Some scattered thoughts on Junko’s “talent” and what it means to have “hope” (spoilers for DR3De6 )
People seem to be under the impression that Junko has two talents: Ultimate Fashinista and Ultimate Analytic Mind, based on her identities as Junko Enoshima and Ryoko Otanashi respectively. I have a different proposal:
Junko only has one true “talent;” her super analytical abilities. She was falsely scouted as the Ultimate Fashionista/Gyaru because that’s a talent she “saw” herself being picked up by Hope’s Peak as. She was able to use her analytical abilities to predict fashion trends, which is a much less assuming and a more marketable ability than just analysis.
One of the big running threads of all of these major series entries (except for the first game, which really sets up the “normal” for the universe before it actually starts exploring) is what it actually means to have “talent” and what it means for such abstract concepts as “hope” and “despair.” The answer, seemingly, is “not much in the grand scheme” and “nothing,” respectively.
Hope’s Peak isn’t an omniscient super-school, it’s a bunch of assholes trying to make money under the guise of hope and fostering talent. It’s all over the franchise, and in DR3 especially. The midterm exams are publicized as these great displays of amazingness for the masses. Junko knew this, and in wanting to be scouted by Hope’s Peak, realized (or naturally assumed, given her ability) that being fashionable would be an attractive talent for the school, since fashion itself is a highly marketable thing.
The thing about Hope’s Peak is that it doesn’t understand that talent and hope are completely seperate concepts that can wholly unrelated. What it comes down to is that talent is a concrete thing whereas hope is a very abstract concept that varies pretty wildly from person to person. For example:
The Steering Committee (and implicitly, Hope’s Peak itself) thinks of hope as “people without talent admiring people with talent.” They think of talent being closely intertwined with hope, and see the latter as a tool to make money as a result of the former.
Kyosuke Munakata and Juzo Sakakura (and presumably most of the Radicals, with the exception of Chisa Yukizome) think of hope as “people without talent being kept safe and subservient by people with talent.” A bit more of a noble sentiment on the surface, maybe, but it still relates talent with hope, this time using the former as a tool to gain power as a result of the latter.
Makoto Naegi and Nagito Komaeda both think of hope as “having faith that peace and good morale will encourage people to be the best they can be.” The only difference is that Makoto understands that hope is organic and springs from everyday existance and the good will of the people around you, where Nagito thinks that hope can only arise as a counterpoint to despair (notably, Nagito is the only member of the Ultimate Despair group to not be influenced by Junko Enoshima; given his behavior here and in SDR2, he likely entered Hope’s Peak in despair wanting to become hope, ironically enough). Notably, both start their respective introductory game entries believing that talent and hope are one and the same, despite their ideas of hope not being related to talent. Makoto realizes this, and is thus able to become the first true “Ultimate Hope.” Nagito doesn’t realize this and falls to/remains in despair.
I bring this up because Junko pretty clearly believes Makoto’s version of hope as how it actually works (and thus far, the franchise is pretty set on proving them correct). However, Junko’s analytics prowess allowed her to take advantage of the Steering Committee’s and Kyosuke’s understanding of hope (which itself seems to be the general view of hope by most people in this world) to manipulate people into falling into despair.
Because Junko’s true talent is the same as Izuru’s in practice even if they’re different in theory; because of their abilities, the course of a peaceful, normal, hopeful life is too obvious to them, and they’re bored. And Izuru’s only been in this hell for a few days. Junko’s been living it her whole life.
c a n y o u r e a l l y b l a m e h e r f o r w a n t i n g w o r l d w i d e d e s p a i r ?
Edit: well yes, actually. But it does explain it, doesn’t it?