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Elfen Lied – Review December 24, 2009

Posted by Cello in Anime (TV) Series Reviews.

This was a particular 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 heartwrenching 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!


1. lolisan - December 24, 2009

It is rather brutal tho…

2. glothelegend - December 24, 2009

I liked the series (mainly for reasons of blood), although I will say that the manga was better (because the anime covered only a part of the manga).

3. Canne - December 24, 2009

I love the blood and the extreme contrast between the violent content and the cute character design. I think the contrast is deliberately done. Nevertheless, I have to admite that without the blood, the show is not really special (if you are free, check out my review for Elfen Lied ^^)

4. lolisan - December 25, 2009

well anime usually lack the sense of completion because they are usually done before the manga titles are fully published. None the less it was a “worthy” title 🙂

5. theowne - December 28, 2009

I also recently reviewed this and gave it a low score. I’m not impressed by gore and nudity, and no characters behaved realistically. I realized that what I was watching was just fluff, when in one scene, the girl (cousin) starts crying because she’s worried that Kouta likes a mute girl who washed up anonymously on the beach more than her. That was too much. Suddenly the anime wanted to be Love Hina.

That said, there was some potential in the story, and at least 2 touching moments (some parts of the flashback, and the suicide scene near the end). But the whole anime was just disappointing.

However, personally I believe the main theme is the best anime OP out there.

6. Heather - December 29, 2009

I really need to just break down and see this soon. It’s a series everyone I know likes. Even mediocre reviews make it seem interesting.

7. FaS - January 19, 2010

………….dude, come on…Elfen Lied was not that bad. I mean, sure the characters weren’t as fleshed out as one would want, but the originality combined with the story made it a rollercoaster worth remembering.

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