Part 80: Episode 20 - Despair Side, Episode 10: Smile at Despair in the Name of Hope
Alright, time for everything to go to hell. Uh, anyway, we're back on the Despair Side, and we're following Chiaki, who is following Chisa down some really long hallway.
Chiaki wonders if they're going the right way, since they've been walking for a while now, but Chisa just says they'll be there soon, and asks Chiaki to cheer up, since the others wouldn't want to see their class rep so preoccupied.
Meanwhile, this is happening outside. Seems to be that quite a few Reverse Course students have fallen to Juzo's abilities, but...
...turns out there were just too many. Junko laments that she didn't even get an opportunity to exploit Juzo's achilles heel. She also says "sadface". Dub Junko is special.
Junko suddenly goes all thespian on us, talking about how Juzo fell victim a tragic love that cannot be spoken, that the object of his affection may never know the truth, and that to add insult to injury, the apple of his eye is enamored with his friend. Well, audience, can you guess what Junko is alluding to? Indeed, Juzo's object of affection is...
...Chisa Yukizome! ...wait, hang on, Junko's just kidding with that. It's actually...
...Kyosuke Munakata! Yep!
While Juzo's reaction is all the confirmation one would need, Junko also has some pictures of Juzo staring wistfully at a framed picture of Kyosuke in his room.
And because Junko is Junko, she couldn't resist adding some personal touches too. So, yeah, Juzo's gay for Kyosuke. This is something you maybe could've figured from Juzo's behavior - he always acted a little bit more on edge than you'd think whenever Chisa would talk about how she's in love with Kyosuke, you know, making it seem like Juzo's got skin in this game as well, and it doesn't seem like his target is Chisa. Also, looking at the shit Juzo pulls in Future Side for Kyosuke's sake, you kind of can figure that there's something more than just regular friendship there.
So, as you might expect, Junko is blackmailing Juzo with this information, threatening to reveal it to Kyosuke. She makes Juzo plead with her to not reveal it, then she suggests a deal - she doesn't release the information, and in exchange, Juzo - who was sent by Kyosuke to find out what Junko was up to, remember - will return and lie to Kyosuke, saying that Junko is innocent. Juzo protests at first, but eventually agrees.
Junko then shoves her heel into his head and makes him add a "please" to that for good measure. She then walks off, saying that she's going to sink her fangs into the Main Course.
And all that's left is Juzo, who is pissed as hell. We have another answer as to who can remotely control our boy Juzo.
Meanwhile, the rest of the class is walking along a similar nondescript hallway, with Mikan catching up to them again after staying behind to shove Chiaki in that secret passage. Mikan says that Chiaki twisted her ankle and is now resting in a room they found nearby until she feels like she can put weight on it again. The class buys it. Soda complains about there being a room where people can lay down while he's been carrying Nagito all this time, to which Teruteru replies that he'd gladly carry Nagito, since he's well within his strike zone.
Before he can elaborate on that, he gets a door shoved in his face.
And Soda freaks the fuck out over the mysterious lights in the door.
But it's just Gundam and Nekomaru, who've caught up with the rest of the group thanks to Mikan telling them where the rest are. Boy, that Mikan, sure looking out for everybody's well-being and totally not setting up something horrible.
Moving on, the group finds a weird looking door.
Mikan pushes a button to make it open, and...
...we're back with the two Chis.
They also find themselves approaching such a door.
Inside, there's an elevator!
Chisa opens the elevator, then gets sentimental with Chiaki, talking about how the two of them were working to keep the class together, how great Chiaki is with having kept the class together while Chisa was transferred, all that stuff. She ends with saying that Chiaki has done more for her friends than she'll ever know.
And then she tosses her into the elevator.
And, well, turns out Chisa was, uh, not playing with a full deck of cards. She says that with all that, Chiaki was the obvious choice.
We're on an express elevator to hell, going down!
When Chiaki arrives at the bottom, she is met with a screen showing Junko. Junko explains that Chisa is the way she is because she watched the despair video, and explains Chisa's mental situation as "a fifteen car pile-up on her synaptic superhighway", which is a marvelous turn of phrase.
However, Junko's got a bit of a problem. See, the despair video is pretty good, but it still needs a little bit of that extra je ne sai quois. And Chiaki's going to provide it!
Meanwhile, the rest of the class finds themselves in... hrm. That looks familiar.
And Nagito wakes up to tell the rest of the class that this is a trap just in time for it to be entirely too late.
The screens turn on and the class is treated to Junko announcing something. What is she announcing? That...
...IT'S PUNISHMENT TIME!
Alright. Welcome to the third and final "Jesus Christ this is fucked" scene - Chiaki's execution. You could probably guess something like this was coming. Chiaki had to get taken out of the picture somehow for DR2 to work, and it was probably clear there was going to be some sort of horrific event that turns the rest of the class to despair, and, well, given how much they beat us over the head with the fact that Chiaki was the glue holding the class together...
So, what is this execution? Well, fitting with Chiaki being the Ultimate Gamer, she's going through a dungeon filled with traps, and she's already taken some damage. Junko constantly gives commentary about how Chiaki is doing, and... well, that's about it.
From this point on, it's basically torture porn, albeit of the fairly weak variety. This is just several minutes of Chiaki getting seriously fucked up. Stepping into a spike trap, getting shot in the eye with a projectile, the list goes on.
All the while, the rest of the class finds they can't move and can't help but stare at what's happening.
And Chiaki just gets more and more fucked up while Junko talks about hope and despair and all that jazz.
The rest of the class is horrified...
...but hey, Mikan's totally on board.
But then! It seems like Chiaki might make it!
She opens the door!
Chisa is there to greet her!
...and that's that. Rest in... well, pieces, Chiaki. I really disliked the way you were written in this show, but man, you didn't deserve to go out like that. Only Haiji deserves to go out like that. But that brings me to an interesting opinion of mine about this execution. I actually think it's the best in the entirety of Danganronpa. See, here's what I think works very much in favor of this: It, more than any other, gives the victim just enough feeling of hope before they're struck down, giving them the greatest immediate fall from hope to despair. It's also a lot longer than the usual execution, giving a lot more time for the despair of the situation to really sink in before the hope. There's not a lot of other executions in the entire series that do that, and I feel like it's a real shame, because that should be the important part! This entire series just keeps banging on about hope and despair, but the executions, where the victim should be feeling the greatest despair, never gives the victim just a glimpse of the hope they need before crushing their spirit even harder.
Thinking about it, I believe there is only one other execution that gives that feeling of going from despair into hope before crashing directly back into despair, and, well, it's in DRV3, so we can't talk about it. You'll know which one it is if you know the executions from that game, anyway.
To bring the talk to a different subject, I've read multiple times about these alternate executions that had some art attached to them. I have no idea where they're from and I can't remember where I last saw them. They were a bunch of different execution scenarios for I think the entire DR1 and DR2 cast, even those that didn't get executed. And they hit that hope-despair downfall a lot more, if I remember. All I remember was that Kiyotaka's execution had him finding himself at some sort of parade where he'd apparently won an election, but then he suddenly gets JFK'd. Chiaki's execution was some sort of board game that had death tiles, and right at the end, after avoiding those tiles all the time, all the tiles turn into death tiles, making it impossible to avoid them. Sayaka's execution had her performing at a concert with some sort of machine displaying the audience response, and if it fell below a certain point, she'd get killed, but when the response never falls, Monokuma just smashes the machine up and she gets killed anyway. Does anybody know what I'm talking about here?
Anyway, back with the class, they're, uh, not dealing very well. In fact, they seem kinda fucked.
Nagito's also gone a bit more dingy than he already is. He talks about Chiaki being a stepping stone to hope now and how this is the despair their talents are meant to overcome, but in the end, all he can do is laugh.
And with that, we have our future Remnants of Despair.
However, with them having left the area, we still linger on Chiaki's corpse... or rather, her not-corpse. Yes, turns out she's still alive, somehow! And there's somebody in the room with her.
Chiaki begs him to remember his past as Hajime, hoping that there is still something of him left in there, that if he just tries, he can remember something. So, very obviously in horrendous pain and basically physically incapable of doing so, Chiaki still tries to force herself to stand up, failing at doing so, all the while Izuru just stares in his usual gormless fashion. Chiaki says that she regrets not being able to help him, which Izuru of course can't understand because wanting to dedicate yourself to somebody else even as you're dying isn't logical.
In the end, Chiaki says she's not ready to die, she still had so many things to do, and her classmates need her. Then, she asks Izuru for just one more game. Just one more round.
And then, she truly breathes her last.
Izuru grabs her hairpin...
...and it seems like there's a part of him that still remembers. And that's the episode. Our class has officially been set on the path of despair, and Chiaki's death flag has finally triggered. Next time, on the Future Side, we solve the mystery of the attacker, and a whole bunch of dead people show up again!
What the fuck just happened?: Junko blackmails Juzo into covering up her involvement with all the shit going on by threatening to reveal that Juzo is in love with Kyosuke. Chisa throws Chiaki into an elevator that brings her into a dungeon with a bunch of deathtraps while the rest of the class is forced to watch. Chiaki then gets horrendously executed by the traps as the rest of the class falls into utter despair. Finally, Izuru, after speaking with the dying Chiaki, seems to remember something from his past as Hajime and cries over Chiaki's death.