Artbook Review: Nitro+ CHiRAL Official Works DRAMAtical Murder

9 Feb

DRAMAtical Murder (aka – DMMd or ドラマダ) is a gritty cyberpunk visual novel by Nitro+ CHiRAL, the BL division of Nitro+. Even before playing, I found myself intrigued by the artwork and story that I’d seen and read about. Nitro+ are masters of visual storytelling, and once I’d started playing, I wasn’t disappointed one bit.

“Nitro+  CHiRAL Official Works – DRAMAtical Murder” is an artbook that was originally released in a special set for Comic Market 82, and can’t be purchased from a normal book retailer like the visual fan book published by Cool-B. It took me awhile to track down a copy, but it was worth the hunt!

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While not technically a doujinshi, it has traits of a doujinshi art book. It’s exclusively sold through Nitro+, and is fairly slim. It’s a shame that it’s difficult to get, because the content is outstanding.

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For what it’s worth, I tend to shy away from buying visual fan books. They consist primarily of a game’s event CGs and character profiles. That’s not to say I wouldn’t buy DRAMAtical Murder’s VFB, but this book is generally more of what I’m looking for; text-free aside from captions, and strict focus on the art.

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ほにゃらら (Honya Lala) drew all of the illustrations and event CGs for DRAMAtical Murder. Here’s some of her work for the official game package and a few different promotional images done for Comiket 80 and 81.

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These detailed illustrations of four of the major characters were done for B’s-LOG, a popular Japanese magazine that focuses exclusively on Boy’s Love games.

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The next couple of pages of artwork were published in Cool-B, another BL magazine. I think it’s interesting that a great deal of the art they put in the book isn’t completed CG work, but rather works in progress. There’s a lot of rough pencil drawings with only the color flats applied. The muted pastel hues used throughout the game are an interesting contrast to the underlying darker themes that Nitro+ is famous for delivering in the plots of their totally brilliant visual novels. I usually associate cyberpunk with shades of night-time pierced by high-tech neons, but the daytime scenery in DMMd is deceivingly lively in its brightness until Aoba reaches Platinum Jail.

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Here’s some various special illustrations done for Nitro+ Direct among other things, followed by some really cute holiday event desktop wallpapers. (You can easily find these wallpapers archived over at Zerochan.)

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Later we get to the building architecture and interior designs. Here you can see a bit of the former resident’s district and the inside of Aoba’s home. I love that instead of simply printing the background paintings we see in-game, they’ve chosen to show us a three-dimensional view of these interiors!

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Mizuki’s tattoo parlor, along with the junk shop Heibon’s interior and exterior are also among the locations featured. Additionally, there are some designs for the smaller objects on display in their respective rooms.

Graffiti Design

The graffiti logos of all of the Rhyme and Rib teams are presented alongside the detailed design of Usui, the enigmatic All-mate who hosts the Rhyme games.

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3D renderings of the architecture in platinum jail are on the right, followed by one of the book’s only full-page color illlustrations of Aoba and Ren inside of Rhyme.

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What game artbook wouldn’t be complete without character settei (model sheets)? All the characters and the details of their costumes near the end of the book, and I’ve taken photos of a few of my favorite pages to share!

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Being the main protagonist, Aoba gets a bit of extra lovin’.

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Koujaku is, as usual, lookin’ fine as hell.

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Ren: fluffy, adorable and handsome.

After all of the character models, there is a short story that takes place after the game’s true route. (I didn’t take any pictures; it’s just text.)

I think it’s worth noting that despite the lack of full-page illustrations, this book is chock full of quality stuff. I’m immensely pleased at the sheer amount of content and detail they squeezed into a limited amount of pages, and there’s far more goodies inside than what I’ve shown you here. If you’re a big fan of the game, I definitely recommend putting forth the effort needed to get your own copy of it. You can order this book directly from the Nitro+ online store with the assistance of a proxy service such as White Rabbit Express. (I don’t recommend looking for it on eBay. In my experience, the mark-up for it there is astronomical.)

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2 Responses to “Artbook Review: Nitro+ CHiRAL Official Works DRAMAtical Murder”

  1. Raziel September 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    Is this book really over 300 USD? I would gladly buy it, but 300$ is way too much, no offense. I think I’d gladly go as high as 90$ for DRAMAtical Murder, and I’m not trying to be disrespectful- but I can’t afford stuff like this. I really, really want this book, though. I love DMMD and the book looks so high quality and a fantastic reference for fanart or art practice.

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