Contains SPOILERS for previous entries in the Dangan Ronpa franchise.
Makoto Naegi, known as the “Ultimate Hope,” works as a member of the Future Foundation, an organization whose goal is to free a mostly-destroyed world from despair. Their opponents are the Remnants of Despair, a group of high school students who were susceptible to the ideology of “despair” and committed many worldwide terrorist attacks. However, Naegi is currently under arrest under suspicion of being a traitor to the group.
The Future Foundation’s leaders (all graduates of ultra-elite Hope’s Peak Academy, possessing Ultimate talents of their own) gather on an isolated island to discuss Naegi’s fate. His crime is hiding away members of the Remnants of Despair, all international-level criminals, without the Foundation’s permission. The group’s nominal chairman, Kazuo Tengan, is inclined to be lenient because of Naegi’s status as Hope, but its most vocal member, Ultimate Student Council President Kyosuke Munakata, advocates for a harsher punishment.
Naegi arrives, accompanied by his former classmates Kyouko Kirigiri and Aoi Asahina. An argument breaks out between Naegi’s supporters and Munakata’s, causing the meeting to be suspended. Ultimate Housemaid Chisa Yukizome uses this time to question Naegi about his motives, revealing that she was a former teacher of the Remnants of Despair during their time in school. She encourages him to work together with Munakata to create hope.
Suddenly, the building is attacked, and all entrances cut off. The Future Foundation members are all knocked out with sleeping gas, and awaken with strange bracelets on their wrists. The villainous Monokuma, “host” of the previous killing games (including the one Naegi survived), appears once again. He informs the members that they have been trapped in a new deadly game – one which is revealed to already have begun, as Yukizome’s corpse is found attached to the chandelier.
The End of Hope’s Peak Academy is an original anime that serves as a sequel to the popular Dangan Ronpa video game franchise. It is split into two parts, Mirai-Hen (Future Arc), which is this one, and Zetsubou-Hen (Despair Arc), which Moeronpan will be taking a look at. Needless to say, this anime is not designed for anyone who has not played the earlier games. It spoils many major twists very early in the episode. If you haven’t played Dangan Ronpa, Dangan Ronpa 2, and possibly Absolute Despair Girls, put this anime on the back burner until you do.
I, like many fans of the series, was disappointed by the first game’s anime adaptation. I felt that its biggest pitfall was having too many characters, leading to 1) many characters not getting any real development at all 2) characters’ deaths being forecasted by their screentime suddenly increasing. While Mirai-Hen does mitigate this by having some characters the viewer is already familiar with, I do see it falling into this problem already. The only new characters to get anything more than a few lines were Munakata, Tengan, and Yukizome, making the latter’s death not exactly surprising.
However, I do feel that this anime has made some good decisions already. There are some nicely animated scenes, especially the ones showing the Future Foundation fighting against the Remnants of Despair. Choosing to keep the rules of the newest killing game (such as what the bracelets are for) out of the first episode helped it be slightly better-paced and less cluttered. And a few of the characters, while still woefully underdeveloped, interested me enough to want to see more.
What’s going to make or break this show will be its characters – their interactions, their pasts, their motives for murder – as has always been the case for Dangan Ronpa. Therefore, it’s hard to make any judgments on just this episode. Still, as a longtime fan of the series, I’ll be sticking around as the tension rises and the cast dwindles. (Is it bad that, after the disappointment of last season’s Mayoiga, I’m actually excited for a good old kill-em-all show?) I may try to review this depending on how my last few FIs turn out.
A mostly promising start receives, out of 5 Dios: