Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair – The 3-Character Dynamic and Best Girl

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Note: This post requires readers to be in the “Danganronpa mindset”, and is written with the assumption that you had finished Danganronpa 2. Obviously contains major spoilers as well.

What’s the 3-character dynamic? It sounds cool and almost like an officially-coined term, but it’s a term I came up with myself just for Danganronpa, because I think it best described the rapport between the characters.

TVtropes’s Two Guys and a Girl is the closest, though still not exactly accurate either; this dynamic is more easier observed during the actual class trials. Because of such a huge character cast, there are characters who progress the discussion and actually dive into the problem at hand to try to solve it, instead of skirting around it. Basically, they are the problem-solvers. In Danganronpa, there are usually three of these characters out of the cast, and I call these the “3-character dynamic” of Danganronpa. The other characters usually just, well… respond. They arguably lack the insight to bring new things to the discussion, and usually just respond to shocking revelations in stereotypical shocking fashion.

Indeed, there has to be a “central point”, so to speak, someone who leads the discussion into the right way, finding new information in the process. Applying the dynamic here however, there are not just one, but three “central points”, and one of the best thing about the class trials is how these central points with different opinions clash with each other.

Picking a Best Girl is serious business, and especially so in Danganronpa. I felt it’s really hard for me to pick a favorite character in the game, mainly because, for one thing, these three from the dynamic will obviously have the most exposure and development out of the whole cast. These three are also the ones who actually get things done in the actual class trials, and the funny thing is some of the talents these three characters possessed are seemingly useless; for example, Naegi and Nagito’s “Ultimate Lucky” talent, Chiaki’s “Ultimate Gamer” talent and so on. I guess it helps tremendously that despite not having an useful skill, they are not bound down by specific roles, and can do things outside the scope of their own talents.

I think it’s clear from how much I rant about the 3-character dynamic, but my favorite characters from Danganronpa are from within that dynamic. This was the case in Danganronpa 1, and likewise in Danganronpa 2, and probably will be the same for future Danganronpa titles if Kodaka Kazutaka retains this narrative pattern.

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In Danganronpa 1, the 3-character dynamic consisted of Naegi, Togami and Kyouko, and yes, I marked like crazy when all three of them appeared in the sequel. And well, in said sequel, the dynamic consists of Hajime, Nagito and Chiaki, and are obviously my favorite characters of the bunch. Of course, my absolute Best Girl is Chiaki.

It's dangerous to go alone! Take Chiaki.

It’s dangerous to go alone! Take Chiaki.

Besides being cute, which is a very nice bonus, she is also extremely observant, befitting her position in the 3-character dynamic. Different from Nagito’s shrewd and manipulative personality however, Chiaki’s someone who actually cares and genuinely wants to help. She’s really supportive, and helped tremendously both during the investigations and class trials. In a game filled with murders and betrayals in every corner, I, as a player, genuinely feels that there is only one person I can trust, and that’s Chiaki. The ironic thing here is that she’s not even a person, but an AI, made together with Monomi to observe the island… You know, you’re pretty much screwed up when an AI is even more “human” than half the cast who could betray and murder anyone at a moment’s notice.

I guess being an AI explains her exceeding calm altitude, which was the first thing I noticed before the huge shocking revelation. This, coupled with being an AI, helps her being more aware with the current state of people around her. It’s as if they have a secret guardian looking out for them. One of my favorite moments which also reinforce my choice of Chiaki being the Best Girl, was during Chapter 4 when Chiaki stopped Hajime just before he was about to enter “The Final Dead Room”, looking for an exit. At the time, everyone, including Hajime were all suffering from extreme fatigue and hunger and were losing rational thoughts-so Chiaki practically saved Hajime just before he possibly went crazy and even lose his life, since there is NO exit in there. What I described here doesn’t do it justice, really, since it’s quite difficult for me to portray the emotional aspect of the scene in text, but those who played the game will probably know which exact scene I’m talking about.

Even Hajime is sold.

Even Hajime is sold.

While Chiaki is the Best Girl for me, at the same time, I feel this is also quite unfair, and it’s more of a “boring” choice, even, since Chiaki obviously got the most attention and development out of all the other female characters. Of course, some of them got nice, fun quirks, but quirks can really just get you so far compared to organic characterizations and development. Just like the previous Danganronpa 1, I can’t help but feel invested into the characters within the 3-character dynamic more so than the rest of the cast.

…Then again, I’m talking about Best Girl and waifu in a game filled with constant murders and psychological thrills. Somewhere down the line, I must have gone crazy too.

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Trivia:
1. This post is dedicated to Cho. Please notice this post, Cho-senpai.
2. If we were to compare the 3-character dynamics from both Danganronpa 1 and 2, Kyouko and Chiaki are just about equal. Kyouko = Chiaki > Everyone
3. Outside of the dynamic, I think my best girl would be Pekoyama.
4. Because the characters within the dynamic are so central to the plot, it’s almost predictable that they wouldn’t die, as with the case in Danganronpa 1. Well color me surprised in Danganronpa 2…
5. This is totally unrelated, but here’s a screenshot of Nagito fapping to hope.

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This entry was posted by Kai.

11 thoughts on “Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair – The 3-Character Dynamic and Best Girl

  1. Of course I’d notice a Dangan Ronpa post, upupupupu.
    Nagito is the best DR character there is!!! I thought it was a bit of writing genius just how much the game messed with players’ expectations in regard to him. Giving him the same VA, talent, and focus on hope as Naegi was an epic troll — and then shattering any possibility of connection once the early plot twist of Nagito being completely insane was revealed — was just fantastic. And then, everything leading up to the conclusion of his story… (weeps) I wasn’t expecting any of that; it was just TOO much. Most devastating part of the two games!!!
    Anyways, with that fluffy white hair, his earnest desire to help all his friends (in his… own special way), and his very unique role as a constant potential threat/antagonist, he is easily best boy. ;P
    Gundham is a close second for best boy, because he always made me laugh. (But, of course, DR2 had to… GAAAAAHHHHH)
    Anyways, most of the characters in both games are quite memorable, and DR2 did a great job cranking up on the scope of the plot twists. I’m really glad I wasn’t spoiled on any of the end game stuff, because those were some of the craziest twists I’ve seen in a story. And even more impressively, it all ties into the themes of the franchise so well. Looking forward to seeing what the upcoming spin-off title brings to the table, as well as what direction DR3 might take things. (Will probably be quite a wait for that one though…)

    • Definitely agree with you there. Nagito is best guy, even if he’s not the most sane in the group xD I actually still think Nagito is Naegi after the plot twist of Naegi being insane. I was thinking maybe there’s some time passed between DR1 and 2, and within that time, Naegi just turned crazy from all the shit happening to him. Having a changed Togami (?), a fatter version of him at least, in the group, strengthened this idea too. If someone changed so much in physical appearance from DR1 to 2, why not Naegi as well, right? So it literally took until chapter 6 when Naegi literally came out to convince me that they are two different people, lol. And his plan in chapter 5 was ingenious too.

      I like Gundham too, but I think Fuyuhiko’s a character who’s just grown on me over time as I played the game, even if he’s slightly irritable when I first saw him, lol. Nothing special, actually, but I just like his organic character development. I actually don’t really like most of the surviving cast, but Fuyuhiko’s an exception.

      Yea, they seem to get even crazier at DR2. Sci-fi jargon aside, them being Ultimate Despair is one of craziest plot twist ever. I also like how the last case was pretty much a story developmental thing instead of being an actual case, just like DR1’s last case.

      “I’m really glad I wasn’t spoiled on any of the end game stuff”
      Eh, DR is actually pretty easy to get spoiled. I found out about who’s going to die when I was googling to check what kind of gifts I should give to said characters… >_> I didn’t said this in my review, but it ruined my experience with DR2 slightly.

      The spin-off seems like it literally turned into an action-shooter kind of game, lol. Seems kinda gimmicky, but with DR, I’m sure they will somehow make it work. As for DR3, I just pray it will be on Vita, and not on some new-gen consoles, since it will take me forever to buy them.

      • Ah, I had guessed early on that the fat Togami couldn’t actually be Togami — extreme physical difference aside, he just acted too different! (He was almost… nice??? Unthinkable for Togami.) Definitely kept thinking there was going to be a huge reveal about him eventually though… and of course, the game had it just be a ridiculous red herring, ha ha.
        I also didn’t care as much for most of the surviving cast, which in a way is also kind of amusing… Did find Sonia rather amusing at least though, if only because I kept expecting her to be some kind of a spy or something. (She just didn’t act anything like a princess… and her whole country seemed completely made up! But once again, the game was just trolling me.)
        Sorry to hear you were spoiled on some things for the game! I felt the gift-giving is generally pretty straightforward — just give them stuff related to their ultimate ability. (And if I messed up, I just loaded my save I made just beforehand, ha ha.)

        “Oh, forgot to say this in my comment, but I was actually hoping to see why you like Hiyoko xD”

        Hiyoko made me laugh all throughout any scene she was in; she was just too funny. And, I don’t know, I always recognized she was a terrible person, but I still empathized. Her little character arc with learning to make a friend (with Mahiru) and her subsequent struggle to forgive Fuyuhiko really stood out to me. And then the arc was abruptly stopped before it could lead to a full resolution, since Hiyoko was so suddenly killed after that. It was a moment that just shocked me, since I had become invested in the character’s development.
        This sort of thing would happen even more dramatically later with Nagito, as you can imagine… I 100% didn’t expect him to die, since he seemed so vital to the story’s themes. I was expecting to see his “hope” side finally triumph over his “despair” side, you know? And… well, in a way, that is what happened… sort of… in the most twisted manner imaginable, ha ha. Guess that’s just the Dangan Ronpa way. =P

        • Ehh, it could be. I think it can make sense for Togami’s character post DR1. He’s definitely cold and aloof during DR1 but he showed sense of camaraderie during the ending, so the fake Togami in DR2 certainly feels like something the real Togami would turn into.

          I saw some similar comments about people not caring most of the surviving cast, interestingly, I think it has most to do with the 3-character dynamic. In DR1, all of them survived, but 2/3 in DR2… well, you know, lol, so I guess it kinda makes sense why so many people aren’t too keen on the surviving cast. About Sonia, yea, did you do her Hope Fragment scenes? The more I hear about her country, the weirder it seems. I do like her name though, cause you know, Sonia “Nevermind”? xD

          Hmm, I don’t know. I tried giving some straightforward gifts you mentioned. Like the “yakuza film” to Fuyuhiko, if I remembered right, and he didn’t like it >_> Although about halfway through the game, I just buy mineral water from vending machine since it seems everyone likes it >_>

          Oh yea. Her mini arc with how she was trying to cope with Mahiru’s death and to forgive Fuyuhiko is great. It’s too bad that she ended up dying right after that before developing further and in contrast, Fuyuhiko gets proper character development. Kinda interesting too, because Fuyuhiko was also involved (although not directly) in the executions and got out of it alive.

          I actually can’t believe both Nagito and Chiaki would die later on since both of them are very central characters to the plot, although I’m not sure “die” for Chiaki is a proper term. In Danganronpa, even optimistic term like “hope” can be an iffy thing.. :p

          Just want to put this out here too, since DR2 is a sequel, I think Kodaka Kazutaka just proves he can be quite the troll too. He’s trolled stuffs like the fake Togami, the dozens of parallels between Nagito and Naegi. I don’t know for you, but at the very least, he played me like a damn fiddle :\

  2. Kyouko > Chiaki > Others (Not keen on Chiaki randomly falling asleep everywhere) (Otherwise in DR2 I liked Mikan and Mahiru). Though Cho’s right in saying that Nagito was a pretty fantastic asset for the plot. Can’t agree about Gundham, though…Worst Boy.

    I hadn’t really considered it previously but you’re absolute right regarding the “three character dynamic”. It’s always the same people that push the cases forward, barring one or two exceptions per case. I wonder if my like for Chiaki and Kyouko only exists because they were part of that lead group?
    In any case, I felt that the original’s cast gripped me more than the sequel’s, though i’d be the first to admit that that could simply be because DR2 was the second time around.

    • They are two different beasts to me. Kyouko is the badass detective who just get things done. Chiaki is the resident osananajimi who supports you the best she can. Different Best Girl material. Chiaki’s falling asleep everywhere and ending some sentences with “…I think” is just a way to reduce the cool and badassery image and to bolster the cuteness and approachability-I’m certainly not complaining. Not sure why you think Gundham is Worst Boy though :p

      It’s something I already think back during DR1, I find I like all three characters-Kyouko, Naegi and Togami from DR1, but those three are the ones who got the most exposure, characterizations, developments, and get things done in the cases. DR2 followed the same pattern, easily making me zoomed in on Chiaki, Hajime and Nagito. It could be.

      Fair enough.

    • Like Cho said, Nagito played an unique role in being a potential threat/antagonist to the group, and his seemingly relation to the Naegi, so he’s definitely garnered a lot of attention just because of those. I especially like case 5’s twist, Nagito’s plan is especially well-thought-out.

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