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Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc V.S. Danganronpa: The Animation

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avatar WillowDear
Level 18 : Journeyman Hunter
Danganronpa: The Animation is an incredibly lackluster adaptation of Danganrona: Trigger Happy Havoc, a video game available to buy on Steam and the Playstation. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Danganronpa itself. In fact, it's one of my all-time favorite game series. I love the unique premises, the gameplay, and the characters. However, I do have a few bones to pick with the anime adaptation of the first game.

  Danganronpa is a story about a group of high-school students, each having a unique talent, who find themselves trapped inside of an area cut off from the rest of the world with a psychotic bear, Monokuma. The only way to escape is to kill someone and not get caught. A class trial is then held, where you and your "classmates" must put the pieces together through your investigations and find out who the murderer is, because if you don't, everyone innocent will be executed, and the murderer will achieve the privilege of "graduating".
  To start somewhere, maybe we should ask the question: what does this anime bring to the story of Danganronpa? I believe that adaptations should give us a new experience, separate from the games. You know, a reason to see it besides just seeing the entire game summed up in a few hours' worth of screentime. However Danganronpa: The Animation is nothing more than that. A watered-down recap of the game, just told in an anime format instead of the gameplay that made the series so memorable. The events are exactly the same, the trials are exactly the same, the dialogue is almost copy-pasted from the game into the anime. Even some of the animations are literally recycled from the game, unaltered, and thrown into the show to pad the screentime. This includes the body discovery scenes, the class trial executions, and various other moments in the game. The show is doing nothing except relaying to us what we already know, in a less-effective format.

  This is where my second problem with the show comes in. If you watch the show on its own, it's not that bad. Maybe around a 7/10, it has some strengths, has some flaws, but it's alright, you can watch it and enjoy it, especially if you just don't feel like playing the game or watching a playthrough of it. However, when you put it up against the game, it falls short in almost every category. Part of what made the game so memorable was the trial gameplay, and using your own wits and clues you've discovered throughout your investigating before having to convict a murderer at the infamous class trial. The anime clearly tries to mimic this in some way, as we see the same type of animations recycled from the game in the show (this is another problem I have, but I won't get into that right just yet). However, it's not the same as actually experiencing the thrill yourself, and getting to piece together the pieces bit-by-bit using your own head. The trials in the anime feel very rushed compared to the game, which is probably to fit its much shorter time to condense the trials in. If you haven't played or seen gameplay for the original game, you may feel lost in all the argumentation, as some of the evidence may be left out, and the character interactions and chemistry might not shine as much.
  Again, another complaint: the anime skips out on so much of the character interactions that were in the game. Part of what made the games so memorable was the cast, each game having its own incredibly diverse and interesting cast. No one character was really more unique than the other, and their stark contrasts shone brightly as they bounced comments off each other, whether it's during normal interactions, during investigations, or during the class trial. Not to mention that in the game, you get free time events, which you can use to spend time with the characters. During this time you can learn critical information about them and their past, as well as forming bonds between them. It's an excellent way to get to know the characters you're with and emphasize with them. However, the anime cuts down on so much of this free time, again, probably to compensate for the running time of the show. Regardless, this leads to the characters seeming much colder and more distant from each other, and you, as an audience member, are left out on what these people really have to offer, and chances are you'll find it much harder to emphasize and sympathize with the anime characters if you've only seen the show but never played the game.
  In the end, if you haven't played the games, you're left with a lackluster and somewhat bland experience. If you have played the games, you get to sit through a watered-down version of everything you already know. It's really not the ideal experience for anyone, whether you're new to the series or have played the games, and it's hard to tell exactly who they're marketing this show towards. I don't have a problem with this anime existing, as more attention to the Danganronpa community is splendid, but at the same time, I almost wish that they just left the game alone.
  I would give Danganronpa: The Animation a 6/10. The soundtrack and atmosphere at least tries to live up to the game, although it feels much more bland, and the characters still retain some of their charm, even if lots of the interactions are removed. The story still manages to be interesting, although it's fairly cluttered at points and can feel a little too fast-paced, the show does its best to handle this with the runtime it's given. The animation itself is nothing memorable, for the most part, in fact, it's pretty tame. Lots of the animations from the game are plugged straight into the anime as a lazy excuse to not animate and pad runtime.

As always, this is just my opinion. Thanks for reading! <3
CreditSpike Chunsoft (The creators of Danganronpa)

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Danganrompa's concept is quite unique in my opinion. It feels like Phoenix Wright with a bit of a twist (and monokuma reminds me of freddy fazbear mixed with sigma) . I haven't seen the animation but i do agree that the games will always be better.
  • WillowDear
  • Level 18
  • Journeyman Hunter
  • February 1, 2019, 3:33 am
Definitely agree, I love the concept and gameplay of Danganronpa. I just feel the anime was a bit lackluster compared to the games.

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