Chisa Yukizome Doesn’t Smile (Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Despair Arc)

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Chisa Yukizome Doesn’t Smile
Danganronpa 3 - Despair Arc Title Card (Episode 9).png
Series: Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School
Part of Season: 2
Episode Number: 9
Air Date: September 8th, 2016 (sub)
October 9th, 2016 (dub)
Writer: Yoichiro Koizumi
Director: Kenzo Ogata
Previous episode: The Worst Reunion by Chance
Next episode: Smile at Despair in the Name of Hope

Chisa Yukizome Doesn’t Smile is the eighteenth episode of Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School and the ninth episode of "Despair Arc", which serves as a prequel to the Hope's Peak Academy saga.

Synopsis

Chisa shows up to confront Junko, who reveals her plan to brainwash her class into Ultimate Despair, showing its effectiveness by having a student kill himself on command. Meanwhile, Chiaki escapes with Nagito and informs the rest of the class, who decide to go help their teacher. While Chisa is forced to watch Junko's video of despair while Mukuro tinkers with her brain, Junko brags about her plan to Ryota, who can do nothing but flee in shame, before she is confronted by Juzo. As the class arrive at Junko's hideout, Mikan pushes Chiaki through a hidden passageway, where she reunites with Chisa, unaware of what has happened to her.

Summary

Nanami and Komaeda escape from despair, but can they protect their classmates, or save their teacher?

Plot

This episode continues right where the previous one left off, in the secret underground Hope's Peak Academy facility. Nagito Komaeda, winded by a shot hitting his handbook, lies on the floor while Chiaki Nanami stares down Izuru Kamukura, identifying him as Hajime Hinata and inquiring about his new appearance. As Junko Enoshima becomes threatening, Chisa Yukizome barges in and hurls a fire extinguisher at the wall; in the smoke, Chiaki flees with Nagito while Chisa stays behind to deal with Junko. She tells Chisa about how she plans to brainwash her entire class into Despair.

While still pondering the disappearance of Mikan Tsumiki, Chiaki shows up and tells the rest of the class about Nagito's discovery. Junko continues to tell Chisa about her plan to manipulate them into doing what she wants; she demonstrates her brainwashing powers by forcing a Reserve Course student to painfully commit suicide by decapitating himself right in front of her with a saw. Nagito tries to warn them that it is a suicide mission, but the rest of the class shoves off his word. Chiaki, remembering how she would have been quiet and lonely if Chisa did not give her the confidence needed to be the class rep and befriend everyone, becomes moralized and the students all agree to go. During this time, "Ryota" takes off his mask and reveals his true face as the Ultimate Imposter, a man with no past history who lives from stolen identity to the next. Nagito reveals in the fact that the entire class has taken up hope, believing it to be strong enough to fight against Junko's despair.

Elsewhere, Kyosuke Munakata tells Juzo Sakakura that he is quite sure that Junko is responsible for the killing incident, and they are both eager to extract revenge on her. Meanwhile, as an indifferent Izuru watches, Chisa is bound to a chair, her eyelids forced open, and made to watch the Despair Video. She manages to maintain her sense of will and resist the brainwashing, thus prompting Mukuro Ikusaba to give Chisa a lobotomy, affecting the pleasure center and forcing her to orgasm over the video, thus equating her newfound pleasure into despair. En route to the secret facility, Class 77-B becomes blocked off by angry Reserve Course students, who wish to kill them and take their spots in the Main Course. Gundham Tanaka and Nekomaru Nidai offer to hold them off in order to give the others a chance to rescue Chisa.

Meanwhile, Junko confronts a depressed Ryota Mitarai, and when she gleefully mocks him of his complicity in helping produce the brainwashing video, he runs away crying and jumps into a lake in desperation. He washes up depressed and in pain. At this point, Juzo confronts Junko with enormous rage and is about to attack her.

The rest of the class make their way to the secret lair. As they begin descending, Mikan Tsumiki asks if she may speak to Chiaki alone. She remarks how Chiaki was quiet and withdrawn before Chisa brought her out of her shell and made her into the open individual she is today. Chiaki modestly claims that she is the same person as before, albeit less reserved, only for Mikan to apologize for what she is about to do; Mikan then pushes Chiaki into a revolving wall. Chiaki wakes up in the bottom floor, aware of Mikan's treachery, but is surprised to see Chisa stand there in front of her. Chisa offers her hand to Chiaki and proclaims that the two of them would save their class together, giving Chiaki a smirk in the process.

Why It Smiles

  1. This is one of those episodes that takes a turn for the darker during this arc (which was mainly more light-hearted in tone and storylines than the rest of the Danganronpa series), and it actually works here and is well executed, unlike the next episode.
  2. The scene where Chisa Yukizome saves Chiaki Nanami from Junko Enoshima is really courageous, despite it being ruined in the next episode (See BQ #1).
  3. The scene where the fake Ryota takes off his mask and reveals himself to be the Ultimate Imposter is really shocking and surprising. It's also the first time they're shown without being disguised as someone else, and reveals that they do indeed have an appearance of their own and don't always have to pretend to be another person. And after saying his talent is the only thing he has in life, it shows how much the Ultimate Imposter cares about his classmates and his teacher, Chisa.
    • It also shows how far he's come. Keep in mind that this was the guy who, at the beginning of the series, told Chiaki that there was no reason for the class to group up or make friends, and told Ryota that fats and sugars are the only thing in life you can rely on. Now, he's actively participating in the mission to rescue his teacher with his classmates.
      • A similar thing happens with Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu. Even without knowing about their shared past, when an injured Peko Pekoyama and Mikan Tsumiki arrive, Fuyuhiko's immediate reaction is to run over and help. When Peko tells him to run away, he refuses to leave, saying that "You were beaten up. Do you think I'm going to take this lying down?!". Coming from someone who has always resisted being "part of the group", it shows how much he cares about the class (although it still doesn't compare to his character arc in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair).
  4. There's a scene where Chiaki says that it's thanks to Chisa that she really broke out of her shell as a loner when Chisa pushed her to make friends with her classmates. It's incredibly touching and powerful both in and out of universe, as it's what motivates the other students to help search for and rescue their teacher (although it doesn't end well, as revealed in the next episode).
  5. The scene where Gundham Tanaka and Nekomaru Nidai offer to hold the angry Reserve Course students off in order to give the others a chance to rescue Chisa is really noble and heroic of them, especially considering that, at the same time, Chisa was being lobotomized by Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba.
  6. When Class 77-B was on their way down the staircase to Junko's lair, Akane Owari insisted that she believed in Nekomaru while Kazuichi Souda reassures Sonia Nevermind and the others that Gundham will be fine when the class begins worrying about Gundham and Nekomaru's safety when the two were fighting off the Reserve Course Students for them. It's nice to see how strong Akane and Nekomaru's bond truly is, and how it's far stronger than a typical student and coach (applying to them respectively) relationship. Not to mention the fact that this scene also shows how Kazuichi genuinely does care about Sonia and that he feelings for her go beyond his general stalkerish behavior towards the princess (and that he also cares for Gundham as well in spite of his rivalry with the latter due to the breeder's close friendship with Sonia). He regretted it afterwards, yes, but it still proves that deep down, he does truly care for both of them.
  7. Great animation and voice acting, as expected for all Danganronpa games and anime.
  8. The scene where Juzo confronts Junko with enormous rage and is about to attack her is proof that Junko Enoshima could end up getting karma for her actions, although that chance of Junko getting karma was obliterated in the next episode.
  9. Overall, despite taking a darker turn for the Despair Arc, this episode can be considered a breather episode, as we all know what comes after this one.

Bad Qualities

  1. Unfortunately, this episode is the final good episode of the Despair Arc, as the next episode would take a devastating turn on the horror genre, causing the arc to go downhill. However, this can all be blamed on Junko Enoshima.
  2. Speaking of Junko, she's still unlikable as always, as she gleefully mocks Ryota Mitarai of his complicity in helping produce the brainwashing video, causing him to run away crying and jump into a lake in desperation. Therefore, Ryota washes up depressed and in pain.
  3. The infamous scene where Chisa is given a frontal lobotomy by Junko and Mukuro is extremely disturbing and no short of unpleasant to watch, and it isn't helped by Junko constantly making jokes throughout.
    • Speaking of Chisa's lobotomy, the fact that the episode ends with her, under the effects of said lobotomy, tricking Chiaki into thinking that they were going to save their class together (when in actuality, she would end up leading her into the events of the next episode) could leave the episode with an overall bad ending.
  4. Despite the scene where Juzo confronts Junko with enormous rage and is about to attack her being good, the part where Junko Enoshima actually gets her ass kicked was cut from the next episode, which is absolutely jarring.

Reception

Chisa Yukizome Doesn't Smile was largely well-received by audiences, particularly Danganronpa fans. Who praised the episode for its suspense, revelation of the Imposter's true identity, and proper handling of horror concepts. That being said, Chisa's lobotomy at the hands of the Despair sisters and Ryota throwing himself into a lake in shame after being mocked by Junko were the two things featured in the episode that were negatively received.

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