01 - DSO_DANGANRONPA
02 - Ultra? Despair? Girls?
03 - DSO_BeautifulDead
04 - Wonderful dead001
05 - DSO_DISTRUST
06 - Chapter Title
07 - It's a Monokuma World
08 - Ultra Terrified Girl
09 - Business Trip Version Punishment ~Helicopter Crash Episode~
10 - We Can't Change the World
11 - Hope of the Other Side
12 - secret base ~Left Behind by the Adults~
13 - Under Attack
14 - VERSUS
15 - Wonderful dead002
16 - DSO_Living to the Fullest
17 - Sortie! Its Name Is Robot
18 - Riddle Land
19 - Business Trip Version Punishment ~Parachute Landing Episode~
20 - DSO_Junk Food for a Dashing Youth
21 - Welcome to TOWA tower
22 - Monster That Shouts Its Love in Center of the Hell
23 - Business Trip Version Punishment ~Swimming Explosion Episode~
24 - DSO_Desire for Execution
25 - This Is the Path We Follow
01 - Let's Play With Monokuma
02 - Ghost Stories From the School District of Revolution
03 - Abnormality on the Girls' Front Line
04 - The Warriors of Hope
05 - DSO_Despair-Syndrome
06 - Punishment of the Hero
07 - DSO_Shore-scented Dead End
08 - Ultra Despair Girl
09 - Ultra Delusional Girl
10 - Business Trip Version Punishment ~Adult Diorama Episode~
11 - Punishment of the Priest
12 - It's a Kids' World
13 - Wonderful dead003
14 - Business Trip Version Punishment ~Monokuma Raid Episode~
15 - Alice in the Children's Land
16 - The Light of Darkness
17 - DSO_All All Apologies
18 - Punishment of the Warrior
19 - DSO_Welcome Despair School
20 - The Destruction of Darkness
21 - Like I Would Become a Monster
22 - Melody of Shivering
23 - DSO_New World Order
24 - Chapter End
25 - Big Bang Monokuma Appears!!
01 - Wonderful dead004
02 - The Forbidden Playhouse
03 - Last VERSUS
04 - Re: Underground Trial
05 - Shou's Fever Time
06 - DSO_Weekly Despair Magazine
07 - Punishment of the Sage!!
08 - DSO_Mr. Monokuma's Extracurricular Lesson
09 - DSO_Despair Syndrome
10 - Departing from TOWA Towards the Hell
11 - Wonderful dead005
12 - Decisive Battle with the Mage
13 - Argument -HOPE VS DESPAIR-
14 - Punishment of the Mage
15 - Day Before the Future
16 - "progressive -Short Version-"
17 - Monoc-Man Activate
18 - I'm Going Delusional
19 - The Store
20 - Challenge from a Child
21 - Saving on a Potty
22 - Truth Bullet GET!
23 - Skill GET!
24 - Hidden Kids Discovered!
25 - Let's Play With Monokuma (Instruments)
It has taken me a long time (far too long) to come up with substantive thoughts about the Ultra Despair Girls soundtrack. And yes, that is what this is. "Zettai Zetsubou Shoujo," if you find this prefix tossed around, is the Japanese equivalent, which more accurately translates to "Absolute Despair Girls." NISA went with "Ultra" and we're following suit in our coverage of the import soundtrack.
So, by executive order, I have decided to talk a bit about the game itself first, to put it in context to the other games in the franchise. Then, we'll get to the music.
Ultra Despair Girls exists as a side-story in the Danganronpa universe. It takes place chronologically between the first and second main-series games, so it's something of a "Danganronpa 1.5," except that it isn't at all in the same genre as the main series. UDG plays out like a fast-paced, colorful puzzler/shooter, like older Resident Evil games, but with a cardboard anime style. Top it off with some XP grinding to increase levels and some over-the-top storylines involving apocalypse-inducing robotic teddy bears, and you're in business!
As such, a game that builds from the first game's chronological story, and simultaneously works to foreshadow the events of the (already-known) second game, is bound to have a lot in common with both games. Can you see where I'm going with this?
See, the problem I'm having with the Ultra Despair Girls OST is that, unlike the game itself, this soundtrack doesn't have as much new and original ground to cover. The developers would obviously want music from the other games, and that's exactly whey got.
Any song in the tracklist that begins with "DSO" is an arrangement, often very similar to the Danganronpa 2 version, of a series theme song. There are other songs that are also from the series even though they don't include the DSO prefix, such as "Argument -HOPE VS DESPAIR-."
Now, the soundtrack does have some memorable themes of its own. The most notable is "Wonderful dead," which comes in five variants (we've sampled 001 and 004, found at the beginnings of discs 1 and 3 respectively, for your consideration). This theme includes some awesome non-lyrical vocals, some clean and some filtered through weird grainy goodness... the kind of thing we'd expect from Takada by now. This theme works extremely well in-game, and it sounds cool on its own. It is a worthy addition to the soundscape, and I hope it makes at least one appearance in Danganronpa 3.
I am partial towards a moving piano ballad at the end of the first disc, "This Is the Path We Follow." Both the game and its soundtrack are moving at this zany pace, and even the slower moments have a quirky feel and sound to them. The rare moment of genuine sentiment is a lovely, and perhaps necessary, break from the mayhem. We're given reminders as to why we do what we do, and this song is exactly that for the protagonists of UDG.
My favorite upbeat original piece is "Shou's Fever Time" on the third disc. This is like, a chiptune music battle on heavy stimulants. There are a couple songs of this style on the soundtrack, but none of them have the pull, the strong execution, the "it" factor that this one does.
Like the other games, Ultra Despair Girls goes out on a Japanese vocal track. This particular piece, "progressive," is performed by Aya Uchida and Megumi Ogata – the voice actors for protagonist Komaru Naegi and her older brother Makoto Naegi, respectively. This is a great track, easily my favorite of the three written for the series thus far. It helps the soundtrack "end" on a high note (I put "end" in quotes, since all tracks after that are short jingles or sound effects).
Here's my conclusion about this soundtrack, though. Since it does synthesize some of the best tracks from Danganronpa 1 and 2, if you don't own those soundtracks, you may as well get this one in place of them. However, if you do have those soundtracks (and considering you're reading this, you might) this is a pretty hefty soundtrack with a strange mix of re-used tunes, filler tracks, and the occasional worthwhile piece of original music. So, unless you're a hardcore collector, I'd advise you to just stick with the Danganronpa 1 and 2 (or really, just 2) OST, at least until DGR3 is released.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann