We are on part two of my list of Danganronpa characters. At this point, we’re out of characters I just disliked, and on to characters with genuine positive and negative traits. Rank ordering them was difficult, but I’m proud to display the list I’ve come up with, and excited to share it with others.
Two disclaimers before we begin. First of all, I love and adore everyone involved in making this series a reality, so when I criticize the voice acting or look of a character, this is a comment that the artistic choice made does not suit my personal tastes, and not an attack on the artist or voice actor.
Second of all, and I cannot stress this enough, this list is going to SPOIL every aspect of the games. I am going to talk about plot events, murderers, and victims openly, as these events may be the reason the character earned its place on the list. If you have even the slightest intent to play these games and haven’t yet, then bookmark this list and come back to it later. All right, on to the list!
32. Kiyotaka Ishimaru
Kiyotaka is one of very few characters in this series that I thought got more annoying as the game went on. Most characters grow as people and become more nuanced and interesting. After Mondo betrayed Kiyotaka’s trust, his hair turned white and he yelled a lot about how pumped up he was. Thankfully, Celestia did everyone a favor and murdered him before he could get too annoying. Overall, I appreciated his militaristic adherence to rules, and his trust in Mondo being so strong that he was unwilling to believe his friend was guilty even when the evidence was overwhelmingly against him. His weird nervous breakdown was just a little too insane for my tastes, which lowered his overall ranking on this list.
31. Nekomaru Nidai
I mostly like this character because I think his Mechamaru form is really stylistically neat. His relationship with Akane is also satisfying to watch, as two characters that seem to be so hardened are such softies around each other…when they aren’t sparring, at least. The main problem with Nekomaru is that I don’t think poop jokes are all that funny, and that’s the vast majority of the dialogue in his repertoire.
30. Mondo Owada
Mondo’s character design is just silly. His hair looks like he wears an armadillo as a hat, which completely detracts from him trying to be this grizzled gang leader. The fact that he murdered Chihiro, one of the sweetest and most innocent characters in the entire series, did nothing to get me to like him. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he also has one of the worst executions in the series, so there wasn’t even a decent payoff for finishing the class trial! That said, I did really like his backstory, and the fact that he swapped the murder scenes to protect Chihiro’s secret was sweet, in a distinctly Danganronpa sort of way.
29. Leon Kuwata
I actually feel pretty bad for Leon. It’s got to be rough to try and console a scared teenage girl and be an upstanding citizen, only for said girl to try and stab him to death. While Sayaka’s murder is unfortunate, as it got the ball rolling for the killing game, I’m mostly sad that Leon didn’t get more time to develop, because he actually seemed like a pretty interesting character. Leon’s execution was one of the best in the series, too, letting everyone know exactly what they’re in for when they play this series.
K1-B0, to me, felt like one gimmick too far for the Danganronpa series. Things like ultimate clairvoyant and ultimate Yakuza are silly, but at least there are actually Yakuza clans and people who believe themselves to be psychic. A robot, though? This is getting a bit silly. Granted, once I got over the robot thing, K1-B0 was actually a pretty interesting character, and he had some great banter with other characters, like Miu and Kokichi. Learning that he was an avatar for viewer involvement was also a fascinating twist that just added to the excitement of the ending. I just wish he wasn’t a robot.
27. Sayaka Maizono
Oh Sayaka, how could you betray Makoto like that? Sayaka did a great job of introducing me to the world of Danganronpa. The sugary sweet pop star certainly didn’t look like anything more than Makoto’s potential love interest, but that’s what Monokuma’s handy dandy motives are for! The attempted murder of Leon that resulted in her own death was a heart-wrenching first trial, and I could do nothing but watch as Makoto’s unwavering optimism is put to the test while he learns he’s been manipulated and framed by Sayaka. She’s not the greatest character, as her purpose in the game was to make goo goo eyes at Makoto, but she served her purpose well.
26. Akane Owari
I’m pretty sure that Akane’s only purpose for being in this game is for the fanservice. When she gets angry, some of the buttons pop off her shirt because that’s logically what happens to all women, right ladies? Regardless of this, I found Akane’s characterization to be quite charming. She’s not exactly the brightest bulb of the group, famously believing that the real Byakuya was the imposter brought back from the dead after losing a lot of weight, but she’s got a positive attitude and always helps to keep the ball rolling in the class trials. Her relationship with Nekomaru was always refreshing, and her attachment to mini-Nekomaru was a touching moment of character development.
25. Celestia Ludenberg
Celestia tries her hardest to be an unlikable character. She compulsively lies, starting with when she gives us what is obviously a fake name at the very start of the game, and is generally aloof in her interactions with the other characters. In spite of that, I can’t help but love her. She has this goth Lolita style going on, and her constant lying did make me stop and wonder what she’s hiding behind the lies on multiple occasions. Additionally, she took out Hifumi and Kiyotaka, two characters that I didn’t care for, so that increases her standing in my book.
24. Sonia Nevermind
Sonia is just an adorable character, and I found that she was great at providing levity to tense situations. She’s easily excited, which can be refreshing among all the gloom and doom occurring around her. I especially appreciated when she would suddenly talk excitedly about something creepy, like the occult or a serial killer, because the subject contrasted deeply from her appearance. Honestly, I was surprised she was a surviving member, as I didn’t think there was much that was particularly memorable about her, but I’m really glad she made the cut, because every scene she’s in is an absolute joy to watch.
23. Kaede Akamatsu
Here we go: the first protagonist on the list. Kaede had it rough in this game. She attempts to kill the mastermind, but her plan ultimately fails and she gets the most gruesome execution in the series. She’s lower on the list primarily because I didn’t get enough of her personality in the short time I knew her, but using her last few moments alive to build Shuichi’s confidence says a lot about her kindness, and how much she genuinely wanted to help everyone escape the school. Unfortunately, thanks to Tsumugi framing her as a killer, that will never happen.
22. Makoto Naegi
Makoto is an absolute sweetheart. He’s so trusting in his friends, and seems to lack the resentment that others around him have due to being in the killing game. He’s genuinely the most cheerful person in the series, and that is incredibly refreshing. That said, without a more delicate way of putting this, Makoto makes Yasuhiro seem brilliant by comparison sometimes. I remember screaming at my computer as I was playing through the first trial that “11037” is obviously not just some random number. Even if he didn’t know a traditional Latin alphabet, he probably should have done a little more research and not just ignored those numbers completely.
21. Gundham Tanaka
Gundham is here almost entirely because his four dark devas of destruction are too adorable for words. Additionally, while it’s up for debate, I choose to believe the theory that Gundham sacrificed himself by killing Nekomaru in order to free everyone from the funhouse that Monokuma was using to starve the characters. Add that to the fact that he looks cool stylistically, with his dark demeanor amusingly contrasting his ultimate talent, as well as his sweet blossoming friendship or potential romance with Sonia, and there’s a cool character here. The reason he’s ranked lower is primarily that he constantly speaks in a manner that makes him sound kind of insane, making him mostly useless for class trials.
20. Chihiro Fujisaki
Finding Chihiro’s body in the locker room made me legitimately angry, because I had really grown attached to him. From there, things just got so much sadder. Finding out Chihiro’s backstory and why he would dress up as a young girl was heartbreaking, and just shows the cruelty of Danganronpa. In other games, Chihiro would have overcome his fears and grown his confidence, but in this game, he got hit in the back of the head by an insecure biker. My main criticism of him is that he didn’t have a lot of personality outside of just being cute, but cuteness is a pretty big factor in my opinion of a character.
19. Rantaro Amami
I love how this game handled Rantaro, as it’s just another example of the game flipping all of my expectations on their heads. When I saw that Rantaro didn’t have an ultimate talent revealed yet, I assumed he would be safe, just like I assumed Kaede couldn’t kill anyone because she’s the protagonist, right? Kaede killing Rantaro hurt, but finding out the entire murder was fabricated by Tsumugi hurt more. His free time events show that he’s a pretty laid-back guy that I would have loved to know more about. Please, Danganronpa developers, if more games are made in the future, make one about the killing game Rantaro originally participated in.
18. Peko Pekoyama
Peko is such a tragic character. She wants so badly to just be useful and serve Fuyuhiko that she’s willing to kill in order to do it. It wasn’t even clear if what she wanted to do would work, if Monokuma would actually allow Fuyuhiko to be the blackened for planning, but not participating, in the murder. Even still, she tried, because she just wanted to protect her master. Add that to a cool design, with red eyes and a bamboo sword, and she becomes a character that no one should cross. The only real downside of Peko was that she didn’t live long enough to learn how to be her own person, but that’s just how Danganronpa works.
17. Himiko Yumeno
Himiko was difficult to rank because she undergoes a significant personality shift after the deaths of Angie and Tenko. The personality she has in the early part of the game irritated me so much that she was probably my least favorite character (except for Teruteru). Her insistence that magic was real in Ryoma’s murder nearly got everyone killed. After her friends died, however, she gained a new resolve. She still insisted magic was real, but put much less emphasis on it. She became a leader who tried to motivate people to victory. This Himiko became one of my favorite characters by the end of the game. Given her inconsistency, I ranked her a little lower than other characters I liked from start to finish, but she’s a great example of what character development can do.
Well, that wraps up part two! Stay tuned for part three of the list in order to find out my favorite characters in Danganronpa! Let me know in the comments if you have characters you love.