It took me longer than I would have liked to get this review out because the HD subs took awhile getting out.  But the review for the penultimate episode of Dangan Ronpa is finally here!

As always, there are MASSIVE SPOILERS ahead!

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Summary:

As part of the FINAL COURTROOM BATTLE, Monobear unlocks every room in the school for the students to explore.  Naegi and Kirigiri end up investigating the Principal’s personal room, and find his skeletal remains…  But, they also end up finding the Principal’s student handbook and an SD card.  On the card is a video recording, showing all the students agreeing to live within the confines of the school for the rest of their lives.  But suddenly, Monobear shows up and destroys the card, causing Naegi to become very suspicious.  While Kirigiri stays behind to silently grieve about her dead father, Naegi takes the Principal’s handbook to explore more of the school.  He ends up uncovering some vital clues.

:C

While all the students are investigating on their own, Monobear gives them all a photo.  Each photo shows a group picture of all 16 students living normal school lives, minus the one who received the photo.  This incites distrust amongst the last six remaining students.  However, during the courtroom battle, Naegi immediately realizes that the photos were a trap laid out by Monobear to make them fight amongst themselves.  Togami then proclaims that the photos are faked, though Monobear insists that they are the real deal.  Naegi eventually comes to the conclusion that they are actually all suffering from amnesia, based on the clues he gathered using the Principal’s student handbook.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this may be the first time we’ve gotten a good look at Ikusaba Mukuro in the anime.

We never actually got to see the photo Fukawa received from Monobear in the game, so I thought this was a nice touch.

And what’s more, Ikusaba Mukuro was murdered not once—but twice!  Meaning that there are still seven students alive in the school!  And the seventh student is the mastermind behind everything.  Naegi correctly guesses who it is: It was Junko Enoshima all along!  It turns out that Junko and Ikusaba were twins and switched places from the very beginning.  Thus, the “Junko” who was killed was actually Ikusaba in disguise.  Because the ruse has been seen through, Monobear finally reveals their true form—as that of Junko Enoshima, the Super High School Level Despair.

The Mastermind reveals herself! (And suddenly the rest of this review is nothing but caps of Junko)

My Opinion:

My god, did I actually get to review an episode that had a courtroom scene?!  Yes, I finally did!  It was really just half a courtroom battle, but I’ll take what I can get.

I’m actually really surprised that they revealed Junko’s identity here; thought I’m also slightly relieved.  I was afraid they would save all of the last courtroom battle for the last episode, rushing through all the revelations and plot reveals horribly.  This courtroom battle was still pretty rushed, but at least they’re saving the good stuff for the final episode.

It was cool that the anime was able to incorporate Junko’s game poses in a way that didn’t seem totally out of place.

The investigation sequence was also a bit rushed, but I didn’t think it was too bad compared to past investigation scenes.  But I was still not amused at all the asspulls during the courtroom sequence.  How exactly did Naegi know that all Fenrir (the organization that Ikusaba belonged to) members had wolf tattoos on the back of their hand?  In the game you had to have actually picked that info up yourself (as Naegi) during the final investigation.  But in the anime he just magically knows… somehow…???  Also, the reveal about the whole Junko thing was just really badly handled.  Naegi was pretty much just, “…Oh, and also Monobear is actually Junko” and everyone was all “WHAAAAT?!?” but they sure recovered pretty damn quickly!  For such a big reveal I was hoping for a bit more… finesse.  Sadly, this was what we got instead.  At least Junko’s “proper” introduction was pretty awesome.

The Despair Sisters.

Overall, this was a so-so episode.  Kirigiri got a large amount of character development here, though I still feel that that wasn’t enough.  And honestly, the less said about how awful that courtroom sequence was, the better.  Let’s just hope the last episode of Dangan Ronpa somehow manages to amaze us.

Out of five:

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See you all next time for the final episode of Dangan Ronpa!

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