This is one of those series, the ones that pass my one-episode rule, and then completely fail when I get around to watching the whole thing.
Hmmm, I seem to be having a number of those lately… right, next time, I review something I already know I like. On the bright side, when I eventually make a Top Ten Anime list, there may be fewer candidates than I feared. Diabolik Lovers certainly won’t be one of them!
Until the second season began, just recently, there were twelve episodes and one OVA to this franchise. Each episode is only about fifteen minutes long, and about five of those minutes go to opening and closing credits. So, twelve episodes, roughly ten minutes of material each, it took me about two hours to go through the first season. I would very much like those two hours back, please.
At first, Diabolik Lovers seemed, to me, something like a thriller, with a bit of a male harem element (or perhaps the other way around). I’m not sure exactly what genre this falls under, but I call it, “a sick and twisted piece of crap that happens to have vampires in it.”
The main character, a young girl named Yui Komori, is sent to live in a mansion with six handsome young men, the Sakamaki brothers. As she soon learns, the Sakamakis are vampires, and she was actually sent to them as a “sacrificial bride.” What that entails: whenever any of them are feeling thirsty, she is the menu, the sole source of food for six vampires, all on her own.
Just to be clear, there is nothing romantic or sexy about this arrangement, no matter the provocative poses the animators drew Yui in whenever she was being assaulted. The great, big, heaping amount of abuse that each of these overgrown leeches mercilessly and relentlessly piles onto this girl is staggering. The sadistic barrage of verbal, mental, psychological, emotional, and intimately physical – nothing needing blatant censorship but they do bite her all over her body – torment that the Sakamakis oh-so-nonchalantly inflict on Yui is both unending and without limit. To them, she is nothing but food, albeit food that can talk back to them, which means they can play with it. The poor girl has been ripped from her happy life by the unseen powers that be and locked into a situation with six highly abusive men, which promises to last right up until she dies. Either she will commit suicide, or they will eventually kill her. At which point, one of the brothers has a hall filled with all the past brides, whom he has turned into wax figures, and she will eventually join them.
I’m sorry, but seeing a girl, even a fictitious one, treated so monstrously as this… well, it really irritates me. I despise such behavior, it’s disgusting. The anime managed to show us how these vampires became so twisted, as they had horrible parents, and that is how such abuse often works, passing from one generation to the next, but that doesn’t make their behavior towards Yui any less intolerable.
To make it even worse, Yui is apparently incapable of defying the Sakamakis, in any way, on any level. I kept wanting her to wise up, to display some clever, defiant insight, to either escape or somehow turn the tables on her captors. That’s what a protagonist does, you know: they fight, and they learn. But Yui wasn’t really a protagonist. She was just a victim, just a pawn, just something for them to drink, as she always tried to beg them to stop, to absolutely no avail. Which became repetitive as well as sickening.
She did have one, and exactly one, moment where she was inspiring: when she refused to forsake her faith. She doesn’t really do anything with it, though. She just keeps it, and keeps existing. She doesn’t really endure her hellish life, she just doesn’t die. She’s an ongoing victim, a helpless damsel in distress, in need of a rescue that never comes.
I did somewhat appreciate the plot of the Sakamakis’ uncle, to use Yui as a vessel to resurrect his lover, one of their mothers. Or, rather, I can appreciate the idea of a showdown between two sets of evil monsters, one generation of abusers vs another. I mean who doesn’t like watching two groups of people you don’t like fighting each other, eh? Of course, as Yui’s life hung in the balance, the younger vampires had my vote, but I so wanted to see them get smacked around and learn a thing or two about treating her better.
But that, like everything else, was disappointing. Not much actually happened, and there were some complicated things they didn’t really explain. And then, at the end, this plot somehow hinged on Yui being the key to their vampiric intrigue that would decide who came to rule the family, and she committed suicide to protect her tormentors from their tormentors, but she came back, and she was somehow a vampire now? Or something? I didn’t really get it.
Though, tragic hilarity, I got a kick out of one of the Sakamakis saying to his elders, “You will never run our lives again.” Why did I get a kick out of this? Not only because they are completely reliant on their father’s influence to provide all their food (the sacrificial brides) and shelter, but also because each and every one of them behaves in a way that is centered on their childhood traumas, and precisely what their parents always wanted. They may not tell the boys what to do anymore, but they absolutely do run their lives, even now, and that has never stopped.
The sad truth is: the Sakamakis are their parents’ children. Their feeble attempt at defying that is a bad joke. True, they might overcome and murder those parents in time, but that’s about it. Though, to a vampire, murdering someone, as three of them once did to their pathetic excuse for a mother, is something like an ultimate profession of love. Which is absolutely twisted and sort of renders the “defiant” part of killing the people who abused them rather invalid. Really, the Sakamakis are just monsters, dangerous but pathetic, like the people who raised them.
Thus, the haunting tragedy of abuse passing from one generation to the next. Valid, perhaps, but not what I would call, “entertaining.”
Really, the one and only thing I like about this anime is how they do not have the whole “the evil, abusive male is magically reformed by the pure maiden” trope. That is an unrealistic and dangerous message, plain and simple. However, lacking a negative is not the same as possessing a positive.
All in all, I’m giving this sickening piece of crap, this nauseating pile of filth, this rotten waste of time that makes Twilight look like the freaking child of War and Peace and Pride and Prejudice by comparison…
Rating: 1 star out of 10.
Grade: F. Minus.
Definitely not welcome in my personal collection.