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The final episode of Diabolik Lovers leaves much to be desired. This series is proof that visual novel adaptations can often fall short.
As Yui lies dying, the Sakamaki brothers all go through a complete personality change and suddenly seem to care about their little house guest’s wellbeing. None of them have seriously cares about her as anything other than a source of blood and entertainment up until this point, except perhaps Subaru to some extent and Ayato recently. But suddenly they seem to think it’s the most horrible thing that she’s been possessed by Cordelia, and that Yui herself might disappear completely.
This personality change doesn’t really make sense. Do they care because they simply want Cordelia gone? Or do they actually care about Yui (even though they haven’t throughout the rest of the series)?
As if the fifteen-minute run time wasn’t short enough, in this final episode the story is basically over halfway through the episode with the implication that Yui is now a vampire. After the end credits roll, we get a series of short monologues from the Sakamaki brothers that I assume are directly from the otome game. Honestly, this doesn’t particularly add anything to the story, and seems like nothing more than a shout out to the fans of the game. This sort of leaves Diabolik Lovers on a pathetic note without any real closure.
Where to begin? I really wanted to enjoy Diabolik Lovers. Heck, that’s why I’ve continued reviewing it all the way through, despite the several times I’ve considered dropping it. I held out hope that events would actually be explained in a coherent manner for people who haven’t played the otome game.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Several potential plot points are introduced only to be discarded as unimportant, leaving many unanswered questions by the end of the series. For example, why did Yui’s adoptive father send her to live with the Sakamaki brothers? Why do Ayato, Kanato, and Raito hate their mother Cordelia so much, to the extent that they actually killed her in the past? I understand that she was a strict mother, but that really isn’t any reason to kill her. What happened to Shu and Reiji’s mother, Beatrice? What happened to Subaru’s mother? Why is Karl Heinz, the apparent head of the family, never around? What exactly is the purpose of the “sacrificial bride” the brothers kept talking about?
(Before I get a ton of comments explaining all of these answers, I would like to point out that none of this is explained in the anime. Perhaps it is in the game (and I would hope so), but this is an anime review, not an otome game review. Pointing out these unanswered questions illustrates the poor quality of the adaptation from one medium to the other.)
Likewise, several characters are introduced with only the basest of characterization: Karl Heinz, Beatrice, Subaru’s mother, and Yui’s father, none of whom get any characterization past brief scenes and what other characters say about them. Even the main characters get very little characterization. Each of the brothers has one main trait (relating to the Seven Deadly Sins, as I mentioned in a previous review), but that’s about it; Ayato is potentially the only character in this series that begins to grow a bit by the end, and at that point it’s too little too late.
And Yui has perhaps the least agency of any main character I’ve ever seen in an anime. Nothing she does or says is worth anything to anyone. None of the brothers listen to her, none of them truly care about her, and none of the (admittedly few) attempts she makes to escape are worth anything. On top of that, she ignores half of her possible ways out of her less-than-ideal situation: she fails to leave the Sakamaki house when Subaru gives her that option, and she blatantly refuses to use the knife he gives her on any of her tormentors. Even her attempted sacrifice is a futile endeavor, as it accomplishes nothing. It is Reiji’s potion that banishes Cordelia from Yui’s body, not her attempted suicide.
I’m fairly certain I’ve made my disgust with the blood sucking scenes in this anime fairly clear already, but it’s worth another mention here. Taking out at least some of these scenes would have allowed for better and clearer plot development and character development. Instead, far too much time was devoted to these uncomfortable scenes focused on the molestation and virtual rape of Yui.
Plot holes and lack of characterization aside, there are some decent aspects of this anime. The animation is fine, although it’s really nothing special. The Sakamaki brothers fit the bish?nen character type fairly well, which at least gives us something pretty to look at while they’re treating Yui like garbage. The background music is perhaps the one redeeming quality of Diabolik Lovers. It’s definitely worth a listen on its own outside of the series because the scoring is actually pretty beautiful.
Overall, though, I would not recommend this anime to anyone. The plot is lacking, the characters are one-dimensional, and several scenes are little more than uncomfortable to watch. The main character has absolutely no agency, and spends the entire series being treated like garbage. Not the kind of anime I would spend my time watching if I wasn’t reviewing it.
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