I know this sounds crazy, but Komaru Naegi is the person who I am cutting. Apart from Makoto (who someone else is cutting this round right, right?), she is the character right now that I feel is most deserving of the proverbial yeet. Yes, she is our UDG protagonist and our oh so developed character into a strong, independent, confident fighter in her shithole of a world. I believe she did it… okay, or serviceable. And serviceable deserves somewhere in the 40-25, wouldn’t you agree? Without further ado, let’s get right into why I think Komaru is more a middle of the pack protagonist than the best I hear everybody talk about.
I am not beginning every paragraph with a quote like everyone else
Her Design: Like the other protags, I don’t have much to say about her design. She pulls of the plain thing pretty well, I guess. Despite UDG having less than stellar mechanics, Komaru does well at sticking out as unlike Makoto, we should have our eyes on our protagonist. This is because it’s an action game, so you need to be able to keep track of Komaru. She wears a mixture of blue, white, and red on her clothes that allow her to pop out to our eyes in a landscape of mostly black, brown, grey, and dark red. Nothing is truly wacky or outstanding, I would say, though is the point of being the protagonist and being fitting with Komaru, who is the self proclaimed “normal girl.
What does set Komaru apart is her general expressions and body language however. She goes from scoliosis patient to chad standing up straight over the course of the game, showing her improving character and confidence. I would say Komaru is a bit emotional, as she is prone to tearing up, becoming excited or surprised, and the fact that we can see her emote sets her apart from Makoto in a cool way. A problem I have with Hajime “Jimmy” Hinata is that probably 2/3rds of what makes him “unique,” you know, his cynicism and haha savage boy is mostly in his thoughts. We do not see his thoughts having consequences on the other characters, even though it would be better if it did. Some things that he thought would’ve been better said. For Komaru, she is more of an open book than Hajime. Instead of making sassy internal thoughts, she tends to funnel things outward more, but there are far fewer characters her thoughts can stick to. (Mainly Toko and sometimes Haiji or sometimes the WoH as opposed to Hajime’s 15 or so other characters). What it does is that it develops the relationship between Toko and Komaru pretty well, but I am a bit iffy on her relationship with every other character, and we’ll get to that later.
Komaru’s Beginnings: Komaru was one of the Hit-List targets in DR1, kept around to goad Makoto into committing murder for her sake. However, she ended up being imprisoned for one and a half years instead after the gang escaped. You see, being trapped in an apartment as a teenager for that long of a period changes someone. We don’t know exactly what kind of girl Komaru was before the tragedy, but none of that is relevant anymore, as her entrapment has worn away her hope and will. As Komaru herself puts it, “It’s not like I’ve given up or anything. I just don’t wanna get my hopes up.” At this point in time, we are well past the whole hysterical desire to escape most of us would be in if we were suddenly put in the same situation. As relatable as Komaru is supposed to be, none of us can put ourselves in the shoes of the trauma Komaru must’ve felt during those ~548 days of imprisonment. We relate not to her experience but the weakness and hopelessness she feels. This is fine, since we do not have to experience the exact same things a protag does to feel the same way they feel. However, what I do have to say is that the whole “I don’t hope because they’ll always be crushed” is a bit old at this point. It was done in DR1 with Junko revealing their “success” was all planned and to an extent in DR2 when Hajime wasn’t having any of Makoto’s bullshit. It’s not Komaru’s fault, and her character isn’t based around this concept, so I’m glad they don’t dwell on it. She gets attacked and thrown into Towa City, which is now being overtaken by the WoH. As we know, Komaru is overcome with horror seeing so many people get slaughtered, and is eventually captured by the WoH. Though she tries to reason with the WoH initially, that ends up falling through, along with her, into the streets below. She meets Toko, who is at first reluctant to go with Komaru, but decides to come along in Komaru’s adventures.
From Zero to Hero: The thing Komaru gets praised for is her character development. I think she does it well and it’s satisfying, I guess. Even though she only has like two or three big turning points, she feels like she develops consistently over the course of the game, with each and every encounter. I appreciate Komaru’s development a lot on her personal level. She had to keep going even when faced with overwhelming odds, like Yuta blowing up, or Taichi being clawed up alive.
In a tangent, Taichi 100% survived the Monokuma’s attack and I won’t let anyone tell me otherwise. He lost a lot of blood, yes, but what is his blood type? AB. Yeah, he’s a universal recipient. You know what Towa City has? A lot of fresh blood due to the massacre caused by the WoH. Taichi probably rolled around in whatever fresh blood he could to survive his wounds.
Komaru’s personality isn’t just “normal” though she does say A LOT that she is normal, like her brother. Instead of Makoto’s enlightened acceptance, Komaru once allowed herself to be dragged down by her normalcy. Komaru also starts off as a bit childish and naive which is sometimes endearing. Like when Komaru gets really excited upon outsmarting a Monokuma kid, I think that’s a pretty good exploration of Komaru’s character. Doing stuff like that makes her feel special, despite Toko probably rolling her eyes whenever Komaru yeets a Monokuma Kid. She takes pride in reading manga, a stark opposition to the weeaboo hating Toko, so these are actual quirks that set her apart from a blank slate. It’s a bit sad that a lot of the focus goes to other characters, however. You know everything about the WoH, Toko, and to an extent, Haiji. People enjoy talking about the WoH and Toko as people as there is a lot to explore about them. (Maybe their big trauma makes them more compelling.) They’ve all had their time in the spotlight where you truly soak in their motivations and inner thoughts, a WoH’s pre-fight speech is a lot like a culprit explaining their motivation. Perhaps Komaru is a bit more simple than these other characters, but I think there is a lot more to be explored about Komaru that deserves exploring, like her own thoughts. I can’t be too harsh against Komaru, but you know what the whole action shooter format disallows? Streams of thought. I know I have praised Komaru for being more outward, but there’s still a place for internal thought. Normal people do not say everything they are thinking. We hear the thoughts of our other protags constantly, as we are given their thoughts on basically everything they interact with. The only times Komaru can do this is in short bursts, like when she was imprisoned alone during Chapter 3. There is a place for internal thought in fiction, which are moments of self contemplation that I know Komaru has, but doesn’t show us. I know UDG has a fair amount of cutscenes and CGs as well, but they are always used to convey the WoH and the funny side bits like Toko purging a ghost rather than Komaru having deep thoughts.
Komaru becomes a hero in a sense, as she goes out and decides to get the adults to rally against Monokuma. She manages to turn the same weakness that she beat herself down with into a strength in her speech, so that felt pretty good. Though a good amount of that content seems to be recycled from what Toko was telling her all game, since Toko said a lot of the same thing, I think it works since it does have her own spin, with Komaru wanting to make “a happy ending” happen and I felt like it was being drawn from Komaru’s experience, not Toko’s.
Komaru almost falling into despair in Chapter 5 was also alright. She felt firsthand that sometimes hope backfires hard in the case of the adults savagely exacting revenge on the kids. In the end, she was the one who had to be pulled out of despair, and Toko managed to be the hope for Komaru, and that hope allowed Komaru to overcome her personal despair. I didn’t care much for the possible impending war, but I still think Komaru became her own hero. Komaru as of the end of the game was definitely someone Komaru from the prologue wanted to be. Komaru had bravery, confidence, and a friend, which may not be a “talent” or “skill,” but it is infinitely more than what she had at the beginning. Maybe in the end she didn’t end up rebuilding the world or destroying Danganronpa, and maybe it does feel like a stalemate with the Monokuma kids remaining trapped and Towa City remaining a shithole. However, a lot of good things were accomplished for someone supposedly “normal.” The WoH had been disassembled, Byakuya was free, and the safety of her brother was confirmed. Komaru overcame everything thrown at her, and is someone who you know can then go past whatever comes to her in the future.
Relationship with Toko: This is most likely the best thing about UDG, Komaru and Toko going along together. I really like their interactions, and they play off each other quite well. Toko provides her own form of biting motivation toward Komaru, and Komaru provides Toko the empathy Toko rarely ever got, coming from her less than stellar social past. At first, Toko is pretty irritated by Komaru’s general passiveness and gullibility, and Komaru tends to get pretty hurt by Toko’s remarks. But as time goes on, despite Komaru supposedly not knowing how it’s like to be an Ultimate or be a general fucking weirdo like Toko, she is able to provide genuine sympathy that changes Toko as a character. Toko doesn’t like saying it, but Komaru is a lot like her brother when it comes to providing hope toward her. Early on, we do get to see their relationship develop because even with Toko’s later claims that she is doing it for Byakuya, her advice towards Komaru seems genuine like “It’s better to die trying than to wait for death,” and Toko does think about Komaru often, but tends to snuff it out.
My favourite part about their relationship is their banter. It may seem like a minor thing in the grand scheme of UDG, but it is the little things that make them lovable as a duo. Their conversations stemming from random discarded books are pretty funny and interesting, and though their talk always starts with a book, it trails onto different things. This format makes it better than half the FTEs by default. What I like about Komaru here is the same thing I like about Shuichi. They are not sponges to absorb the ramblings of the other characters. They actually interact and draw out different reactions from their partners, which is much better than Makoto answering questions and people droning on about their life story. I feel like there is a natural trigger to everything to say. Some of my favourite reads include their “So Lingers the Ocean” and “15 Ways to Make That Rich Son of a Noble Family Fall in Love with You!” A lot of the humor in such conversations are based off insults, since that’s just who Toko is. However, what sets this above say Hiyoko’s humour, is that it’s based off of more than one-liners. There is an actual back and forth reaction between Toko and Komaru, with Komaru returning hits (a lot of the times without an insulting intent) and they’re just interesting to read.
However, one problem I feel that goes against Komaru is that just like in FTEs, Toko feels like the one carrying the conversation. I know it might not be in Komaru’s character to pull things through, but we tend to learn more about Toko than Komaru. Toko is a much stronger personality than Komaru, and is in general more memorable, quotable, and interesting to think about while Komaru tends to be swept along for the ride. Don’t get me wrong, I like their relationship, but my focus always tends to be drawn away from Komaru and toward Toko. This isn’t just in the book collectibles either, I feel that throughout the story. Except for the big moments where Komaru grrr steps up to Toko like at the beginning of Chapter 3, their fight in Chapter 4, and the big confrontation in Chapter 5, Komaru seems to be dragged along. Not physically, as their missions and adventures tend to be Komaru’s suggestion, but more “emotionally” as Toko or Haiji tend to say things and Komaru just agrees with one or the other without much reasoning. Maybe it’s in her character to be naive and easily swayed, but her side picking is a bit shallow.
Okay, I should also talk about the progression of their relationship. The rifts that Komaru and Toko have to overcome comes from Komaru being deeply rooted into her feelings of inferiority and helplessness, and Toko’s bitter anger at this viewpoint. We see consistently in early chapters Komaru burying herself in self pity, which is pretty easy for her, as there is basically no hope for escape. This was confirmed when she meets Yuta, an upbeat high school kid just like her who is determined to escape, who gets promptly blown up 10 seconds in. In my opinion, Bandai should’ve scored above Yuta, but that’s for another lengthy writeup. We get to see the two perspectives of Komaru, a fresh soul who is at rock bottom, and Toko, someone who has lived through the worst and now has to deal with these poor bastards. Toko to an extent, understood what it felt like to be unable to do anything from her DR1 experience, and hated her past self for that. Toko is reminded of her past self by Komaru, and chews her out in a similar way as she would’ve done to her past self I imagine. It’s realistic for Komaru have a hard time having this get through her head, as everything seems hopeless. There is no long term goal that she can accomplish, but there’s one thing that she can do. Though escape may not be feasible at the moment, survival is. I appreciate the little things they do together, like Komaru and Toko helping each other up the ledge and their conversation when they saw the dancing Monokumas. It takes advantage of the 3-D model medium as opposed to the sprite-visual novel type.
Their next moment is when they first meet Haiji, and Toko calls out Haiji for lying around, doing nothing and lying in wait, and Komaru is kinda on Haiji’s side here. Logically, I would too at that moment since not all of us have hacking guns are a serial killer alter ego with scissors. Before Toko can really get her speech into everyone’s skulls, they are shunned by Haiji because he doesn’t like the Future Foundation. We don’t know what’s the beef with FF and the resistance, but Komaru and Toko reach the transmission tower to contact the FF. However, Toko refused to allow Makoto to help Komaru since her escape would lead to Byakuya being in danger (you know the reason why Toko came here basically.) So Toko is definitely at a dilemma and Komaru is stuck having to deal with her. Toko further doubles down on the lengths she’d go for Byakuya by saying that she’d allow Komaru to die if that meant Byakuya staying alive. Here, Komaru begins to stand on her feet without Toko, and she doesn’t feel carried along by Toko. She calls Toko out on her behavior, saying “This is why you didn’t have any friends before.” Though this widens the rift between them a bit, it establishes Toko’s flaws more and sets Komaru up to be a bit more independent.
However, I think Chapter 3 was the worst UDG chapter for Komaru and Toko, not gonna lie. Komaru’s writing flaw of being dragged around by others is pretty apparent here. When they return to the base, Shirokuma motherfucker I forgot about Shirokuma proposes to reason with the kids, which at first Komaru was on board with, despite learning first hand in the prologue that they aren’t reasonable. Toko and Haiji are having none of it, and Toko once again advocates fighting back while Haiji tries to convince everyone to continue waiting instead of throwing people’s lives away. This time, Komaru is dragged toward Haiji and opposes Toko, and Toko once again calls out Komaru for hiding instead of fighting. This argument is interrupted by an attack by the Kumas, and Haiji imprisons them for possibly being responsible for leading the Kumas back to the base. Komaru has a bit of self reflection, berating herself for leading to the deaths in the base.
I would say this is also a low (emotional) point for Komaru. She feels like if she were anything but “normal” less people would’ve died and maybe the attack could’ve been averted. The truth is, no one in Komaru’s position would have prevented the attack and Komaru uses the concept of “special” as a false hope, or as Toko gives, an excuse. It’s easy to give up because you’re not “special” or “good enough.” Setting an unrealistic goal or state of being will inevitably end in failure, and that failure will lead to Komaru being content with her pitiful state. However, this moment is interrupted by Kotoko, who captures Komaru. To be honest, the rest of this chapter is kind of a dead zone for development for both Komaru and Toko. They really feel like Kotoko’s antics just being thrown in and I really don’t like the following scene at all. Kotoko jerks Komaru off and talks about her own shitty life, and then Jack breaks in and free Toko. The entire punishment scene feels like fanservice, but that’s for another time. Komaru apologizes to Toko for leaving her and calling her out in the beginning of the chapter. In my opinion, Komaru really didn’t need to apologize for that, since her anger toward Toko was justified and it’s not like Komaru had much of a choice to “leave” with Kotoko. If Komaru refused, Kotoko probably would’ve killed or paralyzed Komaru anyway. The good thing is, the apology doesn’t wash away the consequences Komaru created by calling Toko out, as she was right to condemn Toko’s behavior.
Onto Chapter 4 was the big emotional moment with Toko and Komaru. After being lead by Nagisa to the apparent escape from the city, The Servant reveals that Toko had already made a deal to bring Komaru to Monaca in exchange for Byakuya. Toko goes all out on telling Komaru how far she will go for Byakuya and how little she cares for Komaru in that case. On the contrary, Komaru continues to believe in Toko and is convinced Toko is only saying those things to make Komaru leave. Well eventually, they make up and have a happy moment where Toko resolves to keep Komaru safe while freeing Byakuya, finally having learned something from Komaru for once. Then, it’s all smooth sailing from there where Toko and Komaru finally have a deep understanding and friendship and Toko helped Komaru out of her despair in the final chapter. They’re a pretty good duo, but like I said, Toko always felt like the one carrying the dynamic while Komaru for the most part, went along. To be honest, her interaction with basically every other character is forgettable, be it the WoH, other hit-lists targets, Shirokuma, or Haiji, their dialogue isn’t memorable, and save for Monaca and the hit-list targets, Komaru doesn’t seem all too impacted by the others in the long run. To reiterate, I felt like Komaru was quick to latch onto Haiji or Shirokuma’s ideas for most of the first few chapters without really exploring the dynamic between Haiji and Komaru or Shirokuma and Komaru. If they were gonna make Komaru side with Shirokuma and Haiji over Toko at those points, how Komaru related to those characters could’ve been better explored. Komaru knowing how it feels to be weak was a good start, but in the end it felt a bit vapid as instead of being dragged to Haiji’s side, she was dragged to prison after the Monokumas attacked. There really were no opportunities to explore how Komaru’s thinking contrasts or parallels with the other characters except Toko.
Steel Ball Run’s Gyro and Johnny was the greatest duo fiction has ever produced.
JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE PART 7-8 SPOILERS AHEAD. Johnny and Gyro I feel were like Toko and Komaru except done perfectly, and I want to talk about part 7 in my writeup. Johnny is someone who starts in the same position as Komaru; Destitute, a bit depressive, and with nothing, even below nothing as Johnny would put it. Gyro’s use of the spin is what motivates Johnny into tagging along with Gyro, in hopes of regaining the use of his legs. Komaru tags along with Toko with the hopes of escaping. You may say they’re incomparable, as Part 7 is longer and is almost a totally different genre and a different medium to UDG, but I can see the parallels. Both stories allow their characters to express themselves and change and though Komaru did with Toko, I don’t think the extent was great enough to keep her in rankdown. Both of their relationships develop greatly throughout the series, where there are times of action and times of banter. Really, some of the best part 7 moments are from Johnny and Gyro’s interactions like “The Cheese Song”, “7 Days of the Week” or them telling each other’s secrets. Each duo learns a lot from each other, and their most emotional moments can only be gathered from sticking with the story. What I think Johnny does better is that despite technically being the one who tags along, he never feels truly like that, though people joke about Gyro being the true protagonist. Gyro is the mentor and calls the shots, but Johnny’s role in developing Tusk is a big reason why I like Johnny so much. Johnny has to struggle with learning to use the spin at every corner, and it doesn’t feel like he’s just overcoming milestones. He had to confront his past failures, like his guilt with being responsible for the death of his brother, or having to live down his rising dark determination, as he was willing to kill Diego over the corpse parts.
Another thing I like about Gyro and Johnny’s relationship is that Gyro respects Johnny’s independence far more than Toko respects Komaru’s. Though Gyro does a lot of giving lessons toward Johnny, Gyro gives enough respect to Johnny enough to follow through with it independently. Toko wanted Komaru to stand up and be independent, but there were probably like 3 times where I felt like Komaru was really solving something with her own two hands. The first was convincing Toko to side with her, the second being convincing the adults to rally against Monokuma, and the third being deciding to keep the adults and the children alive by deciding to stay. Take the scene from the In a Silent Way arc, where Gyro tries to teach Johnny to use the Golden Rectangles in battle. When his abilities were truly tested by Sandman’s sudden attack, Johnny starts to break down, telling Gyro that he couldn’t do it. However, Gyro decides not to jump in and solve everything for Johnny, by telling him, “You have to say that you can’t do it five times.” That moment I felt a lot for Johnny when he actually mustered the ability to take out Sandman by using the spin on Gyro’s belt, showing his ability to confront his weakness. I don’t feel that often with Toko and Komaru, since with every step of the way, it felt like Toko’s metaphorical hand was on her shoulder most of the way through.
Another comparison is the Sugar Mountain arc, where Johnny was faced with the decision to either keep the corpse parts he took in exchange for Gyro’s life, or to save Gyro and give up the corpse parts. To Johnny, keeping the corpse part was the only path he knew that could restore the use of his legs. This does take me back to UDG where Komaru was faced with killing the children for the sake of the adults and starting another war, or not destroying it, keeping the adults in peril but keeping Towa in itself, face. Both protagonists were faced with an agonizing choice where they will lose something insurmountable to save something else. Komaru decides to stay in order to keep FF and Towa City safe, while Johnny decides to give up his corpse parts for Gyro, with the belief that they can solve their problems in the future. What I think SBR does better is that the personal stakes manage to feel equally high despite the global stakes seeming lower. If Komaru destroys the controller, a war will start. If Johnny gives up the corpse parts, he has almost no hope of walking again. Chapter 5 was a manner of spectacle in my eyes. The global stakes were high, as a war would mean many deaths on both sides, but everything that Monaca was sizing up didn’t feel like it resonated with Komaru. Yes, there were personal influences toward Komaru like her possibly becoming the 2nd Junko, and the presumed death of her parents, but it’s difficult to relate the fate of the world to a character like Komaru in a satisfying way. Well, I guess what was satisfying-ish was seeing Monaca lose at the end, but Komaru winning didn’t feel like as much a personal victory for her than I thought it would be. I think Chapter 4 was done a lot better in this regard, where strangely, the state of Toko and Komaru’s relationship felt more butt clenching than the fate of Towa City. It was cool and great to see Toko be convinced by Komaru’s words and resolve to save Byakuya and Komaru without any doubt in her mind. I have said that Komaru’s personal journey was far grander than the literal journey involving yeeting the WoH, though SBR ties the personal and the literal journey together a lot better.
Gyro’s relationship with Johnny is also very well done. You may think Gyro is just someone who has everything and is just helping a poor cripple out. However, Gyro is someone who lived his own life being forced to repress his emotions. He wasn’t allowed to have sympathy for the dying, and he was not allowed to speak out against injustice when he found out some kid was being sentenced wrongly. Gyro copes with this by being as outspoken, loud, and flamboyant as possible. Sometimes, Gyro does get irritated by Johnny’s tendency dwindling focus in the race in favor of the corpse, but Gyro manages to have emotional support from Johnny as well. Johnny is someone who Gyro feels truly comfortable around. He doesn’t need to overplay his personality (though he does a lot of that anyway) when around Johnny. Gyro probably never had the time to do small talk, and you can see how ecstatic Gyro is to just talk with his banter. Gyro deciding to share his secrets with Johnny in the end was a once in a lifetime experience for him. He said he never tells anyone his real name, which showed just how much he trusts Johnny, and he felt comfortable with someone finally knowing him like Johnny does. Johnny also helped Gyro develop by forcing him to take the race more seriously. He tells Gyro that his inherited spin wouldn’t be enough to win the race, and though initially brushing it off, Gyro takes it to heart by acting more serious during fights. By the end, Gyro was truly comfortable with himself and the outcome of the final fight, something he likely never felt his entire life. This relates to Toko to an extent. Toko and Gyro are pretty different characters, with Toko instead hiding her feelings with a rough and smelly exterior. However, they both get a similar benefit from being with their partner. They finally have someone they can talk to normally without needing to put up an act or push people away. Sure, they both have people in their lives, like how Gyro fucked a lot of women or how Toko obsesses over Byakuya, but it’s not like they can provide the emotional support like Johnny or Komaru did. In the end, I would say that the “student teaches master” part was equally well done, with Toko sometimes having the edge, since we see how she continues to grow not just from her DR1 self. I would say Toko is kind of a “developed character” in UDG, but she continues to develop, which is what a character can always benefit from if done right.
Komaru and Johnny both didn’t start out with grander stakes. Komaru just wanted to escape. Johnny just wanted to walk again and didn’t really give a shit about Valentine’s plans until Jesus told him to yeet him. But as time went on it became more apparent that they can’t avoid being dragged into something greater than their initial goal. The entire build up through D4C was extremely well done and satisfying, and it made the entire final fight against Valentine especially heart wrenching. I know that no one (except Yuta) really dies in UDG, but I have to talk about the emotional weight of Gyro’s death. Seeing Gyro die, because he stuck to his principles to the end was heartbreaking. He easily could’ve negated his wound by entering Love Train, but it would go against his philosophy of not letting an innocent person to die in his stead; I mean, that’s why he joined the race in the first place, right? Seeing Johnny agonize over Valentine’s words giving him promises to return Gyro to him was also a very emotional moment, and I felt like Johnny was a truly different person than he was in the beginning because of Gyro. In Part 8, you really feel how much Johnny learned from Gyro. When his son ended up being one to start succumbing to the rock disease, Johnny 100% could’ve saved his son by passing it off to some poor bastard. That’s exactly what Johnny from the beginning would do. But like Gyro, he refused to let an innocent person die, and instead took the disease for himself. I constantly felt the impact Gyro and Johnny had on each other throughout the whole way, while also being able to see them as individuals. Their banter is human and amazing, and their progression felt natural and well earned. I am not saying Komaru’s development wasn’t any of the above, but Johnny and Gyro did it perfectly. However, I’m not saying Komaru should be cut just because she isn’t perfection, but it’s a good exploration on how she could’ve been better. And in rankdown, this is something to consider for characters that are “good.”
PART 7-8 SPOILERS END HERE. In Conclusion, I like Komaru. If you expected another scathing character writeup, then you thought wrong. At this point, it’s hard to fish up characters I don’t like in the top 30. But I feel like she is the most cuttable of the choices I have. Though she does handle things better than Makoto, has great interactions with Toko, and her progression felt natural, there were problems that made me place her below the other characters. Like Makoto, it sometimes felt like she was being dragged around by other characters, and sometimes I am compelled to force my attention away from Komaru in favor of other characters (like Toko), and in general, Toko is the stronger, more memorable, carrying force of the duo. Finally, the last chapter’s premise doesn’t resonate with Komaru’s arc that well, in my opinion. Her personal growth was good, but I didn’t feel that interested about the fate of the children and the adults (except maybe Byakuya.) Every endgame chapter had huge implications to both the world and the character, like Makoto against crushing despair, Hajime being faced with possibly losing himself, and Shuichi fighting the literal meta. I think all of those endings conflicts resonated with their characters really well, but Komaru’s final decision felt like a huge obstacle she has to overcome rather than the final test of her character character arc. This is not helped by DR3, since we don’t know what the fuck happens to the Monokuma Kids. If you are mad at me for cutting Komaru despite all the good things I said about her, it’s because the other characters are better, that’s kinda it.
Why not anyone else?
Gonta Gokuhara is a very cool character, one of my favourite V3 boys for his subversion of cinnamon roll type characters and being oddly relatable with his desperate need to be useful. You can argue that Gonta suffers a similar issue with Komaru with “being dragged along by other characters” with his case, Kokichi, but I don’t feel like any of Gonta’s interactions felt fleeting. Each interaction with say Kaito or Kokichi feels like it sticks to Gonta, while interactions between Komaru and say, Haiji, Shirokuma, Hiroko etc. tend to just slide off of her.
Shuichi Saihara could I have cut Shuichi? Probably. Will I? Nah. Shuichi is an alright character who I feel is a bit more proactive and I feel like he has very good interactions with other characters like Kaito, Ryoma, Tenko, Kork (but not Maki.) He does his job well and I probably would have him in the 30-20 spot.
Fuyuhiko Kuzuryuu and Kaede Akamatsu are cool totally not overrated characters I would like to see go further.
Kyoko Kirigiri Kyoko is pretty alright, I don’t have many words to say about Kyoko but I think she provides a lot of the drive toward DR1 but I could’ve cut her over Komaru, yeah yeah yeah.
I literally cannot cut Junko Enoshima or Maki Harukawa though I’d cut both before Komaru. It would be extremely funny and hilarious when Junko moves to the next round and someone has to revive her because they literally can’t think of a better person to revive.
I could’ve cut Makoto Naegi, but chances are somebody else will do it.
Mercy cutting Kiyotaka Ishimaru would’ve been hilarious and knee slapping but I will not. Over time, I kinda like Taka a bit more he is a cool guy.
Byakuya Togami I like quite a bit since he is a cool straightforward and fairly realistic rival who is better than Kokichi. I have no intention of spite cutting him, as donuter did basically the same thing I would do if I were in his position and I don’t hold it against him.
A word about Nekomaru Nidai. Despite him rising zero places, at this moment, I don’t regret reviving him. The only thing I would change is reviving Kirumi over him, but once Kirumi was done away, I had no interest in reviving anyone else. Really, I don’t want to be like these 6 spare AE holders who may have to half-ass their revive on someone they don’t care too much about just because they have to use their revive. Tell me, who else do I have as much “passion” talking about who are still remaining as I do towards Nekomaru? Ryoma is basically a walking deathtrap to anyone cutting him. I had something to say about him and I did not want to live down Nekomaru ending on the initial note, so I said what I had to say. It’s as simple as that. I think donuter did a good job pointing out Nekomaru’s flaws and tombing him the right way, and I am glad more has been said about Nekomaru this rankdown than the past 5 years or so of him being in DR.
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