Byakuya Togami is a character in the animation and video game series Danganronpa in which 16 students are seemingly kidnapped and put through life at a school run by a small electronic bear named Monokuma. In the video games, their lives consists of socializing with the other students, trying to find a way out of the school, and being forced to kill each other. Monokuma, who is controlled by an unseen force, sets up rules that nudge the students to commit these horrendous acts, as it’s the only way they can leave the school. However, to actually be set free, they have to get away with the murders after an investigation takes place and a trial is held.
Multiple killing games took place in the Danganronpa franchise. One of the students who was a part of the first group was Byakuya Togami, who also appeared at the beginning of the second game, this time noticeably fatter than he was in the first. Let’s take a look at what happened to Byakuya Togami in Danganronpa and why the character is so rotund when he makes his second appearance.
Who is Byakuya Togami?
Byakuya Togami appeared in the first killing school game that took place in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and in Danganronpa: The Animation. He was one of 15 students who woke up in Hope’s Peak Academy, all strangers to one another, and at the end of the game they find out that there were actually 16 students, that all of their memories had been removed, and that they had actually gone to school together.
Part of the allure of the school in the first season of the series is that every student who was chosen to attend Hope’s Peak Academy was the best at something. For example, one of the students was the best baseball player, and another was the best gambler. Byakuya Togami, on the other hand, was the Ultimate Affluent Progeny ⏤ the heir apparent to the Togami Corporation and its massive fortune. There were many other members of the Togami clan who were also primed to take over, but the way the true heir is picked is via a battle of anyone who would call himself heir. Whoever lost had to forfeit their rights as a Togami, and Byakuya won.
Byakuya Togami comes off as cold and uncaring. Quite manipulative in nature, he gets characters to do his bidding in the first killing game and is usually found alone with his thoughts. Quite interestingly, the controlling character did not kill anyone in the killing game, nor did he convince anyone to kill someone else, especially when he had Toko Fukawa, the Ultimate Writing Prodigy ⏤ who was also the renowned serial killer Genocide Jack ⏤ wrapped around his finger. He did manipulate the events around him and change crime scenes to influence events, but he did not actively kill.
During the events of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa: The Animation, Byakuya managed to make it out of the school alive alongside Makoto Naegi and Kyoko Kirigiri. They uncovered that the Ultimate Despair was the mastermind behind the kidnapping, the true Junko Enoshima. The person that had been posing as Junko during their time at the school was really her sister, Mukuro Ikusaba. The two characters were both Ultimate Despairs, Mukuro being a mercenary and Junko being a controlling, murdering, world-dominating psychopath who killed her sister. During her endgame speech before she kills herself in her own traps, Junko reveals that the entire world has fallen to despair and Byakuya’s company has fallen. Once he escaped, he vowed that he would build up his family name to something akin to what it was before the world fell to despair.
The reason the world fell to despair was that Junko Enohsima led fellow members of the Ultimate Despair to infect the world after the events of The Tragedy that plagued Hope’s Peak Academy, all of which occurred before the events of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. The real first killing game was held with the student council of Hope’s Peak Academy. A video of this game was shown to the reserve students (students who paid to get into Hope’s Peak Academy rather than being Ultimates) who were then brainwashed to become followers of The Ultimate Despair and went on a killing spree in Hope’s Peak Academy. Fortunately, the principal, Kirigiri’s father, had 16 students live in the school by themselves after the despair spread around the world. The Tragedy and the first killing game are talked about in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair and the second series of the anime, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School.
The events of the second killing school games then took place during the second game Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. The same premise of the first game was extended for the second game, in which 15 students were seemingly kidnapped by a talking electronic bear called Usami. Something already seems weird about the situation when the students are then taken to a series of islands.
Before the students can get settled, Usami is then overthrown by Monokuma and is given the name Monomi. At first glance, each member of the class seems to be different from the members who were in the first game, except for one: Byakuya Togami. He was the only member of the first group to be in the second, only this time he was noticeably larger in size. Could he have just eaten a lot in between games? Sure. But given that he was thin as a stick in the first game and quite fat in the second, the transformation came off as a bit odd.
What was up with Byakuya’s weight gain?
Byakuya was the first character to be murdered in the second game, which might be because he was the first one to call himself the leader of the group. The murder is investigated and the culprit successfully found, but it isn’t until much later in the game that a twist is revealed ⏤ that the person who called themselves Byakuya Togami wasn’t actually Togami at all. Instead, they were The Ultimate Imposter, a character who had no identity, no gender, nothing linking them to anything one could call a past.
It turns out that the group of students on the island are actually The Remnants of Despair. Once Junko Enoshima died in the events of the first game (and anime), the reserve students who made up The Ultimate Despair committed suicide. There were over 2,000 of those students. The members of The Ultimate Despair who didn’t commit suicide were called The Remnants of Despair and they were tracked down by The Future Foundation. The Future Foundation were the characters who had survived the events of the first game. At the end of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the 15 students are confronted by Makoto Naegi, Kyoko Kirigiri, and Byakuya Togami, who of course is back to his old self and not fat anymore.
It turns out that everyone who was killed as a part of this second killing game on the islands was actually turned comatose and in a sort of a simulation set up by The Future Foundation to redeem them, to fight against despair. Anyone who didn’t die simply woke up. Naegi, being The Ultimate Hope, believed this could work; unfortunately, the protagonist of the second game, Hajime Hinata, had somewhat of a split personality and was also The Ultimate Hope, but in a very bad way. This other Ultimate was named Izuru Kamukura and was the dark side of Hinata, the combination of every Ultimate to result in a very dark force, one that convinced the others to upload an A.I. copy of Junko Enoshima into their simulation, releasing Monokuma and the killing school game back into their lives. But they all chose to follow hope in the end and successfully escaped.
The second series of the animation, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School fills in a lot of backstory that was missing from the second game. We see what the members of The Remnants of Despair do before they get brainwashed into spreading despair for Junko Enoshima. As for fake Byakuya, The Ultimate Imposter, he was posing as Ryota Mitarai, The Ultimate Animator. Ryota rarely left his room and as such, The Ultimate Imposter covered for him and also cared for him by bringing him food. The Ultimate Imposter interestingly was also the fat version of Ryota, reinforcing that The Ultimate Imposter preferred to be fat, as they mentioned and alluded to in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. It was said in Dangaronpa 3 that they took the form of Byakuya Togami because Byakuya had a perfect existence at the time.
Of course, at the end of the first arc of Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School, we watch as their teacher activates the bomb that fakes their class’ death, allowing them to join The Ultimate Despair and wreak havoc on the world. It wasn’t really their fault, however, as most of the students were not evil but rather being broken and brainwashed by Junko Enoshima. Then the events of the first and second games occur and that’s pretty much all that we know about The Ultimate Imposter.
There you have it. Byakuya wasn’t actually fat in the second game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, because it wasn’t Byakuya at all, but The Ultimate Imposter. This is just one of the many twists and turns in the Danganronpa series, and while several of the twists have been discussed here, it’s still very much worth going back and playing through the game and watching the anime.