From left-to-right: Noiz, Koujaku, Ren (dog All-mate), Aoba, Clear, and Mink (and Tori)
Nitro+ CHIRAL's latest BLVisual Novel, DRAMAtical Murder, also known amongst fans as DMMD, features crisp, clean and fluid art style, various character expressions and elaborate CGs, a dark sci-fi story rendered bright and colorful, and of course, tons and tons of Boys Love, with four main routes and one unlockable one. A first press edition was released on March 23rd, 2012, and a regular edition came out on the 27th of the following May. A sequel, DRAMAtical Murder Reconnect was released on April 26th 2013.Some time ago, Midorijima, an island southwest of Japan, was purchased by the highly influential Toue Company. Their plan was to build a high-tech luxury amusement facility called Platinum Jail, for the exclusive perusal for all those rich enough around the world to afford it. Of course, the original inhabitants of the island got screwed in the process. What coexistence there once was between Midorijima's people and the lush natural environment prevalent throughout was abruptly cut off. All those who didn't leave the island at Toue Company's suggestion were eventually forced to move to a corner of the island called the Old Resident District. All those who have stayed cannot leave, unless they receive Toue's permission. The Toue Company won't give that permission anytime soon, as punishment from the head of the company who was highly annoyed at the more stubborn locals. Soon after development on Platinum Jail completed, Toue abandoned the former residents of the island outright.Twenty years in the future, in Midorijima, an island southwest of Japan, a guy named Aoba lives with his tough-as-nails doctor granny, Tae, and his dog-type All-matenote a form of AI who work primarily as information networks, and implicitly, companions for those who have them, Ren. Aoba's always found it odd how dropping his voice to a certain inflection could drive people to call up Heibon, the shop he's working at, to hear it again and again, buying Heibon's mechanical goods every time. But hey, it does its job, so why not make use of it? Sadly, said power can't really help him with that trio of rambunctious children that always show up at the store just to make a mess. He also has to contend with his unusual friends that are involved in gang activity that he's long since left behind. His life is an amicable one, although as with all who've been left to carry their lives out in the Old Resident District in the years of Toue's acquisition of Midorijima, it is by no means prosperous. In those ensuing years, a game called "Ribsteez" (also known as "Rib") rose in popularity, in which gangs of young men would go out of their way to engage in turf wars against one another. More recently, another competitor have been taking over people's interests; a game called "Rhyme," whose participants and their watchers scatter throughout the city to engage in fights that unfold on a virtual reality but are seen right before their eyes. Anyone can play "Rhyme" if they have an All-mate and the fights are mediated and started by Usui, a judge with a female appearance and a male voice who randomly appears to signal the start of a match. Recently, a trend of "drive-by" matches have started, where people can force others into a "Rhyme" match with no mediation by Usui and most dangerously, any injuries taken during the game can impact the player's health in real life.Aoba just wants to keep the peaceful life he shares with Tae and Ren, but the accidental download of a mysterious 8-bit game called "Silent Oath" and getting caught in a drive-by "Rhyme" game leads to any real chance of normalcy in his life going out the window...An English patch for the full game can be found online.An anime was announced as part of the summer 2014 anime lineup, the PV can be watched here.
DRAMAtical Murder provides examples of the following tropes:
Abhorrent Admirer: Yoshie, the woman working at the delivery office, really likes Aoba. Her All-Mate, Clara, seems to have the hots for Ren. Aoba and Ren, on the other hand, try to escape ASAP.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Many of the main characters are gang leaders or whatnot, and very capable in combat. Koujaku, leader of Beni-shigure easily fends off many mooks with his sword. Mink, head of Scratch, knocks out three at once with one punch. Noiz, the leader of Ruff Rabbit, fought a bunch of Yakuza without much stress and claimed he would have won, if he hadn't been interrupted.
Badass: Hell yes. Koujaku and Mink are active badasses, Clear and Noiz seem to prefer to keep it in reserve (until they have to bring it out), and Aoba can go either way depending on the route.
The Bad Guy Wins: In the bad endings, Aoba isn't able to succeed in using Scrap, and is thusly unable to both defeat Toue and save his love interest. In the bad ending epilogues, Toue's Evil Plan succeeding is usually acknowledged in passing.
Battle in the Center of the Mind: Aoba and Ren get dragged into a Rhyme match with a person wearing a rabbit head who is later revealed to have been Noiz. Later, Aoba must face a berserk Ren in his mind.
Beware of the Nice Ones: Aoba when pushed into it; more-so when on the routes of those with a more active mentality.
Ren, who has the most brutal bad end of any of the boyfriends.
Brainwashed and Crazy: In Noiz' route, said character is hypnotized using Grand Music and is sent to defeat Aoba.
Happens to Mizuki and Dry Juice (courtesy of Morphine), as one of the main conflicts in the common route.
Also Happens to Akushima in Noiz's route.
Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Every character's route reveals anxieties and weaknesses in the character, ones which they fail to acknowledge or cannot change. This leaves Aoba with no choice except to use Scrap to prevent them from going berserk.
Inverted with Toue, a villain whose aim is to brainwash everyone on the island for the purposes of creating a utopia.
Came from the Sky: Clear, sort of. Aoba first meets him when Clear seemingly falls out of the sky in front of Heibon. As it turns out, Clear just has a bad habit of falling off roofs.
Call Back: In his route, Clear remembers that umbrellas are used in the rain.
Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Duh. Granny is an important supporting cast member though, and her and Aoba's close familial bond provides a large number of early heartwarming moments.
And amongst the auxiliary cast, there are females, even if it's one of the evil kid trio and a gossipy and quite hammy forty-something-year-old woman that Aoba frequently delivers to and both he and Ren would like to avoid (for wearing of having to speak with her All-mate, who likes him and who the lady obviously ships with him).
The Charmer: Koujaku. His legion of female fans is proof of his popularity.
Which, interesting enough, proves to be mostly shallow. When Koujaku is with Aoba he is shocked and red faced when Aoba invited him in to shower with him.
Compelling Voice: It turns out that in truth Aoba can instill his will onto other people with his voice when he drops it to a certain tenor; when put in situations wherein his life may be in danger, however, an even greater power comes out and his consciousness begins to black out.
Color-Coded Characters: Aoba's color being sky blue, Koujaku's red, Noiz' green, Clear's yellow and Mink's pink. And, if you'd like to add him, Ren's would be deep blue.
Contemplate Our Navels: Used more effectively than most, as in Clear's route he and Aoba eventually have a quiet conversation about the human perception on life and death, which fits in thematically with his predicament—and perhaps refreshingly, Aoba answers all his questions in a very honest manner, trying to offer the different kinds of views humans have on the matter, and why he thinks they might have them, without condescension.
Cool Old Lady: Granny. She can make Aoba's band of misfits behave.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Clear thanks Aoba for making him realize that the umbrella he carries around can be used during the rain, too. Clear is very much this, though for good reason.
Combat Referee: When Rhyme became popular, Usui was introduced as one to enforce rules during combat and limit the damage to players.
Inverted with Koujaku, he mostly appears badass, but his good ending has him being really adorkable when confessing his feelings for Aoba, he even gets a bloody nose during their sex scene!
Cyberpunk + Post-Cyberpunk: While the setting has many of the trappings of the Cyberpunk genre, it also portrays (most of) the cast being able to live normally until danger comes to the fore; that said, there's still a Crapsack World beneath the surface of their idyllic, day-by-day lives.
Drop-In Character: Usually, Koujaku is the one who drops by civilly, being Aoba's childhood friend, but later, everyone gets in on it. Granny usually just makes dinner for them all as they sit awkwardly by one another.
Early-Bird Cameo: Sei, who isn't properly introduced until the final route of the game, and Ryuuhou, who appears only on Koujaku's route, appear in the second episode of the anime, when the story is still in the beginning stages of the common route.
Editorial Synaesthesia: Aoba's headaches can almost be felt by the audience due to the abrupt assault of red cracks on a darkening scene, in conjunction with an eerie, pulsing ambiance.
In an emotionally-engaging use of this trope, Clear's Jellyfish song is never directly sung to the player/viewer, with a soft, ethereal lullaby-like chorus taking its place every time he sings instead, which imparts the wonder and calming effect it has on Aoba on the player as well, whilst never having to bring up how and what he sings (although Aoba will mention that the lyrics are sweet at one point).
As of the 9th episode of the anime we have more lyrics to the Jellyfish Song.
In Noiz' and Ren's routes, Aoba is stuck in the respective character's mind permanently. In the former's route, Aoba is subject to intense pain with Noiz in a void, both bleeding as they are stuck with each other. In the latter's route, berserk Ren continually devours Aoba while sexually assaulting him, obsessed with the idea of being closer to Aoba. Literally..
In Clear's route, experimental data is extracted from Aoba, and a reprogrammed Clear treats him as a doll, going so far as to amputate his legs out of obsession of making Aoba more like him. Devoid of free will. Clear is happy, but at the cost of Aoba's wellbeing.
The Sixth Ranger: Clear and Ren. Clear's a bit of an odd case, in that he's a Cloud Cuckoolander who has a bit of all three of the above supporting characteristics, and kind of acts as an "outside" character to the others (his past also backs this up); his loyalty to Aoba often compliments Koujaku's, he has an incredibly good senses and memory that helps them out even more than Noiz and Mink's info gathering, and he can beat up a man as well as any of them.
Freudian Trio: Aoba. Yes, just Aoba. Aoba's three Split Personalities. The normal Aoba is the Ego which cares for morality and other's perceptions of himself, his Superpowered Evil Side is the Id that embodies his more primal and destructive urges, and Ren is the Superego who was originally created to maintain balance between his Ego and Id.
Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters: Koujaku's gang and Mizuki's group take care of the areas under their control. They treat the residents kindly and are quite popular.
Game Within A Visual Novel: The first major event in the game is Aoba accidentally downloading a retro RPG on his Coil. This seemingly innocuous game turns out to have major plot repercussions, especially as events that take place within it begin mysteriously occurring in the real world.
Also present in one of Noiz's bad endings, where he and Aoba become trapped in an RPG-like simulation of the real world in his own mind due to his wish for them to be able to live out their lives normally. Forever.
Hard Light: Although most who do Rhyme are not supposed to feel the pain of combat, when Aoba's forcibly made to participate by a mysterious bunny mascot-headed man, he feels every blow.
Hates Being Touched: Aoba feels this about his hair, as his hair seems to carry the same senses as skin—including pain, such as when cut. Especially pain, which is why he prefers not to cut his hair. He'll let Koujaku do it, though.
Homoerotic Subtext: Aoba and Koujaku have this in spades, more specifically when one isn't on his route. Since this is a BL game in which Aoba can pursue him, one confirm that Koujaku really does have a secret thing for him regardless of whether he's pursued or not, but if he's not, they still act like Heterosexual Life-Partners, with a lot of Undying Loyalty on Koujaku's side.
Hot-Blooded: Koujaku. His specialty is riling up all the seemingly stoic people he meets as soon as he meets them because he thinks they're up to no good (he's, perhaps unsurprisingly, right about this). Which is basically every seemingly stoic character (there are a number of them).
I'm a Humanitarian: In Ren's bad ending, he eats and rapes Aoba over and over in an endless cycle.
Interface Screw: In Noiz' route, as Aoba uses Scrap on him, he gets to see his memories with Aoba in the form of a visual novel, except with severe discolorations, pixelation and errors in text rendering. Some people in the fandom thought this to be an actual error with their computer or program until they were told otherwise.
Keigo: Clear speaks very politely and is the only main character to use boku when referring to himself. Virus is also extremely formal, addressing Aoba as 'Aoba-san'.
Large Ham: The memorable seemingly-gangsta-lyfe-inspired introducer of each of Aoba's acquaintances is just about the hammiest character to ever grace sound systems for approximately two point five seconds at a time. Akushima's popularity (amongst the audience) can be attributed to this exact reason as well.
Mental World: Aoba can enter other people's minds by touching them and looking into their eyes. These mental worlds tend to be...disturbing.
Mob War: While some groups, like Mizuki's, are like a brotherhood and even take care of the people and shops in the area in the district that they make their own, those who do Rib are notorious for their turf wars.
Real Men Wear Pink: Mink and his pink bandana, Noiz and his cute cube All-mate and bunny-related everything, Koujaku and his flower theme.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Koujaku (Red) and Noiz (Blue), also the allmates Beni (Red) and Tori (Blue)
Ridiculously Human Robot: Clear is entirely indistinguishable from a human (being able to eat, have sex with humans, and contemplate the nature of human death) until he encounters the Alphas (to whom this trope also applies) and his body begins to break down. Even as he's dying, Aoba tells him he's the most human person he's ever known.
Rubber Face: Clear pulls on Aoba's cheeks when trying to figure out what's "different" about him than when he first saw him.
Scratch Damage: Typically, in Rhyme, even attacks which have been defended against inflict some damage.
Secret Character Route: Not so much of a secret at this point, but Ren's route can be unlocked after completing all the others'. It doubles as Sei's route as well, who is far more spoilery.
Self Cest: Aoba with Ren. Later evolves into Twin Cest once Ren transfers his consciousness into Sei's body.
Noiz, at the end of his route and throughout Re:Connect.
Ship Tease: Noiz in particular, who kisses Aoba and says he doesn't get why it's so weird, Koujaku who acts like he's gay for Aoba (because he is) although they pass it off as bromance at first, Clear whose insistence that Aoba is his master and that he belongs to him is the reason Noiz and Koujaku start to get really pissed off, etc. It's everywhere until Aoba starts thinking about a particular man.
Super Senses: Clear's hearing is...strange. It's one of the first significant indications that Clear might not be entirely human, and more than what he seems.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between Koujaku, Noiz, Mink and Clear when they're forced to work together to find Granny. Koujaku doesn't trust Noiz or Mink at all, Noiz isn't exactly a team player at the best of times, Mink isn't very cooperative either and Clear is Clear. Aoba is the lone voice of reason.
Tsundere: Sure, Noiz doesn't really care for the rest of them, okay, but Aoba asked him really nicely to help him, so he did (...reveal himself to be totally eavesdropping on them)... Tch, whatever...
Vocal Dissonance: The proctor of the Rhyme Games, Usui, whose body is a pretty woman's but voice is a deep-sounding dude's. Which makes sense, given that Sei is controlling her.
Also, Ren. For a cute, little dog All-Mate, he has a really deep voice.
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: It's up to Aoba to teach Noiz the Power of Love in Noiz's route. Noiz reveals that his parents found him troublesome and basically abandoned him. He was given necessities, but was completely ignored. Others distance themselves from him or use him for his wealth or body.
The Alphas, who are Clear's "brothers", are this to a T.
Aoba becomes this in Koujaku's bad ending when his Super-Powered Evil Side completely takes over his weakened will.
Yandere: The bad endings typically involve Aoba or his love interest becoming this and resorting to extreme and graphic measures to keep the other with them forever. Special mention goes to Clear, who cuts off Aoba's limbs to take away his free will, and Mink, who kills him to be able to keep his severed head as a keepsake.
Yakuza: Aside from the numerous gangs populating Midorijima, there is also a yakuza. Koujaku recognizes Trip and Virus as members of the yakuza. Not only that, Koujaku himself was born into a Yakuza family.