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.
This episode is truly the beginning of the end. The main question behind the Despair Arc was never what would happen. We already knew that, even those of us who haven’t played the game. Today is the induction ceremony of the 78th class of Hope’s Peak Academy and The Biggest, Most Atrocious Despair-Inducing Incident in Human History is playing its first act.
This was the most exciting episode of the Despair Arc.
My favorite already dead teacher ever, Yukizome-sensei, spent half a year teaching at the reserve class. After a small fast-forward scene that meant ‘there is not a single moment that mattered in these six months’, she returns as the homeroom teacher of the 77th class. Her choice for the class representative, Nanami Chiaki, managed to keep everyone together, at least enough to give Chisa a warm welcome. I have to admit that I was a little envious at this scene. I don’t know if I were just unlucky, but I haven’t had my share of teachers who really cared about their students.
Chisa also asks Juzo for a trustee’s ID so she can investigate the Kamakura project, the artificial talent experiments for which Hinata Hajime is the main test subject.
Meanwhile, we learn the reason why the Future Arc Ryouta is so different from the Despair Arc Ryouta. If you haven’t seen the episode and you don’t want to spoil yourself, avoid the comments section.
Junko Enoshima meets up with her sister, Mukuro Ikusaba, as they prepare to enroll into Hope’s Peak as part of the 78th class. The episode ends as the new school year begins and the 78th class begin their life at Hope’s Peak, but not before Hajime goes through with the Kamakura Project and returns to the school as a SHSL something…
There are many themes in this week’s episode, but the one I want to focus on is one that deserves its own, more elaborate article, but this time we’ll have to do with a brief description.
Ijime: Each rare for a language to have its own word for bullying. The Japanese equivalent, ijime, doesn’t sound as barbaric or malevolent as its English counterpart, but considering the problem Japan faces with school harassment, the definition of the word is more than terrifying:
Ijime is an act by a student, or students, toward another student that inflicts some physical or psychological consequence causing the receiving child mental or physical suffering.
According to stats from 2014, 80% of bullying in Japan involves entire classrooms against a single victim, and 90% of these ijime cases last for more than a week.
There is one character that is not only original to the series, but appears in both Arcs at the same time. The problem is the Mitarai Ryouta (SHSL Animator) in the Despair Arc looks very different from the Mitarai Ryouta in the Future Arc. The first is a chubby, indifferent person who looks like Hanamura Teruteru’s favorite customer. He doesn’t have the slim posture and the black eyes of the Future Arc Version. Also, we already know that Mitarai Ryouta is not a Remnant of Despair. How could had he escaped Enoshima’s grasp?
Mitarai Ryouta was a victim of school bullying. He found a life-saving escape in anime, and thus he decided to devote his life in making the greatest, most hopeful anime ever created. He spends every waking hour working on his art. Nothing else matters, not even his health. The only reason he can devote such endless hours in drawing is that the SHSL Imposter has taken up his identity and he is the one attending the school. The self-tortured artist is a very common trope, but in the case in Mitarai Ryouta it also explains the black circles we see under his eyes in the Future Arc. The reason is that the Mitarai Ryouta of the Despair Arc is not the Mitarai Ryouta of the Future Arc.
I love how Junko Enoshima, the girl behind the Ultimate Despair that’s coming, is ready to put her plan underway by giving us a video-game like narration. Along with the help of her SHSL Soldier sister, Mukuro Ikusaba, Junko is determined to bring to the school the Despair she always longed for.
She’s trying to taste the despair of murdering her sister with her own hands
I still think that Junko Enoshima drawing Monokuma and narrating the coming events would have made for a better ending, but Hajime’s involvement in the event has its own significance and I was happy to see some of his thoughts before the Despair starts to unfold.
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