Danganronpa (video game)

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Welcome to Despair Academy.

Danganronpa[1]: The Academy of Hope and the High School Students of Despair, localized as Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, is a "high-speed mystery action adventure" released in Japan for the PSP back in 2010, the first installment in the Danganronpa series. The game was ported to the PS Vita in October 2013, and this version was localized in English in February 2014. This translation was released on Steam in 2016. It combines mystery-solving with elements of shooting and even rhythm gameplay.

The story takes place at Hope's Peak Academy, an illustrious private school that only accepts "super" students: the best of the best of the best. The criteria extends to any niche, so in addition to super-geniuses and super-athletes, they take super-idols, gang leaders, and geeks. Makoto Naegi, the protagonist, is still baffled as to how he got in, as his only outstanding trait seems to be his super "good" luck - and that's only because he was randomly chosen to be accepted by the school. In fact, he hasn't even started his first day of school when he suddenly loses consciousness and wakes up in a creepy alternate version of the academy.

It's soon revealed that Naegi and fourteen other new students have all been abducted by a sadistic teddy bear named Monokuma, who refuses to let them leave. The only way out of the locked-down dark school is to graduate... by killing another student. Once a murder is committed, Monokuma holds a trial so that the class can try to figure out which one of them is the culprit, culminating in a vote. If they make the right choice, the murderer will be messily executed. Make the wrong choice, and not only does the murderer escape, but the rest of them will take the punishment in their place...

As Monokuma, hungry for a spectacle, introduces "motives" for them to kill, tension builds in the school, and it isn't long until the students begin to snap. It's up to Naegi to make sure that the culprit of each murder is found so that the rest of them can try to escape.

Tropes used in Danganronpa (video game) include:
  • 2½D: The player can pan around the environment, but the characters and props are all paper cutouts. It is even possible to pan around said paper cutouts.
  • Academy of Adventure: Not the fun kind of adventure, but Hope's Peak definitely qualifies.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Alliteration is less of a thing in Japanese, but the "biggest, most tragic, most awful event in human history" that kicks off the backstory is called Jinrui shijō saidai saiaku no zetsubō-teki jiken in the Japanese games: it doesn't look alliterative to an English speaker, but each word starts with a kana from the sa line. Project Zetsubou's fan translation keeps it up by translating it as "Mankind’s Most Despairingly Maleficent and Monstrous Malefaction".
  • After the End: According to the mastermind, the world as the students knew it no longer exists due to "the Worst, Most Despairing Event in the History of Mankind." Genocide Jill confirms it to be true, but the full extent of the damage done is left ambiguous.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: At the end of every trial except for the last two. The culprits are treated sympathetically, and only killed because Monokuma's motivations drove them to. The later revelation that the students' memories had been tampered with, and that they all chose to stay inside the school, may or may not add to the sympathy.
    • Mukuro Ikusaba is a retroactive example. Sure, she's one of the people behind the killing game, but it's easy to feel bad for her after it's revealed that her own sister, whom she was slavishly devoted to, killed her and gushed about how betrayed she must have felt in her last moments. Even the other students are horrified by the cruel nature of it once they find out.
  • Alien Geometries: In a level design sense. Somehow the swimming pool on the second floor occupies the same space as the multi-story gym on the first floor.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: In Hope's Peak, sleeping in class, stepping on the headmaster's face and murder all carry the same punishment.
  • All for Nothing: Everyone who either committed or planned a murder (except for the mastermind) did it for a reason that the final revelations of the game prove to be completely pointless.
    • An example: Mondo snaps in the second chapter in part because of Monokuma's threat to reveal to the world that he caused his brother's death. It comes out anyway in the trial, and then it turns out the whole thing was on national television.
  • All Your Powers Combined: A hilarious yet brutal example: when Junko loses Chapter 6's trial, she receives all the previous executions in a row as punishment.
    • Makoto's skill points could be interpreted this way, with him gaining traits from his friends after spending enough time with them to use later in trials.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Monokuma Coins, which can be exchanged for gifts for the other students, are often hidden behind objects in the background.
  • Animation Bump: Of a sort. The Trial scenes have more dynamic cameras and full voice acting.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Getting the Bad Ending kicks the player right back to the multiple choice option that triggers it so that they don't have to sit through the entire trial again to get to that point.
  • Anyone Can Die: For the record, counting Toko and Jill as different characters, seven characters survive.
  • Arc Words: "Despair", as Monokuma's goal, is mentioned many times through the game, and to a lesser extent "hope". It even shows up in Junko and Makoto's talents.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Junko's "offer" to Makoto if he joins Ultimate Despair is "honor, status, and some of our home cooking!".
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Monokuma has monitors and cameras installed throughout the building, except in certain places such as bathrooms, notably the public bath.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Alter Ego at the end of Chapter 5, showing up just in time to stop Makoto from being executed.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The windows in the student's dorm rooms have plates bolted onto the sides behind the customary bed despite this basically meaning there were once windows there designed to look into the next person's room.
    • If the hatch in her Monokuma control room is Junko's only means of getting meals, the building's layout implies that she would more likely get plopped into the third floor's hallway while being nowhere near the cafeteria.
  • Black Blood: Or pink blood, in this case, as a form of censorship due to the Japanese game-rating systems. Dialog indicates that it's actually red in-universe.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Junko keeps up a cheery attitude during her execution, coupled with her methods of avoiding death, at least until the very end.
    • The executions in general. Just because someone's getting brutally and horribly murdered, doesn't mean Monokuma won't try to inject some comedy into it.
  • Bland-Name Product: Averted. The localization mentions real products a few times, such as Genocider Syo/Genocide Jill comparing the state of the victim to an Italian restaurant serving Ragu or Chef Boyardee. Leon in School Mode even mentions that he's a fan of Pepsi.
  • Blue with Shock: The art style uses this for the sprites that depict characters in shock, fear, despair or similar.
  • Body of the Week: The only way out of the school is committing a perfect murder: obviously, someone's going to wind up dead in every chapter. This is subverted in Chapter 5, as an older body is used to fake the crime scene.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Monokuma offhandedly mentions that one of the flowers in the school greenhouse, the "Monokuma Flower" that he named after himself, eats "garbage and plastic and human flesh." It's fantastic for the environment!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Monokuma starts expositing on the backstories of the culprit and victim in Chapter 2, he says to hold O (or Ctrl in the PC version) to skip in case the player doesn't want to hear all this. Oddly enough, this is the first and only time this ability is mentioned, despite the fact that the tutorials tell the player to press triangle to Re:ACT to certain phrases, even though the button prompt appears regardless.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Monokuma abandons the stick for the third "motive" and instead gives a carrot of ten billion yen to any student who "graduates".
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • If you spend time with Chihiro, the topic of Artificial Intelligence comes up. After Chihiro's death, Aoi discovers that he installed an AI in the school computer to help them escape.
    • Most cases have important evidence that's introduced well before the murder actually takes place, or may still seem irrelevant until the trial is underway. An example of this is Mondo and Ishimaru's sauna duel.
    • There is an empty seat in the trial room. When asked about it, Monokuma says that the room was built with a capacity of sixteen people and that there's no further meaning to it. At the end of Chapter 2, Monokuma admits that there is a sixteenth student in his conversation with the mole, but refuses to elaborate further, calling it his ace in the sleeve.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Some of the "Monokuma Theatre" segments foreshadow future events. One example is his lecture about the difference between "I killed someone" and "I ended up killing someone"... later, somebody is murdered, not out of intention, but out of a loss of control on the culprit's part.
  • Closed Circle: All of the doors and windows in the academy are covered with steel bulkheads, and the school greenhouse has a painted blue sky over top.
  • Collective Identity: The "Ultimate Despair" identity, or more accurately an ideology or concept, as described by the mastermind.
  • Conveniently Seated: The trial room placement has potential to spoil who survives. Like a protagonist, Makoto stares directly across from the empty seat that Junko would eventually take, Aoi and Yasuhiro border the same spot while Kyoko and Byakuya are respectively two spots away from them. Toko spoils the symmetry.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: Most of the students have a tendency to leap to conclusions. The murderers may do it as an intentional gamble to make students convict the wrong person. Fortunately, Makoto is usually able to spot this and avoid it.
  • Crapsack World: The results of the Despairing Incident. Monokuma faces are everywhere, buildings are razed, and people on the streets are beating and killing each other in the name of despair.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death
  • Dark Reprise/Reprise Medley: The music for the first two executions, "Space Journey" and Leon's, feature similar thematic elements to Monokuma's theme. Junko's execution theme seems to remix elements of nearly all the execution themes as well.
  • Dark Secret: One of Monokuma's motives has him pass out cards to everyone with one of their biggest secrets written on it. He claims that if someone isn't murdered before 24 hours pass, he'll reveal these to the outside world. Only four of the dark secrets are revealed: Makoto's — because he's the player character — where he used to wet the bed until 5th grade. Chihiro's dark secret comes out during the investigation; Chihiro is actually a boy wearing girl's clothing, in a misguided event to not be seen as weak. After Mondo is revealed as the culprit, Monokuma reveals Mondo's secret for him: Mondo got his own big brother Daiya killed accidentally, and spread a lie saying his big brother got himself killed. Finally, Byakuya reveals during the trial that Toko's secret is her secondary personality: Genocide Jack.
  • Deadly Game: The School Life of Mutual Killing, which sets the formula for each installment in the franchise.
  • Deadly Graduation: The final ingredient in the despair the game is meant to inflict.
  • Death by Ambulance: At the end of the third trial, the killer is apparently set to be burned at the stake... only for a fire truck to barrel onto the scene, running over the guilty party.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Monokuma's stated objective is to bring despair. If the students don't start killing each other, he'll just keep pressing buttons until someone's pushed to the point where they murder.
  • Despair Gambit: Monokuma/Junko's goal extends to the entire world: he broadcasts the footage of the world's best-of-the-best students murdering each other, to tear at the last shreds of hope left in the world after the Despairing Incident. This is inadvertently what screws Junko over in the end.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints: The notion of following footprints was brought up in the fourth case, and it actually gets used to disprove someone's involvement as the culprit.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The completely-destroyed Alter Ego saving Makoto's life at the last second during his execution, via a virus he implanted in the network. Kyoko lampshades this, stating that Monokuma could never have foreseen a being coming to their aid even after he'd killed it.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The footage from the omnipresent security cameras is being broadcast nationwide as propaganda for the mastermind.
  • Dramatic Irony: Unlike the viewers, Makoto never actually got a look at the one who attacked him in the secret room at the end of Chapter 3, and so had no way of connecting that incident to the masked assailant who nearly stabbed him in the middle of Chapter 5.
  • Dutch Angle: Several times in trial, especially during Non-Stop Debates, the camera will show the characters from an inclined perspective.
  • Easter Egg: The last gift the player receives for finishing the game: a literal "Easter Egg", styled like Monokuma. If the player has Makoto use it on the gift machine, it nets another item, an "Escape Switch", which unlocks a bonus movie clip of everyone escaping from the school. The Escape Switch is later used in IF as an important plot point, as Makoto obtaining it is what sets off the major change in events.
  • Elaborate University High: Implied with regards to the Academy, as shown by the top-secret documents hidden in the library.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The court room has a seat for every student (plus one, due to the court room being built for sixteen), and whenever a student dies, Monokuma puts up a portrait in their place.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Everyone except for Makoto and Kyoko is suspected of killing Sakura in Chapter 4. There were multiple attempts on her life, and at least three people confessed to having done it.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: As the game progresses, evidence turns up that all of the students knew each other before attending Hope's Peak, even the unknown sixteenth student. And it turns out they did: they just had their memories tampered with.
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt: Before each trial, Makoto needs to gather evidence in the form of "evidence bullets" in order to find the true culprit.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Electronic Student ID Card.
  • Exact Words: Monokuma's rules all have loopholes in the wording. For instance, students aren't allowed to sleep anywhere but the dorm rooms - but they also don't have to sleep in their room specifically, and a student is no longer counted as a person if they're dead.
  • Fiery Coverup: Chapter 5's murderer plants a bomb on the corpse in order to conceal the identity of the victim.
  • Fission Mailed: Get the Bad Ending in Chapter 5, and the player gets thrown back to the key decision before the execution is performed. However, if the player makes the right choice, Monokuma will cut the trial short and pin the crime on Makoto. Fortunately, he survives due to Alter Ego's intervention.
  • Foe Yay: In-universe, Jill seems to see this between Aoi and Byakuya.
    • Mukuro Ikusaba — one of the masterminds of the killing game, and member of the Ultimate Despair — is one of Makoto's potential love interests in School Mode.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the gifts is a doll... that vibrates. Funnily enough, no one but Genocide Jack likes it.
  • Gilded Cage:
    • Hope's Peak Academy isn't half-bad. Unfortunately, nobody's allowed to leave unless they commit murder and get away with it.
    • There are hints prior to the final chapter, which outright confirms it, that the students agreed to stay in the school, possibly for the rest of their lives, until a certain calamity had passed.
    • The Bad Ending: the remaining students (Makoto, Byakuya, Yasuhiro, Aoi and a recently deceased Toko) have grown into adults, and they're still locked inside the school, alongside their children, who will never leave either.
  • Gratuitous English: In the original version of the game, the title card for each execution is labeled with a Japanese title and an English subtitle. The translation isn't always exact; for example, "Thousand Knocks" becomes "Million Fungous".
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Chapter 5's trial is deliberately set up to frame someone, and due to the lack of enough information as well as Monokuma's meddling, cannot be properly solved until Chapter 6. The only way to "win" it is by choosing not to expose the intended frame, Kyoko, at a critical juncture because of which Makoto ends up taking the fall for the murder. However, Alter Ego saves him from being executed. In the Bad Ending, where Makoto does expose Kyoko, she isn't so lucky.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Alter Ego's disappearance from the locker room kicks off the murders in Chapter 3. It turns out that Celestia simply shut him in a different locker and told him to keep quiet.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Red is often used for angry poses.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Whenever the player maxes friendship with another student, they obtain a special skill from them somehow related to their talent. If the student turns out to be a murderer later on in the story, the player can use the skills they acquired in the trial to help him expose them as the killer.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Pretty much the game's theme.
  • Idiot Ball: Makoto and Kyoko leave Alter Ego — their most important weapon, which they needed to keep secret to the mastermind at all costs — out in the open in a place where Makoto was previously attacked.
  • Idiot Hair: Makoto, Yasuhiro and Hifumi.
  • I Have Your Wife: Monokuma's first motive: he gives everyone a DVD that implies horrible things will happen to the friends/family they care about the most, such as Makoto's family supposedly being attacked and killed. Given what we learn in the final trial, it's implied to be true.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    • Mondo mentions the color of Chihiro's sports clothing, in a situation where only the murderer would be able to view it.
    • In Chapter 3, Celestia says that "We are going to die just like those guys" before the second murder victim was found.
    • Byakuya, though not a culprit, also gets a chomp from this in Chapter 2, as once a murder is announced, he makes a beeline for Chihiro's body, where he posed it in the girls' changing room.
  • Infinite Supplies: Monokuma explains at the start of the game that the students' needs will all be taken care of during their stay and later explains to Maizono (Fujisaki in the anime) that the cafeteria's refrigerator gets restocked every single day.
  • Informed Ability: Most of the students don't get to use their talents because of the situation they're in.
  • Interface Screw: When your opponent activates Nega Time in Bullet Time Battles, it blocks the bar that lets you see the rhythm markers. This can be countered with your own Fever Time, which allows you to lock, shoot and reload regardless of rhythm.
  • Involuntary Battle to the Death: Everyone is locked inside the school, and forced under the constant threat of execution to abide by the rules of the Killing School Life. The only way to get out is to kill someone and get away with it, and once a murder happens, the innocent students are forced to either let the blackened be executed if they choose correctly, or be executed in the blackened's place if they choose wrong.
  • Ironic Echo: Sayaka likes to say exactly what Makoto is thinking, then claim she can read minds, giving him time to react before saying it's just "good intuition". Later, Makoto makes the exact same joke.
  • Just One Little Mistake: Many trials rely on this.
  • Karmic Death: Monokuma's punishments for the blackened students are specifically tailored to each of them: Leon is bombarded to death with baseballs, Mondo is strapped to a motorcycle and driven around a Globe of Death so fast that he turns to butter, and Celestia is set up to be burned at the stake... only to be crushed by a speeding fire truck instead. The exception is Alter Ego, who Monokuma only "executed" to toy with the surviving students.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: All the students had their memories of their time at Hope's Peak after attending erased, to set it up so that they had never come to the school before, with the exception of the two students who performed the brainwashing on the others.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: The final discussion involves Makoto trying to give Aoi, Yasuhiro, Jill, Byakuya and Kyoko hope so they can stop the mastermind. Once he convinces the first four, the main theme kicks in when the discussion loops back around and Kyoko's previously untouchable statement changes to a weak point.
  • Left Hanging: What the Tragedy was, what Junko's Ultimate Despair group is, how the students lost their memories, why Junko and Mukuro have different last names, and what actually happened to the survivors after leaving the school in the epilogue is left unexplained. Most of this has been answered in later installments, however.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Chapter 4's murder appears to be one of these. With a less complicated solution than normal though; the room was locked because the culprit locked it themselves.
  • Logical Fallacies: The "Machine-Gun Talk Battle" sections of a trial occur when a student starts using ad-hominem attacks instead of logical arguments.
  • Loophole Abuse: Monokuma's rules all have loopholes in the wording.
    • For instance, students aren't allowed to sleep anywhere but the dorm rooms... but they also don't have to sleep in their room specifically.
      • The 4-koma manga also points out that it is deliberately sleeping outside the dorms that is banned... being knocked unconscious is A-OK.
      • The first chapter of the game also points this out, since Makoto had fainted and woke up in the gym. This is briefly questioned before the conclusion of the loophole is reached.
    • Students cannot lend their IDs to other students. However, there are no rules forbidding borrowing or stealing one.
    • In Chapter 4, Monokuma makes a new rule stating that students are not allowed to break down locked doors. However, barred doors that never had a lock in the first place are a whole different story.
  • Made of Indestructium: According to Monokuma, the e-Handbooks can withstand 10 tonnes of pressure and are waterproof up to 100 meters deep (with heat being their only weakness). The anime made them look like typically-delicate modern smartphones too.
  • Manslaughter Provocation: Discussed during the first case: While ferreting out Leon as the murderer, it's revealed the victim, Sayaka, lured him into a trap that backfired. Once exposed, Leon tries to claim he was forced to kill Sayaka in self-defense. However, Makoto points out that after Sayaka dropped the knife and shut herself in the bathroom, Leon went back to his room unimpeded. He would have been safe if he'd stayed there and locked his door, but instead he went back to Sayaka's room after he'd fetched his tool kit, used it to break into the bathroom, and stabbed her with the knife, making it murder rather than self-defense.
  • Medium Awareness: This conversation between Celestia and Hifumi during a Flash Back in Chapter 3:

"...This is where my flashback ends."
"Who are you talking to?"
"You wouldn't understand..."

  • Medium Blending: The Climax Inferences are manga panels.
  • Mistaken for Evidence: Happens frequently, sometimes because the evidence was planted, and other times because the students love jumping to the most obvious conclusion.
  • The Mole: The end of Chapter 2 reveals that one of the students is in league with Monokuma, but does not show who it is. The presence of a mole amongst the students is the theme of Monokuma's fourth motive. The twist is that he reveals who it is right off the bat... and openly orders them to kill one of the others.
  • Motive Rant: In one chapter, Monokuma actually does this for the murderer, who doesn't want to explain what happened even after exposure. Lampshaded by Aoi in Chapter 4, when she demands to know why the others want her to explain everything to them just because she's the culprit (she's not the culprit).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The school trials are some of the flashiest debates you'll ever see: you literally shoot down your opponents' arguments as they fly across the screen in text form.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Twice in case 4. Aoi Asahina first, when Monokuma gleefully informs her that the suicide note that caused her to try to frame everyone else was a fake, so Aoi badly screwed up. The second one is by everyone else, who admit that the real problem was that they all got angry at Sakura in the first place, so they decide to let bygones be bygones, not punish Aoi, and unite against Monokuma.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Promotional material showed all fifteen students in trial scenes (obscuring who dies in Chapter 1), and heavily implied that Sayaka would be the main love interest for Makoto: while Makoto is somewhat interested in her, she's ultimately the first victim. The free demo goes so far as to change the victim of the first case to Yasuhiro. This was repeated in trailers for the anime.
  • New Game+: The player can replay chapters after completing them, letting Makoto keep any skills he has gotten from the other characters. In the PSP version, which lacks School Mode, this is required to view all the friendship scenes for certain characters who don't make it past the first chapter.
  • Noodle Incident: We never do find out what the Despairing Incident actually was... at least, until the prequel shed some light on it, and the sequel even more so.
  • One Steve Limit: It becomes a plot point that there's two different students with the name Yasuhiro. One has it as a given name and one as a surname, and only one of them is common knowledge.
  • Ontological Mystery: None of the characters have any idea how the school was locked down (or even if they're still in the school). However, Monokuma explicitly permits the students to investigate what's going on, as long as they abide by his other rules.
  • Pac-Man Fever: A meta-example, in that the game, while not having any video games within the game, features monochrome 8-Bit representations of all of the students, and the executions feature 8-bit animations of Monokuma dragging off the culprit to their doom, complete with sound effects ripped straight from the Atari 2600 port of Donkey Kong. As if to reiterate to the characters that this is a game to the Mastermind. The anime ups this with the end credits that spoof an NES title screen.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Invoked by the dorm rooms, which are identical besides having blue sheets/blankets for male students and pink for females. A similar theme is used for the change room doors on the second floor (except with red replacing pink).
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Some of the students are more willing to cooperate with Makoto than others, but it's not unusual for somebody to hold back information until the trial.
    • Poor communication almost kills everyone! In Chapter 4, Aoi reads a fake suicide note by Monokuma implicating the others, so she tries to frame everyone for murder so they'd all be taken down. The others forgive Aoi though because their own poor communication skills caused them all to get angry at Sakura in the first place since they thought, as the mole, Sakura was going to kill them and they didn't even talk to her to confirm it, which made it necessary for her to commit suicide to calm the discord and chaos.
  • Public Execution: The fate of every culprit who fails to get away with murder. The audience seems to be limited to the surviving students, until it's revealed that each execution, along with the rest of the happenings in the school, had been broadcast to the entire world since the very beginning.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Monokuma loves to insist that the students are the real villains: according to his logic, if they just quietly lived out the rest of their lives in their Gilded Cage and didn't try to 'graduate', then nobody would get hurt. And when they solve the trials, aren't they only doing so to protect their own measly lives...?

Monokuma: The murder we just had occured because you bastards want to get out, wasn't it!? It's you bastards, who can't let go of the outside world, who are the bad eyes here!!

  • Relationship Values: Makoto can hang out with the other students and give them presents. They'll reward him with skills to be used during trial scenes, or by raising the maximum number of skill points Makoto has during trials, depending on how far he's progressed in hanging out with them. The downside to this, however, is that there's a limited number of "free time segments" in each chapter. When students get killed, they are no longer available to spend time with, and their skills cannot be acquired. Furthermore, even if they're still alive, some characters may be unavailable to spend time with for plot reasons. Fortunately, skills and free time progress both carry over on subsequent playthroughs, and in the re-release, they can be earned at leisure in School Mode.
  • Rushmore Refacement: One of the images of "the outside world" that the mastermind shows the class in the final trial is of several famous monuments with Monokuma's face added to them. While it's real (as Genocide Jill proves) and is stated to be one of the things that happened due to The Worst, Most Despair-inducing Incident in the History of Mankind, it's still undetermined to what extent the total damage is.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Sayaka and Chihiro.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Sakura and Mondo.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Monokuma specializes in these, the most basic of which is: kill one of your classmates, or spend the rest of your life in captivity — and when it comes down to the trial, fess up and receive a gruesome punishment, or escape with the blood of everyone else on your hands.
    • Sakura was presented with one as well: work as a mole for Monokuma and then violate her personal integrity and sense of morals by killing someone when Monokuma asks her to, or refuse Monokuma's demands and lose her family's dojo. She manages to get around this choice, however; see Take a Third Option below.
    • Makoto faces one in Chapter 5: expose a lie Kyoko's told, or let her lie slide. This doesn't look that sadistic until you realize that he's actually deciding either Kyoko or himself to be found guilty.
    • Junko also offers one to the surviving students: kill her but be forced to leave for the outside world, which could very well be deadly, or sacrifice Makoto and spend the rest of their lives in peace, but only inside the Gilded Cage of the academy.
  • Sailor Earth: Pick any skill or occupation, add either "Super High School Level" or "Ultimate" in front of it, and you got yourself an OC.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Monokuma rises again after the students escape. Plus, we still don't know what happened in the outside world... or if anything happened at all.
    • Also, the escape switch, and the bonus movie that it unlocks, foreshadows Dangan Ronpa IF.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Signature Line:
    • "No, that's wrong!"
    • Leon's rapid-fire yelling "Aho"/"Stupid!".
  • The Stinger: After the credits, we see a scene where Monokuma comes back to life.
  • The Summation: Closing Arguments boil down to this, with Makoto giving his take on how the crime was committed before calling out the murderer. He doesn't get to do a Closing Argument summation in Chapter 5 because he never actually solved the entirety of how the murder happened. If the player decides to reveal Kyoko's lie in court, Monokuma cuts the trial short and executes Kyoko. If they decide not to reveal Kyoko's lie, Monokuma cuts the trial short and tries to execute Makoto, who is saved at the last minute by Alter Ego.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: An interesting case of this. Junko Enoshima is the first mole who set up the murder game in the first place, but she operates from a distance and uses two moles through the course of the story, neither of whom kill anyone. One of them outright kills themselves while the other's publicly offed by the mastermind, and later used to frame one of the students.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The mastermind decides to kill herself with every execution she has given to the killers in one big swoop.
  • This Is Reality: Spoken in Chapter 3. Monokuma also states this during Chapter 1:

Monokuma: We aren't living in a Shounen manga story. There is no such thing as dying without dying. This is reality!!

  • This Is the Final Battle: Invoked by Kyoko before the last investigation, and The Animation milks this for all it's worth.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: School trials can be broken down into Non-Stop Debates (literally shooting down contradictions), Machine-Gun Talk Battles (breaking through ad-hominem arguments in a Rhythm Game), Flashing Anagrams (filling in blanks) and Climax Inferences (assembling how the murder went down by placing events on a comic-style timeline).
  • Utsuge: There are 15 kids that are for the most part very likable and interesting characters. Since this is a killing game, the player will watch most of these teenagers be killed or kill their fellow students through either conventional murders or executions in order to survive. If the player happens to get attached to any of the doomed cast members, they will feel bad, and even if they don't, the set-ups of the cases can be rather depressing.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: Flashbacks to not even a full scene ago happen fairly often, with one flashback showing something that happened roughly thirty seconds beforehand.
  • Voice Grunting: For the most part. However, some scenes (generally those with a full-screen illustration) and all Class Trials are fully-voiced.
  • Warmup Boss: Leon is by far the easiest culprit to nail, for several reasons. The dying message left by Sayaka, "11037", is the biggest tipoff, since when read from a certain point of view it reveals his name.
  • Wham! Episode:
    • Let's start with Chapter 1. The first victim is Sayaka, and shortly after that, Junko is killed for attacking Monokuma. See Never Trust a Trailer above.
    • Then at the end of Chapter 2, it's revealed there's is a mole among the students, and there's also a seperate sixteenth student that Monokuma is hiding.
    • The end of Chapter 3. After learning about it from Kyouko, Makoto finds a secret room in the boy's restroom. Before he can take a good look around a mysterious masked man attacks him from behind, knocking him unconscious. When Makoto wakes up, he finds that the room has been cleaned out. Then when he staggers to the gymnasium, he finds Sakura fighting Monokuma and they have a conversation implying Sakura is The Mole.
  • Wimpification: Oh dear Kiyotaka. In the West and Japan, it's common to find works that have him as submissive, weak, and not being able to hold his own against another.
  • Win Your Freedom: The game's ultimate goal.
  • You All Meet in a Cell
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Happens to the protagonist, and presumably to all the other students.
  1. Literally, Bullet Rebuttal.