There’s one thing in common about Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei and Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) – they’re both about human survival. Both anime have different settings, different set of character types and yet, human survival instincts that present within these two anime are very similar. Human fear deaths. Their will to fight is a direct result of desperation to stay alive or in some cases, making sure their loved ones get to see another day.
In Dangranronpa, we see 16 talented high students thrown into a tightly closed building that is Hope’s Peak Academy. Their only way to get out from the academy is to kill someone and get away with it. On the other hand, in Shingeki no Kyojin, we see residents living behind high walls attacked by giants, sparking chaos across the land. Young children lost their parents to unknown mutants and adults stood helplessly, not knowing how to defeat the enemy they know very little about.
These two anime series showed an array of emotions associating with human survival. In my opinion, both series captured very well the sense of helplessness as well as determination, but especially in Shingeki no Kyojin. Hannes was helpless and chose to run when he knew he couldn’t beat the giant in front of him. After losing his mother in front his eyes, Eren felt helpless and then was determined to take down the enemies who stripped away everything he once held dear to.
Now, watching these two series, it makes one wonder – in the moment of desperation, what would one do in order to live? Will the person forgo all his/her reasoning and ethics just so he/she could live?
In both series, when human survival instincts kick in, the characters would do anything to stay alive. Even if that means to kill. For example, in Danganronpa, Maizono Sayaka was ready to kill in order get out of the creepy school she unknowingly enrolled into. Similarly in Shigeki no Kyojin, Mikasa and Eren killed the robbers at only nine years of age because they wanted to live. Mikasa, who initially was trembling with fear, took a step of courage, plunged into a living being and took the life out of him. All of these because she wanted to live and she never looked back since.
So back to my original questions, what does it say about us? We live our lives everyday like any other day. I’d like to think we are peaceful people who have no ill intentions. And yet, if we’re in their situations, what are we capable of? Are we willing take lives of others in our own defense? It’s not something we ponder on everyday because it isn’t a place we want to go. But watching these two series, how they turned from ordinary, good citizens to the people they are now, it’s a question worth thinking no?
In the end, human is made up of complex emotions that it’s hard to tell which will be the more prominent in time of crisis. I’d love to think I’m still able to think rationally and react based on correct deductions. But I won’t know for sure until the day arrives. What do you think? I’d love to know.
P.S. This is such a late post especially when considering how long these two series had ended. But…it’s better late than never!