Bitter, yet Tasteless
The nicest thing I could say about the first episode of Diabolik Lovers really amounted to “Well, at least they haven’t raped the poor girl… yet.” and that says something seeing as I still ended up giving the show the benefit of the doubt that it could evolve into something that wasn’t total garbage. This week’s episode of the show tosses all of that out the window.
However, at the same time I want to make sure everyone who hasn’t seen this show at this point, stays as far away from it as they can, and the best way to do that would really be to spoil the hell out of the show and the game it is based on as a whole. But I’m a nice girl, I won’t do that, so instead let me try my best to vaguely explain why Diabolik Lovers fails on every level at what it tries to do.
The second episode sees Yui waking up in bed at 6 PM. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that she’s in a nightgown, which means one of the boys that was sexually assaulting her and threatened to kill her last episode have now undressed her while she was unconscious. Hooray. She’s told that she must go to “Night School” together with the boys since she is their prey, and that’s what the episode focuses on.
Going by the standard trend of otome-adaptations, the episode holds the focus on one boy at a time. This time it’s Ayato, the red head who for some reason has one pant-leg shorter than the other. He’s certainly not the worst of the bunch, seeing as he doesn’t keep referring to her as “Little Bitch” at every chance he gets, but that’s essentially where his good aspects end.
The concept of Diabolik Lovers is made more clear in this episode, and that is what makes the entire thing way worse than it already was. Episode two tries to play jokes and even goes as far as to try and suggest that Ayato is finding something to relate to in Yui while she’s close to dying because he’s torturing her. I’m not kidding, they’re trying to humanize a character who strangled this girl to unconsciousness last episode.
And they don’t do a good job of it. Granted we only see a small flashback detailing as to what could have happened, but the mere idea that this disgusting character would be given any sense of redemption after all he’s been putting Yui through at this point is insulting to the viewer. It also makes the presentation of the brothers as instinct driven predators just stand out more as it clashes completely with the tone of many of the scenes in the second episode.
Yui can’t be ignored either. While the first episode set her up as a scared and confused girl who was overpowered by these monstrous beings in human shape, the second episode does nothing to even pretend she has any depth as a character. When the biggest objection or act of protest she does is ask Ayato to help her clean the dishes, you know the writing department don’t give a fuck about what should be going through someone’s brain in the situation she’s been put in.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to call out the show for being misogynist with its thin and characterless portrayal of Yui, I’m trying to call the show out as incompetent and badly written. If it’s misogynist is definitely something that could be debated and discussed I’m sure. But positive as I try to be regarding things like this, I will for now give it the benefit of the doubt and just assume it’s out of its mind about any human behavior, regardless of gender. Maybe I will eat those words a week from now, who knows?
Art-wise the show stays true to the last episode. Some decent design work ruined by bad CG animation in places and a lack of any particularly good animation. It doesn’t reuse as much as last episode did, although the budget was clearly not put to much work on this episode either way, not even the opening theme sequence that finally showed its ugly head looked that good.
Speaking of opening themes, let’s talk about the one in Diabolik Lovers. Like I said, it was introduced in this episode and it’s called “Mr. SADISTIC NIGHT”. It’s not very good, in fact it’s really mediocre, much like the rest of the audio of the show be it music or voice-work. But at least it’s far better than this show deserves, so it’s not anything worth a complaint. I can’t see myself bothering to listen to the full single when it releases on Nov 27th.
In the end, the second episode of Diabolik Lovers have shattered any hope I had of the show being even slightly interesting. It’s a badly paced mess with no redeeming factors. I honestly think that even if I was into the extreme masochistic mood the show wants me to be in I would just be bored by how dull the show is directed or be disgusted at what the show tries to do with its characters.
The nicest thing I could say about the second episode of Diabolik Lovers really amounts to “Well, at least they haven’t raped the poor girl… yet.” and that is just as sad as it was a week ago.