Saturday, 28 September 2013

Danganronpa - Episode 13 (Completed)

Now that the mastermind behind their incarceration has been revealed, it's time for the remaining students of Hope Peak's Academy to learn the truth behind their situation as they face their final challenge.

Although those gathered believe that they've only spent two short weeks at the school, the truth is rather different - they've actually been classmates for two years prior to losing their memories.  It seems that their idyllic school life turned into a despair-ridden one as an event shook - and effectively destroyed - the outside world, leading to the school's principle turning the academy into a safe-house for the students rather than have them "contaminated" by the contagion which has turned the planet upside-down.  It's from these protective roots that Junko's game has sprouted, turning the student's protection into a prison for her own amusement.

With the past revealed, what of the future?  The final trial facing the students is a simple one - do they choose to punish Junko, or choose to live by remaining in the safe confines of the academy for the rest of their existence.  However, there's a final twist to this choice - they can only choose this safe option if they agree to sacrifice Naegi into the bargain.  Thus, it's our protagonist's job to persuade his fellow schoolmates to choose the path of hope despite the dangers lurking in the outside world, rather than the despair of a life inside the academy's confines which would also bring about his demise.

Stripped of its muder-mystery slant for this finale, I have to confess that I was a little apathetic to what was going on in this last episode of Danganronpa - it didn't really delve into some of the most interesting parts of its revelations about the world (albeit deliberately), and Naegi's need to convince his classmates to follow the right path felt arbitrary rather than a genuine moment of tension.  Still, this shouldn't really put too much of a dampener on a series that was always bonkers, but equally always pretty fun to watch. It was never quite as smart or edgy as it maybe thought it was, but it bounced its characters off of one another and made use of its scenario in effective ways to keep me entertained week on week, and even managed to run with the video game-esque presentation from its source material without feeling too frustrating.  Overall, I enjoyed the show enough to be on-board for any adaptations of further Danganronpa games (and the end of this episode certainly seems to hint that there's more on the way), which marks this series as at least a moderate success in my book.

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