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Ranking The Executions In ‘Danganronpa’

Tuesday 12th September 2017 by Josh Jackson

Danganronpa is known for destroying its fans by getting them attached to the characters that make up its colorful cast, then killing them in some of the worst ways possible. With a whole new set of deaths to discover with the impending release of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, we ranked the executions from the first three chapters of the story, sorting out the most despair inducing punishments in the series. From the gruesome to the silly and everything in between, it’s time to watch our friends die all over again.

Mikan Tsumiki: Bye-Bye Ouchies!

Kicking off the list is Mikan’s execution, which was the worst one by a long shot. Things didn’t seem quite right in Danganronpa 2, which felt apparent when the executions were a lot more out there than the first outing, but this one just left me confused and unsatisfied, contrary to the sexual undertones of her big death scene.

After being discovered as Ibuki and Hiyoko’s killer, she launches into space on a giant arm that’s been injected with some kind of… fluid. Matching up with her Ultimate Nurse talent, there were so many more interesting ways this could have went down. Instead, we got what was essentially an off screen death for someone who had embraced her dark side at this point in the story, making me feel robbed of the satisfaction of watching one of the bad guys lose AND an interesting death. Thankfully, they get much better down the list.

Monomi’s First Death

Serving as less of a formal execution and more of a wake-up call to the main cast letting us know that this second killing game is serious, the former Usami is gunned down by one of the fearsome Monobeasts, clearing the way for Monokuma to take over the second class. This one is low on the list considering there’s a lack of emotional connection since you just met Monomi, her death played up the comedy aspect of a stuffed bear getting shot up, and it’s extremely temporary since she comes back minutes later, but it was still an important scene for Hajime and his friends.

Alter Ego: Excavator Destroyer

Much like the above entry, this one is eventually undone, and it’s not the same feeling when you watch a computer get killed instead of a friend. Still, Alter Ego’s death was especially shocking at the time I played it since it died spying on the mastermind when we thought it had gotten away, AND it was a total surprise since the real killer of the case couldn’t be executed due to it being a suicide. True despair rose to the surface as our only way to discover the circumstances around the school had seemingly been crushed, but this wouldn’t be the case for long.

Jin Kirigiri: Blast Off!

The very first execution of the series gains much more significance once the game has reached its conclusion compared to when you actually watch it play out, but it’s important for a few reasons. One, much like Monomi’s death was a wake-up call for the cast of the second game, this being the very first scene you see when you start the game let players know what they were about to be taken on a wild ride of death sprinkled with a bit of lighthearted cartoon imagery. Finding out later that the unnamed victim was both the Headmaster of the school and the father of one of the main characters gives it much more weight in retrospect.

Celeste Ludenberg: The Burning of the Versailles Witch

Celeste was a true manipulator, pulling off the first double murder in the series after manipulating the gullible Hifumi to help her kill and cover up her first victim before tying up loose ends by killing her accomplice. Being granted a death fitting for the noble she pretended to be, the Ultimate Gambler has her perfect death snatched from under her feet when her death by burning is interrupted by a fire truck falling on her. As the first comedic punishment, it managed to have a decent amount of anticipation before the bait and switch, which both helped and hurt its position on the list.

Teruteru Hanamura: Deep Fried Teruteru

Teruteru’s execution was one of the saddest. As the first class trial came to a close, it turned out that the Ultimate Cook killed his victim by mistake as he did everything he could to prevent the Ultimate Son of a Bitch, Nagito, from killing a member of the group in his quest for the the brightest hope in the face of despair.

If it was an accident, then why risk his friends’ lives to try and get away with the killing? It turns out he has a sick mother who he desperately wanted to see, making him fight tooth and nail for his own survival. Yet, we never find out her fate. Instead, we get a battered, deep fried chef who’s turned into a literal tempura after being dipped into a volcano. Considering the previous executions were relatively grounded, this was the first clue that Jabberwok Island wasn’t as it appeared, as the cast of the second game would later learn.

Mondo Owada: The Cage of Death

Equal parts funny and disgusting, Mondo’s execution after his insecurities led him to murder the Ultimate Programer, (and everyone’s favorite trap,) Chihiro Fujisaki, the former motorcycle gang member goes out as he lived. While strapped to the seat of his bike, he’s placed in a stunt cage and drives around so fast while being simultaneously electrocuted, that he ends up being liquified. Signaled by the reveal of Monokuma’s new favorite butter, it’s pretty disgusting when you see the bear eating the remains of your friend on top of his stack of pancakes.

Junko Enoshima: The Ultimate Punishment

As the mastermind who led both your classmates and the entire world to go on a murderous rampage, we should have reached peak satisfaction when it was time for Junko to get what was coming to her. Yet, her comeuppance felt bittersweet, considering the despair obsessed psychopath was actually excited to feel the true despair that only death can bring. Rather than setting up a unique execution for herself, she ends up going through every other execution from the first game! It makes you wonder what this girl is made of to survive being burned alive, crushed by a truck, electrocuted and bulldozed before finally being smashed to death by a giant weight.

And even then, this wouldn’t be the last we heard from Ms. Enoshima…

Gundham Tanaka: Gundham Tanaka Stampede

Gundham seemed to be a polarizing figure in the second game, and I landed on the side that couldn’t stand him. His obsession with the occult, his absurd speech mannerisms and his belief that he was some kind of demon king above all us mortals was only slightly offset by the Ultimate Breeder’s adorable crew of hamsters, the Four Dark Devas of Destruction. But even then, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy once his time finally came.

After reaching an agreement to fight and ultimately kill a fellow classmate as a sacrifice to spur the waning crew back into action, Gundham is placed in the path of a heard of stampeding bulls. Not being one to take his fate lying down, he sets up a magic seal, seemingly making good on the demonic power he claimed to possess all this time. Unfortunately for him, his spell doesn’t activate in time, leading him to being trampled to death. In his last moments, he gives a comforting look to his pets before the animals that had long since passed carry his spirit up into heaven. Part silly and part heartbreaking, seeing how much he cared for his companions meant he couldn’t be all bad. Right?

Makoto Naegi / Kyoko Kirigiri: After School Lesson

This one barely counts since one is a “what if” scenario if you make the wrong choice during the fifth trial, and the other one doesn’t go through. Regardless, it ranks high on the list mostly due to the tension it creates when experiencing it for the first time.

Setting up a fake murder for the purpose of getting rid of the Ultimate Detective, Kyoko Kirigiri, the player as main character Makoto Naegi has the choice to either fall into the trap, leading to Kyoko being killed and the remaining classmates living the rest of their days trapped in Hopes Peak Academy, or having Makoto take the fall, leading to our lead being killed instead. Naturally, things don’t go as planned, because just as Makoto is about to be crushed on the conveyor belt, Alter Ego comes back from the dead and shuts down the device just in time to save him.

On another note, I feel like dying while being strapped to a desk and being taught reproduction by a robot teddy bear would be a terrible way to go out.

Chiaki Nanami and Monomi: Please Insert Coin

Considering how serious this moment is, it’s almost unfitting to see such an important character die via Tetris block. But that’s what happens with Chiaki Nanami, our inaugural waifu of the year in 2014.

The Ultimate Gamer was a beacon of hope and encouragement for the class in the second game, especially when its protagonist, Hajime Hinata, felt completely lost. All the while, the class had an underlying suspicion of one another since it was established early on that one of their peers was a mole sent by the mysterious Future Foundation. As it turns out, Chiaki was that mole, but all wasn’t as it appeared to be.

You see, Chiaki was actually an AI created by Alter Ego from the first game designed as a sort of anti virus to help prevent outside interference. It turns out the entire game was a virtual simulation meant to rehabilitate some of the worst criminals the world had ever seen, but it had been hacked by the true mastermind on behalf of Junko from the first game. Nagito, that lunatic that I mentioned from Teruteru’s execution, discovered the truth before anyone else and decided to set up an unsolvable murder, using himself as the sacrifice. He planned on killing himself and all of his classmates, ridding the world of the criminals they really were and leaving Chiaki as the only survivor. Only things didn’t pan out this way, and Chiaki’s undying faith in their true selves helped her convince them to choose her as the killer. A choice that ended up being both correct, and completely unbearable. Luckily, AI’s never truly die, and both her and Monomi (as Usami), return to help the survivors during their final showdown.

And to think, this isn’t even the worst of what Chiaki ended up going through.

Peko Pekoyama: One Woman Army

None of the class were supposed to have known each other when waking up on Jabberwok Island, but two of them had an instant familiarity with each other. Peko Pekoyama, the Ultimate Swordswoman and Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu, the Ultimate Gangster, were childhood associates, with the former being the latter’s bodyguard. All of this was unbeknownst to the rest of the group, so when case two came along and it turned out that Peko killed a classmate in Fuyuhiko’s name after being threatened by the victim, who was really responsible?

Ultimately, it was Peko who was sent to her death since she was the one who actually committed the act. But what makes her death even more noteworthy isn’t so much over how much of a badass she came off as while slicing down all of the dummies trying to kill her, but that in the process, the tough exterior of her boss fades away as he pushes through the danger to try and help her. What he gets in return is an accidental near death experience, as Peko inadvertently slices through him while cutting down one of the puppets. In her sorrow, she cradles her friend as she’s stabbed to death be her endless hoard of enemies.

As the only execution that made me audibly gasp once it appeared as if we were getting two deaths in one execution, we ended up getting a much more cooperative, level heading Kuzuryu, taking Peko’s death to heart. He may have lost an eye, but in return, he gains a whole new level of maturity that carries him through the rest of the game.

Chiaki Nanami: The first punishment

You may be wondering why Chiaki is here again if she was already killed above? It turns out that the AI from the game was based on a real person, and she was the victim of the first true execution as we would come to know them.

As the only real punishment in the Danganronpa 3 anime, the real Chiaki was the class representative to the Danganronpa 2 class. The anchor that held them all together so to speak. So when Junko decided that she needed a group of followers to help her spread despair around the world, she used a combination of brainwashing and the murder of their beloved classmate to drive them all insane by forcing them all to watch her death.

Mimicking video games like Gauntlet, the Ultimate Gamer was forced to traverse an endless labyrinth full of deadly traps, each one landing with brutal effectiveness. Over the course of what’s essentially a ten minute murder porn session, we witness this girl who both the characters and the viewers grew so attached to have her arm broken, her eye smashed, her foot impaled and her physical limits pushed to the absolute brink before finally finding the exit and reuniting with her friends.

Or so she thought. As she seemingly escapes, a room full of spikes shoot from the ground, impaling her entire body and leaving her in a bloody heap. As she bleeds to death, she sees her friend Hajime one last time, now approaching her as the artificial Ultimate, Izuru Kamakura. In her final moments she cries out her desire to see her friends again, leading the emotionless Izuru to cry for the first time since transforming into what he had now become. Compelled by Chiaki’s undying will, he realizes that Junko’s brand of chaos isn’t the only way to reach one’s full potential, leading him to go behind her back and set up the Chiaki AI. Seeking to see which ideology is the strongest, he sets up a scenario where their ideals will clash one last time in the final showdown between hope and despair.

This scene showed that despite how charismatic and humorous she could be, Junko was a real monster. But most importantly, it showed the catalyst that led to the events of both games, even if we had to have our souls completely crushed in the process. I still get sad thinking about this scene… But there can only be one top execution, and for that, we’ll have to go from the end to the beginning.

Leon Kuwata: The 1,000 Blows

As the saying goes, you never forget your first.

Leon Kuwata, the Ultimate Baseball Star, was the first character to be executed after being outed as the murderer of Sayaka Maizono. She was planning to murder Makoto in an attempt to escape and discover what had happened to the bandmates in her idol group, but after being spotted by Leon, a series of events took place where he ended up killing her instead.

As the first execution, the game wanted to make sure to leave a lasting impression on us, and that it did. From not knowing what to expect as the first real conclusion to a case, to the haunting animation that would be associated with the rest of the punishments going forward, to the way he is chained and dragged away kicking and screaming is a level of fright that none of the other executions have achieved since. But then, we get to the actual execution, one fitting for a baseball star such as himself.

After being tied to a pole, Kuwata is shot with a ball from a pitching machine. And then another. And another. Suddenly, he’s being shot with hundreds of baseballs all over his body to the point where he eventually dies from the endless injuries being inflicted upon him in such a methodical, painful way. As the last bloody baseball rolls to the camera while his limp body hangs in the background, it’s at this point that you know you’re going to be in for a sick, twisted affair of a game.

You know what the crazy part is? This version is actually more tame than the original concept! As the only execution that was altered due to the graphic nature of the scene in the anime adaptation, the game version was actually toned down from the beta version. There, the scene plays out similarly, but eventual blood splatter starts flying from him while he’s still alive. Each ball results in another splatter until the whole room is eventually full of the stuff as if we were suddenly playing Mortal Kombat. It’s hard to imagine that this death could get any worse than the one we were presented with, and yet, here we are.

If you couldn’t tell, it takes a special kind of sadistic to come up with these executions. With a whole new game right around the corner, I can only imagine what new, sickening ways the developers will come up with when it comes to killing off our friends. Yet, its this despair that keeps us coming back, and I can’t wait to feel that sting all over again in two weeks.

What would your execution rankings be? Do you think any of them are off base? Let us know in the comments!