The Danganronpa franchise, more so than possibly any other game series I’ve ever played, gets almost all of its appeal and charm from the characters. Sure, the plot is usually pretty solid and oftentimes intriguing, but it’s the dynamics between the characters – and the variety of wacky personalities that they show – that truly make you fall in love with the insane premise.
They can’t all be zingers, however, and with a roster of characters as varied as this there’s bound to be a few that rub me the wrong way. How would I rank all 52 characters? (From the main trilogy, otherwise I’d go crazy)
Oh, and before we get started, just a disclaimer – Japanese isn’t my first language, so I apologise in advance for any spelling mistakes in names. Alright, onto this colossal list!
52 – Hifumi Yamada
Most of the characters have at least one redeeming quality about them, or at least the writers tried adding something to make us like them, but there’s absolutely nothing about Hifumi to sympathise with.
He’s a creep and a loser – plain and simple. These would have made for interesting character traits if paired with other personalities, or if he genuinely wanted to improve himself as a person, but he just stays as the same old weirdo up until this death. I can’t imagine many people have him as one of their favourites.
51 – The Monokubs
Yes, I’ve grouped all of them under the same banner – and yes, I think they’re all equally insufferable.
V3’s answer to Monomi, except this time The Monokubs do absolutely nothing interesting, and don’t service the plot in the slightest. They add moments of comic relief where they’re usually not needed, and I can’t help but think V3 would have been a better experience without them in the first place.
50 – Hiyoko Saionji
Other than Hifumi, Hiyoko seems to be the character that most Danganronpa fans like the least – and there’s a heap of reasons as to why.
First of all, for the majority of her screen time she’s an annoying brat. She starts to get some redemption later in her arc, but it gets cut short before anything interesting happens – which is almost criminal as far as the writing department is concerned.
Also, her death is probably the most underwhelming in the series. It has a cool reveal, sure, but her death is hardly explained, and the focus is primarily on Ibuki’s death for most of Case 3 (and her being a Case 3 victim adds to fan’s dislike of her I feel).
49 – Celestia Ludenberg
Celestia was such a weird character; one one hand, you have a manipulative liar that did a good job making things interesting, and on the other you have a strange and often irritating psychopath with one of the weakest motives to kill in the series.
I think it was that Case 3 plan / motive that let her down, as before that she was just an ordinary character. As that case played out, and things got more convoluted and ridiculous, Celestia became the laughing stock of the Danganronpa killers .
48 – Tenko Chabashira
Tenko almost felt like a character that was destined to fail. She has a burning vendetta against men, which was already a risky strategy from the developers, and her personality really is nothing beyond that.
She does have a bit of a thing for Himiko, and when you start to see her vulnerable side you can sympathise with her a bit more, but after she got killed I just completely forgot about her.
47 – Angie Yonaga
If we don’t include The Monokubs, all of the 5 bottom characters are directly linked to the double murders in Case 3s – perhaps that’s why people hate Case 3s so much, or possibly vice versa?
Other than Hifumi, there was no character that grinded my gears quite like Angie. Her dedication to Atua and the cult following she accrued really annoyed me at times, but I have to admit she did stir the pot enough to make the early portion of the game more interesting than it would have been.
46 – Mahiru Koizumi
She played her part in moving the plot forwards in Chapter 1 of “Goodbye Despair”, and then she died.
Mahiru is possibly the most bland, forgettable character in the entire series, and she does nowhere near enough to make me remember her. She existed purely to be killed off early, but she didn’t annoy me quite as much as the characters in the “Meh” tier.
45 – Toko Fukawa
It was actually harder than I thought to rank Toko – she’s effectively half of a person (or at least a personality), and as such she just feels like a half-baked character as a result.
Her alter ego is waaaay more interesting than her, which just makes regular old Toko seem a bit underwhelming in comparison.
(N.B. Apparently she gets a bit more characterisation in Despair Girls and the anime, but I haven’t seen those so sue me.)
44 – Leon Kuwata
Unfortunately for most of the early victims and killers, they don’t get enough time to fully develop as characters, and as such I can never really relate to them as much as some of the others in the cast.
Leon was a decent character, but he had the simplest of arcs and was the most obvious killer ever, so he was never going to rank that highly.
43 – Fat Byakuya (Ultimate Imposter)
I can’t believe I actually thought this guy was Byakuya, in hindsight I feel like such an idiot.
For what he was, The Ultimate Imposter is actually quite a neat idea for a character – but the fact he died first and left me with more questions than answers just frustrated me too much.
42 – Teruteru Hanamura
Teruteru can count his lucky stars that the writers decided to included a tragic backstory that made him somewhat forgivable at the last second, otherwise he would have been way down in the “Bad” tier.
Even then, there’s hardly anything to like about this guy – he’s the first killer (so you don’t spend long with him anyway), he’s a total creep and his character was just annoying anyway. Again, if it wasn’t for the tragic backstory Hail Mary then he would have ranked a lot lower.
41 – Korekiyo Shinguji
Korekiyo was a frustrating one – for two and a half chapters he was just an eccentric dude filled with mystery, and the intrigue behind him as a person was what made him interesting as a character. That all came crashing down, however, when the conclusion to Chapter 3 rolled around.
The guy is insane – like, asylum level insane. Most culprits in the series have a redeeming factor, but there’s absolutely nothing to like about this incestuous serial killer.
Also – the seesaw effect was fine, don’t @ me.
40 – Peko Pekoyama
I might get a bit of stick for this one, but I think Peko is in a similar situation to Toko – they are both half of a story arc, one of the parts of a pair, and they do a good job of elevating the other whilst sacrificing themselves as more mundane characters.
Obviously, Peko is a more interesting character than Toko is – she’s a ninja for crying out loud, and her stern persona and dedication to Fuyuhiko (including the tragic romance, sorta) bump her up my list slightly.
39 – Mikan Tsumiki
Mikan and Peko are similarly mundane to me, but at least we got Mikan for an extra chapter so I guess she’s slightly more fresh in the memory.
Again, like all of the Chapter 3 culprits, Mikan was fine until it was revealed that she’s just a nutcase. The Despair Disease is still one of the dumbest plot arcs in the series, and unfortunately Mikan had to bear the brunt of it and suffer as a character as a result.
38 – Mukuro Ikusaba
Why have I ranked Mukuro so high? She barely features in the first game, and most would argue that other characters deserve a place above her – and rightly so, if I’m being reasonable.
I like her less as a character, and more as a plot device. Her inclusion alone makes Chapter 5 of the first game twice as enjoyable, and the mystery surrounding her situation and eventual demise set up some excellent twists in the plot.
37 – Yasuhiro Hagakure
If you don’t count Toko (as she’s essentially half a character), I think Yasuhiro is my least favourite survivor in the series.
The guy is just an idiot. Some may find that endearing and funny, which it can be at times, but it just got on my nerves at points. It also bugs me slightly that he lived and some other “more worthy” characters died, so I guess I’ll just be salty and rank him low.
36 – Sonia Nevermind
Another survivor that ranked low, except Sonia didn’t push my buttons quite like Yasuhiro did. If anything, Sonia might be one of the most bland characters in the series, and if she had died early on then she could have easily been on the “Meh” tier.
That being said, I did quite like the dynamic she had with Gundham, and especially Kazuichi – his simping is probably why the writers left her in for so long.
35 – Kiyotaka Ishimaru
A character struck down in his prime, but in all fairness I’m not sure how much further his arc could have gone beyond “Unlimited POOOWWWEEER!!”.
Kiyotaka’s bromance with Mondo was definitely the highlight of his arc, but before that he was just a dude with a stick up his ass.
34 – Tsumugi Shirogane
I still haven’t quite come to terms with Tsumugi’s character and how she affects the Danganronpa story as a whole, so I guess I’ll just put her in the middle of the pack for now.
Up until the end she was a fairly standard character, but when her true intentions are revealed the plot turns bat-shit crazy. I love how crazy her plan and motives are, but at the same time I hate the implications V3’s ending has on the whole story. Let’s just say the love / hate parts cancel out and she’s an “OK” character.
33 – Rantaro Amami
A bit like Mukuro, Rantaro acts more as a plot device than an actual character – but I found his story to be one of the most gripping parts of V3.
Rarely has an opening victim been so interesting, and the reveal that he was actually the “Ultimate Survivor” that had done the killing game before blew my mind, and it blew the whole case wide open.
32 – Miu Iruma
Welp … Miu was certainly something.
Pretty much just a fan-service character, I thought Miu was “OK” – nothing more. I wasn’t complaining when those fan-service moments happened, I just wish there was slightly more to her character (but she does rank a bit higher by being a helpful inventor)
31 – Kirumi Tojo
I’ve heard a lot of people say stuff like “Ah! Kirumi is waifu! I wish she would have survived until the end” … um, what? Am I missing something? Isn’t Kirumi one of the most boring characters?
She spends her whole time playing second fiddle to the other characters, and when it is her time to shine the writers add that stupid Prime Minister twist that put me off her character completely. Still, it was interesting to see a character that desperate to leave, and others wanting her to escape as well.
30 – Sayaka Maizono
We didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Sayaka, but she was one of the most important characters in the game.
The first friend that Makoto makes in the killing game, Sayaka does a perfect job of demonstrating to the player that no one is safe, and no one can be trusted. If she’d have stayed around a little longer and not been so traitorous in the end, she could have made it to “Good”.
29 – Mondo Owada
Better known for his butter nowadays, but Mondo is actually quite a decent character in his own right.
The Ultimate Bro (apart from Kaito, but we’ll get to him), the dynamic he had with Kiyotaka made for some funny scenes and moments. He didn’t stick around for long, and he wasn’t exactly stand-out, but the way he subverted my expectations by actually being a good dude is more than enough to put him in “Good”.
28 – Sakura Ogami
She died to protect her friends, and that instantly raised my respect for her.
Similarly to Mondo, Sakura doesn’t do too much other than be a good friend and a top-notch person – but her character arc at the end of Chapter 3 and throughout Chapter 4 made her actions all the more impactful to the story.
27 – Akane Owari
A.K.A. The Ultimate Ass-Kicker, A.A.K.A The Ultimate Eater.
When you try to ignore her fragile shirt being held in place by an indestructible button, Akane was actually a stronger and more memorable character than I thought she would ever be. She had a great dynamic with Nekomaru, and she was always a bundle of joy to have around.
26 – Ibuki Mioda
I think Ibuki is one of the fan favourites, and I can see why – she’s a musician (which instantly made me respect her when I first met her), and she brings a chaotic good vibe to any situation.
She’s a little overrated though, it has to be said. She doesn’t stick around long enough to make a huge impression, and she hardly had any dialogue before her death anyway, so it’s quite remarkable that her fun-loving personality was enough to make her a memorable addition to the cast.
25 – Gonta Gokuharu
The ultimate gentleman, and the ultimate tragic culprit.
Gonta really didn’t deserve the punishment that came his way – he was a true bundle of joy that had many fun interactions with the others (even if the bug stuff isn’t my favourite), and it all came crashing down with that tragic Case 4 twist (Damn you, Kokichi!).
24 – Usami / Monomi
I don’t know what others think about Monomi, but I felt so bad when the cast just swatted her around like a used dishcloth and outcasted her at every turn – she was just trying to help, what the hell you guys?!?
Granted, she has a time and a place, and some of her appearances got annoying at times; but overall I thought she made for a fun Yin to Monokuma’s Yang.
23 – Chihiro Fujisaki
They just wanted to be stronger, and that’s what made their unexpected death all the more tragic.
Chiriho’s intentions were always good, and their invention “Alter Ego” was extremely helpful in getting the cast out of Hope’s Peak, but you could tell that they were a character destined to die – it’s a shame they couldn’t hang around long enough to get to really know them.
22 – Aoi Asahina
Aoi is one of those characters that I’m sure most people wouldn’t think too highly of, but I think her being a survivor makes her one of the more endearing characters as we get to spend the most time with her.
Being a swimming pro and all-round athlete, you might think she would be cocky and arrogant, but she was actually a loving soul and loyal friend – her loyalty was both touching and infuriating in Sakura’s case, and if she hadn’t tried to get everyone killed she would have made it to the “Great” tier.
21 – Ryoma Hoshi
It’s rare for a character that died early to have any sort of effect on me, but the arc that Ryoma undertook was one of the most tragic stories of the bunch.
He was quite a reserved character, but when you understand his backstory you can completely see why. Deep down he is actually a great guy, but he didn’t feel like he had any reason to live – and when the motive video confirmed that horrible truth, my heart sank. One of the most tragic characters in the series, without a doubt.
20 – K1-B0 (Keebo)
Almost the polar opposite to Ryoma – Keebo isn’t a stand-out character at all initially, but as the story and plot unfolds you start to understand the collosal importance of this innocent little nugget.
The purest of souls, Keebo’s role in the final Chapter was legendary, and even though I wasn’t a fan of the overarching twists I did really like the revelation that Keebo was actually the audience’s eyes throughout the whole thing (so, if Miu is the fan-service, does that mean … oh no)
19 – Gundham Tanaka
Gundham … is quite the character.
Apparently Gundham is the bone fide fan favourite character at the moment, and I can kinda see that? Maybe?
He has a lot of funny lines and interactions, and being the Ultimate Breeder (of animals, thank goodness) is quite a cool concept, but I’m not sure he completely deserves all of his recent accolades. Still, he was a great addition to the cast, and I enjoyed his bizarre and wacky inputs into every class trial.
18 – Nekomaru Nidai
A lot of people just see Nekomaru as the “haha lol poop jokes are funny” guy, but I think he’s actually a lot more than that (although I actually didn’t mind those jokes).
He’s the hype-man of the group, and he inspired everyone around him to be their best selves. The relationship he had with Akane was quite touching and amusing, and I thought “Mech-omaru” was dope.
17 – Himiko Yumeno
Much like Keebo, I initially didn’t think much of Himiko when I played through V3. She’s a huge push-over, fairly annoying with her insistence on real magic, and she didn’t really do anything useful.
As people started dying, and her whole world view came into question, Himiko started blossoming into a persistent and resilient character that values friendship above all else, and her positivity in the face of danger made her one of my favourites by the time the credits rolled around.
16 – Kazuichi Soda
Looks can be deceiving, and I thought Kazuichi was going to be the most annoying character in “Goodbye Despair” – but he showed his worth, and proved a funny and reliable ally.
I’m glad he ended up being a survivor, as I really enjoyed all the funny interactions and all-round bro attitude he displayed – his simping for Sonia got a little repetitive and predictable at times, though, so that knocks him down a few places.
15 – Genocide Jill
Toko was a bog-standard character in the first game, but her alter ego Genocide Jill shook up the story completely and added lots of tension to every scene she featured in.
I wasn’t expecting the developers to commit to the serial killer reveal, but lo and behold – she’s actually a genuine murderer, and a proper psycho killer at that. Her appearances from Chapter 2 onwards made the game far more unpredictable, and I loved every minute of her wacky personality
14 – Makoto Naegi
I had a really tough time ranking Makoto – on one hand, he’s the central protagonist of the first game (and pretty much the entire franchise), but on the other he doesn’t really have an interesting personality or arc.
I can see why he’s so simple though – the developers wanted an Average Joe sort of protagonist so the player could relate to him more, and I think that works for the most-part. It would have been nicer to have an intriguing arc to undertake, or discernible character traits, so all things considered Makoto might actually be my least favourite protagonist.
13 – Shuichi Saihara
The unexpected protagonist of V3, but I think I would have preferred the original main character (I’ll talk about that more in a bit).
Unlike Makoto, Shuichi is actually an interesting character with a backstory shrouded in mystery. His arc of learning to accept the truth, and as such having some heroic moments of truth uncovering, made him a great protagonist – but, as I said, he was a little underwhelming compared to what we could have had.
12 – Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu
Danganronpa games have a knack for taking a butch, masculine character and giving them a satisfying arc that completely changes your perspective on them, and as such makes you empathise with them even more.
Fuyuhiko was a character that I was sure I was going to hate, but his arc of learning to be a better person (or at least less of a dick) is easily one of the best character developments in the series, and when he survived the events of “Goodbye Despair” you felt that he had thoroughly earned it.
11 – Maki Harukawa
When it was revealed that Maki was actually yet another serial killer (assassin, I know, but it’s close) I audibly groaned. Every game has some sort of “serial killer” twist in Chapter 2, and I really couldn’t be bothered with another one.
Maki was a pleasant surprise, and the gradual warmth that she showed towards Shuichi and Kaito made it my favourite friendship group in the series. Sure, her catchphrase was annoying at times, but my goodness was it endearing.
10 – Kaede Akamatsu
Full of energy, full of sass, full of vigour – Kaede was unlike any protagonist we had played as before, and I for one was so excited to follow her journey through the story.
It’s a shame she had to go so early, but her death was possibly the most poignant in the series – I had never seen a killer reveal twist quite like it (even if it did end up being a framing from the mastermind), and it made Chapter 1 of V3 an extraordinary, out-of-body experience.
As I said, it would have been amazing to have Kaede as the actual protagonist, and whilst I did like Shuichi I felt a hollow feeling throughout my playthrough knowing Kaede should have been in his place.
9 – Chiaki Nanami
Being the “Ultimate Gamer”, I knew that Chiaki was going to be one of my favourites, but I didn’t realise just how waifu material she was going to end up being.
She always felt like Hajime’s (and the player’s) best friend, and with all the twists and turns that the story took she was always the calmest and most soothing voice in the crowd. This made her subsequent betrayal (ish) and execution all the more heart-breaking, but she left quite an impression on me by the time the credits rolled.
8 – Hajime Hinata
I wasn’t expecting it when I made my rankings, but looking back on it I do really believe that Hajime was the best protagonist. He wasn’t as one-note as Makoto, and I felt we got to know him a bit more than V3’s protagonists.
It was heaps of fun seeing his reactions to the class trials and other characters (especially Nagito), and when it’s revealed that he was actually Izuru Kamakura it blew my socks off. Sure, it may have been a bit too anime for my liking, but Chapter 6 is my favourite case in the series almost based purely on Hajime’s personal journey.
7 – Junko Enoshima
The big baddie of the series (not counting Monokuma), and she has all the over-the-top badness and eccentricity that I wanted from a final boss showdown.
It’s a shame they keep overusing her, because her appearance at the end of the original game was a twist that rocked my world completely. She was still just as crazy as ever in “Goodbye Despair” though, and her wacky persona and fantastic voice performance is easily enough to put her in the “Amazing” tier.
6 – Kaito Momota
The best bro that an unworthy soul like me could ask for, and I really don’t think I deserved the wholesome, unrequited friendship that Kaito provided.
He always looked out for his friends, he was a beacon of hope in an unshakable darkness, and I’ll never forgive myself for actually believing he was the mastermind and shunning his friendship up until Chapter 5 (I still facepalm because of that from time to time.
5 – Kyoko Kirigiri
As soon as Kyoko starts taking control of the trial in Chapter 1 of “Trigger Happy Havoc”, you know you’re in the presence of an amazing character.
I love how calm and composed she was throughout it all, and yet we got to see her more vulnerable and volatile side when it was called for.
All of the top 5 are quite comfortably in contention for the “best character” accolade, and I can see how Kyoko’s assertiveness and personal growth make her a contender for one of the best.
4 – Nagito Komaede
Nobody annoyed me quite like Nagito did during my playthrough of “Goodbye Despair”, and that button-pushing is enough to keep him out of “All-Time Great” – but I can’t deny how awesome it was to have a troublemaker like him spicing things up.
He almost single-handedly made the game interesting at times, and his self-inflicted murder puzzle in Chapter 5 will go down as the best body reveal in the series, and one of my favourite Chapters as a whole.
3 – Monokuma
It’s almost cheating to have Monokuma on a list like this – most lists focus on the students, but I feel that the killer bear himself deserves his time in the spotlight.
Danganronpa wouldn’t be quite the beast it is today without Monokuma’s snarky wit and evil laugh making even the dullest sections of the game more memorable. It’s a testament to his design that he is the poster-child of the entire franchise, and he thoroughly deserves it – he’s one of my favourite parts of any of these games, and long may he reign.
2 – Kokichi Oma
It seemed almost cliché to have yet another troublemaker in V3, but I think the developers nailed the format with Kokichi. He spiced every class trial up with his lies and manipulation, and Chapters 4 and 5 wouldn’t be half as good as they were without his involvement.
Kokichi has provided some of my favourite moments in the entire series, from his murder plan in Chapter 5 to his fake-out death in Chapter 3 (I’ll still never forgive him for that), and it took quite a character to knock him off the top spot.
1 – Byakuya Togami
The archetypal troublemaker, laying the groundwork for fan-favourites Nagito and Kokichi, and yet I feel that Byakuya was the best of the lot.
He wasn’t quite as chaotic and borderline crazy as the other two (apart from when he tampered with the crime-scene in Chapter 2), but that’s why I loved him so much – he was calm and calculated, and you were never sure what was going to happen next when he got involved.
Add to that his arc of learning to work together and accept his human emotions and you get the best character in the Danganronpa series.
Aaaaand that’s my list. Wow, this was a huge one to compile and write! Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed gushing about my favourite (and not-so favourite) characters. Until my next list, you should check out my latest blog posts below:
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