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DanganRonpa: A Veteran's Joy from watching a Newbie's Surprise


NOTE: For those who have not yet played DanganRonpa but would still like to play, worry not. I spoil nothing about the plot.

There are times where a long time fan of a series introduces a friend to it for the first time, and there's a certain magic to watching their reaction. Some of you may relate to this, whether you stuck around with a series long enough or was introduced to it by someone else.

When the demo for DanganRonpa V3: Killing Harmony was first released to westerners, I told a friend and we both got hyped. We'll call him Kaz. Meanwhile, another friend in the conversation was just confused by our excitement. He didn't know anything about DanganRonpa. We'll call him Mac. Much to our pleasant surprise, this was a good opportunity to have Kaz play the game while the rest of us including Mac watched. Knowing all the crazy stuff that goes on, I felt nothing but amusement at how bewildered Mac was by the whole style and premise of DanganRonpa. But what made me laugh was his reaction to seeing Monokuma for the first time. He had no idea what to make of the nihilistic teddy bear except scream "what the fuck" and wrap his head around the very concept of this antagonist. But that didn't stop there. The debate gameplay and minigames added to that surrealism. Especially the driving section in the middle of a class trial.

After that demo, Mac was fascinated by what he just saw. I jokingly said that we should buy him the game, but Kaz was generous enough to give him money to not just the first DanganRonpa, but the second as well. Mac had enough to buy DanganRonpa 1-2 Reload, a PS4 port of the two games in one package.

From that point on, our group had plans: watching Mac play the games from beginning to end, all while we witness his reactions. He wouldn't play this by himself. At least one of us would be there watch what happens. Kaz and I aren't the only ones watching Mac play. There were a few other friends who would witness the mad adventure too. Mac's emotions ranged from extreme fear of the unusual to feeling sorry for his favorite characters. Early on in DR1, Mac grew fond of one of the characters who became his waifu. But then their eventual demise left him screaming. There was a minute of silence and inactivity. So when I asked if he's alright, Mac replied "No!!!", which filled me with both pity and laughter. Another one of my favorite moments was when he immediately screamed after seeing an extremely buff school girl who looks like a man. But she ended up as one of his favorite characters too. The whole game provoked a lot of strong reactions. As a fan of DanganRonpa who is all caught up with the series before V3, I was amused by Mac's journey while I knew ahead of time what he might react to. Really, Kaz and I would have this evil grin on our faces when we know the twists.

Mac got around to beating DanganRonpa 1, and as of this post, he's in the middle of DanganRonpa 2. His first impressions were even more extreme this time. Almost to the point of questioning his own sanity. At the same time, he quickly grew fond of the new cast. Even more so than with the previous game's cast. Of course, after what happened in DR1, Mac knew to keep his guard up. However, it wasn't enough because things still catch him off guard. And if it wasn't the game itself that's causing a reaction, it's us making some jokes towards the characters. We might get Mac to play Ultra Despair Girls before we watch the anime DanganRonpa 3. Whether we do or not, at least we already have plenty of hilarious moments.

There's a certain kind of joy to be had when you know the surprises. How you react to a particular event may or may not differ from a friend new to it. You're sharing the experience with the people you know, and certain things will give you an interesting perspective on them. It may vary depending on what kind of a person you and your friends are. It can shed light on the differences and similarities on how you all perceive things. Or it could create hilarious moments after watching them freak out. Possibly even moments of poking fun at them at their own expense. From that point, it feels less like sharing your favorite games and more like pulling a prank on an unsuspecting victim.

Either way, if there's anything better than just playing a murder mystery game with waifus, it's playing that murder mystery game with waifus around the best of friends... and to taste their delicious tears of despair since the deaths are canon.


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About GiantTabbyone of us since 6:25 PM on 01.14.2014

The otherworld investigator who has opened his Fourth Eye to the truth of Akashka. No lie will go unnoticed and no phantom can escape the chase he gives. He is indeed the most formidable agent of the Searchers. Now he chases down the phantoms of lies into the fabricated worlds of digital escapism.