What They Say:
As the sole human living alone with six handsome vampires, beautiful young Yui Komori is slowly becoming used to being the constant focus of all of their attentions, both amorous and otherwise. However, if she was feeling pale and weak before, her ordeal is about to become even more emotionally draining as four new vampire brothers appear with the intention of making Yui their own permanent dinner guest.
Who are the Mukami brothers, and why are they so dead set on keeping Yui for themselves? Why do they keep referring to her as “Eve” and whose master plan are they following? How will the original six Sakamaki brothers react to having Yui stolen out of their clutches?
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo as well as the English language track, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series is not one that has a lot of big action sequences in general and even when things do go big, it’s more about the music and atmosphere than actual action. The series is more about the atmosphere and setting, along with the music, that brings it all together well to make it a very engaging show from that perspective. The dialogue for this ranges well with a lot of it focusing on the quieter side with intent and threat, and that comes across very well with what it has to do in being clean and clear and very easy to listen to and discern, especially during the much quieter sequences.
Originally airing in 2015, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show has a shorter than usual episode count as it’s just about thirteen or so minutes each and that makes it easy to bring the entire run on one disc. Animated by ZEXCS, the show has a very good look to it with some beautifully rich colors and a lot of great detail throughout that makes it a visual treat that was strong in the simulcast and even stronger here with what it does. The show is not one that does a lot of big sequences so it’s less “animated” in a sense, but still very fluid and appealing throughout with what it does. The color depth level is great and I loved the look and feel of the series with the atmosphere that’s generated by it. This release definitely gives me what I want from it in terms of the transfer.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that has the one disc against the interior wall. The front cover artwork is the familiar key promotional artwork piece that has Yui being surrounded by the young men of the mansion as they interact with her in different ways while she winces and cringes from what she’s being put through. It has a great illustration style to it that manages to work well even with the darker tone of it all. Each of the characters stands out well and I rather like that Yui seems to disappear into them as well. The back cover works the dark ornate style fairly well with some decent artwork that blends into the murky background. The premise is covered well with the summary here and we get a good breakdown elsewhere with the extras and production information as well as a clean and easy to read technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release is one that works well by not just replicating the cover here but instead providing another cast shot of the main characters, sans Yui, against a kind of Victorian style wallpaper background that just adds an interesting kind of richness to it. The static image sets the atmosphere of the show well and with it being another illustration piece it also has a different kind of depth to it that works nicely. The navigation along the left doubles as the pop-up menu and it’s mostly straightforward with a breakdown of episodes by number as there are no titles for them. We also get the language submenu and one for the extras, which also includes trailers for other shows.
The only extras included here is the clean opening sequence because there really isn’t one for the closing sequence.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first season of Diabolik Lovers was pretty controversial for a lot of viewers for some very understandable reasons but it was a show that for various reasons I’ll defend pretty heavily (though not online because that doesn’t lead to engaging discussion about some of the themes). The show was one that played well with its shorter running time of about ten minutes per episode when you get to the actual content and I enjoyed that it told its own story and wove some interesting things within it while not trying to be too rich or complex as it knew what it wanted to be. So with a second season announced a bit after it completed I was pretty keen to see where the show would go next since it had a good number of options to work with even though you could view the first season as being fairly complete.
Taking place about a month after the events of the first season, this one has Yui being absconded with after a car crash occurs that allows the young men of the Mukami household to grab her. This ends up putting the Sakamaki boys on the backburner for far too much of the season as they try to figure out what’s going on and whether they really want to get involved or not, at least until it’s made clear that they truly do need Yui for more than just food reasons. This is the biggest problem of the season for me in that we had invested enough into the stories of the Sakamaki boys that shifting them out of the spotlight for much of this season just reduced my investment. What we get instead is a series of introductions to the Mukami boys over the course of the run. That’s not repetitive in a sense as their stories are certainly different than the Sakamaki’s and their reason for being bonded together as well as vampires themselves, but it’s repetitive in the actual structure of everything and that reduced interest significantly.
Woven into the story of meeting the individual Mukami boys and their backgrounds is the overarching storyline of the season that involves a dream that Yui’s been having of a tree and someone named Eve. With the boys looking for what they need for one of them to become Adam based on the tale they’ve been told prior to events here that puts everything in motion, the core idea is fairly obvious. But the show does blend these pieces into the opening and closings acts of several episodes with some nice moody moments while sneaking it into the mix elsewhere as well, mostly coming through with the Mukami boys talking about what they’re trying to achieve and a smattering of dreams that Yui has during other parts of the show. It has the right creepy kind of feeling about it and it provides some motivation for why they want Yui and why it’s easier to do it this way than trying to win her over considering the hold the Sakamaki boys have on her, but it’s still a weak subplot overall that doesn’t help to bind the season like the first one did with the Sakamaki’s past and Cordelia.
Similar to the first season, there are a lot of disturbing power moments going on here as the Mukami boys have Yui under their control. This plays to what we saw with the Sakamaki boys before and there are those in the group that are more upfront and blunt about it while some are a bit more suave and subtle. But in the end they’re all controlling about it, but it feels different than the first season. While both sets of men are using Yui for their own ends and both of them seem to come around to viewing her as a bit more than just a means to an end, the Mukami boys never feel realized enough to make it work. They’re far too superficial and you spend time waiting for the Sakamaki’s to come in and change the narrative. While I don’t sympathize or empathize with the boys from either side of it but the Sakamaki boys story is one that just worked better in bringing a more engaging dynamic to the forefront and it didn’t feel like it was holding back, something the Mukami storyline feels like it does regularly.
Diabolik Lovers is a show that separates itself from so many other shows because it is upfront about the cruelty of the men and the controlling nature through which they operate with Yui. It’s a welcome change from the shows that play at it and make it all cute and sweet rather than disturbing like it should be. This season, unfortunately, doesn’t continue on strongly with the core cast from the first and instead puts them into the background and works a new group of young men that are using Yui for their own reasons. And it just doesn’t resonate as well. Sentai’s release is definitely strong in how it’s presented and fans of it and the first will end up with a release that nicely complements that first set. This is one that I’ve struggled with to some degree while finding some intriguing areas along the way. I’m still hopeful for a third season to course correct things more.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.