The ‘Danganronpa’ series celebrates its 10-year anniversary

The visual novel art style of the “Danganronpa” series makes for excellent storytelling.

Margaret Troup

The popular mystery visual novel video game series “Danganronpa” recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its original Japanese release.

“Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc” originally released to the PlayStation Portable in Japan on Nov. 25, 2010, having only been adapted for a North American release in February 2014.

Most entries in the “Danganronpa” series follow one or two protagonists as they find themselves with a case of amnesia and trapped in a “killing game.” The three main games in the series, “Trigger Happy Havoc,” “Goodbye Despair” and “Killing Harmony” tell the stories of 15 to 16 high school students at the fictional esteemed high school, Hope’s Peak Academy.

Within the Academy, the students are forced into a game of wits and brute strength as they must kill each other for a chance of escaping the school. With their only options being kill or be killed, elaborate class trials to determine the murderer in each case are held after a period of investigation. If the murderer is found by the end of the trial, then only they are executed as punishment. If the perpetrator is not found out, then they are free to leave the school and the remaining students are killed instead.

The visual novel style of the game allows players to keep a perceptive eye on the various clues, motives, alibis and storylines.

“The player’s commands and actions are staged by the scenario [of each game],” Kazutaka Kodaka, the creator of the “Danganronpa” series, said in an interview with Archipel Caravan. “I try to make use of these in order to make the scenario as interesting as possible.”

In addition to video games, other forms of media, such as two novels and manga adaptations, a spinoff game, an anime and a stage play, have been incorporated into the “Danganronpa” franchise.

“Danganronpa” games are available to play on PlayStation consoles and personal computers. There is currently no plan for a fourth entry into the “Danganronpa” video game series.