Diabolik Lovers – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Diabolik Lovers


Similar: Vampire Knight


Dance with Devils

Brothers Conflict


Watched in: Japanese & English

Genre: Supernatural Harem

Length: 24 episodes (12 minutes each, 2 seasons), 1 OVA



  • Half-length episodes get you out the door sooner.


  • No story.
  • Same thing each episode.
  • No likeable characters.
  • Season 2 is a copy of the first.
  • Not even fun as trash.

(Request an anime for review here.)

Do you remember when Twilight was a big deal? Diabolik Lovers comes from that era of hysterical fangirls and tear-filled trailer reactions, adapted into an otome game (visual novels aimed at girls).

When sweet innocent Yui goes to live in a grand mansion populated by pretty boys, her life takes a turn for the worst. These boys are bloodthirsty vampires and they aren’t afraid to show it. Her daily routine becomes one of abuse and vampire meals. Will she resist or fall for them in the process? (No points for guessing correctly.)

Just like harem anime for boys, otome adaptations are a failure from the get-go because the studio doesn’t commit to a single story path from the game. Even if Diabolik Lovers were a good game, an anime adaptation that tries to incorporate the romance arcs with all the boys will always be a mess. For comparison’s sake I checked out the anime adaptation of Code:Realize, an otome game I completed on the PS Vita. Though there are five romantic options, the game never feels harem-like because no relationship goes beyond friendship until you as the female protagonist choose to pursue it. From that point onwards, there is no “dating” multiple guys aspect. It acts as though you were never interested in the others to begin with. Furthermore, you won’t know most of any given guy’s history unless you choose his path, adding more depth to the story – and replay value. In the anime, however, it tries to put every path into the story rather than committing to one. Needless to say, the Code:Realize anime is subpar (and the detailed art is missing). So when Diabolik Lovers didn’t even have a good game to start with, there was no hope of a good anime. Yet even then, I didn’t expect something as abominable as this.

Yui’s first meeting with the vampires has them taunt and frighten her, acting like stereotypical douchebag vampires, which I took as them playing it up like in the vampire myths before they reveal that they aren’t all like that. But no, they are awful.

The vampires take it in turns, for roughly two episodes each, to torment, assault, and sexually abuse Yui. I understand that the ultimate fantasy for fans is to be dominated and protected by powerful, and preferably rich, older guys. However, none of that matters if the guys are so unlikable, as is the case in Diabolik Lovers.

I’ll tell you of her time with one of them. The vampire breaks her phone when she tries to call her father to leave, but he then tells her to get lost. (Mixed signals there, buddy.) He bites and drinks from her, and later pushes her into the pool, where she begins to drown because she can’t swim. This allows him to jump in and kiss her for air, which she will see as romantic, of course, and fall for him. What a shock. Yui is an empty protagonist with no spine, no motivation, and frankly no use. She irritates me most in this horrid affair. You might imagine that the goal of the plot is to have her make the guys nicer, to bring out their chocolaty centre. You’d be wrong. No one develops an inch by the end.

Each vampire is one cliché after the other. They all have “the one thing” to check every box in the Vampire Otome Character Type Checklist, though with the “absolute douche” trait added. Most of them have nicknames for her. Little bitch, pig, pancake (this one offends her most), and masokitty are just a few of the delightful nicknames that will make you cringe every episode.

The one vampire I expected to be a decent person – you know, for a change of pace – was the refined older brother type, who cares for etiquette and manners. After he invites Yui over for tea, he too abuses her. So, nothing new.

Story is an important element for otome fans. Sure, it is about pretty boys in the end, but a proper story creates a deeper connection within the fan. If fans didn’t care for story, they could turn to another form of entertainment if they just wanted to get to the juicy bits. The second season is a repeat of the first, except it’s with a group of half-vampire boys that kidnap her, take her to their mansion, abuse her, drink from her – you get the picture.

Diabolik Lovers does attempt a story involving the boys’ dead mother and Yui’s identity, but that lasts 10 maybe 20 minutes across both seasons.

A dear reader recommended this anime to me with the knowledge that this is trash, prime trash ripe off the bone from the nearby landfill. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the fun with it that I expected due to the emptiness of the story and characters. Diabolik Lovers doesn’t do anything. It’s too boring to be so bad it’s good, for me.

Art – Low

Diabolik Lovers carries over the tradition from otome games of pretty characters and nice looking stills. However, this is an animation, which it lacks.

Sound – Very Low

They didn’t skimp on hiring high-end actors for this in both Japanese and English – another carry over from the game. Not that this in any way saves the abomination of a script. Contender for worst of all anime.

Story – Very Low

A girl finds herself trapped in a mansion with a family of beautiful vampire boys that want to use and abuse more than her body. There is no story.

Overall Quality – Very Low

Recommendation: Avoid it. Diabolik Lovers isn’t the right sort of trash for me to recommend as a hilariously bad time. Vampire Knight is better for that.

(Request reviews here. Find out more about the rating system here.)


Awards: (hover over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None


Atrocious PlotAwful DialogueHollow World BuildingLacks ConflictNo DevelopmentRepetitiveRubbish Major CharactersShallow

11 thoughts on “Diabolik Lovers – Anime Review”

  1. This anime never ceases to be a source of amusement in terms of reading reviews of it. I still haven’t actually quite made it to the end of season 1 and the thought of trying to finish it after quite a long break for review purposes just seems like quite the silly notion so I’ll probably just continue to amuse myself by reading the views of others on an anime that had so little going for it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Don’t hate me but I actually somewhat enjoyed this anime. It’s a guilty pleasure. Diabolik Lovers is not meant to be an anime with a deep story and well written characters. It’s supposed to be an anime with attractive vampires doing just vampire things. I will say it did have maybe a couple of redeeming qualities. Ayato becomes a more developed character by the end of the series, and so does Subaru. They become somewhat likeable. Although I agree the anime is very weak in story and characters, the visual novel and manga are both much better. They don’t just use Yui as prey.

        Nonetheless, I can’t say I blame you for hating this anime, but I like it because you’re not supposed to take it seriously. If it tried too hard to be a compelling story, then my opinion would be different. I would have most likely ended up hating it aswell.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey, don’t fell bad. We all have our guilty pleasures. I loved watching Vampire Knight, a similar anime, because of how much fun it was to laugh at. I reckon I would watch it again, even though I tore it apart.


      2. I know I’m two years late but, no, not really. But I know a girl on twitter who has pig plushies because of Yuma’s nickname for Yui.
        -insert preaching about the game here- (I know it would be useless, but saying “the game’s story/lore/development is SO much better” is kind of mandatory in the fandom, because it’s true XD)
        Then again, the anime was aimed at players who wanted to see the boys animated; but that doesn’t excuse how awful it is in comparison.
        What’s curious about it is that most of the scenes are original or mixes between game scenes. I’m pretty salty about Reiji’s tea scene because they merged it with the bandage one; and the bandage scene was meant to be kind of nice (it’s in the middle-late game, with an i’m-not-really-caring-for-you-baka flavor). He seems pretty nonsensical in the anime tbh; in the game he’s pretty reasonable, as long as you pretend that Shu doesn’t exist.
        If I have to say something positive… is that there is a bit of hidden lore in the anime. For example, Laito’s speech about death is taken word-by-word from his mother’s in the game.
        I think that what DL tries to do is make you feel the same things as the protagonist… and more than half of that is fear and panic(? The other is stockholm syndrome and pity(? It’s… truly an experience, it just hurts so good, like a psychological thriller.
        But, I’m here because I love to read negative reviews about the anime XD So, if you happen to see this, what boy/scene did you hate the most?


  2. Truth be told it’s only the anime version of Diabolik Lovers that is awful. The visual novel and manga are actually both well received. The vampires still do treat Yui like crap, but they actually have personalities and their detailed backstories reveals why they are like that. There is far more character development. They also do treat Yui nicely aswell, in comparison to the anime, (with the exception of Ayato and possibly Subaru) where none of them redeem themselves.


  3. Have you seen Dance with Devils? Its similar to Diabolik Lovers but much, much better. The only major complaint I have are the songs, because it’s a musical. It just doesn’t work. Other than that, the rest is enjoyable. At least the main heroine isn’t stupid like Yui and the characters do show some development.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I only liked Subaru because at least he actually tried to be nice to Yui. Everyone else in this abomination is trash, especially Kanato. I literally wanted to punch him every time he was on screen. He was just downright creepy and his laugh made my skin crawl. >.> And Yui aswell, for being so stupid and weak. She has got to be one of the dumbest protagonists I have ever seen in a harem.

    Liked by 1 person

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