Chiaki Nanami (Japanese: 七海 千秋, Hepburn: Nanami Chiaki) is a fictional character in Spike's 2012 visual novel Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair initially released on PSP. Her title Ultimate Gamer (超高校級の「ゲーマー」, Chō-kōkō-kyū no “Gēmā,” lit. Super High School Level Gamer) and she is one of the participants in the Killing School Trip, albeit with a unique role among the students of class 77-B.
|First appearance||Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (2012)|
|Created by||Kazutaka Kodaka|
|Designed by||Rui Komatsuzaki|
|Voiced by||English: Christine Marie Cabanos|
Japanese: Kana Hanazawa
|Occupation||Neo World Program Observer|
|Family||Chihiro Fujisaki (creator/father)|
Alter Ego (brother)
Taichi Fujisaki (grandfather)
|Significant other||Hajime Hinata|
Background & Role
Chiaki is one of the fifteen high-school students trapped in Monokuma's killing game on Jabberwock Island. Chiaki is a very controversial character in the game; she appears to be the character who will bond with the male protagonist, Hajime Hinata. However, in the process, she is revealed to be an AI, an NPC/Observer inside the Neo World Program. Her creator is Chihiro Fujisaki, one of the first game's killing game participants, who now works for Future Foundation, and she refers to him as her father. Alter Ego, another AI created by Chihiro Fujisaki, modified her to be Chiaki, based on a real-world student at Hope's Peak Academy.
Chiaki and Usami share a sibling relationship as AIs, and the two of them are the moderators of Jabberwock Island, aiming to protect students from despair.
Chiaki is the main heroine of the video game Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. Initially presenting as a sleepy, laid-back student who is inexperienced in the ways of the world but very skilled at video games, she becomes a central figure of the class trials along with Hajime Hinata, most notably the second one when she assists him in connecting a murder case with the video game Twilight Syndrome, which robotic bear Monokuma had offered the students to play to understand how the culprit and victims were related.
When Nagito Komaeda tries to destroy the islands upon learning his true identity as a member of Ultimate Despair and their true location, Chiaki accidentally kills Nagito by throwing poison at him to put out a fire surrounding him.
Nagito arranged the scene in advance to look as if he had committed suicide according to his plan to ensure her survival alone and the execution of the other students at the subsequent class trial. To take down Nagito's plan, Chiaki revealed her true identity as part of the organization that trapped them on Jabberwock Island and relied on Hajime Hinata to prove it.
Eventually, Chiaki was proven to be the traitor, and mole Future Foundation planted into the group and was executed along with Usami.
In the anime series Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, it is revealed that the Chiaki computer program was based on an actual student who attended Hope's Peak Academy, an Ultimate Gamer who befriended Hajime Hinata before he chose to become Izuru Kamukura as a part of a Hope's Peak Academy human experimentation.
She is later skewered to death, leading to Izuru deciding to take on a neutral role in the coming war. In the final scene of the episode “Goodbye, Hope's Peak High School,” the artificial intelligence Chiaki appears with Nagito and Hajime reenacting the first scene of Goodbye Despair. In the series finale “The School of Hope and the Students of Despair,” Izuru finally bids farewell to their memory of Chiaki and her human counterpart, as he embraces a sense of purpose for the first time with the restored and rehabilitated Remnants of Despair.
The game's creator himself, Kazutaka Kodaka, has described Chiami Nanaki as a portrayal of “the ideal type of woman.” Chiaki appears to be a calm, quiet, and aloof individual. However, when becomes more fired up when discussing video games.
The AI Chiaki in Danganronpa 2 appears to doze off easily, even while standing. She also sometimes forget to breathe while playing video games. In a sense, Chiaki is effortlessly intelligent, observant, and analytical. At the same time, as an AI, she lacks basic knowledge of how humans work and interact.
The lack of energy is limited to the AI Chiaki, while she also sounds less natural when she speaks. She also maintains her composure and calm even during her own execution.
Her real-life counterpart in Dangaronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School is livelier and not drowsy. She is not really fond of her talent as the Ultimate Gamer as she believes that her love for gaming and her unsocial behavior will prevent her from making friends.
Her attitude towards making friends changes instantly when her teacher Chisa Yukizome remarks that she can make friends by playing games with others. We then see a much more active and extrovert version of Chiaki, who is also chosen as the class representative and turns out to be a very dependable character. She shares the care and will to protect her classmates with her AI counterpart. Her emotional range is more variable than the AI, while we see her crying in pain and despair during her final moments.
Talent – Ultimate Gamer
As the Ultimate Gamer, Chiaki is exceptional with all gaming genres, proving to be almost unbeatable. This is shown multiple times, such as when she easily beats Hajime multiple times and beats Ibuki Mioda, Hiyoko Saionji, and Chisa in a racing game. In addition, when playing her favorite game, Gala Omega, her high score is revealed to be 999900, which seems to be the highest score one can get in the game.
Chiaki appears to know everything about every single existing game and is initially almost always seen playing a game, usually Gala Omega, on her Nantendo Game Girl Advance. She admits to Hajime that she has developed a love for games themselves regardless of whether she wins at them.
Chiaki's appearance aspect is a fascinating one. Her early design is much more empowering and dominant and closer to that of a woman than a student. The final design does not breathe the same air of confidence, and I would call it a bit of a cliche, similar to what you would expect from a shy, introverted female character. To go on a personal note here, I was never fond of gamers' stereotypes and what gamers like. I am also not fond of some female character classifications in anime where the prettiest girls can be annoying, self-centered, or Tsundere-like. In contrast, the kind and modest characters share similar looks.
In that sense, I would have preferred Chiaki to maintain her original design while being the caring, awesome gamer portrayed in both the anime and the game, as it would better match her “perfect” AI depiction. It would also make her transformation from anti-social to social more plausible in the anime, at least in my eyes.
Simultaneously, I'd rather see the creators avoid spreading the stereotype about gamers being anti-social introverts or even extending them to the female gender. Even when the two genders perform similar activities, it doesn't necessarily mean that their motives and personalities are similar.
While Chiaki is among the most popular Dangranronpa characters (even on Google Search), I can see that the lack of a solid backstory and stereotypical portrayal can generate negativity.