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12/26/2017 16:37:49 •••

Good Idea, Imperfect Execution (New Danganronpa V3 Spoilers!)

Three Point Shot is more or less impossible to describe without spoiling New Danganronpa V3, so I won't even try. As such, be advised that this review will spoil the game.

The fic diverges from canon when Kokichi, by throwing a shot, helps Shuichi realize that Kaede didn't kill Rantaro, and expose the true culprit and mastermind, resulting in the killing game continuing with different motives, victims and killers. Considering that Kaede's death was the plot development I hated most, I consider this a very welcome change. If you disliked the ending, though, you're out of luck- Danganronpa's still a TV show in this fic.

Most of the characters are handled fairly well, particularly those who live longer than in canon (obviously Kaede, but also Ryoma). The romance between Shuichi and Kaede is decently done, particularly rebuilding their trust in one another after Kaede's murder plot. That said, I'd probably have killed off Shuichi, since he still ends up doing most of the work in solving the class trials, making the fic come off as a bit too similar to canon in that regard. The Kaito and Maki couple was also done well, while giving it a somewhat different outcome than in canon, and it was nice to see Kaede and Maki developing a friendship of sorts.

Unfortunately, there are a few characters who aren't handled as well(Gonta, Tenko, Tsumugi and Kiyo), but I can't elaborate in the main review without spoiling the fic. The most I'll say outside of the comments is that since this group includes at least one murderer, attempted murderer and victim, these problems do noticeably impact the story. This may be because the fic has a challenge similar to System Restore- coming up with plausible and in-character reasons for characters who weren't killers in canon to kill someone in the fic.

Speaking of murder mysteries, one problem is that the second and third murders are relatively simplistic. In canon, most of the murderers who had planned things out in advance, and even some who hadn't, had elaborate setups to kill their victims while disguising their own actions. Uncovering how the murders happened is an interesting process, one that often allows the spotless to discover which person had the talent or opportunity to pull it off, so it's unfortunate that the mystery solving element of this fic is a bit lacking.

TPS also struggles in the technical aspect. The author isn't all that good at writing dialogue or doing descriptions of settings or thoughts, although the executions are nicely done. Game mechanics are included when they'd be cumbersome- the Closing Argument works well as a summary of the case, but Rebuttal Showdown and the others feel too much like you're playing a game, rather than reading a fanfic.

All in all, it's a good fanfic, but I'd hesitate to call it Better Than Canon.

12/25/2017 00:00:00

I'll elaborate a little on the characters I didn't think were used as well.

Tsumugi: It's easy to see why people dislike her (particularly causing Kaede's death and being closely tied to the controversial ending without much merit as an antagonist). That said, her reaction to being sentenced to death was a bit too over-the-top and something of an in-universe spoiler.

Kiyo: In canon, he was a murderer, and a relatively obvious culprit(at least to the players who are familiar with Danganronpa's tropes, and maybe Danganronpa's in-universe fans), but he was never this sloppy. Even after Kiyo confessed to killing Tenko, Shuichi had to admit that he didn't know for certain whether Kiyo had also killed Angie. Having set up a fairly clever trick to kill Tenko, and even killing Angie without drawing too much suspicion to himself until after his murder of Tenko, it's hard to see Kiyo attacking Tenko head-on with a knife. To paraphrase Danganronpa Abridged Thing, "Korekiyo Shinguji chose the most vulnerable girl he could as a target for murder- a martial arts master who was several times stronger than him."

Tenko: Her killing Kiyo(as mentioned before, a serial killer of women who tried to kill her and threatened to kill Himiko) is in character, but her trying to hide it isn't. Danganronpa is about solving mysteries, which means it isn't much fun if the culprits immediately confess, but the rule that everyone dies if they pick the wrong culprit means that the more sympathetic ones need good reasons for not immediately confessing, since by falsely arguing in favor of their innocence, they prioritize their survival above that of everyone else. To name a few examples, Gundham didn't come forward because he doesn't believe in simply giving up and dying (although he didn't fight very hard against Hajime's accusations), Chiaki didn't realize that she'd done it until she learned that Nagito set it up so that the "traitor" would be the culprit (and she couldn't directly reveal her status as such), Kaede decided to forgo the First Blood Perk* because she wanted to use her trial to expose the mastermind, and Gonta genuinely didn't remember his crime. Here, if Tenko had gotten away with it, Himiko would have died along with everyone else, something Tenko canonically wouldn't have wanted. Tenko might do for Himiko what Peko did for Fuyuhiko in the second game, but she'd never let Himiko be executed just so she could survive.

  • I personally don't really like the first chapter of V3's motives, but that's beside the point.

Gonta: He isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but not even he's dumb enough to inspect tea that smells suspicious by drinking it, when Kirumi passed out just from getting a whiff of it. In fact, his greatest intellectual and personal weakness is his tendency to be fairly gullible, which means that Kokichi manages to manipulate him twice- into kidnapping everyone for the Insect Meet & Greet and into killing Miu. Someone who doesn't know how to recognize poisons and other dangers wouldn't have lasted long in the wild.

On a minor note(albeit one I can't make without spoiling the fic), the fact that all four killers so far have been female- or three if you don't count Tsumugi- isn't a deal-breaker, but it does speak to how the author most likely had trouble choosing culprits. Since Kiyo, Gonta and Kaito were killers in canon and Rantaro's dead at the start of the fic, you're left with Shuichi, Ryoma, Keebo and Kokichi, none of whom are good candidates to be killers.

12/25/2017 00:00:00

I'm willing to excuse simpler murders in a standard prose format. Visual novels have the advantage of being...well, visual - the player is presented with visual aids that allow them to easily understand what has happened. Prose, on the other hand, requires the reader to picture a lot of it in their head, so I think a simpler arrangement is somewhat easier on them, not to mention easier on the writer, who I do think should probably stick an easier set-up if they don't think they're prepared for something more complicated.

And honestly, I think some of the murders in DR might be more complicated than they have to be anyway. Granted, you expect a game to be a certain length, but I don't think there's any need to draw a fanfic out for too long.

12/26/2017 00:00:00

KarkatTheDalek

It\'s true that visual aids make it a bit easier to understand what\'s going on in the game, but I\'d argue that setting up murders is more a question of planning and writing than description. It\'s a bit like making a Sudoku puzzle- you have to provide enough clues so that the protagonists can gradually uncover the truth, but not so many that they can\'t do so too quickly or easily. Making things a bit more complicated wouldn\'t make the fic that much longer, since the majority of it is still in the \"Daily Life\" phase.

12/26/2017 00:00:00

Perhaps. I suppose that it mostly comes down to what the writer is prepared to set up - I doubt I, for example, could come up with something as complex as, say, 2-4.


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