The Let's Play Archive

Dangan Ronpa

by orenronen

Part 21: Super High-school Level Update #19

And so here we are at the school trial. This section of the game is a radical shift in gameplay from what we have so far. I will let Mr. Tutorial explain it all when it needs to, supplemented with some more explanations from me. Two technical details before we go on, though.
First, the school trial segments are fully voiced. So far, voiced lines were few and far between (also, I gave up on recording and uploading them after the first few updates), but during the trial every single line that isn’t Naegi’s internal thoughts is acted.
Second, the camera keeps moving. The adventure parts of this game are your standard still backgrounds and still character sprites, but during the trial we get dramatic zooms, pans and tilts in every single shot. I tried my best, but if you see bluriness in some shots that’s the reason. There are also some shots with deinterlacing artifacts when I had to capture something moving fast, but I tried to keep those to a minimum.
Well then, let’s get started!

Before actually starting the trial, we are given a preparation screen. The first option allows us to study the evidence we gathered. The second, to set skills. The third starts the trial. There's a news-ticker thingy at the bottom of the screen. It read:


We need to set up skills.

We have just one, "Beautiful Voice" which we got from Maizono earlier. It takes 3 Skill Points and we have 10 available, so I'm going to equip it. The description reads, "When breaking your rival's statements, the amount of damage is increased. Usable during Machine Gun Talk Battle". As usual, we'll see what that means when the time comes. Let's start this thing!



Let’s start with a simple explanation of our school trial!

The result of the trial is determined by your own votes. If the correct culprit is chosen, they alone will be punished. However... if the wrong person is voted for...

Everyone but the culprit will be punished. The culprit alone, having managed to fool everyone, will publicly graduate this school!

Is the culprit... really one of us?

Of course.

Right! Everyone, close your eyes! Mr. Culprit, please raise your hand!

Are you retarded? There’s no way they’ll do that...

...Excuse me. Before we start debating, I have something I want to ask...
What’s the meaning of... these things?

Isn’t is sad leaving your classmates out of the action just because they died? Friendship should surmount life and death!

Surmount... life and... death!?

If that’s so... what about the empty seat...?

There are fifteen of us... Why is there a sixteenth seat installed?

There isn’t any deep meaning to it. This is simply a courtroom with a capacity of up to sixteen people.
Well then, we should be finished with the preparations now. Let’s start, already!
I suggest you begin with a summary of the case! Go on, let the debates begin!!

And so it begins... our debate for finding Maizono-san’s killer, but...
...I think that unless I notice something imprtant, I’ll try not let my feelings take over and participate...

It’s not just my life on the line... everyone else’s is as well...!

Tutorial posted:

As the School Trial proceeds, at certain points a Non Stop Debate phase will be conducted.
During Non Stop Debate, the discussion will proceed automatically, with our characters testifying one after another.
Your duty is to find lies and contradictions hidden in the testimonies...
...and use “Evidence Bullets” to win the debate.
For now, we will load only the Evidence Bullet you need into the Evidence Bullet Cylinder.
Use the analog pad to move the target scope, and the triangle button to shoot.
Pay close attention to the testimonies given, and aim your Evidence Bullet wisely.
Be careful! If the time counter reaches zero, you will fail the phase and the game.
Thank you for listening. Enjoy Non Stop Debate!

So here's the first new gameplay mechanic we're going to use during the trial: Non Stop Debate. It's also the most common one. There will be a video of the action for every phase of the trial, as well as screenshots with the translation. Look at whichever one you want first.

Phase 1 (Youtube via Polsy)


Evidence bullet loaded: Traces of a struggle

Let’s begin! The victim was Sayaka Maizono!

...yes, we know that, right?

The murder took place in Naegi’s room.

In that room’s shower, wasn’t it?

Maizono-san was...

...surely attacked when she was in the shower...

...and killed without even having time to resist...

Huh...? What she said right now is strange... It contradicts what I know about the case...

Tutorial posted:

That was the extent of this phase’s debate.
As long as you don’t find and expose the lie or contradiction hidden in it, it will repeat indefinitely.
Did you notice words in a different color appearing during the debate?
Those are the holes in the testimony. We call them “Weak Points”.
Weak Points are especially important declarations the debaters make.
Evidence Bullets are effective only against Weak Points, so be careful!
Please shoot this discussion’s Weak Point with your Evidence Bullet.
In addition, holding the cross button allows you to fast forward the debate.

One thing the tutorial doesn't mention is that the target cursor becomes shaky during these segments, making it more difficult to aim. We went through the discussion once without shooting anything. We can go through it as many times as we want within the time limit. As you can see, the tutorial starts dead simple, with one Weak Point and one Evidence Bullet in the cylinder, and with the words floating through the screen at a leisurely pace. This won't be the case for long. Time to shoot!


Naegi's own "Objection!". The phrase he shouts every time he finds the contradiction. In Japanese, それは違うよ! "sore wa chigau yo!", lit. That's not right.

...and we get a score card. I'll be trying to play a perfect game, but it gets very difficult later on so I'm not making any promises. We are scored for remaining time, "slips of the tongue" (if we make mistakes), and skill use.

Wait a second, Fujisaki-san. Remember the condition my room was in...

Judging from the state of the room, there’s no question a struggle took place.

A struggle...? Between who?

Between Maizono-san and the culprit, of course.

So... Maizono-san wasn’t just suddenly attacked inside the shower room...

For now, let’s assume she was attacked inside the room, and then escaped into the shower.
The culprit chased her, and killed her there.

This is easily understood by looking at the evidence. There was no real need to explain it, was there.

I...I’m sorry..., let’s continue.

We should tackle the murder weapon next.

That sounds like a good idea.

The weapon that killed Maizono-san. If I don’t make that part clear...!

Phase 2 (Youtube via Polsy)

Evidence Bullet: Knife set

What was the weapon that had killed Sayaka Maizono?

Some kind of blade that pierced her stomach...

That’s the murder weapon! It’s crystal clear!

So the culprit used a pocket knife, right? The fucker...

Killing someone in such a lowly fashion...!

Wait... what he said right now... It contradicts what I know about the situation...

The game still gives us one bullet and one weak point. Shooting away!


No, that sharp object wasn’t a pocket knife. It was a kitchen knife.

Huh? A kitchen knife...?

The knife set in the cafeteria’s kitchen is missing one knife since the murder.

So that knife became the murder weapon.

Aah... I guess that’s what happened. The blade that stabbed that girl’s stomach...

When I look at it closely it really does look like a kithen knife...

Okay, so we get that the weapon is a kitchen knife. But does that even matter?

I mean, we’ve already established Naegi is the culprit!

Y...yeah... The crime scene is Naegi’s private room... Do we really need more proof than that...?

W...wait a second! I...!

Let’s reach this conclusion only after we’re done with the discussion. If we don’t, this trial loses its meaning.

But, I don’t think it matters how much we discuss it. The conclusion won’t change...

No, I don’t think that’s the case. If we continue discussing, I’m sure we can reach a breakthrough.

Huh? A breakthrough?


That’s right. I’m sure there’s a breakthrough waiting to be found somewhere.

I mean, I know very well that I am not the culprit...!

Tutorial posted:

Hold the R button to enter Concentration Mode.
During Concentration Mode, the conversation’s speed slows down, allowing you to listen to it without stress.
Furthermore, your scope target’s becomes less shaky, making it easier to aim at the Weak Points.
Staying in Concentration Mode reduces your Concentration Meter, so pay attention.
The Concentration Meter refills with time. Don’t lose your head, and rest for a while!

The first of several additional mechanics to Non Stop Debate that will be added as the game progresses.

Phase 3 (Youtube via Polsy)

Evidence Bullet: Asahina's testimony

Sure, a kitchen knife was the murder weapon.

But does that even matter?

N...Naegi must have stolen it from the kitchen...

Stealthily, while no one was in the cafeteria...

And then... he stabbed Sayaka Maizono with it...!

There’s no question, Naegi is our culprit!!

HmmHmm, so it’s decided...

This is The End!!

I didn’t steal any kitchen knife. But they’re not going to take my word for it...
If someone else can clear things up...

Still one bullet and one weak point. I'm going to use Concentration to aim more easily, not that it's really required at this point.


Wait. It wasn’t me who took that knife from the kitchen. you’re going to say you aren’t the culprit... right? But you’re all talk with nothing to support your claims...!

But what if I have a witness?
Hey, Asahina-san...?

I remember you said very clearly...

When I went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea yesterday evening, they were all still there.
But after I was done with the tea and went into the kitchen again to clean up...
...the missing knife wasn’t there anymore.
So, the knife disappeared while you were drinking tea here in the cafeteria?

That knife disappeared from the kitchen while you were in the cafeteria. Isn’t that right, Asahina-san?

Yeah... that’s right...

Did I enter the kitchen during that time?

Um, I don’t think so...


No, Naegi definitely didn’t go into the kitchen. Definitely!

The knife disappeared while Asahina-san was in the cafeteria, but at that time I was nowhere near the place...

Therefore, it wasn’t me who stole the knife! what about this possibility?
That swimming idiot over there is an accomplice to Makoto Naegi... and she’s giving us false testimony...

Swimming idiot...!?

...I mean, why am I an accomplice!?

As long as we’re raising this possibility, I want to ask the stuffed bear something. If there is an accomplice to the murder, is that person also considered a culprit?

Well then, let me answer!!
I will not disallow anyone from assisting with a killing, but the only one who can “graduate” is the single culprit who actually carried out the murder.

In that case, it doesn’t matter how much of a help you were, there is nothing to gain from being an accomplice...

So I guess we don’t have an accomplice after all...

But... the culprit didn’t know this rule until just now...

Aaah, this is bothersome! Really!! There isn’t one! This case has only one culprit!!
Oops...! I said too much...!

Anyway, I didn’t enter the kitchen and didn’t take any knife.

Isn’t this proof enough that I’m not the killer?!

So... who stole that knife out of the kitchen...?

It’s possible it was Asahina-san herself. She was in the cafeteria, after all., no! It wasn’t me!!

Is there anyone here who can prove it?

I can.

When I was drinking tea yesterday evening, Sakura-chan was with me the entire time...

Um, just to make double sure... by “Sakura-chan”, you mean...

That is me.

...that’s what I thought.

So, what if either Asahina-chi or The Ogre slipped into the kitchen and took the knife when the other wasn’t paying attention?

No, that’s not possible... I mean, um...

Do you have any proof...!?

I spent the night in Asahina’s room yesterday.

There was this weird video... and I got a little scared... I cried about it to Sakura-chan and she offered to keep me company through the night...
So... that gives both of us alibis, doesn’t it!?

Isn’t spending the night... against school rules...?

They only forbid sleeping outside the private rooms... There isn’t any special restriction about sleeping in someone else’s room...
So... there shouldn’t be any problem...

There is definitely a problem! It’s unwholesome! A boy and a girl... sleeping in the same room together...!

I am a woman.

I...I’m very sorry...!!

But if it wasn’t any of you who took the knife, we run out of possibilities...

No. There is still one possibility left. Isn’t that so, Asahina...?

Actually, when we were at the cafeteria there was one other person who came in...

Why is this the first time we’re hearing this!?

Because... that person... is no longer with us...

No longer with us? That means...

It was Sayaka Maizono-chan... The girl who ended up dead... came into the cafeteria.

Before we go, I want to talk a little bit about Sayaka Maizono as the game's first murder. Obviously, the game is trying to trick us to think she's going to be the story's main heroine. It was much more effective when the game was first released, though - fake screenshots showing her (as well as Enoshima) in trial scenes appeared along every magazine article. Even more impressive was the playable demo that was available a couple of weeks before the release, and features an alternate version of the murder with a different victim, but says nothing about being different from the real game. I think most people who bought the game early on were pretty surprised.