Ryouko Otonashi is a cheerful and frivolous student at Hope's Peak Academy, an elite school that accepts only the most talented students. However, Ryouko is different from the others: as a chronic amnesiac, she tends to forget events and faces, recording everything she witnesses in a notebook that can be trusted when her memory cannot be. In addition, her irritable childhood friend, the "Super High School-Level Neurologist" Yasuke Matsuda, works tirelessly to cure her disorder. Yasuke is the only person whom Ryouko can never forget—after all, she is deeply in love with him.
This awkward pair lead a hectic but happy life at Hope's Peak Academy—until they are confronted by a strange girl who seems to be the very embodiment of despair. As her notebook becomes increasingly unreliable and Yasuke's dark secrets are revealed, can Ryouko cling to hope, or will she give in to despair?
What are memories but recallings of past actions, experiences, knowledge that we act upon and thus shapes our personality and makes us the person we are today. Yeah, memories are a pretty important thing but what happens when they're unexpectedly torn away from you and you don't know WHY? Will you be able to move on or fall into despair...?
"Danganronpa/Zero" is a prequel to all the Danganronpa games (released so far) and the 2013 anime. You don't need to play or watch them to understand the story but the experience will be different if you're familiar with the franchise.
The story follows the life of highschooler
Otonashi Ryouko. She lost her memories at a young age, since then she keeps forgeting events from the past hours so she actively uses a notebook to record her everyday happenings. She has no memories of family or friends but there's one person
she does remember: the school's neurologist and childhood friend, Matsuda Yasuke. He studies Ryuko's amnesia and gives her a treatment in the hope that she will get her memories back. Even with all the strange incidents that have been happening at the school, Ryuko's days are peaceful and that's when she meets a certain blonde girl...
The story's written in Ryuko Otonashi's perspective, the writing style is very easy going with short explanations but very descriptive so you can actually relate to what's happening to Ryuko's life and how she must actually feel, I'm not going to give spoilers but I must note I find the first-person writing a good choice because of the plot twist at the end. Unlike other light novels I read, every character has a different speech pattern and you can differentiate between them.
For me, the selling-point of this novel was the mistery factor. The pace gives the reader the chance to slowly connect the dots but you can still enjoy it if you're not the detective-type. Black comedy and romance are a constant throughout the story (although the latter on a smaller scale).
The Danganronpa franchise is known for its excentric (and sometimes clichéd) characters, this installment is no different. There's the
cheerful and innocent girl and her cold and aloof friend, there's the pervert with a sweet tooth, the mysterious antagonist and the loud-mouthed bipolar girl. All of them bring something interesting to the table (except for Yuuto, he's a lame excuse for fanservice) and have a role in the story. There are a few recurring characters and we'll get a short glimpse at the past life of one of them. A nice bonus, I might add.
As a fan of DRP, I was pretty excited to read this novel. I was not dissapointed, in fact I started to appreciate a certain character('s madness) a bit more. The fanservice was a bit too much for me at times but it didn't take too many pages. If you like mistery novels that keep you on the edge of
the seat, I strongly reccomend this one.