Part 9: The Kids Are Alright
Taking place between DR1 and 2, Ultra Despair Girls is a third-person shooter set in Towa City, one of the last holdouts against the global unrest spurred on by Junko Enoshima. Just as Komaru Naegi is rescued from Oldboy-style imprisonment, she's abducted by a bunch of shit kids with a vendetta against adults and teenagers. Towa City has become their playground, where they hunt down "demons" for sport. Thanks to a hacking gun obtained from her rescuers, and the aid of a serial killer, she might just stand a chance.
Komaru Naegi. Makoto's younger sister is just as ordinary as him, though she has a passion for manga and a secret dream to become a mangaka herself. The ordeal she goes through in this game is a pretty good way to prepare for that meat-grinder world. All of the suffering and violence she witnesses in Towa City does a number on her, and she barely keeps her shit together, though eventually she gains much more confidence, passes up an opportunity to leave the city, and instead resolves to stay, first to fight Monaca and then to help protect the remaining adults. When Monaca claims that she tortured and killed the Naegi parents, Komaru breaks down, and would have succumbed to despair had Toko not been there to snap her out of it. Afterward, Komaru regains her hope, coming to the conclusion that their deaths were faked.
Toko Fukawa and Genocide Jack. Having joined Future Foundation with the rest of the DR1 survivors, only Toko remains an intern because her other personality makes her a liability in the eyes of her superiors. Prior to arriving in Towa City, she learned how to switch personalities voluntarily with a stun gun, and shows up to assist Komaru in escaping the city. Initially she prioritizes rescuing Byakuya, whom she has hilarious fantasies about, over Komaru's well-being, but their time fighting Monokuma robots and talking about books brings them closer together, and saves her from being dragged into despair at the eleventh hour.
Commanding an army of Monokuma robots and other children wearing Monokuma helmets, these five former members of a junior offshoot of Hope's Peak Academy have taken over Towa City in hopes of forming a paradise for children, as each of them have suffered abuse at the hands of adults and are displacing their rage onto every adult they meet now that they've already killed their parents. Every chapter ends in a boss fight between Komaru and the robot they pilot.
Masaru Daimon the Hero, formerly Li'l Ultimate P.E. Though he loudly and proudly proclaims himself the leader of the Warriors, it's clear that the others are just humoring him. His shonen hero demeanor hides a fearful young boy who was beaten by his alcoholic father for not following orders well enough. When his robot explodes, a horde of Monokuma kids drags him into the abyss.
Jataro Kemuri the Priest, formerly Li'l Ultimate Art. Instilled with an overwhelming sense of self-loathing by an emotionally abusive mother, Jataro wears a leather mask at all times and actively seeks the disgust of everyone around him. When he's not speaking with a slur, he's using the corpses of adults for arts and crafts projects. After Komaru destroys his robot, he suffers the same fate as Masaru, though the kids first destroy his mask and reveal that he looks perfectly fine.
Kotoko Utsugi the Fighter, formerly Li'l Ultimate Drama. A famous child actor before the Tragedy, Kotoko's mother forced her into sexual intercourse with wealthy men, a topic the game handles about as well as you expect. Normally she has a cute face on and reacts cheerfully and calmly in conversation, but sometimes she snaps into angry screaming with little warning and the word "gentle" causes her to have severe panic attacks. Genocide Jack saves her from being dragged to hell, and though she's still a nasty piece of work, she helps confront Monaca over the latter's deception.
Nagisa Shingetsu the Sage, formerly Li'l Ultimate Social Studies. His parents had placed high academic expectations on him and treated his mandatory cram sessions like RPG-style grinding. The most mature of the children and the only one willing to put work into building a lasting paradise, this adult-like demeanor puts him at odds with the other children. Once Komaru defeats some of his comrades, he figures out that she'll ruin everything and tries to convince her to leave the city, no strings attached. Sadly, the Servant foils this, and Monaca uses his crush on her to manipulate him into fighting Komaru. As he panics trying to get his robot to get back up, it falls right on top of him. Don't worry, though; he, Masaru and Jataro are revealed to be alive somehow in the end credits, because apparently no pre-teen child can ever be allowed to die in games like this.
Monaca Towa the Mage, formerly Li'l Ultimate Homeroom. Her initial appearance as a sweet, cute little cinnamon bun hides a core of pure arsenic. As the illegitimate daughter of the Towa company president, Monaca was treated like an outsider by her family and beaten so badly that she can't walk and needs a motorized wheelchair, or so she wants everyone to think. By her own admission, she's an expert at getting people to do what she wants, and unbeknownst to her supposed friends her legs work just fine. The bond between her and the other Warriors is completely one-sided; she would have convinced them to commit group suicide as a prank if Junko hadn't intervened and taken them all under her wing. Nor does she care about a children's paradise, instead planning on creating massive slaughter between children and adults that would end in Komaru destroying the controller to the brainwashed children wearing Monokuma helmets, detonating the helmets, causing a massive outcry that would destroy Future Foundation's reputation, and break Komaru's spirit, leaving her ready to succeed Junko Enoshima. Instead, the controller is left intact and Monaca is left under a pile of rubble, without anyone but her Servant for company.
Byakuya Togami. The leader of the Future Foundation strike team that rescues Komaru, he gives her a hacking gun to defend herself with, which is very effective against the Monokuma robots she fights throughout the game. Unfortunately, when the Warriors of Hope abduct Komaru to participate in their game, they take Byakuya and hold him at an undisclosed location for the rest of the game.
The Servant. Some weird guy with weird hair whom the Warriors of Hope force to do humiliating chores. In reality, he's playing his own game, giving Komaru her gun back so she stands a fighting chance against the Warriors in their hunt. When she tries to leave, he convinces her to stay, revealing that he wanted her to become a hero like her brother. In the end, he takes Monaca away and helps her become Junko's Successor.
Makoto Naegi. Komaru attempts to contact Future Foundation to get their help evacuating her, and Makoto's the person on the other line. He explains that Byakuya was meant to rescue all of the hostages related to the first killing game's motive video, and Toko demands that he not come in and put Byakuya's life in danger before the connection cuts out.
Hiroko Hagakure. Much cooler than her dipshit failson, Hiroko is one of the only level heads at the secret encampment of refugee adults. She's friendly and chill towards Komaru and Toko, to the extent that she gives them cute nicknames, but she also gives the impression that she's been through a lot even before the Tragedy. As one of the captives used for motivation in the first killing game, she's taken in upon herself to find and secure the safety of all the others, relying on any info Komaru can pass her way. Apparently she actually succeeds in that regard, except for...
Yuta Asahina and Taichi Fujisaki. Born 2 Die. Hina's little brother attempts to swim out of the bounds of Towa City shortly after meeting Komaru, demonstrating that the captives' bracelets will explode if they go out of bounds. Chihiro's dad tries to help Komaru and Toko climb a broadcast tower, but is mauled to death by a Monokuma robot.
Haiji Towa. The alleged leader of the adult resistance, Haiji gets excoriated by Toko for taking the watch-and-wait approach to the extent that it provides no resistance to the childrens' hegemony at all. The truth is, his company was complicit in manufacturing Monokumas and actively covered up their role in the Tragedy, while Haiji himself gladly participated in Monaca's abuse. Once the secret base is found out, he seeks out a secret weapon, a giant mecha Monokuma, and relishes the prospect of killing children en masse with it. Naturally, Komaru has to fight it at the end of the game, though Haiji isn't in the driver's seat at the time. Oh, and he
Shirokuma and Kurokuma. Two modified Monokuma robots on opposite sides of the conflict in Towa City. Shirokuma is a soft-spoken pacifist hanging out with the adults, and sacrifices his body to collapse a tunnel leading the Monokumas into the secret base. The blinged-out Kurokuma advises the Warriors of Hope, though it's more like an endless ramble if we're being honest. He helps Monaca fight Komaru with her robot, and is similarly decapitated as a result. It's Shirokuma's head that ends up piloting the giant Monokuma against Komaru, because as it turns out the two of them were playing both sides against the middle the whole time. Their AIs are half of the Junko AI used in DR2, put back together by Izuru after the dust settles.