The Diabolik Lovers Franchise was a groundbreaking addition to the genre of Otome Games. It catered towards a specific target audience, being the first in the line to accentuate extreme romantic and sexual routes. It was first released on the PlayStation Portable on 11 October 2012. It has since received multiple sequels and adaptations.
Inheriting much acclaim from its fanbase, is the franchise enjoyable for people who do not associate with such extreme preferences? What is better, in other words, more acceptable – The Visual Novels or The Anime Adaptation?
Diabolik Lovers Plot
The story begins when Komori Yui’s father moves abroad. Leaving her alone in the city, he tells her to move to a mansion and stay with her “relatives”.
Upon arrival, she meets with the 6 Sakamaki brothers. However, they are not ordinary, they are vampires. Her enticing blood compels the brothers to seek her out. As the tale of unbearable ecstasy and her forlorn demise unfolds, she is forced to navigate through the mysteries and secrets of the brothers and their supernatural kin.
The premise is the same throughout the mediums. While visual novels are endowed with a greater liberty in the exploration of possibilities, the anime is constricted in its expression of the story. The franchise includes the following adaptations:
- Diabolik Lovers: Haunted Dark Bridal
- Diabolik Lovers: More, Blood
- Diabolik Lovers: Vandead Carnival
- Diabolik Lovers: Dark Fate
- Diabolik Lovers: Lunatic Parade
- Diabolik Lovers: Lost Eden
- Diabolik Lovers: Chaos Lineage
- Diabolik Lovers
- Diabolik Lovers More, Blood
- Diabolik Lovers OVA
There have also been multiple Drama CDs, including various tracks played during the game, anime, and for the characters.
Visual Novel vs. Anime
The story has similar elements in all of its franchises, yet there are discrepancies in the reception of both mediums. Why is it so?
- Unlike the anime, the visual novel has sections in its first instalments that help introduce the characters in a manner that does not feel rushed.
- While it can be said that Anime gives life to the characters, it is the opposite here. The characters feel more alive in the visual novel.
- The visual novel allows the MC sufficient time to interact with each of the characters. This is rushed in the anime due to limited episodes.
- The visual novel contains multiple possible endings, while the anime has to form a single coherent ending that summarizes everything.
- The visual novel received further instalments to extend its storytelling and fill in gaps in its prequels. The anime could only do so much in 2 seasons.
Each with its peculiarity, the reception has been equally diverse. The visual novel received its share of popularity, the same cannot be said for the anime. The anime adaptation received severe backlash from the community. It is quite perplexing to see one end of the Franchise booming while the other end has been shunned.
Why was the Anime’s reception worse?
Unlike the anime fandom which is slowly growing in numbers, the gaming community is massive and diverse. The gaming fandom is filled with a varied plethora of individuals indulging in some extreme to ethically-concerning fascination and preferences. With how frequently these deviances are observed, the gaming fandom has grown accustomed to such individuals. The same cannot be applied to the anime community.
While each with its eccentric members, the vast majority of anime fandom does not allow such themes to slide by. The franchise incorporates triggering themes such as Torture, Rape, Sexual Assault, Psychological Manipulation, and Corcement. The Main Protagonist is consistently under traumatic exposure to villainy. If this was not enough, the series is explicitly sexist.
The Main Protagonist is shown as a meek girl with a kind personality. That is all the explanation the audience is provided with for the unending horror she goes through later. She is treated as a toy that exists to act in their whims. Her story ends with her submission to one of the brothers. The series continues after such a conclusion to put her under more aberrant scenarios.
The relentless exhibition of her despoiled dignity is disturbing and disgusting for anyone with a sane mind. The franchise raises numerous ethical and moral arguments. Is it right to deprive oneself of reason in exchange for a momentary satisfaction of carnal desire?
how can i be mentally stable when he was my fav diabolik lovers boy 💀 pic.twitter.com/fC8mo5KSfm
— ✰wiksaﾟ.*･✰ (@kouszuu) August 28, 2023
For any sane individual, the entire Franchise is a big no. Yet, for those who wish to satisfy their inner fascination, it is clear that Visual Novels are superior to the anime adaptation. The series of Visual Novels allows the gamer to dive into the livid personalities of the characters. It allows an all-round experience to contend the player’s thirst.