What They Say:
Makoto Naegi is under suspicion of treason after shielding a remnant of Despair. The Future Foundation, founded to save the world from chaos caused by Ultimate Despair, gathers to decide his punishment when they are captured by Monokuma. Thrust into an ultimate death game, they must find the true traitor and kill him if they hope to survive. The tale of despair in which hope kills hope begins.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language in stereo as does the new English language production, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The serie is one that definitely works the whole dialogue angle in a big way as it’s all about interaction and deduction sequences, but it plays it well with various sequences in using the forward soundstage well. The swirling of sound similar to the camera at times hits a good note and in general it’s well placed throughout. The more active areas have a bit more impact as one would expect, notably with the punishment phases of it, but by and large it’s a strong and solid mix that achieves what it sets out to do. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of either track.
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episode series is spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by Lerche, the show has a pretty good look about it when it comes to the mainline animation and what it sets out to do. It’s distinctive and colorful with some good detail that brings to life elements of the game in its own way. The character artwork and more violent sections are well captured by the transfer with the main area showing some good detail and color pop while the punishment side holds the dark colors and its rougher nature quite well so that it doesn’t break up. There’s a strong design in general for the show and what we get here handles it competently and cleanly.
The packaging for this release is done up in a standard edition form as we get a slightly thicker than normal Blu-ray case that comes with an O-card that uses different artwork from the case itself. The o-card has just two of the characters standing against a black and white background that’s distinctive but I’m hard pressed to call them as the ones to use for it. The case artwork itself goes for a full Future Foundation breakout of the cast and that’s much more detailed and appealing. The back cover goes for a black background design that looks good while bringing in some blood splatter in black with some good scrawled text along the way. The layout is straightforward with a decent summary of the premise in the middle and a clean look at the extras included with the set. The technical grid along the bottom lays out everything for both formats in a clean, clear, and accurate fashion. The reverse side artwork from the case is pretty nice as well as we get a look at the episodes by number and title along the left while the rest is a two-panel spread of the cast in a police stye lineup.
The menu for this release is pretty simple but it works well as it utilizes the lineup artwork from the reverse side cover to spread the cast across it. It gives it a busy and full feeling in the right way while bringing in the logo clearly and the touches of color with the pink, black, and blue to accent it. Combined with strong and distinctive character designs, it’s an eye-catching piece that works well as a still image. The navigation itself is straightforward and easy to access and it’s amusing to have it come up through the middle like this during playback as well.
The extras for this release are fairly standard as we get the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences as well as a newly produced video commentary track for the second episode from the English language production team and an audio commentary for the ninth episode.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bringing out the two arcs for Danganronpa 3 at the same time during broadcast must have been a weird experience since there are some obvious crossover aspects to it. Watching the show through the home video side kind of makes me wish they had put it together in the way it should be watched since the last episode here tells you to go watch the last episode on the other set. I watched that set first because I figured it was safer to watch despair before something about the future. In the end, however, the show is just a mess in general though I think this one works a bit better than the Despair on did because that show just felt like it was all over the map and kind of nonsensical at times, leaving me even less interested in the franchise.
The premise here focuses on the Future Foundation that is dealing with the fallout of the worldwide Despair that has hit from those that went wide with it. Terrorist attacks of despair are all over the place and it feels like things are quieting down when the last month has just forty such incidents happening worldwide. We see through the few visuals of the state of the world that it’s a bleak mess of decay and red skies and clouds which just has everything feeling ashen. Combating the Despair is the Future Foundation, the group that came together to deal with pushing back against what happened since many of them feel responsible. The group is having a rare meeting where they’re all together on an island that isn’t on any map as the Foundation HQ is designed to avoid the sight of the Despair types. It’s risky coming together but it has to happen once in a while.
The big reason for all of this is that Makoto has come in of his own volition and reasons but ends up being essentially arrested right away and creating instant wariness. Which is kind of reinforced when the towering facility now finds itself in lockdown as Monokuma has resurfaced with a new game to torment everyone with. Throwing bangles on them that will poison them if they break a single rule that’s applied individually, the concept of everything happening being broadcast worldwide to show how everything falls to despair is obviously the easiest way to crush the last bit of resistance. If the Future Foundation can’t handle this and end up killing each other as they’ve seen broadcast before, how can your average person handle it?
And the stage is set that turns the Foundation against each other, which is made worse because of Makoto’s presence and the distrust to the extreme that some have. While the idea of trying to not play the game does come up early, there’s plenty of death to go around that keeps everyone involved and on edge. A lot of that happens because Munakata is intent on playing the game in order to save the Foundation and deal with Makoto along the way and Sakakura is obviously going to align with him as well. Their bond and the way things fell apart so had with Yukizome previously and what they knew of Enoshima has them feeling a lot of guilt. So that has them going around in the now darkened facility on the hunt while rest try to stave off the deaths in general and figure it all out. There’s obviously a fair bit of character material mixed in but the Despair arc on top of the original anime series just put me in the mindset to not care about anyone since death comes quickly and that made it hard to make a connection with any character.
And with the show reaching a crescendo and then telling me to go watch the Hope episode that’s with the other set that I had already watched, well, let’s just say this set does not end well for me.
While the original show wasn’t one that I was totally all in on, I appreciated it for what it did and the creativity of it even if made me cringe more than I cared for. These two series are tied together closely and since they were broadcast together but on different days of the week has me unsure of best way to watch it. I get why it was broken out like it was but I don’t think the experiment worked in the projects favor to make it click and flow right. The quality of the animation holds up throughout and they succeeded there, but the story just feels disjointed and the level of oppression simply became too much and too drawn out with characters I had no interest in as it progressed.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Audio Commentary, Clean Openings, Clean Closings
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.