Elfen Lied is, by far, one of the most difficult anime I can think of in terms of describing it as a whole. At first it seems like a tragic tale of a girl who has been caged up her whole life and had finally cracked, where then she goes on a bloodthirsty rampage, killing anybody in the way of her escape. However as you progress through it a little more you slowly start to see an underlying story of a heartbroken girl who felt betrayed, yet at the same time has harbored an enormous amount of guilt almost her entire life. Lucy, the main protagonist of Elfen Lied, has had a tough life, Growing up in what appeared to be a childrens home surrounded by sadistic children out to pick on her because she wasn't "Normal", until one day she kills 3 children from that home and runs off on her own. She then killed more and more people, living in the homes of the victims until the police showed up, where then she would just kill more and keep moving. This aspect of her life really hit me hard because what I saw was a lonely girl, afraid of making any contact with any other living thing for fear of attachment and betrayal. I felt that this fact was portrayed very well, however I could also see the sadistic side of her as well, I could see that a part of her wasn't affected by the killing she was doing and, in fact, it seemed as if she enjoyed it. I do not know if that is what they had intended but that is what I had felt as I watched this show.
Continuing on in this story you find out that there are more than one of Lucy's kind in the world, but a majority of them have been kept away and locked up by the same company she has escaped from. A large portion of them had also been killed so as to not spread the "Disease", I felt that this aspect was well suited to this show and it also helped shed some light on just how horrible the company was in their pursuit of the "Next Evolution of Mankind". As I was shown more and more of the Diclonius (This is what Lucy's kind was called) I began to feel another slew of emotions, Nana was probably my favorite out of all of them as she was portrayed as a kind Diclonius who had never used her Vector to harm human beings. This fact alone was enough to sprout feelings of hope for the end of this show, so much so that the ending itself has actually left a permanent scar and I do not believe I will ever forget this series.
As you near the end of the show they start putting the pieces together for you so as to shed light on any gaps or questions you may have had throughout the series. The scene where Kouhta's sister was ripped in half by Lucy really shocked me and yet at the same time didn't shock me as I had already put 2 & 2 together and deciphered that Lucy had done that to her in the past. I had shed a tear many times in this series but when I heard her say "No, Big brother, Don't hate me" followed up by her being ripped in two I don't think I have ever actually "Cried" that much during a series. It packed such a punch of emotion that it has stuck with me and I even saw that same scene in my dreams that night.
Overall this series kept me entertained, kept me wondering what was going to happen at the end of each episode, and was well worth watching. I guess now I'll explain my ratings that I chose above:
Story: The reason I gave the story a 9.5 should be pretty obvious, Elfen Lied kept me thoroughly entertained each episode and made me want to watch episode after episode, so much so that I finished the entire series in one night. I would strongly recommend this series to anybody who doesn't have a weak stomach or a fear of blood.
Animation: I gave the animation a 9 because I haven't seen another series go this in depth for death animations and it shocked yet pleased me how far they went with this.
Sound: I gave this a 9 pretty much for the same reason as the Animation, they went all out (I thought) for this entire series.
Characters: I gave the Characters a 7.5 because of my mixed emotions throughout this series, I didn't know if they wanted me to love or hate Lucy, some of them made me feel like I was watching a cardboard cutout act out a play and at other times I couldn't even tell if somebody was being serious or joking around.
Overall: I gave Elfen Lied an 8.5 overall, this series was great and I would watch it again and again.