Kinda Funny Games uploaded a brand new interview with Danganronpa creator, Kazutaka Kodaka, and translator from NIS America, Alan Costa yesterday that gives us a deeper look into the characters of the franchise. Colin Moriarty lead the interview that reveals Kodaka’s original dream was to create something original and was first interested in doing so in the film industry.
Kodaka reveals that he originally thought about working for a big company like Sony or Capcom but felt that his creativity would be restricted. Wanting to deeply create something unique and decided to go with Spike Chunsoft to allow his creativity to flow without limitations. Kodaka explained that the idea of Danganronpa originated from his desire of creating a visual novel, which revolves around a mystery. Drawing inspiration from Battle Royale, which is a Japanese novel written by Koushun Takami with a similar plot, he drew up the memorable characters for the franchise.
Kodaka explained that he never really watched anime before, however he wanted to show growth when he created Danganronpa. To illustrate this growth, he selected children, or teenagers, as the main characters of the franchise. With a franchise that is based on despair, there is more tragedy involved when it is a younger character that still has life ahead of him or her. This leads the story to have more of an impact and lends room for despair’s opposition of hope.
The franchises main antagonist, Monokuma, is a peculiar bear that is half black and half white. The white side of Monokuma is more like a cute and cuddly teddy bear who has a sense of innocence and is quite playful. On the other side, is the dark side, which is a representation of his more sinister personality. He can be seen as a representation of both hope and despair. It was quite interesting to hear more about Monokuma straight from his creator. Kodaka explained that the white side is “shiro” which represents “not guilty” and “kuro”, which is black and represents “not guilty. This all stems from the main idea of the game, in which students are locked in a school and must kill each other to “graduate”. Class Trials allow the other students to find out if the accused is guilty or not guilty. Diving deeper into the mind of his creator, it is also amazing to note that Monokuma was actually created in about an hour. For a character that is simply illustrated, he contains so much mystery and so much of a backstory that it is rather fascinating that he was thought up in such a short amount of time. To keep the story from become too grotesque, Monokuma was introduced as the cute, yet sinister antagonist.
After discussing the main antagonist, he explained the idea behind the rest of the characters, the Ultimates. Each student has an ability that they excel in, whether it be baseball, video games, cooking, or swimming. They are the ultimate in what they excel in. To create “Ultimates” offered more of an importance to the characters. Kodaka stated that, while he loves mysteries, the person that usually died was a character that was not really important in the story. Giving the characters an Ultimate status makes them all equally important to the story. This leaves more of a mystery of who will die next.
Wanting to create a game for the PlayStation 4, Kodaka shared that the reason for the franchise’s release on the PlayStation Vita was due to the original funding when starting the series. However, given the sales of the games in Japan, including Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, being that it released last September, and the success of the first two titles here in the states, that might change in the future and we may just see the series come to the PlayStation 4.
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls releases in North America on September 1, 2015. We got some hands-on time with the game and we are very excited for its release. Check out our hands-on preview and make sure to catch the entire interview with Kazutaka Kodaka over at Kinda Funny Games on their YouTube channel.