Titles: Ultimate Fashionista (False), Ultimate Despair (True)
Alternate Identity: Ryoko Otonashi the Ultimate Analyst
Creator/Controller of: Monokuma
Family: Mukuro Ikusaba the Ultimate Soldier (Older Twin Sister)
Birthdate: December 24th
Voiced By: Amanda C. Miller & Erin Fitzgerald
Featured In: Danganronpa
Before I can speak of Junko Enoshima, I must first speak of her source material, the increasingly popular game series summarily summed up by its title of Danganronpa. Premiering in 2010 as a game for the portable Playstation systems, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is, quite literally, what results when one combines the likes of such films as Saw or The Cube (both having been cited as inspirations by the series’ creator) and games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and placing said result in a high school setting.
The first game proved to be so popular that, as of the time of this post, there are a total of eight games including the upcoming third in the main series, four light novels, one anime series, and fourteen manga adaptations.
For a game that features fluorescent pink blood as a means of lowering the rating and grotesqueness of the game that’s rather impressive to say the least. Especially when one considers how little the pinkness helps given the murders and the executions of the murderers are unbelievably horrific at times.
Anyway, onto the school itself, it is known as Hope’s Peak Academy and is a premiere school/scientific institution. The students do not apply but are invited to attend instead and that most of these students are all the “Ultimate” of their respected talents and fields. Save for one, an “Ultimate Luck” student whose name is drawn from a lottery to attend the school. The purpose of Hope’s Peak Academy was not only for the benefit of these “Ultimate” students but for the scientists who also served as the teachers to study and analyze the talents that made these students so, even the one drawn by lottery.
Unfortunately for Hope’s Peak, the girl that they believed to be the Ultimate Fashionista was something of a façade. Oh yes, Junko Enoshima’s talents as a fashionista were great enough that even the students who had no interest in such things had heard of her modeling career but such was not where her talents truly lied. Junko Enoshima is the Ultimate Despair and by God does she live up to it in spades.
Born shortly after her fraternal sister Mukoro Ikusaba, whose different last name is never definitively explained though several speculations have arisen from the fans, Junko’s childhood was… questionable at best. She and her sister grew up in poor conditions and by Junko’s own admittance, she felt that her birth was a mistake and always regretted the fact that she had been born at all. Despite this, she and her sister had something of a childhood friend in one Yasuke Matsuda who himself would eventually grow up to be the Ultimate Neurologist to Mukoro’s Ultimate Soldier.
It was in their shared childhood that Junko’s true self was revealed when she spent a whole day in tears over a sand church she had been working so hard on being destroyed. Yasuke tried to find the culprit to punish them for it only to have a brightly smiling Junko approach him the next day to reveal that she was the true culprit and that it had been an accident on her part.
In that moment… perhaps even before then… the seed of Despair began to grow and its ensnaring vines would quickly start to spread. For even as a child and a young teenager, Junko was surprisingly charismatic, able to attract and motivate entire crowds of people with disturbing ease, particularly any and all individuals who had even a minute piece of despair in their hearts.
Following her first year or so at Hope’s Peak Academy, Junko conceived a plan to bring about the Ultimate Despair both in her heart and the hearts of people across the world over and it would all culminate in force in her very own classroom.
Though I am as yet unsure of how she motivated him to do so, Junko managed to motivate Yasuke into creating a unique concoction that could wipe out a person’s memories to an incredibly finite degree. An example of this would be an individual still remembering a brawl that they had taken part in but not remembering those whom fought on their side and instead believing that they had fought and won on their own merit.
To test this, Junko was the first subject and the result was the made up persona of Ryoko Otonashi. It is here that Yasuke actually attempted to further aid Junko in the sense of feeding her false information through “her” diary and thus ensure that the created personality might in fact become the permanent one and that Junko would be forgotten. Unfortunately, this plan ultimately backfired as Ryoko remembered everything that is Junko and became so enraptured in despair that she not only killed Yasuke by stabbing him in the stomach but proceeded to beat his body to an unrecognizable mess.
As to Junko’s sister, she joined in her sister’s plans simply for the fact that she loved her sister and if her sister could only experience happiness by way of bringing despair on others, herself included, than Mukoro would do so gladly. Ultimately, she would share in Yasuke’s fate for though Junko had assured her that she would survive what she had planned, Mukoro was the first to be slain in Junko’s grandmaster plan to bring about the Ultimate Despair.
The Classroom of Mutual Killing…
There was so much done to achieve this that I can’t even begin to describe the near absurdity of it all. To start with, prior to killing Hope’s Peak Academy’s principal, and father to one of her fellow classmates, Junko unleashed the entirety of her forces, which consisted entirely of people whom either adored her to the same degree as her sister or were of a similar mindset, upon the world. This event was known simply as The Tragedy and was, in essence, a terroristic mass of chaos that spanned the entirety of the globe where no country great or small was spared from its insidious touch.
In the confusion that followed, Junko had her principal killed, retrofitted most of the Academy into a giant death trap littered with outrageous means of executing people in incredibly over the top fashions, created an entire army of robotic teddy bears to serve as the “antagonist” to her kidnapped and drugged classmates. Classmates whom she was been friends with for two years and whose memories of her and of each other she had wiped clean.
She did this because there was a strong possibility, as proven in one of the official light novels that showed such a scenario taking place, that if even a single one of them remembered the connections they all shared, none of them could be goaded into murder.
And that’s precisely what Junko wanted the whole world to see.
She gave them this alternative: to kill their fellow classmates or remain trapped within the school forever and it was Mukuro acting in her role of defiance that Junko killed her directly to make an example to her classmates and to ensure that no one would suspect her as being the mastermind behind the Monokuma that claimed itself as the new principal of Hope’s Peak Academy. Once a student was killed, a class trial would be held and if the guilty party was correctly found, then that blackened soul would be summarily executed and the rest of the students would survive for a few days more before the game would resume. If chosen incorrectly, then the guilty student would be allowed to live whilst all the rest would share in their execution.
Sixteen students, all teenagers of unique skills and merits, were coerced into Junko’s game.
Six of them walked out of the Academy alive.
Junko… was not one of them.
In the final act of her twisted game, Junko revealed herself and her motives to the remaining students. She then began a debate between the abstract thoughts of “despair” and of “hope,” and made it so that if the choice for “despair” was made then all the students but the protagonist Makoto Naegi would live out the rest of their days within Hope’s Peak Academy. If they chose “hope” however, they would not only be let free but it would be Junko herself who would endure the execution intended for Makoto.
When the others were inspired by Makoto to choose hope instead of despair, Junko was livid.
For all of a single moment in time…
For you see dear readers, much as she would say or act otherwise prior to this moment, Junko never truly felt despair, at least not to the ultimate degree as she had in that moment. A second’s passing was all it took for Junko to become perversely enraptured by her own feelings of ultimate despair and underwent the executions with a shining smile on her face all the while.
And yet… Junko Enoshima’s story was far from over…
Oh yes, there is far more to tell of Junko then what transpired in the first game and its prequel light novel, dear readers, but as this review has already reached epic lengths as it is, allow me to summarize my thoughts and opinions of one of the greatest villains I’ve ever seen.
By all accounts, I should hate Junko Enoshima. Loathe her with every fiber of my being, do celebratory backflips upon her befitting demise, and even curse her name as a foul oath worse than the Devil’s own name.
For whatever reason, I actually like her. I don’t even know why I do. I mean, it could because I pity her for the life that she had that led her into growing up into becoming the Ultimate Despair, something that has been proven to severely alter her ideals towards the good side if forgotten. It could be because much as I try not to, I can’t help but snicker or smile at her maniacal antics, a morbidly black sense of comedy that not even the Joker in his prime could get from me in my innocent youth never mind my cynically mature self of today. No matter what, in the end of it all, Junko Enoshima is one of the greatest villains I’ve ever seen bar none and the sole reason she remains in second place is because… Well…
She lost the coin toss to number one.
Hardly fair I know but given how Junko tends to play her games, I found it strangely fitting.
Somehow, I’m sure that she’d almost be happy about it too…