DRAMAtical Murder is based on the Japanese BL visual novel (video game) of the same name developed by Nitro+Chiral (Togainu no chi).
Despite the sexual nature of the game, this is not a yaoi anime and with the exception of the O.V.A. the sexual relationships between the characters are only slightly hinted at.
“You think I’m going to take that from a guy that looks like a giant toilet brush?”
Aoba Seragaki (Gabriel Regojo – Akame ga Kill!) is a young man living in the old district of the island of Midorijima. There are two games popular in the district, Ribs, played by street gangs known as Ribstiez and Rhyme, a virtual fighting game controlled by an entity known as Usui.
He is uninterested in either game and spends his days working at the local junk shop, Mediocrity, with his mobile device Ren (David Wald – Ghost in the Shell: Arise) and living with his grandmother Tae (Marcy Bannor – Nyan Koi). However, he still spends time with his childhood friends even though they are both gang leaders, Koujaku (David Matranga – Tokyo ESP) who is a popular hairdresser who runs the Benishigure gang and Mizuki (Adam Gibbs – Penguindrum), a tattoo artist who runs the Dry Juice gang.
His life is drastically changed when he finds himself forced into a game of Rhyme one day with the safety protocols turned off. He survives with the help of Ren, but it seems he knows all the moves even though he believes he has never played.
Shortly after he is accosted by a strange kid in a gas mask, named Clear (Greg Ayres – Free! Eternal Summer) who insists on calling him Master and the hacker Noiz (Corey Hartzog – Angel Beats!) who wants him to go back to playing Rhyme.
With Ribs teams disappearing and Aoba beginning to suffer headaches, everything points to Platinum Jail, an entertainment facility set up by Toue Konzern in the other side of the island. Can they discover the plan before it’s too late?
DRAMAtical Murder is a good story with decent animation and a good soundtrack. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but given the nature of the game on which it was based I would be surprised if the fans of that liked it, as the hardcore sex has been removed and replaced with vaguely homosexual innuendos.
It is odd, and pretty complicated, but it’s worth persevering as it’s quite satisfying when it all comes together at the end. Not for everyone, but if you’re into sci-fi and don’t mind copious amounts of male bonding then you’ll definitely enjoy this one.
“That one-eyed jackass from Toue Konzern was spouting off about perfect happiness in Platinum Jail. How can you find happiness in a place called Jail?”
DRAMAtical Murder ia available to buy now on DVD/Blu-ray combo.