First Reactions: Dangan Ronpa Episode 8

Nothing telegraphs a good episode quite like opening with an aerial cross counter.

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Monokuma’s decision to blow Sakura’s cover as the mole was a savvy one. Clearly he’d run out of uses for her (and she was rebelling in the opening scene anyway). So he tried to get things taken care of the easy way, killing two birds with one stone and inciting a murder. I guess he’s always hard at work when not discovering the magic of (笑).

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And, of course, laughing all the while

By the time Monokuma popped out of sight, I had a strong hunch Aoi would end up being this week’s killer. The show’s been grinding away at her psyche, notably having Yamada die in her arms, and this is definitely the kind of thing that could cause characters to snap. People who trust others the most can be very dangerous when their sanity switch gets flipped off. The intermittent interplay between Togami and Syo was an interesting sideshow, but I’ve still got my eyes on her.

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Sakura’s potential status as the mole led to some rather unnecessary tension led to a rather weird bit of dialogue between Makoto and Kirigiri, with the latter getting angry at the former for not talking to her in front of the camera when she had just told him not to spill sensitive secrets in front of it. I at first thought that that was an act on her part; getting angry for real doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless she suddenly forgot what she was saying ten seconds ago. The fact that they later confirmed she was actually angry just made it worse, and seemed like a cheap way of adding cuteness to her character.

Contrary to my expectations, the cross counter at the beginning wasn’t the only Ashita no Joe shoutout, as Sakura ended up in his most iconic pose at the end. The initial appearance of the crime scene, with the door barricaded from the inside, plus the fact that she was the one who found the poison earlier in the episode, made suicide seem like a legitimate possibility. The existence of her head wounds makes that less likely, though still possible (if Sakura was going for a thorough fake).

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I’ve still got my eyes on Aoi, for the same reasons mentioned earlier. It’s even possible Sakura cooperated with her to lock the door out of some sense of loyalty; something like a reverse example of what happened the first case when Maezono wrote down Leon’s name. In an event, it’s a locked-room mystery, something which gives most scripts a chance to really shine, so the trial next week should be a solid one.

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