Danganronpa OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SPLR-1101/2
Released On: February 14, 2011
Composed By: Masafumi Takada, Satoshi Iwase (2-19)
Arranged By: Masafumi Takada
Published By: Sound Prestige Records
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs

Disc One
01 - Trigger Happy Havoc
02 - Danganronpa!
03 - Punishment Rocket
04 - Beautiful Days
05 - Beautiful Death
06 - Class Trial (Dawn)
07 - Mr. Monokuma After Class
08 - Box 15
09 - 100 Mile Junk Food Dash
10 - Distrust
11 - Thousand Knocks
12 - Death Wish
13 - To Survive
14 - Motorcycle Death Cage
15 - Underground Trial
16 - Btb
17 - Argument (Break)
18 - Despair Pollution Noise Music
19 - Despair Syndrome (2)
20 - Versailles Burning At the Stake Witch Hunt Preperations
21 - Boys' Life of Despair
22 - Super Btb
23 - Welcome to Despair
24 - Master of Shovel
25 - Extra Lessons for the Unlucky
26 - Beautiful Morning
27 - Closing Argument

Disc Two
01 - Trigger Happy Havoc (Dr Version)
02 - Momomomonokuma!
03 - Mr. Monokuma's Lesson
04 - Despair Syndrome (1)
05 - Super Final Btb
06 - Box 16
07 - Discussion (Mix) [Edge Version]
08 - Class Trial (Chaos)
09 - Class Trial (The Sun)
10 - Argument (Turn Up the Heat)
11 - Hangman's Gambit
12 - Argument (Hope vs Despair)
13 - Extra Lessons for the Mysterious
14 - All Star Apologies
15 - Super High-School Level Despair
16 - Climactic Re-Enactment
17 - New World Order
18 - Goodbye Despair High School
19 - Reconstruction -rebuild-
20 - Prologue - Credits
21 - Chapter 1
22 - Chapter 2
23 - Chapter 3
24 - Chapter 4
25 - Chapter 5
26 - Chapter 6
27 - Your and My Report Card
28 - Kotodama Get
29 - Present Get
30 - Rare Present Get
31 - Mono-Mono Machine!
32 - Activation - Electronic Student Notebook
33 - That Person Saw It!
34 - Radio Exercise Ansatsuken
35 - Phase Results
36 - Chapter Results
Total Time:

Note: the vast majority of this import soundtrack is available via iTunes: all of disc one, and the first 18 tracks of disc two, are present. Track 19, "Reconstruction -rebuild-," is the end vocal credits, and then tracks 20 to the end of disc two are all "jingle" pieces, ranging from 5 to 30 seconds in length. If you can live without the second half of disc two, the iTunes version may be the most cost-effective way for you to purchase this soundtrack.

The entire Danganronpa series, to date, has had its music written by the versatile Masafumi Takada. A quick look at Takada's previous works can give you an idea of just how wide his compositional abilities range: as a member of the Grasshopper sound team (that's Suda51's team), Takada contributed music to No More Heroes, Infinite Space, and Platinum Games' early title Vanquish. He even wrote some pieces for the ensemble-composed Kid Icarus: Uprising soundtrack, a highly-praised three disc set of music. Since then, Takada has taken almost exclusively to Spike Chunsoft's quirky/macabre Danganronpa franchise, developing a soundscape that matches the odd blend of character and environment art: from pink blood and murderous pedo-bear clones (Monokumas) to relaxing days at a swimming pool with good, albeit amnesiac, friends.

This is the first published soundtrack in the series. Many songs written for this soundtrack managed to hold sway with the fans and the game's designers, as they come back in DGR2 and in "Ultra Despair Girls," the spin-off Resident-Evil-style shooter that takes place between the two main games.

Chief among them is the main theme, which can be heard in the opening (1-01) as well as "Climactic Re-Enactment" (2-16). The haunting vocal sample snuggled up next to that avant-garde jazz is unforgettable, and it perfectly fits a world where dazed teens try stand up against a nihilistic despair with the power to do what it wants and and fight for hope, meaning, and the value of humanity. What I'm trying to say is that this is catchy music, but it's catchy music that makes you think.

Other songs on the soundtrack are perfect "mood" tracks. The ambient electronica we hear in "Beautiful Death" and "Closing Argument" are on par with, and at times superior to, the soundtrack's peers (think Ace Attorney or 999). Speaking of 999, listen to "Box 15." There's no way Takada wrote that song without conjuring up some Shinji Hosoe magic; the track feels like it came right out of the Zero Escape series.

There are a handful of songs on this soundtrack that accompany FMV cutscenes. Most of these scenes are, well...spoiler alert, execution sequences — very elaborate ones at that. The one with the most impressive music, in my mind, is "Versailles Burning At the Stake Witch Hunt Preparations." I lost my favorite character that day. But the entire setting, including the music, was on point.

For a bit of lighthearted music, you can't go wrong with "Mr. Monokuma's Lesson." This song has gone on to become something of a prime Monokuma theme throughout the series. The first 30 or 40 times I heard it in-game, I hated it. But, eventually, even this song came to grow on me. It is dorky and awkward, but it has a charm all its own.

If you were looking for some high-charged EDM, the "trial" music from the game has some of that. Our audio samples feature "Discussion (Mix) [Edge Version]" and "Argument (Turn Up the Heat)." There are other songs in this vein, such as "Hangman's Gambit." The soundtrack is probably made up of about 20 percent intense EDM akin to these songs, but it's hard to say for sure, as some of this music is quite difficult to categorize by genre.

When Spike Chunsoft got together to start making these games, they made the right choice hiring Masafumi Takada. He's the only person I could imagine making the right music for this series, and I hope he keeps with it for as long as Spike Chunsoft chooses to churn out games for the franchise.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann