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 episode grabbed me by the balls and threw me hard against the wall. I was clearly not expecting HIM to be the mastermind and I was a little disappointed by the reason behind this whole killing game.
That said, it wasn’t such a bad episode, and if nothing else, we got to see Junko and Chisa enjoying the show. Danganronpa is going for a pretty good finale this week.
Remember the message Kazuo sent Mitarai after the game ended? It revealed that Kazuo was behind this killing game, and no matter how hard the episode tried to convince us that he was a Remnant of Despair (by having a flashback at the beginning with Chisa giving the video to Kazuo) Makoto believes that his purpose was to convince him to use a Hope video he created as a counter to Junko’s Despair Video. The point of this whole game was to show Mitarai the true nature of hope through despair. Mitarai explains to Makoto and Asahina how he created the Despair Video and announces his intentions to use the Hope Video to brainwash the whole world. Mitarai is going to create his own Hope Dictatorship.
As Mitarai starts brainwashing the planet through a worldwide broadcasting, Makoto finds Byakuya and Yasuhiro and goes to stop Mitarai.
Expect a clash of hopes in the last episode.
After-life Theater: Many fans were really disappointed by the after-life theater. Junko and Chisa were just sitting there, eating their pop-corn, and discussing the latest episode they were watching on the screen. When we first encountered the theater in the first episode, there were those who speculated that Chisa might be alive. Others were frantically looking for an explanation. Why is this happening? Why is there an afterlife? Are ghosts canon in Danganronpa?
To be honest, it didn’t really bother me neither the first nor the second time. For me, Junko and Chisa were just the writer’s commentating on the episode. A clever way to intrude in a fourth-wall way and explain a few things to the viewers. A friendly narrator of sorts.
Sword-Wielding Kyosuke: Awesome scene. Kyosuke forgives Chisa in a way and regrets his earliest anger. He dual-wields his way through the soldiers and acts so bad-ass I was happy he was still alive. But to be honest, that scene where he storms into a battalion of firing soldiers? These guys were the worst. Even a Stormtrooper could have landed as hot from point blank range.
Yin and Yang: This was not just the episode’s theme, but the series’ as a whole. This killing game was created out of despair. The world was falling apart and the only one powerful enough to turn things over was apparently Mitarai. Tengan used the game to force his hand.
But a hope brainwashing is still brainwashing. With no free will there can be no hope. Despair without hope is just mindless chaos. In the end, the only state that allows for freedom to flourish is that of balance. Hope that gets stronger because of the possibility of despair. Despair that exists because of the possibility of hope. A yin yang that keeps on turning, giving the world the stability and tranquility it deserves.
The finale will probably explore that kind of hope. The hope that Makoto Naegi wants to bring to the world.
Danganronpa has always been a little crazy. From the killing game hosted by the champion of the Future Foundation to the afterlife theater where Junko and Chisa can talk like pals, the franchise used the absurd to communicate more serious matters. The main theme of the show is definitely ‘balance.’ Junko tried to create a word without hope, a world where despair would reign supreme and people could run around killing one another in Monokuma helmets. Kyosuke and Mitarai on the other hand wanted to eradicate despair. To create a world where despair doesn’t even exist. Even if Kyosuke saw the errors of his ways, Mitarai still wants to dehumanize people and Borg them into a single consciousness under his command. And then you have Makoto who is screaming out of her lungs if everyone could just stop being an asshole. Makoto, and maybe Hajime whom we see at the end of the episode entering the building, is representing balance. He is the one saying, ‘Listen guys, there is no hope without despair and no despair without hope. If we work all together we can achieve a balance that will benefit all of us.’ Let’s see if the end of Danganronpa has that balance in store.
It was interesting how Mitarai was partly responsible for bringing both despair and hope to the world. He and Junko are probably the two parts of a whole, and I am betting that the series will end with an episode dedicated to restoring the balance. A healthy world where hope and despair complement each other instead of trying to eradicate the other from existence.
NEXT TIME: The ‘Perfect Ending’ of the Hope Arc.
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