DRAMAtical Murder is a an anime based on a visual novel game for the PC. It follows Aoba Seragak, a guy who finds himself caught up in a world of gangs, and intrigue after being ambushed while making a delivery of computer parts.
DRAMAtical Murder starts slowly. It takes a few episodes for the show to really make it clear what it is about. The early episodes aren't bad, they just don't paint a very clear picture of what the show is, and where it is headed. This stops being true around episode three or four, it isn't like those few episodes are wasted. They primarily deal with setting up the cast and establishing their personalities. The show has a small cast of characters, so each character gets more time spent on them individually. A few of the characters, aside from Aoba, even get episodes dedicated to them, and their struggles up to that point. There isn't a weak link in the cast, and none of the main characters feel like they are just there.
The concept of mind control is a big aspect of the series and its themes. DRAMAtical Murder uses this as a springboard to launch into scenes exploring the subconscious minds of its characters. These scenes are bizarre, and personal. In that regard they perfectly sum up the identity of the show. DRAMAtical Murder is intimate, and philosophical, yet also a little flashy.
The DRAMAtical Murders visual novel that this anime is based on has alternate endings as a feature. This is expressed in the anime with the presence of a thirteenth bonus episode. This episode serves to show how differently earlier episodes might have ended if certain character interactions had gone a different way. DRAMAtical Murder is at its most creepy in this episode. Each of the scenes is full of creepy imagery, gore, and they are all feature disturbing conclusions. Without spoiling anything, the way Clear's scene in this episode ends is particularly horrifying. It won't reveal anything new about the story, but the bonus episode is worth watching all of the same.
DRAMAtical Murder is a thoughtful series. It fully explores the questions that it raises, and provides answers to all of the mysteries it uses to intrigue viewers. It starts slowly but once it gets going it skilfully employs abstract sci-fi themes as both a tool for spectacle, and a series of character pieces. It can occasionally be a bit heavy on the philosophy, and it is very plot heavy, but what it gives in return is strong exploration on the idea of personal identity.
DRAMATICAL MURDER / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: CHRISTOPHER AYRES / WRITERS: VARIOUS / STARRING: GABRIEL REGOJO, DAVID WALD, DAVID MANTRANGA, COREY HARTZOG, ANDREW LOVE, GREG AYRES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW