Danganronpa 2 was a surprisingly polarizing experience for me initially. There were times I found myself shockingly disappointed with Spike Chunsoft, and there were times when I was completely immersed and enraptured with what they'd put out with the game.
Even now, I'm not quite sure what to say about the game even right now, except for one thing.
From start to finish, you see, there was one thing that remained fairly consistent: How much I enjoyed the character Nagito Komaeda.
THOUGH LARGELY KEPT ON THE VAGUE SIDE, HERE IS THE OBLIGATORY DANGANRONPA 2 SPOILER WARNING
Right away, Nagito pulls you in simply for sharing the same voice as the original game's protagonist, Makoto Naegi. When you get down to it, there are actually a lot of similarities between the two of them - they're both only part of the game as a result of winning a lottery, they're both designed somewhat similarly, and they both, again, have the same voice.
The key difference with Nagito, though, is that Nagito is like Makoto gone horribly, horribly... yet in a way, also wonderfully wrong.
Nagito is crazy. Crrraaaaazzzzzy.
Nagito believes firmly in the idea that hope will conquer despair. A trait commonly associated with heroes and warriors of justice and the like, yet our man Nagito here is not quite what you'd call a hero. Or even "quite." He's responsible for the first death of Danganronpa 2, he twists everything and everyone around him, and will side with whoever he must, all in the name of hope. Of good!
He will not make a compromise when it comes to this belief. He believes that from despair, an even grander hope will rise, like a phoenix, and thus, he views his own life, and any life, really, as nothing more than a stepping stone for his classmates - for the idea of hope itself - whom he all views as those with the potential to be symbols of true hope for mankind.
On paper, it just sounds really freaking cheesy, but honestly... it's really just twisted. And surprisingly well done. Nagito's moments towards the end of the game are some of the best out of the two games, at least in my opinion - all in the name of hope!
And there's no trick here. He genuinely and with all his heart means it.
Nagito is a rare example, I feel, of a character who isn't really a "primary" character, but still completely and thoroughly just makes the game he is in. This is all despite not being the main character, love interest, or even the villain. Most of Danganronpa 2's strongest parts all, to me, hinge on this character - his madness, his belief, and... his voice.
While Nagito is a male character, his voice actress, Megumi Ogata, is neither male nor a (fictional) character. Not that that matters when it comes to appreciating voice talent, mind you, but in this case, it matters!
You see, Ogata's performance as this character was fan-fucking-tastic. It was to the point that even just Nagito breathing in during a line or him letting out a deranged, ecstatic sigh were delivered just right and just added that much more to him. Her delivery of this role was one of the most spot on I've seen, and is a huge reason for why I'm choosing Nagito as the (first...?) character I'm writing about this month.
Ogata did an amazing job with Nagito in this game, and made him all the better and enjoyable as a character. As a consumer and hopeful writer of fiction, it's kind of a sad thing to acknowledge the effect a voice can have on a written character, but with cases like Nagito... It's like they were meant to be, you know? They were made for each other...
... what? Why are you looking at me like that?
Someone's voice can so be a "waifu" without you really caring about any other part of them. That's perfectly normal, I'll have you know!