Gasp! Dangan stealing the themes of Umineko and Higurashi!! I kid, I kid (though PMMM definitely stole Dangans themes of hope versus despair versus love and did worse with it, Urobuchi, what the hell).
One thing that was always prevalent is that Naegi is naive and believes that EVERYBODY in the the world (except for Junko after the fact) is fundamentally good at their core and he is ridiculously stubborn about it. He legitimately believes that if it weren’t for Junko, the SDR2 kids would have been perfectly fine and that’s frankly not the case, Tsumiki was still bullied heavily by her classmates, there was the Twilight Syndrome case, Hinata chose to become Izuru long before Junko arrived, and the whole Hope’s Peak system of treating the reserve class horribly to where even the teachers hated the reserve class and Jin Kirigiri’s terrible character judgment, the kids would have done some drastic stuff. Maybe not on the Junko level, but given Hope’s Peak, there would have been one manipulative asshole who would have taken advantage of them. And it was stated in SDR2 in one of the things prior to the final trial that Junko personally groomed the kids and took advantage of their weaknesses (plus it really cheapens Junko as a character in my opinion. She’s like Kyuubey in the fact that they know people’s weaknesses and manipulate them to create despair, Kyuubey for entropy and Junko because she’s literally despair.)
The one scene during the final trial all but outright stated that the joke was rooted in something serious.
(I hope that the file name I gave it doesn’t show. Also, I found out that while looking for that particular pic, SDR2 has two CGs that are JoJo references and all involved Monokuma beating up Monomi. One’s a Heaven’s Door reference and another has Monokuma going “ORAORAORAORAORA”.) We knew that Kuzuryuu took Junko’s eye, that was canon, and Komaeda became the new Yoshikage Kira. Given what we knew about Owari, it seemed fair to guess that Owari’s big appetite was due to not eating during her time as a despair and due to her memories being pre-Hope’s Peak, she didn’t question it. Like, similarly, Imposter didn’t take on being Togami until long after he had posed as Mitarai, though honestly, I like one fanfic’s suggestion that Togami has suggested to model Imposter after him during the putting them in the program.
A VN could not do Sakura justice. She needs the manliest of all manga with the most detailed panels you’ve ever seen.
I rescind my statement, she really does deserve her own manga. I forgot that VNs have so many limitations whereas a manga could capture all the nuances. Please, Kodaka, appreciate the beauty that is Sakura Oogami!
But it didn’t need to be something even the director of Saw would cringe at, even with the darn pink blood. Mukuro’s death was ultimately the same kind of death and it wasn’t unnecessarily creepy gorn. Wouldn’t it have been better for both Yukizome’s characterization as a despair and for less people to have grown less numb to the violence if something like this happened: Yukizome has been secretly exploiting the secrets of her students to Junko so Junko can exploit them properly, since the kids love their teacher and Yukizome hides the fact she’s despair. The kids are enticed to come to despair but really only holding onto their sanity because they want to be there for Nanami. Come graduation day, all the kids but Nanami are tied to the seats since we’ve shown that Yukizome knows how to capture and restrain them, and Yukizome calls Nanami up to the front of the class. She asks the class to give praise to their class rep, and praises Nanami herself. She makes gentle eye contact with Nanami before stabbing her in the stomach once and pulling the knife out and she goes to the class, “But sometimes, bad things happen to good people, you know?” It would have been far more effective than Yukizome murdering two unnamed kids off screen. Granted, I think the series would have been better if it was just focused on the kids rather than telling five different narratives in Despair Arc and gave everybody a reason to like Nanami other than she played video games with the class once, but that’s the fault of cramming a big story in twelve episodes.
The theme of the kids having to own up to their faults was in the last trial, where they either faced reality with the chance they might wake up as their Despair selves (thus having to own up to what they did but have a chance to better themselves) or live in ignorant bliss in the program,never acknowledging what they did ever again.
But you’re not alone in not noticing that twist! The way they had spun it, Sakurakura could have been in love with Yukizome or Munakata in the Despair Arc flashbacks, and I’m really glad that Sakakura did turn out to love Munakata. It added a lot of depth to his loyalty to Munakata “I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU AND YOU ARE ALSO MY BEST FRIEND SO I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU”. I loved that adults love triangle and feel it was handled so much better than most love triangles.
Also, not related to DR3, but god, I hate that Ouma kid in NDRV3. Like, can people NOT portray him as some of the world’s worst leaders (and they do it without a shred of irony)? Can we NOT?