[Let’s Talk: Characters] Juuzo Sakakura

Dangan Ronpa 3: Future Arc introduced us to a variety of new characters in the form of the Branch Leaders of the Future Foundation.
I’d like to take a closer look at Branch 6 leader Juuzo Sakakura. Our first introduction to Sakakura was in the spin-off manga “Dangan Ronpa Gaiden: Killer Killer.”. We see him entering a illegal gambling event known as Serial Killer Gambling in order to weed out the one known as ‘Killer Killer’, which he suspects is actually Takumi Hajihara a detective in his own branch of the Future Foundation. He enters under the disguise of ex-super high school level pyrotechnist, Ted Chikatilo, with a corpse made up to look like Makoto Naegi. When questioned why the corpse was made up to look like Makoto, he states it’s because he can’t stand him. So, we establish from the start that Sakakura hates Makoto. The next thing we learn is that he is the right hand man of the vice-president of the Future Foundation Kyosuke Munkata. This is the most insight the manga has given us to his character currently.

We move now to looking at him in Dangan Ronpa 3, both the Future and Despair arcs. Despair arc is where we learn the most about his character.

Upon finishing high school, he abandons a promising boxing career and takes up a position as Hope’s Peak chief of security in order to help along Munakata’s dream of bringing Hope’s Peak to even greater heights. This could be considered the first hint to his loyalty to Munakata. It continues through various conversations with Yukizome where he alludes to the idea that he would die for Munakata. His feelings for Munakata are left questionable until the later part of the series where it’s made clear that he is in love with him. Junko uses this fact to blackmail Sakakura into not revealing that she is the mastermind behind the tragedy. These moments in Despair arc outline the most important traits to his character ‘love’ and ‘loyalty’ to Munakata, and ‘bitterness’ towards Junko for using his feelings against him. This ‘bitterness’ is what leads to his hate for Makoto. He hates that Makoto was able to defeat Junko and kill her before he got a chance too.

vlcsnap-2017-01-28-20h57m57s712These are all the general facts we get about Sakakura’s character. The scene I want to look at is when he meets with Junko. First, he loses a fight for maybe the first time in his life. Then, he has his secret thrown in his face and threatened to be revealed. You can take his fear towards it being revealed in many ways. Is he afraid of Munakata finding out and possibly abandoning him? Is he afraid of how the world will perceive him? He’s the SHSL boxer after all, there is a certain expectation of manliness that goes with a title like that. Stepping away from this scene for a moment, we look to the comic anthology and assuming it is canon. There is an entire chapter where, under the influence of Ruruka’s sweets that are supposed to ‘bring out someone’s true nature’, he goes around and does kind things for the members of the Future Foundation. When they stop giving him the sweets, he goes back to being the Sakakura we’re familiar with. If we assume this chapter is canon, it means that his harsh nature is more of a front presented to meet the expectations of someone known as the SHSL boxer. Returning to the scene with Junko, she exploits his fear and his desire to keep up this facade of manliness. This entire encounter, leaves him shamed and bitter.

Honestly, I could talk forever about this character and pinning down his exact motivations in every scene he appears in. At the end of the day though, his driving motivation is loyalty and love which are very interesting driving motivations for a character as rough around the edges as Juuzo Sakakura.


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