Duration: 15 min/episode
Rating: R – 17+ (violence & profanity)
Summary: Yui Komori used to see dead people. But as troubling as past glimpses of spirits, poltergeists, and psychic phenomena may have been, they pale into insignificance compared to what she’s about to discover once she’s forced to transfer to a new school. Because it turns out that her own history is very different from what she thought it was, and she has a very different kind of family waiting for her.
Now she’ll be sharing her living space with six very attractive young men, though not a single one is human. And while her new dorm mates may be brothers, and their attraction to her involves her bloodline, “brotherly” is the last word to describe their intentions. In moving from her father’s church to becoming the object of six blood lusting young vampires’ affections, Yui will undergo the most shocking, soul ripping and draining experience any teenage girl could imagine in her wildest fantasies… or most salacious nightmares.
(Source: Sentai Filmworks)
To say that I had difficulty going through this show would be lying, though I remember ranting and venting about it a lot when it was airing. Before starting it, I already had a very bad impression of it because I had the feeling it tried to promote some sort of “woman abuse” without going onto the hentai fetish path. I didn’t understand why some girls would like their boyfriends to abuse them and still accept them after all. It’s a very touchy issue, mostly because most victims of abuse tend to “minimize” their situation because they hope for some sort of change for the better, somehow similar to the heroine, I guess, just that you can add a spark of Stockholme Syndrome to Yui too. Yet, let’s keep in mind that Diabolik Lovers is originally an otome game and seriously, the BDSM fetish exists and some girls do have the rape/abuse fantasies, however, WARNING, I do not justify rape and abuse under any means! Play is something, reality is something else entirely! lol And knowing that, I tried to take it seriously and try to understand why the characters act the way they do, while keeping my mind open and that’s why I can say that I did somehow enjoy it after all.
Keeping in mind that I did not play the Diabolik Lovers otome game, the story, the way it’s portrayed by the anime, is kind of…sketchy, to use a diplomatic term. Maybe because of the lenght or for some other reason, I had an issue with the fast “affection” the vampires started to feel for Yui, or the interest, or whatever you want to call it: the overall development of the story, as well as Yui’s overall behaviour and ambigous execution of the plot. Yui didn’t react as a normal person should and would from episode 1 right after Ayato pushed her down the first time and it was seriously frustrating for me to watch her or try to relate to her situation/understand why she would come to love or even “like” the vampires. While in terms of “abuse” it wasn’t as much as I initially expected and I did develop soft spots for some of the guys, I still can’t understand why somebody would adapt so fast to getting bitten 24/7, sexually harassed, verbally harassed, mentally traumatized, poisoned (I’m not even kidding you!) and then be like “awwww come here sexy, pitiful vampires!”. It does not work like that. I would have attempted to commit suicide at least 5 times during the progression of the show. No matter how sexy the guys I live with are…Unless I am such an M that i would secretly enjoy the abuse…and HOLY SHIZ THAT MAKES SENSE!
I still fail to understand Yui. She wasn’t as bad as Amnesia‘s unnamed heroine, but she wasn’t far at all, and for no reason at all either. This only accentuated her “dull doll” image whose only purpose was to get chased and pushed back and forth between the different vampires because apparently a heroine with personality would just take the spotlight from the poor poor pitiful vampires….or would just get killed faster. PLEASE! Gimmeh some Quinrose Alice in this show! (just to quote one of my blogging mates, Leafy here).
Excepting the heroine, the vampire protagonists have quite a bit of backstory that might explain their messed up behaviours and lack of common sense or morales. Of course, it managed to “explain” it, but not “justify” it; I refuse to justify “abusers”. The most fleshed out in my opinion was Ayato. He’s also one of my personal favorites exactly because I could figure him out to a bigger extent than the others and he wasn’t technically THAT bad (no, still not justfying or minimizing it, but compared to others, Ayato, Shuu and Subaru might be the most “innocent”). I plan to speak about Ayato in a different post, but that will happen after I manage to get my hands on the game, but in short Ayato can make these kinds of expressions:
Switching to some good aspects that I did not consider before, though, the portrayal of vampires Diabolik Lovers has is…not original, but fresh. It goes out of the Twilight-trend or the Vampire Knight-trend; I’m not sure when it started. Whatever fiction has been saying for the last 10 years or so, vampires are not supposed to be Prince Charming and vampires.do.not.sparkle (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist XD) and vampires do not have weird-shit powers like spitting fire and growing weeds. Technically, vampires are not supposed to be handsome either, but it makes way more sense than everything above so I can forgive that. I wished Diabolik Lovers vampires wouldn’t hide their messed up personalities behind the justification of “abuse”, but I guess that makes it quite ironical, thinking how some of them tend to abuse the heroine in a similar way as they were abused in childhood, without spoiling that too much. I’ll leave that for another post.
The design of the characters is gorgeous. Even Yui is quite pretty and not bland looking at all, whatever the guys say, so goodjob Rejet. Though the animation is nothing to praise and is overall too static like ZEXCS always likes to do, the bleak looking colors do a good job in toning the general atmosphere. In a mix with the amazing OST which is seriously the strongest part of Diabolik Lovers together with the voice acting, it’s just a pleasure for the eyes and ears. The OST reminds me a lot of a modernized version of the old-fashioned pipe organ music used for those classical horror movies and it seriously gives me lots of feels.
In conclusion, I don’t think that Diabolik Lovers anime has a good story. It’s something that attempts to be dark for the sake of being “dark” and not the other way around. I don’t have a big issue with the ideas as much as I had with the execution of them; of course this is my own humble opinion. I know there are those people out there that praise Diabolik Lovers as some kind of masterpiece, but to me it’s all because of the 50 Shades of Gray-ish trend going around from 2012-2013 to today. And because I made this parallel before and lots of people seems to like to bash on it, YES! I find Amnesia a better story than Diabolik Lovers and I have no issue admitting it! Now I can’t wait to see what will they put Yui through in the sequel….