Directed by: Kazuya Miura
Music By: Yuki Hayashi
Episode Count: 12 + 1 OVA
Format: DVD & Blu-Ray Combi
Number of Discs: 5 (2 Blu-Ray & 3 DVD)
Classification: 15 (BBFC)
Audio: Japanese, English
Licensed by: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: 13th February 2017
Aoba Seragaki works in a second hand store called Junk Shop Mediocrity, in hopes of living a simple life. In a town set in the near distant future, where Virtual Reality has been integrated into society, with the popular fighting game Rhyme holding battles throughout the city streets. Aoba shies away from the violent cyber game, but is forcefully dragged into one of Rhymes battles. With gaps within his own memory and events that don’t begin to add up, the cases of missing people must all be connected somehow. Aoba and his friends begin to investigate the shady underworld surrounding the Rhymes game. However there is so much more going on than just a simple case of short term memory loss.
Well this anime was certainly an interesting one, and seeing that it was based off a BL Visual Novel made all the more sense (especially the OVA). Overall the story was good, it definitely kept my attention with what was going on. With new characters being introduced, their backstories were very indepth and the plot wasn’t generic either. It was only about half way through the show that there were moments where the Boys Love genre began to shine. None more so than the very explicit and unexpectant goings on in the OVA. I am so thankful that no one was watching it with me, as some of the moments I am amazed it passed with a 15’s rating.
Aoba has all the look of an exciting lead character but instead spends his days working behind the counter of a junk shop. However his appearance does attract a variety of interesting people. Such as his childhood friend Koujaku, who looks like a samurai hairdresser as well as being a womanizer. We have Noiz, a quiet guy who acts more or less like a robot as he does not show any emotions. Clear is an interesting guy who first appears after saving Aoba, his face however is always hidden behind a gas mask. He only refers to Aoba as Master, even though the two had never met before according to Aoba. All the while we have Aoba’s grandmother Tae, who works as the town’s pharmacist. Lastly we have Ren, who although appears to look like a small dog, is in fact Aoba’s Allmate. A robotic creature that is much like a living Pokémon, who is also able to hack into systems and work as a PDA. Ren is an old model but has his own identity & consciousness, who assists Aoba in his everyday life. Every one of these characters gets an in depth backstory that just makes them all look so vulnerable. Perfect for all those BL fans out there.
With some form of malfunction within the Rhymes game, Aoba was unwillingly pulled into a fight. He was a target as the safety precautions surrounding the pain sensors were deactivated, meaning if he was hit with a hard enough attack – he could have been killed. There are also several cases of missing persons, the majority of which have been from street gangs. Aoba also must take a form of medication that in the need is uncovered as a form of drug to suppress his psychic ability. This ability does not make him shine as a superhero, but instead focusses on the damaging effects his power has when used incorrectly. A story twist that I have not seen before in anime, but does remind me much of the X-Men universe. People shunned for not being normal and forced to keep their hidden abilities a secret. As if they were out in the open, they may be found by government agencies in order to be experimented on and used as a weapon. So we have psychic battles involved throughout this anime, which is also connected to the Rhyme game system. An organisation whose business circles around creating a metropolis vacation and shopping society, who secretly has links to the multiple missing persons cases. Then we have all the back stories, each as in depth as the last. Which leads me to believe, the game it is based upon must be as entertaining.
The DRAMAtical Murder anime series was produced by Studio NAZ. A Japanese animation company based in Tokyo. They have only worked on a handful of shows, having only fully produced the first season of Hamatora and DRAMAtical Murder in 2014. Aside for this, they assisted on an episode of Danganronpa The Animation, and some in-between animation on Space Dandy 2. And interestingly produced the animated music video to Pharrell Williams 2014 ‘It Girl’, an anime and pop culture themed video that has reached over 8 Million hits on YouTube. You can check it out in the link here – https://tinyurl.com/pa4xdeo
The animation in this series was quite impressive, with good looking character designs aimed at the targeted BL audience. As well as the adorable designs used for the Allmates. The overall designs in the show make it look like its directed at a mature audience, instead of teenage girls. Giving us a great story, filled with action and suspense. Almost like a mystery solving series. All under the direction of Kazuya Miura, who has only solely directed this feature. He has however worked on many other shows as a key animator, episode director and more. With shows including Moonphase, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth, Generator Gawl and Fullmetal Alchemist.
Bonus Features Include:
Clean Opening & Closing
DRAMAtical Murder began as a Boys Love Visual Novel Game by Nitro+chiral, releasing on Windows PC back in 2012. Nitro+chiral is a BL game making branch of Nitroplus, having launched back in 2004. Shortly following its PC debut, it was soon adapted into a 2 volumed manga under the same name. A second BL Game named DRAMAtical Murder re:connect was released on PC in 2013. This anime series followed suit in 2014, under Kazuya Miura and Studio NAZ. A third game was released a month later, this time on the PS Vita named DRAMAtical Murder re:code.
The overall series was impressive in both animation and storyline. It was left with an open ending and would have been nice if the story was continued in a second series or movie to tie up loose ends. The OVA however has brought down my score, simply for the unfiltered BL mess it made, ending with an episode that was far more explicit than anything shown in the entire series. Still worth picking up for the story, but do give the OVA a miss if you really enjoyed the show.