The novel begins with Jin Kirigiri talking to the board of directors about the results of their annual draw for this year's Ultimate Lucky Student. The members of the board are decidedly unimpressed, for they firmly believed that luck should not be considered a talent and that the headmaster was wasting their school's resources. Jin tries to convince them otherwise. He is having a hard time convincing the board that luck is a ‘talent’ worth considering, until he brings up the topic of a certain person.
Nagito Komaeda's absolute and superior luck is enough to shut the entire board of directors up, and they eventually decided to leave Jin to his own devices. Jin took out a folder containing the information concerning this year's Ultimate Lucky Student and revealed to the board the result of the lucky draw - the name of a female high school student.
The scene shifts to Makoto, lamenting how today was not a lucky day for him. Makoto's life has been nothing but normal up till that point - normal school, normal friends, and a normal family. He's pretty much the textbook example of a normal high school student. However, something went wrong on that particular day.
It all started on a clear day after school. Makoto was in a cheery mood thanks to the weather, and he had a feeling that something good might just happen to him. One thought occurred to him - maybe he should take the long way home. He thought about doing something different than usual.
And that was the beginning of his misfortune. Makoto passed by a park, and saw a group of his friends trying to decide who to send to the convenience store in a game of rock-paper-scissors. They invited Makoto to join the game, and although Makoto would've usually refused it (he didn't know more than half of the people anyways), he felt that he might as well do something different in this case as well. Plus - there were about 10 people in the group. He didn't think losing was a big possibility.
Yet he lost on the first round. Everyone except for him put out rock, while he played scissors. His friends were astonished at just how unlucky Makoto was, but sent him off to the convenience store to buy them snacks and drinks regardless.
Ten minutes later, Makoto was struggling with the two heavy bags filled with the stuff he got from the convenience store. He tried to distract himself by thinking of the music show that'll be on TV tonight - featuring a certain former classmate of his. Yet as his mood began to improve, misfortune struck again. Both of the plastic bags tore open at the same time, spilling their contents all across the pavement.
A few minutes passed and Makoto finished collecting all the cans and bags, but wondered for a moment, as he felt like the stuff he managed to gather was less than what he had started out with. He looked around and spotted an old man sitting on the bench. The old man slowly bent down and picked up a can of coffee that rolled to a stop at his feet, opened it up and drank it.
That can of coffee belonged to Makoto - yet the old man said he felt that it was natural to drink it since it ended up right in front of him. Makoto is flabbergasted at this incredulous excuse, and revealed to the old man that he seemed to be having a very unlucky day, complaining that he didn't do anything bad enough to deserve this streak of misfortune.
The old man laughed and told Makoto that he didn't believe in karma at all. He'd seen plenty of evil people be blessed with fortune, and plenty of kind people suffer all sorts of misfortune. In the end, he says, luck isn't something that a man can control, no matter how much talent one has or how hard one works. He suggests for Makoto to just accept things the way they are.
After finishing their conversation, the old man returned the half empty can of coffee back to Makoto and left, yet Makoto noticed that the old man had left his phone on the bench. He called out to the old man, who was already a distance away, but the old man seemed deaf to his calls. Makoto was conflicted - should he just ignore the phone and bring the snacks to the park, or should he leave those snacks and chase after the old man? He eventually decided on the latter, and rushed after the old man.
His calls were once again drowned out - this time by the sound of a bus coming to a stop ahead. The old man immediately took off towards the bus station - Makoto panicked slightly and upped his own pace as well, and managed to hop into the bus after the old man in the nick of time. Makoto found the old man sitting in the back, and just as he was about to head there, his legs wobbled from the intense running and he lost his balance. Just before he crashed to the ground, he instinctively grabbed onto something. He heard the sound of something tearing, and fell to the ground regardless.
Makoto's sole consolation was that he managed to soften his fall somewhat by grabbing onto the mysterious object, but even that turned out to be simply a continuation of his misfortune.
He happened to tear open a bag, from which spilled dozens of precious jewelry. The owner of the bag, someone looking like your average salaryman, immediately took out a knife and demanded everyone to freeze.
That man was named Jutaro Akafuku. He was a man whose life had been blessed with fortune for as long as he was alive. He found himself in several dangerous situations in the past, but he survived all of them thanks to a series of unlikely coincidences and lucky accidents. He believed that luck was his strength - yet he did not want to admit that. In fact, he sought to eliminate all traces of uncertainty and luck-dependent factors in his job - that of a robber.
He works alone, and only takes on jobs that he knows he can fulfill with absolute certainty. And thanks to his careful planning, he had been extremely successful thus far. He was just done robbing a small jewelry shop, and was on his way home, dressed as a salaryman that nobody will think of looking at twice.
It all went smoothly, until he was involved in somebody's misfortune. It was a misfortune powerful enough that he could not overcome even with his unnatural luck.
In the meanwhile, Makoto was experiencing a minor breakdown thanks to the series of incredibly unlucky events. And to think it all started from him taking the long way home - he couldn't even wrap his head around everything. Correctly identifying Makoto as the cause of his recent misfortune, Jutaro decided to take him hostage, and got the driver out of his seat by threatening to slit Makoto's throat if he didn't comply.
Jutaro sat Makoto down in the driver's seat and used him as a hostage. In the meanwhile, he ordered the passengers in the bus to gather the scattered pieces of jewelry for him, promising their safety if they cooperated. However, just as someone finished gathering all the pieces, the old man, who had been faking sleep up till that point, sprang up and tackled Jutaro, pinning him on the ground. The old man was a kendo master.
At that precise instant, one thought ran through Makoto's mind particularly strongly - he must save the old man.
We get a slight hint of Makoto's optimism and willingness to fight, but that was all for naught as the bus suddenly accelerated - Makoto had accidentally shifted the gears and stepped on the gas pedal. The bus lurched forward, throwing both Makoto and the old man off balance. The old man yelled at Makoto to step on the brakes, which Makoto did immediately, putting the bus to an abrupt stop that knocked him off balance once again. As he was regaining his balance, his hand accidentally brushed over a button.
It was a button to open the bus's door. Jutaro saw this as an opportunity and immediately hightailed it out of the bus. The old man was writhing on the ground in pain, and shouted at Makoto to chase after the robber. Makoto couldn't believe that he'd ask someone of his stature to chase after a grown man - and capture him, no less. But for some reason, the entire bus seemed to be in agreement. Makoto sought out the bus driver for assistance - surely he would point out how ridiculous this situation was - but found the bus driver passed out. How unlucky.
Left with no choice, Makoto jumped out of the bus, only to crash into a postman who took note of the bus's erratic movements and came over to check. Both of them fell over - Makoto lamenting his bad luck again before noticing Jutaro riding the motorcycle that once belonged to the postman. Jutaro was frustrated with the series of irregular happenings that disrupted his careful planning - something like this had never happened before -, and threatened Makoto by saying that he'd hate Makoto for the rest of his life if he ended up being arrested.
Jutaro started the engine and accelerated, believing that he could escape successfully with this motorcycle. He'd have to abandon it eventually since post delivery motorcycles tend to stand out - but that'll be a while ahead. The postman shouted at him, and Makoto simply stood there unmoving. He was tired of the streak of misfortune that seemed to follow him at every step, and decided to give up and do nothing. He just wanted to go back to his normal daily life as a ordinary high school student.
At that moment, the motorcycle that Jutaro was riding tipped over and threw the man across the street. The motorcycle spun wildly and hit a streetlamp before exploding in a shower of sparks and smoke, burning up the bag of letters that the postman had put on it.
Makoto walked towards the accident site, unable to believe his eyes. What he found was a bent and broken can of juice - the cause for the motorcycle overturning, and one of that cans that Makoto accidentally spilled all over the streets just a while ago, and one that he wasn't able to locate when he searched for missing cans.
It was a series of impossible coincidences caused by Makoto's bad luck. And this situation was merely a result of Makoto's overwhelmingly bad luck managing to defeat Jutaro's careful planning and luck. It rendered all sorts of talent and hard work futile.
Yet this was not the end of the worst day in the life of Makoto Naegi - but he himself would not realize this until much later.
The scene shifts back to Jin Kirigiri, who has been informed that the letter addressed to that year's Ultimate Lucky Student has been burnt up in an unfortunate accident involving a robber and a motorcycle stolen from a postman. Having heard that, Jin decides to hold the lottery again, because he feels that the misfortune of having her admission letter burn up disqualifies her from being accepted as Ultimate Lucky Student. In fact, he's already gotten the results of the draw - Makoto Naegi.
Meanwhile, Makoto was returning home after a long period of questioning by the police (and of course, he missed Sayaka Maizono's performance on the TV that he was looking forward to). He was dead tired, yet his nerves were still on the edge as he was wary of more unfortunate things happening to him on the taxi ride home. Fortunately, he arrived home rather smoothly - only to be greeted by his enthusiastic younger sister, who told him that a letter from Hope's Peak Academy had arrived for him, accepting him as this year's Ultimate Lucky Student.
Makoto was overjoyed - he felt like all the misfortune that he'd experienced in this day had been overturned by this news, but little did he know that he was wrong.
“At times, luck is capable of overshadowing even the most outstanding of talents and any degree of diligence, and for this reason, we, mankind, celebrate it—live in awe of it. It's easy to dismiss luck as mere chance or happenstance, but I, personally, cannot ignore its effect. In order to determine for sure whether fortune is simply an unknowable variable or an actual talent, we need samples—” “As we've been saying time and time again,” interrupted one of the old men, “fortune is no talent. Luck is nothing more than an impression—a label applied after the fact when an event with a low probability of occurring takes place. The people who observed the event perceived it as luck, so they called it luck—simple as that. The fact of the matter is, the event took place because the natural order of things demanded it take place. No matter how improbable it may be, if something has a chance of occurring, it will occur.”
“Are you sure that's all there is to it, though?”
“What are you saying?”
“Remember last year's Ultimate Lucky Student?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, the Board members' expressions all shifted in unison—like he had just mentioned something taboo. “If everything occurs because the natural order of things demands it so,” the headmaster continued, “then why do things always seem to happen that benefit him? I cannot look at that boy and tell myself that fortune is nothing more than how we perceive the outcome of an event.”
“But when it results in something like that...” one of the old men spat. All four members of the Board of Directors looked like they were sucking on lemons, as they had since the second the headmaster mentioned the previous year's Ultimate Lucky Student.
He was, unquestionably, a very problematic student, constantly stirring up trouble and causing problems among his fellow students. The worst part of all was that he never had ill intentions. His presence in the school was a cause of great concern for the headmaster, but—
“Regardless,” he said, “we have no choice but to admit that his fortune is genuine—that it is worthy of being referred to as a 'talent', do we not?”
The entire Board sat in silence, lacking the words to retort.
“Oh, come on,” he muttered, desperately scrambling to collect the snacks, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans that had scattered every which way. “Why did this have to happen to me?” If, by some dramatic twist of fate, a girl wandered onto the scene and offered him her assistance, he would have gladly put all the misfortune that led up to that moment behind him. But nobody else was using that particular sidewalk—let alone any nice, helpful girls. The road along which the sidewalk was built was reasonably large, but he was currently in a residential area near a park a fair distance from the train station, so it was no real surprise there wasn't much foot traffic. However, Makoto couldn't help but think his bad luck was to blame.
In that instant, an intense drive boiled up inside him. His eyes were no longer those of the timid, abnormally normal high-school boy everyone usually saw, but those of someone who was prepared to fight to the bitter end, no matter how tough things got or outmatched he might be. Before his mind had the chance to shift into gear, his body was already in motion, driven entirely by instinct—the very core of what made him Makoto Naegi.
Jutaro was unlikely to ever run into the boy again. Given that the boy knew he was a thief, crossing paths with him would cause nothing but trouble, and Jutaro had no interest whatsoever in being dragged through the mud by misfortune ever again. While his good luck may have come out on top this time, the last thing he wanted to do was try his luck a second time. Taken another way, it could be said that Jutaro was afraid of Makoto's misfortune, but the thought never crossed his mind—or, rather, he endeavored to prevent it from doing so.
He saw the invitation as a gift from fate—an undeniable reversal of his unluckiness. However, the reality of it was quite different. It wasn't good luck that had led to his selection as the Ultimate Lucky Student — but very, very bad luck. Had he not been chosen, he would have never met that strange mechanical bear, and he would have never been made to participate in the academic coliseum.
He would have never experienced any of those hopelessly despair-ridden events.
But he was chosen. He was selected to be the Ultimate Lucky Student. And that, more than anything else, was what truly made those twenty-four hours the worst day of Makoto Naegi's life.
At that point in time, though, Makoto didn't even have an inkling of a premonition of what was to come. He spent the evening celebrating with his family.
But that's perfectly natural. After all, this is a tale of something that happened before anything had happened yet.
And thus Makoto Naegi's worst day ever drew to an end.
He concluded the day... with a smile.
|Light Novels||Danganronpa/Zero • Danganronpa Kirigiri • Makoto Naegi's Worst Day Ever • Danganronpa 1 ・2 Beautiful Days • Danganronpa: Togami|
|In-Game Content||Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc IF • Ultra Despair Hagakure|