This is the last update of anything for the rest of 2012. I'll be back sometime in January with a Kino's Journey update and the opening pages of Vamp!
Enjoy the finale, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!
EDIT: Get the Kindle version here. Thanks to Forgotten Alchemist for compiling it!
EDIT: Also apparently December 24th is the birthday of SHSL Spoilers. I swear I had no idea until I saw the comment--talk about one heck of a coincidence!
With great difficulty, Makoto Naegi regained consciousness.
His course of action during Ikusaba's battle at the entrance hall against the Monobear army was exceedingly simple.
All he did was relate his own memories to the other students.
Even the recording from the infirmary that Fujisaki presented to everyone had not been enough to convince them. Naturally, at first they were not persuaded by Naegi's explanation. That is, until Oogami asked him a certain question and turned the atmosphere upside-down.
"Ah… Then you say that the world outside this school is in utter ruins? That no one remains alive?"
"…Don't worry, Oogami-san… I… I'm sure Kenichiro-san must be safe… He's not going to break his promise to you… I just know it…" Naegi said slowly, struggling to take breaths in between words.
Oogami gasped. Kenichiro was the name of the man she had never been able to defeat--a man with whom she had made a vow to fight once more, and one other promise.
"How… How do you know that name… and the fact of that promise?"
"You told me yourself, Oogami-san… No…" Naegi breathed. "Oogami-san… you told us all. Everyone…"
Oogami stood in silence for a moment before turning to her fellow students.
"I shall put my faith in Naegi."
"S-Sakura-chan?" Asahina gasped. Oogami continued, her tone somewhat hesitant.
"Not once have I ever spoken of this man and our promise. And I intended to keep this memory buried within my heart until my dying day. But if I had truly disclosed this secret of mine, then that must mean there was a powerful bond between myself, Naegi, and you, my fellow students."
Naegi continued to recount his memories in a gentle tone. Although it could not be the best thing for his health, he did not stop revealing even more memories that the others had lost.
"Naegi Makoto-dono! That story idea is still but a figment of my imagination! Could you possibly be a satori-type Emitter?!"(1)
"You… already finished that book… I helped you with the inking and stuff…"
"Whoa, hold your horses! How'd you know I extorted money from that gangster's girl, Naegi?!"
"…Because… They lumped me in with you and almost sold off both our organs, Hagakure-kun…"
The pain of his injury was excruciating. But Naegi did his best to keep a smile on his face as he told everyone about the cherished memories they had made together. And as he continued, the others slowly began to realize that there was something very genuine about the memories he related to them--he told them the kind of things that couldn't be learned without having spent time with them.
The students began to catch sight of something like a lost connection between one another. Togami alone remained cynical ("There's a good chance all of you are working together. After all, there is no way I could have allowed myself to become close to the likes of you people"), but he at least seemed to have stopped thinking of Naegi as a simple terrorist.
Even if Mukuro Ikusaba did not intentionally set things up this way, the act of holding off the Monobears long enough for Naegi to awaken and recount his memories became a tiny ray of hope in her path.
And now, as she looked upon the face of the boy who flashed a smile at her well-being, Ikusaba found herself unable to speak. What should she say, she wondered, lost for words. The battle was over, and Ikusaba was back to being a disappointing teenage girl. She averted her eyes and apologetically stepped off the back of the motorcycle. But Naegi did not ignore her.
"…Thank you… You saved me, Ikusaba-san…"
Naegi gave her a word of honest thanks between his ragged breathing. Ikusaba was unable to meet his eyes, muttering as if to herself.
"Kirigiri must have told you… You know what I did to you… what I did to everyone."
Ikusaba should rightly have been nothing but a traitor to the boy who had regained his memories. So how could he bring himself to smile at her? Ikusaba kept her gaze locked on the floor, unwilling to look up. Naegi laughed sheepishly.
"I guess you're right, but… You saved my life a few times in the past two years. And…" Naegi took a quiet breath and smiled again at Ikusaba. "We're friends… we spent all that time together. I'd be happy if you could find another path, not despair… And if I could help you somehow, I would…"
"I've come all this way… How could I take another path?"
"…I don't know what you should do, or what I can do, Ikusaba-san… But I don't think whether you find the answer matters as much as giving it a try."
Was Naegi saying this on purpose, or was it a coincidence? He had said something similar when he was talking with "Junko Enoshima" in the infirmary. It meant that whether his memories were intact or not, this was the true character of Makoto Naegi. As Ikusaba affirmed this fact to herself, Naegi made a kindly but almost foolishly stubborn proposal.
"And it's not just you, Ikusaba-san. From now on, even Enoshima-san--"
But he was quickly cut off.
The monitors in the school blinked on all at once, displaying Monobear's face, and carrying his familiar laughter through the speakers.
[I guess I could have dragged on that whole Super High School Level Hacker act, but I'm sick of impersonating someone who might not even exist! At this rate, I'll lose my identity and turn into Fraud-o-Bear!] He cried angrily.
Kirigiri looked up at a surveillance camera.
"It certainly doesn't look like you're having a hard time keeping up."
[When it comes to giving up, I'm the fastest bear around! Anyway, I bet Little Fujisaki there must've figured out the secrets of my control program by now.]
"…So you really did place it there on purpose."
When Kirigiri heard Ikusaba's explanation about Junko Enoshima, she found herself realizing that there were two possible reasons that such a malicious human being would leave behind such an obvious clue inside the Monobear units. The first reason would be to lead the students to the conclusion that the world outside was already on the brink of ruin, and that the strangers they had been murdering had actually been their friends, turning their hopes into despair. The second reason was in anticipation of the control program providing the clue to the downfall of Junko herself, giving her despair in which she could rejoice.
She was a terrible god who delighted even in her own despair, using it to scatter destructive despair to those around her. What was she thinking, putting up the persona of Monobear?
[Wanna know why I put that program there? If Fujisaki could survive long enough to be in the final five, I'd have let you bastards get your hands on the program so you'd figure out the truth! I guess I'm a little sad that all that effort was a waste, but I'm going to be an optimistic bear! The word surrender doesn't exist in the Monobear Dictionary!] Monobear said brightly, in stark contrast to the wary looks in the students' eyes.
[Let's see… Since we're all here, including Fukawa tied up in her room, why don't we get started on a heart-pounding, breathtaking, nausea-inducing Special Graduation Exam?]
Monobear ignored the students' confusion and continued.
[Don't think too hard or your brains'll break! Relax, relax. You could change the 'x' to a 'pse' and I wouldn't care! I can't bear losing out in cuteness!] Monobear rambled. Togami spoke up, clearly annoyed.
"…We already know who you are. I've had enough of your inane games. Show yourself!"
[Oh? Looks like someone doesn't have enough genre savvy! Don't you know? If you wanna drag out the mastermind from behind the veil, you have to bring out the right opponent! And you're not worth it. At all. Did you really think I'd show my face to that flimsy hope and despair you're showing me right now? Puhyahyahya…]
With a roar of laughter, Monobear resumed his explanation.
[If you pass this exam, I'll let you all graduate from the school. But if you don't… you're going to be held back. A fresh start, with refreshed memories! You're going back all the way to the beginning, from your self-introductions at the Opening Ceremony. They say people's lives don't have any reset buttons, but I'm not human. I can call the shots on hard resets and soft resets!]
Everyone but Hagakure realized what Monobear meant by the word 'reset'. In other words, they would start over from the point they found themselves at just a few days ago. Ignoring Hagakure, who glanced around asking for an explanation, Ishimaru pointed accusingly at a nearby monitor.
"I won't stand for this! Haven't the past few days taught you that we would never resort to something as ignoble as murder?!"
[What? Are you sure?]
"Of course! No one here could possible take another's life, no matter the reason or motive!"
One of the girls in particular was looking away, standing a step away from the others with an ashen face. Sayaka Maizono, the Super High School Level Idol, stood alone and trembling.
Suddenly, someone whispered into her ear.
"What do you think, Maizono-san?"
The overwhelming terror of the sudden sound stopped her from even turning around, but Maizono was absolutely certain that there was a Monobear standing behind herself.
"Do you agree that no one here would kill a classmate?" Monobear asked, leaning in so that Maizono alone could hear. "Speaking of, young lady… Why did you go to Naegi-kun's room last night? It's not as though anything strange happened to you or anything, right?"
"Could this be a case of unseemly student relations? Don't you think you're betraying your fans all over the country by trying to seduce a guy? Or were you thinking of something even more sinister?"
Maizono's trembling worsened. She stood rooted to the spot, unable to even scream. Monobear had nothing in particular to gain from breaking her composure at this point. But he wanted to see the idol fall into despair at the hideous truth about her own nature. For this reason alone he continued to drive her into a corner.
"Say, I wonder what Maizono-san here was trying to do to these friends she's known for the past two years?"
Maizono's determination from the previous night, coupled with the memories Naegi recounted to her, began to eat away at her psyche like acid. As her mind began to collapse into ruin, Maizono nearly fell to her knees.
At that very moment, a clear orb flying at 168 kilometres an hour was driven straight into Monobear's jaws. The speaker inside it was destroyed, and the unit itself was thrown all the way to the wall by the force of the impact.
Maizono came to her senses and turned to the direction from which the orb had come flying. Standing there was Kuwata, breathing heavily and glaring at Monobear's remains. Hagakure, standing next to him, suddenly grabbed him by the collar.
"Eh?! What's this all about, Kuwata?! That crystal ball cost me an arm and a leg!"
Kuwata must have snatched the orb from Hagakure in search of a projectile to throw at Monobear.
"Hey, that bastard was trying to take her hostage! What was I supposed to do?"
"That crystal ball cost me a hundred million! A HUNDRED MILLION YEN! That means more bills than all the people in Japan put together!"
"Check your math, buddy! 'Sides, if the outside world's really turned into a hellhole, what's cash gonna do for you, anyway? And if things are actually fine outside, I'll make it to the Major Leagues or somethin' and pay you back! …Uh, well, I guess I'd rather try for something other than baseball, though…"
As Kuwata and Hagakure argued amongst themselves, Maizono fell to her knees.
"Whoa! You all right, Maizono?" Kuwata asked worriedly, running over to her. Maizono looked up at him blankly.
"Kuwata-kun… There's something I want to confess to you later…"
"What, seriously?! Uh, y-you mean it?" Kuwata asked, brightening up as he forgot the gravity of the situation for a moment.
"Not just you, Kuwata-kun. I… have to tell Naegi-kun and the others, too."
Maizono had made up her mind to confess her intended crime, but Kuwata seemed to have not heard the second part of her words in his excitement. He returned to the other students with a spring in his step, slapping Yamada and Hagakure on the back and shouting cheerfully.
"Hell yeah! Better get this test over with quick and get outta this place! No way am I gonna let my sweet memories disappear!"
The Monobear on the monitor reacted to that remark.
[All right, you bastards. Since we're all charged up, how about we start your Graduation Exam?]
Oogami, who had been outside the dormitory building, stepped in to relay the state of the school building.
"The Monobears in the hallway are behaving strangely."
The students all moved towards the school building to confirm her assessment. There they saw fifty Monobears lining either side of the long hallway, with one final unit standing at the very end of the hall. There was something strange atop its head--an object closely resembling the escape switch Naegi had won at the Monomono Machine, but one size larger. As each student acknowledged this fact, an announcement came over the speakers.
[That thing the me at the end of the hall has on his head is a switch that'll open the gate to the outside. If you can get a hold of it less than fifteen seconds after you begin, I'll give it to you in place of a diploma.]
The students stirred at the surprising simplicity of the task given to them. Celes, who was alone in her tranquility, looked straight at the Monobear on the screen and addressed him.
"…There must be more to it than merely running up to take the switch."
[I'm hurt. Do I really look like a bad headmaster who'd try and get in his students' way? I'm sending you all off with a bang! Fireworks to celebrate your graduation. A hundred of them, enough for twenty seconds of partying!]
The more astute students instantly understood what this meant. The self-destruction mechanisms in each of the Monobear units would explode one after another, filling the hall with flames the moment they began their task.
[And after fifteen seconds, the me at the very end is going to sacrifice his own body to congratulate you. And this might not be relevant at that point, but that switch is a bit on the fragile side. Upupupu…]
All of this was a roundabout way of saying that Monobear had no intention of letting anyone graduate. Although the halls at Hope's Peak were wider than those of most other high schools, it was clear from the explosion they witnessed at the Entrance Ceremony that the hallway would soon be filled with hellfire. Even if someone could fortuitously make it through the flames, they would likely die of the burns on their body. Their lungs might be burned beyond repair even before that. Even if the students were to designate a sacrifice to take the challenge, their chances at success were incredibly low. At the same time, they would gain nothing from all attempting the run at once. The students' faces soon began growing dark with despair.
[Good, good… I almost want to snap a picture of you all and keep it as a souvenir!] Monobear cackled.
Oogami stepped forward.
"…I shall go. Though we have seen but one explosion, I believe that perhaps I could withstand something of such a caliber."
"Sakura-chan, no! Even you couldn't take a hundred of those explosions!" Asahina said, trying to stop her. But Oogami shook her head.
"There is no one else who stands such a chance."
Oowada then remembered the motorcycle he left in the dormitory building.
"Hold up. That bike might be enough to get through the explosions. …I'll do it."
"You must not act in haste. Even should the motorcycle remain unscathed, there is no guarantee that you will be equally unharmed."
As Oogami and the others debated the matter of who to send in, one of the students took one step closer to the Monobears than anyone else.
"I-Ikusaba-san!" Naegi said weakly.
Ikusaba, her back to Naegi, turned her head to give him a sidelong glance and a nod. She understood exactly why Monobear had set such a one-sided challenge upon them. Why was he toying with their hopes now, when he had already won?
Junko is already planning for the next game of despair. After all, she's going to erase our memories again regardless of what happens now.
She just wants to see use in despair because she feels like having fun…
Because Ikusaba knew this side of her sister's character well, she was also certain that the escape switch at the end of the hall was real. When Junko Enoshima fought to bring despair to others, she always made sure that there was a chance that she would instead be inflicted despair upon. Just as she had left traces of Fujisaki's program inside Monobear, she could not be satisfied unless she allowed for the slight risk of her own destruction. It was a compulsion very much suited to the Super High School Level Despair.
This was why Ikusaba was certain that she herself was the only one who stood a chance--she made up her mind to run the gauntlet herself, even if it meant putting her life on the line.
As she was now, Ikusaba wanted to live. She wanted to become a part of this world that she had never been interested in before. Although she had no idea whether she should label her hesitation a disappointment, she wanted to survive and find a new path. A path that would allow her to leave the world of despair and live on, accepting the sins of the past.
Ikusaba, once known as a killing machine, found her heart set upon by indescribable terror. She had never once thought about the fact that survival required determination. And as though in an attempt to shake off that fear, she said in a quiet voice:
"Naegi-kun… Thank you."
Disappointingly enough, the words she directed to the boy who had shown her a future full of possibilities never reached his ears. But Oogami, who had heard her, replied with a grimace.
"…If it is repentance by death you seek, I shall stop you by force if I must."
There was a severity in her voice tinged with unmistakable pride. Ikusaba felt a twinge of envy for Oogami, who had also dedicated her life to battle, and whispered something to her.
"What? …Are you certain?"
Just as Oogami's frown deepened, Monobear's voice rang out in the hall.
[Let the Graduation Exam begin! Ready, go!]
They had time for neither criticism nor question. The Monobear at the very front exploded in a wave of heat and noise that filled the hall. But Ikusaba did not look away from the blasts--instead, she took action, supported by rigid determination.
The moment the Graduation Exam began, the mastermind focused her attention entirely on the Monobear with the escape switch. She could read her older sister's actions with ease--what the superhuman killing machine would focus on, with her incredible skill with weaponry. And as Junko watched the scene through Monobear's eyes, the world unfolded before her as she had predicted.
A pointed metal pipe emerged from the flames caused by the explosions, headed straight for the weak point of the unit with the escape switch--the point where the detonation system for the bomb and the unit's support system overlapped.
Ikusaba's attack came at a perfect angle, like an arrow shot by a master archer. The superhuman girl known as Mukuro Ikusaba had acted to bring despair to Monobear--the mastermind--by piercing through the same point as she had attacked in the infirmary by lobbing the pipe like a javelin. The makeshift spear defeated all logic, coming at Monobear with accuracy and speed that could not be possible in a flame-filled hallway.
The mastermind knew. Mukuro Ikusaba had brought despair to the world with this power of hers, because power was all this disappointing girl had to her name. But not even that would be enough to take down Monobear. The mastermind, having already predicted that Ikusaba would put all her efforts into the throw, had controlled Monobear to catch the metal pipe as though catching a blade coming down a split second before it made contact. The force of the impact pushed the unit back several yards, but the pointed end of the pipe, still angled exactly as Ikusaba had thrown it, was never able to stop Monobear's functions.
You really are a disappointment.
Junko changed her perspective, turning to another monitor. She wanted to see the look on her sister's face as she stood at the doors to the dormitory, seeing that her desperate throw had amounted to nothing. To be specific, the mastermind wanted to see how much despair she could cause in Ikusaba when the final Monobear--and the escape switch atop it--were blown to smithereens. She wanted to carve the image of her disappointing sister's newfound hope sinking into despair again.
Following her impulses, Junko turned to the camera that watched the doors to the dorms in search of her sister. But the only person she saw was Oogami, who seemed to have just finished an attack.
For one whole second Junko was lost in confusion. The despair-inducingly powerful mastermind then understood what was happening, and turned back to the last Monobear.
That one wasted second would go on to cause Junko a small amount of despair.
There were three seconds left.
It blitzed through the smoke, fire, and heat in the hallway like a bullet. Despite its icy mask it glared at Monobear with fire in its eyes.
It revealed itself to the school of despair, becoming a weapon that cut through all in its path.
Two seconds left.
Monobear, still holding the pipe at the same angle, made to move--but at the same time, 'it' appeared before him from beyond the flames. Its body, though unscarred by years of fighting on the battlefields, was being licked by flames and hit by shrapnel, leaving it with countless wounds and injuries. And yet it did not waver. There was no fear in its eyes.
One second left.
'It'--Mukuro Ikusaba, who had become a living weapon--used her knee to hammer in the back of the metal pipe Monobear was still holding. The pipe was driven into the unit like a nail, tearing apart the detonation and support systems at once.
A hundred explosions later, the hallway was filled with smoke. Ikusaba had rolled on the floor with Monobear, holding the immaculate escape switch in her hand.
In other words, the students of Hope's Peak Academy had passed their Graduation Exam.
This was the circumstance behind the little despair that came upon Monobear in these three seconds.
First floor hallway.
Ikusaba said to Monobear, who was unable to move or destroy himself. However, his communication functions seemed to be intact. A voice escaped his speakers, mingled in with a great deal of static.
"Upupupu… To think you'd resort to something like that…" The voice changer still seemed to be functioning, judging from Monobear's voice. "I must have overestimated you. Getting help from someone on a battlefield?"
"When I give you the signal, give me a roundhouse kick and propel me forward."
This was what Ikusaba had said to Oogami the moment before the explosions began. The moment she lobbed the metal pipe at Monobear, Ikusaba leapt into the air, the soles of her feet meeting Oogami's at the precise moment that the latter unleashed a kick. Combining her own strength with Oogami's, Ikusaba had propelled herself at Monobear with the Super High School Level Wrestler as her launch pad. The intense G-forces threatened to take away her consciousness, but she forced herself awake, withstanding even the fire and shrapnel that overtook her as she felled both her despair and the explosions.
Ikusaba had faith in her sister. Junko Enoshima would predict the metal rod being thrown and would react accordingly--then she would turn her attention to her older sister in order to relish the look of despair in her eyes. Though Ikusaba was unable predict Junko's attempt to murder her with Gungnir, this time she had read her sister perfectly.
But all Monobear had for her was scorn.
"You put your life and trust in someone else for a life-or-death challenge? What is this, Mediocrity Central? It's… tepid. Disappointing. This time, I guess I'll just say I lost to myself because I never saw this much disappointment coming. Happy, happy."
But Ikusaba shook her head.
"No, Junko. That's not it."
"In terms of winning and losing… I think… we'd already lost a long time ago." Ikusaba said hesitantly, her eyes wandering as she attempted to sort out everything she wanted to say.
"The reason you erased everyone's memories must be because… the way they were before, you didn't think they'd kill one another, even if they fell into despair. They're different from the other people you toyed with like this. You were sure they'd never hurt each other unless you erased their memories, right?"
"What are you talking about?"
"So, um… It's all right, Junko. One day, I… I'm going to bring back everyone's memories, and show you their happiness and… relationships, I think? I'll show it all to you, and make you despair even more."
Ikusaba finished with a final nod. Monobear was silent for a few moments.
"You finally get the best of me, and that's all you can say? You're a total disappointment! You never gave me despair. You were just disappointing all around!" Monobear spat, as though convincing himself of his superiority.
"But you guys are coming back here. I guarantee it." He added, his tone unchanged.
"And next time, I'll invite you somewhere nice. I found myself an interesting island while I was running things here… Upupupupu… Upupupupupupupupu…"
After one final burst of laughter, even the static faded. Monobear's remains finally went silent. He would say no more for some time, no matter how much they shouted at him. The mastermind had already begun preparations to bring about a new despair into the world, which included the students and Junko Enoshima herself.
In the end, she never removed the persona of Monobear. Junko Enoshima would never show her face, as though she were venting her frustration at the despair she found herself in. Thinking this way, Ikusaba almost fell victim to despair--but the moment she heard the voices of her classmates calling to her, she locked that despair away deep in her heart.
From this point on, she would seal away all of her despair. And one day, she would unleash it all on her little sister--the perfect storm of despair, which would send them both plummeting into the abyss.
Ikusaba would never leave her sister behind. This was, after all, the first hope the disappointing elder sister had held since childhood.
Hours later, before the gates.
"Ikusaba-san… Are you really going to go out with that wig on?" Naegi asked. He had been given a transfusion of the correct blood type, and was slowly showing signs of recovery.
Ikusaba, who had put on the wig she used to dress up as Junko, nodded.
"…I think… If I pretend to be her, I might understand Junko's thoughts a little better…" She said, but her tone was still her own. Ikusaba had yet to completely get her thoughts in order.
"And… I've made up my mind. As long as I'm out there… I'm going to accept everyone's resentment at me… and Junko. I'm not going to die until I've destroyed all the despair Junko spread, but…"
The damage caused to the world by Super High School Level Despair could not be measured in terms of economy, society, or even the number of human lives. The television broadcasts had already outed Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba as the central figures in this disaster. Of the people outside who remained untainted by despair, the sisters were irredeemable criminals. And to the people clad in Monobear masks who were tearing the world apart, Ikusaba was now a traitor.
She was now in the despair-inducing situation of being the enemy of the entire world. But perhaps this was nothing so significant to Ikusaba.
"But… I'm going to do my best… so they don't get me while my guard is down."
"Isn't it safer for you to just turn yourself in to the cops? Well, can't say if they'd put you on death row or not, but you might stand a chance at lengthening out the trials enough to die of old age, eh?" Hagakure suggested, but Ikusaba shook her head.
"There are no laws, or even police officers now…"
"S-seriously? Maybe we'd be better off stayin'…" Hagakure said nervously. Togami sneered.
"Silence, commoner. Someone like you won't find a very different fate whether you're in this school or the outside world." Although he was shaken when he was told that the Togami family had collapsed, he was being quite brazen in front of Ikusaba now.
"I will spare you this time because you are an extremely valuable asset. And depending on your actions hereafter, I may even absolve you of your crimes once I've built up a new world." It was rather like Togami to claim he could acquit a world-ending terrorist.
"…I don't need an incentive like that. I… I don't intend to keep only myself alive."
Turning away from Togami, Ikusaba looked around at the other students. Kirigiri stood silently with a look of readiness. Fukawa, who had just turned back from Genocider Syo, was gesticulating in confusion. Everyone was reacting in their own way. And as she looked back at the past two years spent with them, Ikusaba handed the escape switch to Naegi, who shared those memories.
"Naegi-kun. You do it."
"I think… This is for the best."
As Naegi hesitantly received the switch, Ikusaba remembered Monobear's words.
"But you guys are coming back here. I guarantee it."
She knew that Monobear was correct. This school still housed something they needed to bring back the others' memories--the research files belonging to Yasuke Matsuda, the Super High School Level Neurologist. Perhaps the students could still restore the bonds forged between them in the past two years. But as long as the key to restoring their memories remained locked up inside the school, the mastermind could easily repeat her game of despair. The island she mentioned also bothered them, but at this point they could not avert their gaze from despair.
"Then… Here goes."
Naegi had remembered the state of the outside world. The boy who had in the past decided to live inside the school was now choosing to step outside. How much had he struggled over his decision?
But Naegi was determined to face the despair outside head-on, not showing a hint of his internal struggle to the others. And it was Ikusaba's goal to protect his hopes while bringing despair to her beloved sister. She no longer knew if what lay at the end of the path was hope or despair.
Pressing the wig down firmly over her head, Ikusaba hid her face with her arms.
Was she smiling because of the hope shining in her future? Or was she crying because what lay before her was despair?
Once her arms came back down, there was no longer any emotion in her face. She no longer knew what kind of a face she should wear. And at the same time, Naegi pressed down on the escape switch. The firearms withdrew into the ceiling as a siren began wailing.
Soon, a light appeared from beyond the gate.
An infinite IF enveloped the students and the world, equally accepting hope, despair, and the heart of the disappointing girl.
(1) An Emitter is a term from the shonen series Hunter x Hunter. Meanwhile, a satori is a youkai said to be able to read minds. (Thanks Anon for the info!)
Hello, everyone! This is Untuned Strings, the translator.
There's an interesting story behind this particular project--I happened to read the Dangan Ronpa Let's Play back in November, just as the main game was being wrapped up. After some searching on the internet, what did I find but a Korean version of Dangan Ronpa IF? I set it aside to work on later, but then the anime was announced. So my motivation levels suddenly went through the roof, and the rest is history.
I was actually quite surprised by the number of pageviews Dangan Ronpa IF received--many more than my regular projects like Baccano and Kino's Journey! That's pretty amazing for a game that was never officially released in the west. (And here I get sad again about Baccano and its FANTASTIC dub being so unpopular. *hint hint*)
Thank you so much for reading, and thank you for all your support. Although I don't believe I'll be working on a Dangan Ronpa-related project again in the foreseeable future, it was a real treat to get to work on a new series with a whole new cast of colourful characters.
Once again, thank you, and Merry Christmas!
Now, for some translation notes:
I tried to stick with orenronen's translations from the Let's Play as much as possible, but there were some unavoidable issues--SHSL Hacker/Programmer being one of them. But more significant was the matter of Mukuro and her honorific usage.
Because I'm working off a Korean translation, I don't have any references to what honorifics are used for whom. (There is an equivalent for -kun, but nothing otherwise) While I could refer to the LP for most of the characters, I had nothing to go on for Mukuro. She addresses Naegi with a -kun, and I'm about 80% sure she uses -chan for Junko. But in the case of the latter, I'm not even sure if she uses that honorific constantly or only in certain situations.
tl;dr I omitted most of Mukuro's honorific usages and I am terribly sorry about this.