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Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – Every Chapter Ranked

The Days of our Killing Lives
Image via Spike Chunsoft

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is the first game in the series and laid the groundwork for future installments. When you first pick it up it can feel like a typical visual novel but you quickly learn it’s anything but. Equal parts dating sim, murder mystery, and court drama, Danganronpa is a unique experience that is hard to replicate.

We’ll be looking at everything in each chapter to see what ranks as the best. This includes the story, case, motivations of the Blackened, and more.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc – Every Chapter Ranked

#6 – Chapter 01: To Survive

Image via Spike Chunsoft

The first chapter of the Danganronpa games tend to be on the weaker side. They mostly serve as tutorials so the mystery is more simplistic than subsequent ones. This one is no different as the, quite literally, spell out the perpetrator. The misdirect of the code was interesting and a handful of the revelations can be satisfying but, mostly, it falls short of other chapters. Being introduced to all the characters was pretty fun, though.

With Monokuma showing everyone a bit of the world and what happened to their friends and loved ones, it’s easy to see why someone would snap. The manner of death is pretty weak, but the potential murderer becoming the victim is pretty interesting.

#5 – Chapter 04: All Star Apologies

Image via Spike Chunsoft

With everyone being mistrustful, this was a great chapter to bring everyone together. Sakura is attacked after being found out that she’s been working with Monokuma. She knows that everyone can’t work together as long as she’s there, so she takes herself out of the equation.

This chapter has a good investigation period as you slowly piece together what happened and work towards the endgame. There’re several suspects all with motives and all with opportunity. It’s enhanced by Asahina being inconsolable and believing that everyone should be punished for making Sakura feel that way. She tries her best to pick a blackened quickly, knowing it would result in all their deaths. There’s not a lot bad here, but nothing exceptional either.

#4 – Chapter 05: 100 Mile Dash; Pain of a Junk Food Junkie

Image via Spike Chunsoft

This is an interesting chapter because, in reality, it’s a complete farce. The victim is someone that died chapters ago, but no one knows who. Monokuma calls for a hasty trial to try and punish Kirigiri as she’s been snooping around the school and found an area she shouldn’t. In the end, Makoto protects Kirigiri and becomes the Blackened himself.

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The investigation is sublime, offering a drip feed of information and each new clue feels bigger than the last. The trial itself isn’t great, which hinders the overall chapter. It feels quick both in game and out, with sloppy counters that will leave you scratching your head even as you get the right answer.

#3 – Chapter 02: A Boy’s Life of Despair

Image via Spike Chunsoft

This chapter is outstanding thanks to the character development that leads to murder. Chihiro is a boy that dresses like a girl and acts feminine. He was bullied as a child and was weak, frequently told to “be a man”. This caused him to start dressing as a girl, hoping that he wouldn’t be bullied if he played a woman. But, after an incident in the school, he decides to change and get stronger. He wasn’t quite ready to reveal the secret that he was a boy, but he wanted to improve himself. So, when Monokuma threatens to tell the class each other’s most intimate secrets, Chihiro is not fazed.

Mondo is, however, as he was the cause of his brother’s death. So, when Monokuma threatens to expose this, he panics. He’d always felt weak compared to his brother, so he valued his and others strength. When Chihiro reveals that he’s a boy and asks Mondo for help to get stronger, he sees red. He felt that Chihiro was stronger than him and, in a moment of weakness, kills him.

It’s a great study in toxic masculinity and the effect it can have on boys and their need to be strong. Chihiro shrinks and turns away from his masculinity while Mondo becomes obsessed with strength. The case and trial are great, but it’s hampered by Byakuya interfering with the investigation. It cheapens the work you put in because most of the clues are completely fabricated in the name of making things more “interesting”.

#2 – Chapter 06: Ultimate Pain, Ultimate Suffering, Ultimate Despair, Ultimate Execution, Ultimate Death

Image via Spike Chunsoft

The remaining kids use a final gambit to survive. After rescuing Makoto, Kirigiri points out the fault in Monokuma and the trial that had Makoto as the Blackened. She offers a redo of the trial to reveal the true culprit: whoever is behind Monokuma.

What follows is a series of twists, turns, and revelations that will leave your jaw dropped. Things are recontextualized from earlier trials as everything is put together. Meeting everyone again is a real feel-good moment but is short-lived in the face of what they must do.

The reveal of Junko being the Ultimate Despair is satisfying as you figure it out from the clues Monokuma has been providing. Her face being covered up is suspect and, when you point it out, she reveals herself and the plot that allowed her to work behind the scenes. The trial can feel a bit long but, given everything being talked about, it’s understandable.

#1 – Chapter 03: A Next Generation Legend! Stand Tall, Galactic Hero!

Image via Spike Chunsoft

This is top-notch Danganronpa. A murder within a murder where only the true mastermind is the correct answer. It’s harrowing trying to figure out the deaths, methods of murder, and, most importantly, who the culprits are. Because of the mastermind here, all the blame is being put on Hagakure, and so much evidence is pointing to him. The issue was the multiple bodies and which announcement was for which body.

Hifumi is supposed to play dead, kill someone, and then disappear to leave people confused. He’s killed by the mastermind, Celestia, who never planned to keep him alive. This leads to bodies being moved, murders in vastly different locations, and multiple bodies found in succession.

Every bit of this is great. Celestia crafted an immaculate confusing murder, the investigation leads in multiple directions, and the trial is among the best-paced in the series. People may feel that Hifumi was too quick to murder but, with how we’ve seen parasocial relationships play out, it’s more believable than ever.

If you’re looking for more visual novels with a horror twist, check out the best horror-themed visual novels, right here on Gamerjournalist.

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