WARNING: the following critique might contain censored but foul language (I will do my best to always censor it, though); the reason for this is that I can’t call what they do ‘make love’; I can either call it ‘to f***’ or ‘to screw’ or ‘to rape’. I can only call it ‘to have sex’ on the good routes. I am neither a person who uses foul language frequently, nor am I doing this to offend anybody. Thank you for your understanding!
DRAMAtical Murder and its sequel, DRAMAtical Murder re:connect are boys’ love visual novels developed and published by Nitro+chiral. There will also be an anime adaptation which is to be released this summer (to which I really am looking forward, considering that according to MAL, they kept the seiyū from the visual novel) and apparently it also has a manga adaptation.
Before starting I should add that DRAMAtical Murder re:connect is a sequel in the way that it develops the good endings of the routes (as in, it can be seen what happened after); regarding the bad endings, it shows what exactly led to those endings and what happened afterwards. Also, you can find out more about Aoba’s past and what happened to Mizuki. Another difference is that in DRAMAtical Murder only the bad endings have their own ending theme songs (with the exception of Ren’s good ending), while in re:connect the good endings also have their own ending theme songs, each.
The events take place in a kinda-sorta futuristic fictional island – 碧島 (Midorijima) – and follows Aoba – and his acquaintances – who try to restore the peaceful lives of the residents while…accepting his own sexuality. The facts are that the island was made private (by 東江コンツェルン (Tōe Konzern)) and turned into Platinum Jail – a ‘resort’, thus forcing the original residents to live in the Old Residental District (旧住民区). So while Aoba, who used to play Rhyme, works at Junk Shop Mediocrity (平凡), along with Ren, his allmate and the new sexies, start investigating disappearances caused by Ribstiez and thus end up doing some…nice things, to say the least.
Music and animation
The music was pretty fine, and here I’m talking only about the music which goes on while you read, not the ending songs. I will talk about those at the right moment, so please bear with me. I have to say though, that they were spot on with the endings and even that is an understatement…
I was pretty happy with the art; it was surprisingly good, in fact. I will admit that considering all the warnings at the beginning (as in every time you start the VN) and the events on the bad routes…erm… they really, really didn’t have to censor certain body parts. But hey, you can’t have them all.
Story and characters
So, without further ado, on to the characters and their routes. Aoba Seragaki (瀬良垣蒼葉) is the primary protagonist. Basically, no matter what happens he stays alive and all the others fall for him and want to f*** him…. sooner or later (but rather sooner and in a more violent kind of way….). Aoba is actually pretty sexy and cute, in my opinion. He seems thoughtful, considering how he behaves and thinks about his Granny and his friends. He also seems caring and naïve; but I could easily say he’s also stubborn and a little bit…stupid, or rather, silly, at times. Now, I did find it interesting that Aoba could feel pain in his hair. Mhm. I did love it so much that he couldn’t stand it when people touched his hair, maybe because neither can I – I despise it! So I completely understand where he comes from. No, no, thankfully, I do not feel pain in my hair.
I shall talk about the routes in the following order: from the least liked to my favourite. The opening theme song for DRAMAtical Murder is AI CATCH performed by GOATBED and for re:connect is COSMOCALL FIELD also performed by GOATBED. Also, I will not explicitly say what happens in DRAMAtical Murder versus re:connect; I shall simply talk about the routes and their endings without saying where each piece of info is mentioned.
EDIT: previous order of the routes: Mink, Noiz, Clear, Ren, and Koujaku. The reason why I changed it is that all it took me to realise who I loved more was writing down this critique. The moment I published it I felt more than half-sorry, it felt like something wasn’t quite right, but in the beginning I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. And then I realised it.
I’m saving my favourite route for the last. So I’ll start with Mink’s route.
Mink (ミンク) is apparently the leader of ‘Scratch’ (a group of former prisoners) and his allmate is a cockatoo called Tori (トリ). All is fine and cool with Mink and his hair until you see how he treats Aoba, at least the very first time. I will admit that this was the very first VN I read, and it was a huge shock for me to see those things. However, I will admit that as frustrated and angry as I was because of Mink’s attitude, I did warm up to him a little when he explained that he behaved that way so that nobody, especially not Aoba, would mourn him after he died.
Anyway, on Mink’s bad ending, after Aoba uses Scrap on him and chooses to alter his [Mink’s] past, he basically rips his [Aoba’s..or rather… Shiroba’s] head off. Yep. Just like that. Of course, after they f***. The ending theme here is Sandy Weeds performed by VERTUEUX and this was used in both DRAMAtical Murder and in re:connect.
On Mink’s good ending, even though Aoba used Scrap on him, considering that he chose not to help the people in Mink’s memory (thus not altering his past) everything’s cool until Aoba realises that… Mink’s gone. He disappeared. Just like that. So Aoba starts searching for him and eventually finds him and they talk; Aoba constantly tries to make Mink understand that he [Aoba] wants to stay by his [Mink’s] side. Which Mink finally accepts and they f*** and they lived happily ever after. Now, on a more serious note, this ending was pretty good, if I can say so myself. I liked that side of Mink, a lot really. The ending theme here is Only Finally There is the Free End performed by GOATBED, while in re:connect the ending theme song for this ending is Milky Ways, performed by VERTUEUX.
I know that Ren’s route is the main, and the truth is that I love this VN – I like all the routes. But as I said, I shall have them in this specific order because of how much I enjoyed each route and who my favourite character is. So, on to Ren’s route.
Ren (蓮) is Aoba’s allmate and he looks like a Japanese Spitz. As an allmate he is very caring of and devoted to Aoba; he constantly worries about and helps Aoba as much as he can and I love that. He really is like a dog. I was particularly fond of the bond that Ren and Aoba shared; to me, it seemed like a very strong bond based on trust and respect and loyalty and honesty – I loved that! As an allmate, he also used to fight by Aoba’s side in Rhyme. But Aoba doesn’t do that anymore now, so all’s cool.
Ren’s route has two bad endings. In the bad ending centred on Virus (ウイルス) and Trip (トリップ), Aoba is kidnapped by them [Virus and Trip] and is being constantly raped by them and their allmates (which are not entirely small and cute and fluffy). Enough said. The theme song in DRAMAtical Murder for their ending is Masculine Devil performed by GOATBED; in re:connect their route is actually split -so you get Aoba being tortured by them kinda…squared – ugh! Anyway, in re:connect Virus’ ending theme is Holo Ghost performed by GOATBED and Trip’s ending theme song is This Immortal, also performed by GOATBED.
In the bad ending focused on Ren, Aoba used Scrap on Ren but failed and so Ren starts raping and at the same time devouring Aoba. Enough said. The ending theme for this ending used in both DRAMAtical Murder and in re:connect is deSlash performed by GOATBED.
Again, on to more cheerful stuff – Ren’s good ending.
So Aoba is shown to succeed with using Scrap on Ren. They f*** on the shore (which appears in Aoba’s memories) and then when Aoba returns to real life (after also accepting his other personality) he realises that Ren had been reset to being a simple allmate. However, in both DRAMAtical Murder and in re:connect it is shown that Aoba had a twin brother, called Sei (セイ). I will get back to Sei a bit later, but for now I’ll go on with Ren’s route. So before dying, Sei donates his body for grater purposes, such as Ren being able to f*** Aoba whenever he pleases (but mostly when he’s in heat). Anyway, fair enough. Thus, Ren returns to Aoba and they lived happily ever after. The ending theme here is PARA MIDIA in DRAMAtical Murder and in re:connect it’s Deeds, not Words, both performed by GOATBED.
So to explain a little (as far as I understood): Aoba and Sei are twins born in Toue’s labs, from Toue’s research and they were endowed with the power of Scrap. Aoba was given by Tae (タエ) to a church, while Sei had to stay with Toue and had experiments performed on him. In order to protect himself Sei scattered his consciousness into many parts. So the fact that Sei died was maybe a happier ending for him; at least he didn’t have to suffer anymore. And now the slightly more complicated bit.
[Look!!! Look at how freakin’ adorable the child Aoba is!!!!]
Apparently, Aoba could not handle the power of Scrap so he also divided his own consciousness in order to protect himself. He created three consciousnesses (?!) to share the burden of Scrap: as Tae told him, Aoba’s main personality was ‘Reason’; then there was ‘Desire’ who was not only chaotic and only sought pleasure, but it was also far larger and more powerful than Reason so the third personality, ‘Restraint’ (Ren) was created in order to support Reason – basically, to maintain a balance between them. Aoba describes Reason as being a small fragment floating in a sea of Desire. He also says that they were all originally part of him, obviously, but eventually took on their own personalities. Towards the end he says that none of them were evil; they played their role in protecting and supporting him.
Since I’m at it, I will go on and talk a little about Aoba’s past now. I did feel pity for Aoba, but I like where and how and with whom he ended up. Tae-san is just amazing; I mean, she worked for Toue but when she saw what was going on she felt guilty, she tried to save Aoba by giving him to the church and she even took in Haruka (瀬良垣ハルカ– Aoba’s Mum), Nine (瀬良垣ナイン– Aoba’s Dad) and then Aoba himself. Not only did she show maturity, open-mindedness and understanding (of everything really – the fact that Haruka and Nine brought a child and then left, Aoba’s sexual orientation) but she also raised Aoba and constantly proved to be a huge support and a precious person to him – she rocks!!! I do like Aoba’s family. I can only hope that one day they will all be together again – perhaps in the anime. Oh well.
Now I will admit that I had mixed feelings about Virus and Trip. However, when I saw that bad ending, I completely despised them and what they did to Aoba. But then I realised that… Mink and Clear and Noiz were just as bad – on the bad endings. So, if I don’t take those into consideration, Virus and Trip were not too bad.
On to Noiz’s route. His was actually pretty funny and not too bad (regarding the bad endings).
Noiz (ノイズ) is the leader of his Rhyme group, Ruff Rabbit. His allmate is Usagimodoki. He is actually a kid. A kid I liked a lot. As annoying as his attitude might have been, he was freakin’ funny. I also loved his piercings and as mean as this might seem at first, I found it very very interesting that he could not feel pain, for example. I wonder what House might have done about that. I really do. Anyway, Noiz is the wealthy, spoiled, impatient, unreasonable, impossible-not-to-get-at-least-a-little-or-a-little-more-attached-to-type-of-character.
So Noiz has two bad endings:
On the first bad ending, Aoba used scrap on him [Noiz] and failed, thus remaining stuck inside Noiz’s mind. However, Noiz can finally feel pain and erm… they start f***ing, thus touching each other and causing even more pain to Noiz (which is what he desperately wants) and to Aoba. I read and watched in shock how pieces of flesh were coming off of both of them but Noiz still wanted more and Aoba finally made his resolve.
On the second bad ending, which is shown in an 8-bit design, Noiz comes to Aoba’s shop, together they beat Akishima and level up, Noiz especially levels up his selfishness. Yep. So here I completely agree with a post that I’ve found once on tumblr, post which said: what doesn’t kill you, gives you XP – it’s blatantly obvious that it’s true…well, at least in this case. Anyway, this ending reminded me so much about the Super Mario games that I used to play with my siblings – priceless! Oh yes, I did find it sad that they were stuck in that world, but towards the end of this critique I will state my opinion about these bad endings, so bear with me.
The ending theme for these endings is Feel Your Noise performed by Kimura Seiji, but for the second bad ending it’s the 8-bit version of the song.
On Noiz’s good ending (which was really funny to read, really really really funny, I mean it) Aoba succeeds with using Scrap and although Noiz stays in hospital and Aoba visits him and they f***, Noiz disappears as well. So Aoba gets worried that he’ll never see Noiz again until Noiz comes to Aoba’s working place in a suit, piercings gone and with his usual smile… but…but…but…. the current Noiz looked so much more mature and sexier that not even I knew who I was looking at!! Great job Nitro+chiral, great job indeed! So Noiz has come to take Aoba with him to Germany (and he seemed so responsible, especially when talking to Tae-san about this and asking for her permission), and after a bit of pondering and one night in an awesome hotel
(when they obviously f*** in front of that huge window, because why not?!) Aoba finally decides to tell his Granny (who is surprisingly understanding of Aoba’s sexual orientation – kudos Tae-san!!!) and everybody else that he will go and live his life with Noiz in Germany. Lovely indeed (I mean it!). The ending song here is Only Finally There is the Free End by GOATBED and in re:connect it’s Your Reply performed by Seizi Kimura. Oh, I forgot to mention that I’ve found Noiz’s behaviour towards the three brats completely hilarious (especially how he acted with Mio).
Normally, Koujaku’s route would be last. But due to a change in my feelings and my realisation of who my favourite character really is, next up is Koujaku’s route.
[Look, just look how freakin’ sexy he is!!! Still not convinced?! Fine!]
Koujaku (紅雀) is Aoba’s childhood friend and the leader of his Rib team, Benishigure. His allmate is Beni (ベニ), who looks like a Red Avadavat. Apparently, Aoba always felt pain in his hair (until you get to the good endings on each route) and so never really cut it, only barely trimmed it. Anyway, because of this he was bullied and Koujaku always defended him – adorable, isn’t it? Koujaku’s family is connected (to say the least) to the Yakuza – enough said. However, that should explain the tattoos on Koujaku’s body. As bad as this might seem, I do, in all honesty, love those tattoos – Koujaku is feakin’ hot!!!!! So, to move on. Oh wait, no, time out again. Back to what I said in bold and italics – regarding that, can you imagine how I felt knowing that as a hot hairdresser he is almost constantly surrounded by women?! Ugh!
[Just look at how adorable they were!!!!!]
Anyway, on Koujaku’s bad ending Aoba performs Scrap on him and again fails so Koujaku goes completely insane. Tormented by this Aoba is taken over by Shiroba (now, hopefully you can realise that this means Desire took over Reason). And so Koujaku is now in a cell underneath Platinum Jail where Shiroba can come anytime he wants to f*** or… be f****d by a pretty wild Koujaku (no, no, not the sexy wild, this is the crazy-maniac-insane-cruel-inhuman-wild). Enough said. Oh, that and Itou Kanako’s theme song for this ending, Tears; this theme song was used in both DRAMAtical Murder and in re:connect.
On Koujaku’s good ending, Koujaku and Aoba finally (!!!) admit that they love each other in more than just a friendly way… and then they f***, first in Aoba’s room (in DRAMAtical Murder) – where Koujaku has a nosebleed – that was so freakin’ cute!!! And then in Koujaku’s magnificent bathroom (in re:connect).
I will admit that Koujaku’s house is so god damn cool!!!! Oh, that and Koujaku finally cuts Aoba’s hair.
Isn’t that adorable? Aoba with short hair is such a cutie. The ending theme for this ending is Only Finally There is the Free End by GOATBED while in re:connect it’s At Last performed by Itou Kanako.
So, next up is Clear’s route. Yes, this means that Clear is my favourite guy in all this. So, Clear (クリア) is in fact a robot – and a freakin’ god damn sexy one, for that matter (those moles!!! those moles!!! and those eyes!!!! just freakin’ all of him!!! well, and I also have a soft spot for white-haired male characters)!!! He and his ‘brothers’ (?!) served Toue (東江) by singing a song called ‘Dye Music’ which could brainwash people and cause them to submit to Toue’s decisions. Anyway, he was declared a defective unit and was thus supposed to be destroyed. However, the man in charge of disposing of him took him away. So Clear hears Aoba’s voice and comes to his ‘Master’.
Clear is in fact very cute. I got really attached to him. I loved his devotion to Aoba, but more importantly, his innocence – or naïveté if you will – regarding everything that is specific to humans (such as behaviours in certain situations; certain clothes – the scene where he is completely naked except for an apron when he prepares Aoba’s breakfast made me laugh hysterically for a good 5 minutes; certain objects and so on). I loved those. Clear is definitely lovely. And because of this, it hurt so much more that instead of hearing Clear’s seiyuu singing the Jellyfish Song, we actually just hear instrumental music – I mean, come on!!!!! THAT is unforgivable!!!!
Well… until you get to his bad ending.
So, Clear’s bad ending. Basically, both him and Aoba are taken by Toue. Aoba is put into some sort of prison while Clear is reset – so he becomes a ‘bad robot’ once again. Well, that might be an understatement. He comes an evil robot. I’m desperately trying to forget what I saw on his bad ending, so I will not get into it. I will say this much: if it could have been made worse, then Itou Kanako’s song Immer Sie (which is the ending theme in both DRAMAtical Murder and in re:connect) actually did it.
Now, on to cheerful things – those being Clear’s good ending. So Clear’s body is destroyed in DRAMAtical Murder (and he and Aoba f***, of course – that’s another thing I want to forget and I cannot…); Tae-san actually gets somebody to repair Clear’s body, and so Clear comes back and he and Aoba lived happily ever after (after f***ing in front of a mirror – for a better look, of course!). Again, the cherry on the cake is Itou Kanako’s song Crystalline, which is the ending theme for this ending in re:connect; in DRAMAtical Murder the ending theme song for this ending is Only Finally There is the Free End by GOATBED.
[It’s hilarious how short Aoba is compared to Clear!!! But…look, just look at the next one…]
Now I shall talk a little about Mizuki (ミズキ). He is the leader of the Rib team Dry Juice and also Aoba’s friend. I was shocked that he did not actually have a route of his own. I was even more surprised in fact, in re:connect, when he and Aoba did not f*** – I did not see that (not) coming!!! Anyway, he did look cool; it was a pity they didn’t show more of him; oh well, maybe in the anime.
I don’t think I want to comment on Aoba’s parents. Or at least, not too much. They seem cool people. And normally I would be against what they did – adopt a child, bring it home, leave it into your mother’s care and go see the world. However, they actually had their reasons to do that and also this had not had any bad consequences – Aoba was taken care of by Tae, who did a brilliant job at raising him up. So I don’t see any problems here.
Kio (キオ), Nao (ナオ) and Mio (ミオ) as well as Haga-san (羽賀) were soooo funny. Those kids reminded me of my siblings, whom I miss so much. As for Akushima (悪島) I personally think he should be locked up, for everybody’s well-being and safety, but most importantly, for his own, really.
What I think about bad endings versus good endings: I think the bad endings are only there to mess you up; I mean they only showed what would have happened or what could have happened but the good endings show what actually happened. So except for the fact that I cried my eyes out (seriously, I cried at least three hours each on Koujaku’s and Clear’s bad endings) especially during the ending theme songs, I decided to just disregard those events (after I somehow managed to get over what I had read and seen).
Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention. I found the idea of having online battles (or whatever they’d be really) pretty interesting. I’d love to give it a try – most definitely. But until then, I shall leave the guys try to prove who’s the boss. (Not for too long, though…)
So there you have it – the very first visual novel I read. Thank you a lot Moro for recommending it to me!!! Honestly, I loved it!!! It was really good!!! And I am looking forward to the anime – I honestly hope they won’t mess it up…
No, the exam period is still not over yet, but somehow I felt like writing this up (while listening to Itou Kanako) rather than studying for my statistics exam which is tomorrow.