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Dangan Ronpa ( ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生, or Bullet Refutal: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair) is a visual novel developed and published by Spike in which the player assumes the role of Makoto Naegi, a student recently invited to attend Hope’s Peak Academy, a legendary school within the game. Dangan Ronpa and its sequel, Super Dangan Ronpa 2, were initially released exclusively in Japan.
The game takes place in Hope’s Peak Academy, a school that accepts only “Super High School Level” students that excel in a certain field. During the course of the game, fifteen such students become trapped within the school and are forced by Monobear, a black and white, remote controlled bear and the school’s self-proclaimed headmaster, to take part in the “school life of mutual killing”.
Monobear tells the students that, if one of them can get away with murder, that student will be allowed to “graduate” and leave the school while the rest of the students will be executed. When three students discover a body, an announcement is made throughout the school informing all of the students of this discovery. When this occurs, the player is given time to investigate the scene for clues about the culprit’s identity. After the investigation period, the player takes part in a school trial where all of the students pool together clues in an attempt to discover the culprit’s identity. If the students successfully identify the culprit, the culprit is executed, usually in a way relating to their Super High School Level talent.
Dangan Ronpa’s sequel features a premise similar to that of the first game. A new group of students is brought to a tropical island by Monomi, a “teacher” from Hope’s Peak Academy and a rabbit with functions similar to those of Monobear.
Dangan Ronpa was largely introduced to the English-speaking web through Something Awful user orenronen’s Let’s Play thread of the game. Though interest in the thread was initially minimal, more people were drawn in as the mystery unfolded. The thread generated over 800 pages of replies, making the thread one of the largest LP threads on the website. After the LP for the first game was finished, Something Awful user slowbeef conducted an interview with orenoren.
Eventually, the Let’s Play gained more exposure through Tumblr, which would eventually lead to the Dangan Ronpa fandom significantly growing in size. There have since been a number of efforts to release translation patches, and a fandub of the game in its entirety is underway.
Following the sudden growth of popularity of the game outside of Japan, NISA announced that the original game would recieve a release in North America and Europe for the Playstation Vita under the title of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.
Search queries for Dangan Ronpa began steadily rising as orenronen’s Let’s Play of the first game neared its end.
Anime News Network – NISA Licenses DanganRonpa, Demon Gaze Games in West