Saturday, October 11, 2014

Diabolik Lovers – season 1 – review

Directed by: Shinobu Tagashira

First aired: 2013

Contains spoilers

When I first started to watch Diabolik Lovers I expected it to be an example of a Shōjo anime, one created for a primarily female audience. The anime, after all, was based on a dating game. However, if it was aimed at a female audience one wonders at the mentality behind it.

Yui arrives
The series starts with Yui (Rie Suegara) a young lady who was brought up by her father (adopted I think) who was a priest. For some reason he has to move away for the church and has directed her to a large house in which she is now to live. When she gets there she meets the inhabitants, seven brothers who are all revealed – in the first episode – to be vampires.

Laito is one of the brothers
Yui is then tormented by the brothers. One calls her pancake – a slur regarding her body shape – another calls her Little Bitch. They occasionally fight over her but, ultimately, they all feed from her. Her blood triggers memories of the past for them. We discover that they all have the same father but three different mothers. We discover that their upbringing was generally abusive. However the way they treat Yui is sociopathic at best. Whilst this is perhaps understandable – they are vampires after all – her reaction is subservient and thus not positively drawn.

forlorn hope
The episodes are less than 15 minutes in length (including credits) and yet each one piles a bit more abuse on the girl. There is a mystery as, apparently, her father has handed her to the vampires as a sacrificial bride and we do not know why. This is never answered (though finding the truth becomes her motivation for staying when she gets chance to escape). We don't get a lot of lore but Yui discovers that crosses don't work against these vampires. In the last quarter of the series, however, the story shifts.

a bite
Whilst still being abused by the brothers, we discover at this point that the brides never survive awakening – that is becoming vampire themselves. However Yui has the heart of Cordelia (Akane Tomonaga) within her – how it got there or, indeed, how she is unaware of this little fact is beyond me. The heart was cut from the dying Cordelia (the most sociopathic of the mothers) by her husband’s brother Richter (Jun Konno). He was having an affair with her and finds her after her sons kill her. Implanting the heart into Yui will allow Cordelia’s spirit to possess the girl’s body.

sword play
So, its blooming weird and, given its based on a dating game, more than a little sordid. The negativity is hard to justify but, in its favour, the brevity of the episodes means it doesn’t outstay its welcome. The animation itself is sometimes lovely. The story patchy and flimsy. All in all not the best anime, by a long shot, and hardly one that suggests a positive romantic pattern. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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