Before I analyse the executions of Danganronpa V3 I will say this right now. MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR DANGANRONPA V3
Ahh, Danganronpa V3 - what an odd, odd game you have been for the fanbase. Thanks to a certain twist you have pissed off your entire fanbase. While I could make a blog on the ending twist and why it’s less than ideal I decided to talk about something that Danganronpa V3 does extremely well - the executions. For those who don’t know the Danganronpa Series - The main mechanic of the Danganronpa Series that once every chapter 1 or 2 character are found dead and then the rest of the cast who are still alive must find out who done it. Once they find the culprit and explain how they did the murderer the murderer is treated to an execution by Monokuma. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the executions in Super Danganronpa 2 because they were too much on the goofy side but with Danganronpa V3 they really did the right balance between goofy and painful and they all have at least some symbolism that is worth taking a look at (I won’t be doing Chapter 6’s execution because there’s little to analyse about it). So, I am The Gaming News Guy and I will analyse the executions of Danganronpa V3
Execution 1 - Kaede Akamatsu: The Ultimate Pianist. - I Had Stepped on A Cat
Well...this is a surprise. For those who don’t know Kaede was promoted in the advertising heavily as the main protagonist of Danganronpa V3 but that was all a lie made by Kodaka - Saihara the Ultimate Detective is the true protagonist of Danganronpa V3. In the middle of the first chapter - Kaede realizes that she is the culprit behind the death of Rantararo - The Ultimate ??? and you switch to Saihara who has to prove Kaede is the true culprit. Once you prove it was Kaede that did it - she is proven guilty of the murderer and Kaede herself says a tearful goodbye to the rest of her cast as her execution starts.
It starts off very similar to Leon and Teruteru's executions (who were the first executions of D1,SD2) in that she is dragged off by a chain that goes around her neck. Unlike Teruteru and Leon she is dragged upwards with Saihara desperately trying to grab her - then it cuts to her falling onto a piano killing machine. Turns out that Monokuma has set up an orchestra arena complete with giant clock in the background, stage equipment and even viewers consisting of an army of Monokumas. The Stage is all set for Kaede’s final performance. Monokuma and the Monocubs hang Kaede by the neck. The Monokuma cubs use a pulley system to force her to play the song Flea Waltz on the Piano with her feet constantly swinging her around all the while the rope gets tighter and tighter around her neck. Kaede is struggling trying desperately to breath until face goes redder and redder. Monokuma doesn’t try to have her get a quick death - he wants to make her suffer. The Audience then starts throwing rocks at Kaede and the music gets faster and faster. Monokuma then does his final motion and Kaede’s body is not moving - likely died from having no air to breath. Once the show is over and, the iron maiden style keyboard cover slams shut on her and Monokid, reducing her body to unrecognizable paste with all her blood bleeding out of the keyboard and getting rid of Monokuma thanks to the efforts of Monodam one of the Mono Cubs and to play the scene out the song that was used in Leon’s first execution was used.
First thing to analyse is the Piano Killing Machine that Kaede is put on - The Piano symbolises her talent - that being the Ultimate Pianist as well as Monokuma’s love for twisting things that bring great happiness and joy to people and making them sinister - combining:
The Iron Maiden Execution Device:
So basically, Kaede is on an Iron Maiden Piano. So..what about the Thorns and the Rose and why the Hanging. Well the Thorns and why Kaede was hanged is twofold - the first thing that this is referring to which should be very familiar to people who play the Persona Series or have watched Stardust Crusaders - The Hanged Man Arcana:
Let’s get the obvious thing out of the way - Kaede is getting hanged - looks like she is more the Hanged Women then the Hanged Man..haha, get it. In all seriousness, there is a reason why I believe that Kaede’s Execution is referencing the Hanged Man. Other than the whole Hanged Man thing - often the Hanged Man Arcana has having buses and thorns on the tree and if you notice on the piano there are thorns and roses which based on their appearance look like the White Camellia Flower as well as the Rose - The White Camellia Flower also known as the Tsubaki symbolizes death and grief in Japan.
While the Rose is usually a rather positive image thanks to the fact that there are thorns all over it could have a different meaning. I feel like the roses with the thorns represents loss which makes sense considering what is about to happen to Kaede. But the reason why i feel the Hanged Man Arcana represents Kaede’s execution is the symbol meaning of the Hanged Man.The Hanged Man Arcana is associated with self-sacrifice for the sake of enlightenment, the bindings that makes one free, paradoxes and hanging between heaven and earth and that very much fits Kaede. Kaede isn’t truly sure if she was the one that killed Amami but she tries to put up not much resistance the reason why is because she is willing to sacrifice herself for the group to move forward even though she is the team leader of the group. The Hanged Man Arcana is also very fitting in a meta sort of way as Kaede through her death broke her binding to the Danganronpa TV Show.
While this one I am less sure about - i think Kaede’s execution is also somewhat a reference to an execution that was commonly used in the olden times - that being hung on a tree and then stoned to death. When the Monokumas are throwing things at Kaede originally, it’s tomatos but as the song goes if you notice those tomatoes slowly turn into rocks. Like the old punishment Kaede was hung and stoned.
What about the clock imagery - well there’s a big giant clock in Kaede’s execution as well as several clock gears. What I think the giant clock is referencing is the Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Masque of the Red Death - In the story there is a big clock that is symbolic of death - as well as being a symbol of “time that flies” and the inevitability of death. How does this relate to Kaede’s execution you may ask well notice as the execution goes on the clock gets faster and faster as Kaede gets closer and closer to death. The clock represents the fact that Kaede’s time is running out and when she dead the clock stops completely since Kaede is already deceased. Kaede’s death was inevitable - she had no way to escape and Monokuma was prolonging her suffering. Finally there are a bunch of musical references in the execution which makes sense considering Kaede’s talent of the SHSL Pianist.
The first is the song that Kaede is trying to play with her feet and that song being Der Flohwalzer otherwise known as Flea Waltz. It is one of the simplest piano pieces you can learn and often one of the first for beginners which plays into Monokuma’s ironic sense of humor - The SHSL Pianist known for her skill on the Piano is being forced to play one of the simplest and easiest songs to learn on the piano. The second musical reference is the outfit Monokuma is wearing during the execution is based on a Conductor's Outfit:
Which makes sense considering Monokuma is trying to conduct a symphony complete with baton. Music Notes are constantly played throughout the execution and they match to the actual notes used in the song Flea Waltz. The stage that Monokuma is conducting the execution is based on the 18th Century Musical Arenas complete with large room for the viewers and upper areas that people can watch the execution from above. Finally, there’s the name of the execution itself - “I Stepped On a Cat”. At first this name may seem dumb but “I Stepped on a Cat” is actually a piece of music. Der Flohwalzer is known in Japan as Neko Funjatta( I Stepped on the Cat).
Personally, this is one of my personal favourite executions in the series not only because it contains a ton of references that you pay not originally get but it also pays fitting tribute to a classical piece of music while also having elements of Monokuma’s dark humor. The execution itself is easily one of the most brutal the series has to offer and i think it’s up there with Leon. Leon’s may have been brutal but being slowly choked to death is a much more slow and painful demise personally especially considering that Kaede really didn’t deserve that brutal of an execution (along with Chapter 4’s murderer which we will get into later). Overall this execution is my new favourite execution and honestly I think it will end up staying that way.
Rest in Peace - Kaede Akamatsu – you were truly were best waifu
Execution 2 - Kirumi Tojo: The Ultimate Maid - Thread of Agony
Most of the Danganronpa Fans who had kept up with V3 correctly assumed that Kirumi would be the culprit in the case considering her name symbolises "slicing/beheading beauty". So most of the Danganronpa Fans weren’t really surprised that she was up for the chopping block. What we were surprising was the execution - a lot of people assumed that this execution would go the next culprit but nope it terms out the Spider’s Thread Execution was for Kirumi. So, let’s take a look at it and see if it has symbolic meaning.
Kirumi tried to escape away from Monokuma and her fate. Kirumi gets surrounded by an angry mob who are telling her to quit her job because of her actions. She is then is given the option of climbing a rope to safety but in typical Monokuma fashion the rope is actually a thorny vine that cuts her hand everything she tries grabbing it. Monokuma has something special planned for her - giant buzzsaws that whirl around the rope. These Buzzsaws shred her clothes as well as make several deep cuts on her body. Barely holding on she escapes except the rope is a thorny vine that cuts her hands every time she grabs it. And that's not even getting into the buzzsaws whirling around the rope, shredding her clothes and her body as she climbs. Kirumi narrowly survives the experience and just nearly reaches the escape hole - only to realize she never had a chance of making it out alive. Turns out the hole was just a childish drawing taped to the ceiling. The rope snaps and Kirumi falls several stories to her death crushing Monosuke.
While at first this execution may not seem that symbolic - there is a bunch of references to both her talent and a certain famous Japanese story.
First of all, Kirumi is chased by an angry job - this represents the shame of her actions putting her own selfish actions over others. In a lot of fiction Maids are meant to help others as well as their masters at all cost and prioritise others over themselves. Kirumi’s motivation for killing is the most selfish - driven by revenge against Ryoma so it makes sense that the mob is telling her to quit for her actions.
Then a thorny vine comes down - the thorny vine is often seen as a symbol of both beauty and death which makes sense considering Kirumi is a beauty but also has a darker side to her considering she expresses little remorse for the actions she has done.
She then climbs up the vine, which hurt her hands in the process. Something very noticeable is the spider motif in both the execution along with the thorn theme.
This was intentional by Spike Chunsoft as Kirumi’s execution references the "The Spider's Thread" is a 1918 short story by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. I won’t go into extremely detail about it but basically - a sinful man named Kandata who is currently in hell for the actions he committed the Buddha takes the silvery thread of a spider in Paradise and lowers it down into Hell. Kandata grabs the thread with all his might and climbs up it Kandata quickly tires and glances downwards realizing how far he had come. However, this was short-lived as others started to climb the thread. Fearing that the thread will break from the weight of the others, he shouts that the spider's thread is his and his alone. It is at this moment that the thread breaks, and he and all the other sinners are cast back down into the Pool of Blood. In the end, Kandata condemned himself by being concerned other himself rather than others. Fun Fact - this story was referenced in the Legend of Zelda Game: The Skyward Sword through the four dungeons of the game - the Ancient Cistern.
This story is very much referenced in Kirumi’s execution though twisted in typical Danganronpa fashion. Kirumi tries climbing up into freedom on the thorny vine which Monokuma “offers” to her. This is likely a reference to the fact that Buddha gave Kirumi the chance to escape. As she climbs up the rope she thinks that she may finally get to freedom like Kandata first but unlike Buddha who gave no room for salvation for Kandata - Monokuma tricks Kirumi into thinking there is freedom. During all of this she is attacked by buzzsaws which could be a reference to her battle maid personality as well as in terms of personality she is an extremely sharp person.
The childish drawing that Monokuma uses to block a reference may be symbolic of Ryoma considering his main motive had been to help a children’s orphanage so it’s almost like Ryoma has come back from the grave to give Kirumi her due. The thorn then snaps which makes Kirumi fall like Kandata did in the story and she falls to her death unlike Kandata who simply fell back into hell. She smacks to the ground - her body beaten and broken and roses (which is often seen as a symbol of death) all around her as well as a spider’s web completing the execution.
While I don’t think, this is quite as good as Chapter 1,3,4’s executions this is definitely in the top tier of Danganronpa executions - containing a good amount of symbolic references as well as being extremely brutal which is a theme for this game. Kirumi is one of the most least sympathetic murderers in the series so honestly I feel getting an execution as brutal as this one was very fitting for someone who prioritized their own selfish desires over everyone else. So overall great execution but I feel like there are other ones that are better.
Rest in Peace - Kirumi Tojo
Execution 3 - Korekiyo Shinguji: Ultimate Anthropologist -Past and Present Execution Photo Scroll
Everyone’s favourite sisterfucker (wait..what). Most people accurately guessed that he would be one of the killers in this game but a lot of people thought that his execution would be the Spider’s Thread Execution which turned out to be for Kirumi. Alongside Kaede - Korekiyo’s execution has the most symbolism in it and is glazed with Japanese Lore and Culture which is appropriate considering that his talent is basically Japanese Folklorist. Personally, I am a huge fan of this execution so let’s take a look at it and see what info we can get from it.
Korekiyo is spun around by both after being spun around really fast by Monotaro and Monofunny, a samurai slices the rope that binds him - Korekiyo falls from a great height and drops into a large cauldron that starts to boil - Monokuma and Monofunny throw in more logs in order to make the boiling pot boil quicker. As it goes quicker and quicker - Korekiyo’s face starts heating up and up as he sinks further into the boiling pot. Monodam decides to kill himself by running into the fire surprising both Monodam and Monofunny. As Korekiyo goes deeper into the burning pot he dies from being boiled alive. As his spirit flies up into the sky reaching towards his sister Miyadera the one whom his whole entire murderer plan was dedicated for, as he wanted to murder people to please her deceased sister. Before these two star crossed lovers can reunite Monokuma pulls a fast one of Korekiyo denying him the chance to be reunited with the one by spraying salt on him - this makes sense considering the theory that Ghost do not mix well with salt - Then the his sister starts to sprinkle salt on him which causes him to melt - erasing him from this world entirely - both spirit and body. There’s one final shot of the Fake Sister and Monokuma overlooking a Pagonta.
It is clear by both the method of the execution and the theming that Korekiyo’s execution is drenched in Japanese Mythology and Lore so let’s put on our Japanese Hates and take a dive into this thing.
The Art Style that the Samurai Man and the Women are depicted in greatly resemble ancient Japanese Paintings such as this one:
Which makes sense considering Folklorist. The rope that types up Korekiyo is known as a Shrimp Tie
The reason behind why Monokuma uses a Shrimp Tie to tie up Korekiyo is clear. Turns out that - In Japan the Shrimp Tie was used as a form of torture as well as making people suffer in order to force them to tell secrets. The reason why the Shrimp Tie worked so well as an effective torturing method is because many victims of this torture would feel a extremely painful burning sensation which is pretty appropriate considering what’s going to happen to Korekiyo. But this method of torture may have an interesting meaning as this method is used by people today who practise BDSM (short for Bondage Dominance Sato-Masochism). Considering how messed up/sexual his relationship with his sister is I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a reference to his sister and the things he wanted to do with his sister.
Even the way that Korekiyo’s rope is cut (via a Samurai with a Katana) is reflective of something. Another torture killing method that you may have heard of - Seppuku, specifically after the victim has already died as usually there will be someone with a Samurai sword who will cut the dead body’s head off as part of this Ancient Japanese Ritual as shown here.
What about the method of death itself - death by boiling - well that’s another reference. Death by Boiling was an actual execution method used by the Japanese (it was state approved). People would be boiled alive as they wanted to make people suffer as long as possible - it was used at the Edo Period and the most famous example of when death by boiling was the extremely notable outlaw samurai Ishikawa Goemon who was executed via boiling. The Samurai in the opening section of the execution may be a reference to Goemon. Since Korekiyo deals with ancient Japanese legends and tales this makes sense.
Finally, after Korekiyo dies by boiling his spirit ascends to the heaven. This is probably a reference to the fact that the Japanese place a great importance on the sprit and after a spirit dies it ascends to heaven. Korekiyo is finally reunited with the one he loves so much - his sister. This references to his obsessive love towards his sister (so much so that he gained a split personality that was based on his sister) but it was all a trick by Monokuma as Monokuma throws salt at him. If you have watched Mob Psycho or are knowledgable when it comes to Japanese Folklore - Throwing handfuls of salt as a means for expelling evil spirits (considering Korekiyo’s motive for method and his actions he would classify as an evil spirit) is a tradition in Japan originating in ancient history effectively erasing his existence. The outfit that Monokuma wears is based on the Onmyōji which were Japanese cosmology, who are traditionally said to have been capable of communicating with and controlling spirits.
The final shot is Monokuma and Korekiyo's sister overlooking a city with a Pagoda - the city that they are overlooking is Ancient Kyoto which was the capital of Imperial Japan until 1869.
This is absolutely one of my favorite executions in the series - while it’s personally not my favorite execution in the series that still goes to Kaede’s Flea Waltz I still love how they put so many references in it from old school Japanese Torture Methods to ancient Japanese Folklore. This is probably the most reference heavy execution and it’s perfect for someone like Korekiyo who deals with Japanese Folklorist. I really like the method of execution as while fire based executions have been used before with Celes - this makes the suffering of the execution even worse as Korekiyo is literally being boiled alive. I also like the small amount of Black Comedy used in this execution and i especially like how Monokuma denied Korekiyo the one thing he wanted most - to reunite with his sister lover in the afterlife so overall this is easily in my Top 5 maybe Top 3 of favorite executions. This absolutely redeemed Super Danganronpa 2 Chapter 3’s execution - Mikan which was terrible.
Rest in Peace - Korekiyo Shinguji - You Beautiful Sister Fucking Bastard
I have decided to split this into two parts. In the next part, we will be covering Executions 4,5,6 and my final thoughts on which executions I think are the best. Bugs will die, a Hero goes to Space the place they most wanted to go, A Traitor who dresses as others will be executed and Robot will save everyone but I will cover that in the next part.