Makoto Naegi (苗木 誠 Naegi Makoto) is the main protagonist ofDangan Ronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair. Unlike most students, he was selected to attend Hope's Peak Academy because he won a lottery, earning him the title ofSuper High-School Level Good Luck (超高校級の「幸運」Chō Kōkō Kyū no "Kōun") and in chapter 6 he earned his title and changed into Super High-School Level Hope (超高校級「希望」). Throughout the course of the game, he became one of the more prominent investigators and was the one that was usually able to see the truth behind every murder. Naegi survived the final trial and escaped with the other survivors at the end of the game.
Naegi describes himself as being a typical normal high school student. He has brown hair and light grey-ish, green eyes. He wears a brownish green hoodie, black jeans and red sneakers. Naegi is rather short, making him the second smallest of his class (after Fujisaki).
Naegi is friendly and a lot more down-to-earth than other students. This is possibly the reason why he is capable of approaching and befriending them in the Free Time sequence. Junko refers to him as a ‘herbivore man,’ which she means that Naegi is likely to be the passive one in a relationship; proven from his conversation with others.
According to him, his most distinguishing feature is his optimism. Because of it, he's capable of befriending almost anyone, even the most antisocial such as Togami and Fukawa. Naegi would make use of this particular trait later on the final trial where he prevented the other students from giving in to the despair that starts to overtake them, earning him the title Super High School Level Hope.
Naegi starts out by being an ordinary high school student with no special talent. He lives with his mother, father, and little sister. He eventually gets selected to attend Hope's Peak Academy through a random lottery, earning his title of "Super High School Level Good Luck".
In Dangan Ronpa/Zero, it is learned that during his time of entering Hope's Peak Academy he eventually bumps intoRyouko Otonashi in the medical bay and states that he was there to return the Electronic Handbook that Yasuke Matsuda misplaced. Afterwards, they had a short encounter with Isshiki Madarai but Mukuro Ikusaba saves Naegi's life during the short encounter.
Naegi is first seen in front of the building of Hope's Peak Academy. As he entered the entrance hall, he began feeling dizzy and loses consciousness, eventually waking up in an empty classroom. Dazed, Naegi collects himself and begins inspecting the classroom, discovering that all the windows in the room are blocked and bolted down with iron plates, and a security camera looms ominously over the classroom. He soon finds a crayon-written letter titled Orientation Info. He exits the classroom and begins exploring- what Naegi assumes- is the inside of the Academy. He soon finds out that he is not alone, stumbling upon a group of other students, each telling a story with one thing in common: they all woke up in a classroom after losing consciousness when stepping inside the school grounds.
Throughout the introductions, Naegi would join the present students in the hall and assemble as he saw Monokuma. Though suspicious about the talking bear, Naegi has some uneasiness in his mind as Monokuma gave the students a harsh ultimatum which has no alternatives; either live in the academy forever or kill the present student to "graduate" (the killer would get away with their murder).
After learning that all of the students are given a harsh ultimatum, Naegi remains silent and shocked while remarking that the school he administered in is not Hope Academy, but instead a Despair Academy. Until then, his silence is broken by Kirigiri, saying that just standing around is no solution. Naegi regains his senses and temps to find the solution to seek the exit without meeting any unwanted accidents. Seeing Togami's antisocial interaction had ignited Oowada's rage, Naegi would tend to stop the argument and instead of calming both boys, Naegi was beaten by Oowada and stayed unconscious until he awoke in his own student hostel room.
When awoken from the beating, Naegi is reunited with his fellow classmates in the search for an exit in the academy. During the meeting however, Naegi confronts Monokuma who appears out of nowhere and learns about the talking bear's sadistic principle about the killing spree to escape the school, and it is until the bear mentions about the DVD in the AV Room that it would prompt his curiosity.
After watching the horrific DVD (his house torn about and family disappearing without a trace), Naegi's face turns pale as he begins to think of a way out immediately, while at the same time he also saw Maizono's panicked face and shaking in fear; indicating that she also witnessed the horror about the content of the DVD. As Maizono ran outside, Naegi tended to calm the SHSL Idol down while promising her that he will protect her life even if it costs his life to do so.
Unfortunately for Naegi, his promise to protect Maizono was broken, as he found her dead in his hostel room shower, which led him devastated about her death and quickly fainted. The overwhelming circumstantial evidence eventually led Naegi to be blamed for the murder.
In his frantic quest to clear his name, Naegi worked through numerous heated debates and collected evidence, eventually coming across conclusive proof that indicated Kuwata might had be the one who killed Maizono.
After Naegi arrived at the most logical conclusion of events that had transpired leading up to the murder, he had a brief but very intense debate with Leon Kuwata; the latter was eventually found guilty of Maizono's death and Naegi's name was finally cleared from murder; however, before anyone had a chance to fathom what was in store, Kuwata would soon be dragged off to his punishment by Monokuma.
After witnessing Kuwata's brutal execution-by-baseball-machine, Naegi angrily blamed Monokuma for ultimately causing Kuwata and Maizono's deaths. His emotional outburst was, however, halted by Kirigiri, after which Naegi remained sullen and silent.
Naegi would later learn from Kirigiri that Maizono's motive in writing her dying message could possibly have been to protect him, while regretting to have plotted for Naegi to be blamed for the murder; Naegi responded that he would shoulder the weight of both Maizono's and Kuwata's death and live on, so that their deaths would never be forgotten, and so he could avenge their deaths by finding out who the mastermind was.
Since the death of both Maizono and Kuwata, Naegi would seek more clues in order to escape with everyone through their unity. However, during the course, he witnessed another death which involved with his friend, and this time it's Fujisaki who was hung like a crucified figure and the blood message on the wall. With the assistance of Celes and Oowada's information about the clue, Naegi managed to cleared both Togami's and Genocider Syo's name of the crime and had finally pinned Oowada as the culprit over Fujisaki's murder. Even with Ishimaru's plead by claiming that SHSL Biker was innocent over the murder, Naegi would solidified the charges by noticing about the changed gym rooms and the blooded dumbbell while didn't anticipate that Oowada's reason to kill Fujisaki is due to his jealousy and rage over Fujisaki's strong determination to get rid of his weakness. Since Oowada's execution, Naegi had witnessed the sense of distrust among the group over who would be the next victim of the next murder which they only worried that the death of his former friends, either murdered or executed, had ignited the group's disunity and even extended to losing the very chance to escape nightmare should they remained suspicious to each other.
On the next day, Naegi was join the surviving students and shocked that Monokuma would give a cash of 10 Billion Yen for those who graduate; he's ticked & he won't buy the talking bear's sweet word as a bait for the cash just to make it out alive while make everyone die. After the assembly, Naegi was led to Asahina, in bathroom she see's Fujisaki's "ghost", and his curiosity would got the best of him. Like many others who see hope is still there
Sensing that hope is still alive, Naegi would expect Alter Ego would save everyone before another tragedy happens again, while remarked that Fujisaki has left a bright legacy to everyone prior his murder. Suddenly, the disappearance of Alter Ego would led Naegi meet the roadblock again as he learned from Togami that whoever stole Alter Ego from the locker might be a traitor among us; leaving him out of options but to find Alter Ego and find the traitor in the same time to make sure that Maizono's and Fujisaki's death would never repeat
Naegi's search for Alter Ego became a halt as he hear Celes scream as she claimed as she was "under attack" by the suspicious being known as "Justice Robot" (though some like Togami found it suspicious at first)and saw the photo that Celes showed everyone via Yamada's digital camera. Worried that the culprit would hurt his friends again like his former classmates, Naegi then rushed to warn Kirigiri and others about the new threat, only to find the "injured" Yamada instead. While try to find all the peers before it strikes again .To add up his horror, Naegi found Ishimaru's corpse lying on the floor and come .
As all the mind games are confused almost everyone, Naegi would tend to piece up the puzzle about the odd 2 murders of both Ishimaru and Yamada.
After the 3rd Class Trial and Celes's execution, Naegi would witness the strong
After witnessing his friends falling one by one, executed and murdered, Naegi vowed to his former classmates that he would find the clue to escape this nightmare so that their deaths would not be in vain, while avenging them by finding the real culprit behind the inhumane game.
While in his sleep, Naegi is suddenly attacked by a masked figure but is saved by Kirigiri. Before he checked the school for more mysteries, Naegi finally found the perpetrator who was almost responsible for his assassination, only to find him/her dead.
Prior to his miraculous return with Kirigiri, Naegi is reunited with the other students (who still think that Naegi was responsible of killing Mukuro). Kirigiri then explains on his behalf that the trial was restarted due to some circumstances(basically thanks to Kirigiri's sharp retaliation over Monokuma's taunts) . Throughout the course of the investigation, Naegi learns about their past via the DVD and is confused that all of the students, including himself, agree to stay in the academy during their interview with the former principle of the Hope Peak Academy, Jin Kirigiri; began to realized that they were actually in amnesia before this sadistic game started and they had been staying in the academy for 2 years.
As the true perpetrator was revealed as the real Junko Enoshima, Naegi is surprised over the Mankind's Most Despairingly Maleficent and Monstrous Malefaction." is the reason behind Enoshima's sadistic survival game. During the course which almost all student were stunned over the truth; where details partially told by Genocider Sho(who knew the truth better than her normal counterpart), only Naegi managed to analyze the course of event during his past journey in the academy, behind every offer and lure from Enoshima (mostly about based on despair)
- Maizono's interpersonal reasons to frame Naegi by murder Kuwata out of desperation to save her idol group teammates (though Kuwata instead retaliated and backfired her plan, thus writing Kuwata's name by number as a redemption for her betrayal.)
- Oowada's anxiety about his secret (his brother's death) exposure in order to keep his motorcycle gang together and accidently kill Fujisaki due to his uncontrolled rage and jealousy over Fujisaki's inner strength.
- Celes's greed for the 10 billion yen so she can buy a castle in Europe, including her fantasy about vampire butlers, would almost led her treachery to the group by killing both Ishimaru and Yamada.
- Oogami's suicide due to her position as a mole worked for Enoshima and caused the conflict and distrust behind the group. (Though her suicide was originally beatn by Hargure and Fukawa, as Genocider Syo, and supposed as a cover by Asahina, who little know that her suicide was her last ditch effort to keep the group together from turning against each other, thus it would be her noble sacrifice & redemption for the group sake to keep Enoshima's twisted mind games at bay.)
At the climax of the trial, Naegi is shocked that all of his friends, including Kirigiri, were stunned by Enoshima's revelation about Hope Peak Academy's true plan is to plant the ultimate despair into the world and his execution would mean the end of their hope. Yet as persistent as always, Naegi refused to give in and he tried to persuade his friends that hope exists in their hearts. With his fellow students's solid supports around him, Naegi managed to bring Enoshima onto her knees and executed herself in her very own special punishment (Super Duper Nasty Torture) in the progress; which finally resulted in her 'death' and the survivors are finally free from the strings of the once sadistic game.
Considered their torments have finally over, Naegi would open the door that led to the exit while begin to wonder if his doubts and insecurity remain in his mind after his gruesome journey in the academy. In his heart however, Naegi remarks that as long he refuses to give in, hope will be spread throughout the world and as long he wields hope, he would make the impossible possible. With that, Naegi is among the 6 survivors who survived the incident and joined the Future Foundation.
- Main Article: Detention
Prior to entering Hope's Peak Academy, Naegi and Maizono attended middle school together and didn't have much of a friendship due to them being in different social standards. Maizono later reveals that she always meant to talk to Naegi since witnessing him nursing an injured crane back to health after it got lost and stuck in the pool at their school. Unfortunately, they ended up graduating without ever having contact.
In highschool, Maizono recognized Naegi immediately and befriended him. A mutual attraction formed between the two and she even considered herself to be his "sidekick." He admired her very much and silently remarked on her beauty everytime she smiled. They trusted one another, and she admitted that she would go to dangerous lengths so she can protect and defend her idol members. After receiving the alarming video which showed her friends disbanding the idol group and laying on the stage in distress, Maizono had an emotional breakdown. Naegi was quick to comfort her, promising to get her out of the school no matter what it took. Naegi cared for her enough to let her borrow his room when she was scared of sleeping in her own. The next morning of her absence, Naegi goes looking for her worried about the condition she was in. Upon finding her dead in his bathroom, devestated, he lets out a loud scream and faints.
After finding out the facts from the class trial, and knowing that Maizono took advantage of his caring actions and tried to frame him, Naegi feels betrayed. However, he still mourns her death as she was his close friend. Kirigiricomforts Naegi and exposes that its most likely Maizono wrote her dying message with Naegi in her thoughts, exposing her killer to apologize for her actions. Naegi points out that she also could have just wanted to get back onher killer. It is not revealed whether that is true or not but in his conversation with Kirigiri after the trial, he quotes Maizono one last time, calling his intuition a result of him being an esper and then denying it as a joke after.
In Super Dangan Ronpa 2: Farewell Despair Academy, Naegi used the 11037 number as a code to save the remaining students, the number which Maizono used to save Naegi from being framed as the culprit in the first trial, Naegi later explained to Hinata the reason he set 11037 as the code because a certain person (Maizono) left that number behind to save him from trouble, proving that Naegi believed Kirigiri's theory and remembered her dearly as a friend.
The two's bond began during the events of the first case. Kirigiri is the one who tells Naegi that there was more to Maizono's murder than what everyone has been lead to believe. It is thanks to her words that he is able to solve the mystery of his late friend's death. She later comforts him about the events, saying that Maizono was hesitating to carry out her planned deed to kill him and gave her (and subsequently him) the piece of evidence needed to solve the case. Since then, the two have been on good terms and she aids him in the debates during cases. Naegi refers to her as a friend and wishes that she would trust him as much as he trusts her to which she begins to try and believe in others.
During the moments of the fifth trial, when Kirigiri is suspected of the crime and Naegi finds a contradiction in her claim, he remain quiet, putting his faith in Kirigiri. This lead to him being found guilty of the crime in question. He is forced to undergo a punishment, but is saved thanks to Alter Ego. She realizes that she was only concerned for herself rather than the safety of the only person that trusted her. Because of this, she risks her life to save him. This coupled with other subtle hints may indicate that she has feelings for him.