This was a particularly fun series to watch as it was very short, only containing 13 episodes, and had little to no filler material. The first couple episodes will shock you due to the excessive amount of violence, but I pushed myself out of curiosity, eager to await the next round of brilliant hysteria that was perpetuating my overwhelming interest. The story is about a girl named Nyu/Lucy who escapes from some facility where she was held captive & under lock down. She has extraordinary powers and in one last attempt to capture her, a shot was taken to her helmet which skewed her memory somehow and has created a temporary memory loss or dual personality. Nyu/Lucy wakes up on the beach the next day completely unaware of what happened the night before. She meets two young people on her journey to finding out what’s going on.
The sometimes slow pacing will likely turn off younger anime fans who might want Elfen Lied’s first five minutes to continue throughout the series. In my opinion, Elfen Lied has a great deal more going for it than the violence and nudity. The extreme violence allows us to come to the conclusion that the character of Lucy is irredeemable and must be destroyed; on the other hand, the nudity encourage us to see her as fragile and needing protection. Without being too specific, the violence and nudity are integral to the story, accentuating themes of anger and tragedy against youth and innocence, and playing a huge role in character development.
A big gripe I had with this series though was that the characters have no semblance to reality whatsoever. Aside from the fact that Kohta and Yuka take in a naked mentally ill girl without telling anyone, there’s other examples of this problem. Seeing cheap pornographic grindhouse action in one moment and seeing sappy harem comedy the next just doesn’t work. I wasn’t too big on the character design either. As you can see from the screenshots below the animation is muddled and for the most part the style does not fit the source material. I know there is some debate as to the plausibility of the characters in terms of their behavior and interrelationships, and I have to admit that at times it was challenging for me to distinguish between certain characters whose appearance was similar, but because the plot is both interesting and well developed, I can overlook this.
While the plot does not escape from a weak male lead, which has been overused in the anime genre, there are more than enough strong points to make up for this. It is, for all intents and purposes, a woefully inadequate attempt at a drama which falls far short of tragedy greats in anime such as Grave of the Fireflies. Although the creators of this show get props for attempting such an ambitious story, they get no credit for execution as the whole plot thing is more disgusting then sad and is not elaborated on during the course of the series. The music was pretty plain, although the main theme wasn’t bad at all, if a little less impressive then other shows.
Elfen Lied is nothing special, that is unless your looking for animated underage girls taking showers together, in which case I’d suggest you get immediate psychiatric help. I will say though, that the fact that the producers still managed to incorporate a modest amount of comedic relief into the entire mix really made this series quite unique. If you can overlook my complaints, then I can recommend you watch this anime series as Elfen Lied doesn’t contain that many episodes. It displays the best and the worst of human nature, and does so in amazingly heart wrenching ways. In conclusion, it’s a fun little series that I would watch again but doesn’t rank in my top ten anime’s or anything, and I’m partial to a bit of gore mixed with a bit of cute!