Elfen Lied follows Lucy who escapes from an experimental lab and washes up on the beach. Of course the trauma from this causes a split personality with the ruthless Lucy and the overly sweet and fairly defenceless Nyu.
Elfen Lied is one of those anime that are kind of hard to explain to non-anime fans. Given you’ve got naked pink haired girls with horns that kind of look like cats ears being held in a laboratory, some extremely excessive violence (or just enough depending on your tastes), and inbetween this you get the super moe Nyu playing house with boy-next-door Kohta. Plus the horns thing means you can put all sorts of cute hats on Nyu.
Basically your enjoyment of Elfen Lied will be based on whether or not nudity or violence turn you away or whether you can stomach the sickly sweet bits inbetween. It’s kind of an odd mix and it seems like Nyu would make most horror and gore fans walk away whereas the Lucy moments are… well I like violence and gore and even I flinched a couple of times watching this.
Basically the show is based on the fact that beings known as ‘diclonius’ are being born. They kind of look like humans only they have pink hair, horns, oh and a bunch of invisible arms (vectors) that come out of their back and can apparently do more or less anything from launching them into the air, to slicing right through flesh and bone, to stopping bullets. They are all female and the ones we see are all young. Of course each of them have different abilities as some have more vectors than other, some are longer, etc, etc. What this means is we are setting up a situation where we can have a bunch of pink-haired superhuman girls fight each other to the bitter end.
So while Nyu is living with Kohta, who it turns out Lucy had a connection with in the past (making you feel extremely sorry for Kohta by the end), the lab starts sending out other diclonius to bring her back. This strikes me as a really stupid plan but given nothing else seems to work against them I guess they didn’t have any other back-up plan. It isn’t like they were experimenting for years with the girls in captivity. No way they could have come up with an emergency retrieval plan for when one of them escaped.
That’s pretty much the rest of the story. We alternate between the quiet daily life and then viscious attacks. We learn more about the characters and their pasts and mostly we see a lot of death and dismemberment. I think what really comes across well is that at first it seems like they are wanting you to view Lucy as a victim but as the story progresses you see that while she might have her reasons she actually is quite dangerous. It then makes you wonder if something could have been done to intervene earlier because now it is all too late and this tragedy is pretty much locked into place.
The music is different and the opening theme is quite memorable (though you may not like it depending on your tastes). The animation works quite well though it is starting to look a little dated. The fight sequences are varied enough to maintain interest and there’s some moments where they really manage to draw you emotionally into the story (though these are a bit sparse at times).
This is definitely not an anime that is going to be to everyone’s tastes but if you are in the mood for something a bit violent that attempts a thoughtful story underneath the carnage (though it doesn’t always succeed at that) then Elfen Lied might be a good way to kill an afternoon.
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28 thoughts on “Elfen Lied Series Review”
The thing about elfen lied i can say is that even though lucy is/was this killer that most people were afraid of it she did go through a few negative things and in the manga it explains a bit more about lucy’s past.
the music that is used in both the intro and in the show is so peaceful (music box and singer version as well) and im not much of a religious person but i have to say its wonderful. And even the art work is a detailed version of odd amd freaky mixed with beauty and vulnerability. Lucy may have killed and had no remorse but she has a really soft side for kouta (the ending part where those two were on the stone steps) and then lucy losing both her horns.
Great discussions above; pretty diplomatic and i love reading people’s thoughts. i very much agree with the comments from both D and Kapodaco. I hated this series, and still cite it as my benchmark-bad anime…yet i did watch every episode, needing to find out how things progressed. I thought the story was weakly told, the characters terrible cliche, nothing remarkable about the script and the cutesy-serial killer aspect was the most confusing thing od all for me… yet i kept watching…
I really have to watch this now…this is I think the third time this week that I find a post about this series. It is interesting to say the least, and having just completed Blood-C…I am not afraid to watch another gore filled series 😀 Great review 😀
I was surprised given I drafted this quite a while ago and then as the scheduled date approached I also saw about three other reviews around. The same thing happened when I did my feature on Haruhi. It’s just weird how you don’t hear about an anime for ages and then suddenly it’s everywhere.
When I think about Elfin Lied all i can remember is that poor puppy. sad stuff. The male lead also had it pretty rough
I plan on reviewing this myself once the Blu Ray drive gets installed. 🙂 There was a spot I about stopped the disc, where the kids beat the puppy to death. other than that, though I wouldn’t let my nephew show it to his kids, the anime is decent.
Man, Elfen Lied. That’s an series I haven’t watched in a while.
Lucy is one of those character you feel sorry for because her life was pretty much ruined due tob being outcast by society and abused by folks who wanted to weaponized her powers; but also you can’t because she let her anger consume her, thus her rampage of killing innocent folks.
Agreed. You start out feeling sorry for her but she’s just really quite over the top at times and it makes it much harder to sympathise.
In a sense, she’s the cause of her own suffering. After a while you can’t help to think she’s guilty
I liked the gritty bits over the cute stuff but I admit that the latter had its place in the overall story. My feelings on Elfen Lied as a whole is one confused mess. It was entertaining as hell though. And Lucy is great – twisted but great.
The OP didn’t work for me. At all. It actively irritates me but I think I’m in the minority.
The OP is certainly different. I kind of enjoyed it but I can see where you are coming from.
Not to echo Mr. Philosopher down there, but I could only stomach about three episodes of this. The characters were immensely cliché and anything outside of the entertainingly dumb gore scenes had me nodding off more than not. I’d like to see what an author like that of Attack on Titan could do with a synopsis similar to it. Feels better suited for it.
It would be interesting to see this premise handled a bit differently. I know some people love this and i quite enjoyed it, but there are definitely areas where it could handle some improvement or modification.
Mr. Philosopher, now that is respect.
this has always been an anime that i wanted to watch i really need to get around to watching it one day.
Hope you enjoy it when you watch it.
Hahah elfen lied was my introduction into some of the gore anime I’ve watched like
Hell sing. It’s a strange series for me one that I can rewatch and I don’t know why. It’s not a series that makes a whole lot of sense but I always felt sorry for Lucy’s character. Great review 👍🏼👍🏼
I felt sorry for her in the beginning but then it was clear some of her choices were entirely her own (others were forced on her). It made it harder to be sympathetic toward her as teh story went on.
I couldn’t complete it, it bored me to hell, gore was fine though.
I must admit, the slice of life bits in between the gore didn’t do much for me either. It was all just too cutesy. The contrast was nice, but storywise I didn’t find those parts particularly compelling and really just kept waiting for something big to happen.
The funny thing is that the “TRU deep fans” of the series didn’t (or even don’t know) about the manga version. They have only watched the watered down anime version.
Also thank you for you great as always reviews,
I have some problems with posting comments on your blog (a lot of crashes and error only at your blog)
Even if they’ve only watched the anime they can still be fans of the series.
Sorry you have problems with the comments.
I loved this series. I bought the dvds and even have a big wall scroll in my room. 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it.
I watched the anime…gosh, such a long time ago, and I remember the violence was something I loved. I tend to enjoy super violent anime, so that definitely got my attention. I felt a little disappointed with the story, especially with how everything ended. It wasn’t until a few years after that that I found the manga and was able to put all of the pieces together. I enjoyed the whole story quite a lot, and am sad they couldn’t incorporate it into the show. But I did enjoy it. I really like your review too! 😀
The story isn’t amazing in the anime (though with the number of episodes they had and the amount of set-up needed, that isn’t surprising). Glad you enjoyed it and the review.