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- "Killing each other is killing each other. If you need a dictionary I have one right here."
- —Monokuma, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
|Title||Headmaster of Hope's Peak Academy (self-proclaimed)|
|Height||75 cm (2' 6")|
|Voice Actor||Nobuyo Ōyama (JP, DR1 to DRAE)|
Tarako (JP, DR3 onwards)
Brian Beacock (EN)
Greg Ayres (English anime dub)
|Family||Usami a.k.a. Monomi (Involuntarily adoptive little sister)|
|Game||Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc|
|Manga||Danganronpa: The Manga|
|Novel||Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc IF|
Monokuma is a strange teddy bear who proclaims himself to be the principal of Hope's Peak Academy and initiates a life of mutual killing among the students, being the manipulator for everyone to experience the dog-eat-dog world and despair within their hearts (except optimistic students like Makoto Naegi's hope are immune to his despair plan).
Prior to the series, this cunning and vile being is actually a model animatronic bear used as an avatar to interact with the students by the mastermind. There are seemingly infinite copies of Monokuma, and he seems to also have the ability to teleport everywhere within the academy compounds.
In Danganronpa 2, very soon after making his appearance, he assaults Usami (breaking her magic wand), greatly altering her appearance to look much more like him, changes her name to "Monomi" and takes her under his "care" as a "little sister" - ultimately taking her authority and commencing the Island Life of Mutual Killing.
Monokuma returns in Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy.
Monokuma's entire body is split vertically, with radically different designs on each side that represent good and evil. Depending on his mood, he may turn his body to emphasize one side; he shows his "good" side when happy, relieved, or teasing, and displays his "bad" side when angry, mocking, or ruthless.
Monokuma's right side is white in color and has the classic teddy bear expression. His left side is black in color, with a wide grin that spreads beyond his muzzle and a jagged red slash for an eye. In close-ups, a number of concentric rings can be seen within the red eye. When angry or otherwise emotional, Monokuma's left eye glows red and the teeth in the left side of his mouth morph into sharp fangs.
The only parts of Monokuma's body that aren't split between white and black are his muzzle and belly area, which both remain white. He also has a bulging navel with an X mark on it, and retractable white claws in his paws.
Monokuma's personality can be divided into two separate parts: his “right”, or “white” personality resembles a normal teddy bear who will act cute, innocent, or even patronising. As such, during the times where this side of Monokuma is active, he may come off with a polite demeanor. Monokuma's “left”, or “black” personality is a malicious, evil, and cruel bully who would do anything for the sake of despair. He can switch between these traits at the drop of a hat, making him unpredictable for his students to deal with.
When upset or bothered, Monokuma will attack the cause as an effect, yet most of the time, he may hold himself back, under the claim that he cannot hurt his 'beloved students'. When amused, Monokuma often gives his signature laugh, a sadistic “upupupu”. He takes every opportunity to belittle the students, claiming that they are responsible for everything bad that happens in the school. Monokuma dislikes people who don't obey him, and will threaten those who oppose his command.
Prior to the Tragedy
Monokuma was apparently designed by the Towa Group's robotics division, under the supervision of Monaca Towa. She claimed that she wanted to develop a series of robots that could assist in rescue operations and other scenarios that would be dangerous for humans - in reality, she wanted to build an army for Junko Enoshima's plans. The Monokuma units were then secretly distributed to the various branches of Ultimate Despair, with Junko taking several for her plot at Hope's Peak Academy.
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Prologue - Welcome to Despair
Monokuma is first shown in the opening cutscene, watching a man who has been blindfolded and tied to a chair. After a second, Monokuma presses a button to trap the man in a rocket that blasts off into space and then crashes back to the earth, reducing the man's body to a skeleton. Monokuma laughs at his handiwork as the screen turns black.
In the game, Monokuma makes his debut when the trapped students were gathered inside the gymnasium. He introduced himself as the Headmaster of the Academy, which was doubted by the students, explained the Mutual Killing game, the School Rules and the e-Handbook.
At some point at this time, Monokuma approached Sakura Ogami and forced her to become his accomplice by threatening her fighting dojo. Sakura was to act as a mole among the students, and if things didn't escalate soon enough, she was to commit murder to kick-start the "High School Life of Mutual Killing".
Chapter 1 - To Survive
After giving the students a short period of adjustment to their new lives, Monokuma unveiled the first of many "incentives" to convince the students to kill each other: video tapes implying that their friends and family were being harmed. When this revelation caused Sayaka Maizono to break down into panic and despair, Monokuma was heard laughing evilly.
Soon, the Headmaster was gleefully announcing the first murder in "his" academy - Sayaka was found dead in Makoto's room.
Chapter 2 - Boy's Life of Despair
For his second motive, Monokuma distributed sealed envelopes to the surviving students, which contained their deepest, darkest secrets. He threatened to release the secrets to each other unless someone died in the next day.
Chapter 3 - A Next Generation Legend!
Chapter 4 - All●Star●Apologies
Following the Class Trial and execution of Celestia Ludenberg, Sakura approached Monokuma in the gymnasium, late at night. She engaged him in a short battle before declaring that she was done serving as his mole; she would fight against him to ensure the mastermind's demise. This exchange was witnessed by Makoto Naegi, although he didn't get a chance to tell anyone.
The next morning, Monokuma publicly announced Sakura's role as his accomplice to the remaining students, renewing his command for her to commit murder. This announcement had a double purpose - punishing Sakura for her defiance and giving the students another motive to kill each other. After his announcement, Monokuma settled in to watch as his revelation divided the students over whether or not to trust Sakura. With tempers rising amid increasingly violent confrontations, another murder seemed inevitable.
To calm the chaos, Sakura decided to commit suicide, but not before writing a note for her classmates that explained her motives and what she knew about the mastermind's real plan. She intended to give the note to Aoi Asahina, but Monokuma replaced it with a fake note of his own, in which "Sakura" claimed that she was taking her life out of despair for the situation now gripping the academy. As Monokuma hoped, his forged message drove Hina to despair when she found it after Sakura's suicide - blaming herself and her fellow students for pushing her friend to kill herself, she resolved to lead the others to a false verdict in the next Class Trial, which would lead to all of their deaths.
Unfortunately for Monokuma, the remaining students managed to uncover the truth of Sakura's death and correctly vote her as the culprit of her own "murder". Afterwards, Monokuma casually revealed that the "suicide note" Hina found was actually a fake, and he proceeded to read Sakura's real suicide note to the stunned group. After revealing Sakura's true motive for killing herself, he gleefully mocked Hina for falling for the phony message, anticipating that the others would turn on her for almost getting them all killed for nothing. However, his plan backfired when Makoto pointed out that Monokuma's tampering was to blame for their strife, causing the surviving students to band together against him and the mastermind.
When even Toko Fukawa and Byakuya Togami vowed to focus on bringing down the true source of the academy's horrors, an enraged Monokuma executed Alter Ego for his attempts to hack into the main network of Hope's Peak Academy, revealing that he had known about the AI's existence all along and allowed him access to what files he'd collected and deciphered. Before leaving the courtroom, he also read one last part of Sakura's suicide note, revealing that the mastermind did "something" to the students as part of their plan, but left without revealing any further details.
Chapter 5 - 100 Mile Dash; Pain of a Junk Food Junkie
With the six remaining students now united against the mastermind, Monokuma became increasingly desperate to finish them off. As such, he finally unleashed his "ace"; the sixteenth student, Mukuro Ikusaba.
Chapter 6 - Ultimate Pain, Ultimate Suffering, Ultimate Despair, Ultimate Execution, Ultimate Death
After Kyoko Kirigiri and Makoto returned from the garbage room, they confronted Monokuma over his manipulation of the previous trial and demanded a retrial. Intrigued, Monokuma agreed to Kyoko's challenge; if the students solved all of the mysteries of the school (including Mukuro's death and the identity of the mastermind), Monokuma would let them go, but if they failed, he would execute them all.
During the retrial, Monokuma interrupted the students' speculation about their lost memories, insisting that they focus on Mukuro's murder first. He gradually lost his composure as Makoto and the others slowly came to the realization that Mukuro had died long before the events of the previous night, revealing that she had been masquerading as Junko Enoshima the entire time. Cornered by his own attempts to conceal Junko's identity, Monokuma appeared defeated, but this only prompted Junko herself to make her appearance.
Epilogue - Goodbye Despair High School
After Junko executed herself in the wake of her failed attempt to drive the remaining students to despair, Makoto and the others finally escaped the academy. However, Monokuma remained in the class trial room, seemingly defunct. He suddenly laughs and reactivates himself, declaring, "I'm Monokuma. I am you guys'... The academy's... Headmaster!"
According to the developers, Monokuma's reactivation was due to the Junko Enoshima AI that would appear in the sequel.
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Prologue - Welcome to Dangan Island! Panic at the Heart-Throbbing School Trip!?
Monokuma first appears after Usami lets the students go swimming. He keeps a low profile while Hajime Hinata introduces himself to the others, and only appears when Hajime decides to relax and joins the others. He hijacks the camera systems and tells all the students to gather at Jabberwock Park. When they do, he suddenly pops up from the Jabberwock Statue and states his name and the fact that he is the School Headmaster.
Chapter 1 - Destination Despair
Chapter 2 - Sea and Punishment, Sin and Coconuts
Chapter 3 - Trapped by the Ocean Scent
Chapter 4 - Do Ultimate Robots Dream of Electric Clocks?
Chapter 5 - Smile at Hope in the Name of Despair
Chapter 6 - This is the End Goodbye Academy of Despair
Epilogue - The Day Before the Future
Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy
Monokuma instigates the "Final Killing Game" among the Future Foundation members, but his intentions, goals and the mastermind behind the killings are unknown.
When Monokuma shows up on the island, he adopts Usami as his little sister without her approval. Monokuma usually beats her up when she irritates him, which happens often. Monokuma also likes to make fun of her. He also always punches or harms her when she bothers him. Monokuma also shows no worry when he remembers that he is an only child and decides to execute Usami with Chiaki.
Mukuro and Monokuma do not get along, as shown by Mukuro always yelling rude comments at Monokuma and Monokuma usually retaliating back. Mukuro even went as far as disobeying Monokuma's rule, do not attack the headmaster, leading Monokuma to use the "Spears of Gungnir" killing Mukuro instantly. Monokuma, surprisingly, takes Mukuro's death well, saying it was a warning to the other students.
- “You’re at a picnic and you find a dead body! XD”
- “Do you have a hundred friends? T_T”
- “Just listening to you makes we want to pass out! Be more like Byakuya and get your poop together!”
- “So warm and wet, so wet and warm... I bet you guys - [REMOVED TO CONFORM WITH LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL CENSORSHIP LAWS] - all over her, didn't you?”
- “Did you just say I’ve got the nicest butt on the block? The curviest hips in town? Is that what you just said!?”
- “Whether I’m a mademoiselle or a dudefella? But in the bear kingdom, there IS no male or female!”
- “Upupu... This heart-thumping feeling of distress... It's just as if salmon suddenly started assaulting people...”
- “Making such "hope"-filled kids still each other— such a 'despair'-filled situation— My heart is all a-thump with excitement!”
- “Killing each other is killing each other. If you need a dictionary I have one right here.”
- “It's an all-you-can-kill, kill-or-be-killed, killing-killing-killing-all-around world!”
- “Let's give it all we've got! IT'S... PUNISHMENT TIME!”
- “You're still too young! You should value your lives a little more!”
- “Why, hello there! Thank you all for waiting! Now, let's begin!”
- “Then let's proceed with high spirits! This is the very last... Punishment Tiiiiiiiime!”
- “Getting killed is sooooooo violent, don'tcha know.”
- "Xanadu!" (After Makoto reveals an incriminating piece of evidence)
- "Xanadu times two!" (After Makoto reveals another incriminating piece of evidence)
- “Noooot cool! I went to all the trouble of making this death march, so you gotta stick with it to the end!”
- “The happiness you feel when the mystery you create is solved... Only producers know this feeling of ecstasy!” (Monokuma, breaking the 4th wall)
- “Damn right! I'm such a stickler for the rules that even safari park rangers want nothing to do with me.”
- “I believe Prince Shotoku was from the future. A man from the future is always directing the flow of history.”
- “This again...?” (In response to Peko Pekoyama turning as the serial killer "Sparkling Justice", referring to the similar past second trial event)
- “Cuz humans are completely different from one another.”
- “Everyone's birthplace and upbringing is different. It's obviously impossible for them to understand each other.”
- “So everyone just pretends to understand...and pretends to be understood.”
- “There's no way a human *that* meddlesome could ever be considered a tool!” (talking about Peko)
- “Peko, the tool with a heart, is the killer!”
- “People who act as proud as you always shed tears of despair in the end.” (to Peko)
- “Calling me a ladder, huh... You say some pretty interesting things.” (to Nagito Komaeda)
- “Were you filled with hope at the thought of saving her yourself? That' why you ended up like that.” (to Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu, about Peko's death)
- “A suicide means you've killed the most important existence of all: yourself.”
- “I am Monokuma! My existence is entirely my own!”
- “I mean...you're both pawns of the Future Foundation. So you guys are like two hearts beating as one, right?” (to Monomi, about her and the traitor)
- “You know, isn't it said that life has its ups and downs? It's fun because downs come after ups, but if life was full of downs, wouldn't it get boring?”
- “You've ascended the ladder of adulthood and reached the moon? Because you're a rabbit...?” (to Monomi)
- “You say you can't believe it... Puhuhu, you just don’t want to believe it, right?”
- “Puhuhu...how interesting... You sure do believe in Nagito, huh? Because you believe in his malice, you continue to suspect his malice... I see... I guess that’s what passes for friendship these days!” (to Hajime Hinata)
- “Friendship is measured by how long you can stand the silence when you're alone with someone else.”
- “Distrusting your friend is much more shameful than being betrayed by that friend, you know.”
- “It's sad to live without friendship! That's even sadder than watching a high school romcom full of guys!”
- “...So Nagito's ghost is whispering to you, huh!? Puhuhu! The power of friendship bursts beyond death, eh? A fiery outcome like this is right out of a teen manga!... Still, that’s pretty messed up.” (to Hajime)
- “As you solve mysteries and bolster your hope, a huge mystery comes along and slaps you in your faces...”
- “For those of you who believe there are no unsolvable mysteries, that is when you finally taste despair...”
- “So how about this! This overwhelming despair! Does it make you dizzy from excitment!?”
- “To wait or not to wait...that is the question. But which will cause more despair? That's the REAL question...”
- “Back in the day, people must've reacted the same way when they first saw the airpline take flight... But like wearing contact lenses, it'll stop feeling strange once you just get used to it.”
- “Just because it's a game doesn't mean everything was a lie.”
- “Well, nobody's gonna appreciate a game where you don't die when you're supposed to, right!?”
- “Don't get all mushy towards a game character!”
- “You don't have to force yourself to return to a painful reality. Let's just play this game forever and ever.” (to the Remnants of Despair)
- “Violence is not allowed! This isn't kind of game, it's a much smarter game, right!?”
- “Now then! Make sure you burn this ginormous despair you're about to see into your memories!”
- "III'M GONNA DIIIIEEEEEE!!!" (last words before AI Junko "kills" him)
Bullet Talk Battle/Machine Talk Battle & Panic Talk Action Remarks
- “I can't hear you!”
- “Better luck next time!”
- “What are you talking about?” (Voice: “W-What are you even talking about?”)
- “What? What do you want?”
- “That's impossible!”
- “Proof, proof, proof!”
- “Punishment is waiting for you!”
- “You're getting all riled up!”
- “Enough already!”
- “Are you sure about this?”
- “I'm not listening!”
- “La-la-la! I can't hear you! La-la-la-la-la!” (Final Argument - BTB/MTB 1)
- “I tried to protect her identity?” (Final Argument - BTB/MTB 2)
- “You insolent fool! If you're saying he's not Makoto, then show me some proof!” (Final Argument - PTA)
- Monokuma's name is a combination on the romanization of “monochrome” (referencing his black and white color scheme) and クマ (“kuma”), the Japanese character for “bear”.
- Monokuma is based on the idea of guilty (黒, literally "black") and innocent (白, literally "white"). His first beta design showcased him with a grotesque human form. His "white" and "black" sides were originally a fully skinned side and one that exposes muscle and organs. As the style of the game changed, the character was made more cute and he became a teddy bear instead.
- Another beta showcases Monokuma similarly to how he is now with the exception of his bellybutton, the addition of paws, and a slimmer body.
- His Japanese voice actress Nobuyo Ōyama is popular from her voice acting of Doraemon, which Spike Chunsoft purposely made Monokuma sound like.
- In Chapter 4 of the second game, it is revealed that Monokuma and Usami both hate and are afraid of mice.
- This is another reference to his resemblance to Doraemon, who is terrified of mice ever since a robotic mouse gnawed off his iconically-absent cat ears.
- This trait is later revealed to have an important role in the story, as it's a trait given to the Observer which makes sure they can't enter the Nezumi Castle, which would act as a hiding place for the students if the Observer went rogue and contains the password to escape the program. After Monokuma stole Usami's role as the Observer, he inherited her fear of mice, meaning it's a trait he doesn't normally possess.
- In one of the instances of "Monakuma Theater" in Chapter 4, Monokuma speaks in morse code. Translated, the message reads "BE SURE TO DRINK YOUR KUMATINE".
- It appears that Monokuma's “evil” left eye is meant to be similar to the symbol located on the front of Hope's Peak Academy's insignia.
- In the beginning of the second game's second class trial, after the students discuss the murders which took place in Hope's Peak Academy and inspired the Twilight Syndrome Murder Case, Monokuma and Monomi (who is tied up next to his seat) get caught up in a small discussion over how violent high school students have become nowadays. The humor behind this little exchange stems for the fact that Monokuma and Monomi's voice actresses, Nobuyo Ōyama and Takako Sasuga, respectively, are both senior voice actresses who are best known for the roles they have portrayed in some of Japan's most famous, long-running animated shows since the 1970's.
- In the end of the fifth chapter of the second game, Monokuma decides, apparently on a whim, to execute his “adoptive little sister” Monomi along with Chiaki Nanami - after the latter's words motivate Monomi to “finish off” Monokuma by grabbing onto him and self-destructing repeatedly (a plan that was, however, prone to fail as Monomi had around 10 spare copies at the time while Monokuma had novemdecillion (10^60)) - claiming that he “suddenly remembered that he's an only child” and that he has no reason to keep someone who does nothing but constantly interfere with his plans around. This is very reminiscent of how Junko killed her twin sister Mukuro for the sake of her personal devices - a decision Junko later admits to have made on a whim as well.
- In Danganronpa IF, it is revealed that Chihiro Fujisaki created Monokuma's software after the characters' memories are restored. However, this event takes place in an alternate timeline, and so may or may not be true.
- Monokuma is Kazutaka Kodaka's favorite Danganronpa character, because he is the easiest to write and because he can say whatever he wants to.
- Nobuyo Oyama was the original voice of Monokuma but due to her battle with dementia, she retired with her last in-game role being Danganronpa Another Episode.
- TAKARO, the second voice of Monokuma, was likely cast in reference to her role as the mascot character Zero III in the game Virtue's Last Reward as the creator of Zero Escape, Kotaro Uchikoshi, and DanganRonpa creator Kazutaka Kodaka are known friends.