Elfen Lied (2004)

Elfen Lied Review

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Elfen Lied Review

Elfen Lied is a 2004 science fiction thriller anime series directed by Mamoru Kanbe. I liked this anime despite its many deficiencies.

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I envy you just for having someone who’s worried about you

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Elfen Lied Review

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The plot is pretty good and I liked both its setting and the conflicts. It revolves around the interactions and differences between human beings and the Diclonii, a mutant species similar to humans in build but distinguishable by two horns on their heads and so-called vectors which are transparent telekinetically controlled arms that have the power to manipulate and cut objects within their reach. I disagree with the notion that Elfen Lief is a horror show, to me it has some of those elements, but it is mostly a sci-fi thriller with definite romance elements here and there.
Speaking of horror, I totally disliked the use of gore here. Not only do I dislike violence in movies and shows and here it was overly abundant, but it was also done in a totally unrealistic manner with awful blood animation and effects. The blood here looks simply ridiculous. As for the nudity, sometimes it was funny or needed, but for the most time the series relied too heavily on satisfying the heterosexual male viewers and those moe elements were also way too emphasized.
Lucy is one of the character highlights and her split personality Nyu is of course quite sweet. Kouta is a bit forgettable, but the relationship between the two is amazing and easily the emotional core of the show. Some of their scenes were quite romantic and their flashbacks were stupendously good. I rarely like flashbacks, but Elfen Lied found a surprisingly good use of it.

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Elfen Lied Review

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Yyka is too typical as this jealous love interest, but Mayu is wonderful and the most sympathetic character for sure. Nana is also easy to root for and these two got some wonderful scenes together. Mariko was fine, albeit underutilized. And all of those doctors and military personnel were also underutilized as antagonists.
Elfen Lied’s animation is pretty good for its time, discounting of course the previously mentioned horrible gore effects. I loved the seaside setting and I adored Kouta’s house. It was quite cozy and charming. Those vectors were also really well animated. As for the action, it is good, but underwhelming in its quantity. I expected more fight scenes than just the handful that we got.
Obviously the pink hair color is fitting for the Diclonii as their qualities are shy, naive and inexperienced, but I still disliked the show’s tendency to basically only have female Diclonii. This anime is made for the teen males way too much. But I still liked the conflicts here and I liked the show’s themes of discrimination and racism. I wanted more examination of that, but what we got was still quite sophisticated and the roots of crime in particular are well established as it showcases how the individuals prone to become violent were mostly the victims of violence themselves during childhood.

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Elfen Lied Review

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I liked its opening theme a lot – very moody and interestingly using Latin language. As for the show’s romance and drama elements, they were fine, but too often than not, the characters met in way too unbelievable set of circumstances and some episodes had plot holes. I also thought that the show suffered from short length and too small set of characters as the story needed more.

In the end, Elfen Lied is overly violent, typically sexualized and sometimes filled with plot holes and underutilized, but the romance and drama elements are solid, the flahbacks are very good, the story is interesting, the themes are well explored and the finale in particular is very emotional. It is a pretty good anime, but it could have been much better regardless.

Worst Episodes: A Chance Encounter and Attack.
Best Episodes: Confrontation and No Return.

My Rating – 3.9

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