Fifteen of Japans most ultimate high school students are accepted into this year’s Hope Academy, one of the most elite high schools in the country. But, once they all get there, they realize this is the beginning of a sick game meant to pit them against each other in life or death situations. The game they have to play is stay forever at Hope Academy, where they will have food and a room and entertainment, or they have to kill one of their classmates in order to “graduate.” Not only do they have to kill a classmate, they have to do it without anyone else knowing. The class must conduct a trial where everyone votes for the culprit. If they vote correctly, only the culprit will die, and the rest continue to live on in Hope Academy. If they vote wrong, the entire class will die and the culprit gets to "graduate" and walk free.
This story is definitely in the vein of The Hunger Games and other series that have students or teens fighting against each other to the death. As a reader, there's some of that thinking like, "this isn't really going to happen, they'll find ways around killing each other," just like in The Hunger Games, and it doesn't set in until the first murder that this is that type of story where death really will happen. These students are all probably between ages 15-16 (the age of first year high school students in Japan), but yet here they are being asked to commit murder. The actual action of murder doesn't happen on the page, since it's supposed to be conducted in secret, but there is no hiding the bloodied, murdered classmates. That appears on the page in all its gory nature. Students will definitely enjoy the violence and intrigue of the murder-mystery in this title.
There are a lot of pieces of the Danganronpa universe - a video game, anime adaptation, and now this manga. The suggested reading/purchase order for the manga is:
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Mystery, School Age, Horror
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