Part 66: Episode 6 - Despair Side, Episode 3: A Farewell to All Futures
So, we begin our next trip to the Despair Side with Hajime on a computer.
He reads a description of Hope's Peak on their website...
...and basically just has another big mope about how he's not talented.
We now find ourselves in the Reserve Course, where everybody seems to be pretty blue. I don't remember, was this a thing in DR1 or DR2? It was a thing in UDG, but there we had blue for male non-important characters and pink for female non-important characters. Now everybody's blue.
Hajime is still staring wistfully at the main Hope's Peak building and is remembering what Kazuo told him about it being OK to be normal.
He's shaken out of his dreaming by Natsumi. Hajime brings up that her people skills could use some work. She says she meant every word she said when she introduced herself and declares herself the Ultimate Little Sister. She talks about how she's the daughter of a crime lord and that eventually that responsibility is going to fall to her brother, Fuyuhiko. Her logic is basically that if her brother is an Ultimate, that makes her an Ultimate by association.
Hajime isn't really buying it. He asks why she's in the Reserve Course then, and she replies that just because she's not in the Main Course yet doesn't mean she won't be in the future. She also says that she, as opposed to others, hasn't given up on the future yet, which strikes a bit of a chord with Hajime. She then brings up that if somebody else were to drop out, there would be an open slot for her, and brings up a "certain freckle-faced bitch" that comes to mind.
She is then immediately interrupted. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Sato. She tells Natsumi to cut out whatever shit she's planning and doesn't buy it at all when Natsumi feigns ignorance. The way they talk makes it seem like they have history, which Hajime points out. Natsumi says Sato was in the photography class at her previous school. So basically, Natsumi, Sato and Mahiru were all at the same school previously.
The two really start getting into each others' faces, with Sato telling Natsumi that if she hurts Mahiru, she'll regret it.
Mahiru shows up and tries to defuse the situation, but it doesn't work. Natsumi starts getting snippy towards Mahiru, then tries to play it off as a joke. Sato isn't buying it and brings up that Mahiru is in the same class as Fuyuhiko, to which Natsumi replies with a "snitches get stitches" and an unsubtle implication that Mahiru will get killed if she pulls that shit. I'm starting to see why Sato escalated to straight up murder.
Sato tells Natsumi that she didn't get accepted into the Main Course because she's not special, plain and simple, and that she should get that into her head. The two then almost proceed to come to blows...
...but Mahiru just grabs Sato and runs out.
The two have a bit of a chat, Mahiru talks about having some problems with her photography in that the pictures she takes are just of whatever, but Sato cheers her up with some encouraging words, and they have a bit of a moment.
Meanwhile, Fuyuhiko and Peko have a chat about Natsumi. Fuyuhiko says that Natsumi's always been crazy and that there's no telling what she could pull. Peko offers to find out for him, which Fuyuhiko immediately rejects, saying that the gang retired her and that he brought this topic up specifically so she doesn't go out and do something she'll regret.
Then Ibuki shows up, being all Ibuki and breaking the conversation up, since the other two go to great pains to not interact together where the others can see it.
We then cut to Hajime and Chiaki meeting up to play games. Hajime gets beaten by her, and Chiaki notices his focus isn't there and asks him if something happened. He answers by asking her if she would still play video games if she was bad at them - if somebody else were the Ultimate Gamer who constantly left her scores in the dust. Chiaki replies by basically repeating what we've had before - talent isn't the important part. She talks about how Chisa always tells them that talent isn't a guarantee of an interesting life - making memories with other people is what leads to hope. And hope is way more important than talent. Hajime seems to take this to heart and thinks that maybe things are looking up.
Back to the Reserve Course. Hajime notices another argument between Natsumi and Sato and listens in. Sato talks about how even if Natsumi's father can buy her a place in the Reserve Course, he could never buy her talent, and even if, Mahiru would always be better. Natsumi says Sato is just lovesick and trails after Mahiru like toilet paper on a shoe.
Sato wants to hit Natsumi, but Hajime interferes and stops her. Natsumi makes a comment about Sato having signed her death warrant and runs away, with Hajime running after her.
Sato then talks to herself about how she always knew Natsumi was evil and she swears on her life that she'll protect Mahiru, no matter what.
Hajime catches up with Natsumi and admonishes her for threatening Sato like that. Natsumi blows him off as just some rando from the Reserve Course, to which Hajime says that if Hope's Peak catches wind of what she just did, she will not just not get scouted, but get expelled completely.
This strikes a chord with Natsumi, who declares that she has to get into the Main Course, no matter what. Hajime asks why it means so much to her, and Natsumi basically gives the answer of "my brother is an Ultimate and now I, as a not-Ultimate, feel inadequate", just more emotional.
Hajime remembers what Chiaki said to him earlier and tries to use that on Natsumi, and suggests that regardless of whether she's an Ultimate or not, why doesn't she just stay with her brother and make memories with him? Natsumi rebuts that because her brother is an Ultimate, he deserves the best, including the people around him, so she can only be together with him again if she is an Ultimate too.
The next day, Hajime is still thinking about that "deserve the best, including the people around them" part.
However, he arrives at the Reserve Course building to find that the police is there. Why is the police there?
Because Sato did the deed and murdered Natsumi.
We cut to Fuyuhiko identifying the body...
...and Peko punching the wall, blaming herself for this. Fun fact! It hasn't come up before this, I believe, but blood is pink here in Despair Side, as is the norm in Danganronpa, but for some reason, blood is red in Future Side. There were many theories about this - my favorite being that Future Side would turn out to be an in-universe TV show and that's why the blood isn't the color it would be in the "real world" of DR, a sort of double censorship. That isn't the case. I think the reason it was made this way is that Future Side is really dark. Like, not thematically, but the actual imagery, taking place in a building that has largely lost power. I guess pink blood would clash too much. Anyway...
...we next cut to Hajime moping in the park. There, he listens in on...
...Mahiru and Sato. Mahiru is questioning Sato about what happened yesterday. Her silence tells Mahiru all she needs to know. Sato says that she had to watch the light leave her eyes, and how could she just sit and wait until Natsumi springs her trap on Mahiru - if Natsumi hadn't died, she would've had Mahiru killed.
To reinforce that notion, she shows Mahiru an old scar. In middle school, Mahiru and Natsumi got into an argument and Sato jumped in to stop it. Later that night, someone attacked Sato and gave her that scar. Mahiru then asks if Sato killed Natsumi and Sato denies it, saying she couldn't hurt a fly and that she only said those things to scare her off. I'm not 100% sure if something got lost in translation here, because the previous part really sounded like she was tacitly admitting to killing her, and also, it wasn't Sato, but Natsumi that always brought up the idea of somebody getting murdered.
Anyway, Mahiru leaves and Hajime decides to talk to Sato. He brings up that Natsumi is dead, and people saw her threaten Sato. Sato denies killing her, and brings up that Natsumi was Yakuza, so of course she was going to die young, or maybe she killed herself because she couldn't stand another day being talentless.
Hajime however knows that Natsumi still had hope for the future from their talk yesterday.
Sato then just freaks out and runs away.
Back in class, Sato's place is now empty. She would not show up that day, or the next, or the next. The day after that, they found her body.
Hajime wants to head to the main building to find Mahiru and ask her something, but he's accosted by security because that's against the rules. They have a literal caste system to uphold after all.
When Hajime continues to make overtures at walking over the magical line that separates the main from the reserve, another security guy shows up and just throws him on his ass. And who is that other security guy?
Why, it's our old friend Juzo! He's the head of security at Hope's Peak right now!
Hajime asks him for the truth regarding the deaths of Natsumi and Sato.
Juzo tells him to hold on to his ass and gives him "the truth": Natsumi was killed by an unknown intruder, and Sato died from the shock of losing a class mate.
Hajime isn't buying it and declares that just a cover-up to save the name of the academy. Juzo retorts that there's a waiting list for the Reserve Course and that those desks will be filled before those bodies are even cold.
Hajime gets pissed at that and tries to take a swing at Juzo, which is a bad idea for several reasons.
One of which being that your chances of success are, uh, relatively slim.
Juzo proceeds to just verbally shit all over Hajime and the rest of the Reserve Course as basically being nothing but cash cows that bring the name of Hope's Peak down, that their lives are inherently worth less than those with talent. That they're just supposed to shut up and take it, accept that they're inferior to their masters and just slave away for them. He also spits on Hajime at one point.
That really pisses Hajime off, who out of sheer rage just tries to take another swing at Juzo, actually connecting this time. That then really pisses Juzo off, who is prepared to send Hajime to the hospital for that.
He takes a swing, and...
Suddenly, Chisa! Juzo straight up stops in his tracks. She notices that Hajime is bleeding and offers him her handkerchief.
He proceeds to slap it out of her hand and run away.
That gives Chisa a lot to think about, seeing as she's implied to just sit there until sunset. Note that the credits are rolling - this episode doesn't get dedicated credits, as it seems they just had too much to cram into this one.
Juzo asks her if she's forgotten their objective that Kyosuke gave them - to investigate the "dark side" of Hope's Peak. He says there's no reason to stick up for Reserve Course burnouts along the way. Chisa just says that beating up a student is inacceptable regardless of their mission. Juzo acquiesces, then continues to talk about Hope's Peak, saying that Kyosuke had it right when he said the academy has a sickness. The coverup for that murder incident by the academy is working, and all the teachers are shifting into damage control.
Chisa has been told to downplay it to the class if it comes up, which, uh, might not go well, given who's in that class.
Juzo is pissed off that the academy is just covering their asses instead of stepping up in a crisis. Chisa asks why he then beat up Hajime if he ultimately agrees with him, and Juzo replies that if Hajime comes closer to the truth, he'll just be the next one on the slab in the morgue, which is a legitimate point. The two agree that the academy has gone to hell, and that Kyosuke is its only hope...
...which then prompts Chisa to imply that Juzo wants to steal Kyosuke away from her.
Juzo doesn't have much to say about that. As Chisa walks off, Juzo says that she was acting like a real teacher, defending Hajime like that.
Meanwhile, Chiaki has been waiting for Hajime to show up - she bought a new game and wants to play it with him, but Hajime turns her down, saying there's somewhere important he needs to be. As he leaves, she tells him to wait, but can't spit out what she wants to say. Instead, Hajime asks her if she's making memories at Hope's Peak. She says she thinks so, and Hajime says that she should make a lot of memories for him and that there's a lot more to her than just the Ultimate Gamer.
As he leaves, we get some internal monologue from him. Basically, when he met Chiaki, he wanted to be able to say that he has some sort of talent, but he's empty.
And you can't take something empty and fill it.
We then cut to a meeting between Kazuo, Jin and Koichi. We find out that Hajime has agreed to the procedure. Koichi and Kazuo both don't think it's a good idea, but they can't do anything about it anymore.
And our final shot is Hajime appearing before the shadowy committee and declaring that he has come to a decision.
Also, like somebody else pointed out, Despair Side has its title cards at the end. That's it for this episode. Next time, it'll be the fourth episode of Future Side, which is a very special episode! Now doesn't that just fill you with excitement?
What the fuck just happened?: Hajime mopes about his lack of talent. Sato, Natsumi and Mahiru have a fight with implications of murder in the Reserve Course class. Chiaki tries to get Makoto to not mope about his lack of talent. Sato and Natsumi have another fight with implications of murder. Natsumi then gets unceremoniously murdered. Hajime figures Sato has at least something to do with the murder, then Sato gets murdered. He tries to go to the Main Course to talk with Mahiru, but gets stopped by Juzo, who beats him up and gives him the cover-up story. Chisa and Juzo have a talk about Hope's Peak going to shit and Kyosuke trying to save it. Hajime decides to undergo the Izuru experiment.