What does this depiction of the series have to offer that the game and the anime didn’t?
In short, really nothing. There’s nothing expanded upon that wasn’t already shown in the game. It seems as though the manga spends as much time on getting to know the characters as the anime does, which is very bare minimum. As a result, all this does is feel like a wasted opportunity.
For example, the manga is not bound to using Makoto, the protagonist, as the narrator. It could have allowed the reader to see the perspective of the murderer post trial, or even recreated the scene between the victim and murderer to show how the event happened instead of Makoto just telling the reader.
Even the shock of the murders are rather lost to the reader. Since the manga is in black and white, it loses the shock of the vibrant pink blood that has become synonymous with the series. This severely dampens the impact that each death has. While it may not affect first time readers of the series, long time fans will find the missing element rather off putting.
The one thing that this manga does expand on is Makoto. He’s depicted as more emotional than he was in the anime or in the game and it’s a wonderful addition to the character. It’s always been implied that Makoto was a little rash and perhaps quick to act without thinking his actions through, but more time is dedicated to it in the manga. However, this doesn’t change the character of Makoto. He is still someone who is determined to take down Monokuma by any means necessary, but now he wears his heart a little more on his sleeve. This drives him as a more sympathetic protagonist and strengthens his character.
Despite a great addition to an already well done character, there’s not much new that Dangan Ronpa The Animation The Manga has to offer fans of the series. For those who don’t want to play the game, this is a quick way to get through the story. But, they would get the same experience if they watched the anime as well. Mainly, the audience that will be drawn to this are the fans who are looking to collect all forms of media from the Dangan Ronpa franchise. The art is well done and stays true to the Dangan style, though it doesn’t make up for the lack of character development or what could have been additional content.
Dangan Ronpa The Animation The Manga is available now in bookstores through Dark Horse Manga.