The students of Hope’s Peak Academy make up the heart and soul of Spike Chunsoft’s Danganronpa franchise. Each entry constantly asks players which “Ultimate” high school talent will be next to squirm in a blood of their own fluorescent pink blood. While the game’s executions are certainly worth looking forward to, determining which characters are murderers is just as entertaining.
Spotting contradictions and connecting pieces of evidence together often yields surprising evidence against students that one wouldn’t normally suspect of committing a crime. The following are the most exciting characters that new players can meet when the Danganronpa Trilogy releases on March 26. It’s needless to say that each has some intriguing tricks up his or her sleeves. Be warned that spoilers may be found below.
Best Danganronpa characters | Kokichi Ouma
The “Ultimate Supreme Leader” student, Kokichi Ouma, is the self-proclaimed head of an evil secret society that controls all the mafias in the world. His ultimate goal is to achieve global domination and watch the world crumble from his throne. Despite this, Kokichi also claims that he’s a pacifist who likes to settle fights with games and forces his goons to go on tea breaks to increase their productivity.
The character’s dual nature is representative of Danganronpa‘s focus on truth and lies, as it’s not always clear whether or not he’s stating a fact or making things up to attract attention. If one thing’s for certain, Kokichi certainly knows how to stir up trials with his inaccuracies.
Best Danganronpa characters | Kaede Akamatsu
Kaede Akamatsu, otherwise known as the “Ultimate Pianist” student, is Danganronpa V3‘s initial protagonist. Known among the game’s cast for being a hard worker, she dedicated herself to learning piano at an early age. It’s no surprise that Kaede is the first person that decides to search for clues when another student is murdered, as she always strives for a happy resolution.
Unfortunately, her drive to satisfy everyone gives other students the impression that she’s bossy. This desire to prove herself is ultimately what gets her executed, as she attempts to murder the gauntlet’s mastermind in order to save her classmates from mass execution. Shuichi begrudgingly serves as the game’s protagonist shortly after Kaede is killed, swearing to preserve her good intentions and save as many students as he can from annihilation.
Best Danganronpa characters | Shuichi Saihara
Shuichi Saihara is a humble young man who prefers to be called a private investigator in training rather than the “Ultimate Detective” student. Similarly to Kaede, he’s immensely motivated to find the culprit of every murder in Danganronpa V3, though he’s a bit more level-headed than his friend and opts to only show emotion when a situation calls for it.
In some cases, Shuichi’s cool nature works to his disadvantage, as he can give into depression easily and remove himself from his classmates for long periods of time. He works well as a representation of the player, as human beings often doubt their abilities when faced with insurmountable odds.
Best Danganronpa characters | Mikan Tsumiki
Danganronpa‘s “Ultimate Nurse” student, Mikan Tsumiki, is similar to Shuichi in that she too lacks a lot of self-confidence. She’s developed a range of psychological symptoms as a result of being severely bullied most of her life and keeps her hair uneven as a constant reminder of the abuse she’s received.
While Mikan is forever traumatized by her past, she does manage to redeem a bit of her self-worth by helping Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair‘s protagonist, Hajime Hinata, solve the title’s many murder mysteries. Her detailed autopsy reports include details on injuries, cause of death, and time of death. Mikan may seem like a bother when players first meet her, but they’ll come to discover just how useful she is as the game progresses.
Best Danganronpa characters | Ryoma Hoshi
In the world of Danganronpa, the term “badass” is best described with a picture of Ryoma Hoshi. This “Ultimate Tennis Pro” student managed to set up a promising sports career for himself before he single-handedly murdered an entire mafia organization and became a prisoner on death row. Ryoma considers himself to be a stone cold killer and is often unfazed when another student bites the dust.
Fans might chuckle whenever they hear this tennis master’s deep, masculine voice, but they shouldn’t let that distract them from his tendency to murder whomever he thinks deserves to die. Ryoma’s presence alone during Danganronpa V3‘s Class Trials makes it hard to determine who the real culprit is, as it’s easy to assume that a convicted felon would repeat his crime over and over again until he’s satisfied.
Best Danganronpa characters | Nagito Komaeda
Danganronpa‘s “Ultimate Lucky” student, Nagito Komaeda, is the franchise’s most duplicitous character. When fans are introduced to him in Goodbye Despair, he’s friendly and easygoing. He frequently encourages his class to not lose sight of freedom while they’re stranded on Jabberwock Island. When the first Class Trial begins, however, Nagito begins to ramble on about his twisted views of hope, claiming that anything done in the name of hope — including murder — is righteous and just.
When his fellow students disagree with him, he dismisses them as unintelligent and worthless. By the game’s conclusion, Nagito reveals that he always believed the right outcome would be for everyone on the island to die, including himself.
As players cycle through Danganronpa‘s School Life, Deadly Life, and Class Trial segments, they’ll find themselves growing more attached to the series’ vivid cast. It’s no wonder how the students featured in the franchise managed to cultivate a passionate fan base since the original title’s release in 2010. Even side characters like Ryoma Hoshi get their chance to shine and are often fleshed out through compelling backstories.
The Danganronpa franchise remains a prime example of how to properly illustrate a character’s personality over a few dozen hours. This thoughtful series of gauntlets is begging to be played by audiences outside of the usual otaku crowd. Horror fans may find Danganronpa‘s macabre pop art style and bright gore odd enough to suit their tastes.