Admittedly, I went into it not expecting to like it as much as I do. The story was interesting, the twists were fun, the characters were excellent with the odd exception here and there (*coughHifumicough*). I even enjoyed most of the voice acting. Hell, Monokuma's voice grew on me after a while. Again, Hifumi's the only one I couldn't stand in this regard.
As expected, quite a few of my favorite characters ended up getting axed. Half of me expected Sayaka to die at some point because obvious love interest for Makoto, but not in the first chapter. I thought she'd be the Maya of this game. Hell at one point I even said out loud "Yep, found Maya." But nope. She gets killed and Leon follows suit as her killer. I felt like I was just getting to know Sayaka and boom, dead. I never got to know Leon before his execution, so maybe that's why I don't dislike him as much as some of you do.
Speaking of Leon, that execution was downright chilling. I can write some pretty sadistic moments in the RP sometimes, but that scene made me feel uncomfortable. Which I'm assuming was the intent, so good on them. And I knew it was only going to get worse. Next to get axed was Chihiro, the admittedly obvious trap character. Another character I didn't really get to know very well as I was focusing on some other characters, including his murderer. Mondo...his execution hit me hard. I genuinely liked the guy. He definitely had his faults, but for some reason I couldn't help but like the guy. I can't condone what he did to Chihiro, but his death still hit me hard. Though obviously not as hard as it hit Kiyotaka.
Speaking of Kiyotaka, he was one of my favorites. Hell, he was in my top three. But it wasn't enough for them to kill him off, he had to suffer first. He had to befriend Mondo right before Mondo got executed, and that utterly destroyed him. The once strong Taka became a broken man, given up completley into despair after he witnessed the death of quite possibly his first friend. Then he gets bludgeoned to death with a giant hammer by that loathsome excuse for a character Hifumi, and is promptly murdered by Celeste soon after. A tragic end for our Ultimate Moral Compass, who from the very beginning acted as a leader.
After Celeste's execution came Sakuya's suicide. Another strong character, dead. By this point it just seemed like everybody was dying fast. The cast was thinning and the ever growing school seemed more and more empty. By the ending, our cast had been cut down to six. Makoto, Kyoko, Hina, Hiro, Byakuya, and Toko. Seven if you count Genocide Jack/Jill. Obviously the main character makes it out of this alive, and Kyoko is basically the main female lead. I thought that role would have belonged to Sayaka, but then Kyoko comes in to fill her shoes better than Sayaka ever could have. Hell, she even ended up taking the #1 spot on my favorites list. She was one of few competent people in the entire game. Hell, turns out she was a professional at this sort of thing. So it makes sense that she'd survive.
As for my second favorite, Genocide Jack. Good god, I ended up liking her WAY more than I thought I would. Her serial killings of young men she finds attractive just paled in comparison to all the fucked up shit going on within the walls of the school, so maybe that helped. It certainly isn't looking good when a serial killer more or less admits the main villain's plan is fucked up even beyond her standards. Speaking of which, that main villain is probably the most insane bitch I've ever encountered in a video game. She made Jack look completley sane by comparison. The entire trial I was just thinking "The fuck is wrong with this woman?!". I thought Dahlia Hawthorne was bad. Junko Enishima makes her look tame.
On a lighter note, I ended up liking Byakuya. He was kiiiiiiiind of a prick, but he grew on me. He's one of the characters I ended up learning about during free time events, and that just made him more interesting. He wasn't JUST another spoiled rich kid. He actually had to EARN his place. While I disagree with a lot of what he has to say, I do like him as a character. And his interactions with Toko/Jack were just plain great.
Hiro...was largely useless for the entire game, and I often wonder why he's even there. Ultimate Clairvoyant? Maybe that's a bigger deal in Japan and has greater meaning over there. I dunno. But his inclusion in Hope's Peak Academy makes less sense to me than the Ultimate Lucky student. At least blind luck makes sense. Bringing in a fortune teller who boasts about his 30% accuracy rating just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. And as expected, the fortune teller was completley useless for the entire duration of the game, and quite frankly it's a miracle he survived. Then again, in a way it kind of makes sense that the laid back moron is one of the people to survive. No one ever saw him as a threat, and there's no way HE'D ever murder anyone. Being useless actually ended up working in his favor.
Then there's Hina. I didn't really pay her much mind to be honest. Hell, I thought she'd be one of the first to go, if not THE first. Friendly swimmer chick with big boobs? I figured she'd die quickly. I'm surprised she made it to the end. Good on her though. I would have rather seen Mondo and Taka or even Sakuya take her and Hiro's places, but at least Hifumi's back in Hell where he belongs. I'm very okay with Byakuya surviving though. With his attitude I thought he'd get killed somewhere in the middle there. I'm surprised Mondo or Jack didn't kill him. Pleasantly surprised he actually survived.
But yeah, that was my ride with Danganronpa. With this part of the story done and over, I'm kinda hesitant to start the second game. I'm going to miss these characters, and it's sad the majority will never get a happy ending. And the fates of the survivors are just completley unknown. What's Byakuya gonna do with his entire bloodline gone? What the hell is the useless bum gonna do in a post apocalyptic world? What's waiting for the two main heroes? Maybe I'll play through the game again, see if there's anything I might have missed. Maybe pay more attention to some of the other characters before I have to watch them die again. Either way, this was an enjoyable, if a little painful experience. Oh, and one last thing. I ship Makoto and Kyoko. I ship them hard.