A murder most DRAMAtical

It’s finally here, people! What’s finally here, you may ask. Well, y’all better listen up because the first episode of the anime adaptation of DRAMAtical Murder has aired!

The main character, Aboba Seragaki. He's quite a sweetie!

The main character, Aboba Seragaki. He’s quite a sweetie!

What is DRAMAtical Murder some of you might ask, and why do you spell it that way? Well, to answer the second question, I don’t really know – I saw it typed that way a few times and so assumed it was the proper way to type it. Now for the first question, DRAMAtical Murder is a BL (Boy’s love) visual novel from the company Nitro+ Chiral, who also made Lamento: Beyond the Void, Sweet Pool and Togainu No Chi – which also got an anime. The story follows Aoba Seragaki, a youth who enjoys living his simple, peaceful life until he gets accidentally caught up in a popular virtual reality fighting simulator known as ‘Rhyme’ and everything changes for him.
Trust me, it’s a lot more interesting and in-depth than I make it sound!
Naturally, as in any visual novel you follow certain routes for each character and the story changes and develops for whoever you get. Each route has a good end and a bad end, and I must give praise to DRAMAtical Murder for it’s bad endings! They really punch your heart!

The gang's all here! Starting from Aoba's left: Kojaku, Mink, Noiz and Clear.

The gang’s all here! Starting from Aoba’s left: Kojaku, Mink, Noiz and Clear.

As I mentioned before, another one of Nitro+ Chiral’s games got an anime; the bloody, darker Togainu no Chi. Sadly, the anime didn’t really work out near the end, with the story ending kinda abruptly. I think it would have been better if they had decided on one character’s ending for the conclusion…
Now while I haven’t played either game (I’ve only watched videos on Youtube, like the cool kids do) I did just watch the first episode of the DRAMAtical Murder anime, and I must say it was pretty darn good! The animation was nice, Aoba seems to be a fine leading character and while certain plot points were brought up and some left unexplained I’m certain they’ll be explained later in the series.

So, if BL’s your thing, and if you’re a DRAMAtical Murder fan or not, check out the anime! Although, watch out for Aoba’s fashion sense. While I love the guy, I have never had such a love/hate relationship with someone’s outfit!

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Nostalgia – My memories of meeting the Shinsengumi

This is a little post of remembrance and gratitude to the men of Hakuoki. My first encounter with them was in Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi for the 3DS and since then I’ve developed a intense love and sense endearment to them.

Memories of the Shinsengumi was my first hands-on experience of a visual novel, as they are quite rare in the UK. I knew what to expect from the genre – basically reading a story but my choices can effect certain outcomes and I get to pick a character route to go down. I also expected the focus to mainly be on the romance and the wooing and such, but it seems I was to be proven wrong.
Yes, Hakuoki does focus on romance but it also has it’s own story going on, of which I must admit sometimes went over my head as it involved old Japanese politics (and hey, let’s be honest, I don’t even understand modern day politics) but what I did know was that slowly over time I was becoming attached to the band of sword swinging samurai.

Okita, you're making it REALLY hard for me to like you...

Okita, you’re making it REALLY hard for me to like you…

I say slowly, because the first chapter of the game is just the Shinsengumi deciding whether to kill poor Chizuru or not, and since she saw one of their darkest secrets you guess what the answer was. Of course, that nasty fate was avoided but Souji Okita didn’t do well for his first impression in that chapter. But that was the thing with Okita – He was quite the asshole when you first meet him, but if you go down his route then you discover that he’s not actually that bad and can be quite sweet too. That was something I loved about Hakuoki: Memories – you didn’t get to really know a character unless you stick with them right to the end.
Th story plays out the same each time up until chapter 4, where you will branch off with the character you have the highest affection with. And it’s after chapter 4 when all the heart break starts.

They may just be 2D men to you, but to me they're special friends...

They may just be 2D men to you, but to me they’re special friends…

When the chapter number pops up you have a image behind it for the first three chapters, but on chapter 4 and every chapter after you get a close image of your chosen samurai, from the nose down (it looks better than I describe, trust me!)
It wasn’t long after this on my first play-through – when everything was new and shiny – that my dear Saito got a corruption bar on his profile, and then a cold pulse of fear ran through me. Was his life in danger? Was there a chance that my sweet Saito could die? Would it be my fault? Or was it something that I couldn’t prevent? I began to worry that the image of him on the chapter change would one day disappear.
It was a genuine fear of mine. And I loved it.
I wasn’t expecting such worry, nor was expecting the chance of game overs. Yes, Memories has game overs, as in you die or your beloved dies. We aren’t playing My Forged Wedding here, people!
Points yet again go to Okita for game overs, as there is a choice near the end of his story which can lead to one of his game overs and let me tell you, it’s like a punch to the heart!
You punched my HEART, Okita! My Heart!
Of course, you may need to play through each character’s story several times to get all their CG/Artwork but that’s to be expected from any branching story set up.

So now, I get to excitedly look forward to the arrival of PS3’s Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi – which will arrive the day after my higher history exam, bliss! – Where I’ll get to experience new memories with the wonderful men of the Shinsengumi, and I’ll never regret a single second I spend with them.
Except maybe Sanan…that dude’s creepy…

Diabolik Lovers – for all your sexy vampire jerk needs!

I’d heard of the Otome game Diabolik Lovers before, and I even did a little bit research into it – by which I mean I looked up someone’s description of each character’s route. Even back then the whole thing sounded creepy to me and so I decided to file it deep at the back of my mind. That was some time ago, and now future me has stumbled upon the anime adaption. So, what did I do? Naturally I started watching it, thinking that maybe the anime would be somewhat sweeter than it’s origin (like how Togainu No Chi was diluted as anime and denied a concrete ending, yet Keisuke still had to die!)
Oh, silly nieve me!

The main character, Yui. Isn't she cute?!

The main character, Yui. Isn’t she cute?!

Yui Komori transfers to a new high school and due to some arrangements ends up living in a dorm with the six super sadistic Sakamaki brothers (that’s right, there’s six of the buggers!) Ayato, Reiji, Shu, Kanato, Raito and Subaru. Not long after stepping foot into the Sakamaki manor Yui is attacked by Ayato who states that he is “going to take her.”
We’re off to a great start!
Luckily another brother, Reiji shows up to stop this but not because he is concerned or anything – he’d prefer it if they continued in Ayato’s room instead of in the manor foyer. Manners are important, kids!
After the introductions, the discovery of the vampirism and the threats Yui is resigned to her fate at the hands of these sexy super jerks and that’s all I’m saying for now (I’m only on episode six!)

Sounds fun so far, huh?
No. No it doesn’t.
My main problem with Diabolik Lovers? The brother’s personalities! They are all arrogant, emotionally unstable (have you seen Kanato?!) Insert swear words here creeps! Now, I love a bit of mental instability as much as the next creep, but when mixed with violent and sadistic vampires things can get a little disturbing. The abuse rate towards Yui – both physical and mental – is worryingly high each episode and most of the time you want to upper cut every Sakamaki brother and cuddle Yui while comforting her.
So why is this series so alluring?!
I haven’t played the game and only watched five of the fifteen minute episodes, yet I feel drawn back to it.
Don’t get me wrong; Diabolik Lovers is very popular and the character design is absolutely beautiful! The eye design is so unique! Stupid sexy Vampires, making me question my morals…
Perhaps the reason it’s so popular and compelling is the sole fact that it’s different.
Most Otome games give you some sweet fluffy candyfloss to dissolve in your mouth and feel satisfied at the lovely romance you’ve cultivated.
Diabolik Lovers poisons the candyfloss and bites your tongue, letting the thick blood slide down your throat while smirking coldly.

Diabolik Lovers: Not for the faint of heart – or those who don’t like vampire jerks – and you may feel a little slimy afterwards, but it’s an experience I won’t ever regret.
Now, I going to book some therapy sessions…

What do you mean by mentally unstable?!

What do you mean by mentally unstable?!