included a side story by Ryohgo Narita of Baccano! fame titled Danganronpa IF: The Button of Hope and the Tragic Warriors of Despair, a What If? scenario where Makoto manages to obtain an item called the "Escape Switch" from the gift machine before the first murder occurs, dramatically changing the events that transpire. Please put all tropes relating to the IF scenario specifically in the appropriate section below.

An anime adaptation aired as part of the Summer 2013 Anime season. Funimation is streaming it for those in the US, and has dubbed the series as well in 2015. For the dubbed anime, the only returning voice actor from the original game was Naegi's.

The game also has has a number of translations (official and unofficial) varying in consistency, so that context may affect how certain examples are written.

From that moment, I should've realized... These weren't tropes of hope. These were tropes of despair:

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    Tropes for the Original Game 
  • 2½D: The player can pan around the environment, but the characters and props are all paper cutouts. It is even possible to pan around said paper cutouts.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Toko, a lot, for Byakuya.
  • Aborted Arc: The epilogue ends with the implication that Monokuma had gained self-awareness (or had been self-aware all along). However, Word of God related to Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair reveals that it was just Alter Ego Junko controlling him.
  • Academy of Adventure: Not the fun kind of adventure, but Hope's Peak definitely qualifies.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The first manga series, rather than recount the entire series, basically acted as supplements focusing on specific characters, and was chock-full of Alternate Character Interpretations for several characters. These interpretations make a lot of sense as they're mostly the game viewed from the POV of these characters, especially some of the murderers, instead of from Makoto's POV.
  • A Death in the Limelight: From Chapters 2 to 4, if someone starts to get more dialogue than usual or plays a big role in one of the chapter's plotlines, there's a good chance they're about to get murdered or executed.
  • After the End: According to the mastermind, the world as the students knew it no longer exists due to The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History. Genocide Jill confirms it to be true, but the full extent of the damage done is left ambiguous.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • At the end of every trial except for the last two. The culprits are treated sympathetically, and only killed because Monokuma's motivations drove them to. The later revelation that the students' memories had been tampered with, and that they all chose to stay inside the school, may or may not add to the sympathy.
    • Mukuro Ikusaba is a retroactive example. Sure, she's one of the people behind the killing game, but it's easy to feel bad for her after it's revealed that her own sister, whom she was slavishly devoted to, killed her and gushed about how betrayed she must have felt in her last moments. Even the other students are horrified by the cruel nature of it once they find out.
  • Alien Geometries: In a level design sense. Somehow the swimming pool on the second floor occupies the same space as the multi-story gym on the first floor.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: In Hope's Peak, sleeping in class, stepping on the headmaster's face, and murder all carry the same punishment.
  • All for Nothing: Everyone who either committed or planned a murder (except for the mastermind) did it for a reason that the final revelations of the game prove to be completely pointless. An example: Mondo snaps in the second chapter in part because of Monokuma's threat to reveal to the world that he caused his brother's death. It comes out anyway in the trial, and then it turns out the whole thing was on national television.
  • Alliterative Name: Alliteration is less of a thing in Japanese, but the "biggest, most tragic, most awful event in human history" that kicks off the backstory is called Jinrui shijō saidai saiaku no zetsubō-teki jiken in the Japanese games — it doesn't look alliterative to an English speaker, but each word starts with a kana from the sa line.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • A hilarious yet brutal example — when Junko loses Chapter 6's trial, she receives all the previous executions in a row as punishment.
    • Makoto's skill points could be interpreted this way, with him gaining traits from his friends after spending enough time with them to use later in trials.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Monocoins, used to exchange for gifts at the gift machine, are often hidden behind objects in the background.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The ending cuts off just as the students open the door to escape the school, so we can't be sure just how much of what the mastermind told us about the outside world is true. At least, until the sequel.
  • Animation Bump: Of a sort. The Trial scenes have more dynamic cameras and full voice acting.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Getting the Bad Ending kicks the player right back to the multiple-choice option that triggers it so that they don't have to sit through the entire trial again to get to that point.
  • Anyone Can Die: For the record, counting Toko and Jill as different characters, seven characters survive.
  • Apocalypse How: The screens showing the results of the Tragedy imply worldwide unrest and conflict (Class 1).
  • Arc Words: "Despair", as Monokuma's goal, is mentioned many times through the game, and to a lesser extent "hope". It even shows up in Junko and Makoto's talents.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Junko's "offer" to Makoto if he joins Ultimate Despair is "honor, status, and some of our home cooking!"
  • Art Shift: Bizarrely, in one of the Monokuma Theater segments, the game switches from the static, visual novel style art to a full-out CGI cutscene featuring Sakura fighting Monokuma.
  • Babies Ever After:
    • A particularly depressing variant in the Bad Ending, with Aoi having children with the rest of the survivors stuck in the school.
    • Also Played for Laughs when Toko/Jill suggests this to Byakuya in the epilogue. Needless to say, he's opposed to the idea.
  • Ball Cannon: The first case ends with the killer (Leon Kuwata) executed by being chained to a post and shot to death by a baseball pitching machine.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Monokuma has monitors and cameras installed throughout the building, except in certain places such as bathrooms, notably the public bath.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Alter Ego at the end of Chapter 5, showing up just in time to stop Makoto from being executed.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Hifumi makes one during the first trial.
    • Leon exclaims one before getting executed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The surviving students put a stop to the mastermind's plans, causing the mastermind to execute herself. However, only six students are left alive, the world outside of the school has turned into a hostile place due to the effects of The Tragedy, and the mastermind enjoyed the self-execution. In counter to the "bitter" part of their escape comes the "sweet". Their Hope has reignited and beat their Despair, meaning there's Hope for their futures.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The windows in the student's dorm rooms have plates bolted onto the sides behind the customary bed, despite this basically meaning there were once windows there designed to look into the next person's room.
    • If the hatch in her Monokuma control room is Junko's only means of getting meals, the building's layout implies that she would more likely get plopped into the third floor's hallway while being nowhere near the cafeteria.
  • Black Blood: Or pink blood, in this case, as a form of censorship due to the Japanese game-rating systems. Dialog indicates that it's actually red in-universe.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Junko keeps up a cheery attitude during her execution, coupled with her methods of avoiding death, at least until the very end.
    • The executions in general. Just because someone's getting brutally and horribly murdered, doesn't mean Monokuma won't try to inject some comedy into it.
  • Bland-Name Product: Averted. The localization mentions real products a few times, such as Genocider Syo/Genocide Jill comparing the state of the victim to an Italian restaurant serving Ragu or Chef Boyardee. Hifumi mentions his love for Diet Coke, and Leon in School Mode even mentions that he's a fan of Pepsi.
  • Blue with Shock: The art style uses this for the sprites that depict characters in shock, fear, despair, or similar.
  • Body of the Week: The only way out of the school is committing a perfect murder — obviously, someone's going to wind up dead in every chapter. This is subverted in Chapter 5, as an older body is used to fake the crime scene.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Monokuma offhandedly mentions that one of the flowers in the school greenhouse, the "Monokuma Flower" that he named after himself, eats "garbage and plastic and human flesh". It's fantastic for the environment!
  • Break the Cutie: Sayaka could be seen as an example. She seems to be a sweet, fairly innocent character, but the combination of being forced into the killing game and seeing the motive video revealing something happened to her friends caused her to snap and attempt to kill Leon and frame Makoto for the crime.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Monokuma starts expositing on the backstories of the culprit and victim in Chapter 2, he tells the player what button to hold to skip all this in case they don't want to hear it. Oddly enough, this is the first and only time this ability is mentioned, despite the fact that the tutorials tell the player which button makes you Re:ACT to certain phrases even though the button prompt appears regardless.
  • Brick Joke: After the first trial for Sayaka's murder, Makoto, probably as a tribute to his only friend in Hope's Peak, repeats Sayaka's joke.
    Kyoko: By the way, I have to admit, I'm curious... How did you know I wanted to talk to you about Sayaka?
    Makoto: Oh, well... I'm psychic.
    Kyoko: Huh...?
    Makoto: Kidding... I just have pretty good intuition.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • Makoto runs into this a few times, such as being unable to avoid his Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment in Chapter 3 or tell Kyoko about what he saw in Chapter 4.
    • You also aren't allowed to investigate Hifumi's body when you first find it, as Makoto has, for some reason, gotten the idea into his head that investigating the "murder weapon" is more important.
    • During Chihiro's final Free Time conversation, Makoto is asked (obliquely) which guy would be best for helping him become stronger. Even if the player has played to the end of Chapter 2 and knows what is going to happen, the game still won't allow them to get out of that conversation without recommending Mondo.
    • Averted during a choice in Chapter 5. Taking the "wrong" option there leads to the Bad Ending, after which Makoto informs the player that it was probably the wrong thing to do, before the game cuts back to the choice.
    • Chapter 6 plays on the trope — the mastermind, after being revealed, offers for the students to join them. Accepting only leads to them saying they were joking. Later on, the mastermind forces the player to pick one of three identical options, only to immediately declare the player's choice as correct before Makoto even gets the chance to respond in the game, just because they didn't want to bother waiting.
  • Bullet Time: How apt. During Nonstop Debates, Makoto can concentrate, which is presented as slow motion. This allows the player more time to aim and fire the Ammunition at weak points.
  • Call-Back: If you accuse Hiro of poisoning the victim in Chapter 4, he will swear he's innocent "on my best, broken crystal ball", which is likely the one Kuwata broke in Chapter 1.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: Per the game rules, 2-3 characters (the killer and up to two victims) must die per chapter. Subverted later on, though.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang:
    • Alter Ego. Early in Chapter 2, a laptop is found in the library and seems to be inoperable. It quietly disappears, although no one comments on it. Chapter 3 reveals that Chihiro had fixed it and installed his own program, Alter Ego, to analyze the contents of the laptop. In Chapter 4, the files are cracked, Alter Ego is hooked up to the school's network to search for more information and contact the outside world, and he is executed. Chapter 5 has a copy of Alter Ego, planted in the school's network when the original was hooked up, save Makoto from his execution, helping to set the stage for the final confrontation.
    • The sixteenth student. There is an empty seat in the trial room: when asked about it, Monokuma says that the room was built with a capacity of sixteen people and that there's no further meaning to it. At the end of Chapter 2, Monokuma admits to The Mole there actually is a sixteenth student, but refuses to elaborate further beyond the fact that they're his "ace in the sleeve". Their identity is only discovered later, at the end of Chapter 4, and Chapter 5 has said student supposedly murdered. And then Chapter 6 reveals that it was an older body used, someone who died all the way in Chapter 1! Come the start of the last trial, and Monokuma takes the sixteenth seat.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The "Blast Off!" execution — the very first thing we see when beginning the game. While we don't get a direct answer for who was executed, it's heavily implied that it was Kyoko's father, the original headmaster.
    • In Makoto's introduction, and throughout the game, he notes that if there's one thing that makes him unique, it's that he's slightly more optimistic than most people. At the very end, this makes him "Ultimate Hope", and thus the perfect counter to Ultimate Despair — optimism and hope are basically the same thing.
    • Most cases have important evidence that's introduced well before the murder actually takes place, or may still seem irrelevant until the trial is underway. An example of this is Mondo and Kiyotaka's sauna duel.
    • If Makoto spends time with Chihiro in Chapter 2, the topic of Artificial Intelligence comes up. In Chapter 3, it is discovered that Chihiro installed an AI, known as Alter Ego, on a laptop, to help assist the survivors.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • At the end of each chapter, an 8-bit sequence video would pop up where Monokuma walks up to the chapter's culprit and drags them away with "GAME OVER" being displayed on the screen. Come the last trial, where the mastermind is executed, and they go willingly with Monokuma whilst "CONGRATULATIONS!" is being displayed instead. It could be showing how hope has overcome despair, or alternatively, if "GAME OVER" was a message to the culprits, then "CONGRATULATIONS!" is a message to the mastermind, who wanted this execution and succeeded.
    • Yasuhiro mentions in his free time events that his predictions have a 30% success rate. Indeed, out of the three predictions he makes over the course of the game, only one of them will ever end up coming true.
      • One of the predictions he makes is that that he and Makoto will each have a child by the same mother. If the player gets the Bad Ending, they each father a child with Aoi.
      • He also predicts that there will be no more murders from Chapter 3 onwards. This comes true in the Good Ending: Sakura commits suicide, Mukuro was killed back in chapter 1, Makoto gets saved from his execution by Alter Ego, and Junko executes herself.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Some of the "Monokuma Theatre" segments foreshadow future events. One example is his lecture about the difference between "I killed someone" and "I ended up killing someone" — later, somebody is murdered, not out of intention but out of a loss of control on the culprit's part.
  • Closed Circle: All of the doors and windows in the academy are covered with steel bulkheads, and the school greenhouse has a painted blue sky over top.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: Towards the end of the game, it's revealed that the reason that Kyoko wears Conspicuous Gloves all of the time is to hide the fact that her hands were badly burned during a case early in her detective career.
  • Collective Identity: The "Ultimate Despair" identity, or more accurately an ideology or concept, as described by the mastermind.
  • Conveniently Seated: The trial room placement has potential to spoil who survives. Like a protagonist, Makoto stares directly across from the empty seat that Junko would eventually take, Aoi and Yasuhiro border the same spot while Kyoko and Byakuya are respectively two spots away from them. Toko spoils the symmetry.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: This actually gets subverted in the second trial after Mondo is subjected to a Pulling the Thread plot. He yells out that he's being treated like a criminal without a scrap of evidence, which leads to Kyoko admitting that her reasoning is weak taken on its own.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Most of the students have a tendency to leap to conclusions. The murderers may do it as an intentional gamble to make students convict the wrong person. Fortunately, Makoto is usually able to spot this and avoid it.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Overlaps with Dying Clue. In the first murder, Sayaka writes the digits "11037" on the wall next to her with her blood after being stabbed. In reality, the message is upside down, and it should read «Leon».
  • Crapsack World: The results of the Despairing Incident. Monokuma faces are everywhere, buildings are razed, and people on the streets are beating and killing each other in the name of despair.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The executions, obviously. Each execution is specifically tailored to its victim, save the ones in the fifth case. In order:
    • The Intro Excution: Tied into a rocket, shot into space, and then sent crashing back to Earth, with the heat from reentry reducing him to nothing but bones.
    • Leon Kuwata: Dragged into a baseball cage and bombarded with baseballs until he dies.
    • Mondo Owada: Tied to a bike and forced into a sphere cage, where he is sent on a ride that goes so fast he is literally melted into butter, which Monokuma puts on a stack of pancakes and eats.
    • Celestia Ludenberg/Taeko Yasuhiro: Tied to a stake and is nearly burned to death in a Salem-style execution, which is exactly the kind of dramatic, romanticized death she would love to have... so Monokuma runs her over with a fire truck instead.
    • Alter Ego: Smashed with the arm of a backhoe over and over until the laptop is turned into a ball, which is then decorated to resemble Monokuma's face.
    • Kyoko Kirigiri (bad ending)/Makoto Naegi (good ending): Strapped to a Conveyor Belt o' Doom and rolled into a giant crusher where they are smashed into a pancake, all while Monokuma lectures them about sex ed. Makoto only survives when a virus planted by Alter Ego hacks the execution and saves him.
    • Junko Enoshima: All of the above. And she enjoys it.
  • Dark Reprise: The music for the first two executions, "Blast Off!" and "The 1,000 Blows", feature similar thematic elements to Monokuma's theme. Junko's execution theme seems to remix elements of nearly all the execution themes as well.
  • Dark Secret: One of Monokuma's motives has him pass out cards to everyone with one of their biggest secrets written on it. He claims that if someone isn't murdered before 24 hours pass, he'll reveal these to the outside world. Only four of the dark secrets are revealed: Makoto's — because he's the player character — where he used to wet the bed until 5th grade. Chihiro's dark secret comes out during the investigation; Chihiro is actually a boy wearing girl's clothing, in a misguided attempt to avoid being bullied for being weak. After Mondo is revealed as the culprit, Monokuma reveals Mondo's secret for him: Mondo got his own big brother Daiya killed accidentally, and spread a lie saying his big brother got himself killed. Finally, Byakuya reveals during the trial that Toko's secret is her secondary personality: Genocide Jack.
  • Deadly Game: The School Life of Mutual Killing, which sets the formula for each installment in the franchise.
  • Deadly Graduation: The final ingredient in the despair the game is meant to inflict.
  • Death by Ambulance: At the end of the third trial, the killer is apparently set to be burned at the stake — only for a fire truck to barrel onto the scene, running over the guilty party.
  • Death by Irony: Monokuma tailors his executions around this, in addition to Cruel and Unusual Death, and sometimes the murder victims have ironic deaths as well. There's more on this in the Fridge Brilliance section.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Or rather, Decoy Deuteragonist. Throughout the prologue and most of Chapter 1 (up until the murder), Sayaka Maizono seems like she's going to be the Deuteragonist and Love Interest to Makoto's protagonist: he obviously has a crush on her, they're Childhood Friends, and she declares that she's going to be his assistant while they try to find a way out of the school. But then, as the twist to Chapter 1, Sayaka turns out to be the first murder victim, and it comes out during the class trial that she was planning to commit murder and frame Makoto for it, only to be killed by her would-be victim. From the trial onward, Kyoko Kirigiri (who, until then, was one of the least prominent students in the group due to being so quiet) gradually becomes a more and more important character; by the end of the game, her status as the true deuteragonist and Makoto's real love interest is solidified.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Monokuma's stated objective is to bring despair. If the students don't start killing each other, he'll just keep pressing buttons until someone's pushed to the point where they murder.
  • Despair Gambit: Monokuma/Junko's goal extends to the entire world: he broadcasts the footage of the world's best-of-the-best students murdering each other, to tear at the last shreds of hope left in the world after the Tragedy. This is inadvertently what screws Junko over in the end.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints: The notion of following footprints was brought up in the fourth case, and it actually gets used to disprove someone's involvement as the culprit.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The completely-destroyed Alter Ego saving Makoto's life at the last second during his execution, via a virus he implanted in the network. Kyoko lampshades this, stating that Monokuma could never have foreseen a being coming to their aid even after he'd killed it.
  • Discussed Trope: Tropes are repeatedly discussed (especially towards the end), parodied, and the fourth wall is broken repeatedly. Examples include the use of a Dying Clue in chapter 1 and a digression on the Locked Room Mystery in Chapter 4.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The footage from the omnipresent security cameras is being broadcast nationwide as propaganda for the mastermind.
  • Dramatic Irony: Unlike the viewers, Makoto never actually got a look at the one who attacked him in the secret room at the end of Chapter 3, and so had no way of connecting that incident to the masked assailant who nearly stabbed him in the middle of Chapter 5.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole:
    • In the original script, Monokuma simply told Makoto and Byakuya during the fifth investigation that Kyoko has something on her hands she wants no one to see, while NISA's script has him outright declaring that she's hiding hideous burn scars underneath her gloves. This leads to Byakuya seeming dumber/less observant by the fact that he still believes she's the victim after hearing that and then not comparing it to the corpse, which is free of any burn scars on the hands (while, Makoto's thoughts merely trail off towards the inconsistency of wearing gloves over fake nails).
    • Byakuya calls the bloody classroom he finds on the fifth floor "like a battlefield" and the dub has Monokuma telling the two to "soldier on" in solving the room's mystery, as if to imply Mukuro did it. This line wasn't in the original, and Danganronpa Zero reveals that a battle did take place in the location. Years later, in Danganronpa 3, we finally get to see said battle. Though Mukuro actually was present (and did indeed kill someone there), most of the killing was done by the student council themselves.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • A few minigames in the Class Trial (Machine-Gun Talk Battle became Bullet Time Battle, Flashing Anagrams became Hangman's Gambit, and Climax Inference became Closing Statement with Climax Inference as a subtitle).
    • Amusingly, a minor character gets a rather hilariously awesome one. Sakura's boyfriend goes from Kenichirou to... Kenshiro.
    • Doubling as Spell My Name with an "S", NISA's translation removed the U in Kyouko and Touko's names.
  • Dutch Angle: Several times in trial, especially during Non-Stop Debates, the camera will show the characters from an inclined perspective.
  • Dying Clue: Two examples:
    • Overlaps with Couldn't Find a Pen in the first case. As Sayaka is bleeding to death from her stab wound, she uses her blood to write "11037" on the wall beside her. It's actually the name of her killer, LEON Kuwata, but she wrote it upside down from the point of view of the investigators (and the crossbar on the N was incomplete).
    • Hifumi, the second victim in the third case, tries to speak the name of his killer, but cannot talk clearly as he had been bludgeoned over the head and was near death. His last words are "...a...k... Yasuhiro". The real culprit, Celestia Ludenberg (real name Taeko Yasuhiro), uses this to frame Yasuhiro Hagakure, whom she had intended to take the fall for the murders, but it's pointed out that Hifumi had an idiosyncratic habit of referring to people by their full names (original) or their last names (localization).
  • Dynamic Akimbo: Junko Enoshima uses this for the sprite representing her "queenly" personality.
  • Easter Egg: The last gift the player receives for finishing the game — a literal "Easter Egg", styled like Monokuma.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The game can be a bit jarring for veterans for these reasons:
    • The game is overall less outlandish than later installments. While it does get a bit weird in some areas, later installments took the series in a much more extreme direction. Notably, there are almost no elements of sci-fi like in the later games.
    • The portrayal of Hope's Peak Academy is radically different to later games. In keeping with this game's Black-and-White Morality, Hope's Peak is shown to be a Good All Along noble institution who cared for and wanted to protect the students but was sabotaged by Junko/Ultimate Despair. In later games, when the morality gets much greyer and more complex, Hope's Peak is instead shown as a highly corrupt and unethical organization who only saw the Ultimates as cash cows and didn't even bother to make them come to class or provide them with an education, as long as they could profit off having them enrolled, and forced its reserve department of "non-talented" students to pay absurdly expensive student fees which the administration then pocketed for themselves or spent on mad science "pet projects" using students as guinea pigs.
    • The portrayal of The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History is radically different, presented as if Monokuma had taken over the world. In the later installments, the event is instead portrayed as a series of random terrorist attacks across the world, with Ultimate Despair being anarchic terrorists.
    • Most glaringly, the conflict between hope and despair is played as straight Black-and-White Morality, which is bizarre in retrospect when much of the series from then on is built on how hope can also corrupt. This also makes the straight portrayals of Makoto and Junko an outlier.
    • The game is noticeably more chaste — bar some Ho Yay, the only elements of romance are Makoto's crush on Sayaka (which only lasts about halfway into the first chapter due to the latter's death), Toko's love for Byakuya (entirely Played for Laughs), and Kyoko becoming the Implied Love Interest. Compare this to later installments, where the Ship Tease and outright romance is considerably played up, usually to tragic results.
    • During the prologue of the game, you are introduced to all of the students right away, whereas the following games require you to do some exploration of the area in order to meet all of the students.
    • Unlike later installments, in which all characters have five Free Time Events each, some of those who die early on only have a few events (for example, Leon and Mukuro have three each while Sayaka only has two), while people who make it into the late game and survivors have longer chains — in Toko's case, she not only has five events of her own, but Genocide Jack has three, making it a total of eight free time events. In addition, spending time with a character can either give you a new ability or more points, which are necesary in order to use the abilities during the Class Trials. Future games have you collect a Hope Fragment every time an event is cleared, and once you collect five from one character (in other words, do all of their free time events) you'll receive their special ability.
    • The 8-Bit sprites used for the student dorm portraits and to depict them being carried off to their execution are radically different from the sprites used in School Mode, being less Super-Deformed. Later games would use just the School Mode sprites as portraits and for executions.
    • The crossed-out monochrome portraits of the students that have died seen in the Class Trials are all the same, whereas on following games some of the portraits are customised in a way that relates to the student's talent or personality.
    • Unlike in the sequels, a student's report card doesn't list their birthday nor the things they like or dislike the most.
    • Both the male and female students have a character with a much more unusual look (Hifumi and Sakura). Later entries in the franchise tend to stick with just one of the male students having an odd design.
    • The Bullet Time Battles are used much more liberally than their equivalents in the later games, with cases 4 and 6 each having three BTBs spread across the trial, and cases 3 and 5 having one BTB at the beginning and midpoint respectively. Later games would only have one rhythm minigame per trial, and always at or near the end of the trial.
  • Elaborate University High: Implied with regards to the Academy, as shown by the top-secret documents hidden in the library.
  • Emergency Multifaith Prayer: After Hagakure sees Junko, actually Mukuro, get impaled by spears in Chapter 1, he claps his hands together and shouts "I'm begging you! God, Buddha, Mother Earth, God of Space, King Neptune, come save me!". In the Japanese version he also prays to King Kai.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The court room has a seat for every student — plus one, due to the court room being built for sixteen — and whenever a student dies, Monokuma puts up a monochrome portrait with their face crossed-out in their place.
  • The End... Or Is It?: After the students escape and the credits roll, Monokuma begins talking again even though the mastermind is gone... and his head lifts up. An interview with the lead writer confirms that it's the A.I. which would become the Big Bad of the sequel.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The first murder, particularly after it's revealed that Sayaka did it to frame Makoto, and Leon, after killing Sayaka in what was (at least initially) a case of self-defense, also tried to frame Makoto for his crime. This not only establishes that Anyone Can Die and no one can be fully trusted, but it also shows that decent people can be driven to do terrible things as a result of their circumstances while still having redeeming traits, a recurring theme.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: As the game progresses, evidence turns up that all of the students knew each other before attending Hope's Peak, even the unknown sixteenth student. And it turns out they did — they just had their memories tampered with.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Everyone except for Makoto and Kyoko is suspected of killing Sakura in Chapter 4. There were multiple attempts on her life, and at least three people confessed to having done it.
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt: Before each trial, Makoto needs to gather evidence in the form of "evidence bullets" in order to find the true culprit.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Electronic Student ID Card.
  • Failed Execution, No Sentence: Averted in Makoto's case. After he survives his execution, Monokuma announces that he plans on killing Makoto again. Kyoko saves Makoto by convincing Monokuma that this would amount to breaking his own rules and convincing him to let them redo the trial.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: Usually. In most cases, Makoto can gather enough information before the trial starts to expose the culprit. However, a few cases have the murder scenes tampered with, usually by people with no involvement as victim or culprit, unfairly screwing everything up and having the player re-think the scenario. One case doesn't even get properly solved until the chapter after! Rule 10 of Knox's Decalogue (No identical twins or duplicates) is also broken, though the fact that they aren't totally identical is an important point.
  • Fake Longevity: Trying to get all the presents essentially boils down to replaying Class Trials a bunch of times to grind for Monocoins, as well as constantly replaying School Mode to max out the Relationship Values for each character for their underwear. It's actually worse in the original release, which lacked School Mode. As a result, it takes an incredibly long time to get all the Free Time Events. To expand on that, there are 19 opportunities to preform Free Time Events (the first locking the player into Sayaka) and over 40 Free Time Events. It takes 3 playthroughs just to get all of them, particularly since Makoto can only build upon the relationships with the three people who die in Chapter 1 before the murders start.
  • Fan Disservice: At one point, Asahina is seen lying on her bed wearing nothing but a loose tank-top and underwear, but the Troubled Fetal Position and depressed demeanor she sports just makes you want to give her a hug (or, y'know, leave her alone).
  • Fiery Coverup: Chapter 5's murderer plants a bomb on the corpse in order to conceal the identity of the victim.
  • Fission Mailed: Get the Bad Ending in Chapter 5, and the player gets thrown back to the key decision before the execution is performed. However, if the player makes the right choice, Monokuma will cut the trial short and pin the crime on Makoto. Fortunately, he survives due to Alter Ego's intervention.
  • Foe Yay: In-universe, Jill seems to see this between Aoi and Byakuya.
    • Mukuro Ikusaba — one of the masterminds of the killing game, and member of the Ultimate Despair — is one of Makoto's potential love interests in School Mode.
  • Foreshadowing: Nearly everything about Junko Enoshima, before her death. For example, one of her magazines covers reads the phase "Monokuro de Kawaii", and yet another has a title beginning with "Twin." Makoto also comments that Junko doesn't quite look like her photos, which Junko attributes to Photoshop.
    • On that topic, one of Junko's poses has her play with one of her ponytails with an annoyed face. After all, she's not Junko but someone posing as her — and as such not used to having such long hair.
    • Kyoko's inquiry to Monokuma at the end of Chapter 3: "What have you done with my body?" She, much like the near rest of her classmates, is missing two years' worth of memories, so she has reasonably grown quite a bit and doesn't remember it.
    • Hifumi Yamada names "Yasuhiro" as the one who fatally injured him, but there's no plausible way for him to have learned that Yasuhiro is Celestia Ludenburg's actual last name, at least within the killing game. He also directly states that he had met everyone once, before the beginning of the killing game, but this is dismissed as a delusion caused by head trauma. Later, in the middle of Chapter 4's class trial, Genocide Jack complains about how unlucky she has to be for Sakura Ogami to startle Jack and then allow the latter to club the former over the head in response. It's not completely unreasonable to assume that the Ultimate Martial Artist would be capable of defending herself against a frontal surprise attack, but Jack says what she says because she has intimate knowledge of what Sakura is capable of because she's the only one whose school memories weren't wiped before the beginning of the killing game.
    • In one of the Monokuma Theaters in Chapter 2, Monokuma states that he can't help but stare when he sees pretty girls. And then ends it with that he stared at a mirror. At first it might seem like the usual Monokuma Theater nonsense, but it takes on a whole another meaning once the Mastermind, Junko Enoshima (AKA The Ultimate Fashionista) is revealed.
    • Then the next one talks about the difference between killing someone ("Oops! I killed him!") and murdering someone ("Yeah, that's right. I killed him"). Fittingly enough, the second murder is the result of an outburst of rage with no planning involved, and the killer greatly repents it after the fact.
    • An early-game blackboard says it belongs to a "secret beauty". Initially reads like typical blackboard nonsense... except that very accurately describes Junko's takeover and current situation.
    • At a point Monokuma mentions having been hibernating for two years, well before you learn why that's a relevant length of time.
  • Forged Message:
    • In case 4, Hagakure is convinced he killed Sakura after he smashed a bottle over her head (he didn't). He then tried to write a Dying Clue in Sakura's blood implicating Toko, like what happened in case 1. During the trial, one character pointed out that it was written with a person's finger, while Sakura's hands were clean.
    • It turns out that the reason Aoi is trying to get everyone killed by implicating herself as Sakura's killer is because of a forged suicide note left by Monokuma, making Aoi think Sakura was Driven to Suicide instead of committing a Heroic Sacrifice for everyone else. After the truth comes out, Monokuma even has the gall to claim it wasn't his fault Aoi was fooled, since he didn't forge Sakura's signature on the suicide note as well.
  • Four Is Death:
    • Of Justice Robo's four hammers, only the fourth actually kills someone. Possibly an Invoked Trope, as Celeste had Hifumi kill Kiyotaka first with the #4 hammer, and then staged assaults with Hammers 1-3 (including faking Hifumi's death with the third hammer), to make it seem as though they happened first.
    • Leon Kuwata batted cleanup (the fourth position in the lineup). Fittingly, he's the fourth person to die on-screen.
    • In the Bad Ending, due to Toko dying in the interim, there are only four surviving Hope's Peak students.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing: An inversion that may have made the second trial slightly harder occurs in the official translation. In the original, Mondo yells at Byakuya for calling Chihiro's body "a thing" using the genderless pronoun "aitsu" (commonly translated as "that kid"). Naturally, the localization team had no way to make this subtle clue more obvious without completely spoiling the trial.
    • Though perhaps this was made up by the very next scene having Mondo unambiguously calling Chihiro "dude."
  • Gilded Cage:
    • Hope's Peak Academy isn't half-bad. Unfortunately, nobody's allowed to leave unless they commit murder and get away with it.
    • There are hints prior to the final chapter, which outright confirms it, that the students agreed to stay in the school, possibly for the rest of their lives, until a certain calamity had passed.
    • The Bad Ending: the remaining students (Makoto, Byakuya, Yasuhiro, Aoi, and a recently deceased Toko) have grown into adults and they're still locked inside the school, alongside their children, who will never leave either.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Most of the execution scenes cut away from the victim or use other camera tricks before the moment of death, and only the first shows a recognizable body afterward (Mondo is butterfied, Celeste is somewhere underneath a fire truck, and Kyoko/Junko are crushed under a giant block). The exception is Alter Ego, who is a program on a computer and therefore doesn't have anything to cut away from.
    • A non-bloody example: The full extent of the burns on Kyoko's hands isn't depicted onscreen, only the reactions to them.
  • Gratuitous English: In the original version of the game, the title card for each execution is labeled with a Japanese title and an English subtitle. The translation isn't always exact; for example, "Thousand Knocks" becomes "Million Fungoes."
  • Guilty Until Someone Else Is Guilty: Makoto is the first suspect in the first trial. Because game overs lead to him being the blackened, this trope takes effect if you game over after Makoto is proven innocent.
  • Hand Wave: The methods behind removing their memories aren't explained by Monokuma, who dismisses the question as irrelevant information. Danganronpa Zero shows that Junko had a relationship with the Ultimate Neurologist, but still doesn't fully explain the memory-wiping process.
    Monokuma: If I said it was hypnotism, would you believe me? Or we opened up your skulls and messed with your brains?
    • Junko also refuses to explain why she has a different surname from her sister, although the context allows us to infer Junko is dissatisfied with the path her sister chose in life (so, presumably, one of them voluntarily changed her last name so as not to be assosiated with the other).
    Junko Enoshima: Naturally, she turned out to be the letdown of the family. Leaving me behind to run off and join some band of mercenaries... Such a disappointment.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Everyone in this game invokes this at several points. In the demo trial, when Makoto's accused of being the murderer, he stutters from shock. Leon leaps on this, insisting that proves he's responsible. Lampshaded by Junko's shocked question: "Seriously?! Stuttering makes you suspicious?!"
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Alter Ego's disappearance from the locker room kicks off the murders in Chapter 3. It turns out that Celeste simply shut him in a different locker and told him to keep quiet.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Red is often used for angry poses.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Chapter 5's trial is deliberately set up to frame someone, and due to the lack of enough information as well as Monokuma's meddling, cannot be properly solved until Chapter 6. The only way to "win" it is by choosing not to expose the intended frame, Kyoko, at a critical juncture, because of which Makoto ends up taking the fall for the murder. However, Alter Ego saves him from being executed. In the Bad Ending, where Makoto does expose Kyoko, she isn't so lucky.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Whenever the player maxes friendship with another student, they obtain a special skill from them somehow related to their talent. If the student turns out to be a murderer later on in the story, the player can use the skills they acquired in the trial to help him expose them as the killer.
    • It was Sayaka's suggestion for Makoto to bring the gilded sword back to his room. Had she not, Leon may very well had lacked the means to disarm her and derail her plan.
  • Hope Spot: Oh yes. Monokuma (and by extension, the Mastermind), is a master of these, and loves letting the students think they're getting the upper hand and finding a way out, only to cruelly pull the rug right out from under them.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Pretty much the game's theme.
  • Identical Grandson: The kids in the bad ending look like miniature versions of their fathers. Byakuya's son is blond and has glasses, Yasuhiro's infant son has massive hair, and Makoto's son inherits his father's Idiot Hair and even has a tiny hoodie.
  • Idiot Ball: Makoto and Kyoko leave Alter Ego — their most important weapon, which they needed to keep secret to the mastermind at all costs — out in the open in a place where Makoto was previously attacked.
  • Idiot Hair: Makoto has a big curved one, Yasuhiro has ones all over his head and Hifumi has one pointing straight up.
  • I Have Your Wife: Monokuma's first motive — he gives everyone a DVD that implies horrible things will happen to the friends/family they care about the most, such as Makoto's family supposedly being attacked and killed. Given what we learn in the final trial, it's implied to be true.
  • I Just Write the Thing: Several interviews imply that head writer Kodaka Kazutaka takes this attitude, writing scenarios as they come and seeing how the characters would react to them. Kyoko, for instance, was never intended to be a heroine, but rather fell into the role through sheer investigative tenacity turning her into a difficult target for murder and an easy ally for Makoto. The fact that she dies first in an earlier version of the script hammers this point home.
  • I'll Kill You!: Byakuya threatens to kill Monokuma several times after the second trial.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Kiyotaka undergoes a Heroic BSoD after Mondo's execution, which he attributes to his not being there to calm Mondo down.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    • Mondo mentions the color of Chihiro's sports clothing, in a situation where only the murderer would be able to view it.
    • In chapter 3, Celeste says that "We are going to die just like those guys" before the second murder victim was found.
    • Byakuya, though not a culprit, also gets a chomp from this in Chapter 2, as once a murder is announced, he makes a beeline for Chihiro's body, where he posed it in the girls' changing room.
  • Infinite Supplies: Monokuma explains at the start of the game that the students' needs will all be taken care of during their stay and later explains to Maizono (Fujisaki in the anime) that the cafeteria's refrigerator gets restocked every single day.
  • Informed Ability: Most of the students don't get to use their talents because of the situation they're in.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: Some of this happens around the English loan-phrase "dying message." In Chapter 4, Yasuhiro manages to mangle it into "Vienna sausage."
  • Interface Screw: When your opponent activates Nega Time in Bullet Time Battles, it blocks the bar that lets you see the rhythm markers. This can be countered with your own Fever Time, which allows you to lock, shoot, and reload regardless of rhythm.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • The player is able to accuse dead students of the murder, implying the possibility of suicides and faked deaths. What is revealed in the fourth and sixth trials, respectively, are exactly those two gambits.
    • Case 5 ends in a Fission Mailed scenario where the player is shown Makoto's execution, only for him to be saved at the last moment... but the effect is somewhat spoiled by the fact that, immediately prior to this, the player is shown the victory screen for that Class Trial, which announces a verdict of "live another day" and awards them the usual bunch of coins.
    • New players are likely to get suspicious when Sayaka, the Implied Love Interest, has her report card completely filled out after only two interactions, with some ports even granting an achievement when it happens. Sure enough, she’s the first victim and dies before the first class trial. The same can be said for two other characters who also don’t survive the first chapter, but the game doesn’t encourage you to spend time with them like with Sayaka.
    • In ports with achievements, completing Toko’s report card doesn’t grant the achievement for it, clueing the player in about Genocide Jill’s free time events. The fact that the report card extents past the usual ending point also suggests that Toko lives longer than most characters, and sure enough, she survives the entire game.
    • The Steam trading cards are a bit weird about this — specifically the "Ultimate Heroes" and "Ultimate Heroines" full-size card images. The "Heroes" one includes a picture of Leon in considerable distress, which could be seen as a hint towards his death, though with no context. However, it also includes two characters (Kenshiro and Santa Shikiba) who aren't actually in the game at all. Meanwhile, the "Heroines" picture includes some pretty big spoilers, showing both Mukuro (as herself) and the real Junko; however, it also includes Chihiro among the girls. It's quite possible that the elements were chosen specifically to throw people off as to which spoilers were real.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: Everyone is locked inside the school, and forced under the constant threat of execution to abide by the rules of the Killing School Life. The only way to get out is to kill someone and get away with it, and once a murder happens, the innocent students are forced to either let the blackened be executed if they choose correctly, or be executed in the blackened's place if they choose wrong.
  • Iron Maiden: The first execution we see is someone being trapped in a rocket flying into space that doubles as an iron maiden. Their body burns up upon reentry if the spikes didn't kill them first.
  • Just One Little Mistake: Many trials rely on this.
  • Karmic Death: Monokuma's punishments for the blackened students are specifically tailored to each of them: Leon is bombarded to death with baseballs, Mondo is strapped to a motorcycle and driven around a Globe of Death so fast that he turns to butter, and Celeste is set up to be burned at the stake...only to be crushed by a speeding fire truck instead. The exception is Alter Ego, who Monokuma only "executed" to toy with the surviving students.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Playing right into Monokuma's desire to sow discord among the students? Maybe. But it's oh so satisfying when Aoi takes a swing at that Smug Snake Byakuya.
  • Kill the Cutie: Two of the sweetest characters in the game, Sayaka and Chihiro, are the first two murder victims (though Sayaka's status as a cutie is debatable given that she tried to kill Leon and frame Makoto for it).
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: All the students had their memories of their time at Hope's Peak after attending erased, to set it up so that they had never come to the school before, with the exception of the two students who performed the brainwashing on the others.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise:
    • Setting a trend for the whole franchise, Chapters 5 and 6 give us a rockified reprise of the investigation theme. Fittingly for the climax, it is awesome.
    • The final discussion involves Makoto trying to give Aoi, Yasuhiro, Jill, Byakuya, and Kyoko hope so they can stop the mastermind. Once he convinces the first four, the main theme kicks in when the discussion loops back around and Kyoko's previously untouchable statement changes to a weak point.
  • Law Procedural: An aspect of the Class Trials, hence the comparisons to Ace Attorney.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In chapter 5:
      Aoi: Hey, Hiro. When did you get that way? I don't remember you acting like that when we got here...
      Yasuhiro: My character wasn't yet well established back then.
    • Another one in Chapter 5, when discussing the locked biology lab.
      Yasuhiro: Based on what we experienced so far, it's probably some kind of a freaky creature. A gigantic last boss type.
      Aoi: But... this isn't an action game...
    • After the final trial, as the survivors prepare to leave:
      Makoto: We stood there, as if we were in an epilogue that comes before the ending credits.
    • During the sixth trial, Junko says she's tired of expositioning stuff.
  • Left Hanging: What the Tragedy was, what Junko's Ultimate Despair group is, how the students lost their memories, why Junko and Mukuro have different last names, and what actually happened to the survivors after leaving the school in the epilogue is left unexplained. Most of this has been answered in later installments, however.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The game takes place across about two weeks, during which nobody is seeing wearing a different uniform than usual.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: This trope seems to direct the flow of the investigations.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Chapter 4's murder appears to be one of these. With a less complicated solution than normal, though; the room was locked because the culprit locked it themselves.
  • Logical Fallacies: The "Bullet Time Battle" sections of a trial occur when a student starts using Ad Hominem attacks instead of logical arguments.
  • Long Title:
    • The Japanese title of Chapter 6 translates to: "The Reason Super High School Level Bad Luck Enticed Super High School Level Murder and Super High School Level Execution and Super High School Level Despair". The official English localization shortens it somewhat with the use of the word "Ultimate" in place of "Super High School Level", turning it into "Ultimate Pain, Ultimate Suffering, Ultimate Despair, Ultimate Execution, Ultimate Death".
    • The title of the game can be counted as this as well, as the original Japanese title translates to Danganronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair.
    • The Anime of the Game is titled Danganronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair: The Animation.
  • Loophole Abuse: Monokuma's rules all have loopholes in the wording.
    • For instance, students aren't allowed to sleep anywhere but the dorm rooms — but they also don't have to sleep in their room specifically.
      • The 4-koma manga also points out that it is deliberately sleeping outside the dorms that is banned — being knocked unconscious is A-OK.
      • The first chapter of the game also points this out, since Makoto had fainted and woke up in the gym. This is briefly questioned before the conclusion of the loophole is reached.
    • Students cannot lend their IDs to other students. However, there are no rules forbidding borrowing or stealing one.
    • In Chapter 4, Monokuma makes a new rule stating that students are not allowed to break down locked doors. However, barred doors that never had a lock in the first place are a whole different story.
  • Lost in Translation: In the Spike Chunsoft version, Chapter 5 titled "100 Meter Dash! Problems of a Junk Food Junkie". The original translations make a pun on the phrase "if you want peace, prepare for war" ("If you want Donuts, Prepare for Despair"), and the original Japanese title is based on a Light Novel, but the Chunsoft version doesn't have any hints to the phrases in dialogue and so does not make sense if you don't know that background.
  • Lotsa People Try to Dun It: In case 4, Sakura appears to have been killed by a blow to the head. The attempt to determine who delivered the killing blow is complicated when it turns out that Yasuhiro hit Sakura over the head with a Monokuma bottle, and then Genocide Jill also hit Sakura over the head with a Mokokuma bottle shortly after. Rather than either of them, it turns out that Sakura actually committed suicide by poison in order to protect everyone.
  • Lucky Charms Title: Show Within a Show Demon Angel ☆ Pretty Pudgy Princess. Hifumi corrects Makoto when he doesn't pronounce the ☆.
  • Made of Indestructium: According to Monokuma, the e-Handbooks can withstand 10 tonnes of pressure and are waterproof up to 100 meters deep (with heat being their only weakness). The anime made them look like typically-delicate modern smartphones too.
  • Manslaughter Provocation: Discussed during the first case: While ferreting out Leon as the murderer, it's revealed that the victim, Sayaka, lured him into a trap that backfired. Once exposed, Leon tries to claim that he was forced to kill Sayaka in self-defense. However, Makoto points out that after Sayaka dropped the knife and shut herself in the bathroom, Leon went back to his room unimpeded. He would have been safe if he'd stayed there and locked his door, but instead he went back to Sayaka's room after he'd fetched his tool kit, used it to break into the bathroom, and stabbed her with the knife, making it murder rather than self-defense.
  • Medium Blending: The Closing Arguments are manga panels.
  • Mistaken for Evidence: Happens frequently, sometimes because the evidence was planted, and other times because the students love jumping to the most obvious conclusion.
  • The Mole: The end of Chapter 2 reveals that one of the students is in league with Monokuma, but does not show who it is. The presence of a mole amongst the students is the theme of Monokuma's fourth motive. The twist is that he reveals who it is right off the bat — and openly orders them to kill one of the others.
  • Motive Rant: In one chapter, Monokuma actually does this for the murderer, who doesn't want to explain what happened even after exposure. Lampshaded by Aoi in Chapter 4, when she demands to know why the others want her to explain everything to them just because she's the culprit (she's not the culprit).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The school trials are some of the flashiest debates you'll ever see — you literally shoot down arguments as they fly across the screen in text form.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Twice in case 4. Aoi Asahina first, when Monokuma gleefully informs her that the suicide note that caused her to try to frame everyone else was a fake, so Aoi badly screwed up. The second one is by everyone else, who admit that the real problem was that they all got angry at Sakura in the first place, so they decide to let bygones be bygones, not punish Aoi, and unite against Monokuma.
  • Never Suicide: Averted in Chapter 4, where the trial's discussion transferred from multiple suspects before arriving at this conclusion (thus justifying the Locked Room Mystery).
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Promotional material showed all fifteen students in the trial scenes (obscuring who dies in Chapter 1) and heavily implied that Sayaka would be the main love interest for Makoto — while Makoto is somewhat interested in her, she's ultimately the first victim. The free demo goes so far as to change the victim of the first case to Yasuhiro. This was repeated in trailers for the anime.
  • New Game+: The player can replay chapters after completing them, letting Makoto keep any skills he has gotten from the other characters. In the PSP version, which lacks School Mode, this is required to view all the friendship scenes for certain characters who don't make it past the first chapter.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Chapter 2 introduces the men's idol group Tornado.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Should the player choose to pursue Kyoko's lie during the chapter 5 trial, she'll end up as the blackened and be promptly executed. The game then fast-forwards to show that the remaining students have settled down in their Gilded Cage, with Aoi bearing children to the remaining male students and Toko dying sometime in the interem. Makoto questions whether this is truly hope before declaring that it isn't. The game then jumps back to the point where the player chooses whether or not to pursue Kyoko's lie.
  • Noodle Incident: We never do find out what the Despairing Incident actually was — at least, until the prequel shed some light on it, and the sequel even more so.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sayaka has one when Leon breaks into the bathroom she was in.
  • One Steve Limit: It becomes a plot point that there's two different students with the name Yasuhiro. One has it as a given name and one as a surname, and only one of them is common knowledge.
  • Ontological Mystery: None of the characters have any idea how the school was locked down (or even if they're still in the school). However, Monokuma explicitly permits the students to investigate what's going on, as long as they abide by his other rules.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Genocide Jack has one that is constantly on display.
  • Pac Man Fever: A meta-example, in that the game, while not having any video games within the game, features monochrome 8-Bit representations of all of the students, and the executions feature 8-bit animations of Monokuma dragging off the culprit to their doom, complete with sound effects ripped straight from the Atari 2600 port of Donkey Kong. As if to reiterate to the characters that this is a game to the Mastermind. The anime ups this with the end credits that spoof an NES title screen.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Played with. At one point, Kyoko finds a door with a password lock and uses every bit of information she can find on the man who set it up to try and figure the password. Turned out to be subverted — the password to the headmaster's private chamber is "kyokokirigiri", but since his daughter hates him and assumed he didn't care about her, she didn't think to try it.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Invoked by the dorm rooms, which are identical besides having blue sheets/blankets for male students and pink for females. A similar theme is used for the locker room doors on the second floor (except with red replacing pink).
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Some of the students are more willing to cooperate with Makoto than others, but it's not unusual for somebody to hold back information until the trial.
    • Poor communication almost kills everyone! In chapter 4, Aoi reads a fake suicide note by Monokuma implicating the others, so she tries to frame everyone for murder so they'd all be taken down. The others forgive Aoi, though, because their own poor communication skills caused them all to get angry at Sakura in the first place since they thought, as the mole, Sakura was going to kill them and they didn't even talk to her to confirm it, which made it necessary for her to commit suicide to calm the discord and chaos.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: Celestia Ludenberg references the concept and uses the example of two countries building their military strength under fear of betrayal from the other to explain the School Life of Mutual Killing that the 15 students have been forced into (in which uniting together against The Mastermind would be ideal, but none can escape the possibility of someone cracking under the pressure of wanting to escape the school by choosing to kill someone else).
  • Public Execution: The fate of every culprit who fails to get away with murder. The audience seems to be limited to the surviving students, until it's revealed that each execution, along with the rest of the happenings in the school, had been broadcast to the entire world since the very beginning.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: In Chapter Three, if the player got the "A Man's Fantasy" item during Chapter 2, it will trigger an opportunity for a bonus cutscene during Chapter 3 where Makoto will gather the courage to go peeking at the girls while they're bathing. The player gets a fanservice event CG with Sakura, Aoi, Kyoko, Toko, and Celestia all clad in Modesty Towels while bathing, except for Sakura who wears her towel around her waist, but her modesty concealed by having her bare back turned to the camera, though she's still showing a generous amount of Sideboob. The scene also reveals that Kyoko has Hartman Hips.
  • Rape as Drama: Invoked and Exploited when Celeste lies to Hifumi that Kiyondo assaulted her, to convince him to assist her.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Leon exclaims several no's before he gets executed.
  • Rasputinian Death: Sakura's death. First, she fights Monokuma, who is unable to land a killing blow but still leaves her injured. After that, two people try to kill her by smashing bottles on her head. Both times, her assailants think they succeeded. Finally, she commits suicide by drinking poison.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: The trials always run smoothly enough that every student will usually have the chance to speak clearly and concisely, no matter if their characterization would imply a higher likelihood of shouting over everyone else (with things like stuttering and pauses usually being used as a sign of guilt). As heated as the discussions get, only the protagonist will actually jump into someone else's sentence, to the point that the sequel decided to include interruptions as a gameplay element in the form of rebuttal showdowns. The various "white noise," however, does seem to imply that people are talking in the background.
  • Red Herring:
    • The Justice Hammers. More specifically, the numbering of the Justice Hammers, from smallest to biggest. Everyone thinks that they were used from one to four, but it's eventually discovered that the culprit used them out of order to throw everyone off.
    • After Kyoko says Makoto is the least likely among the group to be The Mastermind and he agrees, the screen flashes back to his mysterious daydream where he tells himself that his goal is to stay in the academy. He didn't end up being The Mastermind, obviously.
    • To assist with murders, the boys are all given a toolkit while the girls receive a sewing kit. While the toolkit is relevant, the sewing kit never sees use.
  • Relationship Values: Makoto can hang out with the other students and give them presents. They'll reward him either with skills to be used during trial scenes, or by raising the maximum number of skill points Makoto has during trials, depending on how far he's progressed in hanging out with them. The downside to this, however, is that there's a limited number of "free time segments" in each chapter. When students get killed, they are no longer available to spend time with, and their skills cannot be acquired. Furthermore, even if they're still alive, some characters may be unavailable to spend time with for plot reasons. Fortunately, skills and free time progress both carry over on subsequent playthroughs, and in the re-release they can be earned at leisure in School Mode.
  • Retcon: Subverted by the manga. The way it treats Sayaka's murder initially comes off this way, but all that's shown in-game is based on Makoto's deductions and what actually happened is never shown.
  • Revealing Cover-Up:
    • In Chapter 6, the mastermind goes out of their way to avoid showing Junko's face in any images depicting her before the memory-wipe happened and the Deadly Game started. This is a necessary measure to prevent the characters from figuring out that she doesn't look like the "Junko" they knew, but it makes it really obvious that she's the mastermind. Indeed, Makoto uses it as a crucial piece of evidence to come to that conclusion.
    • Earlier, in Chapter 1, some of the major pieces of evidence against Leon besides the dying message come from his attempt to destroy his bloodstained jacketnote . Not only does it not burn completely, leaving a piece of bloody sleeve that matches his Limited Wardrobe, the other debris he leaves near the locked-down incinerator indicates it was turned on in a way that could only have been done by someone with his particular talent. All in all, he might have done better just stuffing it under his bed.
    • Then, in Chapter 2, the clinching piece of evidence is Chihiro's broken e-card, which was taken from his body and found in the sauna. This leads to the question of who would have an opportunity to find out how the card could be broken, such as someone who previously went into the sauna fully dressed.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • Kiyotaka and Mondo refuse to answer who won their endurance contest in the sauna. The manga purports that Kiyotaka was the first to pass out, but its canonicity has never been confirmed nor denied.
    • Kyoko and Toko's motivational photographs in the final investigation, because Toko's never came up in the discussion and Kyoko refused to take hers. The anime shows Toko's, depicting the students playing in the snow without her, with Junko's face hidden by a recently-thrown snowball.
    • Most of the mysteries brought up in the final trial are addressed in later installments, but it's never explained anywhere why the twin sisters Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba have different surnames. When asked about it, Junko says she's tired of always getting asked that question and that the students should think of a reason themselves, and anyway the real answer is pretty boring.
  • Role-Playing Game: The game has several play-by-post tributes, generally on Tumblr but also other sites.
  • Rushmore Refacement: One of the images of "the outside world" that the mastermind shows the class in the final trial is of several famous monuments with Monokuma's face added to them. While it's real (as Genocide Jill proves) and is stated to be one of the things that happened due to "The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History", it's still undetermined to what extent the total damage is.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Monokuma specializes in these, the most basic of which is: Kill one of your classmates, or spend the rest of your life in captivity — and when it comes down to the trial, fess up and receive a gruesome punishment, or escape with the blood of everyone else on your hands.
    • Sakura was presented with one as well — work as a mole for Monokuma and then violate her personal integrity and sense of morals by killing someone when Monokuma asks her to, or refuse Monokuma's demands and lose her family's dojo. She manages to get around this choice, however; see Take a Third Option.
    • Makoto faces one in Chapter 5; expose a lie Kyoko's told, or let her lie slide. This doesn't look that sadistic until you realize that he's actually deciding either Kyoko or himself to be found guilty.
    • Junko also offers one to the surviving students: kill her but be forced to leave for the outside world, which could very well be deadly, or sacrifice Makoto and spend the rest of their lives in peace, but only inside the Gilded Cage of the academy.
  • Say My Name: "Daaaaiiiyaaaaa!"
  • Screaming at Squick: Hifumi squeals in horror after learning Kyoko examined Chihiro's head wound.
  • Second Law of Metafictional Thermodynamics: Intentionally invoked: series writer Kazutaka Kodaka has said his main problem with murder mysteries was how underdeveloped the victims usually were, and so the series came to be based around a Cast of Snowflakes put through as much death and psychological trauma as possible. By the end of the game, the entire world turns out to be effectively destroyed just to make them earn their happy ending.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Monokuma rises again after the students escape. Plus, we still don't know what happened in the outside world... or if anything happened at all.
    • Also, the escape switch, and the bonus movie that it unlocks, foreshadows Danganronpa IF.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Slasher Smile: Byakuya makes one before crucifying Chihiro's corpse.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • It's a plot point that Kuwata's first name is Leon rather than Reon.
    • The NISA translation removed the U in Kyouko and Touko's names.
  • Spoiler Opening: Along with introducing the cast, the opening sequence contains brief flashes Foreshadowing in-game events, most prominently borrowing from a Cutscene showcasing one of the murderers' punishment.
  • Steel Eardrums: Other than obvious shock, no one in the group reacts to Monokuma exploding so close to them at the start of the game.
  • The Stinger: After the credits, we see a scene where Monokuma comes back to life.
  • Suicide, Not Murder: Sakura Ogami's death turns out to have been a suicide; the victim had just admitted she was blackmailed into being The Mole, and she knew her continued presence was a ticking time bomb that would eventually get someone killed. So she locked herself in a room and drank some poison. Unfortunately for the player, Monokuma tampers with the suicide note, leading Aoi Asahina to believe she did what she did out of despair and try to cover up the suicide to get everyone killed.
  • The Summation: Closing Arguments boil down to this, with Makoto giving his take on how the crime was committed before calling out the murderer. He doesn't get to do a Closing Argument summation in chapter 5, because he never actually solved the entirety of how the murder happened. If the player decides to reveal Kyoko's lie in court, Monokuma cuts the trial short and executes Kyoko. If they decide not to reveal Kyoko's lie, Monokuma cuts the trial short and tries to execute Makoto, who is saved at the last minute by Alter Ego.
  • Swiss Army Tears: In Chapter 3, when the students find Hifumi once more knocked out with a bloody head wound, Aoi bursts into tears over Byakuya's cold reaction and cries over Hifumi's corpse, and he awakens briefly before truly dying. Makoto even lampshades this by saying "If this were some world of make believe, this might have been when Hifumi opened his eyes."
  • This Is the Final Battle: Invoked by Kyoko before the last investigation, and The Animation milks this for all it's worth.
  • Tempting Fate: If a character is too happy, you can bet they're going to be involved in that chapter's murder. Sayaka implies that she has a crush on Makoto? Not only is she killed, but she had him pegged as her fall guy. Mondo and Kiyotaka become friends? Mondo kills Chihiro and Kiyotaka becomes completely broken. Hifumi finds his "ideal 2-D girl" in the ironically male Alter Ego and Kiyotaka bounces back after meeting Alter Ego? Kiyotaka's the next victim and Hifumi is killed by the person who convinced him to murder him. Sakura and Aoi, by far the kindest students? Sakura is The Mole and commits suicide, leaving Aoi heartbroken. Alter Ego gets over being a computer program and promises to help? Monokuma steals and crushes him. Makoto helps Kyoko screw over Monokuma? In the bad ending, Kyoko's the next one to be executed thanks to Makoto himself.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: An interesting case of this. Junko Enoshima is the first mole who set up the murder game in the first place, but she operates from a distance and uses two moles through the course of the story, neither of whom kill anyone. One of them outright kills themselves while the other's publicly offed by the mastermind, and later used to frame one of the students.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • An arrangement of the title theme plays during the Closing Argument toward the end of each trial, when the protagonist explains how the murder happened and exposes the culprit once and for all.
    • The theme plays again during Chapter 6's final argument, as Makoto convinces each of his surviving classmates to overcome despair and vote against the mastermind.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The mastermind decides to kill herself with every execution she has given to the killers in one big swoop.
  • This Is Reality: Spoken in Chapter 3. Monokuma also states this during Chapter 1:
    Monokuma: We aren't living in a Shōnen manga story. There is no such thing as dying without dying. This is reality!!
  • Trailers Always Spoil: One of the first trailers released for the official English release of the game makes it blatantly obvious that Leon is the first killer, as well as showing the lack of Sayaka and Junko in the first trial scene. Then there's the one that not only shows Makoto on the conveyor belt in "After School Lesson" getting closer to the crushing machine, but the parts where he falls through the trapdoor into the garbage room. To make it even worse, most of these things are also spoiled by the opening movie that plays every time the player opens the game.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: It is revealed by Monokuma in Chapter 5 that everything happening inside the school is being broadcast all over Japan. To go even further, the game even ends like the Trope Namer movie, with the characters leaving the only world they know to venture into the "real" one.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: In contrast to the previous chapters, Chapter 5 shows the player the upcoming corpse at the beginning of the chapter. However, since the body is masked, the player isn't really getting any hints about who's going to die...
  • Two Dun It: Near the end of the game, it's revealed that there are actually two Masterminds who are collectively Ultimate Despair. Subverted in that one of them betrayed and murdered the other early in the game.
  • Two-Teacher School: Despair Academy is suspiciously lacking in faculty — aside from Monokuma. And his idea of "teaching" is trying to get people to kill each other. The school also once had a human headmaster, though he is murdered before the game begins. The flowers on the desks in the staff room imply they were all killed as well, and the mastermind says everyone at the school died except for her class.
  • Undignified Death:
    • All the executions count as this. There's being bludgeoned to death by a pitching machine, being turned into pancake topping by a high-speed motorcycle stunt, being burned at the stake and then run over by a speeding firetruck, and being crushed into a ball by construction equipment. Monokuma seems to get off on killing people in sadistically comical fashion.
    • Cruelly, cruelly subverted with Kyoko's execution in Chapter 5's Bad End: she's crushed to death by a giant block. The subversion is that Kyoko starts with a stoic expression, then becomes fearful, then shows acceptance while being fearful. So poor Kyoko's death swings from Dignified to Undignified and back again.
    • Same goes with Makoto in the Good End of that chapter: he sweats bullets and almost gets crushed until Alter Ego overrides the machine and stops the block. He still ends up falling down a garbage chute, though, and Monokuma gloats that slowly starving to death on a pile of trash is actually an even worse death than just being flattened instantly.
    • Mondo and Celeste also Face Death with Dignity, undignified as the method of execution turns out to be, and Alter Ego doesn't seem to be entirely aware of what's happening, but Leon has to be physically dragged from the courtroom after breaking down and begging for his life.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: School trials can be broken down into Non-Stop Debates (literally shooting down contradictions), Bullet Time Battles (breaking through Ad Hominem arguments in a Rhythm Game), Hangman's Gambit (filling in blanks), and Closing Statements (assembling how the murder went down by placing events on a comic-style timeline).
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: In the last trial, the Mastermind a.k.a. Junko Enoshima reveals that the reason the students weren't actually trapped, but instead choose to stay inside the school for the rest of their lives, was because of: The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History, which caused the downfall of society. However, the specifics of it aren't shown until the second game.
  • Utsuge: There are 15 kids that are for the most part very likable and interesting characters. Since this is a killing game, the player will watch most of these teenagers be killed or kill their fellow students through either conventional murders or executions in order to survive. If the player happens to get attached to any of the doomed cast members, they will feel bad, and even if they don't, the set-ups of the cases can be rather depressing.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish:
    • Flashbacks to not even a full scene ago happen fairly often, with one flashback showing something that happened roughly thirty seconds beforehand.
    • Flashbacks to the scene where Kyoko first informs Makoto of Mukuro's existence happen on a near-constant basis.
  • Voice Grunting: For the most part. However, some scenes (generally those with a full-screen illustration) and all Class Trials are fully-voiced.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The second murderer is much harder to take down than the first was, letting players know just how easy they had it in the tutorial case. This case is far twistier than the first, since the player goes through two red herring suspects before figuring out that the crime scene location was altered to conceal the true sex of the victim. Makoto is only able to unmask the true culprit through getting him to divulge information he couldn't have known if he wasn't involved.
  • Warmup Boss: Leon is by far the easiest culprit to nail, for several reasons. The dying message left by Sayaka, "11037", is the biggest tipoff, since it's actually not a number, but Leon's name written upside down, with the crossbar of the N slightly smudged out. Although this can be considered a case of Difficulty by Region, since the clue is exactly the same in the Japanese version, and a native English speaker would pick up on the true meaning of the message much easier and quicker than a non-native speaker.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Let's start with Chapter 1. The first victim is Sayaka, and shortly after that, Junko is killed for attacking Monokuma. See Never Trust a Trailer.
    • Then at the end of Chapter 2, it's revealed there is a mole among the students, and there's also a separate sixteenth student that Monokuma is hiding.
    • The end of Chapter 3. After learning about it from Kyoko, Makoto finds a secret room in the boys' restroom. Before he can take a good look around, a mysterious masked man attacks him from behind, knocking him unconscious. When Makoto wakes up, he finds that the room has been cleaned out. Then, when he staggers to the gymnasium, he finds Sakura fighting Monokuma, and they have a conversation implying Sakura is The Mole.
    • Chapter 4's one of the biggest wham episodes. Monokuma reveals Sakura's identity as the mole right off the bat... and then Sakura is killed... and there's a bloody message with Toko's name just like with Leon! wait, that was Yasuhiro framing Toko, he killed the ogre, he even confesses! wait, actually his strike didn't kill Sakura, Toko and Genocide Jill confess to it... no wait, Aoi framed everyone, she confesses to the murder! wait, it was actually a suicide! And Monokuma gave Aoi a fake suicide note! Nice going, Aoi... no wait, everyone decides not to punish Aoi and they're all against Monokuma now! Looks like Monokuma can't execute anyone... no wait, Alter Ego, NOOOOOO!!! And then, at the very end of the chapter? Kyoko suddenly reveals the name of the sixteenth student!
    • Chapter 5's bad ending turns it into another wham episode, because this is the first episode where pointing out a lie in court, which the player has been doing the whole game, results in a bad ending where Makoto, Byakuya, Aoi, and Yasuhiro, and Toko until recently all live happily ever after, with no more murders, but in a gilded cage. And if the player doesn't get the bad ending, and choose to trust Kyoko? Makoto gets judged guilty, and sent off to be executed, and it's only from a last-minute surprise interference from a virus planted by Alter Ego that he doesn't die. He's still trapped in the basement with no way of getting out, though... but then Kyoko herself comes to rescue him.
    • Chapter 6 is made up of Wham Episodes. Monokuma agrees to do a re-trial of Mukuro's murder and seems to be slowly losing his sanity. Part of Monokuma's deal is that the students have to solve every mystery in the school. One of the sixteen students is the mastermind. Kyoko discovers her father's remains as well as hints that he really did care about her. Furthermore, all of the students had attended Hope's Peak before, but had their memories erased. The biggest part? Mukuro Ikusaba was disguising herself as Junko, and the real Junko was the Big Bad all along.
  • Wham Line:
    • Chapter 2 had two of them, one about the victim ("This...this girl is...! a boy!"), and the reveal of Genocide Jack's identity ("In fact, it's Toko.").
    • Then in Chapter 4: "I am sorry... for keeping quiet." Spoken by Sakura, confirming that she is the mole.
    • And then in the trial: "It's because I killed the ogre!!" No one expected Yasuhiro, of all people, to confess.
    • Followed by...
      Aoi: I killed Sakura!
    • And then the biggest one in that chapter:
      Monokuma: It's a suicide letter. The one Sakura wrote.
      Makoto: S... Suicide letter...!? But Hina already...!
      Monokuma: Oh, I wrote that one. It was all me, baby.
    • And one more from Chapter 4, along a different tone. Up until now, Byakuya has ranged from obnoxious asshole to outright antagonist, and has repeatedly spoken about how it's foolish to trust others in a game where the students have been challenged to kill each other. Which is what makes this line following the trial so surprising to both Monokuma and the player:
      Byakuya: This is a life-or-death elimination match. The only way to survive... is to win. There can be no doubt that those are the rules of the game. Which is why... I am bowing out of the game.
    • From the start of Chapter 5:
      Kyoko: Mukuro Ikusaba.
      Makoto: What...?
      Kyoko: Mukuro Ikusaba, the sixteenth student, lying hidden somewhere in the school. The one they call the Ultimate Despair. Watch out for her.
    • From Chapter 5, which pretty much blows all others out of the water:
      Monokuma: This school life of mutual killings is being completely broadcasted live on TV all over Japan!
    • Later on:
      Monokuma: I've been waiting until all of you get here. We can't begin without the entire group, can we?
    • It might not be too shocking, but it's still big.
      Kyoko: Because [the headmaster]'s my father.
    • Invoked in Chapter 6, which doesn't seem like one until the Fridge Horror kicks in.
      Monokuma: There are 16 and only 16 high school students participating in this school life of mutual killing... By the way, ever since we started this game, those beary same students are the only people to have set foot in this school.
  • Wham Shot:
    • After the fourth trial is ruled a suicide, Monokuma declares that he won't let his execution go to waste and will punish a "special guest". Makoto wonders who said guest could be... when suddenly the screen cuts to a close-up of Alter Ego's face, causing a massive Oh, Crap! in the students (and likely the player) as they realize Monokuma's about to crush what seems like their only chance of escape at the time.
    • During Makoto's "execution", we have another one when Alter Ego appears on the monitor, turning out to be Not Quite Dead.
  • Win Your Freedom: The game's ultimate goal.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: In Chapter 1, Kyoko uses this to figure out that the victim called the murderer into the room where she was killed.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: A meta example: The player is potentially this if they choose to reveal Kyoko's lie in court in Chapter 5. An experienced player would think they're playing a Ace Attorney-style game where the truth counts over everything, and therefore reveal her lie, but in this case they're actually playing an "outwit-the-mastermind" game, where throwing Kyoko under the bus is what Monokuma wants. And the game makes sure to rub it in the player's face if they fall for it.
  • You Bastard!: Taka says this to Monokuma after the second trial.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Leon says something to this effect during the first trial.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Happens to Makoto, and presumably to all the other students.

    Tropes for School Mode
  • Alternate Universe: Sayaka's ending strongly implies that School Mode takes place in this. School Mode!Makoto even has a flashback from Chapter 1 of the main story!
  • And I Must Scream: Played for Laughs. Some of the Monokuma backups buildable in include the "entertainment" model, which moans that its life is a travesty and welcomes the sweet release of Monokuma smashing it to bits, and the "adult" model, which has a zipper on the back and a voice inside it screaming to be let out.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The reward for getting a character's ending? That student's underwear. Um... yay? Word of God says that it is supposed to be a representation of an intense bond between Makoto and the other character... which just so happens to appear as that character's favourite undergarments.
  • Bellisario's Maxim: Invoked in the tutorial, which lampshades the fact that the regular sequences of free time events are identical to the ones in the original game; hence, characters talk about killing even when Monokuma just has them building robots and hasn't actually said a thing about "graduating" yet. Though he does offhandedly mention something about the students killing each other, a fact that is not lost on Byakuya.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The "fight" between Monokuma and Usami.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Excuse Plot involves the students being ordered to create backup bodies for Monokuma, who says that he'll need them because not only does he explode in the prologue, they dissect him in Chapter 5.
  • Call-Back: When Makoto receives Imposter!Junko's panties, the game takes care to note that despite being built for combat, it is not spear-proof.
  • Captain Obvious: Some of Makoto's possible observations during "trips", including observing to Celeste "That's an accordion" and asking Aoi "So you like donuts, right?" His classmates can be caustic about it.
  • Crotch-Grab Sex Check: In the original Japanese version of Chihiro's ending, Chihiro proves he's a boy to Makoto by moving Makoto's hand somewhere "on his body", which is strongly implied to be this. In the localized version, it's specifically said that Chihiro moves Makoto to feel his chest, likely to appease the censors. Although Makoto implies that he was expecting the crotch and was relieved that his hand ended up somewhere else.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The ending has Usami show up to save the students. Monokuma complains that she isn't supposed to show up yet.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: In the ending of School Mode, "Junko" seems unsettled after Monokuma's defeat. Aoi says they're probably thinking the same thing, "Junko" is visibly shocked... and Aoi worries about if they'll stay in touch after they leave the school.
  • Everybody Lives: In this universe, Monokuma assigns them with creating backup robots for him, and as Makoto bonds with the other students, the final robot turns out to be Usami, brought to life because of the bonds the students made, who proceeds to kick Monokuma's ass while the latter is flabbergasted since she's supposed to appear LATER. With that, Usami gives the students the exit switch and they all escape together.
  • Guide Dang It!: Figuring out which dialogue options / Trigger Happy Heart combinations increase a character's friendship level the most during trips - while most of them are intuitive enough, a few of the most desirable choices are completely out of left field (one infamous example is a list in which one of the choices has you flat-out mentioning that Hina's gained weight - one might reasonably expect this to be a spectacularly bad thing to bring up, yet somehow it's the best option of the three given).
  • New Game+: School Mode allows the player to carry over the accumulated skill levels for gathering materials and cleaning the school to a new playthrough. The in-story justification is that Monokuma forces the students to start over after being dissatisfied with all the backups they build in fifty days.
  • Relationship Values: Finishing the free time events for all characters is one of the requirements for the good ending. School Mode also has a new set of Relationship Values, viewable by asking Monokuma, which determine whether a character gets a concluding scene during the ending.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Aoi's ending goes from teasing to outright shipping: she admits to liking Makoto and asks him out on a real date, which he accepts.
    • In Sakura's ending, she implies she wants to break up with her boyfriend after inviting Makoto to their rematch.
      I want to put an end to the matter of my attraction to him. And then I can ask you...
    • It also gets rather blatant in Mukuro's Trigger Happy Heart and ending events, where her crush on him is clearly causing her a little consternation.
    • Toko's ending is pretty explicitly romantic. She doesn't even mention "Master".
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Trigger Happy Heart events, as implied by their name, usually have the student in question with their pain, fears, frustrations, vulnerabilities and insecurities all on display, while the only available command involves agreeing or disagreeing with these internal reflections. Depending on the context, it's possible to make Makoto say some incredibly mean things to the other students.

    Tropes for Danganronpa IF
  • A-Cup Angst: Junko insults Mukuro's chest size (and general skinniness) a few times. Not that she seems to care.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Mukuro's characterization here runs counter to her later portrayal in Danganronpa 3: Despair Arc, which was a prequel to the first game. In both cases, she starts out as completely devoted to Junko. In 3, her devotion crosses into a masochistic and borderline incestuous level. In IF, Mukuro notes that she explicitly isn't a masochist, and her participation in spreading Despair has less to do with an actual fanatical belief as it does with her simply wanting to make Junko happy. One potential interpretation is that it was Makoto later influencing her that led to her eventual mindset in IF.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Junko invokes this to give Mukuro despair, suggesting Naegi and Kyoko make a cute couple who would probably survive the entire game together (not that that stops her from wanting to save him).
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: The mastermind plans to invoke this with Mukuro as part of her punishment.
  • Apologizes a Lot: The story quite disturbingly reveals this to be the case from Mukuro, regarding her sister.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When everyone affirms that they wouldn't ever be tempted to kill each other:
    Monokuma: What do you think, Sayaka? Do you agree that no one here would kill a classmate?
  • Ascended Extra: Mukuro Ikusaba ascends to protagonist status after Makoto gets severely wounded by one of the Gungnir spears.
    • In the original game, there was a hidden "Escape Button" item that unlocks a video of everybody leaving the school. The same switch is the instigator of the events that led to IF, likely showing how the secret video or a similar event could come to pass.
  • The Atoner: Lending credence to her final actions in the main story being done in atonement, Sayaka decides to tell Leon and Makoto that she had planned to kill the former and frame the latter for his death once she had her My God, What Have I Done? moment below.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: For the two Ultimate Despair sisters, bringing each other despair is a really twisted form of affection. As such, the most heartbreaking thing Junko can say to Mukuro is "I know you'll make all your dreams come true someday."
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Junko accuses this of being the reason why Mukuro is so intent on saving Makoto's life and brutally mocks her for it, with plenty of disturbing innuendo to boot. During the two years spent at Hope's Peak, Makoto was the first person to smile at her, despite her title of Ultimate Soldier. In fact, Mukuro is always looking straight at Makoto in class photos—and according to Word of God, if she's looking into the camera, that means he's the photographer.
  • Becoming the Mask: After talking to Makoto in the infirmary, Mukuro jokes about how Makoto would be the only person she wouldn't be willing to kill. However, afterwards, she's left confused as she's not sure whether she was actually being serious or not, and whether that was something she or Junko would say.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just when Mukuro is about to be overwhelmed by hordes of Monokumas, Mondo rescues her atop a motorcycle to get her to safety. Ironically, this is the same motorcycle that was prepared for his possible execution, and actually utilized in the game proper to do so.
    • Later, Sakura holds off the countless Monokuma units so that Mondo and Mukuro can escape to safety.
  • Big "NO!": Mukuro ends up screaming this after the realization that Makoto, the boy she has a crush on, is currently dying because he got impaled by a spear that was originally meant for her. Her narration states this to be the only time in her life in which she screams out in despair.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The narration (describing Mukuro's feelings) at one point compares Makoto to a sapling of pure honesty, taken root in her heart. Now read his entry under Meaningful Name...
  • Bittersweet Ending: The students manage to get hold of the real escape switch, and everyone manages to escape. But Junko is still alive at the end, the world is still a hostile place due to her and Ultimate Despair's machinations, and Mukuro Ikusaba is now both a traitor to Ultimate Despair and a world-class criminal to many of the people opposing them. However, the world now knows that Junko is responsible for The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History, and Mukuro now has a reason to live other than pleasing her sister.
  • Bookends: The story begins and ends with Makoto holding an Escape Switch.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In his narration, Monokuma frequently points out that IF is only a possibility, and not the true canon ending. This holds true since the sequel has cameos of the six survivors.
  • Car Fu: Mondo performs a reverse wheelie that smashes against a wave of Monokumas with the back end of the motorcycle he was on. All without hitting Mukuro, who those Monokuma were pinning down (before grabbing her and driving off).
  • Clue from Ed.: The title screen notes that the text refers to characters from Danganronpa Zero. The "IF Monokuma Theater" prologue serves as an additional one by suggesting that the reader should beat the first game and see Mukuro's free-time events.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Monokuma suggests the students are going to do this to Makoto once the two "terrorists" are caught (such as pouring soy sauce in his wounds). Mukuro has little difficulty believing Byakuya might actually do it (though in the main story we hear him dismissing torture as a barbaric method of extracting information).
  • Combat Pragmatism: Soon after being outed as an accomplice to Junko, Mukuro is forced into a head-to-head fist fight with Sakura. The two clash for several rounds, all the while Mukuro states that in terms of combating "The Ultimate Martial Artist", she would ordinarily choose sniping or poison. In the end, Mukuro makes tactical use of Toko's "Genocide Jack" persona to cause a distraction that allows her to recover Makoto and make an exit from the battle.
  • Comically Missing the Point: After Leon attacks Monokuma for her sake, a clearly guilt-ridden Sayaka tells him there's something she needs to confess to him later. Leon assumes it's going to be a Love Confession and is practically bouncing off the walls, not hearing the part where she's also going to confess to Makoto.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In-game, the Monokuma units prove to be practically indestructible, so much that even Sakura can't destroy one whilst needing a day's worth resting from the mere encounter. Here, the little monsters go down in droves, with one falling to Leon of all people (to say nothing of the headcount earned by the fighters). This may have been given an in-story justification with Mukuro's narration claiming that controlling more than one Monokuma at a time (let alone 30) is a task of such Herculean difficulty that only the sheer willpower granted by Junko's need to bring despair allows her to pull it off.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Makoto Naegi. The story starts from his perspective, but after he takes the spear that was meant to kill Mukuro, he's out of commission for most of the story.
  • Defector from Decadence: What triggers Mukuro's Heel–Face Turn. Specifically, Makoto saving her from the Spears of Gungnir while getting severely wounded by one himself.
  • Demoted to Extra: Despite being officially a main character behind Makoto and Kyoko, Byakuya is hardly featured. This is justified to an extent, as many of the things that defined his character in the game (such as his interactions with Toko and his decision to ally himself with the remaining students in Chapter 4) happen later in the story and thus don't happen here, but it's still notable when the death of his family —something which he has a significant breakdown over in the game — is brought up rather off-handedly in the epilogue and though he's still stated to be shocked by the revelation, the story doesn't dwell much on it.
  • Distressed Dude: After Makoto takes the blow for Mukuro that was meant to kill her, she has to carry him to the infirmary to save him from dying.
  • Domestic Abuse: Well, "Sororal Abuse" if you want to get fussy, but Mukuro is heavily implied to be on the receiving end of this from Junko.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Junko certainly doesn't make it easy for the students to escape the academy.
  • Everybody Lives: Aside from expanding on Mukuro's characterization, this seems to be the point of the story.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Junko dismisses the concept of everyone working together as "boring" and "cheating".
  • Failure Is the Only Option: As she's cradling the broken Monokuma with her sister's voice still feeding through its speakers, Mukuro tells Junko that their plan was inherently flawed because it required the students' school memories to be erased. Knowing they would never kill each other otherwise, by this act she's admitting that their hope was too strong for her to beat, thereby undoing the entire point she so badly wanted to prove to the world. Junko simply responds by once again calling her a disappointment.
  • Fastball Special: Mukuro and Sakura improvise one to get through the exploding Monokuma corridor during Junko's "final exam".
  • Fix Fic: Even though it's official, it probably counts.
  • For Want of a Nail: The shape of the story changes drastically all because of Makoto winning a fake escape switch and getting sick with a severe fever caused by electrocution when he presses it, leading him to regain his lost memories.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Mukuro lets explosions burn all of her clothes off when charging for the switch of the main gate (while also badly searing her skin).
  • The Heart: Despite being impaled and in considerable pain, Makoto calmly talks the paranoid and confused group into uniting and giving Mukuro, the self-admitted terrorist, a chance to speak. He does this by talking though the bonds and secrets he shared with the others, including Sakura's hidden rivalry and Toko's next novel, proving the trust each of them shared before having their memories erased.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Done by Mukuro after Makoto saved her from getting impaled by the Gungnir spears, getting severely wounded himself in the process.
  • Hero of Another Story: Making up for how little screen-time she got originally, Mukuro's the protagonist (and the first one to lack any kind of ahoge). This is because of her sister's plan to kill her, which was successful in the original game, failing here.
  • Hope Spot: Junko's love for yanking chains is how Mukuro knows the Escape Switch she dangles before them is real. She's deliberately creating a hope spot so she can drink in their despair when they fail. Also, on the off chance they do succeed, she can experience the despair of watching her plan fail.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Kyoko notices a specific bed sticking out more than the others in the infirmary, because of Mukuro clinging to the bed's underside by its frame. Chihiro is also in the room, and can't tell any difference at all.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Genocide Jill reacts badly to Makoto's spear-related injury... mainly because she thinks he deserves better than such a sloppy kill.
  • Improvised Weapon: Mukuro spends the second half of the story fighting with an IV stand she used to block Monokuma's claw in the infirmary, which both sliced one end off and sharpened it to a pointed tip. Her final gambit involves using it as a javelin on the Monokuma holding the real escape switch.
  • Indy Ploy: Mukuro manages to escape the other students by wrenching Toko's sights towards the bloodied arm wound she got from Sakura, unleashing Genocide Jack as a distraction.
  • Ironic Echo: Several Call Backs to the original game are used in diametrically different fashion, particularly Leon using Yasuhiro's "crystal" ball to save Sayaka, Mondo's bike being used of his own accord, and Sakura refusing to let someone make a Heroic Sacrifice out of atonement.
  • Kung-Fu Clairvoyance: Ikusaba manages to dodge roughly 3 Monokumas attacking her per second (at one point during a mid-air battle).
  • Love Martyr: Ikusaba has several traits of this towards her sister.
  • Love Redeems: One of the biggest reasons why Mukuro performed a Heel–Face Turn was due to her feelings for Makoto and her desire to protect him.
  • Million-to-One Chance: The chances of anyone winning the fake Escape Switch from the MonoMono Machine are 0.00000001%. Makoto manages to win it in one go.
  • Morality Pet: Makoto is this to Mukuro to the point where, even before she drops the facade of posing as Junko, she admits that Makoto is the one person she refuses to kill.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: Junko sends multiple Monokumas after Mukuro, eventually cranking it up to a full-on War Sequence through sheer numbers.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Monokuma (not-so-jokingly) suggests that Mukuro take out Kyoko for this reason, as the main romantic rival in her way for Makoto's affections. In reality, the two girls help each other out in defeating her sister.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sayaka almost breaks down when Monokuma intends to reveal her plan to kill someone and frame Makoto for it. It didn't help that he also emphasized how the students had been her friends for two years.
  • Nerves of Steel: Without missing a beat, Kyoko walks into the infirmary and points out Mukuro's hiding spot with the offer to hear her out before making a judgement call. Keep in mind that the information given so far insisted that this person was a dangerous criminal that everyone just saw fist-fighting near-equally against Sakura.
  • New Game+: Junko gloats about planning to invert this by erasing everyone's memories and re-entering Mukuro into the game... as herself, but with a wiped memory so that she doesn't recall who she was or her role in everything. Naturally, this is all for the despair that'll follow when everyone eventually discovers the Awful Truth of her identity.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Some of the first words out of Mukuro's mouth in response to Monokuma (under the guise of being hacked by someone trying to rescue the students) claiming that her and Makoto are Fenrir terrorists is to yell out that he's not a terrorist. Kiyotaka points out to her the claim doesn't deny the accusation against her being a terrorist, and politely asks her to correct her statement to include herself. Worse yet, Celeste zeros in on the fact that she's clearly trying to help someone she's supposed to have met only a few days ago (hinting at some other connection).
  • Not So Stoic: Mukuro is rather impassive until she's standing up for Makoto.
  • One-Man Army: Living up to her title, Mukuro personally destroys countless Monokumas and manages to outsmart most of the students when they initially turn on her. During said Monokuma fight, the narration explicitly states that as Mukuro was at that moment, she would have been an even match in a pure fist-fight with Sakura; and that is to say nothing of all of her other forms of combat proficiency.
  • Organ Theft: Makoto mentions, as he's describing his restored memories, that he nearly had his organs stolen by yakuza pursuing Yasuhiro (following up on a free time event where he asked Makoto to donate some). In the localization, Yasuhiro handed him over to the yakuza.
  • Redemption Earns Life:
    • Mukuro, one of the original game's earliest kills.
    • Sayaka as well; she begins the ill-fated attempt on Leon's life that would have gotten her killed in the canon story, but loses her nerve when she finds Makoto suffering from a fever.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: It's revealed here that Mukuro's title refers exclusively to combat and that she's actually terrible at negotiations or diplomacy (shown when she tries to convince the other students she's not their enemy). But when it comes to pure combat, she proves to be effectively unstoppable.
  • Sequel Hook: As they're escaping, Junko states that they'll have to return if they want the key to restoring their memories. She also references an "interesting island". note (Caution: Contains SDR 2 spoilers) 
  • Ship Tease: Mukuro and Makoto, and a twisted version with Mukuro and Junko.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Several, but particularly ironic is when Leon interrupts Monokuma's attempt to break Sayaka. By throwing Yasuhiro's crystal ball. Some things never change, it seems.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Mukuro Ikusaba admits her identity to the class by taking off her blonde wig, Kiyotaka's first reaction is to chide her for wearing one against school regulations.
  • Sorry I Fell on Your Fist: Internally — and later externally — Mukuro apologizes for surviving the Gungnir spears and thus denying her sister the despair of murdering a loved one.
  • Spanner in the Works: Makoto becomes one once he tries the Escape Switch. The chemical reactions caused by him getting electrocuted-ly stung by a needle makes him so sick that he collapses when Sayaka comes over to suggest the room switch that led to the first murder, and when he wakes up, his memories start to return and he saves Mukuro from being impaled. This causes her Heel–Face Turn and sends the plot wildly off the tracks.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Referenced when the (fake) Ultimate Hacker tries to convince Mondo not to help Mukuro.
  • Taking the Bullet: Makoto shouts Mukuro's name, surprising her into jumping out of the way while he runs to where she was and ends up taking a Gungnir spear to the side for her.
  • Tap on the Head: Sakura attempts this on Mukuro, aiming a chop to the back of her neck. Mukuro's being able to parry this was something of an Establishing Character Moment for her.
  • Title Drop: Danganronpa is worked into the big Multi-Mook Melee fight scene.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Sayaka spent the entire night by Makoto's side in the infirmary after he passed out (perhaps in guilt for what she was about to do). She's stopped later by Kiyotaka suggesting a shift system, which leaves him waking up beside Mukuro in disguise (which he might not have if Byakuya hadn't decided to skip out on his turn).
  • Unluckily Lucky: Mukuro can't decide if the spears failing to hit Makoto's major arteries is miraculously lucky or horribly unlucky.
  • Villain Protagonist: Subverted with Mukuro. She undergoes a Heel–Face Turn early on in the story thanks to Junko's attempt to murder her and Makoto saving her life.
  • We Need a Distraction: Realizing she is at a disadvantage in her fist-fight with Sakura, Mukuro opts to distract her by forcing Toko to become Genocide Jack. As Jack is very distracting, this allows Mukuro to escape the gym with Makoto.
  • Wham Line: For Sakura, Makoto trying to reassure her about Kenichirou.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: After Makoto saves Mukuro, Junko assumes the persona of Besshiki Madarai, Ultimate Hacker, and pretends to have hijacked Monokuma, claiming that Mukuro and Makoto are the ones responsible for trapping them in the school.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Implied by the fact that Monokuma knew all along that Makoto had gotten hold of the escape switch, and thus Junko was willing to accept whatever outcome this brought upon her.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: This is what Mukuro's whole response to Monokuma's blatant lie amounts to.

    Tropes for the Animation
  • 13 Is Unlucky: The number of episodes clocks in at 13, unsurprisingly.
  • 12-Episode Anime: Thirteen-Episode Anime actually, as said above. While the short length may make it seem too rushed at times at the cost of character development, it's hard to deny that the number suits the series well.
  • Adaptational Context Change: Kiyotaka does the "forget-it beam" in both the game and the anime. The game has him doing it when Makoto talks to him during the Chapter 1 investigation, when he almost reveals that the nameplates were switched before realizing Makoto could be the killer. In the anime, on the other hand, he does it the morning after his sauna duel with Mondo while asking Makoto to forget about who won.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • The introductions for all of the other students are toned down to a few sentences, whereas in the game they received several short paragraphs. The pacing of the story moves much more quickly. How much more quickly? The game averages 25-36 hours of content to the anime's 5-6 hours, and it only speeds up following Sakura's death in Episode 9: in the game, this is marked as the halfway point.
    • The origin of the golden sword in Makoto's room is changed from he and Sayaka taking it from the gym for defense to one of Monokuma's "housewarming gifts" meant to murder other students with.
    • Byakuya's knowledge of the Genocide Jack cases comes from prior knowledge from the Togami residence instead of being the only one to read about them in the library.
    • The quick visit to the locker room, in which Kyoko shows the other students Chihiro's corpse to prove that Chihiro is a boy, is cut out entirely.
    • In the game, Taka goes to Makoto's room and asks him to take him to Alter Ego, leading to his becoming "Kiyondo" and Makoto being scolded by Kyoko. In the anime, he's present for the first encounter with Alter Ego.
    • The anime in general is heavily truncated, which is an often cited criticism. How truncated? The end of Sakura's trial is explicitly marked in the game as the halfway point. It happens in episode 9 in the anime.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The scene preceding Leon's execution is made much more gut-wrenching as Leon desperately tries to escape through the door while futilely pleading for his life, really driving the point home of how utterly terrified he is of death.
    • The scene before Mondo's execution in which Kiyotaka breaks down in tears and begs Monokuma not to kill him was considered somewhat narmy in the game due to how over-the-top Taka's reactions are, but the anime's more realistic rendition is truly heartbreaking. By the end of the execution, he's reduced to a blubbering mess and is even leaning over a puddle of his own tears.
    • It may seem like an odd thing to bother animating, but during the investigation montage in episode 1, Yasuhiro can be seen flipping through a magazine in the laundry room. In the game, it's possible to find him there mentioning he's about to start doing his laundry.
    • In episode 4, they give a shot of Chihiro working on something that anyone who played the game will recognize. How and when Chihiro had time for this was never explained in the game, and its existence was only foreshadowed in a Free-Time Event you may not see. The anime gives us a little more direct foreshadowing and explanation.
    • In an act of foreshadowing, Chihiro is using his male-exclusive toolkit.
    • In episode 6, the entire remaining cast gets to see the first suspicious class photo courtesy of Alter Ego, rather than Makoto simply stumbling upon it.
    • In episode 10, the reason why the remaining students suggest that Makoto hold onto the survival knife found on the fifth floor is explained as Yasuhiro and Hina being untrustworthy after their actions in the fourth class trial.
    • In the final episode, Makoto doesn't just spout out "You must not lose hope!" alone but goes on a whole Rousing Speech for each of the surviving students to keep their hope up, tailored to each specific student.
    • In the manga adaptation for the anime, Junko briefly gloats about how since Kyoko's father hoped the school would protect her, Makoto can't count on her to vote for hope alongside him. While it seems as though hope is lost for a moment, Makoto manages to convince her.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the game, Chihiro brings up the possibility that the infamous Genocide Jack has locked them up, and Toko wears a worried look on her face with some Visible Silence, before freaking out when Aoi says that the police will surely arrive to help them (as if to imply she's afraid of getting caught for her crimes). Here, the discussion never turns to Genocide Jack at all and Toko freaks out over nothing when Aoi says the same (the dub got around this by changing the context to have Toko agree that the police arriving would be a good thing... which is a whole other can of worms).
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • While Byakuya's still a huge Jerkass, at least he doesn't openly and contemptuously talk about his plans to eventually be the successful blackened. He also has more pragmatic reasons for tampering with the crime scene of Chihiro's murder, stating it to be a test of his classmates' abilities and a way to throw the real killer off guard, whereas in the game he did it partly for his own twisted amusement and partly to find out which of his classmates would be the biggest threat to him when he decides to become the blackened.
    • In the game, Celeste proudly declares that she has a Lack of Empathy when asked how she could murder Hifumi and, by proxy, Kiyotaka, in such a cold-blooded fashion. This is omitted from the anime, and while her selfish motive remains unchanged and she thus remains the least sympathetic culprit by far assuming that motive wasn't another one of her lies, it does make her a bit more human.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: A lot of the observations and points that were up to the player to point out in the original game are things that some of the other characters figure out on their own in the animation. Also, Chihiro did a lot more work trying to figure out the "11037" clue from a number code angle, running it through every decryption method he knew even before the trial trying to make sense of it, rather than merely apologizing and saying he didn't know when asked.
    • Another noteworthy example is in the final class trial, only Hagakure leaps to the conclusion that a class photo he was gven featuring everyone except him means that this entire ordeal is a grand conspiracy against him that everyone (including all the people who died) was in on. Nobody else thinks that way, with Byakuya having outright guessed right away that it was what the Mastermind wanted them all to believe and thus not falling for it. In the game, however, everyone except for Makoto and Kyoko, including Byakuya, came to this same absurd conclusion until all of their photos were shared.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: The generally-honorable Kyoko in a single act from episode 11. In the game's fifth trial, suspicion jumps between Makoto and Kyoko several times before settling on the planted locker key. Based on a later line to Byakuya, she probably wanted to prove that the trial was a trap by showing that none of the students could have done it, except she miscalculated the mastermind executing someone else in desperation. When time runs out with all the suspicion on Makoto, she first argues at Monokuma for inventing a rule and then looks thoroughly disgusted with herself, calling her own actions unforgivable and trying to tell Makoto she's sorry and that she'll avenge him in what look like the last moments of his life. In the animation, however, no suspicion ever falls on Makoto (since the trial gets condensed to roughly 10 minutes) and he later moves the discussion towards the whole trial seeming questionable without the provocation of trying to defend himself like in the game. When time runs out in this version of the trial, she tells a bold-faced lie about him planting the locker key in her room — which was originally an explanation brought up by Byakuya in the absence of a suspect — after he just defended her when she was backed furthest into the corner. We never see her show the same intense regret over her sending him to his death, and her lengthy apology in the trash dump was also cut very short. While removing the player choice was necessary, this set-up ends up making her look a lot more petty and cold-hearted.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Leon gets a downplayed example, due to Celeste's Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse line being ommitted—when Leon tries to rationalize that Sayaka's murder was done in self-defense, the focus is placed more on his misfortune of being her chosen victim than anything, to the point that he hysterically points out that anyone of them would've done the same if they were in his place.
  • Affectionate Nickname: In the English dub, Kyoko occasionally gets her name shortened to "Kiri" (mostly by Makoto).
  • Auto-Tune: Used in the credits theme, "Zetsubōsei: Hero Chiryōyaku" ("Despairity: A Hero's Treatment").
  • Bare Your Midriff: Sayaka's idol outfit gets changed to this.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Aoi's portrait seen in the opening is one of these. It may or may not be anatomically possible to pull off.
  • Bowdlerise: The first execution is noticeably censored in the broadcast version, specifically as there's FAR more focus on the surroundings (and specifically the machine that delivers said death) than on the victim.
  • Call-Back: During the trial in episode 7, Monokuma can be seen eating pancakes with the butter Mondo was turned into in the previous episode.
  • Catchphrase:
    • The dub changes Makoto's "sore wa chigau yo" from a proper catch phrase to a more context-sensitive rebuttal, i.e. "I can prove you wrong," "that's where you’re wrong," "no, that wasn't the weapon", and "it's close but not quite" (etc.)
    • There was a point the script-writers contextually could have mimicked NISA's official translation to "No, that's wrong," but Lip Lock presumably forced them to change it to "No, that’s incorrect!"
  • Clueless Mystery: Each chapter in the animation rushes through the investigation phase, so that many of the clues and witness accounts which were originally detailed in the investigation phase are instead only revealed or properly explained in the middle of the class trials. This means you are always one step behind the characters in terms of what they know, and can't really solve the mystery as you go along unless you've beaten the visual novel already.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The dub's script changes everybody's dialogue to sound more snappy and sarcastic.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The opening theme. Could also apply to Hope's Peak Academy in general.
  • Dies Wide Open: Chihiro is found like this.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • The ending credits. The first episode has a blank screen, but the second episode features an empty classroom, with Naegi and the first dead characters. More characters are added as they die.
    • Any trial/execution episodes would skip the opening and "Makoto plus dead students" ending scene, instead showing how the trial is about to begin, and the students' horrified reactions on the executions respectively. Episode 7 is the exception to this opening rule, as the episode begins not with the trial, but with the discovery of Yasuhiro in the Justice Robo outfit. As of Episode 10, the surviving students are also included. And in the final episode when the picture is back, the fake Junko has been replaced by Mukuro while the real Junko stands behind Makoto.
    • Starting in episode 6, the opening credits add Toko switching into her Genocide Jack personality.
  • Fanservice: Like in the game's chapter 3, Episode 6 opens with Aoi crying on her bed... while wearing nothing but a revealing sleeping suit.
  • Female Gaze:
    • In episode 4, Makoto has a very detailed Shower of Angst while recalling the first murder and trial. This is later followed by Mondo and Kiyotaka's sauna scene.
    • Let's not forget Kiyotaka in Episode 6 walking out of the baths wearing nothing but a small Modesty Towel, with the camera initially fixated on his backside.
  • Flowery Insults: In the dub, Celeste calls Hifumi a "corpulent bootlicker" while getting him to move quicker with her tea.
  • Foreign Language Theme: The opening theme is mostly in Surprisingly Good English, featuring a rap outfit from Delaware called the 49ers, while the bridge is in French.
  • Foreshadowing: When Sayaka reintroduces herself to Makoto during Episode 1, Junko can clearly be seen behind her, fiddling with one of her Mega Twin Tails with an odd expression. It's because she's actually Mukuro, and not used to having such long hair.
    • During the Mole scene in episode 5, Monokuma says he can tell them anything "aside from my three sizes", giving away that the mastermind is a woman.
  • Funny Background Event: During the 2nd trial in episode 5, you'll often spy Monokuma eating honey as he did in the 1st trial. This may also double as a Shout-Out to Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • Gonk: Monokuma's animation is noticeably more cartoony than the other characters, though this is probably deliberate.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The broadcast version of Leon's execution focuses on the pitching machine instead of Leon's beaten body. It is shown uncensored in the DVD/Blu-Ray version and in the English dub (which was never meant for broadcast).
  • Ki Manipulation: Sakura sometimes uses these for dramatic effect, such as having her fist light up in flames or appear to be 'powering up'.
  • Kick the Dog: Monokuma further shows how much of a bastard he is in episode 7 by eating the Mondo Butter pancake throughout the whole trial, as if sentencing Mondo to his execution wasn't demeaning enough.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Yasuhiro has one of these in the dub when Byakuya describes the serial killer he's calling out as "A Syo and a No-Show."
  • Last-Name Basis:
    • The dub takes this convention even further than any other translation, with Toko calling Byakuya by his last name instead of "Byakuya-sama/Master Byakuya," Aoi occasionally switching to "Ohgami" (h-sound emphasized) and Makoto's own mother dropping "Makoto-kun" for the usual Naegi as if it were his first name.
    • In early episodes of the original Japanese, Aoi called Sakura "Ogami-san," before switching to her first name.
  • Laughing Mad: The 12th episode ends with Junko's wild cackling echoing in the court room, and close-ups of the surviving students with unnerved expressions.
  • Lip Lock: Kyoko has a brief moment in episode 7 where Caitlin Glass is speaking without any Mouth Flaps.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: 'Junko' keeping character after being impaled in the dub probably counts.
    "Okay... not-gonna-lie, kinda weird... it's, uh... I dunno, really?" *she expires*
  • Male Gaze:
    • The OP features profile pictures of all of the students (just like in the game), including Asahina. There is a split-second close up on her boobs.
    • In the final episode, there's quite a bit of focus on Junko Enoshima's breasts. They even appear to be a bit bigger than from the game.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In Episode 9, when Aoi reveals what she thinks is Sakura's suicide note, Monokuma starts giggling in the background.
  • Mood Whiplash: Monokuma attacking "Junko Enoshima" with his claws out for refusing to participate in the class trial, followed by her promptly stomping on his face, followed by what happens to her as a result.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Kiyotaka is the go-to guy who'd go topless (especially when sauna is involved) and shows off his well-built muscles on the chest.
  • Mythology Gag: The game's targeting reticle is often used as an Idiosyncratic Wipe, and the loading screen before Makoto's motivational DVD starts is the same loading screen from the game.
  • The Nicknamer: In the dub, Monokuma seemingly has a demeaning new name every time he addresses the students.
  • No Cartoon Fish: Played in a weird way. The series has Monokuma occasionally holding a live salmon to keep up the bear motif. At one point he uses it as a punching bag to relieve stress.
  • Off-Model: There is actually a manga adaption of the anime (not to be confused with the manga adaptation of the game, which is very different). To say its art is bad would be an understatement.
  • Ondo: The opening of Episode 4 is one, appropriately titled "Monokuma Ondo." Appropriately, it looks look a Bullet Time Battle.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: One Halloween-themed piece of Side-Story Bonus Art made for advertisement has Kyoko dressed as a vampire and in the midst of plucking one glove off with her teeth. This whole sequence is extraordinarily out of character.
  • Pinky Swear: Makoto and Kyoko link pinkies before she heads off into danger. He's making her promise to come back safely.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Many of the characters' backstories are condensed or left out in order to accommodate for the show's length.
    • Significant details on the setting are also left out. For instance, the anime completely skips over the revelation of how one room in the library is filled with top-secret documents, files, and records from all over the world, and chooses to focus solely on how it has important files on Genocide Jack.
    • In episode 5 the trial skips important details about the victim's identity as a whole (in the game we find out about Chihiro's "secret" when Sakura inspects the body in front of everyone, but in the anime, Kyoko finds out off-screen and then explains it in the trial). However, Genocide Jack's very dramatic trial appearance and a certain character's reactions to the trial's results and the execution that follow are expanded.
    • Episode 7 skips a lot of several important details (such as Hifumi's tendency on calling people in last name-first name order, which reveals Celeste being the mastermind behind that trial). However, some of the cut off parts might end up for a better light on Celeste. In the anime, her statement that she has a Lack of Empathy and has no problems in manipulating and disposing others for her own gain was removed, removing some of her unsympathetic points, and on the other hand, only Makoto was shown noticing her bluff instead of him and Byakuya, making her scheme less blunder-filled. On the other hand, however, Makoto's monologue about how Celeste was faking her smile to hide her fear of death was also removed.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In the English dub Celeste offhandedly compliments/condescends Kyoko playing into her plan by happening across Yasuhiro in the pool locker with "First-rate detective work, Kiri. What were you on the outside, an amateur sleuth?"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Byakuya is presented as more of this than a Jerkass, though he's still as cynical as he was in the game.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Byakuya indulges in this often. One of Junko Enoshima's personalities at the end of the anime does this too.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Makoto, when discovering Sayaka Maizono's corpse.
  • Sequel Hook: Usami is seen waving at the end of the credits...
  • Shower of Angst: Makoto has a very detailed one in episode 4 while recalling the first murder and trial.
  • Side-Story Bonus Art: A lot of it was made during the anime's run, often for use in magazines (including some that were Summer and Halloween themed despite the game taking place no where near those dates).
  • Spoiler Opening: Averted. The opening credits show all fifteen students on the trial elevator and in the courtroom, in order to hide who dies first.

    Tropes for the Stage Play
  • Adaptation Distillation: It's bound to happen when the adaption is of a game that's 20+ hours. Because of this, Kiyotaka never becomes Kiyondo, as a new rule comes into play that those who voted wrong will be executed with the murderer if the majority vote right, but by spears, not a custom execution.
  • Adaptational Heroism: While neither were exactly villainous, Celeste and Hifumi don't murder someone in this version.
  • Adapted Out: Kiyondo, Kiyotaka possessed by Mondo's spirit, doesn't exist as Kiyotaka dies alongside Mondo.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • Kiyotaka's death occurs by the hands of Monokuma instead of Hifumi and Celeste for refusing to vote Mondo Owada as the killer in chapter 2.
    • Celeste and Hifumi die because they voted for Celeste as Sakura's murderer, instead of Hifumi being killed by Celeste and Celeste then getting found out.
    • All of the executions are changed from over-the-top deaths by irony to the convicted simply being killed by a bunch of spears. Probably for the best, as the game's executions weren't something that could easily be replicated on stage.
      • This gets slightly averted in the 2016 version. Leon’s execution still involves him getting killed by spears, but both Mondo and Celeste are given executions closer to the ones seen in the game.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: In comparison to the game, which takes place across a number of weeks, this version happens over the course of three days. The first day being introductions, with Sayaka dying during that night, the second day being the first trial and the aftermath, with Chihiro dying on that night, and the third day having that death’s trial, Sakura’s suicide and subsequent trial, and the mastermind trial shortly after.
  • Face Death with Dignity: As with canon, Mondo and Celeste do this, and Taka is added to the list as well, though he may have been a case of Driven to Suicide as well. Averted with Leon and Hifumi, the former going out crying and begging for his life, the latter desperately trying to run away.
  • Foreshadowing: In this version, Leon outright shows Sayaka how to spell his name.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Kyoko only finds Alter Ego after the students read Sakura's letter, so Alter Ego doesn't get executed.
    • In the original 2014 run, the surviving students don't allow Junko to execute herself, believing that staying alive is a worse punishment. This gets averted in the 2016 version.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Danganronpa The Animation, Danganronpa If


Junko Enoshima

She can switch moods, no, PERSONAS at the drop of a hat!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / MoodSwinger

Media sources: