DRAMAtical Murder
Episode 10

by Gabriella Ekens,

Welp, time to start wrapping this up. This episode begins with an extended sequence of the characters trying to piece together a coherent plot from the last three episodes, which is difficult because they're all extremely compressed adaptations of routes from the game. They also undo Clear's death, revealing that he was actually not-quite-dead, meaning very alive, and requires some time in bandaged-up-mode before he can reenter the plot. I'll give this show props for having Clear's not-death emotionally impact Aoba, who starts out the episode in shock. The relationships and mutual sacrifices he's performed for his "friends" (lovers) over the past three episodes are now a sorely-needed character motivation for engaging with the plot, so they've managed to tie that into the larger story if nothing else. Otherwise, the story is that Toue, the guy who seems to run this place (city? country? theme park?) is planning to brainwash everyone via televised mind control in a couple of days, and only Aoba's harem can stop him. It's really not about the plot.

This episode is about Mink, the only member of the sausage fest's core four to not have an episode yet. Mink's route has a reputation as the most, uh, nonconsensual in DRAMAtical Murder, so I've been apprehensive about seeing it animated. As the icing on the problematic cake, he's also a racist caricature of American Indians (although the anime downplays that), so this episode could've easily been a repulsive disaster. It was not promising at first. The episode starts out with Mink dissing Aoba's robot dog boyfriend and repeatedly punching him in the face. Past that, however, they have the least amount of screen time together of all the love interests, so it's not as bad as it could've been. It succeeds mostly by virtue of not being disgusting.

After the beatdown, Aoba gets on a motorcycle with Mink - despite the fact that he does not have any helmets - in order to break into Toue's headquarters, where they do some awesome hacking and almost get shot to death. Fortunately, Aoba's alternate personality superpower activates, knocking out the guards and transporting him into Mink's mind, where it's revealed that he has a death wish because “his people” (as they're referred to) were all murdered by Toue for refusing to reveal their medicinal mind control secrets. As far as I can tell, the episode ends without resolving Mink's issues. Aoba does the same "enter into a symbolic representation of their past traumas" thing he did for the rest of the characters, but when he tries to hug it out with Mink, the dude says no and pushes him out. At least I think it was left unresolved? The two have such garbage chemistry that it's difficult to imagine any other outcome for their relationship. I miss Clear.

Ultimately, this episode succeeds above earlier ones by neutering the problematic source material and carrying over decent momentum from the previous episode. The most disappointing part, however, is that despite being about Mink, his pink cockatoo robot never makes an appearance. I love that thing. When is the cockatoo route? Also, practice motorcycle safety, kids.

Rating: C-

Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. She writes at animeintrospection.tumblr.com.

DRAMAtical Murder is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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