|“|| I love seeing the expressions people make when they're enjoying themselves. That's why I play piano... To see the smiles on everyone's faces. And that's why we need to expose the mastermind and end this dumb killing game! So we can smile with everyone else!
Kaede has the title of Ultimate Pianist (超高校級の「ピアニスト」 chō kōkō kyū no “Pianisuto” Super High School Level Pianist), owing to her prowess in playing the piano since childhood and winning various awards.
- Before Joining Danganronpa
Kaede Akamatsu was a fan of a series featuring Killing Games, Danganronpa, created by Team Danganronpa. In her audition video, she revealed that she wants to join the Killing Game because she believed that she had the perfect personality for it, not having any faith in humanity whatsoever.
Kaede, along with the other talentless 53rd Killing Game participants undergo the fabrication process, where all of their past memory and personality were permanently fabricated. She also received the talent and title of Ultimate Pianist. All of this was done for the sake of satisfying Danganronpa's audience from all around the world. After the fabrication process was complete, Kaede and the others entered the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles as a totally different person, officially commencing the 53rd Killing Game season known as the Killing School Semester.
During her high school days, Kaede attended Shining Star International High School (光星国際アカデミー). However, it is unclear if this memory of her is a part of the fabrication made by Team Danganronpa. It is also said that she had a younger twin sister who was adopted by a relative, but it is also unknown whether this is genuine or fabricated.
- Fabricated Past
After she successfully participated in the 53rd Killing Game, Kaede's memories and past were fabricated by Team Danganronpa as follows:
Since she was a child, Kaede has been playing the piano so much so that she would forget to eat and sleep at times. As a result, people began to give her the nickname "piano freak". Before long, she began winning contest after contest, garnering praise from many people and earning her the title of Ultimate Pianist. She has performed in front of important figures such as a European King, a representative of Juiliard, and famous pianists.
The Gofer Project
- Main article: The Gofer Project
Despite being chosen to participant, Kaede and the other fifteen participants had no intentions of going along with the plan, not wanting to abandon their loved ones. As a result, Kaede chose to forget about her Ultimate talent and decided to live as a normal high school student.
Around that time an extremist cult came into power. They believed that the meteorites were a punishment humanity brought upon itself, and having heard of The Gofer Project, tried to stop it. As a result, the Ultimate Hunt started and spread throughout the world, and the sixteen students selected for the Gofer Project were hunted down.
The government then decided to counter the situation by faking the students' deaths, calming down the Ultimate Hunt while providing protection to the students. The Gofer Project was then put into action while the Earth was being destroyed by meteorites. Kaede and the others went to space in the massive ark, the true form of Ultimate Academy of Gifted Juveniles, and were put to a cold sleep for several decades.
Much later on in Chapter 5, after the remaining participants cleared the Death Road of Despair, Kokichi Oma, the Ultimate Supreme Leader, lied about being the mastermind of the Killing Game and that he was the leader of the cult bent on stopping the Gofer Project. He also lied about being the one who let Monokuma enter the spaceship, which effectively forced Kaede and the others to participate in the Killing School Semester. All of this was done in order to get everyone to fall into so much despair that they would not continue the Killing Game.
However, the true Mastermind, in order to get the remaining survivors at the time to continue the Killing Game, decided to connect everyone's memories of The Gofer Project to the story of Hope's Peak Academy. As a result, the true Mastermind prepared a Flashback Light that tricked the remaining participants into thinking that everyone, including those that had died, were actually students of the rebuilt Hope's Peak Academy. They also remembered that the ones behind The Gofer Project were Makoto Naegi, the headmaster of the rebuilt Hopes Peak Academy, and the Future Foundation. This Flashback light also revealed that the cult bent on stopping The Gofer Project were actually the Remnants of Despair and that Kokichi was their leader. This lie filled everyone with the determination needed to stop the despair they were faced with.
In the Mastermind's rush however, they accidentally overlooked slight inconsistencies and plot holes when linking both stories together, such as "Ultimate Despair" only referring to Junko Enoshima, and that Class 78th was trapped by the Ultimate Despair when they had actually locked themselves within the school in order to shelter themselves from the tragedy outside.
It should be noted that Kaede has no complete recollection of the event, as she was executed before she could ever recall anything about the Ultimate Hunt or the Gofer Project from later Flashback Lights.
- Main article: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
Kaede woke up in a locker within an eerie classroom, overgrown with vegetation, on the second floor of the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles. Upon stumbling out of the locker and bumping her head, she collected herself and tried to figure where she was and what was going on. Before she could do too much however, a boy stumbled out of the locker next to the one she woke up in. The two got acquainted with each other, with the boy introducing himself as Shuichi Saihara, before they headed out into the hallway. However, as soon as they left the classroom they were found by a large mechanical monstrosity known as an Exisal, which chased them until they both got to the first floor, only to run into more of the robots.
The pair continued to evade the large mechanical monstrosities, not realizing that they were being led towards the gymnasium, where fourteen other high schoolers had already gathered. Not long after, all five Exisals appear once again and threaten the participants. However, after the ones controlling them realized that they weren't supposed to be using them just yet and that they had gone off-script, the five mysterious individuals exited the Exisals and introduced themselves as the Monokuma Kubs. The Kubs give the sixteen participants a new set of clothes before giving them their first memory via the Flashback Light. Kaede and the other fifteen talentless students underwent the fabrication process, where all of their past memories and personalities were heavily fabricated. She also received the talent and title of Ultimate Pianist. All of this was done for the sake of satisfying Danganronpa's audience from all over the world. After the fabrication process was completed, Kaede and the others entered the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles as totally different people, officially commencing the 53rd Killing Game season known as the Killing School Semester.Ultimate Detective. The pair explored the seemingly abandoned school, finding and introducing themselves to all fourteen other students before being told by the Monokuma Kubs to assemble at the gymnasium. Kaede and Shuichi, along with everyone else, headed there immediately and were introduced to the Monokuma Kubs properly, along with their father, the self-appointed headmaster of the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles, Monokuma. Monokuma announces that all sixteen Ultimate students would participate in a Killing Game, much to a majority of the students shock, horror, or displeasure. Kaede was exceptionally outraged by this announcement, declaring to Monokuma and his cubs that they would never participate in a Killing Game. Her bold declaration fell on deaf ears, as the robotic bears continued to laugh at and taunt the participants. With that, the Killing School Semester had officially begun.
Attempting the Death Road of DespairGonta Gokuhara, the Ultimate Entomologist, then remembered that he found a manhole inside the boiler room behind the school building. Kaede along with her friends immediately followed the Ultimate Entomologist's lead, with a hope of finding a way out. Death Road of Despair is next to impossible. Due to this, Kokichi revolted, saying that Kaede's repeated motivational speech is the source of the group's agony, added by some of her friends giving up on escaping the tunnel, the group's harmony came to a swift end. The tunnel ended up being a trap set by Monokuma and the Monokuma Kubs, much to everyone's dismay. Kaede, who blamed herself for making everyone break up, was comforted by Kaito Momota, the Ultimate Astronaut, and Shuichi, both of which still completely supported her ideals.
As the nighttime announcement was broadcast, everyone including Kaede returned to their dorm room. When Kaede returned to her room, she found a key which was supposedly for her dorm. Monokid gave the key to Kaede to give her access to her room while also giving her a "hint", which was that if she stole someone else's key she will get the chance to kill someone. Kaede got increasingly irritated and scared Monokid to make him flee.
The First Motive and the Hidden Door
The next day, Kaede went to the dining hall after everyone else did and was greeted by Kokichi who in turn for his rebellion towards the group's harmony, created a "kind" lie that made the group consolidate again. Afterwards, Monokuma came to the cafeteria and announced the first motive, anyone who committed the first killing will graduate without holding a trial, effectively calling it a "First Blood Perk". Kaede still boldly declared that they wouldn't lose to Monokuma and that they had promised each other to escape together. Rantaro Amami, the Ultimate ???, pointed out that this was used to invalidate the cooperative game by Kaede and make it into a non-cooperative game where the players don't work. Kaito meanwhile, became increasingly outraged with Monokuma for doing whatever he wanted and lunged at him. This caused the Monokuma Kubs to show up, showing no hesitation to punish the Ultimate Astronaut with the Exisals for attempting violence against their father, effectively breaking the rules.
The red Exisal charged at him but accidentally ended up crushing Monokuma instead, supposedly destroying him. The Monokubs were incredibly saddened by the sudden demise of their father, stating that he had no spare and that he was one of a kind. Upon learning this, the participant's mood improved greatly, thinking the Killing Game to be over. Kaede however, was still skeptical, but this skepticism was met with accusation of her wanting to continue the Killing Game from some of the participants, much to Kaede's dismay.
Kaede returned to her room and began to cry silently. A moment after that, Shuichi came to her room, telling that her beliefs are not wrong at all. In fact, Kaede was the only person Shuichi trusted enough to share his secret with. Once Kaede visited the library with the Ultimate Detective, he pushed one of the bookshelves aside to reveal a hidden door, much to her surprise. Due to the nature of the hidden door, Shuichi speculated that someone among the group was actually working with Monokuma, much to Kaede's shock and disbelief. Shuichi was just as stunned as she was and decided to test his own theory by sprinkling some dust within the card reader slot of the hidden door to see if someone was really going in and out of that door without anyone noticing. Kaede and Shuichi leave the library after putting the bookshelf back into place and head back to their respective dorm rooms.
The Additional Motive
Shuichi once again took Kaede to the library and revealed the hidden door to her. Both discovered that the dust that had been planted in the card reader dust by Shuichi had fallen onto the ground, indicating that someone had used the card reader to enter through the hidden door. With this information confirmed, Shuichi hypothesized he stated that with the way Monokuma worded the additional motive that he was trying to protect someone and that the hidden door may be connected to Monokuma's revival. He then went on to state that if someone was being protected by Monokuma, and had the ability to create a spare of him, that they were the mastermind of the Killing Game.
Kaede was horrified to think that the one responsible for all their suffering was one of them but thought to herself that there's no way she could forgive such a person. Shuichi extrapolated that the mastermind might come to the hidden room if they needed to create a huge amount of Monokuma's. Kaede made up her mind and decided to believe in Shuichi's detective work and take the risk with him despite being warned by him that it's just his deduction and that he could very well be wrong. After reapplying the dust to the card reader slot, they both left the library once again and returned to their rooms.Tsumugi Shirogane, the Ultimate Cosplayer, in the game room and asked her to paint her nails in return for giving Tsumugi a nail brush earlier. Kaede was happy with Tsumugi's work, but then Rantaro walked in and claimed that he could do nail art as well, which he proved by then painting Kaede's nails, much to her embarrassment and Tsumugi's jealousy.
Kaede woke up the next morning to someone ringing her room's doorbell. She answered it, expecting it to be Shuichi, only for it to be Monokuma telling her that her Research Lab had opened up. Annoyed, she slammed the door in his face, only for the bell to ring again. She told the one ringing the bell to go away, expecting it to be Monokuma only for it to actually be Shuichi this time, to whom she apologized immediately for her behavior. Shuichi had come to her with a plan in order to catch the mastermind, finding it safer to catch them from a distance instead of hiding out in the library.Miu Iruma, the Ultimate Inventor, to make them cameras to set up in the library. They retrieved parts for Miu to make the cameras from the warehouse. While there, Kaede began to worry. She pondered whether or not this plan would really be able to save everyone. With this worry on her mind, she put the disposable cameras, along with a shot put ball, in her backpack. Pushed by the motive presented by Monokuma, Kaede planned to murder the mastermind and save everyone from the Killing Game without telling Shuichi.
In the morning before the time limit hit, Kaede and Shuichi met Angie Yonaga, the Ultimate Artist, who informed the duo that there was a fight between students in the dining hall. Originally, Kaede was supposed to retrieve the modified camera from Miu along with Shuichi, but this problem forced Kaede to split from Shuichi and head to the dining hall with Angie. There, she found that Ryoma Hoshi, the Ultimate Tennis Pro, would willingly let himself be killed so that everyone else could survive. Kaede tried to get him to reconsider, telling him that they'd escape together, but he didn't believe there was any more time left for idealism now. Rantaro stopped him and said that he would end the Killing Game in his own way and told everyone not to do anything unnecessary. Listening to this, Kaede's determination to save her friends became even stronger.
She left the dining hall to meet up with Shuichi in the classroom next to the basement. She listened to Shuichi's explanation as to why he chose this particular classroom to keep watch before heading to the library to set up the cameras. During their setup process, Kaede left the air duct open and arranged the books on top of the shelf in a staircase-like manner. She also taped down the hidden camera aimed at the hidden door exceptionally well and turned the flash on, hoping to lure the mastermind into the path of the murder weapon that she had set up, killing them and saving everyone. All the while, Shuichi never noticed a thing.
After finishing their setup, the two headed back to the lookout classroom that Shuichi had picked out to keep watch and wait. While waiting for the sensor to react, Shuichi told Kaede about how he earned the title of the Ultimate Detective, a marking point where he began to be afraid of searching for the truth. Kaede told him that she was actually afraid, but with Shuichi standing by her side, she didn't hesitate to catch the mastermind. She told him that he needs to hold his head up high, and the fact that she believed in him effectively gave Shuichi the courage and strength that he needed.
Not long afterward, the monitors turned on and began to play an eerie soundtrack, signaling that the time limit was almost over. Around this time, Kaede and Shuichi also witnessed seven people heading into the basement, which were Gonta, Kaito, Tenko Chabashira, the Ultimate Aikido Master, Maki Harukawa, the Ultimate Child Caregiver, Himiko Yumeno, the Ultimate Magician, Angie, and Rantaro. Shuichi, worried that they might stumble upon the trap they had set up in the library, headed down into the basement to check on the group, leaving Kaede alone. She quickly grew anxious without Shuichi by her side and began to sweep the classroom for no reason at all. She became relieved when he came back, but it was not long after that that the buzzer in Shuichi's hand went off, indicating that someone had moved the shelf hiding the hidden door in the library. He rushed out of the classroom with great haste, but Kaede used this opportunity to roll her shot put ball into the air duct that led into the library before quickly chasing after him. She hoped that her shot put ball would hit her target who is none other than the mastermind behind the Killing Game.
Once they reach the basement, they are joined by Kaito and Tenko, who tells the duo that they should join their strategy meeting. Kaede tells them that they might really be able to end the Killing Game, and so they join them and storm the library. They notice the bookshelf concealing the hidden door closing again as they enter and go to inspect it. As soon as they do, they come upon Rantaro's corpse not far from the hidden door's position, who seemed to have been bludgeoned in the back of the head with Kaede's shot put, much to Kaede's shock and horror.
Tenko's scream alerted the people in the game room, while the body discovery announcement alerted everyone else who had yet to arrive. Monokuma and the Monokuma Kubs appear not long after and tells the culprit to step forward and claim their "First Blood Perk", but Kaede refused, not wanting to leave everyone behind. As a result of no one stepping forward, Monokuma scraps the First Blood Perk and holds a Class Trial anyways, telling everyone to investigate, then hands out the Monokuma File. Kaede quickly comes to terms with the fact that she killed a dear friend. Despite this, she still encourages everyone to come together and search for the truth, not wanting Rantaro to have died for nothing.
In reality however, her plan failed. Rantaro's true killer is The Mastermind of the Killing School Semester who covered up and altered the crime scene to make it seem as if Kaede's plan had succeeded. Despite this, the truth is obscured from everyone while Kaede is set up as the culprit. Not realizing this, the participants search for a truth that had been painted over with lies by Monokuma and The Mastermind.
Uncovering the "Truth"
During the investigation, Kaede and Shuichi decide to continue working together, questioning everyone and uncovering clues. When they heard from Korekiyo Shinguji, the Ultimate Anthropologist, that Tsumugi left the dining hall to use the restroom, Kaede became suspicious and decided to head back to the library to question her. When she did and asked her if she could have disguised herself as someone, Tsumugi took her to the first-floor girl's bathroom and asked Kaede to give her her clothes so she could dress as her. Once she did, Kaede saw Tsumugi's cospox, effectively meaning that she couldn't have disguised herself. Kaede was very shocked by this but was convinced that Tsumugi had a solid alibi.Monophanie had developed the photo's from the hidden cameras. The group looks through each and every photo, but find no clues to the culprit or the mastermind, like Kaede was hoping for. She becomes increasingly more anxious, wanting to reveal the mastermind during the Class Trial, but not intending to keep her crime hidden.
Afterwards, the investigation ends, and the group gathers at the Shrine of Judgement in the courtyard. They step into the newly revealed elevator and descend to the Class Trial grounds. While they were on the elevator, Kaede told Shuichi not to avert his eyes from the truth anymore and that he had to fight for it even if it is frightening. She tells him that if he was scared, he should borrow the strength of those who would be there to help him and let that be his strength, believing that Shuichi is capable of doing such thing.
During the Class Trial, Kaede had no intention of hiding her sins from everyone but wanted to unveil the identity of the mastermind beforehand. However, an unexpected turn of events occurred when Shuichi discovered the supposed "truth" that Kaede murdered Rantaro, but refused to speak about that fact as to not condemn his friend. Unfortunately for him, this act of silence, as well as forgetting to mention the camera intervals to Kaede before-hand, caught the suspicion of nearly everyone else in the trial and he is quickly denounced as the culprit. As a result, Kaede is left with no other choice but to protect him, mentally apologizing to everyone for being unable to reveal the mastermind and save everyone. Shuichi realizes this, and vows to no longer be afraid of the truth and reveals her as the "culprit" to everyone else in the trial.
Everyone is shocked and in utter disbelief that Kaede, who wanted to end the Killing Game and save everyone, could be the culprit. Despite this, she goads Shuichi along as to make him reveal the whole truth about her plan, much to everyone's dismay.
After everyone casts their vote, Kaede comes clean fully and admits that she planned to kill the mastermind in order to save everyone and end the Killing Game and that she never intended to hide her sins, but couldn't come clean right away thanks to Monokuma's First Blood Perk. Shuichi is quick to blame himself for coming to the deduction that the mastermind would be in the library, giving Kaede that idea, but she corrects him and says that she brought this upon herself. Monokuma and the Monokuma Kubs are quick to execute her, but Kaito, Tenko, and Gonta immediately jump to her defense despite facing an Exisal. Kaede urges them to stop, saying that she's ready to die. Shuichi criticized her for giving up, but she reassured him that he isn't. She told him that she believed in him and as such, he should believe in himself before being dragged to her execution, which everyone watched in horror. Shuichi was left shattered at the loss of his dear friend.
After the trial, Shuichi, with Kaito's recommendation, visited the Ultimate Pianist's Research Lab. He looked along the wall lined with CD's and plays Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune via the audio player and began to reminisce about Kaede. He made a vow to not look away from the truth anymore and believe in himself, and that that was a promise. Shuichi imagined Kaede's spirit appearing on the chair of the piano and saying "Yup, it's a promise. I leave everything to you Shuichi. Goodbye...", effectively trusting him with her wish.
When first entering the Ultimate Anthropologist's Research Lab in Chapter 3, Korekiyo asked Shuichi if he wanted to try speaking to the dead. Shuichi denied this but then thought that there was one person he would want to speak to, that person being Kaede. He still turned Korekiyo down, as there was only one thing that he wanted to tell her, which would be that everyone had escaped and that they were alive.
When everyone headed back into the tunnel to reattempt the Death Road of Despair in Chapter 5, using Miu's electrohammers, the remaining survivors aside from Kokichi thought back to Kaede and how they could finally keep their promise to her and escape the Killing Game before heading into the tunnel.
Uncovering the Truth
In Chapter 6, during the investigation of the suspended animation room near Kaito's Research Lab, Tsumugi discovered a list of participants for The Gofer Project which lists Kaede as having a twin sister. Later, Tsumugi speculated that the deceased Kaede could have pulled the same "trick" as the twin sisters Junko Enoshima and Mukuro Ikusaba, which was the sisters swapping places before the Killing School Life occurred. In the Class Trial, it was never revealed that Kaede has a twin sister or not, so this information remains ambiguous.
While not physically present during the final trial, Rantaro's case, the case that Kaede was supposedly the blackened of and executed for, is re-opened by survivors Shuichi, Tsumugi, Maki, Himiko, and K1-B0, the Ultimate Robot, after discovering new truths related to that case.
During the Class Trial, Shuichi is eventually able to reveal the full truth about Rantaro's death, as well as Kaede's unjust execution, becoming increasingly outraged and furious at Monokuma and the Monokuma Kubs for breaking their own rules and executing someone who wasn't blackened in the first place. Shuichi vowed on Kaede's kindness, love, and grave, that he would avenge her no matter what. By double-checking everyone's alibis during Rantaro's murder, Shuichi honed in on Tsumugi as the true culprit of Rantaro's murder, as well as the mastermind of the Killing School Semester.
In the end, Kaede could achieve her goal of defeating the mastermind as her death was avenged after Danganronpa finally came to its end in the last execution.
Creation and Development
Kaede (楓) is written and means "maple tree". Her last name Akamatsu (赤松), is the Japanese name for a kind of tree known as the "Japanese red pine".
In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (Demo Version), Kaede was doing her self-introduction before she fell into a deep sleep and awake in a strange classroom. She encountered Makoto Naegi who claimed that he was a new student at Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles and recognized Kaede's name and talent from the new student's roster. Kaede then read a note that told her to come to the gym.
Kaede encountered the other students along her way to the gym, introduced herself and learn a bit more about the others. Kaede finally reached the gym and was so shocked when she saw Monokuma appeared, thinking that he's a panda. Furthermore, Monokuma told her that Kaede and the other students will undergo the Killing School Semester inside the academy, where none will escape except they perform a perfect murder. Kaede was baffled by this overwhelming and despairing rules. Monokuma also informed that she will share the same room with Makoto and Hajime Hinata, which she objects because she's a girl.
Kaede then enters her room, only found signs of struggle all around the wall, bed, and floors. When she entered the shower, she discovered Yasuhiro Hagakure's body lying on the floor with a knife stabbed in his abdomen. Kaede screamed in panic when Monokuma broadcast the dead body announcement and told the students to immediately perform an investigation before the Class Trial. While investigating, Kaede is advised by Hajime not to trust anyone since one of them is the murderer.
Kaede begins to investigate her room and Yasuhiro's body and then asking the students around the school. She also checked the knife's origin that is the kitchen. After she gathered enough evidence, Kaede and the others descend to the Class Trial room.
Kaede has smooth ash blonde hair, reaching just below her shoulders, which is somewhat curved outwards to each side, making it look a lot bigger than it is. Her hair is parted to the far right, her bangs hanging low over her eyes before they're swept behind her ears, with a single arcing ahoge poking out from the back of her parting and two thin clumps of hair sitting over each shoulder, which curve outwards at the ends. Her eyes are tilted inwards a little, and are framed by quite long and pronounced upper and lower eyelashes, and in her game sprites their irises are a warm plum color, although in her official reference sheet they’re more of a light purplish-brown.
Kaede wears a pinkish off-white dress shirt with an orange tie at her neck, over which she wears a sleeveless pale pink sweater with a darker pink hem and v-neck collar, her school’s insignia adorned on the left side of her chest. She wears a short, dark purple skirt, which is patterned with 5 thin black lines with musical notes decorating them, which creates an actual melody, although it doesn’t seem to be any relevant tune, and in her bangs she wears five hair-slides of a similar design. Her knee-high socks are a much colder purple color than her skirt, bearing the same crest as her sweater on their outer sides, and on her feet she wears tan lace-up shoes with thick brown soles.
She also carries around a plain white backpack, which has a flap lid, fastened with a rectangular golden clasp, and two small pockets on the sides.
In the Prologue, Kaede wears her school uniform which consists a navy blue seifuku, her collar and skirt a slightly darker shade, with a white trim around the collar and a double one around the cuffs, and a red scarf knotted loosely over her chest. She also wears black knee-high socks and penny loafers, and the slides in her hair are regular straight ones.
Kaede is an optimistic hard worker. As a leader type with a firm character, she has a strong will and doesn't hesitate to take action, her notable character trait being her strong sense of belief in herself and others. Her main motivation for playing the piano is to see others smiling.
Kaede has a kind personality that makes her think about others before herself. Because of this, she is unable to immediately suspect people, as demonstrated in the demo by her going as far as faking an alibi out of her trust for Makoto, with no rational basis for his innocence. She is willing to lie for good reasons, but appears uncomfortable while doing so and is quite bad at lying. Like the other protagonists before her, she has a very sensitive nature and listens to other people's troubles. However, as seen during her Free Time Events with other students, she seems to encourage other people to get better even more actively than some other protagonists do, and she isn't afraid to be bold about it and point out their flaws. It appears that she is rather quickly well-liked by the other students.
However, being a pianoholic from a young age, she has a peculiar trait of including music talk into her conversations. She even strongly avoids certain activities such as cooking and certain sports because she fears her fingers might get hurt, affecting her ability to play. After talking to Tsumugi during her Free Time Events, Kaede was quite shocked and disturbed after realizing how heavily her life and identity is centered around piano and how she doesn't really have anything else, and she became desperate to find new hobbies.
Kaede can also be a bit oblivious and silly at times. During K1-B0's Free Time Events, she unintentionally asks questions in a somewhat insensitive manner by making assumptions about his robotic nature. She also pokes Tsumugi's cheek and K1-B0's emergency button without permission, showing that she is quite childish and impulsive. Furthermore, she has a habit of making rather sexual comments towards other girls, such as repeatedly calling Tenko cute, describing Tsumugi's sexy aura and her body, threatening to lift up Tsumugi's skirt and let everyone see her panties in order to make her to talkーShuichi even points out to her that she sounds like a creepy old man. However, ironically, she seems completely oblivious when other girls talk about liking girls. During Tenko and Himiko's Free Time Events, she completely fails to understand that they refer to homosexuality when talking about "playing for the other team" and being attracted to another girl. She is also quite sensitive to vulgarity, as shown in Miu's Free Time Events. While brave and determined, she is shown to be more fearful around certain situations, such as disliking horror movies because they make her scared in the bonus mode.
While a kind and friendly person, Kaede is shown to have a quite firm, sometimes even rather easily angered personality as well, as she tends to lash at others when they annoy her enough. When Shuichi panics after they first met, she yelled at him to shut up in order to calm him down but also appeared quite annoyed by his nervousness, and later slapped Shuichi upside his head when he wasn't responsive for a short amount of time. She tries to be patient with Miu, but occasionally snaps back at her whenever she gets fed up with her insults, once even angrily telling Miu she has "nasty cow udders" after Miu repeatedly called Kaede's breasts tiny. During the investigation, she tells Himiko to be quiet and shut up multiple times, having no patience for her nonsensical and unnecessary talk about magic during such serious situation. She is also rather firm with Kokichi, bluntly telling him when she dislikes his behavior and what she thinks about him, such as believing he just wants attention and or is delusional, to which Kokichi responds by stating that Kaede really seems to know how to stand her ground. At one point, she scares off Monokid by yelling at him to shut up. She is also rather firm about illegal actions, scolding Kaito for cheating and Miu for wanting to use drugs to get high.
Indeed, Kaede's tendency to push forward with her own personal justice is her biggest flaw. She refuses to give up when it would be the sensible thing to do and when pushing forward would only make things worse. She also never doubts what she thinks is right and accepts it blindly. At one point she convinced the group to try escape via Monokuma's trap and got called out by Kokichi because of it. This pushy and bossy attitude causes her to become a bit unpopular among some students, though she does appear to feel very bad for it and genuinely just didn't seem to realize how her actions had affected the others at the time. She is also willing to lie during the Class Trials, though only to strengthen the group's unity as Kokichi put it and she feels uncomfortable doing so. When pushed to her limits, Kaede would go as far as attempting to murder the mastermind in order to save her friends from the mass execution in Chapter 1. She always has good intentions and is motivated by her dreams and wish to befriend the other students and get them out of the school. However, Kanda has pointed out that she is unsure whether or not to call Kaede a good person, stating that she doesn't have ulterior motives because she doesn't think she's wrong, and she ends up going a bit crazy when her sense of what is right turns out to be mistaken.
Later, it is revealed that Kaede's memories had been altered to make her act like a person with a completely opposite personality. In reality, Kaede was a person who hated people, having difficulties with trusting others and openly stating with a disturbingly bright smile that she had no faith in humanity. Though, it should be noted that it is left unclear whether or not this is true and it could have been a lie made by Tsumugi, as pointed out by Shuichi.
Talent and Abilities
Kaede's talent as the Ultimate Pianist is a fabrication made by Team Danganronpa. Due to that fact, it is unclear whether Kaede is a talented pianist in the past.
Being the Ultimate Pianist, she is very skilled in playing the piano since her young age. She gained the title after winning a contest. Her biggest motivation to play the piano is to make her audience smile, and always remember her motivation during her piano concert so she can hold her nervousness.
In other languages
Kaede's talent as it appears in official translations of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony.
|超高校級の「ピアニスト」||Super High School Level Pianist|
|Pianiste Ultime||Ultimate Pianist|
|超高中級的鋼琴家||Super High School Level Pianist|
|超高中级的钢琴家||Super High School Level Pianist|
- Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles's Students:
Shuichi seems to strongly believe in Kaede, reassuring her and telling her that "if it's her, she can do it". Shuichi's presence appears to comfort Kaede, due to his status as a detective, although she admits that he seems unreliable. She attempts to help raise Shuichi's confidence by giving him pep talks.
At first, Shuichi admitted to not completely trusting Kaede when murders occur, which disappoints her, although she does accept this since she believes he can solve the case. However, this changed drastically after they began investigating the school together, as he came to admire her for her determination and put much trust in her. He offered to help Kaede numerous times in Chapter 1, even bowing to Miu at one point, merely because he saw Kaede doing so. They also shared a rather intimate moment in a classroom, in which Kaede held Shuichi's hand. She is fully aware that his fear of uncovering the truth prevented him from using his talent as the Ultimate Detective properly, so she encouraged him to hold his head high and promised her to face the truth no matter how painful the result would be.
Kaede has been shown to care deeply for Shuichi, as shown in the first Class Trial when she attempted to steer suspicion away from him after the other students begin to accuse him. This ultimately resulted in Kaede being voted as the culprit, something which devastated Shuichi.
The two shared a tearful and emotional moment, and Kaede was driven to tears while Shuichi angrily asked her why she had murdered Rantaro, although he stopped immediately when he was reminded that Kaede would be executed. When Kaede apologized to their fellow students, her apology seemed to be mainly at Shuichi. It seems that Shuichi forgave Kaede and tried to rescue her in the beginning of her execution. In the beginning of the execution, Shuichi was shown trying to reach Kaede's hand but his attempt failed.
In Kaede's Free Time Events, she taught Shuichi how to play the piano, even inviting him to play a duet with her in her house once they escaped from the Academy.
During the Love Suite fantasy event, Shuichi had the role of Kaede's boyfriend and they celebrated their first anniversary. Kaede seemed upset because he didn't call her "sweetheart", but by her name, instead. In the original Japanese, Shuichi was asked to call her with her first name instead of the way he usually refers her as "Akamatsu-san." However, after Shuichi tried to call her 'sweetheart' for the first time, they both find it hard to regain their composure and especially Kaede is shocked. Slightly worried, Shuichi asked her if she is okay and called her Kaede again by habit, causing her to point out in slight annoyance that he went back to calling her that. Shuichi apologized shyly, but Kaede answers it's fine and a bit shyly admitted that she really likes his passive side. Shuichi blushed at this and became quiet, causing Kaede to tell him not do that and point out that she got very embarrassed too. Out of blue, Kaede hugged Shuichi and they fell down on the bed. Shuichi began to panic, but Kaede asked him to hug her even tighter. Kaede admits that Shuichi's heartbeat is her favorite tune and that if Shuichi encourages her, she can do anything. Finally, Kaede asks if Shuichi will "do it with her" and he pulls her closer to him without saying a word. It's heavily implied that Kaede and Shuichi had sex afterward.
Rantaro admires Kaede for her leadership skills. Kaede thinks that he is a refreshing person and easy to talk to. However, Kaede was surprised how Rantaro acts so care-free and relaxed before the Class Trial in the demo starts. She states that even though things have become more complicated, Rantaro has found the way to clear the whole situation, which made her curious. She was also confused how Rantaro speaks so calmly against Monokuma during the situation and was desperate to find out what Rantaro's true talent is.
During his Free Time Events, Kaede states that she wants to be friends with Rantaro no matter who he was in the past. Despite him having his talent as unknown and him being suspicious, Kaede still cares for Rantaro and respects him and believes that he is not the mastermind behind the whole Killing Game. Kaede lights his mind up with hope and made him not fall into despair. Rantaro seems to also care for Kaede, as he feels worried and commented on how she is trying to help everyone and said she should take it easy. He thinks Kaede is easy to talk to and feels at ease whenever he is next to her. He calls both of them comrades amongst all of the Ultimates since they're a bit more ordinary than some others.
Kaede tends to assume that Rantaro is a womanizer and attempting to hit on her, even though he always insists he is not that kind of person. Whenever she was invited by him to drink tea together, Kaede was curious and kept assuming if it was a dating simulator where Rantaro could hit on girls. However, Rantaro admitted that his looks may resemble a playboy, but he is a chill, friendly guy.
Later on, in Chapter 1, it was shown that these two seem to be likely on great terms with each other and get along. It was shown that Rantaro was painting Kaede's nails and suggest the nail design that Kaede needs since her nails were short. Rantaro is extremely patient with Kaede and they both have faith in each other with trust. Kaede inspired Rantaro with words that filled his heart with determination and wants to stop the Killing Game.
Later, Rantaro suggests that he should go to the library to find the secret door leading to the mastermind's secret place, but was killed by the mastermind. Without knowing, Kaede got involved at the wrong time and distracted Rantaro from the mastermind's attack. When Kaede first discovered Rantaro's corpse, her legs began to tremble and she was frightened to see Rantaro was dead. She demanded to figure out who would kill Rantaro and states how she will never forgive the person who would kill an important comrade. In the trial, Kaede believed that she was the culprit who murdered Rantaro and confesses her sins. She calls herself a horrible murderer and is sorry for him and Shuichi directly the most and regrets "killing" Rantaro after the trial ends and was later executed.
In the non-canon Danganronpa V3 bonus mode Ultimate Talent Development Plan, Kaede was waiting for Rantaro after the Christmas party almost ended. She was aware that Rantaro would come back soon. Kaede states how she left some cake for Rantaro. In the end, they ate the leftover cake together. In a different event, Kaede stops by Rantaro's soccer game to cheer for him. He was surprised, but also very pleased by this, stating he'd do his best at the game and asking Kaede to cheer loudly for him and his team.
At first, Kaede is angered when Kaito informs her that he had broken the law in order to become an astronaut. However, he is later shown to be one of the few who always supports her during the Killing School Semester, as they have a similar optimistic way of thinking.
On occasion Kaede gave rousing speeches of optimism during times of distress when the class had first met and Kaito always responded agreeably stating he would have said the same, requesting Kaede and him hug which she graciously refused showing despite their relationship lacking affection, they both share the same mindset. Kaede is shown to appreciate his support, though she mostly seems to thank him only in her thoughts.
Kaito is highly supportive of Kaede, and compliments her on her tenacity to round up everyone and have them work together, enough to say she'd make a good astronaut in his Free Time Events. He does, however, comment on how quick she is to act on her own, to which he offers her to be his sidekick. She graciously refuses but is uplifted by Kaito's supportive attitude.
Kaito is quick to defend Kaede's actions during Chapter 1. When Kokichi tries to persuade the other students that Kaede was forcing them into despair, Kaito becomes angered and assures Kaede that she was not at fault. After Kaede is revealed to be the culprit behind Rantaro's murder, Kaito cries and along with Gonta and Tenko, even threatens to fight for her life at first, although Kaede quickly puts a stop to this herself.
After Kaede and Maki introduced themselves as Ultimates, Kaede claims that the children could see Maki's true soul and that Maki is capable of deep love.
Despite Kaede's kindness towards Maki, the latter has been shown to distrust her, openly showcasing dislike for her. She even blames Kaede for destroying the unity that she had tried to create between the students.
However, Maki seems to have a somewhat better relationship with Kaede in the Ultimate Talent Development Plan, to such a point where Kaito wonders how since they were so close. Despite she calls her relationship with Kaede an “arrangement” she is usually seen with her, a clear sign that her friendship is almost to Shuichi and Kaito’s, promising that she will find a way to make Kaede play the piano to the children of her orphanage. At the same time, Maki still tends to be cold towards her - an example is when she offers herself to accompany Chihiro Fujisaki to Gundham Tanaka to ask for a proper burial for a deceased bird found by the latter who, surprised by the kind deed, is brief by Kaede who says that behind the caregiver's edgy surface there is a really sincere person, which Maki replies with a cold but embarrassed way, scolding Kaede that she has no need to come with them, much to the pianist’s dismay.
Although initially defensive about his robot nature, K1-B0 tells Kaede that he is glad to be her friend after discovering that she is not robophobic.
In her Free Time Events with him, Kaede seems to be interested in K1-B0 since it's her first time interacting with a real robot. Kaede is also curious about K1-B0's features and interrogates him. K1-B0 was not aware of Kaede joking around since he finds human jokes very annoying. He states how Kaede is the first person who had to ask many questions without hesitating towards him.
During his last Free Time Event with Kaede, she presses his emergency button, rendering him unconscious for a moment. After K1-B0 is back to normal, she suggests that maybe the emergency button shouldn't be in such obvious place and he should talk to the professor about it. K1-B0 then goes on a tangent about Kaede technically becoming his mother if she influences his design, just like the professor is his father, and says that he should call her his mom from now on. Kaede feels uncomfortable by this, but K1-B0 then shows a more advanced though still a little awkward sense of humor by slightly smirking and revealing that he was just joking as a payback for messing with his body. K1-B0 then turns a little nervous as he politely asks Kaede to keep his emergency button a secret from others, and she of course agrees.
Kaede and Miu's relationship can be a bit negative at times, as Miu has a tendency to insult her just like she insults everyone else, and specifically calls her "Kaeidiot" (Bakamatsu in Japanese) and keeps calling her breasts tiny. However, while Kaede can be a bit annoyed by Miu's rudeness, she feels sympathetic and protective of her whenever she shows her weaker side.
In Chapter 1, when Kaede begs on her knees for Miu's help, Miu appears uncomfortable despite her usual arrogant behavior. When she agrees, the former grabs her hands in joy and causes Miu to sweat.
In Miu's second Free Time Event with Kaede, Kaede appears worried about Miu, because it seems like she has never had any friends, and wishes to help her to become better at communicating. However, even Kaede is tired after talking with Miu in an attempt to help her.
Miu is also noticeably distraught after Kaede is found guilty.
Miu appears to feel some attraction towards Kaede. During their first Free Time Event together, Kaede has finally had enough of Miu's rude behavior and she tells Miu that her breasts are actually pretty big. Miu then wants to rub her to make sure, saying there's no problem because they're both girls, but Kaede is uncomfortable and smacks her a little in order to defend herself. If Kaede gives her a gift she really likes, Miu blushes shyly and wonders if Kaede is really into her, possibly explaining how she knew what to give Miu. Miu then returns to her arrogant mood and laughs that of course a "flat-chested idiot" like Kaede would fall for a brainy, busty beauty like her.
Later, in Chapter 3, Miu also tries to see if the wax figure of Kaede that Angie made is wearing any underwear.
Kaede was confused by Kokichi's childish personality and his unusual Ultimate talent. She believed he was like a mischievous child messing around and constantly lying for attention. She was rather firm with him, openly stating her annoyance with him out loud, to which Kokichi once responded with a relaxed, seemingly genuine smile and appeared slightly impressed as he stated that Kaede really seemed to know how to stand her ground. While Kaede considered him part of the group and thought they should all work together, she generally had no patience with him, and at times he acted very intentionally annoying in her company. During the beginning of his second Free Time Event with Kaede, he ran around screaming that Kaede was about to murder him but he was just pretending and having fun, and he tried to trick Kaede by claiming that K1-B0 was behind her with a knife. He claimed he would never turn down an invitation from Kaede and then obnoxiously said he lied, clearly immensely enjoying the irritation it brought her.
For Kokichi, Kaede appeared to be one of the students he was a bit more interested in, as he appeared to have fun while talking with her and he sometimes seemed to turn more serious and enigmatic while they were talking alone, which seemed to indicate that he had some form of respect for her. At one point, he mischievously teased her by asking how far she's gone with Shuichi, and then claimed that he simply meant to ask how far they have searched the area. He then explained that they're strangers, so he really doesn't care what she and Shuichi do, and then pointed out that even friends don't share everything with each other. Kokichi explained that he is more nervous around friends who share too much than strangers, which confused Kaede and turned her silent with a slightly worried expression. Later, when Kaede rushed to stop the fighting in the cafeteria, she could stop to talk to Kokichi and ask him why he wasn't there to stop it if he knew about it. He reminded her that the time limit was very near and asked her that who was she to stop people who feel the need to take action to survive. However, he then grinned and said that by the same reasoning, who was he to stop her and then encouraged her to go stop them and said he believed in her.
Kokichi had a tendency to act confrontational towards Kaede and seemingly tried to make her question her own way of thinking. He quickly noticed flaws in Kaede's judgment and optimistic way of thinking, as she was willing to push others forward even if it would be the best to give up. During the Death Road of Despair, Kaede told the group to keep going, until most people's spirits were broken. When Kaede still wanted to keep going, Kokichi interrupted her seriously with his face hidden by shadow, telling her to stop already. He told her she can continue if she wants but forcing the others to join her is basically torture. Kaede was confused and shocked by his words, not realizing her actions could come across like that. Kokichi got teary-eyed as he explained that what really hurts is the denial of your right to give up in an impossible situation, and that Kaede will not let them give up while keeping the moral high ground. Kokichi cried and shouted that her words of encouragement weren't inspiring them, but strong-arming them. Kaede nervously tried to explain she didn't mean it like that at all, but then some of the other students intervened to support Kaede while some others were truly tired like Kokichi said and turned against Kaede.
The next morning, Kokichi brought up the yesterday's argument, now acting saddened and asking if Kaede was okay and complaining how mean the others were towards the "poor girl". The others pointed out that he was the one who suspected Kaede at first, but Kaede said it's okay and that she should've been more considerate of others. After the situation seemed to settle down, Kokichi suddenly acted relaxed and claimed that him blaiming Kaede was just a lie to make the group feel more united. Later, when Kokichi seemed to panic about dying in the killing game, Kaede assumed he was thinking of murder and said he definitely shouldn't do that. Kokichi suddenly calmed down and with a smile once again confronted Kaede, asking if she'll accept the blame if he dies.
Later during their second Free Time Event, after noticing how Kaede had fallen for many of his lies so far, he warned her that she'll be the first one to die if she continued to be such an easy mark. He tried to ask her to join his organization and be a cover agent pianist, but she believed all of it was just Kokichi's delusions. He then explained to her that the definition of common sense varies depending on person and asked her why she thinks her definition is the right one. He then told her that he is only warning her because he actually cared about her, but also told her not to come crying back to him if things didn't go her way. Considering his words nonsense, Kaede did not appear to truly listen to him.
When Kaede turned out to be the first culprit, Kokichi was shocked for a moment as he pointed out how bad it is that the one who talked about cooperation and unity then went and killed someone in cold blood. After Kaede explained her motives, Kokichi calmly explained to her that it never dawned on her she was caught in Monokuma's trap the moment the thought of murder entered her head, and regardless of her reasons she agreed to be part of the killing game at that very moment.
Right before Kaede's execution, Kokichi had a blank expression (which often seems to indicate honesty in him), as he blankly stated "bye" and then mentioned that Kaede wasn't a boring person. Coming from him, this appeared to be quite a notable compliment, and it is worth noting that Kokichi had said the same phrase only to Shuichi and Kaito.
Initially thought to be a life-sized doll, Kaede didn't expect that Tsumugi has the title of the Ultimate Cosplayer due to her normal-looking appearance. She states that she could feel some sort of "pheromones" that can't stop from falling of Tsumugi because she was out of costume. She also said that Tsumugi has a "strange, almost sexy aura" about her, possibly because she had people ogling her curves on a daily basis, or so Kaede says. It is unclear whether Kaede was just being playful or actually hitting on Tsumugi, but it should be noted that Shuichi even told Kaede that she sounded like a creepy old man after Kaede made those comments about her.
In the bonus scene (triggered only if the player gave Tsumugi Nail Brush present in Chapter 1), Tsumugi offered Kaede to paint her nails which resulted in Rantaro interrupting Kaede's appointment with her. It is later revealed that Tsumugi actually holds no friendship towards Kaede. In Chapter 1, Tsumugi had figured out Kaede's plan and when she discovered that Kaede's plan failed, Tsumugi decided to kill Rantaro herself to prevent everyone else from being executed. Because of this, Tsumugi framed Kaede for the action and executed her as well.
Kaede sees Angie as a very religious person and is a bit creeped out when Angie asks for some blood to sacrifice to her god. Whether good girl or bad, Kaede thinks that it won't be easy to get close to her.
After Kaede was executed, Angie seemed to forgive her deed and said that she would rest in heaven, but Miu replied that Kaede had a horrible way to go.
During his Free Time Events, Korekiyo told Kaede about his sister, to the point that she more or less jokingly asked him if he is into incest. He seemed to get slightly angered by this and simply answered that incest is regrettable. Kaede apologized and told him she didn't mean it in a bad way, which quickly calmed him down.
Korekiyo likes Kaede and her optimistic nature very much and asks her to be his sister's friend. She agrees, and Korekiyo leaves to plan a good "method" for them to meet, heavily implying that Korekiyo might have murdered her in the future if she hadn't died so early during the Killing Game.
Kaede thinks Korekiyo is a bit creepy but assumes he is a nice person who cares about his sister. However, she is a bit unsure about it, as she doesn't know him well. She also assumes that Korekiyo is "so girly" because of his sister's influence.
Kaede thinks that Kirumi has an interesting talent who is skillful and also gives off a humble and calm atmosphere. She wondered to call her just that. Kaede states how lucky Kirumi could be since she is always busy and helps a lot of people.
During her Free Time Events with Kirumi, Kaede straightforwardly told her to stop spoiling the other students too much, as they can grow to become too dependent on her. She said that it was her best and worst quality, and by using Kirumi's aggravation toward being called as the group's mom, her words eventually get through to her as she realized that to pursue her principle of selfless devotion, she needs to start thinking about her own needs.
Kaede thinks Tenko is cute, spending a good deal of time complimenting her appearance during Free Times Events, which greatly embarrasses Tenko. Since Kaede is a girl, Tenko is willing to protect her from degenerate males.
Free Time Events & Bonus Mode Guides
The links below are full transcripts and indepth guides for Kaede Akamatsu's relationship routes in Free Time Events, Love Across the Universe: Dangan Salmon Team, Ultimate Talent Development Plan, and Hotel Kumasutra including her MonoMono Machine Present preferences and most effective dialogue options.
|Free Time Events||Love Across|
List of Appearances
- Kaede is known as a 'false protagonist' or a 'decoy protagonist', which are terms used in media to describe a character who is depicted as a protagonist only to be killed immediately, or somewhere early on in the story.
- Due to the unreliable nature of Danganronpa V3 and the students' backstories, it's not certain if Kaede's twin sister exists. It is also possibly a reference to Kaede's Japanese voice actress: Sayaka Kanda, who played Junko and Mukuro in the Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair stage play adaptions.
- Kaede was first revealed as part of the Danganronpa V3 trailer first shown at Tokyo Game Show 2016, along with the avatars of the rest of the game's cast which up until that point were only shown as silhouettes. While all other characters were only revealed by appearance, Kaede's character name, as well as her Japanese voice actress, Sayaka Kanda, were revealed during the trailer, and it is actually presented by herself.
- She is the first protagonist in the primary game that has a skill for a talent, along with being the first female protagonist in the primary line of the Danganronpa series.
- During the trailer, Kaede introduces herself as the game's "protagonist" (主人公 shujinkō), and is shown participating in a Class Trial.
- According to the English localization's character heights, Kaede (5'8") is taller than Shuichi (5'7"), which is why some players assumed that a one scene with the two had incorrect art. However, in the Japanese version, Kaede is shorter than Shuichi.
- Kaede's Japanese voice actress, Sayaka Kanda, has already contributed to Danganronpa franchise as a whole both as a singer (as part of the group TRUSTRICK), singing the opening to Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Future Arc alongside Maon Kurosaki as well as its ending, and as a stage actress - playing Junko Enoshima (and Mukuro Ikusaba) in the Danganronpa stage plays.
- Kanda is also married to Mondo Owada's stage actor for Danganronpa: Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei THE STAGE 2016, Mitsu Murata.
- Kaede's English voice actress, Erika Harlacher, also voices Kyoko Kirigiri in Danganronpa games.
- In a poll hosted by MyNavi, fans voted Kaede the 3rd most popular Danganronpa V3 student out of 16.
- Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki from April 27th, 2017 to May 22nd, 2017 held two popularity polls, one that was voted electronically and the other via post cards. Kaede was voted the 4th most popular student in the electronic poll, and most popular through post cards.