Instead of having a second season made for the Danganronpa franchise, creator Kazutaka Kodaka created a third season that follows the events that happened in the first and second games. It was a weird change for me to have to watch the second game, Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair, but like I said in my review of the game, I really enjoyed it. After binging the gameplays for the second game, I immediately went to go watch the third season, Danganronpa 3. What did I think of it, though? Well, after watching this twenty foue episode season, I have to say…it was peculiarly entertaining, and such as huge shift from the games and the first anime season, Danganronpa: The Animation. It was a bit confusing to follow because the ginormous change in tone, setting, and plot for the season, compared to the previous season and games.
(SPOILER WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN OR PLAYED THE SECOND GAME, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU GO WATCH OR PLAY IT BEFORE VIEWING THIS SEASON!)
This particular season serves as a conclusion to the storyline of Hope’s Peak Academy, the prestigious school for talented students, and takes place in two arcs: Future and Despair Arc.
The Future Arc primarily takes place after Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair. Makoto Naegi, the Ultimate Hope, is placed under treason against the Future Foundation after harboring the Remnants of Despair, who carried on Junko Enoshima’s will. As the top members of the Foundation, including Aoi Asahina, Kyoko Kiriguri, and Yasihiro Hagakure, figure out a punishment for Makoto, they are imprisoned under Monokuma, who forces the highly talented group of individuals to participate in a final killing game. On top of being forced to kill their pupils, the Foundation members are given bracelets that tell the owner of the “fashionable” jewelry their forbidden actions. If one does what the bracelet forbids them to do, the person will instantly die. In this twelve episode arc, Makoto’s ideals of hope are challenged to the very limit as he’s thrusted into the killing game.
Taking place after Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa: The Animation, the Despair Arc revolves around school teacher Chisa Yukizome, who teaches the 77th class of Hope’s Peak Academy, and Hajime Hinata, a reserve course student who prepares to undergo a surgery where he can become the Ultimate Hope (no, not Makoto Naegi), Izuru Kamakura. What follows afterwards are the tragic events that lead to the birth of the Remnants of Despair and “The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History.”
To summarize both of these arcs, the Hope Arc is included as the last episode of this series — well, more of an alternate last episode for the fans.
Now, the reason I said that this anime differentiates from others that I have seen is because of the order one has to watch the episodes. Instead of traditionally watching the arcs in order, one has to watch the first episode of Future Arc and then watch the first episode of Despair Arc; from then on, the patter stays the same. I was so confused as to why I was supposed to do this, but after watching the first Despair Arc episode, I, then, understood why I had to take such an approach to this season.
These arcs corroborate with one another and serve as one story for this season, even though the tones of each arc seem completely different. Throughout the Future Arc, the story seems to stay constant, as the killing games continue for the top Ultimates of the Academy. As for Despair Arc, the tone shifts from light-hearted and amusing to very antagonistic and…despairing. (I had to use that pun, alright?) Anyway, while this is a very different approach for an anime, specifically one like Danganronpa, the alternating pattern of watching these episodes makes more sense because of the way these two arcs are interconnected with one another, even though the time settings are very different from each other.
As for the art, I was a bit disappointed because of how the character designs look exactly like ordinary anime characters…and some of them were completely different from the game! Don’t get me wrong, the bright colors look quite stellar, and the animation is flawless, but those character designs lost the originality they had from the games and the first season of the anime. The immaculate animation sequences for the various fights make up for this, though, as the smooth and fluidness of the animated sequences will have the viewers’ jaws dropped from how wonderfully the frames are put together.
Just like the first two games and the first season, the music, composed by Masafumi Takada, stays consistent throughout both arcs, and each track fits with each scene that has music in it. Most of the tracks heard are the same as the previous games and series, which will please the audience, such as Melancholy Touch, Your Ulterior Motive, Despair Pollution, and a few other classics from the franchise. Also, the newer tracks added in this season just add to the intensity of it, whether it be for the penetrating fights or even the gloomy interactions between the characters. Having both new and older tracks helps give it more positive feedback on the quality of it rather than negative criticisms on the series, and even the franchise, itself. Overall, the music has a huge impact on Danganronpa 3, and make the season worth watching.
Onward to the English voice acting for this series! In my opinion, it’s quite enjoyable, yet…absolutely intolerable at times. When first starting the series, I expected all of the voice actors and actresses who were a part of the games to play their characters, but I was wrong, sadly. While some of the characters had the same voices, there were a few who do not have their original voices, such as Peko Pekoyama, Akane Owari, Ibuki Mioda, and Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu. Readers, these characters I just listed are a few of my favorites from the franchise, so I was very disappointed to hear their voices when they were introduced in Despair Arc.
While this season to the gaming franchise isn’t perfect, it still has its redeeming qualities that fans of the fandom will enjoy, such as the animation, the fight scenes, etc., I am giving this season four and a half stars instead of five. In addition, the viewers will learn more about the prestigious Hope’s Peak Academy, more than they do in the games. This way, by knowing all this information about the school in this season, the audience will get a better gist of it before moving on to the next game, Danganronpa v3: Killing Harmony. By watching this season, the fans will, hopefully, learn that the third game has different themes to it compared to the previous two, but most of all, enjoy the last bit of what’s left of the talented school and the original characters the fans loved and favored from the very beginning.