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.
After initially going into Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood back in 2005, I have decided to re-visit the initial storyline of this shorter anime series whilst I wait for the Summer 2017 line-up to finish and the Autumn 2017 line-up to begin.
The story starts with our heroine (and I used the term ‘heroine’ very loosely), Komori Yui, a normal teenage girl until in her second year of high school, having to move to a new location. Her father, a priest, has to go overseas for work and so as a result, Yui is sent to a new town and arrives alone at the mansion she was told will be her new home. At the mansion, when she knocks, no one greets her. But then the door swings open on its own accord. Yui enters the mansion to find herself alone, and so she explores the vast surroundings until she discovers a handsome young man with no heartbeat on a couch. To her shock he awakens and five other young men gradually appear. Yui soon notices something different about all of them – she discovers that all six of them are brothers but by three different mothers, and they all turn out to be vampires.
Things roll out how they usually do when an anime is shorter than normal but carries a rather large harem cast – Yui gets herself into a selection of situations every episode in which one of the Sakamaki brothers is the primary focus. It’s here that we watch them all interact with her and establish their personalities. Although they are all very varied, they are all on the same page when it comes to one thing: they want to drink Yui’s blood. Once they do, they discover that it is something rather special, but they are unsure why (and for the most part, they don’t really care).
In true Diabolik Lovers style, we see plenty of gothic symbolism and props: the dark mansion, the opulent and traditional decor, goblets of liquid that could be wine or could be blood, plenty of roses, graves, rosaries, crosses and churches. And of course we have the beautiful and mysterious cast of brothers that made this franchise so successful. In comparison to Diabolik Lovers II: More Blood their personalities are a bit more full-on and archetypal in order to establish themselves as ‘the hot-headed one’, ‘the distant one’, ‘the serious one’, etc etc as we are taken through the regular routine of introductions that reflects the initial otome game dynamic and means that fans of the video game get to see their favourite Sakamaki make an appearance and interact with Yui.
In my review of More Blood I really ripped into Yui for being more of a plot device rather than a character – and unashamedly so. At least in some harems they actually attempt to give their ‘lead’ a bit of a personality, but when I remember the string of nonplussed “ehh?”s and the painfully bovine face of Yui Komori, it was almost enough to make me consider not bothering with this first series at all. Thankfully, I don’t think she’s as bad in this series as she was in More Blood. Perhaps it is because there are less cat members in the first season that she actually has some lines worth saying, or maybe the producers still had ambitions to make her something more than the vampire brothers’ mobile blood bank at the beginning. Either way, she doesn’t want to make me put my thumbs into my eyes. Not all the time, anyway. I still wish that she had a bit of common sense and self-preservation about her so I didn’t immediately know how interactions with the brothers were going to end (it’s her making a surprised noise and then getting bitten, if you didn’t know), but I’m aware that this is just too much to hope for.
As we progress, we are slowly getting some back story from all these good-looking vampires and their relationship with each other and their mothers – who are strangely (or perhaps not-so-strangely) absent. The very full-on personalities of the brothers are still making up for Yui being a brainless wonder, so I am hoping that all of these interactions eventually culminate in some form of a real ending. Perhaps one that leads on to the story that’s focused on in the second series.