|“||We need to believe in each other and work together!||”|
–Ryota Mitarai, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy
Ryota is a member of Future Foundation and is the leader of the 10th Division. His responsibility is to help oversee and implement education and culture to areas in need.
The Illusionary Ryota appeared in the 30-minutes long OVA, Super Danganronpa 2.5: Nagito Komaeda and the Destroyer of the World as a part of Nagito Komaeda's imagination world.
Ryota, along with four other people, is one of the five survivors of the Final Killing Game. However, because of Kazuo Tengan's manipulation, Ryota was persuaded into using his Hope Video make the whole world unwillingly believe in hope, but aborted his plans after his revived classmates convinced him to join them in atoning for their sins as the former Ultimate Despair members.
Ryota is a young man in his early twenties, around 22 at most (about 17-18 in Danganronpa 3 - Side: Despair).
He has a very skinny, somewhat frail-looking frame. He has heavy bags under his eyes and a withdrawn posture, giving him a tired and anxious appearance. He has short, light brown hair and hazel eyes. He wears a black suit with a green tie and the Future Foundation ID pinned to its lapel.
Ryota is a very timid and somewhat asocial person, but he is also known to be a serious young man with a very strong sense of justice, thinking that it's wrong to use violence against women, or violence in general.
During his past in Hope's Peak Academy, he constantly shut himself in his room to work because of looming deadlines. He was determined to create an animation that could bring hope to other people, at the expense of his own health and well-being, as he often forgot to eat and rest.
Ryota is shown to be very passionate about anime and wants to use his anime to save people. He also has a weak stomach compared to other characters as he felt nauseous at the sight of Seiko's dead body, and he later threw up violently after seeing a recording of The Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy.
When Junko started to bring despair to the Hope's Peak Academy, Ryota fled in terror, and later regretted running and hated himself for being such a weakling.
Much like Makoto Naegi, he wants to fill the world with hope and he has a strong desire to help and save other people. However, because of this, he suffers from anxiety and worries constantly. He lacks self-confidence, seeing himself as a burden who fails to protect everyone. When he does get a mission, however, he does his best to help.
According to Kyoko, he himself appears to have some ideas for the Final Killing Game's mastermind, and that's why he is curious to know what others think, as well.
Ironically, the combination of his desire of hope, his lack of self-confidence, and his witness of the result of the Final Killing Game gives him the resolve to brainwash the entire world into hope by eliminating all sources of despair, be it it pain or suffering or jealousy, and willing to use his brainwashing video to get more people to assist him.
Super High School Level Animator
Since Ryota was a young child, he was very determined to spread hope to the world through watching his anime. He began to draw and animate since then.
Ryota is an incredibly skilled animator and is able to move people to tears through his anime. He reveals to Junko that the secret behind his technique is sensory tricks he uses to directly manipulate a person's brain—which he compared loosely to brain-washing. Some techniques he uses are subtle changes in coloration to stimulate the visual cortex, induction of eye movement to manipulate memory of the experience, and sound to control the viewer's focus.
Unfortunately for Ryota, his talents would be used for far darker purposes thanks to Junko Enoshima. Using Ryota's techniques with a recording of The Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy, she produced a mass brainwashing video called the "Despair Video." The techniques Junko learned from Ryota were responsible for driving the entirety of Class 77-B (save Chiaki Nanami) into despair and setting off The Tragedy that consumed the world.
Ryota's original animation is said to bring hope to all who see it, demonstrated when it managed to elicit an emotional response from the Despair Sisters themselves.
At some point during The Tragedy, Ryota perfected his original animation, creating a "Hope Video" that effectively brainwashes the viewer into accepting hope over despair. He kept a copy of this video on his cell phone, presumably to protect himself in the chaotic new world by literally forcing any attackers out of despair.
The Hope Video appears to display a sequence of shifting patterns on a light blue background. Watching the video for even a few seconds leaves the viewer in a hypnotized state, allowing Ryota to command them as he wishes. However, it is implied that prolonged exposure is needed to make the effects permanent; Aoi Asahina (who saw the video momentarily) regained her senses after a few minutes, and Ryota's global broadcast showed a thirty-minute countdown before the video's work was "complete".
Ryota was unable to use the Hope Video during the Final Killing Game, due to his NG Code preventing him from using his talent. After the game ended, he resolved to use the video on a global scale, erasing despair once and for all at the cost of humanity's free will.
Prior to the Tragedy and First Year
Ryota was known as a divine animator. He would often lock himself in his room due to the many deadlines he faced. Because of this, he was teased a lot by his classmates. His father pushed the responsibility onto his mother. Ryota would immerse himself in the anime world, which led to his desire to create an anime to "save" others the way he believed the medium had "saved" him. Because of Ryota's skills, he was sought out by Hope's Peak Academy as the Super High School Level Animator.
He enrolled as part of the Class 77th, and was put in Class B. He lived in the old student dormitory, and occupied the third room on the right of the hallway. He regularly skipped out on classes to work on his animation in his room. Shortly after school started, Ryota passed out in the dorm's hallway as a result of starvation. The Ultimate Imposter was disturbed by the odd noises from the hallway. In response, they opened the door and found Ryota lying in front of their room.
Ryota was carried back to the Ultimate Imposter's room, and they shared a small bonding moment after he regained consciousness. After getting to know each other a little bit, the Ultimate Imposter proposed to take Ryota's identity. He agreed to the proposal, and the Ultimate Imposter then proceeded to masquerade as Ryota Mitarai. They remained in their respective rooms, but the Ultimate Imposter changed their room's blank nameplate to that of Ryota's.
Ryota and the Ultimate Imposter's rooms were distinct from one another. Ryota's room was clean and organized, and he had a wooden framed bed. His room had two DALL monitors accompanied by a graphics tablet for drawing. On the other hand, the Ultimate Imposter's room was much messier. Piles of papers could be seen stacked on top of each other, and numerous boxes filled the room. It also had a lack of computer equipment save for the portable drawing tablet that the Imposter carried around. However, as seen from the flashback, the Imposter's room originally contained nothing but a metal framed bed.
Whether they had attended class before the Imposter took on Ryota's identity is unknown. Therefore, it is unknown whether the rest of Class B had met Ryota or the Imposter as Byakuya Togami. Chisa Yukizome also ignores the existence of the real Ryota, which makes it uncertain as to whether she was aware of the truth or not. The classroom of Class B was meant to accommodate 16 students, but the chair next to Chiaki Nanami remained unoccupied due to Ryota's absence for the entire first year. Even so, it appears that Ryota could have known about some of his classmates. The Imposter would often bring food for Ryota, and even casually mentioned Teruteru Hanamura one time when they brought his dishes. It can be assumed that the Imposter frequently told him of their classmates.
The Ultimate Imposter later visited him on the day before the second school year started. Ryota was still obsessed with perfecting his anime in order to make the world a better place. After witnessing his desperation, the Imposter lectured him on his overworking habit. Unfortunately, he collapsed once again, prompting the Imposter to look for Mikan Tsumiki to check on him. Mikan, shocked by the incident, questioned the truth after diagnosing the real Ryota. It was then the Imposter revealed the entire situation to her and explainefthat he is an Imposter. When the Imposter told Mikan of their trust in her, she was overcome with joy and thankfulness. She later told Ryota to go to the school hospital and to stop only when the doctor says so.
Some time after the start of the second school year, Ryota was still continuing his hospital visits at the behest of Mikan and the Ultimate Imposter. He was woken by the Imposter during his sleep and asked about his progress one time. He told the Imposter that he had reached the experimental stage, and would tell them more after he had something concrete. He was reminded of his hospital check up, and would then go on to bump into Junko, who was being treated after her meeting with Izuru Kamukura, on his way to the school hospital that day. Junko believed that their encounter at the hospital entrance was one of fate.
Junko immediately pressured Ryota into revealing his name and talent as Mukuro Ikusaba watches on. Ryota was embarrassed at first but reacted angrily when Junko referred to his beloved medium as "something like anime" and when she expressed disappointment at the revelation. As part of his defense for anime, he invited the two sisters to his room so they could watch his anime - albeit in an incomplete form at the time. The sisters reacted strongly to his anime and were deeply touched by it. It was so moving that Junko decided to smash Ryota's anime collection with her bat because other anime simply paled in comparison to Ryota's.
Ryota happily explained his techniques when Junko expressed her interest in them. He explained how he made use of every technique he knew in order to affect the viewer's brain directly. He stated that some of them are known as "brainwashing techniques", but it's ultimately up to the user that decides whether it's used for harmful purposes or not. Ryota then told Junko of his desire to make the world a better place with his anime. Overjoyed at the discovery, she shuts Mukuro up by smashing her head. Junko joyously expressed her interest in the same goal to a shocked Ryota.
Ryota later left a note in his original room for the Imposter about a week before Nagito's suspension "anniversary" (some time after mid-July) and was then nowhere to be found. It was revealed that he moved into one of the school trustees' facility with the help of the sisters, and continued to work on his animation comfortably. The Imposter was worried about his disappearance about a week ago and confided in Mikan. She went to check his room, guessing that Ryota might return to his room to gather his stuff, but was then abducted by Mukuro - who was gathering the remaining items.
On the other hand, Junko was busy bringing a container full of Blue Bull for Ryota as well as checking on his status. While they were conversing, Mukuro returned to the facility with the rest of his anime collection and the kidnapped Mikan. Ryota then explained his situation to the worried Mikan. As the two classmates were reunited, they all celebrated the moment by watching his anime at Junko's suggestion. While Mikan was moved by the anime, Junko made use of the time to analyze the anime instead. The sisters left the two alone at 6:50 PM, and went on to kick-start The Tragedy of Hope's Peak Academy.
Ryota continued working on his anime for Junko, unaware that he was being manipulated. Junko explains to him why she is making a jigsaw puzzle, she finds that when you turn the order you spent so long making into chaos, it becomes despair-inducing, Ryota begins to look concerned by this.
A while later he began to become worried about Mikan, feeling as if Junko had changed her somehow. As he continued with his anime, he found a video clip depicting the events of the Final Killing Game and was automatically sick upon watching the horrifying scenes. Mikan admits she watched the video and explains Junko's intentions, then begins to try and seduce Ryota although he only becomes more afraid and confused. Junko soon kicks her away and by this point he tries to escape, Mikan stops Ryota by grabbing his foot and Junko insists that she needs him by lending her his strength. She explains that he can run, although she may use his class in her next mutual killing game, effectively blackmailing him. He had no choice but to continue helping her, confined to her lair.
Chiaki and Nagito find the secret entrance to Junko's lair and immediately descend the stairs, noticing Ryota upon reaching the room in which he is situated, who is too afraid to keep any sort of conversation when Chiaki asks him if he's lost weight. He continuously chants that he 'didn't do anything' although becomes more and more agitated.
When Nagito is shot by Izuru, being forced back by the blast, Ryota immediately runs away screaming and manages to escape before bumping into Chisa. He exclaims that Chiaki may die and that he wants to help her too but feels he can't as he is just an animator. Chisa consoles him, she holds his face and asks him if she can watch his anime after the ordeal is over, this calms Ryota.
Ryota is chased by Reserve Course students, under Junko's control, across a stone bridge before tripping and ending up surrounded. Junko appears through the surrounding students, wanting to say goodbye to Ryota and thanking him for all his hard work in making her First Killing Game footage despair inducing. He explains to her that his anime was supposed to be used to spread hope, not to be used to spread despair, when trying to convince himself that he didn't have a part in her plan, she convinces him otherwise and states that running is his despair.
Ryota gets up and runs through the surrounding Reserve Course students, crying in fear. He ends up running off the path, passing through shrubs and other debris before falling into a flowing river, where he floats underwater, blaming his anime for his failure. Eventually, he washes up on a muddy bank before planting his face in the mud, unable to find the strength to move.
Ryota made a cameo appearance in the last chapter of the manga. He was seen working on his anime inside his room as Kazuo silently observed him.
During the Tragedy
At some point, Ryota was taken in by the Future Foundation. Sometime after getting scouted by Kazuo for the Future Foundation, he became the head of the 10th Division. His responsibility as 10th Division leader is to help oversee and implement education and culture to areas in need.
Ryota is one of the twelve executives that attended Makoto's trial and thus became one of the final players in the "Final Killing Game", set by Monokuma.
Ryota was first shown in the corridor, hesitating to enter the boardroom due to his late arrival. He met with Kyoko Kirigiri who was waiting for Makoto's treatment. Soon, the building started to shake after a helicopter attacked the building.
Ryota and Kyoko immediately returned to the boardroom and met with Kazuo and the others. When they realized that all exit has been cut off, they began to panic and rendered to sleep with a sleeping gas by Monokuma.
After he woke up, Ryota found a Monokuma bracelet has been set up on his wrist. He and the others learned that they were thrust into Monokuma's Final Killing Game, featuring the mankind's last hope Future Foundation, started with Chisa Yukizome's body fell from the ceiling.
After Monokuma announced the Final Killing Game rules, Ryota tried to ease the heated situation. When Juzo Sakakura threatened Makoto and Aoi Asahina, He moved to their side, saying that using violence wouldn't do any good. Annoyed, Juzo landed his kick on Ryota, accidentally killing Daisaku Bandai after he violated his own NG Code (Witnessing violence by participants).
Following Makoto's escape, Ryota along with Kyoko followed Kazuo to hide from the attacker.
Ryota awoke after the sleeping drug's effect worn off. Before Kyoko left Ryota and Kazuo, he asked why Kyosuke decided to kill Makoto. He only wanted everyone to cooperate and fight Monokuma back, but when Kyoko asked him to show to her his NG Code, he reluctantly refused it. After he heard Makoto's broadcast via the intercom, he wondered why Makoto was so willing to reveal his NG Code. Kazuo answered that maybe he believed in everyone that make Ryota surprised and saying that he can't believe it.
Later, Ryota witnessed Kyoko almost being hit with a chair by Juzo.
After Kazuo's failed attempt to solve their problem in peace, Ryota tried to protect Kyoko from Juzo's attack but ended up hurting Kyoko's legs. Before Juzo could go further than that, Kazuo succeed to make him unconscious, and Ryota along with Kyoko helped him tie Juzo to the wall with two loose wires.
When he saw Asahina and Miaya Gekkogahara come, Ryota blamed himself for making Kyoko injured and because of his pathetic actions, he was upset and broke in tears. As he wondered why he couldn't be like Makoto, Kyoko and Hina complimented him as he already tried his best to protect both of them previously. Proceeding with a new plan, Kazuo ordered Ryota to guide Kyoko back to the boardroom.
Ryota started asking Kyoko about her guess on the attacker when she began to inspect Chisa's body. Kyoko simply replied that she hasn't gathered enough information and guessed that Ryota does have his own opinion about the attacker. Ryota was reluctantly about to answer it before the scene cut.
After Kyoko finished inspecting Chisa's body, Ryota escorted her to the room where Great Gozu's body was.
Ryota woke up with Kyoko and Koichi Kizakura inside the room where Great Gozu's body was. The three of them decided to look for the third victim in the hallway. Ryota was shocked when he and Kyoko discovered Sonosuke’s body. To his surprise, Koichi also discovered Seiko's body at the same time. Before they could inspect their comrades' bodies, Ruruka asked for help from the lounge room.
After he and the others moved Sonosuke's body to the lounge, Ryota listened to Ruruka's distress and clarified that he, Kyoko, and Koichi wouldn't do any harm to her.
Ryota, Kyoko, Koichi and Ruruka gathered in the library to continue investigating Sonosuke's death. Ryota inquired as to what Koichi is stacking, to which he replies that they are Sonosuke's traps, swiftly telling Ryota to remove his hands from the sofa for fear of pressure-activated traps, which he does promptly. Ryota becomes fearful, suggesting they remove themselves from the room and find a safe location in case the attacker decides to react, Ruruka agrees although Kyoko explains she needs to finish her investigation.
Kyoko begins examining the bookcase, Ryota becoming interested, asks to hear her findings and she points out a scratch on the floor showing the bookcase had been moved. As her and Ryota examine the bookcase further, Ruruka trips over the stack of traps Koichi had collected, Ryota immediately asking if she was okay, Ruruka replies she is fine.
Juzo later enters the library, stating his intention to remove them all, he begins by beating everyone down, Ryota is thrown against the wall and falls to the ground. Ryota and the others are able to recover quickly, Koichi providing a distraction which prompts Juzo to react, setting off a trap that lodges a spear in his shoulder, Ryota is impressed.
Ruruka sets off one of Sonosuke's hidden traps, creating an explosion which causes the floor below to fall beneath her, Ryota watches in shock as Kyoko begins to fall, Koichi is able to save her, sacrificing his own life. Ryota reacts angrily, questioning what Ruruka is trying to pull, she explains she wants both him and Kyoko dead, feeding Juzo her specialty sweets to pull him under her control, she demands he kill them both, Ryota blocking his path in order to protect Kyoko, commands Juzo to 'stay back'. Juzo is able to break free from Ruruka's control, giving Kyoko the chance to explain Ruruka's motive for killing Sonosuke, revealing the secret exit behind the bookcase. Kyoko edges herself to the exit of the library, Ryota following behind. With Juzo and Ruruka distracted by the secret exit, she and Ryota escape. Running down the hallway together Ryota inquires as to why Koichi saved her, Kyoko states she has no concrete facts, Ryota finding her response 'cold'.
Ryota and Kyoko come to halt after escaping the library where Juzo and Ruruka were situated. After catching their breath, Ryota inquires as to whether leaving the exit behind was a good idea, Kyoko admits to him that it was indeed a fraud. She did understand that it led outside the facility but not in the way they would've wanted, beginning to reveal that the building they're in is in fact an underwater facility. Kyoko convinced Ryota that Kyosuke has been favored by this entire game, since she believes Kyosuke had a hand in the underwater building's construction, it would be hard to assume who else would know about it and be able to move them below the real building, Ryota is surprised by such a revelation, to believe the assumption that Kyosuke may be the mastermind.
Kyoko makes the suggestion to Ryota that they should continue searching for Makoto and Hina, although Ryota find this undesirable, questioning whether Makoto could actually help much. Kyoko's speech about Makoto's strength and the way he saved her during the Killing School Life silences Ryota although causes him to clench his fist, as Kyoko reaches the climax of her speech, Ryota peers over her shoulder, Makoto and Hina both standing behind her.
Ryota, Makoto, Kyoko and Hina begin to eat and drink in an unknown room, Ryota silently listening to their conversation about Makoto's hope. Makoto later describes Kazuo's dying message, 'I entrust the hope of the world to you', Ryota reacts, stating 'the hope of the world, I can't keep...' unable to finish his sentence while looking at his reflection from his mobile phone screen.
Before the fourth timer is about to end, Makoto and Ryota try to move a large object in front of the doorway but do not have the strength, Hina taking over and pushing it with ease, both to their embarrassment. Kyoko still suggests they may not be safe, Ryota agreeing, explaining the attacker has complete control of the facility and could open the lock any time. The timer goes off, Ryota and the rest falling unconscious.
Upon awakening, Ryota smiles, glad everyone had survived. They soon realize Kyoko is motionless and has been poisoned from her NG code 'Passing the fourth time limit with Makoto Naegi alive'. Ryota is saddened by her death.
Ryota kneels over Kyoko's corpse, saddened by her passing. When Makoto requests he stay with Hina while he himself goes to speak with Kyosuke, Ryota protests as to why he is able to recover from Kyoko's death so fast. Makoto explains that Kyoko entrusted him with her hope and he must fulfill what she believed in, by moving forward, coming to the realization that he would have done something reckless had he found out, Ryota is silenced.
Makoto leaves the room, Ryota questioning why Makoto can be so strong, before clutching his phone to his chest, questioning his own strength.
After Hina discovers who the attacker is via Kyoko's notebook, her and Ryota immediately rush to where Makoto and Kyosuke are situated.
Hina began to show Makoto Kyoko's notebook, reading her findings aloud, he stated that all the deaths were in fact suicides. Ryota promptly refused to believe such, and inquired as to why they would do that. Makoto continued to read aloud, that it was the position of the monitors and their ability to broadcast brainwashing videos. Ryota became agitated by this but says nothing.
After Makoto requested Kyosuke tie him up in front of the monitor, he does this willingly, Ryota explained that the time limit was almost up and that they needed to move quickly. Ryota, Hina and Kyosuke gathered in a nearby room and waited for the time limit, before falling unconscious from the sleeping gas.
Upon awakening, Makoto revealed to them all that a Monokuma knife was hidden in each monitor, Kyosuke explained that other than him, Kazuo was the only other person to order such authority and that it was becoming obvious he could be a Remnant of Despair. Ryota falls to his knees in anguish, shocked at the thought, he believed it could be impossible considering Kazuo represented the Future Foundation and its ideals.
Kyosuke left to find Juzo, while in the meantime Makoto explained to Ryota that the video was able to brainwash him and as the former Super High School Level Animator, he may know something. Ryota rebuffs this remark, accusing Junko of exploiting his techniques. He abruptly chose to say no more, Hina began to question him further but was interrupted when Ryota received a surprise message from the deceased Kazuo.
The message Ryota received from Kazuo was revealed to be a prerecorded video of Kazuo admitting to being the mastermind behind the Final Killing Game. Ryota fell to the floor in anguish, questioning whether Kazuo really was a Remnant of Despair. Makoto and Hina tried to show Ryota an optimistic viewpoint by expressing that the killing was over and that they were free to leave the facility, but Ryota replied that he no longer wanted to run away, revealing how Junko manipulated him into making the Despair Video to brainwash his classmates and unleash The Tragedy on the world. He then deduced that Kazuo received the suicide video from the Remnants of Despair and distributed it into the monitors, believing that he may have even watched the video himself. In this sense, Ryota believed Kazuo should not be blamed for his actions, being another victim of Junko's despair.
Ryota then concluded that inducing hope through his own Hope Video would be the only way to cure the world of despair; being the opposite of the Despair Video, it can induce hope and erase the despair that his anime once caused. Unbeknownst to Ryota, this was the true goal of the Final Killing Game; knowing of Ryota's incredible animating talent, Kazuo intended to use the game as a means of convincing the former Super High School Level Animator to use the Hope Video in the world. Kazuo hadn't even meant for Ryota to be a participant, but his last-minute arrival at the meeting had forced his hand.
However, Ryota's plan was opposed by Hina and Makoto, who pointed out that he would only be repeating Junko's actions by forcing humanity to change. Although he admitted that it was an extreme measure, Ryota expressed that humans were weak creatures, vulnerable to even the slightest amount of despair. He briefly argued with Makoto over whether despair could be defeated; while Makoto insisted that people could overcome despair by working together, Ryota countered that few people shared Makoto's strength of character; the sorry state of the world was proof enough of that.
As Ryota began to walk away, Hina blocked his path and tried to convince him to stop once more. He pulled his phone from his pocket and showed Hina his Hope Video, bringing her under his control. After commanding her to restrain Makoto and she does this willingly. Ryota explained that this is the true power of his talent, revealing that his NG Code had specifically restricted him from using it until now. With Makoto occupied by the brainwashed Hina, Ryota began looking for an exit to the facility, encountering the Future Foundation's rescue squad along the way. He showed his brainwashing video to the officer leading the squad, commanding him to distribute the Hope Video to the other operatives and to apprehend anyone who tried to stop him by any means necessary.
With the Future Foundation's entire military under his control, Ryota was able to escape the underwater facility with the help of the rescue squad. He then made it to the broadcasting studio and uploaded his Hope Video, before distributing it worldwide. As the computer showed a 30-minute timer before the video could complete its work, Ryota reiterated his resolve to never run away again, using his talents to wipe out despair and create a world filled with hope.
Ryota returned as a part of Nagito's imaginary world. Ryota is now a member of the class rather than letting the Ultimate Imposter use his identity, they both share class together.
Before class began in the morning, Ryota is seen conversing with the Ultimate Imposter happily.
Ryota later attended Kazuichi's funeral due to him being murdered by the World Destroyer.
After Nagito awoke from the simulation, he learned that all of his friends were alive and awake from the Neo World Program. He boarded the boat with the rest of Class 77-B and they all then headed for the Future Foundation Headquarters to stop Ryota's hope video.
After the Class 77-B was revived thanks to Izuru Kamakura's abilities, they hunted down Ryota, who was still waiting for the Hope Video to finish brainwashing the world. The Class 77-B eventually defeated the hypnotized soldiers and cornered Ryota, forcing him to come to terms with his mistakes. Ryota believed that he and the rest of the Remnants of Despair will never be forgiven for allowing Junko to plunge the world into Despair, so Hajime Hinata offered Ryota the option to join them in their return to Jabberwock Island, where they can atone for their sins together. Ryota eventually broke down into tears and agreed, stopping the countdown mere seconds before the brainwashing was completed. He collapsed to his knees from where he was standing and began to cry, The Ultimate Imposter rushed over to comfort him and held him in a comforting embrace.
Ryota was later seen boarding one of the Future Foundation's ships with the rest of his classmates, leaving for Jabberwock Island. Along the way, the Ultimate Imposter asked Ryota if he had been eating, noting that he was even skinnier than before. He proceeded by saying 'The only things you can really believe in' Ryota finishing his sentence stated 'fat and sugar content'. This prompted Ibuki Mioda to shove a burning hot stick of meat to his mouth, much to Ryota's bewilderment.
As the ship continued on its way, Ryota stared at his phone before dropping it into the sea, signifying his resolve to forget the past and move forward to create a brighter future and fills the world with hope as he always desired.
Ryota and the Ultimate Imposter were both members of the Class 77-B at Hope's Peak Academy. At some point, after the Class 77-B entered Hope's Peak, the Imposter stopped acting as Byakuya Togami and instead decided to impersonate Ryota. Ryota did not hesitate in giving his identity to the Imposter as he would like to focus solely on his animation. Ryota would spend so much time perfecting his anime that he would neglect his own health. The Imposter would often bring food for him and would remind him to pay attention to his health. However, Ryota would often ignore the Imposter's advice when he is too concentrated. With that said, he does take the Imposter's advice from time to time, showcasing that he does have some trust in his friend's words. He would also frequently tell the Imposter of his ambitions and feelings.
According to the relationship chart, Ryota questioned if the Ultimate Imposter taking his place was really okay, showing that he was concerned at first about the morality of the situation.
Unfortunately, Ryota's friendship with the Ultimate Imposter came to an end when they went on separate paths. Ryota joined the Future Foundation, whereas the Imposter became an Ultimate Despair.
However, Ryota is still shown to feel guilty over not being able to help his friend, and felt extremely nostalgic upon seeing him again for the first time in years. Learning that the brainwashing had worn off, and that the imposter was willing to welcome him again with open arms, Ryota cried and hugged the Imposter, who comforted him. Later the two are shown on the ship with Ibuki, happily talking to each other. The Imposter even started worrying about Ryota's health upon noticing that he had lost weight.
Ryota becomes close friends with Ibuki after she awakens from her coma and the brainwashing wears off. Ibuki had a close friendship with the Imposter, especially when he dressed as Ryota, and instantly took a liking to him due to this. They are seen happily talking together on the ship, although Ryota was surprised when Ibuki forcefully shoved food into his mouth without warning.
Another member of Class 77-B, Mikan looked after Ryota at the Imposter's request and helped nurse him back to health. It appears that the two have become close friends afterward. However, Junko brainwashes Mikan without Ryota's knowledge, and Mikan ends up traumatizing Ryota. Their friendship comes to an end afterward, when Ryota joins the Future Foundation and Mikan joins the Ultimate Despair.
Ryota eventually repaired his friendship with Mikan when she was cured of her brainwashing and he rejoined with the awakened former Remnants of Despair.
Junko was a member of Hope's Peak Academy's Class 78th, one year below Ryota's. Her analytical talent allowed her to see a certain "something" in Ryota during their first encounter, and immediately tried to find out his talent. Initially, Ryota was embarrassed and unnerved by Junko's attention. He was also angered by Junko's disinterest in anime, but quickly warmed up to her when she began to show interest in his animation. Although often bewildered by Junko's violent actions, he was grateful to her for giving him an entirely new environment for him to work on his anime.
However, Ryota started to grow suspicious of Junko when she talks about despair and Mikan stops acting normally. After Ryota finds a video of the student council's mutual killing game, Junko tries to make him despair by traumatizing him. Ryota was fearful of her from then on.
In the Danganronpa 3 relationship chart, Junko states that both Izuru and Ryota were fateful encounters.
- Future Foundation Members:
Ryota was one of the people scouted directly by Kazuo to join Future Foundation. Ryota seems to see Kazuo as a mentor of sorts, often agreeing with his points of view and asking him questions. He was also one of the only Future Foundation members to remain in the boardroom with Kazuo. Ryota seems to enjoy talking with Kazuo, the two having many discussions with each other. Ryota also comes along with him and Kyoko to investigate.
When Kyosuke suspects Kazuo as being the mastermind, Ryota jumps to his defense. After recovering from his shock at Kazuo himself confirming his role in the Final Killing Game via prerecorded video message, Ryota refused to believe that his mentor would do such a thing willingly, guessing that Kazuo had watched the brainwashing Despair Video at some point.
It is later revealed that Kazuo planned the final killing game in order to give Ryota the final push to broadcast the brainwashing hope video. In the original plan, Ryota was not supposed to participate the killing game, only receiving the result. Despite this, the Final Killing Game succeeds in its objective, giving Ryota to resolve to force the world to feel hope. Whether or not Ryota learned of this is unknown.
In Danganronpa 3 manga, it was shown that when Koichi tried to help or save Kyoko from danger, he always pushed Koichi or reacted telling him "That's Sexual Harassment" because he thought he was doing things to just touch her while he could. Koichi tried to make Ryota feel worried saying that he may be the traitor. He feels uncomfortable with what he said and starts to question him in why is he so attached to Kyoko.
Because of Kyoko's cold demeanor, it takes a while for Ryota to become friends with her. However, during the Final Killing Game, he becomes quite close to her. Ryota even attempts to protect her from Juzo Sakakura, although this results in Kyoko injuring her leg. Kyoko doesn't mind this, and actually seems to trust Ryota as much as she does Makoto and Hina. Ryota seems to be interested in Kyoko's detective skills, although he is somewhat bothered by her cold side. Despite this, he still respects this side of her. When Kyoko "dies", Ryota was unable to believe this, and was angered by how quickly Makoto was able to "overcome" her death.
Although Ryota doesn't have a particularly close relationship with Makoto, he admires him as the hero who stood up to and defeated Junko Enoshima. Ryota is one of the few who believes Makoto shouldn't be executed for protecting the Remnants of Despair and admits that he wants to be like Makoto (likely due to his lingering guilt over his role in Junko's plans).
However, Ryota still has his doubts about Makoto, telling Kyoko that he doesn't think he'd be of much help in the Final Killing Game. Ryota was surprised by how strong Makoto acted about Kyoko's death, and sadly wondered why he couldn't have that strength. Ironically, it is this acknowledgment of Makoto's strength and his realization of his own weakness that convinced him to forcefully brainwash the entire world into "Hope"; he believes Makoto's incredible will to be an element of his talent as Ultimate Hope, and thus beyond the reach of the world at large.
- “Right, I'm Ryota Mitarai from the 10th Branch.”
- “Using violence against women isn't good.”
- “It's always... It's always like this. I want to save everyone, but I just bring everyone misery...”
- “People aren't strong like you are!” (to Makoto Naegi)
- "I am never running away again."
- Ryota's voice actor, Kanata Hongō, also portrayed Makoto in the stage play.
- The kanji in Ryota's first name consist of 亮 which means "clear, help", and 太 (ta) meaning "thick, big" (but figuratively used in names as “healthy”). Therefore, his given name could mean "Big Clear/Help".
- His last name "Mitarai" (御手洗), which consist of the kanji for "honorable," "hand," and "wash," can refer to a few things, for example, a font of purifying water at a shrine entrance.
- The DALL monitors in his room are a nod to Dell, a computer hardware and software company.
- The posters in his room are a reference to Hayao Miyazaki, an extremely renowned animator in Japan.
- The English dub of Side: Despair also has Ryota being called a "mini-Miyazaki" by Junko, fitting considering his talent as an animator.