Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
The Despair Arc of Danganronpa 3 was the perfect tie-in to both games, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. As Kyosuke’s dreams to bring hope to the world crumble under Junko’s despair boot, I found myself grapping the monitor shouting to the poor bastard, “KYOUSUKE, THEY ARE LYING TO YOU. THEY ARE LYING!”
After taking my anger out to my monitor, I was able to assess the situation a little more calmly. Kyosuke was lied to, that’s beyond doubt. But there was a huge difference between the blackmailed Juzo and the brainwashed Chisa. Sakakura-san was a man in love who did what he had to do to be by his side. The future Arc (the whole story maybe) would have played a lot differently if not for his betrayal. He is filled with guilt, a guilt that continued to haunt him until his very last breath. At least we had a proper closure in the Future Arc. On the other hand, Chisa, my ex-favorite character, is…well…MY GOD HOW ANGRY I AM WITH HER. She is a lying, manipulative, brainwashed lying bitch. That’s what she is. ‘But Thanasis, she was brainwashed’ I hear you say. Yeah, ok. I don’t care. The way she can act like nothing is wrong. The way she manipulates Kyosuke. It’s disconcerting, to choose a more mild word. Thus, thanks to two very different betrayals, Junko is able to continue with her plan. And what a plan:
As the 77th class ‘graduates’ with one purpose, to bring despair to the world, the Reserve students storm the main building and kill everyone on their path. After their carnage, they are ordered by Junko to commit suicide.
Meanwhile, Izuru has Junko erase his memories of the SHSL Despairs and vice versa, which makes sense since they are the ‘protagonists’ of the second game (you’ll understand the quote if you read the plot of the second game game – I haven’t played it yet; still playing the first).
By the end of the episode, the anime sets the beginning of both main Danganronpa games: Jin, the principal of Hope Peak’s Academy, helps the remaining students of the 78th class to turn the old building into a shelter, unaware that Junko is going to use it for her game (the first video game in the series), Chisa rejoins Kyosuke who is unaware of her brainwashing and together they will create the Future Foundation, and after the credits Hajime meets Chiaki (there is a reason how this could happen) during the beginning of the second game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.
This is a tale of hope that ends in despair
Hope Vs Despair: I usually put this in the themes section, but this time there was an incredible sequence of scenes highlighting this contrast. While Chisa reads a very heart-breaking letter to her students, the Reserve course is breaking havoc in the school. The contrast turns into full despair as we see Chisa and the rest of the class with their brainwashed eyes rooting for hope as they clearly only have despair in their minds. In the end, their despair is ready to spread as the rest of the reserve students (the blue-face insignificant nobodies) fall into their deaths in the most tragic mass suicide.
Makoto Naegi: Junko left Makoto alive to participate in the first game. If only she knew how he was responsible for her demise. Quite ironic.
Themes & Trivia
Multimedia Franchise: Danganronpa has spawned a number of different mediums. In the episode, Junko wears white, a reference to her outfit in the light novel, Danganronpa Zero.
Title Reference: The title of the episode is a reference to the original Japanese subtitle of the second game, Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye, Despair Academy (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 さよなら絶望学園).
Despair as a Meme: Izuru mentioned the word ‘meme’ twice in the episode. According to Junko, despair is a memetic act. It spreads through fashion trends, your personal newsfeed, the bullying hope endures. It spreads through culture, ideology, trends, and of course, memes.
The episode reminded us both in the beginning and at the end that ‘this is a tale of hope that ends in despair.’ And that’s exactly what the Despair Arc was: it started with a group of children whose hope was guaranteed to change the world and ended with the same group brainwashed to bring despair to the world. But in reality, the quote is not really true. It’s not the whole tale that is of hope and ends in despair; it’s only a part of it, the despair part. Judging from the Future Arc and the last episode which is titled to belong to the Hope Arc, this is probably a tale of hope that is tainted with despair but ends up in hope nevertheless.
This was the best way to end the Despair Arc. You have the stage set for both main games, and you get to close a few loose ends with the Future Arc. Now that the last episode was announced for September 29, we only have to wait and see what the creators have in mind for the ‘Perfect Ending’ of this storyline.
NEXT TIME: The ‘Perfect Ending’, Hope Arc Special Program
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