Welcome to yet another installment of Anime Amok in which Stalks here, endures the chaos from watching these insane and very controversial Anime shows and OVAs. It’s also important that I inform the reader that Anime is not all about Mecha, Martial Arts, Cutesy characters and High School Comedies and such. It is my mission to report the dark side of Anime.
Synopsis: University students Kohta and Yuka (Kohta’s cousin) save a Diclonius girl called “Lucy” when they see her naked on a beach. In fact “Lucy” is a serial killer who is being searched for by the government but they are not aware of who “Lucy” really is because her personality is split.
The Dicloni are of a mutant species similar to that of humans in build but distinguishable by two horns on their heads and “vectors”, transparent telekinetically controlled arms that have the capability to manipulate and sever objects within their reach (up to 2 meters in Lucy’s case).
The sole purpose of the Dicloni, is to destroy Mankind (because of their flaws and imperfections) and repopulate the world. Lucy’s motivation for seeking revenge on humans, was due to rejection of not being utilized as “Research material”.
Elfen Lied revolves around the interactions, views, emotions, and differences between human beings and the subsequent themes of social alienation, identity, bigotry, revenge, abuse, jealousy, regret, redemption and the value of humanity. In a nutshell, it’s like a David Cronenberg, Stephen King and Alan Moore project but with a sprinkle of X-Men without the heroics.
Ah, what can I say about this series other than it’s very melancholy?
At first glance, one would be quick to assume that this is some family friendly Anime just by the cutesy character designs especially when it comes to how females are drawn but don’t let that fool you for a second! Despite a few scenes of comedy relief, Elfen Lied packs quite a punch.
During the first 3 minutes of the premiere episode, the Diaclone protagonist called “Lucy” escapes from a research facility but not before severing limbs and other appendages of security and even a dimwitted staff member. But that pales compared to the shocking themes that are to occur.
The aforementioned scene reminded me of that infamous Miracleman Issue in which Johnny gets revenge on his tormentors in some orphanage.
Lucy’s backstory/origin (see: Beginnings) was perhaps the highlight of this series due to the fact of how her innocence became lost and in turn, her contempt for Humankind based on her traumatic experiences of alienation.
The series’ protagonist comes across as a schizophrenic Magneto with sociopath tendencies that rivals the Joker (both characters became villains due to unfortunate circumstances).
Underneath the blood and carnage, there are quite a few moments of innocence and that’s from her alternate persona; “Nyu” who comes across as very childlike and can’t speak a word other than her name. I enjoyed a few moments from Mayu striking a friendship with Dicloni Girl Nana to the dickhead Mercenary happens to often run into the main characters in his quest to assassinate Lucy.
There’s also the love triangle between ”Nyu”, Kotha and Yuka that serves as a focal point to the storyline and tensions often arise due to jealousy and mistrust to the extent of a horrific outcome.
The animation is the standard fare like you would expect from other series such as Noir, Gunslinger Girl and the like. However, it’s the writing itself that is Elfen Lied’s strongest suit. The Music blends easily with the episodes’ psychological tone especially the melancholic theme song Lilium, which is often used throughout the series.
In spite of its pretentiousness, Elfen Lied is a good series that is worthy of a movie adaptation. Certainly a much better concept than I have seen from the likes of M. Night Shaylaman however, very familiar to classics such as Carrie, Scanners and Firestarter. The ending is somewhat ambiguous and there are some unresolved subplot threads, but that shouldn’t deduct any of the good qualities from the series.
Well worth investing your time into it.
Available on Hulu.