Solve Murders, Befriend Schoolgirls: Danganronpa Out

Fifteen students are trapped inside a school and told they may only leave if they murder another student and can get away with it. As one of the students, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc [official site] will have players investigating each murder, searching for clues, interviewing people, and trying to win folks over to catch the killers. That’s a fine premise that, isn’t it? Then people see the evil anime teddy bear and are often a bit put-off. But wait! I’ve heard great things about Danganronpa from folks who played it on PlayStation Vita, and today the game arrived on PC.

Danganronpa’s a visual novel-y, adventure-ish, investigate-o sort of a game, with clues to find, people to pump for information and try to stay friendly with, and smidges of Ace Attorney through trials. And, obviously, it’s a little silly.

Rather than relay half-remembered things a pal told me ages ago, I’ll point you towards this nice comment from ‘MadTinkerer’ on our last Danganronpa story.

Danganronpa is out on Steam for Windows and Mac, priced at £18.39 thanks to a 20% discount. Developers Spike Chunsoft plan to bring more Danganronpa our way too.

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  1. Luciferian says:

    No, thank you. I’ve never really clicked with Japanese “Slice of Life” explorations.

    “It’s (x), with SCHOOLGIRLS!”

    Where (x) is zombies, vampires, murder, demons, etc. I don’t get it. Highschool was over a decade ago for me, I can’t imagine how there’s such a big draw among grown adults to re-examining all of these already tired subjects through its lense.

    • Zankman says:

      Because attractive anime ladies (and sometimes dudes).


      • Luciferian says:

        Not just attractive anime ladies (and sometimes dudes), it’s attractive high school-aged girls (and sometimes boys). Which definitely raises my skepticism a touch.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Plus there’s that pedobear in there too. Oh my.

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      Oakreef says:

      Yeah I’ve heard a bunch of good things about this but the fact that people choose to set these things in schools while sexualising the kids puts me off rather a lot. If you want to draw sexy people just like draw sexy adults please.

      • Buttless Boy says:

        Agreed. I’ve been an anime fan most of my life and it’s so disturbing picking through the rampant pedophilia in the medium. And so many fans are totally thrilled to defend that crap, it’s honestly depressing.

        • gunny1993 says:

          It’s worse when you wana just look at some good ole fashion hentai, browsing through a nice gallery and then, BOOM, lolis.

          I do not get Japan

          • C0llic says:

            Rampant sexual repression and a breakdown of normal relationships between an entire generation of men and women is the likely cause. This is the place that has ‘cuddle hotels’ because people are so isolated that’s an in demand thing.

            Japan is a very strange place.

      • Yglorba says:

        Most of the characters in Danganronpa aren’t that sexualized, at least by the standards of the genre. The game focuses more on friendship, understanding other people, and trusting them rather than on romance.

        (Also, the characters are fairly old — mostly around 18 IIRC.)

        • Yglorba says:

          Also, since I can’t edit and forgot to add, since it might not be clear:

          The “school” in question where the game takes place is a college, not a high-school. I just realized that that might not be obvious from the description. The characters are introduced as college freshmen, not high-school ones; the oldest (who IIRC is the only one we get an exact age on, but he’s not that much older than the others) is in his early 20’s.

    • KDR_11k says:

      But it’s also a whodunnit, old people love those!

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      I largely feel the same way, but I do appreciate that more Japanese developers (I’m making an educated guess about that, I haven’t looked this company up) are getting experimental with their game design.

      Also, one other caveat to your statement about adults playing games with highschool settings: Life is Strange. I’m not saying that it made me want to be a teenage girl for a while, but… yeah, it kind of did.

      • Luciferian says:

        I haven’t heard of Life is Strange before, but it looks like it’s very well respected. I may have to check it out. I’m not necessarily saying that I don’t like Japanese games, because you’re right, some of them push the envelope in really satisfying ways. I’m also not saying I’m against games set in high school or starring children. Life is Strange looks really great.

        However, there is definitely a rather large portion of Japanese games and animation that are arrested by a focus on some of the more superficial aspects of childhood and growing up, while catering to a demographic of adults who want to celebrate and fantasize about that superficiality in ways that are inappropriate at best.

        • Chillicothe says:

          Read this: link to

          Shed a tear.

          Know why some things once rather common are no longer done, and things like high school become almost ubiquitous.

          As for myself, I’m not so sure, I have a checkered history with VNs.

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            alms says:

            This looks amazingly interesting, thanks for sharing.

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            Oakreef says:

            That was a very interesting read, thank you!

          • Babymech says:

            Man that editorial is tinged with douchey and ridiculous disdain. ‘This type of dumb consumerism is prosperous and wholesome, but this type of dumb consumerism is pervy and subcultural.’ There is a classist, elitist trashiness to the tone – gyaru girls dress garishly because they’re not naturally pretty, and ‘nerd-drooling’ otaku consumerism is not ‘real’ popularity (like the author’s Louis Vuitton bags), it’s just a way to cope with ‘psychological problems’. Pretty douchey.

            I’m not saying these subcultures are admirable or point the way to a future vibrant Japanese cultural economy, but the hand-wringing disdainful tone of this article makes it mostly useful for douchebags and the terminally insufferable. Blah.

          • Babymech says:

            “The average university student in Paris is likely to read Murakami Haruki and may listen to a Japanese DJ but not wear silky long cocktail dresses or fake eyelashes from a brand created by a 23 year-old former divorcee hostess with two kids.”

            Oh God, that is the most insufferable sentence I’ve read all day.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            Thanks for that super interesting read. It’s funnytragic how the shrinking of the §§ simoleon wealth into § in the Occident has had the opposite effect, a reinforcement of the mainstream.

            I didn’t read that kind of negative tone at all. Weird.

        • Deano2099 says:


          This isn’t one of them though. It’s not even really a high school setting. It’s 12 kids waking up in an abandoned high school and being forced to play a deadly game.

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        Risingson says:

        Life is Strange is wonderfully non exploitative. Though it talks about teenagers in their dawn of sexuality, the focus of the game is make you feel like them, like that mix of being aware of being sexually awaken but being a child at the same time. The game has a “let it be” attitude that I cannot praise enough.

        About this one, two things. Agreed on how this paedo puts me back, but at the same time I cannot deny that when these things go all the lovecraftian way as in uritsukidoji or divi dead, which is just exploitation and darker than dark humour, I am into it, just because it crosses the line and becomes a gothic melodrama, something I quite enjoy. The second thing… have they used the not official translation from the psp port or have they re translated it again?

    • DThor says:

      I think it’s a cultural thing. At least in mainstream Japanese culture, high school is perceived as the last time in your life you have a modicum of control over your life, at least perceptually. After that you’ve chosen a spouse (you’re male, of course) and a job which frequently you will never leave – it’s a lifetime commitment. Thus the obsession with simpler times and personal choice. That’s the view from an outsider westerner, though – I’m not trying to lump the whole country under one behaviour. I do think it’s a theme, though.

  2. Turkey says:

    Guess it’s time to see if all the weeaboo hype is real.

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    X_kot says:

    Maybe if this does well enough, Spike Chunsoft will port the Zero Escape games, too (and fund the third one). *sigh*

    • Kits says:

      The third one is pretty much finished and due out sometime the middle of this year. Rather looking forward to it. Zero Time Dilemma, I believe.

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        X_kot says:

        That’s terrific news! I had given up hope last year; glad to see a worthy series get more support.

    • Tacroy says:

      I have 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors for the DS and it’s almost unplayable – the text speed is absolutely lethargic, and there’s no way to change it. The game also forces you though a mini tutorial every single time you look at an interactive object, like you forgot how a combination lock works in the five seconds you spent looking at your inventory for the solution.

      It’s ridiculous how little you’re allowed to figure out for yourself, given that it’s a puzzle game.

      • BooleanBob says:

        I believe you hold right on the d-pad. Or down. Either way it’s not what the game tells you, but it works like a charm and was what made the game finishable for me.

      • malkav11 says:

        Virtue’s Last Reward is vastly more user-friendly. And better written, I thought. 999 is worth experiencing and helpful for context, but I’d probably just go read the screenshot Let’s Play here: link to

        • Kitsunin says:

          Personally I think the two are on equal terms. 999 was a bit slow at times and had some really bad design decisions (mostly, figuring out how to get the proper endings was a pain because restarting was tedious as heck). But it had some absolutely brilliant endings which really justified everything else.

          Virtue’s Last Reward is much better designed and has almost no flaws, the mysteries are all really interesting, choices are supremely immersive (especially impressive considering you know you can reverse them in an instant!) but its ending is a little unsatisfying, and way less exciting, and that’s enough to bring it down from far superior to 999, to equally good on the whole in my eyes.

          • malkav11 says:

            I can’t agree. VLR’s various path endings and the true ending were all huge revelations to me and my mind was regularly blown. It’s been long enough that I’m not badly craving Zero Escape 3 anymore (just as well because I still haven’t heard a release date, although my preorder is in on Amazon), but I certainly was at the time.

            Which isn’t to disparage the endings in 999 at all – they’re also great. I’m just not as enamored of some of the bits in between as I was in VLR.

          • Kitsunin says:

            VLR blew me away with a lot of its path endings, but the true ending felt kind of like just a big infodump to me, without much emotional weight comparatively. I guess the revelation of just what the heck was going on didn’t quite live up to what I was expecting, either.

            On the other hand both of 999’s true endings immersed me so much that I was in tears.

      • Planeforger says:

        About 999’s text speed, if you beat the game once, you get to speed through the text in all subsequent playthroughs (which you’ll need to do for the other endings).

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          Oakreef says:

          Seems absurd that that’s something you need to beat the game to unlock.

          • Kitsunin says:

            It isn’t a fast text option (it’s stuck at the speed it’s stuck at. Which was perfect for me when I played it, but I couldn’t complain about there being more options), it’s a skip text option.

  4. MadMinstrel says:

    I have this on Vita. Despite at least six attempts, I can’t get much past the prologue before I get bored to death.

  5. Kits says:

    The Danganronpa games tend to be a bit of a chore to get into. They feel a bit impenetrable at first..but if you can persevere a little will soon pull you in with the murder mystery plots (assuming you like that kind of thing). The first I found to be a lot better than the second though.

  6. Planeforger says:

    Danganronpa’s biggest problem is that the murder mysteries are nowhere near as good as the Phoenix Wright games, and the story is nowhere near as good as the Zero Escape games.

    This leaves Danganronpa in a mediocre middle ground, where it doesn’t excel at anything in particular. Disappointing stuff.

  7. int says:

    Is the bear the Two-Face of bears?

  8. Cedori says:

    And good half commenters did not play the game at all, since the lewdest thing Danganronpa ever does is scene in girls bath (which is skippable, if I recall correctly – player gets to choose whenever risk getting pummeled by Sakura or quietly go to mess hall and wait girls there). And guess what – that scene portraits only girls who are not “loli” by anyone’s standards.
    But who cares – if it’s anime, it’s about sex and loli. If it’s in school, it’s paedophilia (since of course every real high-school-aged human is chaste person, who would pluck their own eyes for looking at other’s person chin and not eyes).
    Who pays you to post that trash anyway? Because I refuse to believe populace at RPS is this brainwashed.

    • Zankman says:

      Japan’s fault bro.

      Make loads of tasteless shit and anything even close to that will carry a stigma.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Well yes, it doesn’t really sexualise them, and they’re presented as college-aged regardless. And Western media is more than happy to sexualise 17-18 year olds itself. Japan does have a broader problem along these lines (although Europe/US has school disco nights where adults dress in skimpy school uniforms and feel each other up in dark rooms so we’re so much better), but this isn’t really part of it.

      Might be worth saying that it’s also not an actual evil teddy bear – that’s just the weird medium their tormentor uses to torment them. It’s all explained somewhat realistically.

      If you’ve any interest in narrative led games it’s really, really worth trying.

    • TheMopeSquad says:

      No shit, this game has a generous amount of male characters 50/50 and none of the female characters are sexy some physically or mentally not to mention the game is about how they die gruesomely one by one not and solving mysteries not romanticizing school girls.

  9. Coffee Ray Gun says:

    If this game at all interests you, please give it a chance. It’s truly fantastic, great music, great characters, and a wonderful mystery. The more stereotypical characters all come off as parodies of their own tropes. Of course this is no guarantee you’ll like it (Undertale taught me not to hype up a game I love too much.) But it doesn’t hurt anything except your wallet to give this game a shot.

  10. pcgamergirl says:

    I am more than confident that my BF will love this game. Because Anime. And anime girls.

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      zapatapon says:

      It’s nice that you share the high opinion you have of your BF with everybody here