Diabolik Lovers is based on a Japanese visual novel by Rejet. The anime is produced by Zexcs, and is directed by Shinobu Tagashira. The series began airing on Japanese television on September 16, 2013. As of this writing, Diabolik Lovers is being simulcast on Crunchyroll on Mondays.
A girl named Yui is taken to a mansion and dropped off by a driver. When she gets to the door, no one answers; as she’s about to let herself in, the door opens by itself. No one answers when she calls out, but she sees a young man sleeping on a couch nearby. When she goes to wake him, he feels cold and doesn’t have a pulse. As Yui whips out her phone to call an ambulance, the man on the couch whips it away from her. After a brief argument, the young man grabs her and throws her onto the couch. He licks her neck, but is interrupted by the arrival of another man. Yui gets up, runs to the newcomer, and asks for help. The newcomer wants to know who she is and what she’s doing there. Yui explains that her father said she was supposed to live there. Reiji says he heard nothing about this, and the three of them go off to another room to discuss the matter.
In the new room, a young man is laying on a couch and three more enter the room. It turns out that the man on the couch knew about Yui coming, and that she is the prospective bride. Yui is confused, because she hadn’t heard anything about being a bridal candidate. As she tries to get away, she falls and scrapes her knee. Yui learns she is in the mansion belonging to a group of vampires.
Shu Sakamaki is the oldest, and he’s the one who knew about Yui coming. Ayato is the one that Yui found first when she entered the mansion. Reiji is the one who stopped Ayato from going any further than he did. The other brothers are Raito, Kanato, and Subaru. From what was shown in the first episode, Shu appears to be lazy, Reiji tends to be proper and almost acts like a butler, Ayato enjoys teasing Yui in an almost sadistic way, Kanato seems to be the most immature and carries a teddy bear around with him, Subaru seems to be rather impatient, and Raito is the most easygoing (but can become upset if something isn’t going his way).
At the end of the first episode, Yui learns that her father is not her real father. It’s also made clear to her by the Sakamaki brothers that she can never escape from them; if she tries, she’s dead.
After watching this episode, my first thought was, “Haven’t I seen a similar concept in an anime series recently? Oh, yeah… Brothers Conflict, a Summer 2013 anime series I finished watching last week.” The main differences between Diabolik Lovers and Brothers Conflict are the fact that the love interests in this show are not her stepbrothers, there’s fewer potential love interests in this show, and all of the love interests in Diabolik Lovers are vampires. Otherwise, it’s basically the same premise that several guys are trying to get the one girl. Say it with me, please: “Reverse Harem.”
Another difference between Diabolik Lovers and Brothers Conflict is the fact that Diabolik Lovers establishes right away that this is going to be a creepy show. At this point in Brothers Conflict, it wasn’t apparent how disturbing the show was going to be at the end of the first episode.
I found the first episode of Diabolik Lovers to be a bit cringe-worthy; however, I’m willing to give this series one more chance with the next episode, since this episode focused exclusively on establishing the characters. I don’t want to truly make up my mind until I see an episode that truly shows what the storytelling of the series will be like. However, from what I saw in episode one, I’m not having high expectations that future episodes will get much better. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I just finished Brothers Conflict and am feeling rather weary of this whole “reverse harem” concept.
Personally, I can only truly recommend Diabolik Lovers to anime viewers who enjoy “reverse harem” shows that feature bishonen vampires that feel a need to be abusive and mean to the female protagonist. If you don’t like those elements, then I would recommend staying far away from Diabolik Lovers.
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