Diabolik Lovers Review

This is review number two hundred and fifty six. This anime is part of the Fall 2013 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is an otome anime called Diabolik Lovers. I would never prioritize an otome anime in a bountiful lineup. Note that this was part of the “Review Poll” project I set up. If you look on the right, you’ll see a cute picture of my favorite anime character named Mix with “Review Poll” on the picture. It’s a place where readers can vote which anime I should watch next. You want your anime reviewed then just vote on the poll. Anyways, this anime is a twelve episode show about a girl and six vampires trapped in a house. It’s a cool show for what it’s worth. Let’s read on.

Story

My name is Yui Komori. I was raised at a church because my father is a priest. I have been told that my mother died when I was only a child. My father was suddenly posted overseas so he decided to leave me in the care of our distant relatives, the Sakamaki family. That is where I met the six Sakamaki brothers.

At that point, I was still completely unaware that their interference would severely influence the course of my destiny.

-  Yui Komori, Diabolik Lovers episode 6.5

Taking the Pants Off

First of all, I hate all of you. For the Fall 2013 lineup, I figured I’d have my readers decide what I should review. I’ll review the one with the highest votes for this week then watch the least voted in the next. For some goddamn reason, people wanted me to review a f*cking otome anime. Why? Dear flaming Pikachu, why? I hate these kinds of anime. I’m close to a year and a half being a reviewer and there is just no getting along with otome anime. They’re bad and it’s hard to sell it to viewers. Surprisingly, a lot of people voted for it. Either they know I hate otome anime and they’re trolling the hell out of me or my readership is a bunch of otome fans that likes my screenshots. I think it’s a combination of both but who the hell cares at this point. I watched an otome anime and, as expected, I hated it. Oh, you won’t like Diabolik Lovers. There is an interesting premise that I think makes the actual game unique but it doesn’t translate well into an anime format. Here’s the bottom line though:  do you like vampires? Seriously, do you like those handsome vampires that lure in ladies with their sexiness then drown the poor souls into a sea of ecstasy as they penetrate their skin with their fangs? Have you ever thought that some of those preys are so lucky that they are in such a state of euphoria being manhandled by a sexy vampire? Have you ever had a fantasy where you dream about being bitten in the neck by a vampire? It’s a sick fetish but I’m pretty sure some of my readers are up for that kind of sh*t. Hey, who’s judging? I’m into yanderes and squid girls. If you like the whole sexually induced scenarios of vampires preying on that sexy cute girl then this anime might appeal to you. Here is where it gets absolutely weird though. Do you like being talked dirty to like the dirty dirty girl you are? Do you like handsome bishie vampires telling you what a dirty girl you are as you are pinned down on the floor completely overpowered knowing that this handsome piece of supernatural hotness is about to prey on you? Yeah, we have that in Diabolik Lovers.

That’s the whole premise of the show. Vampires and sadism. It’s a cute combination and it’s honestly pretty original. Let me talk about the otome game first. It’s your standard visual novel with a reverse harem. You play the main character and you select a guy you want to pursue. Each route is divided into three sections: Dark, Manic and Ecstasy.  Dark is basically the opening chapter where you get close to the guy, Manic is where things will heat up and you try to get closer as the guy pushes you away and the last one is basically where the guy is completely obsessing over you that he wants to suck you dry. The interesting part though is that the male characters aren’t your standard bishie otome options. They’re mostly all insane in the “I’m about to kill you and wear your skin” kind of way. It’s one hell of a way to turn up the sadists aspects of the game for sure. The main character is mostly trying to get close to the guy until this cold hearted sadistic bastard starts to soften up and starts loving the girl. You’re mostly being a therapist for these f*cked up guys as you try to learn more about them. You can google some of the actual game reviews to get a better understanding. A lot of them are spoilers galore so just pick one and read a route. The game is character driven though and most endings aren’t really that satisfying. It’s a trait both the game and the show have in common. The game has a lot of fourth wall directed sexy insults and more sexy scenarios to enjoy and I think that’s the biggest most satisfying edge the game has over the anime.

Otome games are hard to adapt. There is no way to satisfy all the routes and if you pick only one then you’re not fully capturing the appeal of the game. It’s a lose-lose situation so it’s best to just look at the anime as a way to endorse the game. Remember, this is presented to a Japanese audience that has access to the actual otome game on the PSP. You liked what you saw in the anime then why not try the game yourself? It’s an effective strategy since all otome game do the approach and they sadly have an easy to impress audience. Have you ever played an otome game though? Seeing a hot guy talk to you with its dreamy voice as it trembles about your headphones while he’s looking at you is a damn good way to spend a dull day. Yeah, I tried it and it was to quell my hatred for the genre. While I do get the appeal, these damn otome anime just suck though. Plain and simple. So how much did Diabolik Lovers suck? Let’s find out.

This show is about a girl named Yui Komori. Her dad went abroad so she was asked to stay at her dad’s friend’s house. It was supposed to be an innocent visit but this house has six vampires living in it. They don’t know why Yui is here but it soon became clear that she was given to them as a “sacrifice”. Yui is confused until she slowly learned the terrible truth that these vampires are hungry for human blood and she happens to be the only one in the vicinity. She is now in a real life nightmare wherein there is no escape. The guys are hungry and they’ll make sure Yui submits to being their prey. She obviously doesn’t want to be food for these vampires but there is only so much a frail girl can do. She can run, fight back but there is no escaping a bunch of hungry vampires that is in the mood for some sweet blood. Her blood.

The show actually has an interesting premise. Six vampires and one human girl stuck in a mansion is a nice way to start the anime. Sadly though, the show has no plan of layering that story as it progresses. Once the status quo is established then the guys just went on a feeding frenzy. In the first half, there’s really nothing but a bunch of hot guys biting the neck of our main character. Do not expect a story because the anime isn’t planning on establishing anything in the long run. It’s all about the basics. We have a submissive girl. We have a bunch of sexy vampires. We have an empty room and we have a lot of male dominance with some dirty talk to go along with it. Each guy had a turn with the girl and it was pretty insane. I think the show was trying to give us the “dark” sections of the game during each episode of the first half. It feels like we are being introduced into the individual routes of each guy. It’s shallow at best since nothing materializes from the exchange. The next episode will feature another guy so it’s all just useless content to fill up time before a guy bites the girl’s neck. These very scenes though are actually enough to make any self-respecting fan girl watch the whole show. The show doesn’t have much in terms of story but it makes up for it with a lot of steamy guy on girl interaction. It’s shallow at best but I think the appeal is there.

Here’s some GIFs.

DiabolikL1

DiabolikL2

Did you like that? Then you’ll love the anime.

The scenes lack context and it’s basically like the opening of a porn where it doesn’t really matter if the guy is a head master and the girl is a schoolgirl because they’ll be f*cking each other silly soon enough. The same goes for this anime. The story and laying the ground work for the rest of the episodes don’t matter. It just wants the girl to be bitten by handsome vampires. Each guy has a unique way of interacting with the girl so it has some variety to it. Some guys would treat her like a plaything constantly pinning her down and having their way with her with the girl having no way to fight back. Some guys would tease her at first, maybe insult her. They’ll talk about how worthless the girl is and how she doesn’t understand her position and that she’s stupid then they’ll pin her down and suck her blood. Some would even go as far as to be nice to the girl only to turn batsh*t crazy afterwards then verbally abuse the girl. Some are just there to suck though. Most scenes would involve the girl walking in a room that a guy just happens to occupy then he’ll just feed on her. Screw context. If I had a choice, I would’ve made a lot of GIFs of the show and just paste it on this post. The way a guy just flips off, the way the girl just takes it and the way the scene ends with her being bitten is actually a nice way to enjoy a shallow otome anime.

One of the best elements of the show is actually the sadist aspects. It’s pretty mild and it’s usually just verbal abuse but the idea is still there. Some characters have a nice aura to them that it actually looks pretty cool seeing them abuse the girl. I mean lines like these:

“Your tears and that pained look on your face. It really does it for me.”

“You’re getting excited. What a dirty girl you are.”

“Does it hurt? You poor thing. Alright, I’ll make it hurt even more.”

“Who in the world will hear you when you scream?”

“Shall I bandage your wound? I will bind it so tightly, your blood flow will be cut off and your hand will rot and fall off the wrist. Just thinking of it makes me happy. Your face will distort with remorse and regret. You will suffer and finally, crying and screaming, you will die.”

Those words up there are definitely enough to give the sadist aspects a good kick to it. The show was smart to start it out slow then just up the abuse as it progresses. With that being said though, I still find the sadist moments a bit unsatisfying and it’s mostly because the girl doesn’t fight back. The best thing about watching a sadist pick on a person is seeing them reject the sadist until they are pushed too far and their will is broken.  Tearing a human apart physically, emotionally and psychologically is what makes a good sadist story. The show only had one of those things here. It does try to be trippy psychologically like having the girl physically dominated inside a church but it’s not enough. Our main character is too submissive that her lack of resistance mostly kills the mood. She doesn’t hit back, she doesn’t have anything to live for and she doesn’t seem to have a brain so anything the guys do isn’t really that effective. The payoff is when we see the girl writhe in pain as she is being bitten but I think the show could’ve given us more than that.

The show does attempt a story towards the second half. The show only has one plot point. It’s about the mysteries surrounding Yui’s sudden real life nightmare. Why was she given to these hot guys? The show often sprinkles some things about the church giving her away or that her dad actually gave her away and stuff like that. There seems to be a more deep connection between the hot guys and Yui’s dad but it wasn’t clearly established. The nagging mystery eventually fades away though to focus on the sadist moments. I’m actually fine with that. I don’t need anything else and I was actually hoping the ending of the anime involves all the guys gangbanging our main character. Can you imagine? One in the neck, one in the thighs, two on the wrist, and two on her chest feeding away on the girl. I was given the impression that was the direction of the show until it actually tried to present a story on the second half. It expanded on the reason why Yui is in the house and it appears that a bunch of the guys already know. She tries to get it out of them and she eventually learns of the horrors of the house, their dark past and this thing called “the awakening”. The show was stupid enough to think it can have a story after doing nothing in the first half. The result is pretty disastrous. A lot of talking with no contexts, a lot of moments that made no sense and a plot progression that is confusing as hell. The best I got was something about the hot guys killing their mothers or something stupid like that. The show tried to give us twists and surprises as if it actually made the show better. It honestly didn’t. Nothing in the second half made sense. From the big grand plan of the supposed villain to the guys trying to save the girl from peril after abusing her for six and a half episodes, nothing in the show made sense. I didn’t really expect the show to have any sense from the beginning but damn, it’s hard not to cringe at how the show attempted to be relevant. Why even bother with a story? There’s no way a story can make this shallow show better unless it ends with the characters dying. Rule one of otome anime though is that bishies don’t die so there you go.

The characters are pretty horrible. That’s to be expected though. The main character is Yui. She is a pretty cute girl but she sadly possesses the characteristics of a good otome anime main character. She is dumb, submissive and so one dimensional that she just exists to take up space. I quite don’t like how she just doesn’t smarten up after being bitten by so many guys on so many different occasions. In the course of twelve episodes, this girl was abused and dominated yet most of the scenes involve her approaching the vampires. I bet she goes like” maybe he won’t bite me today” then she’ll be shoved in a corner and dominated. It’s pretty stupid. The fact that she can handle six guys is pretty amazing and I’m surprised her neck can handle so much blood loss. Part of the reason for her lack of personality though is because you play as her in the game so her entire being is dependent on your actions. Without a player, she’s just a blank dumb f*ck. I recently learned this though and I find that most people inject their personality on otome main characters when they watch the show. I’m iffy on the details but her lack of personality actually works great for when people want to imagine being in the same scenario and the process goes smoother when the girl has no standout personality. Yeah, otome anime can be complex sometimes it even scares me.

The guys are mostly defined by their interests and choice of sadism. They all have a wide range of visual appeal but they suck on the personality department. Some of them are generic as hell but you can’t really expect much from an otome anime. I’m sure the game has more valuable characters and I’m also sure the anime has barely scratched the surface on what makes the characters great. I mostly remember the guys on how they treat our main character. One acts abusive, one acts flirty, one acts down right batsh*t crazy, one acts condescending, one acts apathetic and one acts caring. These characters barely interact so there’s really not much to work with here. They’re hot and that’s basically all you need to know.

This is an interesting otome anime. I definitely like the concept but it just doesn’t fly far. It’s still a weak show and it doesn’t really give you any meaningful anime experience. I mean, if you’re into vampire sadism then you might enjoy the ride but I’m sure the second half will ruin that as well. Zexcs is an interesting studio. I like their works but it’s not really all that significant. I enjoyed the hell out of Cuticle Tantei Inaba and Sukitte Ii nayo though and I’m glad such an underwhelming studio can deliver some entertaining stuff. I’m sure people who have seen some Zexcs anime can appreciate the effort of the studio like I do. Most people who watched Diabolik Lovers probably agree with me. Vampire anime isn’t really something I can truly enjoy because of the foreign concept. I think this show pandered to the shameful vampire appeal a bit unapologetically but I still think it’s a decent show. It isn’t meaningful in any way but it does have some sexy feeding scenes if you’re f*cked up enough to enjoy them.

Sight and Sound

Character design is pretty awesome. You have six hot guys in this show and they’re all dreamy as f*ck. Satoi did a good job of designing the characters. They’re the typical tall, dark and handsome kind of bishie characters. The usual broad shouldered pointy chin and long neck kind of characters. If you’ve ever loved a bishie then you’ll love the characters in this show. Their biggest draw point is definitely the face. Their eyes are all fierce and it complements the nicely shaped face they have. This is then completed with their messy hair and that cute frown they always have on. The various details of their outfits make them standout though. Every character is different and I guess it was to compliment the personality they had. I’m sure it’s more effective in the game. In the anime, they just look cool. From square shaped glasses to an mp3 player wrapped around the neck, Satoi knows how to make a bishie look flashy and sexy at the same time. The outfit is completed with that school uniform they have on. It’s an all-black design with a red tie that looks proper but makes the characters bad-ass in their own right. They give off the sense that they’re unruly f*ckers that is willingly able to pin you down if they want to. The color palette is the only thing that wasn’t adapted by the anime. Satoi chose a more subtle light color in the characters for the game. It was supposed to give them a more vampirish appeal or something. The anime used a more stronger color palette for the characters. It still looked pretty either way so it’s all good.

diabolik35

Yui is designed pretty decently. I love how innocent she looks. Her big red eye and the cute blonde hair look good on her. It also makes her look more submissive, if that makes any sense. Her choice of outfit is pretty interesting. She acts modest but she dresses stylishly. From short mini skits to an open shouldered dress, Yui made sure she isn’t out beautied by the hot guys of the show. I also love the school uniform on her with the big red ribbon and that little flower hairpin also makes her look pretty innocent.

Animation is pretty decent. There aren’t a lot of standout scenes because the show is dialogue heavy. The characters mostly just talk and even during climactic scenes, they are still exchanging words. I guess those scenes that involve Yui being dominated looks pretty cool. She’d be slammed to the wall or to the ground and the animation looks pretty decent. There is nothing stunning in terms of animation though. Most of these scenes lack the visual storytelling potential it had. I’m good with a guy getting his way with a girl but the show didn’t employ flashy camera angles or a more, let’s say, artistic way of presenting the scene. The anime often just focuses on the girl’s neck about to be bitten and it sometimes stays on a fixed view for a long time. The director could’ve used this opportunity to show off but I guess it’s a clear sign of how green the guy is. Normal scenes like characters walking or running or being stabbed looks pretty decent. The hotness of the guys is kept intact during every scene and the show made sure they look sexy at every opportunity. I do appreciate that.

The anime’s OP is “Mr.SADISTIC NIGHT” by Ayato Sakamaki (Hikaru Midorikawa) & Shuu Sakamaki (Kousuke Toriumi). I hate myself for liking this show a lot. It’s very slow paced specially during the verse. The instrumentals are amazing though and I love that rock beat in the background. Despite being slow paced, I love the voices of the singers. It sounds very elegant as they charge along with a slow pace. It then builds into a pretty cool chorus that highlights the singer’s sexy voices. The OP sequence features all the characters as they go about the dark and dreary mansion. It also showcases some moments of the show like the girl being bitten and other stuff like that.

The anime’s ED is “nightmare” by Yuki Hayashi. It’s a pretty fast song and there are no lyrics to it. It’s like a background music for the game or something. I’m not sure. It has amazing instrumentals that slowly rises and falls as if giving the impression of an impending doom or something. It’s pretty awesome. The sequence is just a shot of the chandelier of the house set in a dark filter. It’s creepy if I wasn’t watching an otome anime.

Overall Score

3/10 “The vampire dominating a girl angle was great but the sad attempt at a story ruined the appeal.”

There’s your f*cking review. To people that voted for this piece of otome nugget, I hope you’re all happy now. It was a decent show. The way the guys overpower the girl and just bite her in the most awesome way is a strong aspect of the show. I never expected a story and I was fine with that until the show tried and failed miserably. If you like hot guys in your shows then you’ll love this show. If you enjoy seeing a guy dominate a girl then you’ll like this show. If you’re into vampires then you should check this show out. Don’t expect anything grand though. Otome anime never has anything satisfying in it so lower those standards. With that being said, I do recommend this show.

5 thoughts on “Diabolik Lovers Review

  1. Well, at least your otome ordeal is over, for now. :) Happy Chinese New Year!

    English lyrics for Mr Sadistic Night can be found here:

    http://diabolik-lovers.wikia.com/wiki/Mr.SADISTIC_NIGHT

    Anime bloggers who played the original game said the abuse and S&M elements were toned down from the source, presumably to meet Japanese TV standards and practices. For example, one of the vampire boys was in an openly incestuous relationship with his vampire mother, but that part was excised from the TV version.

    Still, at least they had 15 mins per ep given the source material. I heard of a manga-turned-anime currently airing this season that had such prominent incest and gore content that broadcasters would only air the anime as heavily censored 4-min shorts.

  2. PS.Apparently the game was popular enough to warrant an expansion, which introduces 4 new vampire boys, the Mukamis. Each with his own sadist or masochist-leaning tendencies.

  3. I could get behind a show where some sexy bishes abuse a poor unsuspecting girl, but i’m not a chick so it’d have to be really well done or rated 18+ for me to get into it.

  4. Love your review of the show, gave me some giggles.
    Just finished the series and….Well to sum it up… I have never wished so hard for a whole cast of an anime to die. To be fair i do have to give kudos for an original idea…but I seriously wish the main character went on a rampage and then got the hell out. It would have been perfect.

Thoughts~

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