With the announcement of Season 2 of Diabolik Lovers, my wife and I decided to do a write-up of our prior experience with season 1.

Diabolik Lovers follows a teenage girl, Yui Komori, who is sent by her priest father to live in a mansion as he travels overseas for business. The timid Yui enters the mansion, and discovers it to be populated by attractive young men… but they are more than meets the eye. All of her housemates are in fact vampires, and all want to drink Yui’s blood.

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This is not a formal review, but rather a more intimate look at what the two of us found enjoyable or otherwise, collaboratively written from both our viewpoints. Neither of us had watched this anime prior to us watching it together.

For Us: Short Episodes

Yes, we are being sardonic here. My wife and I want our column to be upbeat, so we attempted to find something… anything… positive to say about Diabolik Lovers. What we settled on is that it doesn’t take much time to watch, as the episodes are not formatted to fit into a traditional half-hour block of television. With a 16 minute episodic run-time, we smashed through our normal point of dropping a series after two episodes. We got so deep into Diabolik Lovers that we almost started hate-watching the series before we finally dropped it.

For Us: Rape as the Subtext

Let’s get this out of the way: My wife and I understand the cultural fascination with BDSM and know that media companies capitalize on such titillation with properties such as 50 Shades of Grey. We are not prudes in that manner. However, this is not what Diabolik Lovers presents. The very obvious subtext of the vampires drinking the heroine’s blood is that it is a sexual act. Yui is never consensual in the act, and always tries to resist or escape. While we understand that this is meant as sexual fantasy, the normalization of rape culture presented here really turned our stomachs. Simply put, this was not for us.

For Him: Little to No Substance

I had picked Diabolik Lovers to watch with my wife as a way to introduce her to a reverse-harem show. Harem shows are a popular theme among anime, but I have no real knowledge of good reverse-harem shows. After poking around I stumbled on Diabolik Lovers and decided to give it a try in the hopes that it would feel similar to the wildly popular Twilight series. What I got was a parade of goth man-candy tropes. While I understand that it is difficult to build depth in a short-form show, the episodes take a man-of-the-week approach to the extent that it seemed as if the writers weren’t even trying to flesh out their cast. Even the mysteries that the series presents for the heroine to solve didn’t hold my interest. I did not find myself moved to care for Yui’s fate, as she seemed to be a protagonist that things happen to as opposed to one that makes things happen. As a male viewer, there really isn’t anything here to hold your interest.

For Her: Everything. I Disliked Everything

I was excited to watch this at first because I was promised vampires. And yes, I know that vampires aren’t traditionally super kind or nurturing toward humans... but I was looking forward to the vampires of today’s pop culture: the Edwards, the Bill Comptons, and even the Eric Northmans. They all have redeeming qualities that make you root for their happiness. The vampires in Diabolik Lovers are all terrible, terrible beings. They are not sexy and are most certainly devoid of any redeeming qualities. The repeated rapes of the protagonist are awful, and I had to close my eyes or walk out of the room. Whether you are male or female, you will most likely find yourself cringing while trying to make it through at least one episode. Overall, I give Diabolik Lovers two thumbs down and zero out of five stars. Mic drop.

Because this is not an official Ani-TAY review, we have eschewed the normal review card.

Diabolik Lovers is the least appealing show my wife and I have shared together. We understand that it may be that the show simply does not appeal to our tastes. However, from a the standpoint of having to recommend this show (or not) to others looking to share anime with their significant other... we say this: Stay far away from Diabolik Lovers. Don’t get suckered in just because the show has been picked up for a second season, and find some other show to watch instead.

If you are still interested and willing to take the plunge, Diabolik Lovers can be watched on
Hulu streaming service.