MP (militarypenguin) wrote,

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Dangan Ronpa Final Thoughts

So, Dangan Ronpa overall. Did I love it? Did I hate it? Have I sworn myself into the cult of Dang Ronp?

After mulling over it internally and talking it out with friends, I've concluded I'm definitely not a fan of the game itself. There were things I liked about it, a couple of things I loved about it (Ishimaru being the main thing), but even the things I loved missed the mark or had their arcs cut unnecessarily short in some ways, and the game itself just didn't resonate enough with me to make up for or make me handwave the numerous flaws and shortcomings it had.

I discussed the game with Luna last night, and I think she put it best in nailing what my biggest problem with the game was: the characters (with exceptions) and interactions (again, with exceptions) all feel very mechanical. I never felt any sense of any genuine bonds being formed between the characters, and consequently, their triumph of hope over despair doesn't register emotionally as a victory.

This failed registration is also a result of the game's refusal to truly let you gets swept up in the characters, their arcs, and how they react and cope with their personal problems coupled with the situation they were landed in. The characters that have arcs are either killed off before they can truly be set in motion (Chihiro) or are cut off from the game's big plot twist (Kirigiri). The one living character with explicit personal and mental problems has them played up solely for entertainment and is never truly explored seriously as a character (Fukawa). The characters that are vividly affected by any of the events that take place are similarly either killed off (Maizono, Ishimaru) or get over it quickly (Asahina). There's a possibility that this lack of despair may have been intentional, to show that the villain never truly "won" over the living cast members, but it doesn't excuse the lacking arcs the living characters given, if any such arcs exist at all.

So, I'm not a fan of Dangan Ronpa. I love Ishimaru, I'm very fond of Chihiro and Mondo, I enjoy Fukawa, I like the rest of the cast (sans Yamada, whose act wore quickly for me), I enjoy discussing what it could have been, as well as exploring the unexplored facets of the characters and plot points, but ultimately, the game misses too many marks, pulls too many shocking twists with little payoff, and just doesn't execute its premise, characters, and relationships as well or as genuinely as it could have, to make a fan out of me.

I hear its sequel is an improvement in nearly every regard, so I intend to check it out when an LP is released, but for now, those are my Dangan Ronpa thoughts.
Tags: dangan ronpa
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