Saturday, 14 September 2013

Danganronpa - Episode 11

It's time for another, rather unexpected, classroom trial as this week's Danganronpa begins in the wake of the death of mysterious sixteenth student Mukuro Ikusaba.

With no knowledge of who this student is and little time to gather clues, the resulting trial is decidedly incoherent apart from one recurring theme - the insistence that Kirigiri must be responsible for this murder.  To be fair, it seems like a strong accusation to make as she is the only person whose whereabouts are unknown in the time period where the murder could have been carried out, and for her part Kirigiri becomes more irritable and nervy as the accusations against her pile up.  Once Naegi begins to suspect that all is not as it seems with this trial, Monokuma is quick to shut him up and push the students towards voting -a decision which coincides with Kirigiri slathering Naegi in last-minute suspicion.  Lo and behold, it's his name that is flagged as the murderer, and his punishment awaits...

Except, for once, not everything goes as Monokuma expects - an intervention via the assumed defunct Alter Ego saves Naegi's lift, but instead leaves him thrown out with the garbage at the bottom of the building with no way out.  Not one to give up, Naegi prevails, until eventually Kirigiri comes to the rescue.  As they climb the ladder back into the school building, Kirigiri reveals her true - and recently remembered - identity, which explains why the powers that be in this so-called school were trying to frame and execute her.  It seems as if the gloves are off, but with Naegi's safety and the knowledge that their trials and tribulations are being broadcast on live television, Kirigiri engineers a final showdown with the myriad secrets of the academy at stake.

Overall, I think this might just have been the most enjoyable episode of Danganronpa yet, perhaps largely because it breaks with some of the show's game-like conventions in aid of pulling the rug out from under its surviving students.  The result was perhaps the tensest trial yet, and the events which followed do a good job of setting the series up for its final showdown while conveniently waving away one of the game's rules to do so.  Breaking the rules of your story is bad, except for when it's good, and on this occasion shrugging off a mechanic for generating tension within the rest of the series is entirely forgivable - now, bring on the final showdown for the truth!

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