To start this review off, I am going to say that I am giving this anime a completely blunt and honest review. This is strictly MY opinions and MY thoughts. That being said, I watched this anime about a year ago, so some things are not fresh on my mind. So with that said, lets get right into this.
Story: When you spend most of your time watching anime after anime, you tend to find yourself looking for something with a little bit more of an "edge" to it. This led me to the popular, Elfen Lied.
Elfen Lied contains a storyline that, in my opinion, had alot of potential to be a good series.
Elfen Lied takes place in Kamakura, Japan, and focuses on the "Diclonius", a newly evolved species. Their appearance is similar to humans, albeit with several differences, namely horn-like protrusions on the forehead and the presence of telekinetic invisible arms called "Vectors". One such Diclonius, Lucy, is the main character of the series: Initially held in a facility built for experimentation, located off the coast of Kamakura, she manages to escape and wreak havoc, but is injured in the process, an event which causes her to develop a secondary, childlike personality known as Nyu.
Lucy is found by two locals, Kohta, who studies at the local university, and his cousin Yuka. They take her in, and become involved with the numerous, often brutal, attempts to recapture her by a Special Assault Teamand a number of other Diclonius, who shift frequently from oblivious to murderous.
So in a way, I chose to watch this anime as a sort of "horror relief." Ocassionally, a little gore is a good thing in life. By the end, I was kind of wondering how the heck I binged this series in a day without going crazy. The storyline was not all that bad, in fact, It could have been an awesome anime.....but then we got to the characters and animation.
Characters: Personally, I didnt form a connection with any of the characters, and in fact, the only character that I vaguely remember is Lucy. Lucy began as quite an interesting character until she formed a split personallity which, if i can be honest, was an extremely idiotic and annoying character. Lucy, why didnt you just remain as LUCY and not become "Nyu?"
Animation and Sound: As far as being easy on the eyes, this anime did decently well with the animation. It is not exactly MY cup of tea in the art style, but overall compared to some anime I have seen, the art and animation was not all that bad. The soundtrack however was the hightlight of this rather unsatisfying anime. The opening song is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and the musical score throughout is gentle on the ears.
Overall: After breaking down the major points of the series let me end with a small rant. This anime is NOT for the faint of heart. If you can not sit through an anime where someone looses at least one limb in each episode, than please stick to the nicer slice of life anime. That being said, I thought the creators of this anime were going for a "shock" effect by throwing as much gore and unneeded nudity at the viewer and hoping that they would get hooked on it enough to finish the few episodes of the series. In the end, I do not recommend this anime to someone who is picky in what they watch (like myself.) Granted, I did watch Elfen Lied, and at the time, I thought it was great....until you later realize that you were just blinded by the overall effect of the horror and gore.
Once again, I apologize if my opinions do not agree with yours, but please do not get to hurt. And please ignore any spelling errors, It is late here in the Lone Star State.
From what I've heard, this anime have caused some controversy. Still, it was the first anime I saw(officially), and has remarkably been on the top of my list since. First impressions are hard to beat.
The story really caught my eye. It is heavy, sad, dark and moving and contains a deep morale. It shows some pretty serious things about exclusion, prejudices, abuse, repressed memories and mental terror, which really sets the mood for the series, and keeps it in a serious aspect.
The animation is very good. It has good details where it's focused, though some moments are better animated than others. The colouring is very well and the characters are very nicely done. Especially the "vectors" and the dismemberments are very "nicely" animated. Good transitions and shading combined with great lighting.
The sound is pretty good. The voice actors did their job, and sound effects are pretty good too. But what really got me was the music. The classical piece "Lilium" was a very moving experience, as it is a sad, yet beautiful tune.
The characters are very lovable, well most of them. Others are easy to hate. The main characters you'll get to know, and empathy can easily grow, especially for Lucy/Nyu. You'll get to know their past and their personalities. You also get to know some of the secondary characters, as their story is intertwined with some of the main characters story.
Overall, this series left a big impression on me. Maybe as a first impression of anime, but the story really gripped me, and I wanted to cry for some of the characters. I really recommend this anime to anyone who wants a strong story with a deep morale, as it is the best I have seen.
I really, really, really...yes really got hyped up to watch this anime. On a scale of 'one to insane' people have been ranting on about this show for a while now and I've only just gotten around to watching it now....
The Story Thus Far:
Let's delve into the world of well earth I guess. The only real change between our earth and this shows earth is the addition of Diclonius..Diclonius? Diclonius! (try saying that 10 times in a row)...a thing that strangely resembles many older, richer men's fantasies..a devil in disguise ;)...unfortunately these devils pack creepy tentacle hands that can rip you in half, not to mention tear away 'that part' that all you horn dog fans will be thinking of using whilst watching the main girls.
Continuing, we are thrown into 10 minutes of death and torment as our anti-heroine Lucy casually struts around nude whilst decapitating and mutilating people...sound intriguing? Well yes! Of course it is! Everyone knows that we as human beings are equipped with a thirst for curiosity and something as brutal and as shocking as this is what draws us in most.
After a series of unfortunate events our friendly Diclonius Lucy just happens to escape her life-prison and winds up meeting our oblivious playboy (yes he gets the girls) Kouta and his cousin on a beach. unfortunately she has lost her memories so the stupid, yet cute, character Nyuu is born as Lucy's split personality..who funnily enough can only say 'Nyu'.
Of course Diclonius can't just casually stroll around town so your usual big and evil organisation is looking to take Lucy back. And an encore please as a large number of good/bad and downright dirty characters are introduced..most with the aim of capturing Lucy or playing some sort of role in assisting her capture/escapes.
The Unfortunate Event of Elfen Lied:
Aside from some very colourful, and brief, fight scenes much of Elfen Lied is just talking coupled with Ecchi (lots and lots of Ecchi) and Romance. I made the initial mistake of taking those first 10 minutes as ZOMG LOTS OF DEATH WOOHOO...but it kind of fizzled out into Nyu..Nyu? Nyu!!!!!!!!!
The main story of capturing Lucy is still prominent in much of the anime but after the 'herp derp next shit plan to capture her' speech it once again fades into the background as daily cleaning routines, or going for walks and the like come into the major spotlight.
I would say be weary that the anime isn't just a total bloodbath..it wants you to sympathise with the characters and love them for who they are...Not a bad thing, in fact i thoroughly enjoyed it....just a warning ^_^
Nyu and friends:
Aside from being a ruthless, heartless murderer Lucy is quite loveable. Delving into her past helps to explain why she's an insane freak of nature. The good thing about this anime is Lucy isn't portrayed as the biggest piece of shit on earth (congratulations Batoh for that trophy) and thus you will actually feel a deal of sympathy for her once all is revealed.
Kouta is your run of the mill loveable guy. Kind, gentle, loving and totally oblivious he's everything every single anime girl seems to love. So to all you awaiting the time when you can marry cartoons, remember to be an absolute moron that just chases whimfully after obviously dangerous women.
I won't lie Kouta pissed me off on a few occasions, the most tedious was near the end when he asks 'Why?' for about the 50th time in a row...it's like 'Look dickhead if she wanted to tell you she would've done it in the first fucking place. Repeating the same inane question won't just open her up'.
There are obviously lots of other characters in this anie that play sort-of-important roles....leading me to:::
The Melancholy of the Rest of the Cast:
See my biggest grope with this anime is the very weak supporting stories. Some argue 'oh but each character has their backstory delved into so we can see why they're so fucked up'.
True...very true! However all their 'significance' is opened up but then just dropped on it's head. What I mean by this is that the stories are given but not drawn upon.
A very strong example is an evil little bitch named #35..She is introduced, backstory quickly explained, she fights, she fucks off. It's simple yet unsatisfying....yes the story was explained, yes I get everything BUT DEAR GOD can't we draw upon this!!!!!!!
A similarly sick example is of Mayu's past, which is briefly shown. This made me realise just how fucked up our earth is seeing as the portrayment is probably not far (if off target at all) from real life situations. However I was still left wondering 'Just what the absoulte hell', they disgusted me for five minutes then dumped her backstory altogether....it's like 'oh look this sick thing happened, OK story explained...moving on'!!
NO! JUST NO!
There is one last major gripe I have with the characters of this series....Yuka....as a seemingly important character in the beginning she very quickly pisses off to the realm of whateverness. I swear to God the producers must have interviewed their just-discovering-crushes 10 year olds because the amount of times she cries grows exponentially with the number of episodes in the series.
Seriously, first off I'm not a big fan of giving a fuck but is cousin love cool? Maybe if your a hick...but some on guys...I was creeped out. Not once did I think 'OMG they are so cute and beautiful together I could just fall in love with this moment'.....it was more along the lines of 'Dear god I swear I saw a similar story on crimewatch'
Some Final Thoughts:
Is Elfen Lied the best thing to hit my life since sex? Is Elfen Lied a giant pile of shit that erupted from some guy's asshole? I'd say on my scale it fits somewhere below alcohol and a bit above sitting on my ass pondering on life...earning it a solid 7.5/10
I highly recommend this anime to anyone looking for a romantic tale coupled with a more real-life feel (over the usual dramatic shit that's dished out), a solid helping of violence and ecchi and a dash of rape....
All in All an enjoyable, but not ZOMG WOWFULLY insane
Let's be clear on this one. One of the reasons I dislike this anime may be because it made me face the horrible realisation that I might just be too old for it (I'm 26, so maybe 14 years too old).
Elfen Lied is a harem anime featuring a collection of bulging-eyed stereotypes (including pathetic bitches) crossed with extreme violence to the point of perversion. If this sounds like it may appeal to you then you certainly aren't alone.
Anyway, let's consider the plot before we start ranting about how shit it is.
There exist certain people on Earth that have conspicuous horns growing from their heads. The female versions of these people have a varying number of invisible arms that can be used as weapons. These people are also usually very angry about something, and unsympathetic to any concept of compassion. Like an evil Tachikoma... maybe.
Anyway one day one of these bad girls washes up on a beach where she is picked up by some guy who takes her home with him. Said guy has just been placed in charge of an old ryoukan with ten rooms, which he then goes about blandly and cluelessly populating with other stigmatised young women. Sexually embarrassing situations arise, and so do disturbing yet poorly animated scenes of bodily mutilation and relentless, unapologetic killing.
The series doesn't start very well. A young, horned girl breaks out of a secure facility by killing everyone. She is also completely naked. She then runs away and turns up on the beach to be picked up by this guy. Only now she has spazzed-out into some pathetic little shit who can't say anything except the grating-cute "nyuuuuuu!". She also doesn't know anything about anything and ends up sat in a puddle of her own piss. But it's all very cute and erotic and lalala. Then the girls take off their clothes and have a bath. Then the guy gets in compromising situations with the annoying exhibitionist in front of his cousin (who incidentally fancies him) and its all so very charming and stereotypical hahahaha.....
Then people get brutally murdered again and chicks get naked again. Repeat, repeat.
I think the horned-people want to rule the world, or something. They hate humans because they pick on them and kick their puppies and shit. So if humans won't accept them, then they must "make a world for [them]selves". What that means isn't explained, but I guess it has something to do with removing humans from the picture. The rest of the plot is nonsense filler about the characters and their history, including a totally implausible "we knew each other as kids" backstory, and a "revelation" which I want so badly to shout about because it is so stupid, but don't want to 'spoil' for anyone out there who can't work it out from the heavy-handed hints throughout the short series.
The idea of the soft-hearted girl with the hidden harsh personality is certainly not new. The first thing to come to mind is the vastly superior initial OVA series of 3x3 Eyes. Except in 3x3 Eyes the calm version of Pai actually has some charisma.
One of my major issues with this anime is the liberal use of nudity. Worse, child nudity. Warning: this series contains many, many shots of 13 year old girls in the buff. In fact, it shows just about as graphic scenes of child porn as is (for some reason) allowed by the censors. We're talking full pussy shots on all fours. That shit is fucked up. What's more fucked up is that that is the most sexual of all the nudity in the series. Every episode (and the entirity of the opening and closing credits) bulges with breast and pussy shots, but they are so badly drawn as to not have any effect on anyone over 12. However, when the young-guns come out, the poses and situations get more and more perverse. I know 13 is technically the age of consent in Japan, but come on.
The violence is way over the top throughout, and the style often reminds me more of Ikkitousen than any attempt at being vaguely serious. The less bloody ecchi moments, too, defy all logic. One girl allowed herself to be groped by another girl for a full two minutes while doing nothing but blushing and weakly saying "I said no". This kind of pathetic clown is one of the worst traits of Japanese media.
Towards the end the series is plagued by bawling sentimentalism. It manages to convey at least some feeling, and does feel like it picks itself up a little. But it is ultimately too little, too late. It was interesting, however, and the only time when you are actually asked to consider the characters as the children they are instead of just hard-ass emotional wrecks.
Considering the hype there always was around this series, it is strange to see how low the animation quality is. The framerate is not good at all, the designs are sloppy, and the locations are severly limited/similar (though often nicely detailed).
Rubbish. Only one or two different songs performed in a variety of ways. Boring. "Nyuuuuuu"!
Tired stereotypes by the bundle. Huge, plump eyes even grace the dopey male lead; shit hairstyles in stupid colours too. All very nice and cute, and clearly intended to be in juxtaposition with the bloody violence. However, rather than working to make it all the more powerful, it just looks wrong. It doesn't work. The violence is more like a sexual perversion in this setting.
And just when you thought all the characters were present and accounted for, there's the guy with the spiky black hair and the very reflective glasses. Oh, and what's he doing? He's pushing those glasses up his nose with his middle finger while giving the camera a slightly sideways smirk. Holy shit. I promised that I would kill a man if I watched another anime featuring him, but when it comes down to it all I want to do is kill myself.
The only good character, literally, is the bad-ass soldier guy. He punches women in the face in a way that makes me think he is angry to be in the show at all. Winner.
The harem is an often-referenced bad point of the show, and I won't disagree. As if two sworn enemies would live together. One has her arms and legs cut off by the other, then agrees to live with her. Whatever. The harem-hotel is where the series abandon's all sense of seriousness and becomes more like a gorey Tenchi Muyo.
I guess the main theme is stigma, but I'm confused. The pathetic "nyuuu" chick is some kind of anti-hero by all accounts. It seems like we are supposed to feel sympathy for this girl who indescriminately kills people. Hell, the cast seems to manage it. At one point a very young "Nyu" gets bullied, so she kills all the kids bullying her (otaku revenge anyone?) and then goes on a rampage killing families for a place to stay. There is little about that that says "poor victim". Nothing really makes me feel anything for this character. Certainly nothing balances how damn annoying she is in every scene. I suppose we should believe that she cannot control her power, but without something likable is it almost impossible to feel any balance. It's interesting that you are ostensibly 'supposed' to feel sympathy for a child who wants to be human but cannot embrace any element of morality or compassion. Look at Tetsuo in Akira; he ruthlessly murders people and barges through Tokyo on a wave of destruction. But throughout the whole movie he somehow retains sympathy for his problems. Nothing like that applies to Elfen Lied.
Also, why the hell don't the girls in the series kill each other? They have an inexplicable tendency to push each other about and/or give each other a slap. You want them dead, so use your silly arms and kill them like you kill everyone else!
Some anime forces you to look beyond the stereotypes and tired themes for the real story. I tried that with Elfen Lied and all I got was this lousy review.
If you're looking for an anime with pure gore, one must know 'Elfen Lied'. No one can missed this anime.
'Elfen Lied' starts with a facility, who locks up mutant creatures called Dioclonus who has special abilities of having invisible hands to use in destroying mankind. One of the Dioclonus called "Lucy" has escaped and starts brutally killing guards who locked her up. By far means of escape, she was shot by a .50 Cal Sniper in her head (but doesn't kill her) and fell on the cliffside, leaving her floating on the waters below.
Hours later, a college boy Kohta and her cousin Yuka were on the beachside when they spotted a naked girl who have horns on her head, blood dripping on her forehead and can't speak anything aside from 'Nyu'. Since left no choice, Kohta calls her Nyu-chan for obvious reasons and later found her to be the missing Dioclonus but her memories were partially gone as Nyu. Lucy still prevails inside of her and the facility starts to gain control of the situation to kill-capture Lucy.
To start with, the concept of the story was amazing. About a mutant who can kill anybody, yes, anybody with a single second. They can split bodies, decapitate heads or even mutilate arms and legs from a distance and was treated as enemy of mankind. The Dioclunus were captived, tested and imprisoned on an island facility that serves as a study about the said creatures. Then, the unthinkable happened. Lucy has been released from its chains and starts killing who stands in her way. Pretty good concept I say, one of a kind. The story has an excellent flow and a great run on showtime. Never left out any details and the story was well elaborated. Although the show was disturbing, the concept of it all was one anime that can never be left behind.
Like I said, 'Elfen Lied' is one of the animes that features strong violence and gore. This is basically the whole show, blood splashing and tearing skin. Dioclunus' mission is to destroy mankind and prepare a new world where humans are extinct. To do that, they precide on to the old-fashioned way - annihilation. Yes, by killing them violent and turn the whole place into blood paint. A marvelous plot and a disturbing one you may say.
Let's talk animation. This is not your typical visual anime. The blood looks like red house paint, the colour seems plain, the detailing wasn't focused enough and the cheesy 2D invisible hands make things worse. Yes, animation was a bit old-schooled and not that good nor bad (in between you can say). The background setting however was a good one. The designs on the setting was a spectacular sight but needs more detail to make it a good shot. Opening animation was in fact, a different approach. It was a great art concept from old century time. A perfect combination to its opening theme that makes 'Elfen Lied' an anime that can't be forgotten.
Aside from its setting, the character designs was well, okay. Not bad nor good but the characters' bodies and models were one thing to look at but its not much compatible with the background itself. Also, the movement was spectacular. The flow was a bit astonishing and the pacing of every character seems connected in their roles. Every character was a good sight on detail, although not much realistic though and needs improvement.
Sound. If you gather all the themes of 'Elfen Lied', you come up a musical piece of an orchestra which was sung on an choir church. The opening song was one of the songs that can be remembered for a long time. It was a hymn of a Christian church somewhere which was sung in Latin that features the worship of God but the background of a corrupt human. Sound of worship at the same time, darkness. It's one dark melody and the good thing was, it never changed. Yes, you will keep hearing the music in every episode and a perfect fit for an anime that revolves around sadness, despair and hatred and 'Elfen Lied' is all of them. Voice acting was great. From the cute, curious and cuddly Nyu-chan which shows an innocent side of a killer, which was done in a fantastic voice; to the vicious Lucy who you can really feel her melancholy. I say, not bad. Sound effects weren't much suprising as animation, especially on the guns which wasn't specialized enough.
The characters have their on perspectives. It was really interesting to see their motives and their stories in life. Let's start with Kohta.
Kohta - He is the cousin of Yuka and is now in college. He witnessed a brutal murder on to his father and sister Kaene right in front of him. He was then traumatized in a hospital for a year and tries to forget and doesn't think that it happened to him.
Yuka - She is the cousin of Kohta who studies in the same college as him. She takes care Kohta and happens to remember all the promises that Kohta made for her. She has feelings for Kohta and acts selfishly when she sees Kohta with another girl, especially Nyu. One question: Is it orthodox to fell in love with your cousin? If it is, what dynasty am I watching and why?
Mayu - A runaway girl who was sexually abused by her stepfather. She was picked up by Kohta near the beachside and accepted her as part of their family.
Nyu or Lucy - Apparently, she is a lost childhood friend of Kohta. When she was young, she brutally murdered her classmates in a school house. She then meets Kohta and becomes her only faithful friend to be happy with. Lucy develop strong feelings to Kohta since then and was sorry when the two reunited again.
The characters were amazing enough. Although, there was one thing that never phased out on the show - nudity. Most of Dioclunus are female and most of them, from the start, doesn't wear any essential clothing making them barenaked. Nyu was an amazing example, for she was also from the start a symbol of Ecchi on 'Elfen lied'. She has the most screen time being nude and has a scene where she fondles her breast with the use of Kohta's hand. There were also panty shots and candid poses on the show, causing to make it a real Ecchi one. Apparently, the nudity of Dioclunus in 'Elfen Lied' wasn't about sexually but humility itself. True fact. Either that or they like breast so much.
'Elfen Lied' never leaves you bored and a great impression you can get from watching this. Even how disturbing it may be...
+ Amazing concept of all time
+ One of the best gore in anime
+ An outstanding opening
- Old fashioned animation
This anime can leave you stunning or shocked. Either way, 'Elfen Lied' is one of the anime that cannot be forgotten. Only one question remains: Who the f*ck thought the concept to make Yuka fell in love with her cousin? Can you call this incest? Anyway, very recommended.
Overall: 8.6 out of 10.