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.
Have you ever played ‘Mafia’? It’s a party game about murderers and victims that resembles the game set by Monokuma. Our little sadistic bear has already gathered the players he needs for his killing spectacle and on this episode we get to know the rules of the game.
Monokuma is super excited that his little game is underway. He calls it “Monokuma Hunter” and the rules are presented in a video that resembles a video game of the 8-bit era, full of pixels and bit music. The scene reminded of ‘Battle Royale’, but then so many things of Danganronpa remind me of ‘Battle Royale’.
The captives learn that the reason Monokuma managed to infiltrate their headquarters is a traitor who at this very time is among them. The reason the traitor is also a captive lies in the rules of the game.
The rules are:Each of the participants has a wristband that will administer a sleeping drug after a certain time limit. When the players are asleep, the traitor will wake up and kill one of the members. It is up to the players to find the traitor and kill him before the next time limit. Each of the players also has a personalized forbidden action which, if broken, will cause the wristband to inject its owner with lethal poison. The same poison will be injected if they try to remove the wristband.
Their first taste of how important is not to break their forbidden actions comes when one of the characters falls dead because of it. The episode ends with one of the participants dead in the hands of the traitor.
Trust and Doubt: The uncertainty of not knowing who the traitor is and the inevitability of the rules set by Monokuma will make sure that many of the actions taken by the players will rely on their individual character strengths and weaknesses.
Death: The tragedy if death is that it takes only a moment to go from the state of being to that of not being. The characters are faced with that inevitability and will be pushed to their extremes as they might be the next in the traitor’s list.
Facing Reality: The game and the rules behind it are the constants the players have to face. Ignoring the facts will be dangerous and facing the reality of the situation is the only sensible way forward.
There was this party game I used with my friends in parties called “A night fell in Palermo”. The story is about the conflict between an informed minority also known as the cop and the snitch, the Italian mafia, and an uninformed majority also known as the victims. At the start of the game, each player is secretly taking a game card assigned to a role affiliated with one of these teams. The game has two alternating phases: during the night in Palermo the mafia can murder a victim without anyone knowing, while during the day the players who survived debate who might be a murderer for the mafia and can vote to eliminate a suspect. Play continues until all the murderers have been found or until the murderers kill all the rest.
Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?
I am not saying that Yoshinori Terasawa copied the game, since he has repeatedly commented on his inspirations, movies like ‘Saw’ and ‘Cube’ (and ‘Battle Royale’ if I may add). I am glad to see the concept translated into an anime because it will make for some interesting encounters among members of a group who used to be teammates.
It was interesting to learn the details of the game, but I must admit that the most interesting part of the episode was its ending. I was dying to see who the traitor will kill first and guess his next move. This feels almost like an experiment on human psyche and I am excited to see how the writers are going to build on the characters.
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