I recently played the game Danganronpa and I really loved it. So far I have only played the first one, but I’m excited to play the next one soon. The premise of the game is that fifteen students attend the elite Hope’s Peak Academy and each student is the Ultimate something—Ultimate Writer, Ultimate Gambler, etc. You play as Makoto Naegi, a normal student who was randomly chosen to be in Hope’s Peak Academy as the Ultimate Lucky Student. However, when Makoto enters Hope’s Peak for his first day at school, he passes out. He wakes up seemingly hours later with no memory of what happened to him. He meets the fourteen other students and together they meet Monokuma, a black and white teddy bear who introduces himself as their headmaster. Monokuma reveals that they are locked inside the school and can never leave. The only way the students can graduate is if they kill one of their fellow students and get away with it. After anyone is murdered, a trial takes place. If the murderer is caught, he is killed by Monokuma, but if the other students can’t figure out who the murderer is and pick the wrong person, then the murderer gets to graduate and Monokuma kills everyone else.
It sounds like a somewhat bizarre premise, but it is actually really fun. The plot about what is going on at Hope’s Peak is very intriguing, and all the characters are interesting and well developed. One of the most interesting characters is one you never really get to meet—not really, anyway—and that character is the subject of the fic I’m reccing today.
Major spoilers for Danganronpa after the jump!
In Danganronpa, we eventually discover that the world is practically unlivable because of an event called The Most Terrible, Horrible, Awful, Event in Human History. Furthermore, the plot to try and get the students to murder each other was brought about by the same people, Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba, two twin sisters who were both students at Hope’s Peak. Sadly, we never get to really know Mukuro. When we first meet her in the game, she is disguised as Junko and dies shortly after, but she becomes essential to the plot later on in the game. If you play through all parts of the game, there is some indication that Mukuro started to regret the plans she had with her sister to bring despair to the world and to lock her fellow students in Hope’s Peak to participate in a killing game. If you talk to Junko (who is actually Mukuro in disguise) or play the school mode and interact with her there it’s clear she wants to put a stop to their original plan. It’s implied in the game that her interactions with the other students is what makes her question what she is doing but since we never really get to see many of their interactions, the fanfic Fifteen Friends Mukuro Ikusaba Never Had by Miss_Prince helps to fill in some of the gaps.
Class seems so pointless now that she knows what’s coming. It’s just mindless busywork to bide time until the end.
Mukuro has never been a truly exemplary student. She’s always done all her work dutifully, but she has no passion for classroom knowledge. Still, never before has class time engendered such acute boredom and frustration inside her, and it takes all of her considerable willpower to keep her hand moving, scratching down line after line of notes without taking in a single word.
Suddenly there are no more notes, and she blinks, briefly disoriented. A shadow falls across her desk.
She looks up into the hesitantly smiling face of Makoto Naegi. She stares.
When it becomes clear she isn’t going to offer any sort of reply, Naegi barrels on. “It looks like everyone else has already partnered up, so…”
Mukuro glances around the room. Sure enough, her classmates have sorted themselves into pairs, huddled over their workbooks. Junko appears to have commandeered a mildly put-out Kirigiri and is serenely copying the other girl’s answers.
“I work alone,” she says.
“Ah.” Naegi scratches the back of his neck, and his smile turns sheepish. “I really don’t, though, so… would it be okay if we worked together just once?” He laughs weakly. “Sorry to be a burden.”
In the year and a half she’s been at Hope’s Peak, Mukuro is fairly certain no one has asked to be her partner in… well, anything. Except Junko, but Junko doesn’t really ask for things. Mukuro isn’t quite sure how to feel about this.
After a moment’s silent contemplation, she moves some of her books aside to clear a place for Naegi to join her at her desk. He smiles at her again, more cheerfully this time, and takes a seat.
The fanfic explores Mukuro’s relationship with the other students before the tragic event and before the students were locked in Hope’s Peak. We see Mukuro tentatively make connections with the other students and grow attached in some ways. It’s more of a prologue to the game from Mukuro’s perspective than a cohesive story, but as a study of Mukuro’s character it is absolutely brilliant and I would highly recommend it. You can read the fic here on the AO3.