Ultimate Despair are described as a group of people who have "become despair". As Junko describes despair as a sort of contagion/state of mind, it can be inferred that the members of Ultimate Despair are those who have been "infected" by despair. Their goal is to spread despair across the entire world, driving it into a state of self-destructive anarchy.
They started The Tragedy and kept it ongoing even after their leader's death.
They defied understanding and did various things for the sake of despair and Junko Enoshima: some starved themselves till their bodies were husks, some offered up their parents to Junko to use for experiments on murder, others slaughtered innocent civilians and forced them to kill themselves as a tribute to their dead leader, one removed their own eye and replaced it with Junko's, possibly to see her despair.
It is also said members of Ultimate Despair attempted to produce children with Junko's corpse. It is notable that although many other members might have done similar things, Nagito Komaeda is the only person whose act was fully established; he took Junko's left hand and sewed it onto himself, resulting in him having a non-functioning left hand.
As Remnants of Despair
After their leader died in The Ultimate Punishment, most members of Ultimate Despair followed her example and committed suicide. The ones who survived became known as the Remnants of Despair (絶望の残党 zetsubō no zantō).
Eventually, the Future Foundation secured their custody - at first only aware that they were survivors from Hope's Peak Academy. When Makoto Naegi , by that time a member of the 14th Division of the Future Foundation, realized that the survivors were in fact the Remnants of Despair, he quickly directed them to Jabberwock Island in secret. Makoto made them enter the Neo World Program, where their memories were reset to a time prior to their entering Hope's Peak Academy, before they were manipulated by Junko - resulting in them not recognizing each other. The plan was to overwrite their memories with good ones, to undo all the damage Junko had done to them.
Unfortunately this plan ended in failure, due to Junko's interference as a virus AI, uploaded into the program by Izuru Kamukura right before they were put into the program. As a result, they ended up experiencing much of the same violent events as the "Class of 78" did, albeit in a realistically-simulated environment. By the end of the incident, ten of the original fifteen became comatose.
The ending of the Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair heavily implied that even though the Neo World Program did not erase any memories, the remnants of Ultimate Despair who had made it out of the Neo World Program have kept their memories from inside the Neo World Program, and were assumed to have recanted their beliefs in the concept of despair itself, thus leading them to abandon their status as Ultimate Despair. The surviving Remnants of Despair currently reside on Jabberwock Island and are attempting to find a way to awaken their comatose friends, while the Future Foundation left them alone and continued cleaning up the world and putting an end to The Tragedy.
In general, while the organization was active, many of its members have professed their love for Junko, but there are extreme variations of their professions of love. One prominent example of this is when Mikan, who had contracted Despair Disease within the Neo World Program, ended up remembering who she really was before being sent into the Neo World Program, and then proceeded to kill Ibuki and the unfortunate Hiyoko; when she was finally identified as the blackened, she proceeded to profess her love for Junko in a way that nobody was able to understand at all. The contrast to that would be Nagito, whose machinations in Towa City to "devote himself to despair" stems from hatred towards despair, ironic considering that he was a member of Ultimate Despair.
Of note is that Ultimate Despair was divided in ranks (mentioned by Mukuro Ikusaba in Danganronpa IF), so it was quite improbable that Izuru, one of the most prominent member of the organization, and Nagito, a simply "small fry", would have known each other despite their common origin. This stemmed from the fact that Izuru had neither any idea of, or any interest in, Nagito or his Ultimate Ability, despite Nagito being aware of Izuru's existence.
Their relationships with Junko never seemed to extend beyond idolatry; the Remnants of Despair became that purely because Junko had died, and the act of sewing her body parts onto themselves forcibly is evidence of idolization; Junko has never professed any kind of love for any of the members of Ultimate Despair, save for her own sister Mukuro, but this was because she would, instead, induce "despair" in them in the name of love.
What is very clear, however, is that while members are mostly disparate, separated units who may choose to act alone (which they often do, as evidenced in the uprising in Towa City), their main goal was always to spread despair.
|Junko Enoshima||Ultimate Fashionista||Founder/Deceased|
|Monokuma||Hope's Peak Academy Headmaster||Active|
|Izuru Kamukura/Hajime Hinata||Ultimate Hope/Reserve Course Student||
|Nagito Komaeda||Ultimate Lucky Student||Comatose|
|Mikan Tsumiki||Ultimate Nurse||Comatose|
|Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu||Ultimate Yakuza||Former/Alive|
|Sonia Nevermind||Ultimate Princess||Former/Alive|
|Akane Owari||Ultimate Gymnast||Former/Alive|
|Kazuichi Soda||Ultimate Mechanic||Former/Alive|
|Nekomaru Nidai||Ultimate Team Manager||Comatose|
|Peko Pekoyama||Ultimate Swordswoman||Comatose|
|Teruteru Hanamura||Ultimate Cook||Comatose|
|Hiyoko Saionji||Ultimate Traditional Dancer||Comatose|
|Ibuki Mioda||Ultimate Musician||Comatose|
|Gundham Tanaka||Ultimate Breeder||Comatose|
|Mahiru Koizumi||Ultimate Photographer||Comatose|
|Byakuya Togami||Ultimate Affluent Progeny (Imposter)||Comatose|
(Whether the members in comatose will wake up or denounce their status as Ultimate Despair is currently unknown.)
- The Japanese word 残党 zantō used as "remnants" in the Japanese name of the "Remnants of Despair" is actually a more specific term meaning "remnants of a defeated faction/political party". This alludes to the fact that Ultimate Despair was an organization, and that the survivors of the Neo World Program defeated Junko.