The world was close to being destroyed by Ultimate Despair, who caused "The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History." In order to save this world from the event's chaos, the Future Foundation was formed. Although the organization continues its activities to restore the world, Makoto Naegi is under suspicion of treason due to him shielding the Remnants of Despair.
The Future Foundation members had gathered together to decide on his punishment, but they all end up getting trapped inside the place they were meeting by Monokuma, who demands that they begin the "Final Killing." They have strange bangles put on their wrists, and are given tranquilizers when a certain time arrives. To make things worse, there apparently is a real traitor amongst their ranks who is coming to kill the members of the Future Foundation.
In this game where class trials don't exist, the only way to get rid of the traitor is to find him and kill him off. Naegi is forced to face the ultimate death game, where it's kill or be killed. The tale of despair in which hope kills hope begins.
With the end of Danganronpa 2, fans couldn’t help but be a tad bit disappointed with its conclusion as it didn’t wrap all the problems present in the franchise. And situations were left unsolved and we needed to know more about the “Future Foundation”. With the third Danganronpa being confirmed to be part of a new universe, the despair for the fans only continued. But with the announcement of a anime sequel to the second Danganronpa game, fans regained all hope for a proper conclusion for this universe, which will leave us satisfying. Whether or not Danganronpa 3 manages to succeed in doing so will only be decided once Kibou-hen airs, but for now, Mirai-hen is a satisfying continuation of the Danganronpa series; one that feels home with the franchise despite its differences with the previous entries.
Do note that this is called Danganronpa 3 for a reason. It’s meant to be watched after playing the first and second game (though you can watch the anime adaptation of the first game instead of playing it). But not doing so will make you not be aware of many plot points that are important in Danganronpa 3. Anyways, Mirai-hen continues off right from where the second game ended. Our protagonist from the first game who is now a member of the Future Foundation, Naegi Makoto, is held under suspicion for treason due to him saving the Remnants of Despair instead of killing them. Just when his punishment was being decided, Monokuma appear… again, and he announced a killing game… again. Now the members of the Future Foundation are trapped in their own headquarters, forced to play what is supposed to be the final killing game. The premise is basically similar to the previous games, but the main goal of the series is to find the traitor within the group. Overall, the story is handled well and there’s some really big twist and turns along the way. Characters that you thought had plot armor may not. But most of the series is just basically watching the “Number of People Alive” counter decreasing one by one. There isn’t a proper conclusion in this series, since that is left for Kibou-hen. And some of the revelations near the end can seem a little messy. So all we can do now is hope that the final episode is just as good as the rest of the franchise.
There’s one thing you’ll notice from Mirai-hen, and that is how different it is from the first two games. First of all, gone is all the class trials from this killing game. This is more like “Battle Royale” where people have to be killed off one-by-one and the culprit won’t be judged. That also means that you won’t be hearing “sore wa chigau yo” a lot in the series. Instead of six different cases to handle, now the characters have one large case: Who is the mastermind? If anything, Mirai-hen feels a lot like Zero Escape, which isn’t a bad thing. Secondly, characters now have bracelets with NG codes on them. Each player has an NG code that gives them a restriction. If the restriction is crossed, the bracelet will inject them with lethal chemicals that will kill them. This gives the viewers a sense of mystery as you won’t be able to know what are the characters’ NG codes. But it’s fun to guess and see if you’re right! Thirdly, there are characters outside the game that get focus and you get to know what’s going on outside the game, something which you weren’t aware of in the previous games. Fourthly, humor is very rare in Mirai-hen as things are more darker here. This new tone for the series works well, especially since this is supposed to be the conclusion of this universe. Lastly, and most importantly, red blood is used instead of Danganronpa’s trademark pink blood. Unlike Zetsubou-hen, which sticks with the pink blood, Mirai-hen decided to take a darker and more mature approach to the series, and it works really well. Overall, this is a quite different take on Danganronpa, but it’s still really fun and feels like a proper sequel for the series.
Mirai-hen mainly focuses on the Future Foundation characters, which consists of most of the survivng characters from the first Danganronpa game, and new characters we get introduced in this series. The protagonist from Mirai-hen is the same as the first game, Naegi Makoto, a survivor of the first killing game, a member of the Future Foundation, and commonly known as the Ultimate Hope. The series focuses on Naegi and how he has to find out who the mastermind of the killing game is, while making sure that him and his friends survive. Accompanied by him is Asahina and Kirigiri from the first game, and many other new characters like Miratai and Munakata. A lot of the new characters are developed using Zetsubou-hen, and it works pretty well. And that’s why both Mirai-hen and Zetsubou-hen should be watched together. Not all the new characters are likable, but that was the point. But many of the new characters do end up being really well done. Yukizome does play a big enough role in Mirai-hen, but her development from Zetsubou-hen carries on here. Munakata might seem a little irritating at first, but he ended up being one of my favorite characters from Danganronpa. Same goes for Sakakura too. Overall, the new characters end up living up to the Danganronpa name and the recurring characters are just as likable as they were in the first game… except Hagakure, ‘cause no one likes Hagakure! What? Monokuma said so!
As mentioned in my review for Zetsubou-hen, the art style in that series had a more vivid look to it than the games. Mirai-hen is the complete opposite as it has a darker art style that the first two games. This might have been done because Mirai-hen itself has a darker tone compared to the rest of the franchise. Or the art style is like that to represent Mirai-hen being a story that begins with despair, contrary to how Zetsubou-hen begins with hope. But this art style works well with this series. Most of the series takes place inside the headquarters, so most of the backgrounds will be the inside of buildings. But the backgrounds are pretty well detailed and well done. And the character design for the new characters are really good and well done. The characters from the first game also look more mature due to their age growth and their new designs look great as well.
The animations are fairly good in the series, but it isn’t anything extraordinary. However, that is to say that the animation quality is fairly consistent throughout. Generally speaking, the animation is fluid enough and there aren’t any noticeable animation quality drops. Character animations are done fairly well. Lighting is very differently that Zetsubou-hen. Everything looks bleaker and the lighting add to that. However, the animation quality is better than Zetsubou-hen’s but that should be necessary since Mirai-hen is more action-heavy than Zetsubou-hen. As mentioned before Lerche did a good job in animating two seasons during the same time, which they aren’t used too.
The seiyuu cast is really good in Mirai-hen as most seiyuu return back to do their recurring character, and the seiyuu for the new characters are great too. One notable change is that Tarako is now the new voice of Monokuma instead of Ooyama Nobuyo. The reason so is because Ooyama is currently suffering from dementia, which is very sad to hear and hopefully she gets well soon (even if things don’t look good). Though Tarako isn’t as good as Ooyama, she does a decent job as Monokuma, though the character is barely here in Mirai-hen for an obvious reason. Ogata Megumi does a great job again as Naegi and makes him feel very similar to the first game. Hikasa Yoko does a great job with Kirigiri and Saito Chiwa does a good job with Asahina. We also get some pretty well-known people to voice act the new characters, like live-action actor Hongo Kanata as Mitarai, Morikawa Toshiyuki as Munakata, Suwabe Junichi as Sakakura, and many more. And they all do a great job in what they have to do.
Voice Acting: 9.5/10
One of Danganronpa’s strong point is its music and Mirai-hen is no different. The OP, “DEAD OR LIE”, is really good and it grew on me really fast. The vocals are good, but the music for that song is awesome. The lyrics not only matches the series, but the franchise as a whole. It might very well be one of my favorite OP of the year. The ED, “Recall THE END”, creates more of a mystery vibe and it matches well with the series. The ED gets really good near the middle, once the second verse happens. Most of the background music consists of music used in the first two games, which is a good thing since the two games had some amazing music. The background music creates a sense of nostalgia due to its familiarity. Many of the OST that you’ve heard during trials or investigations are used in Mirai-hen, and it works really well.
As a Danganronpa fan, I found Mirai-hen to be a very satisfying continuation of the series and I can’t wait to see how Kibou-hen wraps things up. Seeing the surviving characters of the first Danganronpa game was fun to see and the new characters in Mirai-hen are really interesting and unique. This new take on the killing game with its Zero Escape-ish style is great and it’s new, darker tone works. A lot of unpredictable things happen and it keeps me more and more invested in the series. Every time an episode ended, I would spend the rest of my time waiting for the next episode, while theorizing who can be the mastermind with the given clues I have. Despite it being an anime and not a game, I still feel like I’m using clues to solve this one big case, and that’s what I wanted as a Danganronpa fan.
In the end, Mirai-hen is a proper continuation from the ending of the second Danganronpa game. If you are a fan of the series, you should definitely check Mirai-hen out if you haven’t already. There’s a lot of things that are different in Mirai-hen when compared to the rest of the series and it has a style of its own. But it still feels part of the Danganronpa series, even with these changes. Seeing the Danganronpa 1 characters again was fun and the new characters are nice too. The plot-twists and revelations work well and keep me invested in the series. Mirai-hen doesn’t have a proper conclusion, but that is because Kibou-hen is supposed to be the conclusion for this Danganronpa universe. Hopefully the Mirai-hen arc will get rid of all the despair left in the series.
+ A proper continuation of the Danganronpa series.
+ Killing game is unique and its new style and tone works well for the series.
+ The first game characters are back and most of the new characters are really well handled.
+ Interesting cat-and-mouse story that has a good amount of plot-twist and revelations.
+ Soundtrack from the first two games are used and they are effective and OP/ED are great.
- Revelations near the end raises a lot of questions.
Note: Before watching this please play through all three Danganronpa games (1, SDR2, and Another episode). Also you should watch the future arc episode with the despair arc in broadcast order. Watch future arc ep 1 then despair arc ep 1, and so forth and so on. Watching the two series in this order is very important as Despair arc develops some of the characters from the Future arc.
Danganronpa 3: Future arc is a sequel and essentially a finale to the Danganronpa series. Whereas the counterpart Despair arc is a prequel to the entire story, Future arc details the story after the Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic event in human history. It reintroduces the killing game shown in the DR series prior, except this time, in the real world, without any school rules. There are completely fresh batch of characters, some whom we eventually see fall.
Future arc centers around the main survivors of the events in DR1, along with the division leaders of the Future Foundation. The leaders themeselves had thought that they already caught the traitor, but little did they know they had already fallen into the real traitor's trap. To make the matters worse, this time the killings don't end in a class trial as it did in previous games. Instead, they have to find the traitor and kill him to end it once and for all.
The story is basically kill or be killed. Unlike Despair arc which starts off with a more light hearted tone that constantly evolves into a more brooding tone, Future arc starts off with a darker tone straight of the bat. The first couple of seconds of ep 1 essentially shows how the world has become since the Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic event in human history. And throughout, the episodes are just constantly filled with tension as the characters try to somehow find a way to survive.
Future arc also manages to weave in characters from all three Danganronpa series. Whether it is a whole episode dedicated to them or if it's just a couple of moments, it is still fun to watch the rest of the other game's cast after their events.
A problem with this kind of a setting though is the pacing, which was noticeable in Future arc. One episode could be filled with new events while the next could be slightly disappointing and rushed. However, the still lingering mysteries about the traitor and the NG codes (the only "rules" in the killing game) kept me hooked throughout. One huge disappointment was the plot twists regarding the DR 1 characters. At first I thought, "this is really happening," but then after a couple of episodes and even in the Hope arc, the plot twist got ruined by playing it safe.
The animation is great and the action scenes are fun to watch. The art itself was also a good point from Future arc. Like the tone, the color schemes of Future arc constantly stays on the darker color, unlike Despair arc which slowly transitions from lighter to darker. Also to emphasize the impact of the killing game, the staff even decided to change the blood from pink to red. At first, I didn't know how to feel about this as the pink blood was a unique part of the danganronpa series, but it was understandable considering this was the finale and they had to really highlight the brutality of the final killing game.
One interesting aspect, like I mentioned, is that Despair arc events has great meaning in the Future arc. Knowing what happens in Despair arc comes in handy for the Future arc.
The opening song is great and the soundtracks are decent. However, being a guy who really pays attention to the OSTs, the ones in Future arc were slightly underwhelming. There is also an awesome cast of new voice actors who did great, alongside the voices we were already accustomed to.
Obviously, the most important part of Danganronpa series are its characters. When I was going through each DR series for the first time, I always wondered if I would get attached to the characters. The same was for the Future arc. Unfortunately, It's safe to say I like some of the characters, but not more than I wanted to. Maybe because the anime was just a 12 episode series and not an entire Visual novel, but it was harder for me to get attached to the characters. Some of them died too quickly, granted it was to showcase the brutality of the killing game but still. Some of them started out just plain annoying, although one certain character did get more fleshed out than the most. In the latter episodes, a lot more characters get fleshed out a bit more, which was nice to see. . We got backgrounds and more personalities: whether interesting or annoying. However, it was still minimal, so I honestly did not care for most of them. One of the characters got more depth than most of any other characters in other DR series even. Anyways, although the new characters do show interesting traits and personalities, it was rather hard to get attached to most of them quickly. It was only after a couple more episodes that I got somewhat attached to more characters.
After 11 episodes, I have to say that the developments of some characters are pretty awesome to see. For example (SPOILER: Juzo), was one character I thought I would never like, but in the end he became the most developed and also became my favorite from the new cast.
As for the original DR1 cast, they were pretty much the same. Kyouko being the smart detective trying to find out the traitor, Hagakure being Hagakure, and Naegi being that typical "not let anyone die" MC. One thing I liked from the original cast was Asahina, whom you could clearly see matured and developed after the killing game in DR1.
Although their are clear flaws in both pacing and early characterization wise, Future arc still is a pretty decent watch. As with the DR games, it is always so stressful for the new episode to come out because you don't know who might die. The mystery of the traitor is not obvious and make you think of all the possibilities. One of the biggest downsides, however, is the underwhelming ending. Character wise, although it startes out in a weak manner, gets better as episodes progress, though it is heavily limited. Although both Despair arc and Future arc are disappointing in many aspects, both are still a decent watch for dangaronpa fans.read more
If I had to describe Danganronpa 3 in one word, it would be "unnecessary". That's ultimately what it all boils down to. DR3 is not a necessary part of Danganronpa canon, nor is it necessary to watch it. It's completely disposable, and altogether just pretty terrible.
It's pretty hard to write an in-depth review of DR3 Future without going into heavy spoiler territory, since exactly where the story goes is a big part of why it's so disappointing, but I'll try my best. Future sets itself up as another killing game, although this time it's more akin to something found in Zero Escape than Danganronpa proper. It remains a murder mystery, albeit one very different to those found in DR1 and 2. The mystery's solution ends up not only being lame, but also massively predictable. The big reveal towards the end was a total non-event since I'd already figured it out several episodes ago. The mastermind behind the incident is also a letdown, since it was so extensively telegraphed that it seemed almost too obvious to be true. The methods used, the characters involved, the narrative weaved between both this and DR3 Despair... everything is weak.
But it's not the destination, right? If the journey is enjoyable, then the answers we get at the end don't make and break the whole series, right? Sure, but DR3 Future's journey isn't enjoyable in the slightest. Most of the episodes feel like filler, with pointless characters acting out pointless subplots that don't go anywhere, and they end up pointlessly getting killed. They could've easily told this story in half the number of episodes with how completely unnecessary most of them are. Aside from a select few, most of the characters also only exist to get killed. Not to further the plot at all, but simply just because people will expect a lot of deaths from this series. Both new and returning characters are largely one-note, with only Kyosuke Munakata and Juzo Sakakura showing any kind of depth. None of these other people, including the DR1 survivors, are interesting at all. Even Kirigiri, one of DR1's driving forces, is reduced to a glorified extra.
Production value-wise, the animation is slightly better than DR3 Despair's, though not by much. The music and voice acting however are, as always, top notch.
Was DR3 Future a completely miserable experience, though? Sorta, but not quite. The most fun I had was discussing theories and just how stupid the show kept getting every week, and if you can't have that experience then I say skip DR3 entirely. Skip if if you've played the games, absolutely skip it if you haven't played the games, just skip it. It's a waste of time.read more
Here it is, a third killing game. Monokuma managed to pull it off for the third time now, this time with 12 new characters in the killing game along with Naegi, Kirigiri and Hina. I was a little skeptic about this part after episode 3 but I'm glad it delivered near the end, as Danganronpa always does. This entry will launch off with a brand new killing game and it will be the (near) conclusion to the entire Danganronpa franchise of the Hopes Peak Academy era. We await the conclusion with Side:Hope.
If you're interested in watching this, you have to go back to the start of this series as this is the third entry from this series and watching this without knowledge of prior entries will confuse you and you wont get the full enjoyment out of this entry, not to mention it will also spoil the events of SDR1 and 2. If you have knowledge then the watch order would be episode 1 of Side:Future, then episode 1 of Side:Despair and continue that pattern with the finale being Side:Hope. Remember, this review will contain minor and major spoilers of SDR1 and 2 and also very minor spoilers of SDR3, you have been warned.
The story starts off almost right after the events of SDR2, Naegi's "betrayal" by siding with the Remnants of Despair. Que all the leading members of the Future Foundation along with some of the cast of SDR1 and boom, you have your brand new killing game, quite exciting isn't it? Here there is a new concept called NG codes - With NG codes, every participant has an action they can't do and the bangles are stuck on their wrists, if they end up doing said action then they get infected with poison, a neat concept for Danganronpa and it spices up this killing game. Also, every 2 hours they get infected with sleeping gas, then the traitor/killer wakes up and kills someone, if the traitor/killer kills someone then the game goes on, if no one dies then everyone wins the game. There is no class trials in this one. It's a rather slow start, but it later picks up and it gets very interesting, overall I thought it was a well written story, with plot twists, cliffhangers leaving you wanting more and overall nice direction, unfortunately we were left not with a conclusion yet as there will be one more episode in Side:Hope, therefore the last episode doesn't feel as satisfactory as it could have been.
Story - 9
Ah, the characters, do they live up to the amazing casts of SDR1 and SDR2? No, unfortunately they don't, but wait, that doesn't mean they were bad at all. There were 12 brand new characters introduced to us, all of them were former Hopes Peak Academy students or staff. Two of the characters weren't really developed at all and felt very flat. Other two characters didn't feel interesting enough even though they were developed, they even got lots of screen time in the beginning so I was thoroughly disappointed in the begin. I'm glad they did get development though, otherwise it would've been bad. All the other 8 characters were fair game and I really enjoyed seeing the Vice-President in this anime, a great character to come out of this one. Thanks to Side:Despair we got to learn more about most of these characters too, which was nice.
The art, just like Side:Despair, wasn't anything amazing. They did a few animation faults too, like covering what was supposed to be a hallway with a wall, constant changes in the characters positions after they wake up from the sleeping gas compared to how they were when they fell asleep. It wasn't necessarily bad, but I found it quite disappointing, but I guess it's understandable with how much work the animators are probably doing at the same time - Side:Future, Side:Despair and SDRV3 - still doesn't excuse it though.
Art & Animation: 6
Naturally, the sound is amazing. With new voice actors, they all did wonderful. Danganronpa never fails to amaze me when it comes to selecting the voice actors. The soundtrack is really good too. I have no issues with the sound at all.
Except for the rather boring start, this was a blast to me, I really enjoyed seeing the returning characters again and I loved the direction of the story, A great sequel to SDR2 I might say, hopefully the conclusion to the series wont be bad, that would just be fairly disappointing after all the fun I've had with both sides.
While this show does have a few faults, I still think it was really good, a great anime that I recommend to any fan of the Danganronpa franchise, it's a must watch and I'll remember this one for a while just like the previous entries in this franchise.