Danganronpa 3 – Hope Arc

February 10, 2017

To bridge the twin simultaneous series of the Despair Arc and Future Arc, thus we have this special broadcast, Danganronpa 3 – Hope Arc to bring closure and end everything once and for all. Will the world finally be flooded with mindless hope because hope is still hope no matter how you put it. Unless that is like despair in disguise. Oh damn. I’m confused now…

Hope Floats
Hinata is seen by Yukizome’s body. He regrets the terrible things he has done with his power but because of it, he managed to bring everyone else back. Naegi is being cornered and pushed back by the elite force. But the luck of Komaeda has taken them out. It seems the Remnants are back and are now on the good side thanks to Hinata healing them back to normal. They are the ones who also helped dig out Togami’s side from the rubble. We see them display and use their talents fending off the elite force. Then they face Mitarai who is still bent on resetting everything even if it means everyone losing their emotions, etc. He claims he is not strong like them and blames himself that a lot of people died. Hinata doesn’t blame him for thinking that way but doing so means erasing history. Because it is as though they are acting Nanami never existed. Their role as survivors is to atone their sins and carry on living. Mitarai is unsure of what to do since he is always alone. Well, look no further. These guys will always be with him from now on. After a lot of contemplating, crying and breaking down, Mitarai finally finds the courage to stop the broadcast. Now you can let those tears run freely and have a big group hug. That’s a good boy. And everything is resolved without Naegi having to lift a single finger or say a single word.

Naegi returns to base where Togami shows a footage released from Future Foundation. Hinata and the Remnants are claiming responsibility on this since hope is boring and thus bringing to you this despair. Before you jump to conclusions that they are sheep in wolves’ clothing, take note that this is just an act to ‘deceive’ the world and make them think they are behind this so as not to tarnish the good name of Future Foundation. It’s like playing the villain. Nanami is heard talking to Hinata and narrating to us when Hinata entered the New World Programme. An AI was supposed to be created to monitor him which was supposed to be her. However there was no need for all that since there was someone all of them wanted to see again. Since Nanami is able to see all of them, she thinks miracle has won. The ex-Remnants leave the place via ship. Munakata warns Naegi that he is going to be a hero as the world needs one who fought despair. Can he shoulder it? If the ex-Remnants had the burden of carrying despair, then Naegi has the burden of carrying hope. Munakata also has his own burdens to carry then. Tsumiki shows an antidote that Seiko tried creating during the mutual killing game. It’s a medicine that would slow the spread of the wristband’s poison. So guessed who lived? That lucky person who was able to received Tsumiki’s treatment with this antidote is no other than Kirigiri. And this completes our full cycle of hope and not let it end in despair, right? A few months later, we see Naegi’s side rebuilding Hope Academy. Naegi is the headmaster and Kirigiri a teacher.

Hope To See You Again
Erm… Somehow I feel that there are a few parts missing here and there. Because you know, it just doesn’t explain how Hinata return back to his normal state from his super Kamukura form. Maybe there wasn’t much to it. Ushering back the ex-Remnants feel a bit rushed because they need to spend some time giving some drama to Mitarai and end it. So it ends like that? No wonder hope is so boring. And there’s this Nanami’s explanation that I didn’t get at all on how the virtual reality programme works but what the heck, as long as a good happy ending is in sight then everything else doesn’t matter. I was wondering the fate of some of the characters like Monaka because I suppose she is going to be stuck in space forever. What will be of Munakata? How will he pay his respects to Yukizome and Sakakura assuming he isn’t part of the new Hope Peak or whatever academy Naegi wants to call this new future school of his. And where are the ex-Remnants going now? They leave by ship but to where? Are they going to live on an island all by themselves seeing that they have become the bad guys in the eyes of the world? Most likely. Because you can’t blame anybody for trying to kill them seeing them walking in the streets after the despair they have caused.

And the most ‘outrageous’ of all is Kirigiri coming back to life. It feels unfair that only she is the dead one who has to return to life. She is the last person who died from the poison in the wristband but I am not sure how long it was since her death and the end of this entire drama. How long can a human body stay dead and then revive again without having any major damage to the body organs? Kirigiri looks fine to me. As though she woke up from a great sleep. And I believe it hasn’t even been a day since the mutual killings started so if Kirigiri can be resurrected, why not the rest who died from their forbidden actions? Unless you tell me Seiko only made a vial worth for one person. Too bad. But even if you think of it, if Kirigiri was administered the antidote right on time, the poison would have spread quickly throughout her body during that time interval and thus the antidote would be useless in slowing it down. I mean, if this was the case, the rest wouldn’t have died a fast death, right? So it makes no sense. Yeah, this story was written on hope, not logic.

Overall, I feel that this special episode felt a bit lukewarm in trying to end everything on a feel good note. Some bits I felt were not there but maybe they’ll show another special episode to bridge it. You know, like the big battle between Naegi and Enoshima that resulted in the latter’s death. I can only blame myself for expecting a lot after the tense and suspenseful arcs but then again, we’re all weak in our own ways. So from what I learn from what these guys said, we are supposed to accept our weakness and failures because it gives us hope? Well okay. I’m a loser otaku and have always been one for the longest time. Gee, that doesn’t make me feel better and instead just feeling more despair instead. Oh, right. I remember I’m not even a super high school level in anything. Despair seems to be so much more tempting…

If you love the original animated Danganronpa series, then we have good news for you. Make that double good news. Because not only Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc was released as a sequel, it was also aired alongside with another arc (Despair Arc) in the same season and both series run concurrently side by side with each other. Double the fun, double the despair. For this one, as its name suggests it takes place in the future after Naegi and the survivors leave Hope Peak but in the aftermath of fighting the biggest despair incident to have been brought down on mankind. However history seems to repeat itself again as this group of people find themselves in another deadly game of killing for survival. Can Naegi’s hope save the day, world and mankind once again? Can hope be unlimited like despair? Hope has never been much more powerful than prayers… If you find my opening paragraph somewhat similar to my previous blog on this series, well, you’re not seeing double. After all, I watched them simultaneously or rather together.

Episode 1
As narrated, the biggest and most atrocious despair inducing incident happened in human history. These Super High School Level Despairs fought wars that destroyed the world and humanity’s last hope was Future Foundation. They fought a bloody battle and it reached a turning point when Enoshima was killed. Humanity was victorious. However Remnants of Despair continued their activities and the war continued. At a Future Foundation branch, Kazuo Tengan is the chairman and former director of Hope Peak High School. He chairs a meeting with other executives to discuss about Naegi’s betrayal. However the rest end up arguing about the safety of this place since it isn’t on any map and how the Remnants have been increasing their attacks lately. Till Kyousuke Munakata the vice chairman tells them off and to get back on track. It seems Naegi has hid Remnants. Not just ordinary Remnants but million dollar class that served under Enoshima. Some believe Naegi put on a show to kill Enoshima to let their guard down and he was an ally of Despair all along. So when Naegi is ushered in, Juzo Sakakura immediately cuffs him and beats him up. Since he is in no position to be interrogated (thanks for those injuries, Sakakura), the meeting is suspended for the moment as Chisa Yukizome treats him. She also talks to him why he shielded those Remnants. Naegi isn’t sure but he thought at one point they had hope before falling into despair. She cautious that you can’t defeat the Remnants by being nice and that’s why they need Munakata’s decisiveness. After Kirigiri bumps into Ryouta Mitarai who is supposed to meet Tengan for the meeting, something rocks the building. They believe Remnants are attacking the place as all entries and exits are sealed off. Furthermore, all security guards are found dead in the bathroom. Once everyone gathers in the meeting room, a smoke bomb is dropped in and everyone immediately passes out. When they wake up, each of them has a wristband with a timer. A familiar laughter is heard. It is Monokuma on the monitor. Is he still alive? He ‘thanks’ everyone for Remnants’ losing streak and thus this is his way of ‘thanking’ them. They are going to play a game to kill each other. Of course nobody is going to play this game as they are all allies. It is then Munakata realizes Yukizome is missing. Then they realize her dead body stuck up in the chandelier! Monokuma adds that his killing game will determine the fate of humanity as well as the conclusion to the story of Naegi and Monokuma.

Episode 2
Monokuma explains the rules. Once the timer runs out, a sleep inducing drug will put them to sleep. However one will wake up and pick somebody to kill. So if everyone manages to find and kill the killer, the next time they sleep and wake up and nobody dies, they win the game. Also, everyone has an action they cannot perform on their wristband or else a lethal poison will be released. They also cannot take off or destroy it or else the same will be done. Good luck and Godspeed. Miaya Gekkogahara tries to hack into Monokuma but got her avatar in which she speaks through hacked instead. It seems the system is perfectly guarded from outside but somebody hacked it from inside. This further proves one among them is the traitor. Sakakura believes Naegi is the one and tries to force him to admit. Asahina defends him and he too gets violent but since Mitarai advises him not be violent on girls, he got beaten up instead. That is when Daisaku Bandai suddenly dies. His weakness is that he cannot witness violence. Of course the best course is to check everyone’s weakness but many are against of letting it be known for fear of being used against them. Munakata then has everyone pinpoint the killer. Majority votes for Naegi. Munakata tells Naegi that if he hates despair, kill himself. Since he won’t, Sakakura and Munakata are going to kill him but Great Gozu won’t let this injustice happen as he fends them off. Kirigiri releases a smoke bomb to let Asahina and Naegi escape. Asahina has to carry him and run since his weakness is that he cannot run. Gozu and Gekkogahara side with Naegi and Asahina as they fight off persistent Munakata and then lose him. It is nearly nap time as everyone scatters throughout the building. Naegi and Asahina are hiding and she is scared this killing is going to happen all over again like last time. Naegi gives her hope to trust his super luckiness. They overcame this before and know each other better this time. Nap time comes and goes. When Naegi wakes up, he finds his fist bloodied and Asahina dead.

Episode 3
Well guess what? Asahina’s blood is tomato sauce and the knife in her stomach is just a toy. Phew, right? So who got killed then? GOZU!!!!!! The plan now is to talk to everyone and Naegi can do so if he goes to the broadcast room in which Gekkogahara has regained some control over the hacking. Naegi notices Gekkogahara’s odd way of travelling in her wheelchair. He realizes her weakness is that she cannot turn right. Gekkogahara fears for her life but Naegi assures he will not disclose her secret and shows his. Asahina also shows them hers: She cannot get punched or kicked. Thinking somebody is nearby, Asahina and Gekkogahara become decoys so Naegi can carry on. He informs everyone of Gozu’s death and explains why he helped Remnants. Before they were driven to despair, they were ordinary students till they met Enoshima. Thus Naegi helped them by using a virtual rehabilitation programme, New World to restore their memories before Enoshima implanted despair in them. He talks about the need to trust each other. He is going to abandon this game. By telling everyone his weakness? Well, logically if he was the killer he wouldn’t do that, right? Of course Munakata despite calling it a fine speech finds it hollow because Naegi speaks of hope but doesn’t know true despair. We take a short detour to see Seiko Kimura having some bone to pick with the couple Ruruka Andou and Sounosuke Izayoi. Both sides accuse each other of being traitors as Seiko chases the couple down. Beast mode? As expected Munakata finds Naegi to kill him despite the latter pleading he doesn’t want to fight. As allies they should talk. Munakata chides him he doesn’t know what true despair is and he won the last time because it was a game based on Enoshima’s rules. Therefore Naegi is much more dangerous as behind his words are not hope but despair. Munakata believes in power. That is why he will make many victims as it takes to destroy despair even if it means his own death. If Naegi’s words have power, stop his sword then. Alas his shallow hope cannot stop his sword.

Episode 4
Sakakura attacks Kirigiri’s group since he believes all those associated with Naegi are traitors. However he is taken out by Tengan. Not bad for an old man. Asahina and Gekkogahara reunite with Kirigiri’s group. Mitarai feels useless and guilty as he partially injured Kirigiri during the fight. They tell him he need not be like Naegi. Just be himself. Munakata then announces he has captured Naegi and will execute him. Kirigiri knows this is a trap to lure the killer because he would have killed Naegi already. True enough, this is Munakata’s plan as he explains the rest to Naegi. He is very sure Naegi is not the killer. The worst outcome for this game is not everyone being wiped out by the killer. Because the killer would have killed everyone in one go if that was the case. Imagine if Munakata dies and nobody else is killed. Normally one would think Munakata is the killer. However there is no way of ascertaining that. This would mean the killer would easily infiltrate Future Foundation, pose as a top executive and spread despair in the name of hope. They will be controlling Future Foundation from the shadows while using Naegi as a tool to achieve their means. Tengan attacks Munakata and fights him so Asahina could rescue Naegi and take him to a safe place. Meanwhile Kirigiri and Mitarai are re-examining Yukizome’s corpse. The chase between Seiko and the couple is still ongoing. Both blame each other for their expulsion from Hope Peak. Munakata and Tengan’s fight ends in a bloody draw. Well, not actually. When they fall off the level, Tengan was pierced by a metal rod. Seeing Tengan’s resolve has made Munakata to admit he was wrong and changed his mind. He wants to know what he is thinking. Sakakura is hot on the heels of Naegi. Seeing neither Naegi nor Asahina can fight properly, Gekkogahara faces off with him. However he kicks her off her wheelchair. It seems Gekkogahara is just a robot and the real person is controlling her from somewhere.

Episode 5
Flashback reveals Seiko, Ruruka and Izayoi were friends when they were young. Ruruka was impressed by her medicine talent. However Seiko cannot eat any sweets or sugar as she has some medical condition that would kill her. This insulted Ruruka in a way since the only thing good she can do is make sweets. Over the years we see Seiko becoming Ruruka’s errand girl all in the name of friendship. Meanwhile Munakata once believed Tengan used to be stronger till he became a coward. He replies about Munakata’s naivety in thinking if he wipes out all Remnants, he can rid the world of despair. War alone cannot extinguish despair. That is why Kamakura Project was initiated. Munakata thinks Tengan is part of Remnants since this means he was the attacker. Ruruka has figured out Seiko’s weakness as she has Izayoi get some weapon (in which he discovers some secret entrance). From the way Seiko acts, she knows her weakness is for someone to step on her shadow. Ruruka can help Seiko if she eats her sweet. Of course Seiko refuses citing her condition. But Ruruka still refuses to believe that. In that case, kill Munakata. She thinks if he dies, this whole mess will end. Of course Seiko can’t do that too. When she was expelled from Hope Peak, he helped her. Seiko devours more pills to become a super ferocious beast as she takes out all the lights and then hunt down Ruruka. But their chase ended up getting caught in Sakakura’s fight with Asahina and Naegi. It gets messier when Gekkogahara returns to fire her missile. Kirigiri continues her corpse investigation to find the killer’s pattern. Tengan refutes he is a Remnant. Munakata takes his answer as that he knows the killer’s identity. For suspense, we don’t get to hear what the old man says and we see Munakata’s shock reaction. Tengan reveals his weakness: Answer questions with a lie. But Munakata won’t waver and cuts him down. Not before Tengan quickly blinds his right eye with the metal rod. As nap time is around the corner, Seiko laments how things with Ruruka turned out this way. All she wanted was a friend and did her bidding because she trusted her only to realize she was being used. Unfortunately she’ll never get to know because she became the killer’s next victim.

Episode 6
Munakata remembers his past. Just after he, Yukizome and Sakakura graduate, he tells them his plans to expand Hope Peak to overseas since there are many bad rumours about Hope Peak as an organization. When he comes back, he wants Sakakura to take over security and Yukizome to forge ties and contacts as a teacher. Making the world a better place is not his dream. It is his plan. And now Munakata might feel his plan might be a little dashed so he stabbed his sword into Yukizome’s chest? Trying to make sure she is really dead? I knew it would be too good to be true when Naegi is shocked that Kirigiri became the next victim. It was just a dream. I hope it isn’t a foreboding of something. Kouichi Kizakura follows Kirigiri and Mitarai in examining the bodies. Then they stumble upon Izayoi’s body. Making it puzzling is that Seiko’s body is also found. Is the killer breaking the rules? Ruruka is saddened her boyfriend is gone. She pleads them to take her into their group as she is a useless person. Okay. But Kirigiri will have her help them out with their investigation. Gekkogahara connects to the security cameras to find the next victim. Naegi breaks down when he sees Tengan’s body. This hopeful guy just fell into despair. He thought all he did was for nothing. Ironically Gekkogahara gives him hope that everything will be fine in the end. There is also an ‘encouraging’ note left behind by Tengan supposedly for Naegi entrusting the future to him.

When Asahina notes how she hates the game and the rules they have to stick with, it then hit Naegi they don’t have to play this game. But how can they get out if all exits are sealed? Have someone from the outside make one! Gekkogahara sets up her system trying to connect outside. It is Togami who picks up the line. Apparently he doesn’t know there is this killing game going on. There is no worldwide broadcast as claimed by Monokuma. After hearing Naegi’s story, he lets him know that a spy he sent reported that Future Foundation’s peacekeeping squad is headed towards Jabberwock Island. It means Munakata had intended to kill everyone on that island regardless of the meeting’s outcome. Since the squad only answers to Munakata, there might be a connection with what is happening at the branch and on the island. Togami has also sent his forces to the island and he will personally be on his way to Naegi. After the call ends, Togami’s subordinate wonders why he didn’t tell Naegi the truth. Because the real Gekkogahara is dead and the one with them is an imposter. Togami’s reason is that because she is close to Naegi, it might put him in danger if he were to expose her. The best thing now is to let her be and strike the one behind this. He believes the only Remnants who can do this is Monaka Towa who is hiding in Towa City. Fortunately for Togami, Fukawa and Naegi’s little sister, Komaru are there.

Episode 7
We see Monaka giving her eulogy at Enoshima’s funeral. She is blaming Naegi for this. Claiming there is still hope for despair (oh, the irony), Monaka will become Enoshima’s successor and drive Future Foundation and the world to despair. Komaru and Fukawa are pushing forward fighting an army of Monokuma troops. Komaru narrates she is neither hope nor despair but just an ordinary girl who got separated from her brother during that greatest incident. She has been waiting in this town like a video game and waiting for Naegi to end the war. The duo barge into Monaka’s tower and see Monaka on a monitor as she proclaims to bring despair to Naegi. As she sends her robots to surround them, suddenly and surprisingly she surrenders! She knows too well that somehow hope always wins. She’s done with this and detonates the place! At least half the building is still standing. Komaru and Fukawa then find the real Monaka bumming around in her filthy Monokuma trailer room. They are shocked that Monaka doesn’t want to play this despair thing anymore. It’s embarrassing. She reveals she is not the one behind the killing game at Future Foundation’s branch and although she did kill Gekkogahara, it was just to see Naegi up close and personal. She was the one that did the murder prank on Asahina. When Monaka heard Naegi talk about hope and despair a while ago, it made her realize she didn’t want to end up like him and is done with despair. Although she doesn’t know who the culprit is behind this game, what she does know is that because of Naegi, one of the survivors of Enoshima’s killing game will die. She will not say who. Monaka is bored with life on Earth and decides to head off and live in space. Blasting away into the sky! At first Fukawa wanted to follow her to squeeze more info out of her but Komaru wants them to go back. She cites Togami’s name as a good reason. You want Fukawa to do things? Always cite that guy’s name. While they think Monaka doing nothing is a form of despair, Komaru believes once she is bored staying in her room, she’ll come back. Komaru manages to hack into Gekkogahara’s system to inform Naegi about Monaka’s warning. Fukawa does the same to Togami.

Episode 8
Once the transmission ends, Gekkogahara acts like a robot. Naegi and Asahina try to leave but stumble into Munakata. If not for Gekkogahara combining with her wheelchair into some mech to fight him, the duo might not have a chance to escape. Kirigiri is still looking at every inch of the room for hints. Kizakura just dismantled all the traps set by Izayoi in the room. Because Ruruka is seemingly clumsy, Kizakura vaguely hints about her trying to form her own breakaway group in Future Foundation. Sakakura enters the room hell bent on killing Kirigiri. Kizakura fights him and manages to let him step on a trap and wound him. Kizakura’s sharp observation notes that this former boxer has been attacking using everything except his fists. Could it be his forbidden action restricts him from attacking with his bare hands? In exchange, Kizakura tells his own forbidden action: He cannot open his left hand. It must remain closed/clenched. When Kirigiri resumes he investigation, Ruruka lets off a bomb that would have sent her dropping down and to her death had not Kizakura used his hands to grab and pull her up. Oh. Did he just open his left hand? Damn. And another one bites the dust. Ruruka is going to kill all of them as she makes Sakakura eat her chocolates that will control his mind. However he fights and resists against it. Watching Ruruka’s actions, Kirigiri has deduced she was the one who killed Izayoi. He died of his own forbidden actions. It was made to look like he died via the killer’s knife. However all victims had an embedded stab in their hearts. There was none on Izayoi. It is believed Ruruka used the knife from Seiko for this deception. Kirigiri even went as far as to taste Izayoi’s saliva and tasted something sweet. Who else is a master of cooking and close enough to him? She reveals a secret door behind the shelves from the way the marks the furniture was dragged. It is believed to be an exit. Thus Ruruka’s forbidden action is for anyone who leaves the game. So when Izayoi found it, Ruruka must have panicked. Sakakura tries to open the door and leave as Ruruka desperately tries to stop him. Kirigiri and Mitarai didn’t join in helping to open the door but head out of the room. Togami has arrived outside the building. Hagakure must be happy to see him seeing we’ve seen him running around like a clown and his luck managed to still keep him alive from all the attacks. After setting the explosives, they blast away the rubble. A member carelessly activates a trap that sends the building sinking.

Episode 9
Sakakura opens the door but realizes he still can’t get out because they’re underwater! Kirigiri tells Mitarai that the secret exit was fake. This might be an identical space below and not the original room they were in above ground. When they were knocked out the first time, they were moved to the identical part below. Whoever did this must sure put in a hell lot of effort to move everyone. Kirigiri knows this because she observed some of the damage marks in earlier rooms were missing when the killing game started. She suspects Munakata as the main culprit because he was the one who designed this facility and she notices the game rules favour him the most. Kirigiri and Mitarai reunite with Naegi and Asahina. Naegi sounds like he is starting to lose faith so Kirigiri gives him the much needed motivation to continue being hope. After Munakata slashes Gekkogahara into half, he reunites with Sakakura. After a short talk about their ideals and past endeavours, Munakata then stabs him! Then he blames despair for killing him… WTF. Ruruka has witnessed Sakakura’s murder. Although scared, she thinks he deserved being betrayed. Flashback shows Izayoi after discovering the secret exit, went to seal it up and set lots of traps so no one can find it as he knew Ruruka’s forbidden action. He promised he would never betray her and assured he cares more about her than himself. Naturally Ruruka is still scared so how to you really ensure Izayoi won’t betray her? Betray him first! While they were passionately kissing, she slips a sweet into his mouth knowing his forbidden action is putting food in his mouth. Izayoi didn’t hate her and continued to love her till his last breath. It is sleeping time again. Naegi and co barricade themselves but Kirigiri thinks it won’t do them any good since the culprit has full control over the playing field. But whatever happens, she tells Naegi never to lose hope. Sleeping time is over. Ruruka has become the latest victim. So this means Naegi is alive. Yay! Mitarai is alive. Hooray! Asahina is alive. Yahoo! Kirigiri… Hey, she’s not getting up. OMFG! SHE’S DEAD!!! Death by her own forbidden action?! That is, passing the fourth time limit with Naegi alive. That doesn’t sound fair. Naegi is in despair when Munakata contacts him. He should have known of Kirigiri’s forbidden action by now. He mocks this is why his hope is useless. It is time to settle whose hope is right.

Episode 10
Although Naegi puts on a brave face, he understands Kirigiri never said anything about this for she knows he will panic and run around to help her out, losing sight of his goal. The only thing he can do now is to face off with Munakata and settle this once and for all. The cat and mouse game begins as Naegi seems to be luring him into a certain room. It looked like Naegi has taken a beating and is going to be cut by his sword but he stops short. Naegi knows his forbidden action. He has observed the times he has chased him and all. Munakata cannot open doors. So if he kills him here now, he will be trapped in this room. Naegi wants to talk and cooperate but Munakata is not convinced. He will wipe out all despair even if it means sacrificing. Naegi disagrees that is not hope. All he is ever looking at is despair. Even if he gets rid of despair, that itself won’t create hope. Munakata reveals Tengan told him the truth. There is more than one killer. Everybody in Future Foundation is a killer! It made Munakata realize that Yukizome was also tainted with despair. There was a photo of kids being massacred and she was in despair who did this. When in actual fact it was her who did it. When did she first get tainted with despair? That is why he will rid of despair even if it is only a memory. Naegi disagrees again and doesn’t want him to say that he’ll rid of others like Yukizome. He gives example had Kirigiri turned into despair and betrayed everyone and had Naegi had no choice but to kill her, no matter what he would still be glad to have met her. I guess those are the winning words because Munakata’s scream of despair could only mean that, right? As the guys sit and cool themselves down, Munakata can only lament when did they go wrong. Asahina then comes in to tell them to stop killing each other because she has found out who the killer is.

Episode 11
According to Kirigiri’s notes on her observations, she believes the victims killed themselves and it has something to do with the monitors. Naegi tests this out as he is tied up and placed next to a monitor before the next sleeping session comes into effect. Naegi then wakes up first and sees a pre-recorder video of Monokuma on the monitor. He watches some weird crap sh*t on the video and the next thing he knows, he is hallucinating and sees his dead pals from the first season. All blaming him and then tempting him to come over to their side. Naegi goes crazy as he picks up a knife dropped from the monitor and tries to kill himself. Luckily he is stopped and snapped out by Sakakura. Why is he still awake? He cut of his hand! Bloody! Naegi explains that the killer is actually the victim committing suicide. When everyone is asleep, the monitor detects the one closest via the wristband and wakes him/her up to watch a brainwashing video before committing suicide. Naegi wants his help to destroy all the monitors. Is he crazy? Does he know how many there are? Sakakura is not going to do it. He tells Naegi he hated him because he defeated Enoshima who once brainwashed him. He knew she was evil but never reported to him and this is the result. In the end, he believes Munakata abandoned him for that. When the rest wake up and learn of this, Munakata believes the only one who can set all this up is Tengan. Because he is the true Remnants. It is hard to believe that old guy is the culprit as Munakata continues that his team were once investigating Enoshima and all evidence pointed to her as the evil. But Munakata heard from Sakakura and Yukizome that she isn’t evil and he believed them despite he knew better otherwise. That is when Tengan took advantage of their weakness. Sakakura is at the breaker room and turns off the power, cutting electricity to the monitors and releasing the wristbands. OMG. That simple?! Why didn’t somebody think of this in the first place?! Naegi tells Munakata to go to Sakakura. Even though he abandoned him, Sakakura still believe in him to get him out of this game. By the time he arrives, too late to apologize to a dead body. In the aftermath, Naegi asks Mitarai about the videos because it seems as a super animator only he can make this. Mitarai is fraught with guilt but insists he didn’t do it but Enoshima stole his technology. Suddenly Mitarai gets a call from Tengan!

Episode 12
Many years before, Yukizome passed a USB containing the video that brainwashed the Remnants to Tengan. She lies she has never seen its contents. He took and kept it. Now, that call from Tengan is a pre-recorded video of him admitting he is the mastermind of this! Mitarai falls into despair as he explains how all this came to. It was his brainwashing video. He ran away then but now he won’t. Now he is going to put an end to this by showing the world another brainwashing video filled with hope. Fighting fire with fire? He can do it now since his forbidden action was the use of his talent. It seems Mitarai disagrees with Naegi’s way in overcoming despair as the former believes despair as long as it exists, humans will repeat this tragedy. He makes Asahina watch his brainwashing video and orders her to stop Naegi. Mitarai stumbles into the special forces, has them watch his video, spread it to others as well as a special order to eliminate those who gets in his way. Naegi could have been done for but Munakata saves him and hears him out. It is then Naegi realizes Tengan isn’t one of the Remnants. So he setup this elaborate mutual killing to force Mitarai into doing this? Also, the killings aren’t broadcast outside. Naegi remembers Mitarai wasn’t supposed to be in the meeting. That’s why Tengan was a bit surprised. Had Mitarai know there was going to be mutual killings, he would have used the video. Also, all the hopeful things Tengan said weren’t directed towards Naegi but Mitarai. They deduce Mitarai is going to eliminate all negative emotions with his broadcast. He is making his way to the annex where he can broadcast his video to the entire world in 30 minutes. Naegi and co rush there but are obstructed by the special forces. Now we take a detour to Enoshima and Yukizome commenting on everything. It’s like a cinema for dead people? So Enoshima explains about Tengan’s actions and the main cause of Tengan and Munakata’s hostility boiled down to their interpretations of despair. The source was Yukizome because she told Munakata to eliminate despair. There are clips of Naegi trying to ‘repair’ the Remnants in his secret location via brainwashing virtual reality but he was summoned to Future Foundation before he could learn the results. Even if Mitarai is successful, Future Foundation’s image is tarnished and nobody is going to follow it. So Enoshima thinks. She is glad despair did a good job. But Yukizome still believes even though their future is over, this is the beginning of hope. Not that Enoshima cares. They’re dead, right? Cornered Naegi is saved by bumbling Hagakure. He even suggests they surrender! Till Togami comes in and has his efficient MIBs take out the squad! Seeing Naegi in a pinch, he taunts if he is really that lucky.

Hopelessly Hopeful
Oh wait a minute. You mean it ended on a cliff-hanger? Just like that Despair arc too? Oh, I see. Looks like they are going to link up the finale with that hope arc. The final episode that converges and ends everything. I guess it is not that bad then but as far as this particular season and arc goes, I would say it is rather intriguing and fascinating overall.

Following the first season’s formula of mutual killings, this season still feels interesting since they bring in a new bunch of faces and mix old ones who survived the last killing game. The fun on my part was to guess who was going to go next while trying to also predict the culprit behind it all. Of course I know certain main characters would last longer or if not survive the ordeal. But I could never be too sure of myself either because I keep thinking that they might add and throw in some twist or revelation that the real killer is somebody else hiding outside the game (or somewhere inside the building’s super secret room) or it could be just straightforward fashion that the perpetrator could be among them.

A theory of mine for saying so is because when this arc is first introduced, there is a counter in the opening credits that always keeps track of how many players are left in the field. It started off with 16 survivors. However as I started to count and trace who those 16 players are, there seems to be one there is missing. I mean, as far as I can count and name, there are only 15 of them trapped in the building playing this deadly game. So could this extra unknown person be the real perpetrator? It’s not like we viewers would actually count who is left, right? Or do we? This is true even in the penultimate episode as it gets clearer with the reduced number of survivors. There seems to be 1 extra player but who is that person? It made me think if this was even a troll because maybe that additional person could be Hagakure who has been kept out of the building since the start of the series. Or could that other person be Monaka who is controlling Gekkogahara? Even if the android personality got destroyed, it only reduced the survivor count by one. My guess is Hagakure since his mug is alongside the other Future Foundation members in many promotion posters.

Some of the theories feel like impossible and do not make sense like Kirigiri deducing that the entire playfield is actually another very similar level below the actual building. Assuming that if Tengan was the perpetrator, how the heck can this old fart move everyone in record time without breaking his back? Well, everybody here is a super at something so it is not surprise maybe he can pull off such feat. Plus, we don’t really know how long time has passed since they passed out the first time. Then the forbidden actions on the wristbands, I wonder how it sophistically detects forbidden actions because like Bandai’s case he dies if he witnesses violence by the participants. How is violence defined? Can slapping be considered violence? Some I feel can be easily bypassed like if Munakata cannot open doors, can he just use his trusty sword to cut down the wall and make his own doors? Yeah, maybe the walls are so hard that he couldn’t. Otherwise he would have cut a hole outside and escape. Oh, they can’t. Underwater.

The most ridiculous of them all is cutting off the power to somewhat end the game. To be fair, nobody knew the monitors had anything to do with the wristbands at first but when you think about it, you can’t help feel it is just silly yet simple solution. I guess when everybody is busy killing each other, they don’t really think outside the box. Of course the mind boggling one was Tengan himself being the mastermind. So he orchestrated this mutual killing just to make Mitarai use his video? It’s such a simple thing. People had to die so that somebody would use his brainwashing talents to save the world? So this old fart is playing the role of the villain? He sure trolled us by making us think so and that he might be the final last boss till the twist in the twist surfaced. I guess it is the question of if you want to save many, a few must be sacrificed. So will Mitarai be the final last boss now? I suppose it is not good just to have all positive emotions. Because that itself is not being human.

I am not sure whether to call it spoilers or knowledge beforehand because since this arc is aired side by side with the Despair arc, many of the revelations and the character backgrounds are related. Therefore if you watch this series without watching the Despair arc at the same time, you might be confused to some of the characters’ background. For instance, the ‘complicated’ relationship between Ruruka, Seiko and Izayoi. Their story might feel like a filler and distraction to the main plot of this arc since you need to know all about the character they died. It’s like a death flag or something. But if you don’t watch the Despair arc, you won’t really understand why they hate each other.

Therefore many of the other characters’ back story and relationship greatly depend on the other concurrently running arc that tells of what happened in the past that led to the situation that is of now. It goes without saying that you need to have watched the first Danganronpa series to understand what is going on too otherwise you would be lost as the series progresses. But some like Monaka’s case feels like distraction. It was just an elaborate sidetrack to show us that there was somebody else behind Gekkogahara and to give Naegi’s little sister as well as Togami’s insane admirer some screen time.

The art and animation style remains consistent among the series. But for this one, I find the character designs to be less weird than the rest. You know, very odd looking characters that make them look cartoonish. By far, the oddest looking one was Bandai whom I thought looked creepy himself. Thank goodness he got killed off early? Gozu despite wearing a metal bull mask isn’t so bad. Oh, not to mention the pink coloured blood, one of the series’ trademark. Everything is so dark and gory so why the heck not liven it up with bright pink? And when I mean dark, some of the scenes are really dark since like the hallways and some ruined sections of the building.

Seiyuus from the previous season like Megumi Ogata as Naegi, Youko Hikasa as Kirigiri and Chiwa Saito as Asahina return to reprise their roles. Among the new casts, the weirdest one I find is Rie Kugimiya as Bandai. I know this farmer guy looks weird already but it is even weirder when he sounds all so squeaky! I don’t know if it is a good thing when he got killed off early because I don’t think I can get used to hearing him in his squeaky voice throughout the season. Recognizable seiyuus new to the line-up include Junichi Suwabe as Sakakura, Keiji Fujiwara as Kizakura and Mai Nakahara as Yukizome. Aya Hirano was behind Monaka? I guess I haven’t heard her in a long time (the most recent being Fairy Tail’s recent season) so I’m starting to forget…

The rest of the new line-up include Toshiyuki Morikawa as Munakata (Naraku in Inu Yasha), Hidekatsu Shiba as Tengan (Igneel in Fairy TailKanta), Hongou as Mitarai (Sakamoto in BTOOOM), Takako Sasuga as Gekkogahara (Hata-bou in Osomatsu-kun), Kenta Miyake as Gozu (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Inori Minase as Ruruka (Nagisa in Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa), Takuya Eguchi as Izayoi (Hikigaya in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru), Saki Fujita as Seiko (Inami in Working) and Aya Uchida as Komaru (Kotori in Love Live). Both the opening and ending themes are rock based with Dead Or Lie by Maon Kurosaki featuring Trustrick as the opener and Recall The End by Trustrick as the ending theme.

Overall, this is a great and enjoyable series especially if you like survivor genres and a fan of the Danganronpa series. I read certain comments online (read: fan boys of the game) call the anime adaptation a disappointment because certain parts were rushed and how bad its execution was. Personally I didn’t play the game so I can’t compare. Therefore for me not knowing ‘everything’, this adaptation is still interesting in its own right and I am quite satisfied with the series generally (except maybe how it ended and you need to watch another arc to complete it). So look who’s fallen into despair? It makes you wonder if hope and despair are 2 sides of the same coin. The same glass is half full or half empty expression. Both need each other to exist, like light and darkness, yin and yang. So it might get a little confusing in this series when they talk about hope killing hope and despair killing despair. It’s like saying two wrongs make a right. I guess we can only hope the next instalment would be better and the greatest (if there would be any). Where is a super high school level game developer when you need one?

If you love the original animated Danganronpa series, then we have good news for you. Make that double good news. Because not only Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was released as a sequel, it was also aired alongside with another arc (Future Arc) in the same season and both series run concurrently side by side with each other. Double the fun, double the despair. For this one, as its name suggests it takes place as the prequel before Naegi’s class entered the deadly survival game and details the events that led to the biggest despair incident to have been brought down on mankind. If you have not watched the original Danganronpa series, be warned there will be some spoilers here since this is a prequel.

Episode 1
Chisa Yukizome is being hired by Hope Peak’s principal, Jin Kirigiri as a teacher. She starts her first day enthusiastic but finds there are only 5 students turned up: Hiyoko Saionji (super traditional dancer – bratty girl), Mahiru Koizumi (photographer – normal girl), Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu (gangster – wait, WTF?!), Sonia Nevermind (princess – wait, huh?) and Mikan Tsumiki (health committee – hentai potential). Seeing how the class don’t get along well, Yukizome as the former super housekeeper decides to bring them along as they go retrieve their other classmates. In the toilet Nekomaru Nidai (team manager – his sh*t is so powerful it blasts through the wall!), in the cafeteria Teruteru Hanamura (cook – also super masochist), in the field Akane Owari (gymnastics – also a glutton), in the garage Kazuichi Soda (mechanic – sorry, Sonia doesn’t love you), in the animal shed Tanaka the Forbidden One (animal raiser – chuunibyou), in the music room Ibuki Mioda (rocker – is she rocking her guitar or cooking?), in the dojo Peko Pekoyama (swordswoman – don’t mess with her) and at the vending machine Nagito Komaeda (lucky – or is that unlucky?). Seeing the class is dirty, Yukizome has them clean the class while she goes pick up a couple of more missing students. One of them is Ryouta Mitarai (animator – chubby) who is trying to run away thinking she is the editor trying to force the deadline on him. Last is Chiaki Nanami (gamer) who is somehow with Hajime Hinata who is a student of the Reverse Course that was newly established last year. This course is for ordinary students but the fees are high. Hinata laments he wished to have a talent but Nanami says it doesn’t make a difference whether you have it or not. In fact ordinary people like them have greater freedom than those with talent because like for her, all she has are her games. With her students assembled (and the class clean as hell too), Yukizome is revved up that she can retrieve them the same day tomorrow. Later Yukizome calls Kyousuke Munakata to tell him she got a teaching job at Hope Peak. She assures him she will be okay without him since Munakata is planning to expand Hope Peak to overseas and won’t be around. She is grateful to this school as it allowed her to meet him.

Episode 2
Yukizome thought she has everything under control till she gets a call her class is in trouble. Owari and Nidai are fighting each other and ripping the class apart! But since they say it is for realistic combat training, she lets them continue. Nanami leaves the class believing she doesn’t mix with them since her super gaming skills will set her for life. But Yukizome advises her to make friends as it will be more fun to play with everyone. Yukizome is also doing a secret investigation for Munakata on Reverse Course. As these students pay very high fees, these funds are channelled to the board of trustees that controls the school. The issue is how the money is being used. Munakata has her investigate more as he notes if the overseas expansion is successful, it will give him a better voice. Later Yukizome talks to Hinata about why he enrols in Reverse Course. However he has low self esteem so she tells him to believe in himself. Subsequently the school’s advisor, Kazuo Tengan talks to him if he has made his decision. Not yet. Tengan is against that project because hope comes from people acting like people. Hinata is concerned his family cannot pay the high fees so Tengan tells him he can always decline and return to his normal high school and live as himself. There is nothing wrong being normal. When Yukizome returns to class, she sees everyone playing video games. Everyone chipped in to make the necessary as Nanami brought her games. She is glad that Yukizome was right that she can make friends via games. With everyone having their go at Nintendo rip-offs, Hanamura then cooks for everyone. Can’t play for hours on an empty stomach, can you? However Saionji cheekily puts Hanamura’s sexy potion into the soup and this turns everyone horny! Steamy scenes, gay scenes, lesbian scenes and sexual subtexts! It gets out of hand when Hanamura is about to rape Saionji but Nanami saves her with her super uppercut. What has Taylor Swift got to do with this?! The girls praise Nanami recuperating in the infirmary as she happily relates her uppercut inspiration from Double Dragon. Next day, Yukizome makes Nanami as the class rep. Everyone unanimously agrees so she agrees to give it a try. It lifts her spirits that she goes to invite Hinata to play a game with her. Next day in Hinata’s class, Natsumi Kuzuryu is the new transfer student. She starts off as a b*tch as you can tell how she badmouths everyone as trash and thinks highly of herself.

Episode 3
Hinata narrates his dream of attending Hope Peak. In class, Natsumi teases him since he is constantly looking at the main building. She proclaims herself as the super little sister since her brother is the heir of the Kuzuryu Gang. But if she is here, does that mean she is talentless? She hasn’t given up yet and will do what it takes to get into the main course. Natsumi is then confronted by fellow classmate, Sato who hates her guts to the very end as she warns not to pull off some sneaky move on Koizumi (seems the trio were once in the same photography club). Natsumi is not cowed as she badmouths and even threatens her with death. Typical gangster move, right? Koizumi comes by to quell the tension but even so Natsumi gives out her threats and make it sound like Koizumi is here to mock talentless people. Fuyuhiko talks to Pekoyama about his sister’s problem. He doesn’t want to jump to conclusions yet and reminds her that they have nothing between them now since enrolling here. Pekoyama is Fuyuhiko’s bodyguard and hitman. Hinata sees Sato and Natsumi arguing again. Sato is about to hit her for yet another badmouth rant but Hinata stops her. Hinata talks to Natsumi about her intimidation as he tries to advise her using Nanami’s words about life is more to just talent. But Natsumi disagrees although Hinata knows how it feels for being left behind. Apparently being with her brother and making memories with him aren’t just enough. She wants to stand by his side and be with him. Later, Hinata sees a commotion around the building and the police have barricaded the place. It seems Natsumi has been murdered in the music room!

Hinata eavesdrop Koizumi talking to Sato if she has killed Natsumi. At first Sato really wanted to kill her because she believed Natsumi was going to do kill Koizumi. However she realizes she has no talent to even kill people. So that’s that. Koizumi believes her. Hinata then confronts Sato about it but she starts panicking cooking up theories like Natsumi might have killed herself for being talentless. Then she goes crazy and runs away. Sato never turned up to class for a few days. Then her body was found. Hinata tries to enter the main building to speak to Koizumi for answers but is stopped by the head security, Juzo Sakakura. He is given an answer what happened but it felt like the authorities is trying to sweep the problem under the rug. When Hinata becomes resistant, he is beaten up. Sakakura continues to badmouth talentless people like him by making it up with money and they should just live a normal life instead of thinking they have some sort of talent. Hinata disagrees with his train thought and before Sakakura could punch him, Yukizome gets in the way. After Hinata leaves, Sakakura reminds her about her mission and shouldn’t be too involved with such normal students. Even so, Yukizome believes that was just pure violence and she should stop him as a human. He shouldn’t beat up students who don’t know anything. Sakakura warns if he digs in too much, he will be the one dying. They fear Hope Peak might be going down the wrong path and if so, only Munakata can stop this. Meanwhile Jin tells Tengan that the project about artificial hope and artificial talent has been given the green light as the subject has decided to participate. Because Hinata has finally decided to join and become everyone’s hope.

Episode 4
Yukizome informs her class about the upcoming exams. However nobody is in good mood seeing the double murders. Komaeda later pleads to her to cancel it but since there is nothing she can do, he is going to do something himself. After giving a sexy idol poster to Hanamura, this allows him to get access and up close with Seiko Kimura. He is seeking laxatives for her but because she has to entertain Ruruka Andou and Sounosuke Izayoi who are bugging her for a performance enhancing drug, Komaeda has to go get it himself. He is unsure which drug to take and lets his luck set fate in motion. After much pressure and talk about ‘friendship’, Seiko gives in and agrees to make a drug for her. Next day, there is a threatening message on the board to cancel the exam or else there will be hell to pay. Of course the authorities do not take this seriously and carry on with the exam. Little do they know there are bombs hidden in the hall’s ceiling. Ruruka serves her cream puff to the judges. Super awesome as expected. But suddenly their stomach starts to ache. Trying to find what is happening, Ruruka starts thinking Seiko intended to sabotage her and gave her the wrong drug. Seiko looks into her bag for a cure but sees a remote control for the bombs! This is when Ruruka starts accusing Seiko on just about everything. I believe they have trust issues from the start. This makes Seiko snap as she too calls her a traitor.

Meanwhile Komaeda thinks he has got everything in order. When he accidentally spills a drink and a dog drinks it, it grows into a giant! Realizing the drug he put wasn’t the laxative, he opens the bag to find only medicine. He remembers bumping into Seiko this morning and their bags must have switched. The dog runs rampage in the hall. Seiko and Ruruka panic and accidentally press the button. Boom! Hall exploded. Komaeda notes he didn’t do anything but this was the result he intended. So is this super lucky? Later Komaeda is given the talk by Yukizome. He jokes about being a trash but she slaps him. She assures he is not trash and she is his teacher. Because of this incident, Ruruka, Seiko and Izayoi have been expelled immediately. Although some are calling for Komaeda’s expulsion, he wasn’t directly involved but yet got his desired results. That takes a lot of luck. Therefore as compromise he will be suspended indefinitely and Yukizome will be transferred to Reverse Course since she is taking responsibility as his teacher. Her students are hounding for answers and if they wonder if this is a mistake. Yukizome explains that Komaeda did this in their best interest so when he returns, please give him a warm welcome. As for her transfer, she sees it as a training stint and will be back. Well, at least she is able to investigate closer the shady dealings behind Reverse Course. Oops. I don’t think that was a joke.

Episode 5
Six months have passed. Yukizome speaks to Sakakura if he could get an ID of the board of trustees for her. She explains the Kamukura Project which has begun in secret. Something big is going on since Kamukura is the name of Hope Peak’s founder. In order to investigate more, she needs an ID. Sakakura will try but if caught, he could be fired. She adds about Hinata that he suddenly quit school around the time she heard about the project. Yukizome will soon be transferred back to the main course. Komaeda has not been heard ever since but they hope to lift his suspension. When she returns to class, her students are already waiting to pop the surprise welcome. They heard from a teacher about her return and prepared the necessary. Everyone credits Nanami for pulling this together. In addition, she is the one who organized activities and supported the class during Yukizome’s absence. Other notable differences are Saionji who has a growth spurt and busty lady (curse you puberty!) and Sonia taking after Tanaka’s chuunibyou. Meanwhile Mitarai returns to his room to see a skinnier version of himself pushing to create an anime that will save everyone?! On the other hand, Enoshima returns and waits at the airport for Ikusaba. They are putting forth in motion a plan that will lead to the most atrocious despair incident in human history by enrolling in Hope Peak. There is a short narration by skinny Mitarai that he was often bullied. Physically weak, he believes anime saved him. Because he is working so hard and disregarding his own health, fat Mitarai ‘kidnaps’ Tsumiki to nurse him. He explains the truth. Both guys were living next door to each other. Fatty has no name and is a super imposter. He lives his life in the guise of others although it doesn’t last long. Noting that skinny Mitarai only wants to make anime, he views their interest overlap and requests to take over his name. Skinny Mitarai can shut himself in and make anime all he wants while fat Mitarai will take over his place. Thankfully fatty trusts his classmates so Tsumiki doesn’t have to die or sell her body. Oh God, what was she thinking? Meanwhile Hinata is in some sort of experiment. Still in a daze, he believes he will become the protagonist of his own story and someone who can be proud around Nanami.

Episode 6
At the end of Hinata’s experiment… He grows longer hair?! He is also given the new name Izuru Kamukura, Hope Peak’s founder. He will be the world’s new hope. Sakakura manages to sneak an ID for Yukizome although it has a time limit. This is also the same ID of a trustee that has recently gone missing so be careful. Speaking of that trustee, he is kidnapped by Enoshima and tortured. Yukizome hacks into the trustee’s computer to shockingly read about the project. Despite the subject will become humanity’s hope and gain every known talent in the world, he will lose his emotions, personality and ideals. It is a small price to pay to save the world. The project has already moved on to testing phase. Yukizome reports to Munakata who fears the worst thing is not the public finding out but an unscrupulous person using this for his own gain. Hope will become despair that will threaten the world. Munakata will immediately return and until then she is not to say a word about this to anyone. Enoshima and Ikusaba use the trustee’s eye at the retinal scan to enter Kamukura’s room. At first she fawns over this dude but suddenly wants to kill him for being mankind’s hope. However Kamukura easily pins her down and not even Ikusaba can do anything. He asks if he has super analytical abilities that can calculate several steps ahead, why she even tried this. Because despair is an unknown. She is bored with the world with its pre-existing harmony. Only despair sets her heart racing. Despite being overwhelmed by him, she is having so much fun. Erm, isn’t that just being a masochist? Enoshima tries to coax him to join her side. Because hope doesn’t lead to the unknown. He won’t find salvation there. Only despair can save him. Enoshima is knocked out and the next thing she knows she is in the hospital bed. It seems Kamukura didn’t tell anybody about this. He told Ikusaba to leave Enoshima a message: He will be waiting. So he is taking up her offer? Enoshima is so happy that she waltzes out of hospital. That is where she bumps into skinny Mitarai just coming in. She doesn’t know why she feels so happy to see him and starts hugging him. She believes this must be yet another fateful encounter.

Episode 7
Enoshima badmouths anime so when Mitarai counters her, she dares him to show it. Of course she is absolutely moved and no other anime crap will do! He explains how he uses everything to make such a great anime but all Enoshima must have heard was how it brainwashes others. Hearing Mitarai wants to make a better world, you don’t say because Enoshima too had the same intentions… When fat Mitarai tells Tsumiki his skinny version is missing, she goes to check on him at his room but Ikusaba sees her and kidnaps her. Sakakura tells Yukizome that many trustee members have also gone missing. Security is now so tight that he can’t get an idea of what is happening. Enoshima is providing skinny Mitarai a comfortable room to create his anime (courtesy from the trustees, if you get what I mean). Ikusaba brings in Tsumiki and they make her watch Mitarai’s anime. Touched as hell. Enoshima super analyzes the situation and forms a plan. This involves bringing Kamukura to witness something extraordinary. In a classroom where Hope Peak’s student council members, Ikusaba announces all of them to kill each other. At first they refuse thinking it is a joke but when she demonstrates by killing one of them, she gives them 2 options: Kill each other or be killed by her. For motivation, there are videos containing their darkest secrets. So if you don’t want those out… All it took is just 1 crazy and disillusioned member to start the ball rolling. Next thing you know, we see everybody killing everybody and blood everywhere. Enoshima narrates to Kamukura the unpredictability of despair that will save him a boring future. The last standing member faces off with Kamukura. Of course he couldn’t best him. A fluke made him accidentally killed himself. Jin is upset that the plan is already in motion and being covered up by the authorities just to continue their existence. Enoshima deals the fatal blow by sending a message to all the students about this project being funded by the Reverse Course’s exorbitant fees. Making it worse is how all the student council members were found murdered by this Kamukura specimen and the school is trying to cover this up out of self preservation and hide their failed experimentation. It makes the Reverse Course students accomplices to murder. Naturally all of them are enraged after reading this as a mob gathers to demonstrate against this scam.

Episode 8
With the students trying to barge their way in, the higher ups are getting worried and need to act before the government steps in. Tsumiki has turned into an obsessed worshipper and slave for Enoshima. Mitarai is unsure of how she turned like that but when he clicks a preview video in a mysterious folder, he sees footage of the student council members killing each other. He becomes sick. He thinks Tsumiki saw this and went crazy. She tries to seduce him so he can help them out to realize Enoshima’s goal but Enoshima beats the crap out of her for being a slut. And she loves it! Mitarai is scared as Enoshima explains (with video) that she plans to turn the entire world into despair. However she lacks the brainwashing power that Mitarai has and wants him to make one which is way better than his last. Mitarai tries to run but is warned she might make his classmates kill each other next. Everyone is worried that Tsumiki has not showed up in class for a long time. Even if Komaeda returns, they are not in a mood to celebrate. He then tells them he saw Tsumiki at an area. This has everyone go look for her. Sakakura is having trouble fending off the invading students. He is surprised Munakata is back and is going to lend a hand. Sakakura tries to call Yukizome but she isn’t picking up because she is busy looking for her students. Komaeda and Nanami are at the founder’s statue. By luck, he opens a secret underground passageway that leads to skinny Mitarai’s room. That guy swamped with fear as he thinks he hasn’t done anything bad yet. Enoshima and Komaeda face off. He tells her Ikusaba can’t come to her aid because he talked to Pekoyama to keep her at bay. Komaeda pulls out a gun at Enoshima. He will do anything to protect hope. He views despair as a stepping stone to hope. So he wants to test if he could kill her, it means she wasn’t good enough as hope’s stepping stone. Suddenly he senses Kamukura behind him. Komaeda pulls the trigger but it is jammed. Kamukura whispers he too has good luck. He snatches the gun from him and shoots in his chest. Luckily luck didn’t abandon Komaeda because his handbook stopped the bullet. Nanami takes a closer look at Kamukura. He’s Hinata, right? Mitarai runs away fearing for his life. That’s when he bumps into Yukizome who assures it is her duty to protect her students. She has a bad feeling about this as she heads downstairs.

Episode 9
Enoshima just warmed up introducing herself to Nanami. Yukizome throws a fire extinguisher so that Nanami can take Komaeda and leave. Enoshima explains this will be the last day Yukizome and her students will be themselves as they will fall into despair as part of her plan. She knows Nanami will call her classmates to come and rescue her. True enough, Nanami explains what is happening and despite Komaeda’s not to go against them because their despair level is off the charts, they still want to go save their teacher. Fat Mitarai reveals his true identity to everyone and also wants to join in. Munakata has done his research and no matter what, all evidence points back to Enoshima as the culprit. Sakakura will go find her and bring her back for interrogation. Yukizome is forced to watch a brainwashed student hack himself to death and then strapped down to watch a video of the killings. She is resisting hard so Ikusaba sticks some needles into her head trying to adjust the frequency or something?! Creepy! Yukizome’s students encounter the angry Reverse Course students who think by ridding them they can get their seat. Nidai and Tanaka fight them to let the rest through. Skinny Mitarai is running away and being chased by the mob. Then he trips and is surrounded. Enoshima pops up and his here to thank and say goodbye to him. She is grateful his collaboration will help turn the world into despair although he argues his works is for the betterment of the world. In the end, he is forced to run because that is what Enoshima tells him to do. Running away is his despair. He falls into a flowing river. Sakakura has found Enoshima and is going to give her a good beat down. Yukizome’s students trek down the basement filled with hope. Since Nanami and Tsumiki are at the back of the pack, Tsumiki pushes Nanami down a secret shaft. When she wakes up, she finds Yukizome by her side as she claims Kamukura freed her.

Episode 10
What a surprise. Sakakura lost to Enoshima! She then begins to mock his one-sided love for Munakata. She threatens to show pictures of him fawning over Munakata’s pictures if he doesn’t report back that she is innocent. Very unfortunately, Sakakura complies. Blinded by love or despair? Nanami is shoved into a dark elevator by Yukizome. Enoshima appears on monitor revealing to Nanami about Yukizome being brainwashed by the despair video. However she feels that she is a step away from perfection. And Nanami will be that perfection. When all her classmates finally gather in a strange room, Enoshima is on the monitor again and is going to make them watch a video called Nanami’s Punishment. We see Nanami trying to dodge all sorts of dangerous traps in a dungeon. She has already taken some damage but still tries to maintain her positivism that she will not give up. Her classmates can only helplessly watch and cannot move because of the hypnotism effect. Just when Nanami reaches the goal door, all the spikes impale her. Game over. This drives all her classmates spiralling into despair and madness. Enoshima congratulates her new ‘colleagues’ as they will bring the world ultimate despair. Nanami in her final moments sees Kamukura standing before her. She realizes he has no memories being Hinata. Even in this state, she is trying to be positive. She doesn’t want to die and continue to be with her classmates but all is in vain as she struggles till her last breath. Kamukura picks up her hairpin and couldn’t understand why tears start flowing down his cheeks.

Episode 11
Munakata is told that the overseas expansion is cancelled. No reason is given. Then he asks Sakakura about his report in which he lies through his teeth that Enoshima is innocent. Munakata has his doubts at first so he confirms it with Yukizome who also says Enoshima is innocent. It is then Munakata believes he was wrong all along. Enoshima sets off the biggest chaotic despair with all the Reverse Course students getting violent and barging into the main building to slaughter everyone. While Yukizome gives her graduation speech to her class (everybody is under some sort of hypnotic despair too) and ends it by detonating a bomb! Enoshima wonders why Kamukura asked her to erase memories of him from the memories of others. As he will meet them in the future, he wants to know if hope or despair is the unpredictable factor. That is why he too will have his own memories erased. It will be more fun that way. After that they part ways. Jin and Tengan are trapped inside the school’s building. They see on the news the worldwide chaos. While Tengan wants to escape as they can’t do anything much here, Jin wants to stay behind to entrust hope to the survivors. Enoshima ends everything by having the Reverse Course students commit suicide when they’re done killing others. Ikusaba wonders why she didn’t have them join her ranks. They might have their brains rewired like hers but they are too low specs to be of any use. She warns Ikusaba to watch out because she’ll backstab her without hesitation. Then they go join Naegi’s class. We finally get the answer to why they were barricaded inside the building is because they themselves put up the barricades. Enoshima notes Naegi’s luck and wants to test it out. He is lucky he missed getting killed by her. Enoshima rethinks her decision to kill him because she doesn’t want him to derail her plans. Yukizome’s students are somehow outside. Munakata picks up Yukizome from the rubble. As narrated, her students go all over the world to spread despair. Everything fell apart as part of Enoshima’s plan. Sakakura deeply regrets not stopping Enoshima that it has led to this. Yukizome cries crocodile tears pleading to Munakata to stop this insanity so that she can make him despair more deeply than any of them.

Zetsubou Shita!
Well, it is with mixed feelings the way this arc ended. I knew it was going to be on the tragedy side but yet I feel so unsatisfied about it. I know everything hasn’t really ended yet and the only thing that has ended is hope. Especially that final scene about Hinata and Nanami nicely meeting each other at some island resort. What the heck was that? A dream? No way, man. Please don’t troll me any further when my sentiments are already this shaky. Gosh. Am I in despair???!!! Oh my God. Say it isn’t so. Phew. At least I didn’t take up a weapon and trash everything around me. Thankfully it isn’t 100% despair because there is still hope. Turns out there will be an episode to end and bridge this as announced at the end of the final episode but that will be for next time.

Unlike the first Danganronpa series and the Future Arc, this one breaks away from the mutual killing game of picking off each other one by one. Sure, there’s that student council version of it but that lasts only for minutes and serves as an appetizer. This arc heavily focuses on Enoshima’s grand foundation in building up her plans to bring ultimate despair to the world and the unfortunate souls who became victims of her mind controlling schemes. So if you are hoping and guessing from the promotional poster arc that these would be the ‘new’ characters to kill each other off in a survival game, you’d be very far off the mark. Of course this is assuming you didn’t play the game and like yours truly came to this assumption.

This means that the class under Yukizome’s care feel like they aren’t fleshed out properly. Each has their own interesting and quirky personality that makes them all so different in every way but because we don’t mostly see them do fun things together throughout the series (like Nanami’s video game session), it feels like their initial introduction in the first episode was like some sort of trolling and has been watered down as the series progresses and focused on other happenings. So if you want to have an idea of what Nanami’s class did together, the best bet is watch the ending credits animation where there is a montage of it. Well, I’m not saying that all characters in every Danganronpa series are fleshed out. This is the case for characters who are killed off very early. However for these special super talented students, they aren’t really killed off so it makes their roles for this arc feeling a bit much more to be desired. Like as though they’re just waiting around till the final moments of the plot to become somewhat relevant.

Hence among the students of this main course class that get the most screen time or at least playing more notable roles are Nanami and skinny Mitarai. Sadly, Nanami is the only main character to die. I know you’re going to remind me about Natsumi and Sato but they’re just minor characters whom you’ll forget once this arc reaches its end. What happened to Mitarai after he got washed away? I suppose he just kept running and running and running. Supposedly strong characters like Sakakura and Yukizome who are thought to be able to put up a decent fight against despair, ironically succumb to it. At least it shows they are human, right? They too have weaknesses and not perfect. Hey, being super high school level currently or formerly doesn’t mean that you are perfect like God. You just happen to be more successful than others normally. Finally, Hinata/Kamukura felt a bit of a waste. Of course from where the plot of this arc is going, there is nothing much he can do. But I thought it was a waste to have this all-so-powerful-God like as though he is very much the last boss to fight and lose but he is just observing and biding his time. That’s all.

In one of the biggest ironies, the higher ups trying to play God and create their own artificial super level of hope instead ushered in the biggest despair instead. Normal students pay big money in return to get some sort of future hope but what they got was a big let-down and ultimately despair. That’s what happened when a large sum of money is involved. Can you now say that in addition to money is the root of all evil, it is now the root of all despair? It is no longer just a sin to be poor but sad to be without money.

Another irony is Enoshima and her love for despair. It feels like a big contradiction. If she loves despair, shouldn’t she herself be wallowing in misery, desolation and hopelessness? Instead we see her revel and taking joy in seeing others suffer and this makes her more of a super level sadist than one who is gunning for ultimate despair. I mean, she did bring the world to its knees but she is happy in achieving that goal and seeing how it is brought upon others. In that sense, she is like a hypocrite to her own goal of despair. She should be called a super high school level evil maniacal mastermind sadist instead. If she really wants to go into despair, she should look at that Nozomu guy from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series. That guy is truly in despair.

I am not sure whether to call it spoilers or knowledge beforehand because since this arc is aired side by side with the Future arc, many of the revelations and the character backgrounds are related. Therefore if you watch this series without watching the Future arc at the same time, you might not be missing anything out since this took place before all the Danganronpa series chronologically. It stands alone by itself. But if you do watch the Future arc, you will find that there are quite a few incidents that will be related. So you can consider this arc as spoiler when you do so. Or if you’re being optimistic, it gives you better understanding when you watch the Future arc subsequently. For instance, the ‘complicated’ relationship between Ruruka, Seiko and Izayoi. While you might think their cameo appearance might be seen as one of the few driving points in the story and insignificant for this arc, you will find and understand better about their role in the Future arc which in a way makes sense. It also makes sense to learn why skinny Mitarai is the only ‘survivor’ among his class. You’ll see what I mean if you watched the Future arc. So spoilers or knowledge beforehand? Either way, both these series complement each other.

It goes without saying that despite this arc is chronologically the first, for those who have not watched the first season’s Danganronpa, you will be greatly spoiled because we all know who the main big villain is, right? Therefore watching this prequel arc hinges on pretty much on the assumption that you have watched the first season and you pretty much know what has happened. Doing so makes it easier to connect the dots and lines and gives you a better idea and understanding of what is generally happening.

The art and animation style remains consistent among the series. This means that some of the character design feels odd. Characters with odd looking parts that make them look more cartoonish than anything. For example Hanamura. This guy is already creepy as a little pervert and with his cartoon-like face like as though he popped out from some baking mascot cover, he looks even creepier if not funnier. Soda looks more like a rapper than a mechanic. Just saying… One thing I find odd is how the other non-important students of the Reverse Course are drawn as what I call ‘blue mannequins’. Every time I see them I feel like I wanna go “I’m blue da ba di da ba die”. No, seriously. With all the blue people around, it feels like they are clones or something. I understand that they paid through their noses to get enrolled here and when they found out the truth they get disappointed and hence the blues (okay, I’m just bullsh*tting) but it just looks odd to see them drawn this way. Well, we’ve seen the odd pink blood which is the trademark of this series.

A handful of recognizable seiyuus lend their talents to this series such as Kana Hanazawa as Nanami, Mai Nakahara as Yukizome, Junichi Suwabe as Sakakura, Akira Ishida as the imposter Mitarai, Jun Fukuyama as Hanamura, Tomokazu Sugita as Tanaka, Yu Kobayashi as Koizumi, Yoshimasa Hosoya as Soda, Hiroaki Yasumoto as Nidai, Ami Koshimizu as Mioda, Ai Shimizu as Sato and Rikiya Koyama as Jin. Oddly, Megumi Ogata who voiced Naegi in the other Danganronpa series plays Komaeda here. It gave me an impression that Komaeda might be his older brother or something related in this sense as they both have that similar feel. I mean, one is with super hope and the other is super luck. Talents which are somewhat intangible, right? At first I thought Aoi Yuuki was behind Saionji but I was greatly mistaken as it was Suzuko Mimori instead (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes).

For the rest of the new casts, they are Minami Tanaka as Hinata/Kamukura (Conan in Detective Conan), Kanata Hongou as Mitarai the animator (Sakamoto in BTOOOM), Ai Kayano as Tsumiki (Kanade in Chihayafuru), Daisuke Kishio as Fuyuhiko (Suginami in Da Capo series), Kotono Mitsushi as Pekoyama (Excel in Excel Saga), Romi Paku as Owari (Hitsugaya in Bleach), Miho Arakawa as Sonia (Hanabusa in Akuma No Riddle), Haruka Yamazaki as Natsumi (Tomoyo in Inou Battle Wa Nichijou-Kei No Naka De), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Munakata (Mard Geer in Fairy Tail), Hidekatsu Shibata as Tengan (Igneel in Fairy Tail), Saki Fujita as Seiko (Inami in Working), Inori Minase as Ruruka (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka) and Takuya Eguchi as Izayoi (Kon in Ixion Saga DT).

The opening theme is Kami Iro Awase by Binaria. I’m not sure how to put it but It isn’t exactly a rock piece but it is in a way. I’m confused too. Maybe because the singer’s voice of singing the song in a calm way. Watching the opening credits at first made me think Shaft did this anime because of how similar its style is to the Monogatari series. Turns out to be Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, Hamatora, Unbreakable Machine Doll, Saijaku Muhai No Bahamut and Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai. The ending theme is Zettai Kibou Birthday by Megumi Ogata. At first I didn’t believe it was heard because from what I can hear it sounds like a man’s voice singing this rock outfit. I thought it might be some type error. I even looked at various sources and finally the ending credits itself and confirmed it is her singing this one. Straining my ears to closely hear, I finally realize it could be her. After all, she has this low voice and this makes her suitable to voice many anime roles for young boys.

Overall, the series is pretty interesting and sets the foundation and the ball rolling for the other Danganronpa series in a chronological sense. Despite the lack of mutual killings or the main characters being killed off (unless you consider falling into ultimate despair as a metaphor for the character being killed off) the plot and turn of events make it an interesting watch. At least it is good to take heart that the writer and producers of this series are so super high level because otherwise we would be brainwashed and fall into despair. Instead we leave with satisfaction and high hopes for the series. Naturally an ideal point if you want it to be a commercial success. Because what’s worse than the world falling into despair is for your series to be ultimately cancelled and then into oblivion forever. Then it would be truly zetsubou shita!

Black Rock Shooter TV

September 29, 2012

I didn’t expect Black Rock Shooter (BRS) to spawn a TV series albeit it only lasted for 8 episodes. All I remember were girls in hot outfits and cool weapons meant for fighting each other in another world while we have some sort of drama between friends in reality and the link between both worlds. I thought the TV series would be somewhat a continuation but as I watched, it follows a different storyline from the OVA although the same characters are retained.

In the OVA, Yomi Takanashi got jealous of her best friend Mato Kuroi when she seems to be friendlier with her other classmate-cum-friend, Yuu Koutari. Yomi eventually disappears and this causes Mato to head to the other world and merge with BRS to fight Dead Master who was possessing Yomi. For the TV series, Yomi and Mato still meet and become best friends but this time round Yomi and the other girls are plagued with their own issues while in the other world, their dark personas continue to fight as both worlds are entwined by the threads of fate. This is the story of their ‘pain’… Oh, that word and its synonyms. You’re going to hear it quite a bit of it.

Episode 1
A narration about the blue sky, ocean and tears that reflects the colour blue and a small bird that flies among the blue tears. Mato starts her first term as a middle school girl as she is making statements of opposites like long (the assembly) and short (the skirts). Till she sees a girl with a self made red chain stitch on her wrist, Yomi . Mato talks to her friend Yuu about wanting to be friends with her but back at Yomi’s house, she speaks through a paper cup telephone and the voice on the other side warns her not to. Mato reads a book about a multi-colour bird that flew to different world with different colours has been her favourite since young. Next day, she sees Yomi to ask why her surname is pronounced Takanashi (literally means no hawks) instead of how it is obviously read as Kotori Asobi (literally means where little birds play). She explains since it is only when there are no hawks that the little birds come out to play. Uh… What? Yuu brings Mato to the counselling room where they meet counsellor Saya Irino. She is being told no matter what kind of troubles or stress she faces, she can always come here to seek advice. On the way home, Yomi bumps into Mato on the streets and notices a multi-colour bird handphone strap she has. Mato is excited to know that Yomi too has that multi-colour bird she drew herself as her handphone screensaver. Learning that Yomi has an earlier edition of the multi-colour bird book, she decides to visit her home and take a look. They also exchange emails and Yomi gives Mato her red chain stitch. Suddenly the doorbell rings and her mom says she has a visitor. Instantly Yomi panics and doesn’t want them to come in yet but too late. The wheel chair ridden girl is Kagari Izuriha and she does not hold back herself to say Yomi did this to her. The atmosphere becomes awkward with Kagari around. She gives all the dirty coloured macaroons and while they’re playing dolls, Kagari speaks through her doll to tell Mato to go home. Eventually she leaves and feels how scary that girl is. She feels heartbroken and wonders if she had done anything wrong but receives an SMS apology from Yomi. Yomi speaks to Kagari via paper cup telephone and the latter reminds her that she is hers since she has to take responsibility for herself.

BRS finds herself in an odd place (heck, the entire world is odd). She thought she heard someone telling her to go home when she is rolled over by a large spider-like machine! Man, it’s amazing she hasn’t been flattened! Then she gets blasted away and drilled by its buzz saw while Chariot piloting the machine drops macaroons on her while telling her to go home. Would you believe it? BRS took all that sh*t and there’s not even a scratch on her! Mato goes to see Saya (who was in the midst of listening to her senior Arata Kohata’s trouble on how to court a certain boy). Saya learns that Mato thinks she is being hated. She replies when she first looked at her, she had such beautiful eyes. Probably because she rarely gets hated, it’s not good to make enemies. But sometimes you end up with them so you have to accept it. Her heart may hurt but it won’t bleed right away because someone else is enduring the pain for her. Later Mato goes to see Yomi in her art club and commends her artwork. She puts on a smiley face and invites her to the festivals but Yomi refuses thinking she’ll hurt her. Using Saya’s words, Mato assures her she won’t get hurt and wants to do things together. So touched that Yomi cried. Meanwhile, BRS fights back by materializing a cannon but it’s not good enough as she is chained to the wall by Dead Master. BRS continues to get sliced by the buzz saw. Eww! Looks painful but she doesn’t seem to be in much pain.

Episode 2
Mato’s mom helps her to get prepared for the festival. Mato vows not to get hurt. Meanwhile BRS chases down the spider machine but once more she gets caught in Dead Master’s chains. Mato waited for 2 hours but Yomi never showed up. Only much later that Yomi replied and apologized for not coming. Mato watches the fireworks alone and heads home heartbroken thinking Saya’s words were lies. In actual fact, Kagari has forbid Yomi to go the festival and forced her to stay with her at home. Since she can’t go, so Yomi can’t either. Yomi breaks down because she really wanted to go so Kagari is going to do something to remove her sadness and carve it into her. OMG! What the hell is she going to do with that needle?! BRS is able to turn the tables on Dead Master and trap her in her own chains. However she hears cries to save her. Before she could do anything, the little spiders whisk Yomi away. Mato wakes up sweating from a bad dream. Next day in school, she is shocked to see a heart shaped mark carved over Yomi’s chest. Yomi is puzzled she is not mad for not turning up at the festival. But if she wants to, she can. And so she did. She tells her off she is different than the small bird since she can’t go anywhere she wants and is a coward. Mato goes to see Saya. The counsellor deduces that if they’re both having the same dream, it means they’re deeply connected inside. Dreams can be used to express something that words can’t. It may be possible she knows what Yomi wants deep inside. Mato is outside Yomi’s house and the latter is glad to see her. But as she goes out of her room, she sees Kagari waiting by the stairs. Noting that she’s been waiting in her house the whole time, she is going to fall down the stairs and won’t forgive her if she dies. Guess what? Kagari stood up and drops down the stairs!

Unfortunately the b*tch didn’t die and just fractured her wrists. That’s it? Mato waits at the hospital and will not leave without Yomi. Even Yomi’s mom seems to be afraid of Kagari. She explains Kagari has loved Yomi since young. However when they moved to another town due to her husband’s job, Kagari chased them only to be met with a car accident. Though doctors cannot find anything wrong with her leg, the problem lies in her heart. Though mommy finds Kagari pitiful, Mato is upset that Yomi had to sacrifice herself and is more pitiful. Now that Kagari can’t move her hands, she wants Yomi to take care of her, do everything for her. Suddenly Mato knocks on the door and Kagari instantly turns hysterical and filled with hate over the other woman. She thought she saw Yomi smiling. Kagari continues to scream at the top of the lungs and wants that b*tch to shut up. Yomi is in a dilemma on what to do as she wants to be friends with Mato but can’t abandon Kagari. Mato says Kagari is only pitiful because she pitied her. Otherwise she’d be treating her just like she’s pitiful, just like she’s an idiot. Yomi realizes Kagari was becoming crazy because of her. She was afraid of driving her to insanity and in the end it was just easier to do what she wished. She tells Kagari not to lock herself up at home and to come out. Come to school. She promises she won’t leave her alone anymore. She can’t do it because she feels scared. BRS crashes into a house and breaks open a doll to see chained Dead Master inside. But the spider machine smashes into the scene for another epic battle. This time it rains more macaroon missiles so BRS counters it by evolving her weapon into a cooler cannon! Cool! Fire away! The machine bursts into flames but Chariot isn’t done yet and they engage in melee combat. Dead Master breaks free from her chains and also breaks the wall to the outside world. The force is sucking everything out when a devil lady, Black Gold Saw (BGS) plugs it with her saw and saves Chariot. When Chariot thought she had ambushed BRS, BRS sliced off her head! Suddenly all the screaming stops and Mato is let into the room. Yomi is calm. Kagari is calm. Oh, she’s smiling too.

Episode 3
Seems there is nothing to worry about. Kagari has returned to normal. She’s going out more often, doing exercise and a lot more cheerful. Mato excels in her basketball club so much so Kohata decides to make her a starter for the summer tournament. That means hell for her, right? Mato and Yuu are washing up but they see Kohata nervously giving a letter of confession to a boy! Surprise, surprise. Back home, Mato continues to read the book on the multi-colour bird. Its wings absorbed all the different colours each time it went to a new world. But because it absorbed so many colours, her feathers became dull. She ponders if the colour of that girl’s eyes change. Yomi calls Mato to chat but she may have got more than she bargained for because Mato starts talking about her inseparable best friend since young who is no other than Yuu. Starting to feel jealous, isn’t she? Mato and her basketball club go on an excursion and it seems she is having motion sickness and is trying to hold in her vomit! Wouldn’t it be better to just let it all out? Stubborn girl. BGS seems to be growing, urm, little hooded girls? Don’t they look like little trembling Kohata clones? An earthquake rumbles the place and they can tell somebody is coming. Suddenly slabs of rock fall and crush them. Slam! So much for raising them. Mato wakes up from this dream and talks to Yuu about it. Thinking about Saya’s words, she thinks the girl in her dreams may be the one enduring the pain for her. Mato and Yuu are buying souvenirs when they see Kohata buying a wooden sword supposedly for her crush as her pals tease her. Yomi thought of visiting the counselling room but changed her mind when Saya greets her. Saya looks through the year book and it seems she has circled out Mato and Yomi.

When Mato returns from her excursion, she gives her souvenir to Yomi, much to her delight. But because she starts talking about Yuu’s snoring during the trip, Yomi wasn’t really thrilled. Mato thought she could talk to her if she has any problems since they’re best friends but as Yomi mumbled, she’s not really her best friend. Yomi gives her a blue chain stitch she just finished. A crowd is gathering at the notice board. Mato and co go take a look and find something horrifying. When Kohata goes up to see it, she is shocked to see the love letter she wrote on it. Seems the guys of her crush are making fun out of it and everyone else starts laughing at the tomboy. But Kohata didn’t flinch. She puts on a cheery expression and takes off her letter. Mato and Yuu are so sad that they both cried! In sync? Yomi notices how close they are. BRS kills all the Kohata clones but BGS escapes. As Kohata sees Saya, the latter feels it’s better for her to cry. Oh, now it’s Saya’s turn to cry. She feels sad that she has become the laughing stock of the school. It must hurt a lot to stay strong and put on an act. Okay, this is just getting creepy. Later Kohata sprains her ankle in a basketball practice so Mato takes her to the infirmary. Kohata explains when something bad happens, she doesn’t like to think it’s someone else’s fault. If it’s so, she can’t do anything about it. So if it’s her fault, she can do something about it and could always run and fly. After Mato leaves, Kohata starts experiencing pain in her head. BRS sees a clone and extends her hand but she inches away in fear. BRS left eye turns into a bright blue flame as she cuts off the clone’s head! Mato could feel something wrong with Kohata and rushes back to the infirmary only to see her collapsed on the floor. Likewise, Saya too could feel what is happening and starts crying. Yomi who is visiting her, is shocked to see her in this state.

Episode 4
We see Strength dragging her loads of heavy equipment through the desert. One of them being Chariot’s broken and decapitated body. She throws it into the abyss. It seems Kagari has become a new transfer student in Mato and Yomi’s class. Everyone loves her even though she’s foul mouthed because she’s saying them in a cute way. Mato talks to Yomi about the new Kagari but Yuu calls for Mato since Kohata is back in school. Yomi notes how she’s always looking at their backs. Then she learns Kagari has joined the cooking club and has her own friends. It’s reversed now, eh? Yomi talks to Saya that Kagari was a person who depended on her so much and that she promised never to abandon her. Saya says she should relax because nobody will be troubled by her absence. No one needs her that much after all. Oh dear. Is that what she said? Yomi is so troubled that when she and Kagari are playing Monopoly, she shows her frustrated side. Truly reversed now their roles. On a cloudy to school, Mato meets Kagari who wants her to bring her to school. In class, Yomi arrives late and seems short of breath. She scolds Kagari for leaving without and was worried she wasn’t there when she went to pick her up. Kagari apologizes but her new friends defend her. Later Kagari talks to Mato about the changes. Initially she was lost and couldn’t do anything and now she’s perfect at everything. She has always depended on Yomi to do everything but now wants to do something for her. However she doesn’t how to do things for others. Meanwhile Kagari’s new friends tell Yomi off for always hogging Kagari. Yomi explains taking care of her was hard and that’s why when she gets along with others, she doesn’t mind. Then she realizes Mato and Kagari heard that and runs away. So when Kagari tries to visit her, Yomi tells her to go away and doesn’t want to see her. Mato is also worried and Yuu can tell. She asks her for Yomi’s email address and wants to be friends with her too.

Meanwhile Kohata’s boyfriend needs to talk to her. He apologizes for the cruel prank his friends put up. He was about to confess but Kohata doesn’t know who he is! Neither does she understand what has happened. The guy accepts what had been done is unforgiveable and is willing to change but really, she doesn’t remember a thing. Kagari visits again but Yomi still doesn’t want to see her. She receives an SMS and thought it would be Mato. The perfect solution to cheer her up. To her horror, it’s Yuu and despite her message that is worried about her, Yomi goes crazy and tries to break her handphone with her… Pillow? Realizing that Kagari is still waiting outside, then she realizes that she still needs her and rushes downstairs. Now she’s so needed, eh? She instantly hugs Kagari as she gives Yomi her cookies she made. Yomi is happy till she realizes Kagari did this to thank her or else she will never let her go. Oh no. The heartbreak is setting in as Kagari further explains though she said she was happy about her making friends but was just putting on an act. Before, she thought nothing would work out if she was gone but now she remembers not needing her that much. And yeah, she thinks she liked her. Liked? As in past tense? So let’s forget what happened up till now and release me, okay? Man, you should see the anger building up in Yomi’s face. It’s contorting into something evil. So her alter ego in the empty world who has been chaining up herself in a mountain of chains, it finally blows up. Now she has turned into a badass girl with a legion of skulls as her army. BRS arrives on scene and though she takes a blow, how do you deal with such monstrosity? Just fire back your gun lah!

Episode 5
BRS fires away at the army of the undead with her double barrel cannon! She even takes on the giant skeleton and the twin-headed monster in this approximately 2-minute adrenaline pumping action. Mato and Yuu go to pick up Yomi from her house but it seems her mom tells them to stay away. But Yomi comes out and walks with them to school. Seeing Mato has worn the chain, she also gives one to Yuu. The duo feel something is off despite Yomi putting on a cheerful display. Then Yuu realized Yomi used her hair to make the chain! During art class, Yomi suddenly takes the scissors and starts cutting her hair to make a collage! Mato tries to stop her but it looks like it’ll have to take more than words. Seems Yomi’s mom is putting a forlorn look because Yomi’s room is thrashed. It’s like she cut everything from the fabric to the furniture. Mato heard from Kagari that Yomi snapped. What does she mean? It means her heart died. Mato instantly slaps her! Yuu confronts Saya and blames her that she caused Yomi to behave so but Saya says she merely gave advice. Besides, it only hurts for a little while. A heart boosts recovery and regenerates again when it’s wounded. Mato continues reading the multi-colour bird book whereby its wing got dull absorbing all the colours, it fell and died. She wakes up from a dream seeing BRS in a heated clash with Dead Master. She doesn’t want them to fight because at this rate they’ll kill each other. Mato then starts to scribble in the book and put her own good ending about the multi-colour bird. When Mato goes to see Saya, the latter asks if she wants to save Yomi. Sure she does despite not knowing what it meant. In that case, Saya thinks she should die for her and starts strangling her! OMG! Then she backs off and says she’s just kidding! How can she do that with a smile on her face! Of course Mato leaves and is pretty much distraught Saya used to be nicer. Was she? Saya tells her to go to the art room to see something interesting. There, Yomi’s friends want Mato to take back a painting that Yomi drew. It is a creepy picture of Mato crying blood. Mato realizes she was the one who made Yomi snapped.

Yuu is absent during basketball practice and to Mato’s horror, nobody remembers who Yuu is. Mato becomes frantic, thinking about the times she spent with Yuu. But the odd part is the more she tries to think about her, the more she can’t remember. Thinking she should head to her house, but upon arrival, the place of her home is now just a river. And Yuu is there (maybe she’s a ghost because notice she doesn’t have any shadow!). Asking her if she wants to save Yomi, she mentions that the world where someone else endures the pain for you exists. In that other world, the other Mato is always fighting and shoulders all her grief and suffering. In the course of fighting, that other her will eventually be annihilated. This will in turn set her free from all the suffering and gloom. This was what happened to Kagari and Kohata. So to save Yomi, the other her must be killed so she can be set free from the grief that plagues her since Mato is believed to be the biggest cause of her suffering. Once she dies, she’ll be able to kill all her feelings for Mato. Mato disagrees because agony isn’t something that can be resolved by dying or killing. She believes there is a proper way to resolve it and that is by talking it out. Since she wants to talk to her and clash with each other’s feelings without relying on someone, Yuu cautions resolving this herself can be very painful. Mato will deal with it so Yuu puts her forehead on hers and Mato is transported to the other world whereby BRS is still fighting with Dead Master. Mato is being told she’ll have to shoulder all the pain and pain that she has gone through and Mato is determined to do that. Once Mato enters the other world, she sees Yomi right in front of her. However to her horror she realizes she has stabbed through her as BRS. Yomi/Dead Master dies and BRS’s left eye turns indigo colour.

Episode 6
Mato realizes she just killed the other girl that looked like Yomi. Lots of things start impaling BRS and this transforms her into Insane BRS! She faces off with BGS and whatever pain she feels Mato could feel it with intensity. Including the ripping off of her own arm! OUCH!!! Strength is seen dragging Dead Master’s lifeless body away. Yuu panics when she can’t wake Mato up. She brings her to Saya’s place and the sensei slaps her after learning what she has done. It seems if the girls have to endure great mental burden, then the girls in the other world will lose what little humanity they have left. Saya has put lots of mental stress on Yomi in order to awaken Dead Master. Yuu didn’t think Mato would get trapped there but Saya says BRS will destroy that world. If that happens, could you imagine what will happen to her then? Saya thought of killing Mato now but couldn’t bring herself to since she didn’t do anything wrong. Since Mato is trapped in BRS, Saya thinks of going to the other side and talk to her. Maybe her voice will reach her. She reminds that it isn’t Mato that she wants to protect, but that girl. Saya enters the other world and through BGS tries to talk to Mato inside BRS. The battle is still raging on as BGS manages to trap BRS. She remembers the summer that she first met that girl. When Saya was a student, she first saw Yuu coming out of school in her swimsuit. She invited her to her home and treated her. She learns from mommy that Yuu has gone through lots of hardships. Whether it’s being bullied, her own family who doesn’t care and her pig sty home, Yuu endured and locked all the pain in her small body. Saya continued to treat Yuu as her friend and one day as she talked to her, she mentioned how she admired her for holding in her anger. However Yuu said it wasn’t her. Whenever she’s bullied or felt pain, the other girl comes out and takes all of her pain instead. That’s why to her it doesn’t hurt.

One night Saya heard there’s a fire at Yuu’s place and rushed to the scene. She concluded she might have started the fire to take revenge on those who put her through everything. However as Yuu is being escorted into the ambulance, she could tell what Saya was thinking. Still, she put up a smile. Saya realized she was wrong and wanted to apologize but Yuu was whisked away in the ambulance. Later it was learnt that the cause of the fire was due to Yuu’s stepfather’s cigarette that he had forgotten to put out. Saya felt guilty and wanted to make it up to her. When she finally got to meet her, she exclaims she’ll do anything for her to be forgiven. Yuu notes this world is more painful than the other one. Though she doesn’t like pain, she was wondering if her other self should take all her pain. Since Saya did say she’ll do anything, Yuu wants to protect her and say her other name. Yes, it is BGS. Insane BRS breaks free and resumes the fight. Not even the Kohata clones BGS summons (now wielding sharp weapons) could beat her because Insane BRS decapitates them all! Insane BRS is about to strike BGS put her aim is off thanks to Strength’s interference. Then blasting away to another platform, BRS now faces Strength. Saya returns to her own world but laments she did something horrible and that girl protected her. She is sad she couldn’t do anything since she had a duty to protect that world so Yuu tells her she has been forgiven. Saya gets emotional so it’s Yuu’s turn to console her. Yuu apologizes to just about everything (for enforcing her wish upon BRS and Mato) and knows Mato is in pain right now. Mato narrates the reason BRS fights and hurts everyone is save them from grief but she feels that is wrong. BRS gets clobbered by Strength. Yomi returns to school and Kagari notices how cheerful she is. And she’s not putting up an act. Later Yomi sees Mato’s name in her handphone and deletes it.

Episode 7
Mato narrates how much she loves that multi-colour bird story. Despite having a tragic ending, she felt attracted to that little bird. Saya notes she can’t interact with BGS as she’s trapped in that world forever. Yuu thinks of going to that world to save her. Noting she is a mysterious girl, feelings like hatred, envy and sorrow hardly exist in her. She doesn’t acknowledge the part of her and tries to help the ones drowning in. Those emotions are what BRS is made of. She kills the emotions of others to save them from their sorrow. BRS will defeat their other selves and after that, they’ll never reach Mato ever again. BRS makes her counter attack on Strength. Mato’s voice is able to get through BRS to stop fighting but she shoots her own leg to shut her up. Mato hears Yuu’s voice that she must wish to get out of BRS. Shout out that she’s not her. We see clips of family and friends talking about Mato. In short, she’s a good girl. Then Mato realizes that she was running away so that she didn’t end up getting hurt or hate. That’s why she admired the tainted little bird. Yuu tries to calm her down saying that there is nothing wrong wanting to make a world a better place but Strength butts in on their conversation. She starts saying how she hates people who spread lies about her. Strength and Insane BRS exchange firepower and both take equally damaging shots. Strength ‘shows’ the pain she is experiencing and that her duty is supposed to protect her. The place is on fire and the fight becomes intense. Strength pounds Insane BRS to a pulp. Meanwhile Saya finds Yuu’s unconscious body by the bridge and takes her back. But Strength reveals something. She says she is the real Yuu and that the real Strength is down inside her just like how Mato is.

Yomi can’t quite put her finger on it. It’s like she felt something really painful had happened before. Then the teacher comes in to ask if the class knows anything about Mato because her mom called and she hasn’t returned home since yesterday. The class becomes alerted and Yomi might have remembered something about Mato and dashes out. She starts feeling pain in her heart. Then when the class see the police at the school gates, they think it must be something big. At the same time, Kagari’s heart also starts to hurt. Meanwhile as Strength (or was it Yuu) pounds Insane BRS, Yuu (or was it Strength), Mato can’t fathom that the Yuu she knew all along was actually Strength. As explained, Yuu’s heart was hurt very badly. When she was fighting in this world, the pain and suffering of the girls living in reality created both the emotionless girls and this world. They were influenced by the reality girls’ emotions and fought by their instincts. Till BRS came. They fought for the sake of fighting without thought of winning or losing. Before Strength was about to die, she heard Yuu’s voice and felt her pain was different than other girls. Since they’re mostly pain and hatred, if BRS kills her while she’s shouldering them, what would be left of Yuu? Yuu says her world is more painful and difficult. Even if she died with her pain, she’d still face more down the road. Since this other world is easy to understand and that one just fights and don’t need to think, thus pain is easier to understand than anything. Yuu suggests they switch places. She’ll stay in this world while Strength faces reality. Saya watches the motionless body of Mato and Yuu at her place. She apologizes for letting Strength shoulder it all but hopes she’ll protect that world in her place since that world is her only shelter. Yomi’s heart grows more painful each time she thinks about Mato. Then she remembers all the times she had with the person whom she calls her friend. She couldn’t understand why she was trying to forget her.

Episode 8
Yuu still continues to beat up Insane BRS like a punching bag and she’s taking out her frustrations of the real world on her. However Strength notes that her hope of wanting to save her from BRS is now impossible. She drops down the abyss since if she disappears, the pain that’s warping her senses will vanish as well. Once she forgets that, she won’t be able to remain in this world. Yuu doesn’t want that to happen and pleads for Strength to change her mind as she doesn’t want to face reality. This allows Insane BRS to finish her off. Mato finds herself in a dark place and sees Insane BRS before her. Then she realizes she has become BRS herself. Strength is cracking up (literally) and Yuu is frantic that she doesn’t want her to go since she’ll be all alone. Mato tells Insane BRS how she made her bear all her suffering and pain and that she doesn’t want to hurt anybody but herself. Eh? Say what? That’s because if you don’t get hurt, there are other worlds you can’t see otherwise. Insane BRS is happy to oblige to give her some pain. Lots of it. Red is for the blood that you cough up. Blue and black is for the bruises from the punch… Wow. That’s lots of colours :). Of course Mato is beaten up so bad that she’s about to go to the next world. She laments she can’t hurt anyone to hurt herself (well, it’s an ironic situation). Thinking how the multi-colour bird flew to witness the many different colours, Mato gets the strength she needs to revive and materialize a cool power machine gun. Yomi realizes she loves Mato wanted to share the pain, sadness and ache with someone. Kagari and Kohata start shedding tears when they remember their important person. While Mato and Insane BRS continue to churn out crazy amount of bullets at each other, we see the revival of Dead Master, Chariot and BGS. Mato is going to hurt Insane BRS no matter much she hurts herself just to get it through her heart. Is taking all the bullets her idea of getting hurt? Mato materializes a freaking huge cannon and blasts Insane BRS away!!! So powerful that it cracks the walls of this world and a myriad of colours start gushing in. Then everything goes boom!

The next thing Mato knows, she is in a barren world and Strength is lying close to death. Yuu doesn’t want her to die because she can’t handle reality but she points out everyone is here for her. Noting both worlds have merged, their hearts can also merge into one. Yuu still doesn’t have the confidence that people won’t like her so Strength assures her she is her soul. Without feelings, she fought for her. Without feelings, they can only act on instinct. That’s why they could never fight for someone they hate. They love her, they want to protect her, they don’t want to see her sad. That’s why they started fighting for her in the first place. She wants her to believe that the real world can be a nice place too. Before Strength disintegrates, she thanks Mato for teaching her how wonderful the real world can be and that they’ll always be friends. When the real Yuu wakes up, Saya immediately hugs her in her relief. Mato makes her way home and is surprised to hear Yomi calling her. Mato instantly comes hugging her and apologizes for hurting her because she wants to get hurt too. But to say to let’s suffer together properly? I hope she doesn’t mean that seriously. Mato narrates the world filled with different colours. Warm, bright, sparkling, dirty, sad and lonely colours. Because of so, the world is a beautiful place. Mato, Yomi and Kagari return to being best friends as Kohata and her boyfriend are back together again. Though Yuu takes her first step back into reality, she’ll be glad to know that Mato, Yomi and Kagari are always there for her. The quartet become good friends as each of them has the chain stitch as token to commemorate their friendship. In the other world, Strength revives and sees BRS who says she’ll continue to get hurt and bear the pain and thus continue fighting in this world. So the pain is not going to stop, eh?

What Is The Colour Of Pain And Sorrow? Can Hurt Feel So Good?
Well, the only thing that I enjoyed watching this was the cool fights of the dark personas. Trying to explain it in relation to grief, sorrow, suffering and the likes was a good try but for a guy like me, it didn’t really matter because not that I understand it all completely. The more I try to think about it and rationalize everything, the more complicated it seems to become. For instance, I was trying to comprehend wouldn’t it be better for the girls then to let their dark persona get defeated because this way they will be freed from all the pain that they are suffering now? If it is said that the girls in the other world bear all their pain, well, it looked like they aren’t in any pain at all. I mean, you see them fighting, get stabbed, shot, blasted, whacked and everything else but they don’t really put up an expression that indicates all those blows taken were actually that painful. Heck, in fact I felt painful for them the way they got gored! Maybe as explained, pain in this world is less complicated and simpler so even if it hurts, it is not like what we imagine, screaming and crying through the top of your lungs. But still, pain is pain and as long you’re a living thing, you are still susceptible to pain.

I guess the characters were rather okay. Each of them had their own issues to deal with and eventually overcame them with each other’s support. Mato may seem like she always happy and cheerful, the kind of girl that will not even hurt a fly. In a way that is a good point because I feel that no matter how angry and upset you are, you’ll be ‘blinded’ once you blow your top and lose control of yourself. From the world I come from, you would have to be higher than a saint to do that and if anybody of such really exists, first thing we’ll say that he/she isn’t human. So at least with Mato realizing that instead of brushing things she should be angry about aside and put up a happy face, now she learns to experience a new range of emotions. Sometimes it’s good to have a few negative emotions because too much of a good thing isn’t really good for you in the long run. Of course, too much of a bad thing is worse so it’s best to keep a good mix and balance of the kinds of emotion. Positive ones more lah. As compared to the OVA, BRS here seem to be more violent and brutal and it feels she’s like a heartless killing machine. So the reason why she appeared and started hammering all the other dark personas is still a big mystery to me. Maybe it was explained so it’s either I wasn’t listening or did I remember since it was complicated. I just know she kickass :).Perhaps all Kagari wanted was just a friend. She got so obsessed with this concept that she took it upon Yomi and made that poor girl her ‘slave friend’. Yomi was initially trapped and felt responsible to take care of Kagari. Once Kagari was set ‘free’, it ironically turned the other way round. Kagari doesn’t need Yomi anymore but Yomi couldn’t do without her. It tells us that this kind of extreme friendship isn’t really any friendship at all. Friends give and take and don’t hurt each other the way we see them do here.

Surprisingly I never have guessed that Yuu was Strength and vice versa. I was predicting that there would be more than Yuu to being just a side character for the TV series and perhaps somewhere at the end there was going to be a twist but I never expected they swapped places all along. It’s pitiful that the real Yuu had undergone a lot of bad emotions in reality. But if she has been fighting for so long in the other world, you would think that her hate and pain would have subsided in time, though I won’t expect it to completely disappear. Instead, she’s still that bitter girl who can’t accept reality and continues to take out her frustrations in the fights in the other world. Maybe it’s the kind of pain that won’t go away no matter how much time passes. Even if she had eternity, lived forever or fight and beat every persona meets, that kind of pain and suffering she experienced when she was a kid was too much to bear. Only with Strength’s near loss did she realize that her own world isn’t totally filled with such extreme hate and pain. When you’re in your comfort zone for so long, taking the first step out into a new world seems daunting. But that is what friends are for. I’m with a little step by step, she’ll manage to get by with her new friends. See, it’s not that bad, right? Saya is a mystery to me. Besides seeing her and her penchant for drinking coffee (which she reveals she hates anyway), it was hard at first for me to classify if she’s the villain or an ally. By deduction and the familiar looks, I could easily guess that BGS is Saya. I don’t really understand why she said mean things to the girls. Maybe it’s her way of being cruel to be kind. She had her reasons why she wanted to revive Dead Master and to ‘kill’ Mato but I didn’t really fully understand it. In the end, all she wanted was to save the real Yuu and protect the other world because as I am concluding, if the other world collapses, then the girls in this world will have to endure all the pain and suffering. Hey wait a minute. If the dark personas die, then the girls are set free from their emotion, right? As I found out, BRS fights the other inhabitants of the other world regardless of its impact on reality and this is what Saya wanted to protect. Uhm, so what impact was it BRS would have on reality? The girls being set free of those emotions? Argh! This is so confusing. I’m not going to think about this anymore.

So I’m going to turn my attention to the cool fights instead. All I can say is that they are mind blowing and creative. No doubt that it is the other world and it is exactly this reason probably why the imaginations and fantasy start flowing. Things that don’t really follow the physics of reality and that is why when I watched them in action, it was exhilarating, exciting and electrifying. I just wished they had shown more of such fights. Hah! Do I sound like a blood thirsty person? Just like in the OVA, the scenes alternate between reality and the other world. Sometimes I find it annoying because while I’m enjoying the fight, then the scene changes and this puts a slight damper on my enjoyment. But if this wasn’t done in this way, we won’t understand the big picture and see the effects of things as they bring about simultaneous results and consequences in both worlds. Maybe at times the fights might be gory and a little too violent for girls to watch. I mean, you see things get impaled to them, they get slashed and their limbs something get cut off. Not to mention the loser gets her head decapitated! And I am not sure if their blood is some dull colour instead of red. Case in point, when we see BRS get gored. Is that her blood? Feels like oil spewing out from a ‘machine’. I love the way the huge weapons the dark personas carry and the power blast that comes with it. You could say that their arsenal packs a load of punch. Each time they clash, it is of epic proportions. The odd buildings, monuments and scenes of the other world may look creepy but they also add to the excitement of the fight, be it getting smashed into it or just to enhance the effects of the bout.

The voice casts of the OVA were retained in the TV series with Kana Hanazawa doing Mato and BRS while Miyuki Sawashiro voices Yomi. If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention Dead Master because this dark persona doesn’t have any lines in the series. Kana Asumi also retains her role as Yuu but this time she doesn’t sound so girly like Yuno in Hidamari Sketch or Taneshima of Working!! At least when the real Yuu is revealed, she sounded like a crazy girl whom hatred and pain has eaten her sanity away. It’s the same case with Eri Kitamura as Kagari (Rin of Kodomo No Jikan, Kureha of Sora No Woto). When she was screaming in her climax scene at the hospital, man, I never thought she could scream like a crazy woman. She’s pretty convincing when she snapped. Newly added to the cast for the TV series is Mamiko Noto as Saya. What else can I say more about her? Her trademark voice is still there and I still totally love it. Also added is Manami Numakura as Kohata (Asano in Natsuiro Kiseki). When I first heard the rock opening theme which is the same name as this show, it somehow reminded me of Bakemonogatari’s ending theme, Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari. That’s because both songs are sung by Supercell (though for this show, Hatsune Miku provided the voice for the vocals). This is the same group which got inspired by the concept of the BRS character and came out with a song of the same name albeit a different one from this TV series. The ending theme is a slow pop rock ballad by Bokura No Ashiato also by Supercell.

As I found out from Wikipedia, this series was popular enough to spawn a few spin-offs of manga and games. From what I know, all of them have different storylines and more characters that have short and cool but seemingly unpronounceable and complicated names (at least to me). Reading briefly their profiles seems pretty interesting. Maybe it’s because I still had my mind set on the awesome battles that I saw in the TV series so I could imagine the manga panels and video game play if these characters were to unleash their cool weapons. I’m sure the series is trying to tell us a thing or two about friendship and not violence and fights solve your woes. If every time you want to free yourself from sadness and go into a fight, I think that will just mess things up further. That’ll be more than just a pain in the neck. Speaking about pain, to a certain extent pain is good because it tells us the limits of how much out body can take. It tells you to stop what you’re doing. Without pain, you might be going on light an Energizer battery till your body breaks down. And you still wouldn’t know it. I also found out that there were some character redesigns for BRS and Dead Master for the TV series. I don’t remember much from the OVA but perhaps some of the main features of BRS are still there. But for Dead Master, I remember she held some Death Scythe as a weapon in the OVA but here she uses chains. Plus, she resembles more of a bride rather than a gothic devil. Oh, I kinda noticed that the pupils of the characters’ eyes, how come they resemble like half cogwheels?

I’m not saying that I am suffering a great deal of pain and sorrow now but from time to time, I do feel such feelings. So what am I trying to say? That the other world whereby your dark personas fight and take your pain is non-existent! Haha. Just joking. Maybe it’s because I’m not a girl so I don’t have this thing so bad that it splits my emotions and creates another world. But would it be great if you had a doppelganger to take in all the pain and suffering for you and at the same time fight some serious kickass battles. And I’m not talking about creating an avatar and go play an MMORPG. Some say that pain is relative and to some it’s just mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter, that is. Seriously, would you want a hot chick with blue flaming eyes like BRS to shoulder your pain? Maybe if only I had those cool huge blaster cannons…

The fact that I didn’t know this came out left me in great despair!!! ZETSUBOU SHITA!!! (I’m in despair!!!). Just joking. Rather, it left me surprised when there was an all-new episode of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei that came out back in January 2012. The reason for this being the release of the entire series in Blu-Ray disc format, thus buyers are treated to a new single episode. For those who have watched the entire series (like yours truly) from the original TV series to the multiple OVAs, you’re going to find their trademark comedy here the usual like how they have always pulled it off before. For those who haven’t watched it, you can still enjoy the randomness but I guess that means you’ll be missing out on all the fun that this black comedy has had to offer. Maybe that’s why they put all the episodes on BDs now.

Part 1: Despair Has Fallen On The Murder Scene
In a detective genre and setting, Nozomu famous detective and his assistant Matoi arrive at a mansion whereby a murder has freshly been taken placed. Yeah, the victim is that chubby bald guy, MAEDAX. Why is he wearing female’s underwear when he died? Beats me. So conveniently, Nozomu is tasked to find the killer to Kaere’s husband so that she can sue him! He has to (despite he is here just to visit his old friend MAEDAX when this happened) or else Kaere will sue Nozomu! Yeah, he’s already in despair, trying to give excuses she better leave it to the police… But smart alec Fuura comes up with a brilliant idea Nozomu should start saying lines from detective stories like ,“The culprit is among us!”. She even gives ideas on how to catch the culprit, that usually appears early in such scenarios, narrow down the suspects and nab him. Yeah, all this fact seems to startle Nozomu like as though Fuura is a detective pro. Does she like reading detective novels? So Nozomu takes up her word to play detective. Oh wait, he’s already one. With Matoi assisting him with some ideas, Nozomu starts off with identifying the people in the mansion. We have Kaere as the wife, Meru the daughter, Maria and Abiru as the travelling performers and the housemaids, Fuura, Chiri, Harumi, Nami and Ai. Most likely when a murder occurs, it is because of a grudge. Looking through the suspects, seems everyone has a reason to kill MAEDAX. Suddenly Ai pops up and confesses that she is the one who killed him. Woah! So fast? She thought the mackerel’s bad smell killed him and profusely apologizes (going to the extent that her existence is to blame). But wait. Didn’t the victim die because of a stab to the chest? You guessed it can’t be this easy to solve a case. Then looking at the dying message the victim left, it was so long-winded and unrelated, before he could reveal the culprit, he already died. Oh, the despair! Nozomu loses motivation that he isn’t cut out to be a detective!

Matoi suggests to analyze the one with the most to gain from his death. Nozomu suspects Kaere because with her husband’s death, she will inherit his vast fortune without the need to step into the courts. However Kaere isn’t interested in his assets but suing! Yes! If he’s dead, she can’t sue!!! WTF?! Using the process of elimination, he wants to know who has an alibi. Everyone raises their hands. So as everyone starts narrating their alibi, it seems each of their alibi covers each other that it goes round in circles and repeating itself! Yeah, they’re all proving each other’s alibis! Could they be lying to cover each other up? Continuing to listen to their testimonies, Nozomu has some of them draw sketches of the person they thought they saw was suspicious. Let’s say the sketches are unrecognizable. Nami notes there is one maid that hates the master more than anyone. Bringing Nozomu to her, she is Komori and is locked inside her own room. She hates her master for always trying to come and peep at her while changing. She wants to kill that bastard. Nozomu is convinced she is the culprit as she wouldn’t even come out of her room. He tries to force open the door but the chains tightly seal it. Since the suspect can’t even leave a closed room, is this some sort of reverse closed-room murder?! How can she even pull off a murder if she is stuck in her own room?!

Nozomu returns to the rest and laments this case can’t be solve, much to Chiri’s dismay. It’s Fuura’s turn to suggest another ‘brilliant’ idea that sometimes there are cases when the culprit is connected to the police force. She takes a look at 4 points that would make that person the likeliest culprit. 1) Someone who is at the scene at the very start; 2) Someone with no alibi; 3) Someone who knew the victim well enough not to raise any alarm; 4) Eyewitnesses’ sketches resemble none of the people living in this mansion. Well, only one person fits all that criteria: Nozomu!!! Suddenly everybody starts thinking and believes that he may be the one. They start interrogating him. Besides, there were some telltale signs that he MAY be the culprit. Like how he was nervous when Fuura first started blabbing about her brilliant detective. idea. Obvious, wasn’t it? Nozomu admits he came here because he borrowed money from him and only wanted more time to return it. With all the evidence pointing at him, Nozomu vehemently denies but nobody believes he is innocent anymore. Fuura says that people tend to try and forget things they don’t want to admit. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of because humans are weak and no one would blame him for that. She encourages him to admit and release the pain strangling his heart. Set your soul free! Even Nozomu may be starting to think that he is the murderer. As Nozomu is about to admit that he is the killer, suddenly MAEDAX gets up! He’s not dead?! He reveals he spent over a hundred thousand yen on call girls but couldn’t get any closer to them. He hated his own miserable guts and couldn’t take it anymore. So it’s just a case of suicide?! So the victim is the murderer himself? Didn’t expect this, didn’t we? But don’t we just feel ripped off, eh?

Part 2: Christ of Nyan-jing
This is somewhat a semi-musical on the characters singing (in horrible tone and sync) that the world would be a better and peaceful place if everything was just a bit different. So they give us a list of examples that by just even changing words, everything would become more harmonic with the smallest change (read: puns). However Chiri shakes that all up and goes the other way instead. If everything was just a bit different, the world would be more dreadful. Yeah, now a list of examples why the slightest little change would spell trouble. This includes sketches and drawings and this means we have the characters suddenly messed up and out of shaped. You thought your kid’s drawing was bad, huh? The segment ends with a little nonsense with some guy in a cat mascot bludgeoning everyone who whispers he is such a weak character. Yeah, what a way to prove you are otherwise not. Poor kids got dropped onto the rail tracks!!! OMG!!!

Goodbye Seems To Be The Hardest Word…
Well, it was a good laugh and it didn’t disappoint either. It was nice that it brought back memories of the series but not so much to the point that I would want to want to rewatch the entire series again. I don’t want to be left in such a despair! Haha! Even watching the frantic and messy opening theme, Ringo Mogire Beam (the theme that was used in the OVA Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which is used here as well) brought back memories. Sometimes I thought that this special episode serves more like an additional episode to the Zan OVAs because of the format. We have the opening with a pop-up storybook-like narration (of a nonsensical plot of course) and at the end, another short nonsensical what-the-heck-is-this-story-about skit that feels like a silent movie only difference is that there is somebody narrating while the typical frantic silent movie piano style is played in the background. However the segment missing was the Zetsubou Sensei Drawing Song whereby we have guest seiyuus drawing Nozomu in their interpretation to the tune of the music. I liked this segment in particular because I get to see everyone’s different (and very funny) drawing.

I’m not sure if there are going to be anymore releases or sequels in the future. But if that ever happens, I know I’ll be waiting to get my hands on it. If this is the last curtain for the series, so be it. So for a series that has come a long with ever since, it has been a nice and enjoyable ride (maybe except for Nozomu who still has his pessimistic approach). From the characters to the witty lines and the various art visuals and angles, it wasn’t such a despair after all. Except maybe for the overflowing random notes filling up the screen as well as the long list of examples to support their ‘case’ of the theme. That can be very tedious and annoying. Seeing that with good memories, the bad memories are also brought back, I guess I can rightfully say, ZETSUBOU SHITA!!! But I don’t really mind this kind of despair because I get to laugh and be amused. With that, I’m the culprit, guilty as charged. ZETSUBOU SHITA!!!