First Look: DRAMAtical Murder


Visual Novel Adaptation by NAZ
Streaming on Crunchyroll


Aoba is living a peaceful life, working at his grandmother’s junk shop and hanging out with his robo-doggie computer. That comes to an end when he gets sucked into Rhyme, a popular and apparently dangerous new virtual reality game.

Jel’s verdict: Visual Novelty

There’s a lot to like in this first episode, most notably the visuals. DRAMAtical Murder is easily the most stylish thing I’ve watched this early in the season, with some creative character designs and amazing color choices that make all my graphic designer senses tingle. The near future setting looks cool too and I’m particularly amused by the computer pet companion things that everyone seems to carry. Throw in an impressive fight scene with some super CREEPY killer bunnies and there was certainly plenty of pretty things to look at.

Unfortunately, the episode itself was pretty dull. The character introductions and explanations are delivered in the most flat, boring way possible. It felt like you were reading the visual novel, which basically means the director failed in adapting the material to anime form. Making matters worse, we don’t even learn much about them other than a few key details. It would have been so much more palatable if they could have just been introduced when it was time for them to be relevant to the plot, as opposed to having Aoba randomly bumping into people in the street.

Despite the rocky start, I do think there’s enough pieces here for DRAMAtical Murder to go places. Hints of Aoba’s mysterious past and conspiracy theories around the sudden rise of Rhyme are a solid enough of a foundation to build a good story, assuming they can be presented in a more interesting manor than just a series of conversations. At the very least it will be pretty look at, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some more flashy action scenes. This series might just be worth keeping an eye on.


Marlin’s verdict: Rainbow Vomit

These otome shows just start to blend together after a while. Crazy hair, stupid clothes, horrible plot development, everything that is horrible about the genre is on full display in this show. It also has the ever-present otome problem of having to introduce each and every single character before the episode is out. It makes for really awkward scenes, like when Yaoi Vincent gets bumped into, says nothing, and then rides away five seconds later. Did I mention that this is a Yaoi show? Check that off on the list of reasons to not keep up with it. The VR aspects are kind of cool as concepts, but they’re let down by really chunky 3D animation. As always, I’m sure if you love BL then you’ll love this, but eventually someone’s gotta be able to make something that can be good and BL right?


Life’s verdict: Certainly a Visual Novel

Introductions are important. When a visual novel is adapted into an anime there is a tendency to follow the same formula every other visual novel adaptation follows. Protagonist does mundane thing and for one reason or another bumps into all the heroes or heroines. In the end all the characters are introduced and maybe you even learn about the overall story in the process. This works in a visual novel with time to build nuance into all the little interactions. It doesn’t work so well in a 30 minute TV show. That is exactly what we got out of this first episode. We met some boys, watched our protagonist walk around town and learned that he is somehow special. That probably makes this show sound pretty boring and a part of me would just like to leave it at that. I really do hate the way this story is introduced, but I would be lying if I said I hated everything it had to offer.

One thing I that amused me was the talking dog with a deep voice. I guess technology has advanced to the point where dogs can speak with some sort of cybernetics or something? I hope that will be explained later. I also liked how colorful the world is. Stories with gangs usually involve lots of brown and black. This anime violates the rainbow in order to give color to it’s otherwise bleak setting and I appreciate that. Most of the episode was boring for me, but the ending sequence caught my attention. There is a sort of virtual reality thing going on and the fight that happens when the protagonist gets pulled into this sort of virtual reality death match was pretty fun. The rest of the setting with potential for gang wars and people vanishing could be lead in to something interesting.

Despite my complaints about the introduction and the fact that I’m not part of the target demographic I am actually kind of curious to see what it all goes. If the presentation improves and gives our protagonist something more interesting to spend his time on this might be a neat show. I need a few more episodes to decide.

6 thoughts on “First Look: DRAMAtical Murder

  1. I guess I kindof liked the talking dog? Other than that, I don’t get the appeal of this show at all. It’s sure colourful, but so are a lot of other shows airing this season (e.g. Space Dandy), and I don’t think ‘colourful’ necessarily amounts to ‘stylish’. Also – and I can accept that maybe this is just me – but I fundamentally don’t understand the point of an anime based on a BL game that’s had all the BL content removed. Doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose?

    • Aside from the colors I liked the outlandish character designs and the near future look of the city, but I suppose that’s all subjective. As far as removing BL content, I suppose it’s similar to any visual novel anime adaptation that might remove content and bank on having a good enough story to carry it. I don’t think that’s going to work out here as the story seemed kind of thin and vague, but I’m assuming that’s the logic behind it.

    • I assume their will be some degree of romance between the characters even if it is only implied. There are several ways they could handle it I guess. I don’t have any experience with boys love titles, but plenty of visual novels with sex scenes have strong enough stories without the sex in my opinion and I expect the relationships will still progress in a similar fashion to the original even if they have changed all the sexual content. That said I think adaptations like this tend to exist/survive largely for two reasons. To help sell the games and to cater to/cash in on existing fans. It’s the same way the light novel anime market works which I’m even more confident works that way. Want to see all the little details of how how your favorite characters hook up? Play/read the original! Of course unless you can read Japanese that usually isn’t an option. Think of the anime as an extra service for the fans and it makes more sense I guess.

      • That all makes logical sense of the surface of things – I just highly doubt it’ll work out that way. Togainu no Chi, for example, another BL visual novel from the same company which was adapted into a BL-less anime back in 2010, performed absolutely dismally in terms of sales. I just assumed people would have learned from this.

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