DRAMAtical Murder: Episode 01

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DRAMAtical Murder is set in a futuristic world where everything is modern and cool, even the pedestrian “stop” signs. Well, everything except the junk shop Aoba works at. The first episode of DRAMAtical Murder introduces us to just about the entire cast of this anime and raises more questions than answers, which is just about what a typical first episode should do.

Before I even knew that DramaMurder was adapted from a BL visual novel, I was already attracted to this anime for other reasons; its pv, the futuristic setting, gaming theme and interesting OP/ED. I think it must have been my fujoshi instincts which made me pick this anime out from the many others premiering this summer. So, after hearing that this anime was something which adapted from a BLVN, I lowered my expectations for it and decided to just give it a go out of obligation. From past experience, I’ve learned to never take BL/shounen ai anime too seriously.  However, DramaMurder was a pleasant surprise – so far. Almost the whole cast got introduced in this episode and my BL radar has been ringing non-stop since the 6th minute when Koujaku stopped himself from touching Aoba’s blue tresses.

So who do we have so far?

Aoba; also our main character who will be right smack in the middle of this harem of pretty boys. Seems like he has always been complimented about his voice (Kisaichi Atsushi), even by guys. He works at a junk shop called “Mediocre” and appears to be a someone who is far from being mediocre, according to the other characters in the show. Even though he doesn’t belong to any “group”, despite that being the safer way to live in the rather rowdy city, he doesn’t seem to be flustered when outnumbered by street gangsters. We didn’t get to see him in action for the entire episode, until the very end when he did a sudden 180 and won the Rhyme battle. I look forward to the second episode to give us more of an explanation on Aoba’s character because right now, I can’t really tell.

Ren; Aoba’s allmate. He is an artificial-being equipped with AI and seems to have a rather stoic and composed character. At first, I totally wasn’t expecting Aoba’s cute little doggy to speak up, much less to sound like such a stoic and straight-faced man. Ren assists Aoba in ways similar to how your smartphone helps you, so that got me thinking about the future of smartphones. Will they really evolve into cute pet-like artificial-beings? Anyway, Ren is so useful that I think I could use a Ren in my life too. He helps Aoba with navigation, manages Aoba’s mails and even reminds Aoba about the data he accidentally downloaded during the day – just like a personal assistant.

Koujaku; he is someone like Aoba’s childhood friend, having met Aoba when the girly boy was being bullied for looking like a girl. Since then, he has been protecting Aoba from other bullies. It is rather obvious that he has feelings for Aoba, those eyes that follow Aoba so fondly! So far we don’t know much about Koujaku, other than the fact that he’s the leader of Benishigure and he does street hairdressing. Did I mention that he is voiced by Takahashi Hiroki? Hiroki-san’s name was the one of the few familiar ones on the cast list and I thought such a gentle and protective character suits him.

Mizuki; leader of Dry Juice and admirer of Aoba’s fighting skills. MAL listed Mizuki as a supporting character, hard to believe since he got so much airtime during the first episode. Since I thought he was the coolest (though I have my doubts about the teardrop-shaped mark below his eye), I was a bit disappointed. Are you sure he isn’t one of the main characters??

Virus and Trip; brothers who dress and look very alike. They are also admirers of Aoba’s fighting skills and at this point, I got really curious. Just how amazing is this Aoba whom everyone keeps talking about? All I’ve been seeing is just a blue-haired gaki running around doing odd jobs.

Mink; Aoba bumped into him while running away from Akushima. He looks rather stoned and I guess he would be that character who rarely speaks – every anime has to have one of these.

Clear; the guy with the gas mask. I feel like calling him Shiro-chan because he’s just so white, other than his gas mask. He is by far, the most mysterious character in the show and I blame it all on that mask which obscures even his face. Sometimes when the character’s face isn’t shown immediately, I get the feeling that they have to be super good-looking. I think he might be the antagonist, but it’s just a wild guess.

Noiz; we only see him in the ED and I think he looks rather cool.

From the first episode, we see a mixture of slashy, sci-fi, action and comedy. Those can turn into a winning formula or become a disaster and I’m still not quite sure which way DramaMurder will head towards. Lots of terminologies were thrown at us and it took sometime to catch and remember them all. Aoba is living on an island, which is separated into a new district  and the older residential district. Almost every teen in the older district is part of a gang and a short walk around town with Aoba shows us that the district isn’t exactly a safe place to be at. However, Aoba seems to be capable of standing up for himself and has friends who would come to his rescue. During his talk with Mizuki, we learn that people have been disappearing and reappearing days later with amnesia. It sounds like a gang called “Morphine” was behind the previous case of disappearances, nobody knows what is really going on. At the same time, Rhyme, a cyber battle game, is gaining popularity in the district and Aoba unwittingly becomes a participant in a strange battle against angry little bunnies.  The battle was was intense – as intense as any fight against angry little bunnies can get. Just when we thought Aoba might have to get saved by one of his handsome friends, he suddenly did a 180 and defeated all those little bunnies, leaving us staring blankly at the ED sequence.

I need the next episode and I need more explanations. What is that huge bunny? How is Rhyme connected to the disappearance cases? And why does Aoba act like he has a bipolar personality? Why was Aoba targeted with the Rhyme battle? The next episode will probably explain about half of my questions and I can’t wait.

ED sequence:

DRAMAtical Murder E01 (32) DRAMAtical Murder E01 (33) DRAMAtical Murder E01 (34) DRAMAtical Murder E01 (35) DRAMAtical Murder E01 (36)

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