ive been seeing a lot of stuff saying how problematic and gross dr3 was but no actual descriptions, and since your analysis is thorough, evidenced, and trustworthy, i was hoping you could explain why dr3 is so taboo? thank you if you do!
So much pressure, haha. Well, my main reason for loathing dr3 is the terrible writing, the retcons, the plotholes, the characterizations of characters, the plot in general that runs on stupid, so not exactly the ‘problematic part’.
However, as always when writers didn’t care that much about writing something that makes sense, they didn’t care either about the subtext. That is to say, things that aren’t explicited by the plot or the characters, but are there not matter how you look at it. For a funny exemple of text VS subtext, I already made a semi-serious argument about Nanami being a sociopath in the anime.
As for the rest, I’m scared that I’m going to let my years in sociology take over…
- The anime supports an ultra-liberal point of view when it comes to society. Which is a surprise, considering that dr1 and especially sdr2 were really clever at showing that human being’s behaviour has nothing do with some kind of ‘human nature’, and people just react to their environnement they are put in and the one they grew up in. This is not something revolutionnary, but it still asks the question of someone’s responsability in their own acts, and the difficulty to become someone you want to be despite the society putting you in a case.
Hope’s Peak treats his Students as Ultimates ( or Reserve Course ), and not as human beings, totally neglecting to deal with their complicated past, or their particularities. And the anime, by making the whole sdr2 classe completely cartoon-ish, by erasing these particularities ( everyone becomes despair for the same reason, none of their past is ever brought up… ) and by re-opening Hope’s Peak Academy at the end, the anime promotes the idea that it’s a good way to see things. That people being defined by the fact that they are talented is enough.
- More generally, the anime is a lot more conservative. The entire blame of the Tragedy is put on Junko, as if nothing bad would have ever happened without her coming to Hope’s Peak. Which is ridiculous, or Junko is just the match that lights up the oil that has been poured all over Hope’s Peak for years. She is the unstoppable force meeting a still object. She makes the thing goes boom, but she wouldn’t have succeed without the state of corruption Hope’s Peak was in.
Hi, girl you are literally describing any system where elites dominate the society. Eventually people who managed to take the ‘social’ elevator wants to keep their position and we assist to a elite reproduction, where elites are the ones who runs the systems and chose themselves the next generation of elites - which, again, encourages the corruption.
Going back to the subject of Hope’s Peak, the school was doomed, no matter what. The opening of the Reserve Course was probably a last try to sustain the elitist system from Hope’s Peak, but it blew up in their face. They created their fate, and they tried to avoid it by playing God, by creating Kamukura ( which is pretty funny, by the way : trying to go back to the way things were at the beginning by creating another ‘Hope’, as if themselves realized that something had been lost in the process ).
The anime is infuriating by trying to say that Hope’s Peak is the ‘good guy’ defeated by the ‘bad’ guy, Junko, and it’s emphazised by the ‘happy end’ where Naegi, elite from Hope’s Peak and FF, and Kirigiri, elite from Hope’s Peak and FF decides to re-open the school. Which the anime is trying to tell us is an happy ending. But will eventually fall exactly the same way, realistically.
- The anime doesn’t recognize opression. This one annoys me a lot. I mean, yes, we kinda have Hinata and Natsumi being sad that they are in the Reserve Course Student, but we have nothing about the systemical opression that RCS goes through. Their motivations are always personnal ones ( Hajime wants to be proud of himself and to be Chiaki’s friend, Natsumi wants to be with her brother ) and almost… irrationnal. Again and again, characters who are portrayed as the ‘wise ones’ like Chiaki and Chisa - and who, unfortunately, are themselves opressors - claims that there is nothing bad with being a RCS, that it’s actually even better, and that it gives them so much freedom. Which is basically like someone being super wealthy talking to a homeless person in the street ‘damn, but at least you don’t have to work, you’re free to do whatever you want !’. Sure, jan.
Even when Hinata confronts Juzo and he is violently treated, we are always reminded that the Main Course is actually kind and nice, and caring and without any class prejudice, for the only reason he was rough with Hinata was for his own good, to keep him away from the building.
I’m going to make a point about sexism later, so I won’t stay on this one for too long, but Nanami being the Ultimate Gamer is problematic in itself, since we never get any hint of sexism being directed at her. In a similar way that Yuri On Ice! is a world without homophobia so straight fangirls won’t need to reflect on their behaviour in real life, Nanami lives in a ‘world without sexism’ where she obviously never met an annoying guy ever, who would put her down because of her talent. Fetishizing a cute gamer girl is okay, targetting the main audience for the anime ( straight gamer guys ) and trying to make them think about their behaviour in real life ? Nuh-uh.
- Talking of homophobia, the way the anime treats it is… terrible. Everyone rejoiced when Sakakura was confirmed as gay but… at the end of the day, he was forcibly outed as supreme humiliation, and then went right for the ‘bury the gays’ trope. It’s not respectful. It’s not positive representation. It’s lame. Obviously, Komaeda and Tsumiki were given a shitty treatment too, with the anime going to hell and back to erase their sexuality/canon feelings. Komaeda being apparently… turned on by Hope ( which makes me think that the writers may have read too much fanfictions from the old fandom ), and Tsumiki only falling for Junko as a result of brainwashing ( when her ‘normal self’ would have been so much cuter with the Imposter, right ? ).
They also turned the little joke from the Twilight Syndrom Murder Case into… Sato being yandere for Mahiru I guess ? Ugh. All that while force-feeding literally any straight couples they could. In 24 episodes where we are supposed to get a plot somewhere we have 8 straight couples being teased. None of them being even remotely well-written (Ruruka and Izayoi is at least interesting but that’s it). The only gay couple being given some attention is Tokomaru in one (1) episode.
- Finally, sexism and misogyny. Something that I’m honestly really tired of when it comes to Danganronpa, but that has never peaked as much as in dr3. where do I start off ? Maybe with the terrible treatment of Mikan someone who has been canonically emotionally and sexually abused and being turned into a joke, before being sexually humiliated and used for fanservice, again and again. Or the way female characters can fall into the ‘good girl category’, the category where girls have rosy cheeks, no personnality, and are devoted to their man, and dies for their character development because that’s what good girls do. These girls have to be very good-looking but absolutely unaware of it, for fetishized innocence and childish attitude is cute, even in a grown-up adult. Obviously
Obviously at the moment where they are aware that they are good looking, they become “bad girls’ who manipulates men, aren’t good waifus, and deserves to die, too, of course, but alone and in despair because how dare these girls having personalities and their own agendas ? Ruruka and Junko falls into these categories.
And uh… other females characters don’t really exist. Peko becomes a poor little thing for Fuyuhiko to protect, Sonia seems to give absolutely no thought to her kingdom, Ibuki is a comic relief, Mahiru lost all her temper. Asahina is bicycle for Naegi, I guess. They are 100% irrelevant for the plot, for only men are allowed to further it in any way.