Back in January I announced that I was working on a collaboration with a few otome fans I know, where we collectively review anime adaptations of otome games. It took a bit longer than I anticipated, but here is the very first Otome Fans React post! If you missed the announcement post, or are new here this new series is meant to be an ongoing monthly collaboration review that gives otome fans the chance to share their thoughts on otome game anime adaptations. Each month we will select an otome game anime adaptation to watch and review. Each participant will submit a short review about the anime series and each one will be compiled into one post here on Blerdy Otome with links to each contributor so you guys can check out their other great content. After talking among ourselves we all decided to cover Diabolik Lovers for our debut anime! If you have not yet had the pleasure of checking out this “delightful” series here’s a brief synopsis:
At the behest of her father, Yui Komori goes to live in a secluded mansion, home to the six Sakamaki brothers—Shuu, Reiji, Ayato, Kanato, Laito, and Subaru—a family of vampires. Though at first the siblings are confused as to why the girl has arrived, they soon realize that she is to be their new “sacrificial bride,” not to mention their other, more carnal intentions for her. After meeting the brothers, Yui quickly begins to question why her father would have sent her here and why she feels a strange, new pain in her chest. With each brother more sadistic than the last, Yui’s life as a captive takes a harrowing turn in her new home. As her days turn into endless nights, and each brother vows to make her his own, Yui falls deeper and deeper into madness and ecstasy.
Diabolik Lovers is a vampire romance otome game series developed by Japanese game developer Rejet. The series follows Yui Komori, a normal high school student who finds herself the unwitting house guest of a group of sadistic vampire brothers. The game series spans seven games, the most recent—Diabolik Lovers: Chaos Lineage—was released for Nintendo Switch in 2019. Diabolik Lovers has also been adapted into various other media including: manga, Drama CDs, fanbooks, and three successful stage plays. While the game series has never been officially localized for an English speaking audience, the series is immensely popular with Western otome fans thanks in part to the 12 episode anime series released in 2013.
The Diabolik Lovers anime is notoriously bad, even by otome game anime adaptation standards, but it was popular enough to warrant an OVA and a second series, Diabolik Lovers More, Blood. It’s super low budget and trashy… and the perfect pick for our first Otome Fans React! The roster for this post includes: Hazel from Archi-Anime, Ruby from Otomates Podcast , Pseudofaux from the Press X to Fall in Love Podcast, and my otome buddy, April.
Alright! Let’s delve into the “madness and ecstasy” of season 1 of the Diabolik Lovers anime!!
Something I think stands out about this anime is that it gave me the sense that Yui could end up with any of the Sakamaki siblings. They are all presented as qualified– demented, but qualified– partners for her, and all shown in a high degree of physical intimacy with her body. Ayato’s position as primary love interest doesn’t seem as sure as he thinks it is! On the other hand, I think the show suffers from unsteady pacing in a short series, even though the story and ending are solid. The anime definitely gives you enough to understand what’s going on by the end of the show, so you don’t need to have played any of the Diabolik Lovers games to appreciate the story.
The animation quality is admirably consistent and the character design and presentation are great. I found it easy to tell the six brothers apart, and Yui’s casual and school outfits are appropriately cute with little bits of goth flair. The soundtrack and voice work are fantastic. My only caution for potential viewers is that the love interests are different from many other otome shows– they’re not soft, or trying to impress Yui in any way, or even good people. So for most of the show “indifference” is the best behavior you can hope for from them, otherwise they’re all being outright bastards to her. If that’s not something their sexiness excuses for you, DL is probably not a show you’ll enjoy. I do enjoy it, and totally recommend it. It’s a quick watch, immersive, and sexy. The hard part is choosing just one “Mister Sadistic Night”*. 4.5/5!
*It’s Shu though
- Twitter: @pseudofauxtome / @pressxpod
- Tumblr: pseudofaux
- Podcast: https://pressxpod.podbean.com/ (Press X to Fall in Love Podcast)
The thing about animes that are game based, especially with dating sims, is that it’s difficult to keep a story together when there are so many subtle variances in every route when it comes to different routes.
Diabolik Lovers certainly had a lot of beautiful men, but I found a lot of them quite deranged if not too cold and heartless (yes, they’re vampires lol, but still!) I had a hard time finding a boy to really love. The only ones that were appealing to me were Shu & Subaru. Shu is the type of pretty boy I love, yet I found myself drawn to Subaru solely because he was the only brother that seemed to want to help her escape. At first he seemed to be uninterested and less invested than the brothers, so I had some respect for him when he tried to assist her and handed her a weapon to defend herself. Though my feelings clearly changed when he bit into her. I had hoped there was at least one brother that she would have willingly given her blood to in the series, and I had secretly hoped that it would have been either of those two. They were the least overbearing on the Yui.
The pacing of DiaLovers was a bit all over the place, and the plot was too little too late. The glimpses of the story we did get were very promising; it was frustrating that most of the plot and story came through in the last three episodes. I feel like this probably could have benefitted more if the backstory of Ayato’s mom and Richter maybe started to integrate around the middle versus the tail end.
Overall, the series was enjoyable! I had to get over my feelings towards Ayato and how he treats and handles Yui. Some of what he did was questionable and made me wonder just what makes him the romantic lead. I’d love to play Diabolik Lovers just to get a better feel for the story and what it has to offer. I’d give DiaLovers a 3/5.
Let me start by saying that I have not played any of the Diablok Lovers games, so without that for comparison, I decided to approach this anime the same way I approach any otome I play. To me an amazing otome will have the following:
- Compelling love story
- Great writing
- Beautiful art
- Emotions running wild
Unfortunately this only had one of those, but I still enjoyed it!
I’m just going to say this – the story is…non-existent. The episodes are very brief (I think they run about 15 mins) so there is simply not enough time to do everything like establish characters, relationships, plot, etc. What you end up with is about 12 x 13 mins (without the amazing cheek-biting intro) of a screaming girl running neck-first into mean vampires and then getting surprised when they bite her.
I’m not trying to victim blame, I just ask that she manage her expectations a bit and switch up the reactions! Especially in the moments when she just wanders into these guys’ rooms uninvited after they have already treated her terribly and sucked her without her consent (A LOT!).
The next thing that I took issue with is that with the exception of Kanato, all of the guys are basically the exact same. And Kanato is really only set apart because he is the smallest, frailest, and craziest one. This isn’t necessarily a complaint, after all every guy is smoking hot and alpha male (again with the exception of Kanato who I think is more “cute” than “hot”), I just wish there was variety in their personalities and treatment of the MC (Yui)!
I figured each episode would feature Yui falling for a different brother but the show’s 12 episodes don’t even attempt to build a relationship between anyone except Ayato and Yui; and even then me saying that these two built a relationship is me being generous. Ayato dominates not only in screen time but also in interactions/time spent with the MC. Not to mention – spoiler alert (and somehow a surprise to no one) – he ends up saving the MC/day.
Don’t get me wrong here – though I know I’ve given you every reason to after saying I enjoyed it and then proceeded to crap all over it – this show isn’t all bad! The voices are delicious and some of my all-time favourites, the art is beautiful, the music rocks, there’s a sexy power-hungry uncle, and one of the guys calls the MC “Bitch-chan” (which subtitles translate to “Little Bitch” LOL). There’s a lot that is “fun” here but not enough actual substance for me to appreciate it as anything other than something I wish I could play instead.
As an anime based on an otome, do I think this fairly or accurately represents the experience of an otome player? Not necessarily, but I will say that it’s definitely not completely off the mark; especially if you consider the otome games that were made around the same time.
This medium lacks so much of what makes otome great in my opinion and that’s the agency we have as the MC to make the choices we want to make and essentially write our own love story. That said, I’d love the play this game one day!
I give this anime a 2/5 if you’re looking for a good anime or love story, but if you’re just looking for ridiculous horny rude vampire content, then it’s a 10/10!
- Twitter & Instagram: @rubyleewrites
- AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/users/RubyLeeRay/works
- Otomates Podcast: https://otomatespodcast.podbean.com/
This is my first time writing a review of anything so please go easy on me on my writing ^^;
I have heard about the infamous Diabolik Lovers for years throughout the otome community and I ended up steering away from playing it myself due to its many sequels and variations that I couldn’t keep up.
I ended up only finishing up until episode 5 because I just couldn’t stand any of the brothers save for Shu since he wasn’t much of a jerk towards Yui compared to his brothers. They just treat poor Yui as a blood bag and don’t care about her well-being at all. They loved to bully and terrorize her, and are pretty sadistic. I usually love yanderes and kuuderes, but at the very least the characters have to like the main character, or isn’t that much of a jerk. I don’t think there was much of a plot as it was more on how Yui interacted with each of the brothers and getting to know them.
However, all the Sakamaki brothers look great and their voice actors did such an amazing job. The characters didn’t look off and consistently looked great in each episodes. The moments when the Sakamaki brother sucks Yui’s blood definitely did get my heart racing.
I really liked that the anime didn’t lead on that only one guy will end up with Yui. One thing I get really annoyed is when otome games have that ultimate, canon guy the MC will end up with and the others are treated more like what-if scenarios with secondary characters. I feel like that defeats the purpose of otome, which is to explore relationships with different characters. I do feel that as an anime, they have to stick with one guy to make the story flow better, but since plot really isn’t the main point of DL, I think DL anime did great not favoring just one character, and give each brother a chance to shine!
The characters and setting of Diabolik Lovers would have definitely got my teenage self excited, but as a mid-20s woman, I found all of them as kids and wanted to tell them to, “call me back in 10 years when you at least grow taller.” It’s just personal taste, but if they didn’t go to high school, and were more like adults, I could have tolerated the Sakamaki’s brothers more.
I give it 2/5: if you’re looking for plot/storyline, and/or fluff and sweet love, this is not the anime for you. If you like yanderes, yangires, great voice acting, good-looking dudes, and can tolerate the nonexistent plotline, then you may enjoy this anime!
- Twitter: @GlassWisteria
Imagine living in a house full of super hot vampire brothers, sounds like every Twilight fan’s wet dream… but, when the vamps in question are the sadistic Sakamaki brothers, trust me life will be anything but a dream. Based on the popular otome game of the same name from Japanese developer, Rejet, Diabolik Lovers is one in a long line of lackluster otome game anime adaptations. But, unlike most, there’s an unintended comedic value to the series that I think warrants giving it a watch… you know if you’ve got nothing better to do. At the request of her father, Yui Komori ventures to a secluded mansion, which just so happens to be the home of the six Sakamaki brothers; Shuu, Reiji, Ayato, Kanato, Laito, and Subaru… a family of angsty teen vampires, with enough mommy and daddy issues to make your head spin.
Diabolik Lovers is supposed to be one of those “darker and edgier” romance series, each of the Sakamaki brothers are sadistic bastards… okay… Shu is a sweetheart, but the rest of them are awful human beings who delight in tormenting Yui from the moment she enters their mansion of horrors. One of the brothers, Laito literally calls Yui, “Bitch-chan” and stalks her relentlessly, but even he isn’t nearly as bad as Kanato, that little shit is a sociopath! From day one, the brothers presume to pass her around like a pack of cigarettes touching and biting her without consent or warning. Now, I get it they’re vampires it’s what they do, they bite people, and I’d probably take it more seriously if it didn’t sound like they were biting into an apple every time they partake of Yui’s sweet sweet nectar. Whoever was in charge of the sound effects in this anime should be fired, because it should not sound like someone eating an apple when the vampires bite her, not to mention the resulting slurping they do makes it seem like they’re toddlers taking a sip from a juice box… The most unsexy thing imaginable, I assure you.
Yui is by far the most frustrating human being I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with in an anime—she has the personality of a wet piece of tissue paper. To call her a masochist is somehow an understatement, because not only does she let herself become the plaything of the Sakamaki brothers, SHE LITERALLY RUNS BACK TO THEM DESPITE THEIR ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR, even after a few of them give her a chance to escape…
Because I don’t want this to be a complete rag on the anime, I will say that the art and music were probably the best parts of the series. The boys are gorgeous to look at despite their less than stunning personalities and I quite liked the gothic design of the mansion. The music adds to the macabre feel of the series, with the opening “Mr.SADISTIC NIGHT” sung by the VAs for Ayato Sakamaki & Shuu Sakamaki (Hikaru Midorikawa and Kousuke Toriumi) managing convey the mystery and seduction the series was trying to portray. The ending theme “nightmare” performed by Yuuki Hayashi is also another good track. So, I suppose in this regard, Diabolik Lovers isn’t a total loss. As a comedy I give Diabolik Lovers a 3/5, but as a serious romance… 2/5.
Discover Your Mister Sadistic Night!
Well, that wraps up our first ever Otome Fans React review and those were our thoughts on season 1 of Diabolik Lovers. Even among us otome fans the consensus on Diabolik Lovers is pretty mixed… though we can all agree that this anime definitely leaves an impression!
This is just the first of many more Otome Fans React posts! I want to thank all of my fellow collaborators for agreeing to be a part of this ambitious project of mine! I had a blast chatting with you all and ranting about DL, the community aspect definitely made the experience all the more fun!
Ideally I’d like to expand Otome Fans React to include a different roster of folks each month, so if you’re an otome fan that would like to participate just let me know! I really just wanted to do something fun, that creates a sense of community among the otome games fandom that kind of branches out of the usual otome game reviews everyone else does. If you’d like to participate in future Otome Fans React posts, drop a line in the comments or DM me on Twitter @BeckNaja (there are already a few folks who showed interest).