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Diabolik Lovers Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

6 min read

Diabolik Lovers Complete DVD FrontWhat They Say:
When Yui Komori’s father mysteriously moves abroad, he sends her to live in a new town with the six Sakamaki brothers. But behind their handsome faces lies a secret as twisted as their personalities- all six of them are vampires! Now, as she searches for a way to escape her captors, Yui finds herself uncovering secrets not only about them, but herself as well! Can Yui withstand the abuse of the sadistic Sakamaki clan, or will she become nothing more than a plaything for them to feed on?…

The Review:
Audio:
I watched this in English 2.0 because since I grow more nearsighted every year, it’s just easier for me. I’ve always sometimes been on the fence with Sentai’s dubs back when they were ADV, but I think they’ve really improved in quality. I forgot how much I really like Chris Patton’s voice and performances, and the rest of the characters were very well cast in my opinion. Monica Rial as Cordelia was particularly great, because it’s wonderful to hear her do something more medium-low ranged and slinky sounding, which she does very effectively here as the villain. Since Hikaru Midorikawa voices Ayato (who Patton plays in the English), I will likely watch this again Japanese because I do really love Midorikawa’s vocal work. The sound quality on my copy was good, pretty clear with no detectable problems on my end. If anything, I would say the theme song, which is also the music for the DVD menus, is a little too loud.

Video: 
The video on mine is DVD only at 16.9 aspect ratio and looked good. I imagine this show looks even more spectacular on Blu Ray as the animation is actually rather pretty and the character designs well done. It almost reminds me of the art style of Fushigi Yuugi’s animation, but if it were done today and digitally. I wasn’t always a fan of the switch from tradition hand-drawn cells to digital cell painting, but this show’s animation and video so actually look good and can make me appreciate this long-since change of the times. The character design and settings seem consistent throughout, and I had no issues with the video quality overall.

Packaging:
The DVD comes in the standard clam-shell packaging. It’s a 2-disc set and the cover art is attractive, if not a…pretty good summation of the gist of this show, which is that Yui is basically a dinner buffet for the Sakamaki clan.

Menu: 
The menu features the theme song, “Mr. Sadistic Night”, and is pretty, clean, and straightforward listing the six episode per disc. On Disc 1 there are the extras.

Extras:
There’s nothing super fancy or outstanding here, just clean opening animation and Sentai trailers for their other shows. I would have liked some cast interviews or some little reel of behind of the scenes, perhaps.

Content: please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
What they say it’s about, is pretty much what you get. Each of the twelve episodes clock in at only fifteen minutes so you don’t get much advancement in plot or characters. Yui is in her second year of high school and finds herself suddenly shipped off to live with the Sakamaki brothers- Reiji, Shu, Ayato, Laito, Kanato, and Subaru. They are all different in temperament, but all find Yui’s blood intoxicating and irresistible, leaving her in constant peril of being fed on.

The brothers were all born of the same father and different mothers. Reiju and Shu share a mother, Subaru a different one, and Ayato, Laito, and Kanato are triplets born to another mother named Cordelia, who they later killed.

As Yui settles into her strange and sometimes terrifying life with the brothers, she starts to feel unwell, hear a woman’s voice, have strange day dreams and her chest begins to hurt. In convergence with this, the brothers’ uncle, Richter, appears with plans of his own designed around the awakening, and those plans have very much to do with Yui, who it turns out carries the heart of Cordelia in her chest and Richter’s plan is to turn Yui into Cordelia as Yui goes through  the Awakening, in which no mortal woman who has been sent as a sacrificial bride has ever survived. Will she turn into Cordelia reborn? Will she survive the awakening? And will she ever be more than a means to quench a thirst for the brothers?

In Summary:
How does one review this show? Because it really should be called Dubcon: The Animation except replace sex with the vampire biting euphemism. Literally in every episode Yui is forced upon by one or more of the Sakamaki brothers to be fed on, and it’s pretty clear she does not enjoy it and constantly begs them to stop. A saner girl would have ran out of the there by episode one, but Yui stays with the determination of understanding why her father sent her to live there and what is happening to her. I thought, initially, this would be something like a vampy version of The Wallflower, but aside from teen girl lives with  bunch of hot bishounen, that’s where the similarities end.

Because of the shortness of the episodes, they’re really nothing more than PWP (porn without plot) but again going with biting replacing sex. There’s not much in the way of character development except very bare hints Ayato develops romantic feelings towards Yui, and the little bit of plot revolves around Yui actually being a sacrificial bride who happens to have Cordelia’s heart in her, which is why her blood is so attractive.

It feels like there’s a whole chunk of backstory missing, and in a way there is. This series is based of a series of visual novels, which could explain why Yui is basically an All You Can Eat Dinner buffet for the brothers, as in the gameplay of the novel you play as Yui and all the brothers are potential love interests. There could have been a pretty neat story in the anime as well, the parts were there, but so much of the short fifteen minutes seems spent on Yui finding herself cornered by a brother and fed on against her will as they say some pretty creeper stuff to her, and then blame her for why she’s being attacked and call her self-centered….yea, this is definitely difficult to review. I was actually surprised, given some of the tone of this show, that none of the theme songs were performed by BUCK TICK, because to this aging fangirl that would have made every sense possible. If you’re scratching your head thinking, “who is BUCK TICK?” go, go now gentle reader to the Googles and go give them a listen. They were and are one of the best J-Rock bands of the past thirty something years.

With this series, on the one hand it is, as my boyfriend put it as we watched it, “kind of rapey”, on the other it’s like vampire prettyboy melodrama on steroids. It’s like that awful vampire AU erotic fanfic you have read and maybe tucked away hidden in your bookmarks. It’s pretty to look at, it’s reverse harem anime, but you have to basically have a tolerance for dubcon and the main girl always being forced upon and passive. And seeing what could have been a cool story done really short and not really fleshed out because the show spends more time on Yui’s flesh being bit into.

Also, one of the characters always calls Yui “Little Bitch”, so if you can stand to hear that constantly, you’re fine. While I overall started to just find this series a bit “lulzy” after a while with its repetition, I was also frustrated at what could have been with the story, but alas.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Langugae, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: A+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: C-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 2nd, 2014
MSRP: $17.52
Running Time: 180 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p

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