The story is shown from the point of view of the protagonist, Makoto Naegi, who starts a new year at the elitist private school Hope's Peak Academy, a government-funded school which is renowned for educating students that are top of their expertise. These students are given the title of "Ultimate". However, every year the school hosts a raffle in which every average student nation-wide is entered, and a random student is selected to enter the school as the "Ultimate Lucky Student" - as is the case with Makoto Naegi, and is shown through the shortstory Makoto Naegi's Worst Day Ever. The story revolves around 15 students who are trapped in the school under the control of sadistic bear named Monokuma. They are forced to live a communal lifestyle together under a set amount of rules (included in the e-Handbook) for the rest of their lives, although it is possible to "disrupt the peace" in order to escape. To do this, a student must "graduate" from the school by murdering a classmate. After a body has been discovered, the rest of the students must work together to discover the culprit, who is known as the "blackened" in game, while the innocents are on the side of the "whitened," playing off Monokuma's monochromatic color scheme. If the culprit can fool the rest of their classmates, then they alone can graduate the school while the rest of the students will be punished (executed). However, if the classmates uncover the true culprit, then the culprit alone will be punished with a gruesome execution while everyone else remains unharmed. Each chapter, Monokuma releases motives to encourage students to commit a murder. During this time, the students attempt to uncover the secrets of the school, including why they were trapped there in the first place, as well as if there are other ways to escape the school other than the graduation clause.