Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood

Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood

image
Based off of a drama CD and PSPS game, the Diabolik Lovers series is based around the six sadistic Sakamaki vampire brothers, and the positive and kind-hearted heroine, Yui Komori. Due to her father’s work, she has to transfer to a new school and ends up living with the Sakamaki brothers in their gothic mansion. But now the Murakami brothers have turned up and they’ve got their own plans – and they involve Yui.

The initial Diabolik Lovers focused on Yui interacting with the Sakamaki brothers and now the attention is turned to the mysterious newcomers, the Murakamis, and so increases the variation on the core group of blood-drinking bishounen. They have some unspoken plans that involve Yui and using her as their ‘Eve’ to find ‘Adam’. Even so, Yui continues to be treated badly and used as a tool for the brothers to get what they want – not unlike how the Sakamaki brothers used her as a renewable food resource. All this serves to expand the view of what’s going on and that there is a very similar sense of cruelty to be had here as in the Sakamaki/Murakami households.

image
Alongside this, there are a few larger teases going on, such as the strange visions that Yui has and the gothic symbolism that we see regularly. This time around the show is upping its game to make it look and feel like it’s expanding its cast and locale while still maintaining to what drew fans to it in the first season – namely pretty and mysterious boys. It reminds me a little of the development within Uta no Prince-sama, but this only demonstrates that this take works – letting the new characters take up most of the spotlight whilst lightly weaving the original characters into the story.

image
Spot the symbolism, anyone?

Though they do see Yui as a mere tool, at least treat her a little better than she’s used to for the most part. We see some of the playful tensions that exist between the brothers and how they interact with one other. The Murakamis are similar to the Sakamaki brothers, but with less territorial aspects about her and each other. There are some tension-filled scenes that actually succeed in making me feel uncomfortable without knowing why. I’m not sure if it’s the predatory air of the brothers, their unknown intentions or the uncaring way that the treat Yui or a heavy cocktail of all of these things.

image
Since Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood was originally an otome game aimed at the female young adult demographics. Playing as Yui, you make the decisions for her as well as choosing the guy she ultimately ends up with. Because of these integrated end-user decisions, the anime can’t do much plot-wise as following the flow of the game would mean Yui pursuing just one boy – cutting off most of the other characters – and they don’t want to upset any particular camp of fangirls and cut out a large portion of the fanbase!

Unlike the somewhat-lacking plot, however, the characters are highly-developed and rather diverse. Some do, of course, fall into those typical anime character tropes that you can’t seem to avoid: cool-and-distant, intellectual, pretty boy etc, but these tropes are usually given a darker and more sadistic twist to fit the show’s vampiric theme. Like most anime of this genre, Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood aims to impress you with it’s cast, not its plot.

image
Having said that, Yui, as the main character, suffers from the traditional maladies of an otome game/harem protagonist: all the personality of a wet dishrag. She is dreadfully overshadowed by all the bishounen in exactly the same way that the heroine in Amnesia is. She doesn’t say much, has not one iota of sense, blithely follows the commands of whatever character is nearby and spends a lot of her time standing around blinking and looking vaguely afraid. I know this is mainly down to ‘the player’ giving Yui her personality, but sometimes it borders on infuriating to watch her. I can’t help but feel that producers need to have some responsibility in adapting otome game characters to work suitable on other media platforms.

image
YES, THAT’S THE FACE.

Whilst I am expecting the usual fare from this kind of anime (i.e. all bishounen characters to have their fair share of time interacting with our vacant protagonist, I’m enjoying the new elements that are being introduced and the dark spin that is put on things. The characters’ backgrounds and motivations are slowly being explored and a surprising level of depth is reached for an anime that is only half as long as a full episode. It’s not easy to lend credence to a large cast in such a short space of time but somehow, it works. The brothers all interact differently with Yui, which helps to make up for the fact that she is a brainless drip without an ounce of self-preservation. I want to continue watching to discover what (if any) is the bigger picture and the mysterious ties between Yui and Eve.