First Impressions – Diabolik Lovers

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So this gets streamed, and no one even translates Super Seisyun Brothers?

I can’t say Diabolik Lovers was one of my most-anticipated shows of the season, but it does represent something new, at least – it’s the first time I’ve ever blogged a series because an anime character liked it.  If you remember, Tomoko had a Diabolik Lovers poster in her room way back in episode 2 of Watamote, and given that for me she’s the breakout anime character of the season, I figured I had to at least cover the premiere.

Here’s the best I can say: I get why Tomoko would be a fan.  Sadly, that doesn’t translate to me.  I hated Diabolik Lovers, but then I’ve pretty much hated every Otome game adaptation (and wannabe) over the last couple of years.  This one checks all the boxes – bad CGI, annoying and whiny heroine with no common sense, guys with no fashion sense, annoying shota played by Yuuki Kaji.  It’s kind of a perfect storm of awfulness.  The twist is that in this case the guys are all vampires, and there’s a pronounced abusive, almost-rape vibe to their interactions with the lead.  Again, it’s easy to see why Tomoko would go for this given what we know of her tastes – I just see it as further evidence that the poor girl really needs serious help.

These awful shows are going to keep getting made, because they keep making money.  The truly execrable Brothers Conflict may be the worst of the recent lot of them (though it has new competition here), and it’s probably the most successful commercially.  I wholeheartedly applaud that more anime are being produced that target female fans especially and some are quite good, but the rise of this particular genre is truly depressing.  If you figure there’s only so much oxygen in the room – there’s a limited number of production dollars and a limited number of spaces on every TV schedule – every bad anime produced is one potential good anime that isn’t.  And so much of that air is being sucked up by terrible shows that ascribe to one marketing formula or another – more than ever in anime history, I’d argue – that the space for quality series is growing smaller and smaller every season.

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  1. K

    I could get into recent changes in female representation/participation/depictions in the anime scene if you care to have that particular conversation. It's unpleasant as hell to realize what sorts of stuff is catered to female audiences, especially since there seems to be a decline in what I'd call "girl power" shows. The Magical Girl genre, for example, was supposed to be an uplifting girl power thing, and now it seems to be fetishized left and right to cater to male tastes. But that's one example of many, the Otome genre is another.

    Anyway, sorry to get all righteous on your blog senpai. Not sorry for getting feminist and angry about this horror of a series.

  2. That might be an interesting conversation to have on the podcast.

  3. e

    Hmmm i think it all comes down to different strokes for different folks.

  4. e

    @Kairi: I'd love to hear what you have to say on the topic.
    And frankly I grew up with the girl power shoujo series from late '70s to the '90s. Compared to back then I tend to headdesk oh-so-often at the current offerings stemming from 'girl material' and/or aimed at female viewers/readers.

    Enzo I salute your courage X,D. This felt and looked like a stinker of carefully collected 'worst of what's on trend' since the promo material and no amount of colorful bishie and rainbow hair/eyes frost can hide that.

  5. e

    P.S.: btw Enzo I'm getting the 'no hotlinking' warning at your link for Tomoko's DL poster.
    Bad blogger sucking RC's blo—andwith :p

  6. Oddly enough it works fine for me, but I switched to the LiA link.

  7. e

    Because you still had the cookies for that RC page in your browser maybe?
    Anyway it works fine now, thanks.

  8. e

    @Kairi (and Enzo when you have a bit ot time why not):
    linking this article from webarchive as the source blog is unfortunately offline. In case you weren't around reading it at time of publication you might find it interesting.
    We went through a lot of debate in the Italiam manga/anime forum I 'work' at around that time regarding the change (evolution vs devolution) in female-targeted titles and the pro and against factions basically presented the same main points of that article. I still find it a pretty spot-on and sensible analysis :).

  9. s

    Kairi, have you ever watched Morbito? It would be interesting to see how many female anime viewers enjoyed that show. IMO, Balsa is the best female character ever and one of the best characters, period. The very definition of female empowerment (without hitting you over the head). I still have a pretty big crush on her after so many years too!

  10. e

    @sikvod00: female viewer here and I loved Moribito to bits. So much it's one of the few anime titles I bought the dvd set for – the English subtitles version as it was the only region 2 available – . Actually talking of anime *TV series* it's the only one I bought along with Rose of Versailles – the glorious Italian/Japanese box set *ç*. And talking of female empowerment RoV is cream of the crop btw. Oscar in many ways is Balsa' ancestor in spirit – . <—- Picky, much?

    And yes Kairi you should totally watch it… in the remote chance Enzo hasn't persuaded you already with its passionate advocacy of Moribito at every occasion ;p – not that I can blame him, ohohoh -.

  11. K

    Seirei no Moribito was truly amazing. It was Enzo's praise for it that got me watching it, and it was time well spent. Great characters with great development, and a very interesting world setting. Not to mention some amazingly animated action scenes that puts a lot of shows to shame.

  12. Best TV anime ever, pretty much.

  13. i

    BOOM laying out the hot DISS!

  14. M

    I am still reeling from Amnesia so I had to drop this.

  15. G

    Me too. After sitting thru the suckfest that was Amnesia I won't bite a 2nd time with this one. This is a one and done series for me.

  16. i

    But at least we can watch Super Seisyun Brothers – I hope you blog it as I really look forward to it (at least from the PV).

    The rise in the shit Otomo game adaptations is proof of one thing = Gender Equality. Both men and women are stupid as hell for loving things like this and moe pandering. I guess if you drew a graph of number of animes against gender neutrality it would be a perfect parabola with a minimum unfortunately at neutrality = 0 (meant for exactly as many guys as girls) while the most number of animes would be at each end of – and + either for moe or these otome shit. Problem anime has is that the minimum seems to be falling each year and the graph is pushing the inflection points farther away from the minimum, creating a much larger number of low quality anime while reducing high quality ones. Graphically at least it can seen that way.

  17. t

    ok, I got really mad at reading your review but then I took a step back before flaming the hell out of you to make 3 big observations on things that jumped off as really wrong for me.

    First of all just because it's from an otome game doesn't mean it's supposed to be all fluffy and loving and healthy, the game is popular not because all girls dig sadistic bastards (thought some do), but because it portrayed abusive relationships as that, it didn't try to romanticize it, it was what it was, lust and madness (the game even began saying just that); in short it was a really interesting read and a total novelty at the time (because most otome games indeed are romantic and fluffy)

    Second is this: "annoying and whiny heroine with no common sense"

    Just when did you see Yui do anything not in line with common sense?
    -she went to their house because her father told her to live there (because he was going to travel overseas), why should she be suspicious of people her father put enough trust to send her there?
    -Saw someone cold and with no hearth beat? let's call an ambulance! that's a piece of common sense that you rarely get to see anywhere in entertainment.
    -This people seem up to no good? Gotta get the hell out of here, excuse me while I get out of here and call my dad.
    -These people are vampires? have to protect myself anyway I can and media everywhere says crosses work, so stay away! Didn't work gotta run fast!

    Now going upstairs actually was for plot related reasosn and totally justifiable but as you see everything she did was common sense! so I don't get where the hell you get that she has none, also that wasn't whining that was screaming for your life which btw is way different than whining.

    and lastly: " I wholeheartedly applaud that more anime are being produced that target female fans"

    except that every time I see you write that it's followed (or preceded in this case) by a disrespectful look on whatever you were reviewing, you review it from your tastes alone and give it no chance since it clearly doesn't targeted to you, I normally let it be since different people have different tastes but here you went and added "every bad anime produced is one potential good anime that isn't" so you are basically saying that since you didn't like it it took something away from you, but there are people who liked it, and that was the reason it was made and you just took a big shit all over their tastes writing that, and that's why I can't let this one slide and hope you realize why that was a shitty thing to write.

    If you did it for Tomoko then I will tell you, you should have saved yourself the effort.

  18. Everything that isn't strictly your opinion about this specific show is proveably and absurdly false but since anyone who follows the blog can check that for themselves if they even need to, I won't waste time on nonsense.

    Regarding this show, I'm happy you like it. For me it's an insult to the dignity of both genders and a depressing comment on the state of anime.

  19. m

    ^this exactly.

  20. e

    I have to say that if you were playing the game you might be more accurate on yui's common sense but she did everything a normal person would do, run for her life and be generally terrified by these monsters that are about to keep her captive.
    In the game she actually tries to lessen the damage thats about to come to her by giving in and deciding which guy she'll allow to suck her blood but they did a good of throwing that concept away and making her actually fight to get away a lot harder then what she did in the game.

    As for the way the guys act well people always complain about how vampires are too sexy,nice and romantic. Well these are sexy vampires that actually fit the role of what a vampire typical is, a monstrous being who places itself above that of humans and sees them as nothing more then prey. They aren't going to magically fall in love with her nor will they treat her like a princess.
    She'll be insulted, hurt, toyed with and much much worse.
    She's only prey to them that they are allowed to play with nothing more nothing less.
    I honestly can't help but feel bad for her it's not her fault she's in this situation it was something that was decided for her at the time of her birth and something she had no control over.
    Yui has unbelievable strength for just not ending it all before anything serious could happen.

  21. E

    Oh, please, you could say the same for Yuji the Bland the male lead of every ecchi harem anime too, then.
    It's not his fault that a girl fall from the sky / another dimension and cling unto him?
    It's not his fault that every female characters crave for him because he's "kind"!

    Let's admit it. Otome games adaptation are mostly, trash. They are like the female counterpart of those ecchi harem anime.
    Why would all the hottie want to rape / molest / abuse the female lead? We can't even use the"kind" excuse here. And there has to be far more hotter woman out there, rather than these bland female leads.

    Why can't we have more intelligent show such as Silver Spoon?

  22. e

    I don't see how a guy being a chick magnet is the same as girl being stuck in a living nightmare.
    Also why would they want to? Because they treat her the same as they would treat any human.If you think they actually give her special treatment your dead wrong. The only thing that remotely resembles anything close to "special treatment" is the fact that don't kill her right away and that's only because one of the head of the clans ordered them not to and even then it's not always something they listen to. They also certainly aren't the "vegetarian" type of vampires either.
    That and i don't think "The ohhh this character is so kind that people can't help but become their friend" works with being forced into an abusive situation. Also they constantly remark on her plainness or lack of "hotness" i.e the pancake nickname.

  23. Z

    I'd like to see the OVA come back as a viable format for new and interesting content, rather than the extra material for broadcast series that they have sadly become. Otherwise all we'll be left with is this stuff.

  24. b

    When the drama CDs were first released I couldn't see the reason to listen to 1-hour of verbal abuse. I still don't understand why the game had a great number of followers because the plot is awful and you have no sympathy for any character at all, especially Kaji's character. It's so bad that I can't even laugh at it. However, why did you think that the heroine was annoying and whiny? Her actions were logical and it's not like she could escape from the 5 of them.

    The problem with otome game adaptations is that 90% of the ones being adapted belong to the same company, Otomate, which releases around 20 games a year and milks to death the most successful ones. I lost my respect to them when in 2010 Kazuki Yone left the company but they didn't say anything about it and hired an artist to copy her art style to continue miking Hakuouki.
    That being said, I've heard good things about Hakuouki's movie despite being a remake and that Reimeiroku's adaptation was awful.

    Another problem with these adaptations is that animation teams can't adapt these games into 12-13 episodes while trying to give each male screentime. That and how they make the heroines dumber than their game versions (Arcana Famiglia is the best example). Amnesia game was based on the concept of an "empty" heroine who hardly had any lines in the game so adapt that in anime version was a bad idea while BroCon was as boring as Amnesia and had too many cliches.
    UtaPri is probably the best one despite that it isn't faithful at all to the source material but captures the essence of the game, although it suffers from making Haruka dumb while she is actually not in the games.

    There are a couple of otome games with interesting plots and competent heroines but, unfortunately, aren't very popular while this thing made to please the masochistic fantasies of some girls is popular enough to consider an adaptation. Jyuuza Engi, which had an anime announced (no details about it for now) is one of the few good Otomate games.

    Someone translated the manga parts of Super Seisyun Brothers which were adapted in episode 1. I found the first episode too fast paced where the characters had to talk quite fast while the transitions of segments were abrupt but it's a cute series and I liked the characters. I pray for them to reduce the pace.

    Are you going to watch Meganebu? I wasn't very interested (a glasses club? really?) but after watching the director's short films I decided to give it a try. She has a very peculiar and distinct style so even if the animation will be cheap it will be interesting to watch the visuals.

  25. Z

    What do they even do in that? Discuss the subtleties of half-rims versus wayfarers over tea and biscuits?

  26. I actually think Hakuouki – though hardly stellar – is perfectly decent and manages not to insult the dignity of any major cross-section of the human race.

    I'll certainly watch the premiere of Meganebu, because I watch the premiere of almost every anime there is. But it's safe to say that my expectations are going to be modest.

  27. R

    I managed to sit through the first season of Hakuouki, but, to me and no offense, that was a bit of a torture. I don't like the female lead, and all that I can remember about her is bringing the tea out for every male that came on screen…lol. I attempted the show only because of the historical setting, and for that my expectation was met.

  28. R

    Come on, did you really think this would be any different than Brother's Conflict? XP
    I don't hate that shows like this exist, look at me, I have a High School DxD avatar, I know that High School DxD was awful, but it was nice to turn my mind off and have fun watching it. I don't mind something like one of these types of shows for each sex a season, it can be nice, mindless fun, but you're right, the sheer "volume" of them is ridiculous. I like High School DxD, and a lot of girls love this type of anime, but the number of them is asinine.

  29. But you know, this is different than Brothers Conflict. I won't compare them in term of raw quality, because I think BroCon is on a pretty elite plane of hideousness. But this show has a really nasty, abusive quality to it that's really unpleasant.

  30. i

    So you say that one dumb show is good a season for each gender – well lets looks at next season:

    Mindless for guys:
    Aikatsu 2
    Outbreak Company (I take on all who say this will be anything but trash)
    Yuusha ni Narenakatte
    Walkzure Romance
    Tesagure Bukatsu mono
    Sekai de Ichiban Tsukoku Naritai
    Unbreakable doll-machine

    Mindless for girls:
    Diabolik Lovers

    I don't know about you but there seems to be a bit of a gap in the volume between the two lists. So the girls have 1-2 new mindless animes per season while the guys have 2 digit figures each season. I think you should call out against the guys before attacking the girls. Oh and I like one mindless anime a season too, so this time it'll be Meganebu as long as it isn't too pissing.

  31. Z

    One dumb show for ♀/♂ a season would be more ideal than what have now. Regardless if there are 10 for ♂ and 2 for ♀, as it is, the cumulative total for dumb entertainment is still too high.

  32. M

    "Every bad anime produced is one potential good anime that isn't. And so much of that air is being sucked up by terrible shows that ascribe to one marketing formula or another – more than ever in anime history."

    This is why we can't have nice things. More shows with directorial vision like Aku no Hana and Kaiba.

  33. C

    This was pretty dam awful so I had to stop halfway through but when I chilled out and braced myself for the worst to finish watching the episode…it was actually okay.

    By 'okay' I mean that if you ignore the rape-y vibe, barrage of cliches and nicknames it surprisingly kind of works as a thriller/horror flick in the vein of American Horror Story as those make you feel scared and uncomfortable on purpose. Plus the heroine might be bleached plain Jane but she shows a decent amount of sense. @Enzo I think this show would be more tolerable if viewed with the 'scaring yourself' type idea in mind?

    Personally I'll try another episode to see if I can make this work for myself as a horror type deal (including being slightly worried about wtf is going to happen to the lead) though hopefully the messed up background stories these characters no doubt have will be interesting.

    If the anime stays this genuinely dark/sadistic though I think I actually have to give it props for being utterly opposite to most Otome and having the guys be absolutely terrible, if that makes sense…

  34. T

    please recommanded me some animes similar to conflict brothers or Diabolik lovers ? thnx 🙂

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