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Elfen Lied Review

Though this will probably end up sounding like a primarily negative-sounding review, I do think that Elfen Lied is an anime built upon a promising premise.  There are a few interesting moments scattered across its thirteen episodes, as well as one of my favourite opening themes.  Sadly, when a series feels the need to coat promising ideas in fluff in order to gain viewers, it generally stops being worthwhile, and that’s my view of Elfen Lied (though probably also the reason it is as popular as it is).  When I first watched the series – years back, in high school – I would have said “the story underneath is worth it” (having been more impressed back then by some of the darker ideas it presents), but upon rewathcing the series as an adult, the packaging for the otaku fanbase is rather blatant.  There are some worthwhile aspects to the series, but in the end it’s the kind of series that people think of when they derisively say something is “just an anime” and sadly conforms to those stereotypes.  The anime that I consider truly great are the ones that you could present to any mature, intelligent, or like-minded friend, whether they are an anime fan or not, knowing that the merit of the story and execution itself will be enough to convince them beyond any bias they may hold.  Elfen Lied is not one of those anime.

The premise is that a new race of evolved humans, called Diclonius, are beginning to emerge.  They possess “vectors”, invisible arms which can control or destroy objects (or more frequently, humans). The first of these was Lucy, a girl of around teenage years who escapes her facility in the very first episode.  She washes up on shore and is found by the two other main characters, who take her in.  From this premise, Elfen Lied drifts between dark action sequences, strangely out-of-place comedy scenes more at home in harem series, as well as moments of introspection and character drama (which are probably the strongest parts of the anime).

It would be difficult, however, to convince most people to stay along with the series to get to these emotional moments, as the series often deems fanservice and the drama of trivial jealousy more important.   The opening few minutes contain more gore and nudity than a great deal of other series combined.  It doesn’t let up for the rest of the series, and that the first downfall of this series – gratuitous violence, gore, and nudity.  There will be many groans, of course, from viewers who believe that this is overreaction or puritanism, or those who believe that these excesses are in service of a deeper story.  This judgement is up to each individual viewer, but I find no value in the clunky ways in which Elfen Lied goes about including these elements.  I don’t think it would be controversial to say that much of the nudity is merely fanservice, as it’s draped over the OP, ED, as well as in nearly every episode in the series, many times completely randomly or for shallow humour.  The violence is, of course, more subjective, and I tend to have a lower tolerance than most.  It’s hard, though, to think of Elfen Lied’s fetish for showing heads popping and showering pools of blood as having any sense of artistry or honesty.

As those elements of the show will certainly be the most debated, I have gotten them out of the way first – but it’s important to state also that equally important is the rather weak execution of the story altogether.  For example, the main human characters, Kohta and his cousin, do not act very realistically at all.  They find a near-mute girl who washes up naked on the beach, and they believe it’s a good idea to simply take her in and let her live with them.  Yes – adopt this stranger without any idea of who she is, without any way of communicating with her, and without trying to find anyone who knows her.  Those two characters also felt very generic, especially Kohta’s cousin, who has held a secret crush on him since childhood (another obvious cliche).  At one moment in the series, she actually begins crying to herself over whether Kohta likes her more than the aforementioned anonymous, near-mute, and childish girl.   I should also mention that most of the deadly killers in this anime happen to be adorable little girls.  Give me a break.

The anime does have a few moments of true emotion.  There is a series of flashbacks near the end of the series which delve into the past of one of the killers and shows how she developed into the personality we see today.  It contains some scenes which are quite haunting and were key in the first (positive) impression the anime made on me as a teenager.  There is also a character in this series, a scientist who researches the Diclonius’, who had a daughter who ended up being one of them.  His story, and the resolution to it, was also one of the more moving aspects of the anime.  Scenes like these hinted at the potential of the premise of this series.

If you have a greater tolerance for obvious pandering to the audience then I do, you will perhaps be able to appreciate some of its finer points as I once did, but I don’t see many people getting through the first episode alone, much less the entire series.  Usually I take the stance that anime which rely too heavily on fanservice and pandering probably aren’t worth one’s time to begin with, but this is one of the rare cases where an anime that could have been quite good has been compromised for it.

33 responses so far

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33 Responses to “Elfen Lied Review”

  1. Ureshiion Nov 15th 2009

    Yep, spot on for me as well. Though I might have given it slightly higher, because I thought some of it was really touching, but it’s just too drenched in gore and nudity.

  2. Kebochuon Nov 15th 2009

    Theownes law in effect =O

  3. Canneon Nov 16th 2009

    This might sound strange but I was totally amazed and glued to the show because of the explosive first episode. The anime crossed the line that I didn’t know it could be crossed. Besides, I don’t think the creators really care whether the anime will please general viewers or not. And I’m glad they don’t.

  4. Theowneon Nov 16th 2009

    If an anime manages to be new and creative, that’s a good line to be crossed, but I’m not impressed by anime which are violent or “adult” just for the sake of being violent and adult.

  5. Sacketton Nov 17th 2009

    Interesting. I felt that the use of such gratuitous violence and nudity was the point. As it created an atmosphere of essentially an evil world. Then Kohta’s home becomes the counterpart, a good world if you will. Lucy goes back and forth between these worlds. (As well as the little human girl *shudder* that poor abused little girl). Then you learn the Kohta world is just as much a part of this evil horrible world as anything else. Bummer.

    So I thought the “artistic” element was completely necessitating the gratuity.

    That’s why I hated it, and gave it a 2 out of 10. (Not a 1 because I admit it was well made)

    I have no desire to experience an artsy manipulation of my mind and feelings that then concludes that the world we live in is evil, all is hopeless, and we’d all be better off dead- which was what the atmosphere of the show communicated to me (at that point I could care less what the storyline was trying to say).

    The only reason I watched to the end is because I know that with horror shows my nightmares will be far worse than whatever ending the producer might give to the show.

    My recommendation to people about this show is to not watch it. (Although occasionally I’ll sarcastically mention it when it superficially matches a request).

  6. Theowneon Nov 17th 2009

    I get your perspective, Sackett, but what’s the artistry in randomly switching to a full shot of girls bathing in the house every few episodes? Or Nyuu’s clothing related “hijinks”.

    I can understand your perspective about the violence, and that’s why I was a bit hesitant and explained that I just can’t tolerate blood and gore very well, but the nudity? I don’t think it’s excessive to call it fanservice.

  7. Sacketton Nov 19th 2009

    Oh sure, that’s the beauty of it. It’s fanservice, but if anybody complains about it you just point out that it was “necessary” to tell the story. Which for Elfin Lied it probably was- just I think that it’s a story that isn’t worth being told or heard. If the story “requires” that kind of fanservice, then it’s a big warning sign that it’s probably not that good of a story.

    It’s a way to have your cake and eat it too. Sorry if I’m a little cynical on this issue, but I’ve been exposed to so much “art” that also is designed to titillate and appeal to our worst senses- and if you inquire as to the “artisitc” purpose you find the purpose actually is to titillate- although usually they then have something else going on as well which provides “contrast” and thus elevates it from pornography to “art”.

    While I comprehend it intellectually, I find it disturbing morally.

    So I don’t think we are in real disagreement here. The main difference is that I go ahead and give the artist their “intellectual” due- and then savage them on other, more important elements.

    Intellectualism can be a great addition to a good story, but it can’t carry a story by itself. To many artists today don’t understand that. Art is supposed to speak to something beyond our intellect. If it doesn’t inspire, uplift, soothe, or provide catharsis (or some other similar effect) then what was the point? Art that only shocks is to my mind a poor piece of art. If art shocks, and then also does something else, then it can have value.

    Consider the first episode of Cross Game, which is shocking, but then leads to a catharsis with the ending song. Very little of Cross Game can be considered “intellectual”, it’s too simple for that. Yet it’s one of the better pieces of art in anime that I’ve ever seen.

    Or if you prefer comparing Elfin Lied to another “dark” anime, then compare it to Fullmetal Alchemist. Also very dark, with pretty graphic violence. But I never felt it was gratuitous, it engages the intellect, but also emotions at the same time. The gore is actually necessary to tell a story that is truly worth telling. How do you deal with evil in the world? How do you deal with sin? Can you repent? Should you give up on a just vengeance? How do you forgive?

    Those are some real questions that need answers. Elfin Lied could have addressed them, but mostly didn’t. At most it lightly touched on them, and then moved on to the next juxtaposition of cute girls in a harem anime with the graphic violence of a horror slasher fic.

    Sorry… I started ranting. I got to go to bed. But I guess I might as well post it. Like I said, I doubt we are that far apart in our view on Elfin Lied, we just come at it from different directions.

  8. signorRossion Nov 19th 2009

    This was interesting to read, I myself dropped Elfen Lied after I watched the first episode a few years ago and never picked it up again and won’t do so in the future. Not that I can’t stand a fair amount of gore or violence, which leads me to my question: Already thought of doing a review of ‘Shigurui’, TheOwne? Elfen Lied is peanuts against it regarding the amount and level of violence (I dare say so even having seen only the first ep of Elfen Lied), and I am interested how you and bucket think of that show…

  9. JOhnon Oct 25th 2010

    Say Theorwon, ever seen Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend? It’s the infamous anime horror/fantasy that spawned the hentai subgenre as it has demon tentacle rape, mutilation, gore abound, sex, masturbation and that sort of thing. Much worse than Elfen Lied, do you want to be more treated like an adult like Pixar does and not like a teenager?

    Is it stuff like Urotsukidoji that gave anime a bad reputation?

  10. Theowneon Mar 21st 2011

    I think what gives anime a bad reputation is when people actually think Elfen Lied treats you like an adult because it throws gore and nudity in your face.

  11. 2chemicalon Apr 2nd 2011

    Idiots… It’s a beautiful piece of entertainment. Just loved it.

  12. 2chemicalon Apr 2nd 2011

    A lot of the reviews for the anime series Elfen Lied on the Internet would have you believe that the series is nothing but senseless violence and nudity just for the sake of creating shock value, but that is not the case. Elfen Lied is an excellent anime series about the darker, and often inhumane and inhuman, side of humanity.

    Elfen lied is a short anime series (only 13 episodes) about a race of mutants, called diclonius, who’s entire existence is seemingly to kill humans and destroy mankind. The plot centers around Lucy, a diclonius who escapes from a research facility and develops a split personality (named Nyu) as a result of being shot in the head as she made her escape. I’m going to try to keep this review spoiler-free.

    If you only read the reviews and don’t bother to watch past the first episode, you may think that Elfen Lied is simply an excuse to show mass amounts of violence and female nudity, but the plot does go a lot deeper than that.

    There are reasons as to why Lucy is as violent as she is, beyond the simple fact that she was born a diclonius. As the series progresses, you have to wonder if it is really the diclonius’ who are monsters, or if the real monsters are the humans. The horrible things that Lucy had endured in her past play a greater role into what she has become than any natural diclonius instincts. The series offers great commentary on how childhood experiences and trauma shape the person we become.

  13. Theowneon Apr 2nd 2011

    2chemical – allow me to present a slightly kinder reply than the one you have give to me – Now, If subversion of audience assumptions about “evil” in Elfen Lied was “new” and “interesting” to you – that’s fine. Unfortunately, some of us, who have read plenty of books and watched plenty of films in our lifetimes, have seen it done already, usually presented in a far more compelling manner. Elfen Lied, on the other hand, takes those ideas and gives a shallow version – stuffed with shock elements to draw an audience, so it doesn’t impress us. It’s your right to like it, but we don’t have to agree.

  14. Anti-Flagon Jan 31st 2012

    All of you miss the point of the nudity and gore.

    THE SHOW IS BEAUTIFUL IN ITS BRUTALITY. By exposing the disgusting reality of violence and hatred exposed in the show it makes the importance of goodness that much more important. If the nature of the way Lucy killed people was not that violent in nature, wouldn’t have reduced the conflicting nature of the whole evil/good duality that’s the center piece of the show?

    I’m sick of censorship and beating around the Bush. I know this might sound unrelated but in the Sandusky case, the coacing assisstant that actually walked in on him anally raping a 10 year old boy he left and complained to his boss 3 days later saying that he was “horsing around” in the shower with the kid. This squeamish held towards reality, like those who don’t like Elfen Lied, exposes the person for not being open and understanding of the brutal reality associated with biological life. Elfen Lied is violent because the world is violent. If you think a cartoon is disgustingly violent I can think of a LOT worse, truly exploitative violence in anime.

    Violence Jack
    Ninja Resurrection
    Golgo 13
    Wicked City

    Come on now, if you don’t see the art in brutality, then what about Francisco De Goya’s gory, “exploitative” piece El Tris De Mayo? Same point he’s making. So what’s the difference if the content is the same? You just want to sound intellectual and condescending, which is why you had to start out by defending yourself because you know you’re just being a prick.

    If something can truly affect you emotionally, that is true art. Not a bunch of paint flicks on canvas.

  15. Theowneon Jan 31st 2012

    Anti-Flag, it’s quite simple. I do not consider Elfen Lied’s relatively simplistic plot to have the level of sophistication that you do, and I do not give it the level of respect that you do. Your argument, that Elfen Lied’s violence is in honest service of its story, does not affect me, as I find the story execution and characters rather weak – apart from a promising premise and a few effective scenes.

    And similarly, I do not believe in a deeper reason why Elfen Lied’s female cast is almost entirely composed of adorably-drawn pink-haired girls except to appeal to young male viewers. Nor do I believe in a deeper reason as to why the mute female lead “accidentally” removes her clothes at common intervals in the first few episodes. These are all tools to attract a certain kind of fanbase used by many anime, and Elfen Lied is no better, except that the premise has a lot more potential than the usual fare. It is unfortunate that this premise is squandered with such a degree of “fanservice”. That is how I feel about this series.

  16. Kibaon Feb 2nd 2012

    First off , I am a girl. Second, if you have ever watched many serious war movies or history movies, you can see ties between twisted innocence and nudity and depravity. Lucy grows up in a world were she is given no clothes, little food, no love, and tortured constantly. She is tested and trained to kill. What’s the point of clothes when she has been naked for years and tortured by men? She doesn’t understand society! She doesn’t understand modesty, or love, shE knows betrayal and pain and is psychologically imbalanced. The point of the nudity when she is Nyu is to express her childishness. Her other side is stil like a little kid. When I was 5 I didn’t understand being naked was wrong. I took my clothes off when I was too hot or when I wanted to play in water. Nyu doesn’t understand. And as Lucy she just doesn’t care. She is a rebel and she knows her life is short lived. They tortured her naked and she will destroy them not with respect as a human fights a human but like the animal they trained her to be. What more has she known in life? The music, the art, the atmosphere, the characters… They compare and contrast with each other in a surreal way. The point this gets across abou the world isn’t that it’s evil, but that it’s good that evil has scarred. Just as Lucy herself started as a cute little girl, just as all the girls that are cute and innocent pink hair and all… The whole point of this is to show what happens to innocence in such a broken world, and it also shows how even in the brokenness people can live. People can heal. People can make friends with their worst enenmies and find peace and love and learn to live

  17. Theowneon Feb 2nd 2012

    Kiba, I appreciate that you didn’t use the same rude tone the other commenters here have. But I think I am essentially repeating myself at that point.

    It is naturally true that there is such a thing as powerful, emotional, and legitimate use of explicit content to drive home a message. At the same time, there is no one on Earth who believes that every use of explicit material in media is an honest effort to communicate a message. Often times it is mere shock value.

    Each of us has our own standard, and Elfen Lied does not meet my standard. I find its use of nudity and violence to be shallow and typical of anime tropes, emphasized by the fairly pedestrian way it carries out the story and the numerous cliches and nonsensical parts of it. This does not mean that you or the other fans of the show have to agree with me. This is, after all, my personal review page, and the only guarantee I provide is that readers who tend to like my other reviews will probably agree with me. No more, no less. If you actually strongly believe Elfen Lied explores its themes in a deep or satisfying way, the fact that I personally disagree with you should not be such an issue.

  18. Arbituson Mar 15th 2012

    Theowne, I do somewhat agree that the displays of violence and nudity do feel gratuitous at times. However, I think that the essence of the series is best illustrated by such an exaggeration, it’s the grand juxtaposition of the repulsive and vile contra the virtuous innocence that is at the very heart of this show. Additionally, with Gustav Klimt’s art being used as well, I feel that it’s pretty apparent what the creators were attempting to do.

    Although this may be presumptuous, it does seem as if you were prejudiced regarding the character progression and story, due to your early disapproval of certain facets. I think this is why I feel as the series would have received more critical acclaim if it contained less distractions (mostly the instances of blatant fan-service). Still, I would like to clarify that I believe the bold displays of violence and nudity convey more than you accredit them for, as I find that they vividly supplement the nature of humanity that this show explores.

    But as a final note, the reason I find this review too seem prejudiced, is that your mentions of the central plot, especially the inner conflict, the perpetual juxtaposition of various aspects of human nature ( particularly in the case of Lucy) are so laconic, that it seems as if you did not relate to it or did not fathom it. Especially, when seeing that your mentions of more trivial moments hold significantly more space. I believe that when people get too fixated on or upset by trivial nuisances (regarding a subjective nature of capacity for violence, nudity etc. in this case) it gets in the way of grasping the essence.

    I also disapprove of your mention of “good animes” which one would apparently be willing to present to friends regardless of their dispositions. This, in my opinion, is naive, as biases and prejudices permeate far more than that. Regarding animes that you’d be willing to present to friends, regardless of their dispositions, depends more on their all-round appeal and how clean-cut it is, “Death Note” in my case, represents just that. I’ll agree with you regarding that I wouldn’t recommend Elfen Lied to friends, as I think it’s not for everyone, seeing as it’s easy to become fixated on the initial violence and nudity. But I find that popularity is a poor measure of quality, so that doesn’t bother me.

  19. Theowneon Mar 15th 2012

    >>But I find that popularity is a poor measure of quality, so that doesn’t bother me.

    It has very little to do with popularity. When I speak of recommending anime to friends, it is synonymous with ‘what I would recommend to mature, like-minded people who are not familiar nor forgiving of anime fanservice tropes’.

    If anything, Elfen Lied is exactly the example I would use of popularity being a poor measure of quality, as it is a widely popular anime series among the online fandom, despite more deserving series without blatant fanservice elements being ignored.

    >>I believe that when people get too fixated on or upset by trivial nuisances (regarding a subjective nature of capacity for violence, nudity etc. in this case) it gets in the way of grasping the essence.

    Similarly, I believe that when storytellers and producers become too fixated on such trivialities, with the intent to garner audiences through shock value or fan-service, it gets in the way of communicating the good ideas they may or may not have started with.

    It is quite clear that the main conflict between my perspective and most of the commenters is that these commenters find more value in Elfen Lied as a unique story and thus are more forgiving of the excesses. Why? Perhaps it is because I have read (or watched) enough fiction in my time that I am not as quickly impressed by ideas and emotions that have been depicted in purer, less commercialized form elsewhere. Or, perhaps, as you say, I “could not fathom” the story of Elfen Lied. I’m not too concerned with which explanation you choose to believe, as my reviews are intended for a small group of recurring readers with similar interests.

    Finally, it may surprise some of you, considering the sort of assumptions being made, but I actually had positive feelings about this anime as a teenager precisely because of the core story – in fact, a popular music box rendition of the main theme (which you can find online) was originally arranged by me during the period I was interested in it. However, I merely grew out of the series and found it far less tolerable upon re-watching it as an adult, presumably due to having more experience with other fiction and becoming tired of anime cliches. Take that how you will, but tone down the assumptions.

  20. Arbituson Mar 17th 2012

    Well, it is clear that this is a matter of differing opinions. But I’d like to point out that I find the “growing out of” argument to be a fallacious one.

    In regards to assumptions, uncertain if it was directed towards me or not but whatever, I think it’s to be expected when the topic of discussion is something as subjective as taste. Although, I do agree that it can become silly at times.

    Lastly, about your comment on “fixation” the point I was making to you was
    1. That some of those things might convey more than you accredit to them.
    2. That they could be assessed separately, knowing that directors will always have to make compromises between popularity / mainstream appeal contra depth / quality etc. thus I was implying that due to you assessing them together, you seem to miss some of the brilliant aspects of it.

    Although, as a reviewer it might be more favourable to assess it that way, as more people can relate I guess.

  21. Theowneon Mar 17th 2012

    >>But I’d like to point out that I find the “growing out of” argument to be a fallacious one.

    It wasn’t an argument. It is merely an experience I had, and can be interpreted however you wish (as I said in the comment).

    I wonder if some commenters (presumably hitting this review through Google) don’t quite understand that neither I nor this site is particularly invested in the televised anime of the otaku subculture where these tropes are commonly found and more accepted. I am not a critic, and my website is aimed at a specific, different audience.

    I do not believe in overlooking compromises in the integrity of a work, especially when so many more worthwhile anime remain ignored. As for whether an idea is brilliant, or merely interesting but available in less diluted forms elsewhere – that is simply a matter of perspective and background.

  22. Watchmanon Jun 1st 2012

    I wont go targeting the people discussing this before. I disagree with the review because primarily you can place a limited amount of storyline in 13 episodes. In this case, they have on the most basic discussed the mans brutal and savage nature. You don’t get it and want more its your choice.

    Second the nudity for Gods sake is not fanservise stuff. Only frustrated kids would watch this specific anime for nudity. Rather nudity is better in this anime then having clothes or being censored.

    I have watched many animes and this is not one “just an anime”; every anime has its own concentration of themes. While one would say Deathnote is an epic in thriller or intellectual, many might only like the nature of Light going dark for the sake of justice. While this anime might not appeal to the expectant’s of “intellectual and intelligent stuff” it does appeal to people who like psychological exposure of the dark side of the human mind AND/OR a sweet story overshadowed by a dark nightmare.

    The jealousy moments were again a portion of human selfishness, the gore was necessary with the storyline and I don’t know if we are finding an anime to show to an 8 year old but for a mature guy, the nudity and gore fullfils its purpose yet does not induce sick fetishes.

    And if you want a COMPLETELY real life story (referring to your parts of it being unrealistic, cliche style or poorly executed) then yup this is not an anime to watch. Yet I feel one should see what is expressed in the anime. Those people who dont, truly have a unique choice and stick to a very few titles as worthwhile.

    Final comment; it is your opinion, but I feel injustice to the anime in this review. I respect it, but disagree and would have preferred at least a little hint to the type of people who may like it cuz I have met a fairy reasonable number that have actually “loved” this anime cuz they saw not what they wanted to see in an anime but what the anime showed them.

  23. Watchmanon Jun 1st 2012

    Also in case one might not get what I mean by what the anime shows, I will give the example of High School of the dead (Hopefully an anime many have atleast heard of). Other than the fact that the fanservice in it is excessive and disappointing (yup, one might only watch the anime for this reason) and the anime is a cliche thrown off the resident evil series, some aspects have been shown well.

    1. The spawning of hidden talents and not in the typical anime fashion where pure pressure makes a person do something extraordinary (I hope you get what I mean)

    2. Trust and integrity within the group; choosing leader and stuff, and slightly twisted relationships of love.

    3. The inner darkness of humans (as with Saeko or others pleasure in killing AND in the idiot sensei who… well you know what I mean)

    Though many may say I have pointed a few basic points and wasted their time, I would say that these things, if letting the anime impose them, do bring out a positive aspect within the storyline or character development.

  24. Watchmanon Jun 1st 2012

    Oh and finally… Elfen Lied is a love or hate anime… I don’t mind people hating it… but atleast accept that others love it 😉

  25. Theowneon Jun 1st 2012

    I commend you for posting your comments with politeness, unlike most of the others here. Naturally, I don’t agree :), but most of my reasons have already been said repeatedly, so readers can just read my earlier comments for my response.

    I do want to point out again that this is a personal site, not a critic’s column – I have no responsibility or reason to give a “hint” as to why other people may enjoy this anime. You would have to read their blogs to get their opinion (or read these comments).

  26. Sergeion Jul 12th 2012

    Well… I liked it. As the first anime i ever watched, it holds a special place in my heart. furthermore, the violence and nudity appealed to my pro-Western sensibilites. As a wrtier, the plot dazzled me. Despite obvious flaws in the storyline, i forgive it. Lastly, the opening theme is the only song from an anime i’ve ever liked. So that counts for something.

  27. someguyon Jul 31st 2012

    Reminds me of people’s reaction to Fight Club; so many I’ve talked to got offended by the fight club idea and thought it was some glorification of violence. I’m not saying you’re on par with people who think Fight Club is about violence… just that you seem to be distracted by these themes. Then again, I suppose I’m so numb to nudity and violence that it seems strange that someone would focus on it.

  28. Theowneon Jul 31st 2012

    I’ve come to expect that fans of certain shows would prefer to think that those who dislike it do so purely because they are “distracted” or “missing the point”, despite that I have explained in further detail why the show lacks merit.

    But I have gotten past the point of investing much energy in repeating these points. At this point I let people post comments like yours as I understand its a way of letting off steam after reading the negative review.

  29. Bourneyon Jan 15th 2013

    I enjoyed this series and could really relate to the suffering which Lucy went through as an infant/toddler. There was this certain serenity to the introduction which reminded me of a film about the Roman emperor Caligula (1979 film) whose life (and reign) was mired by tragedy and desperation, vengeance and anger. Coincidentally, it was also quite the controversial film since it contained ultra-violence.

    In addition I felt that the “shallowness” accusation directed to it by many reviewers was part of the “point” which the creator was trying to make. For instance the murders committed by the tortured felt empty and meaningless. Also, Lucy’s fractured mind only served to highlight this fact, as her ego couldn’t develop because it was buffered by her id on one side (the cutesy innocent part) and her superego (the intelligent “evil” side). If you took any 2 of those parts individually, you’d find them lacking in depth.

    Oh, I just wanted to correct one of the points made in your final paragraph, the reason Kouta decides to adopt her is because he states quite explicitly “I don’t trust the police.”

  30. Theowneon Jan 15th 2013

    If you accept that it is realistic for a young boy would adopt a naked female stranger who cannot speak english and has horns because he doesn’t “trust” the Japanese police, that is fine, but I don’t think it’s particularly controversial to disagree with such an opinion.

  31. Bourneyon Jan 17th 2013

    Just to add to that final line, I think he also mentioned something about not trusting doctors either.

  32. Johnon Feb 8th 2013

    I don’t mean to be rude either. But just noticing your comment of the poor execution.
    Personally, I find it quite interesting the execution in Elfen Lied being quite familiar with Japanese society. Probably the most problematic perspective i have encountered with all reviewers and opinionators is in the first episode where Kouta and Yuka actually take Lucy home instead of going to the police. I say this, because in Japan I have been made to believe that the citizens do not like to get involved with the police (it might be an honourable thing) and many citizens would apparently go to the effort of returning a missing person to their home without arousing panic or worry.
    Similar sentiments like these also related to Japanese culture I believe are carefully placed throughout this series.
    On another note, yes, i do agree that there are plenty of great anime titles out there that have been better and more well written than Elfen Lied, but in the long run, I feel Elfen Lied is better because it is far more memorable, well that’s my opinion anyway.
    And yes, divergent to the opinion of other people, their is both sexualised and non-sexualised nudity in this series. Though the sexualised bit may be slightly more subtle than other titles.
    Another thing is the incest, whilst as far as i am concerned, incest between cousins is not illegal in America, Australia, Japan or England and not to mention the series doesn’t even clarify how close of cousins they are (they could be 4th cousins for that matter and i am sure plenty of people marry 4th cousins around the world without even intentionally realising it.) Plus it is cultural in Japan to be close to your relatives and maintain tradition even though that close incest is frowned upon in modern day Japan.
    Overall, i feel that this was a good and respectable review, but being a person who has experienced things that are frighteningly similar to some of the scenes and thematic material present i think that it was appropriate for the show to be blunt and forced because i felt it was an exertion of the hidious feelings that i had personally felt when i had gone through those times myself.
    But thankyou for allowing me to see a detailed understanding of another persons opinion where most people i come across who dislike this anime just point out regular things and personally i felt it was getting a little irritating.
    Thankyou very much, for your time.
    Have a good day.

  33. Elfen Lied | Anime Gaugeon Jan 19th 2017

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