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Saturday, 7 September 2019

Diabolik Lovers: MORE, BLOOD (The anime, not the game!): A Review

Guess who just finished binge-watching the entire second series of Diabolik Lovers all in one go? Me, of course! I think I liked this season even better than the last one, but that's probably because I've never played the game it was based on. When people watch adaptations without experiencing the source material, they tend to nitpick it less.

This is the second part of my DiaLovers anime review, you know, the one I did a few weeks ago? I'm not going to recount the plot like I normally do with my game reviews, I'm just going to write my thoughts on it like I did last time. Please keep in mind that I watched the Japanese dub, because I'm one of those people who can't stand English anime dubbing. Let's get started then, because I'm super excited to talk about this!

Oh, and guess what? I used my newly found Photoshop skills to make some of the GIFs in this post. I'm quite proud that I managed to do that. I always thought that Photoshop was some complex software, but it's actually very simple! Most of the GIFs are from the opening sequence though, because I just thought that there was some really good looking shots in there.

Like the first part of this post, it was written very late at night, so I apologise if there are any errors!

This second series of the anime came out around two years after the first one, if Wikipedia is correct. I feel like the animation has actually improved slightly, but the character designs I'm still not 100% on board with. There are a few scenes which look like they have 3D animation in, which I don't remember seeing in the last series.

I think that the opening theme tune sequence looked a lot better than the last one. My favourite part was the bit where it showed each one of the Mukami brothers, because I actually thought that the animation was quite pretty there. The theme tune, Kindan no 666, was sung by Kou and Azuza's voice actors. While I don't think this song is as great as Mr. Sadistic Night, it's still a real banger! Rejet seem to have some pretty good musicians up their sleeve, because they've put out some really good songs for this franchise!

So, the plot for this one is supposed to be based off of the second game, which I have not played yet. (I will try and buy it later this year though.) Unlike the first series where I knew the game and it's plot, I can't really tell what story elements they took from MORE, BLOOD or how similar it is to the source material. That's probably why I didn't really nitpick this season as much, because I had no idea what the original was like.

However, I do know that MORE, BLOOD was sort of in an alternate universe to Haunted Dark Bridal, one where Yui had never chosen anyone in the start of the first game, meaning that all the romance players had worked for before was all just erased. Luckily, the anime doesn't do that because Yui never chose anyone in the first place. It continues straight on from where we had left off. There's no parallel universes here!

Even though Yui hasn't fallen in love with anybody, the writers are still heavily implying that Ayato's the one for her. The other brothers still seem attracted to her, but that's probably just because of her blood. It also seemed that they also wanted Ruki to be her lover too, because he seemed to have a bit of romance development with her too. In the final episode, it was almost like he was going to fight Ayato for her. Instead they both claimed Yui and drunk from her at the same time.

The basic plot is that Yui and the Sakamaki's are in the car one day, when it just randomly blows up, but everybody's OK because they're all vampires. Their vehicle was attacked by four very handsome vampire brothers called the Mukamis. They then kidnap Yui, because she's part of their plan. The Mukamis were adopted by Karlheinz who told them that they had to become Adam, and claim Eve or something. It just so happens that Yui turns out to be Eve. But Karlheinz is actually a big liar, because the Mukami's can't become Adam because they're not pureblood vampires. I have no idea why he'd lie about that, but it's never really explained. Like the last series with the Sakamakis, each Mukami brother gets his own time in the spotlight with Yui. They spend a bit of time with her, you learn their backstories, they suck her blood, then she wakes up after a funny dream.

The opening sequence spent a lot of time showing the Sakamaki brothers, making you think that they'd have a prominent part in this season. While they do play a role, they felt more like side characters. This time, it was time for the Mukamis to shine instead.

I actually really like the Mukamis. It's nice that they're actually all close with each other, unlike the Sakamakis who mostly all seem to hate each other. You never see them hang out with each other, apart from the triplets, but you can actually see the Mukamis having fun together and acting like normal siblings.

At the beginning, they're all a bit mean to Yui, but near the end of the series, they're a lot nicer to her. Ruki even says that he has to give her freedom and the choice to do whatever she wants, which is nice. There was a bit of torture here and there, but Ruki had a reason though. I'm not justifying his behaviour, but he only forced him and the others on Yui because he really wanted to impress Karlheinz by completing the plan. Karlheinz saved them all from living horrible lives in that orphanage, so I suppose he really wanted to make him proud and pay him back for saving them. When Ruki locked Yui in that room, the others were actually concerned. I feel like the Sakamakis maybe wouldn't have cared as much, but it would probably depend on how long they had known her for.

I mostly wanted to give each one a hug and a therapist, because they all have very dark pasts, each one equally as sad as the other. Azuza probably needs help the most. He's quite creepy at times, and the voice actor did a great job of portraying him, but I still don't dislike him. I just feel quite sorry for him. It hurts to see him enjoy self-harming himself that much. I don't know why the others just let Azuza live like that. Shouldn't they try to help him? Maybe they just let him stay that way because he's too far gone.

Ruki I found a bit boring at first, but I actually grew to like him quite a lot. He got a bit more screentime than his siblings, probably because he's considered the "main guy" out of the Mukamis. He was super dedicated to becoming Adam, but then he felt so dejected when he found out that he couldn't make it possible, so much that he was afraid to tell his own brothers. That scene he had with Yui after being attacked was really good. I really want to read more about him in the games, because he is quite interesting. He actually sort of had his own character arc in this season, unlike anybody else.

I didn't like Kou that much at the beginning, but that scene in bed where he has those bad dreams made me feel sympathetic with him. He normally speaks in a cute, happy manner, but then his voice can quickly go deep and angrier. He's the idol character, although they didn't really focus on that much, but that's probably because it had no relevance to the plot. It probably goes into more detail about it in the games and drama CDs though. He had a cute nickname for Yui that probably isn't the nicest thing to call someone, but it's a lot better than "Chichinashi" or "Bitch-chan"!

Yuma was my favourite of the Mukamis, and probably one of my favourites from the whole franchise. I actually liked him before watching this anime too, but all I knew about him was from the DiaLovers Wiki and a few character songs. He seems a bit tough and violent at first, but he's actually really nice too. His gardening hobby is nice too. I would totally want to spend time with him and his vegetable plants. I absolutely adored the scene where her fed Yui that sugar cube. It was very cute.

I was going to place a GIF I made of the sugar cube scene here, but Blogger's saying that the image is too big. Just pretend it's here instead.

 I was very intrigued by his backstory and shared history with Shu, but they didn't really go into it that much. Yuma had no memories of his past, so he didn't recognise his old friend and just called him a NEET all the time. He did ask Yui a bit about Shu, but he never went further than that. Shu recognised him I think, but his reaction wasn't what I expected. He just didn't seem to care. Maybe he didn't recognise Yuma/Edgar after all. Reiji definitely did, though. I wished that they had gone into more detail with this, but there's only so many episodes they can make. The twelve minute run-time of each one didn't help, either.

I can't really say much about Yui in this series. She was there, and she didn't really do anything special. I can't comment on how her voice actress did either, because they didn't really give her any interesting lines. People always complain about Yui, but I like her because she's sweet and cute and it's not her fault that any of this happens. I know people dislike that she's a bit of a pushover and she sometimes acts like a limp noodle, but she's supposed to have no personality so that people can self-insert themselves into her shoes and imagine their own reactions to stuff.

She seemed to not really care when she was taken by the Mukamis. She just lets everybody bite her without even fighting back, and even Shu points that out. I thought that she cared about the Sakamakis, but after that one attempt to run away, she just accepts that she wasn't living with them anymore and just forgot about them.

Did I mention that the Tsukinamis were in this too? I didn't think that they would be in the game, because I thought that they were introduced after it came out. They don't really do much. They're supposed to be antagonists, but it feels like they're only there for fan-service.

The Sakamakis weren't in this much, but they had their moments. Subaru (who is currently my number one husbando of all time) had a cute moment with Yui and Kou at school. Reiji also was quite good, he was there playing the part of the older brother most of the time. Ayato also was the one who went to save Yui from the Mukamis, because he seems to love her the most. They should just get on with it and make them date in the anime. If fans want Yui to be with someone else, they should just play the games.

Subaru looks really hot in this shot...

When the Mukamis kidnap Yui, she tries to go back to the Sakamakis for a bit, then just gives up. I'd probably stay with the Mukamis too, because they're nicer, and their mansion looks a lot cooler than the other one I'm used to. When she meets her old vampire reverse-harem again after spending some time with the new boys, they're all really peeved with her because she ditched them. I can understand where they're coming from, because she didn't even try to contact them to say that she was alright! I know that she was being guarded, but there must've been a phone somewhere in that house! She didn't even bother to run back home with the Sakamakis when she had the chance, probably because she was having too much fun with the Mukamis.

There was a lot less of the flashback scenes we got in the last season, which was good because then the plot didn't get broken up as much. The original episode run had to introduce all of the main characters though, so that's probably why there was more of it there. MORE, BLOOD has less new people to introduce, so it can focus more on the plot then.

I was actually getting really into this story, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next after each episode ended. Sometimes, I was enjoying it so much that some episodes felt like they were five minutes long! A lot of the questions I have about stuff will probably be answered in the game. This anime is really just an advertisement for that, and it's definitely sold it to me! I was unsure about purchasing MORE, BLOOD for my Vita, because it didn't continue the plot from the first game, but now I very much want to purchase it. It was probably good that I watched the anime beforehand, because it'll allow me to understand the game better, because I'm going to be reading it in a language I don't fully comprehend yet.

Reiji also looks really hot here...

One thing I didn't like about this series was the ending. I was expecting a proper fight scene with the Sakamakis and Mukamis working together and using the power of friendship to defeat the Tsukinamis and those other wolves, but it just ended right when it was about to start. It wasn't even an ending really, it was just an abrupt stop. They'd better make a third season so I can see what happens next, otherwise I'll be very disappointed. I hope they produce another run of episodes. Apparently this anime doesn't sell as well as the games and CDs, so there might be a chance that they won't bother with this series again. I hope that Kino's in the next run though, because I really want to learn more about him without spending a lot of money importing another game.

There's another big question I have, but this is about the franchise as a whole. What's up with the setting? It's meant to be set in Japan, but then in the flashbacks everything looks European, but the Sakamaki brothers are supposed to be born in Japan, right? Their parents all have very non-Japanese names, except I think that Karlheinz did change his to fit in more. I was thinking that maybe the Sakamakis were born somewhere else and then they moved and changed their names, but then in their childhood flashbacks, they still have their original names. I think that in the first game there's this forest that has this portal to somewhere in Europe in it, so maybe they use that? Or maybe they were born in Japan, given Japanese names, then they moved to Europe somewhere, then they moved back to Japan and built this very European-styled mansion? Why am I questioning this so much?? It's just because it's hard for me to believe that Shu would just be wandering around the Japanese countryside as a kid and then run into someone called Edgar. Hopefully they explain this somewhere, but then again, this is just some female fantasy series, not a complex fictional world with lots of world-building. They probably just made it be set in Japan to make it more relatable for their target audience, who are Japanese. I'm sorry, I just had to rant about this because it's always boggled my mind. I should just stop looking too deep into it.

I did really enjoy this series though. I used to think that I was someone who was incapable of binge-watching TV, but I had just not found the right programmes to watch. One day I'll re-watch this series, because it gives me a comfy feeling. Both seasons I've binged on Friday nights, because it wouldn't feel right watching it in the daytime. A lot of the problems I had with this season were the same ones I had with the last one, so I didn't bother writing them down. Let's just hope that they make more of these episodes. I can't see Diabolik Lovers dying for a very long time, because the games and CDs just keep on coming.

I would recommend this to anybody who likes the franchise, but if you've already played the game then you could get away with skipping this. If you're planning to pick up the game but want to get an understanding of the plot first, this anime's quite good for that. Also, if you're not sure about playing MORE, BLOOD, you could also just watch this.

This wraps up my review. I feel like I should've written more, but then again, quality is better than quantity. That's what my teachers in primary school always used to tell us. Hopefully this post was of some enjoyment for someone.

Thank you very much for reading this, and have a nice day! I'll see you in the next post then!


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