Fargo's Animated Japanese Fun Time! Elfen Lied

Note: This review will contain some bloody images. It will also contain moderate spoilers for Elfen Lied.

To the one and a half of you who read my reviews, you may have noticed I have reviewed Elfen Lied before. However, it wasn't a very good review so I have decided to redo it. With pictures and everything! So, settle down and let's dig into..

Elfen Lied


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Elfen Lied is a 2004 anime based on a manga series by Lynn Okamato. It focuses on a race of evolved humans, entitled Diclonius, who differ from regular humans by being having two protruding horns on their head and mysterious powers that have the ability to rip human beings to shreds. The series focuses on one Diclonius, known only as Lucy. The story opens with her escaping from a research facility. After taking a shot to the head, she develops a split personality known as Nyu, who is childish and unfamiliar with the real world, speaking only one word, which is her name. She is found on a beach by two students, Kohta and his cousin Yuka. They take her in, but the facility she escaped from is on the hunt to bring her back in.

Lucy/Nyu is the primary character in the series, and is an extremely interesting one. Lucy is a killer, looking at human life is insignificant. She never kills simply because she can, but she does murder simply for convenience. She is seen at one point murdering an entire family simply so she has a place to stay for the night.

Nyu on the other hand, never kills in the entire series. It is simply not in her nature to kill, and she just wishes to see Kohta happy and safe, something which the series explains in the final episodes. She is always eager to help Kohta and Yuna in the house, whether it be cleaning the floor or more complex reasons.

The contrast between this two personalities gives the series some of it's more interesting themes, primarily the theme of nature vs nurture. When Lucy is a young girl, she never harms another human being until she a turn of events make her see them as evil and despicable. Once she does though, she kills them on a whim. Nyu, on the other hand, has never had any reason to harm anyone. She is innocent, in contrast to Lucy who has her hands stained with blood.

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Lead character Lucy benefits from her split-personality.

The other characters have strong development too. A second Diclonius named Nana supports the theme of nature vs nurture. She is raised in the facility just as Lucy is, and suffers terribly from experiments. However, she has a father-figure in the face of Chief Kurama, who she uses to accept what is happening to her. She is eventually released into the outside world, and rather than taking vengeance as Lucy does, she refuses to harm humans, even when she is mercilessly beaten by one of the the antagonists.

The only gap in characterization is with protagonist Kohta. He is well developed, but he simply doesn't have the same level of development the other characters do. His past tragic, which helps link him to Lucy, but he is simply not as interesting as any other character. However, he does play a big part in other themes of the series, such as forgiveness and redemption, so I can let it pass he isn't as interesting as the others.

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Protagonist Kohta isn't too well-developed, but supports the themes of the series

I mentioned a few paragraphs ago a merciless beating dealt out by an antagonist, and when I say merciless I mean merciless. In terms of content, Elfen Lied is a nasty little anime. It's extremely bloody, and is fairly liberal with it's fanservice. There is nudity at least once per episode, and while it's not really sexualised, it is there, so that's something to take into account. There are also some dark themes; violence against women is frequent and bloody, including a drawn-out scene on a bridge which is downright painful to watch, and there is more than a few glances towards sexual child abuse with one of the characters.

The violence is fast, bloody and frequent. It's not at the levels of something like Gantz or Berserk, and has a more stylized tone than those two anime, but it's still fairly nasty. Blood sprays are common, as are decapitations, mutilations, beatings.. You get the idea. It's not always necessary, and so those of you who dislike blood-filled anime may want to look elsewhere.

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Elfen Lied is dark, brutal and bloody.

Those of you who don't mind the blood and nudity, will see some of the best animated blood and gore I've seen outside of anime movies. The animation and art are stunning and they seem to combine a typical anime style with something a little bit different; something I can't quite put my finger on. There's very little noticeable use of CG, which I really like. It's a great looking show and one to check out for all of you who enjoy some good animation and art. It'll never top big budget movies like Innocence or something Howls Moving Castle, but no TV show can compete on that scale anyway given budget limitations.

To compliment the visuals, Elfen Lied has an amazing soundtrack, something which almost defines the series. The opening theme, entitled Lilium, is one of my personal favourites, sitting up there with Inner Universe from Ghost in the Shell: SAC. The use of piano and strings throughout the actual series is spectacular too, with variations on Lilium heard throughout, from a solitary violin version to a music box.

The voice-acting is split into two camps: the impressive Japanese version, and the 'meh' English dub. If you insist on watching dubbed, then the English voice acting is fine, but the Japanese version exceeds it in so many departments. Consider the dub simply fictional.

Time to wrap things up then. Elfen Lied has some great characters and characterization, all of which support the themes the series is trying to present. The story isn't all that impressive, and sets up more threads than it concludes, but I think of it as a show based more on characters than storyline. Add in some great production values, some truly affecting scenes of emotion and you have an anime I highly recommend to anyone who can look past the blood and fanservice.

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Nice review :P, Although I would of touched (no pun intended) on the adopted girl, and made a point about the sub characters (Constructive criticism I swear!). Although everything else is excellent :).

Oh and have some elfen lied avatars, free of charge :P.

EDIT: Wait, I can't remember use of CG (Although it has been quite a while since I have watched it.

EDITEDIT: Oh the arms, I feel like a tard.

Very good review, the pictures break up the text nicely. Although, one or two of the pictures are oddly pixelated, especially, the one at the bottom. Not that it's a major problem.

I really enjoyed Elfen Lied, I keep meaning to read the manga, since the anime finished about halfway through that.

Darktau:
Same avatar here

Oh. We have turned up to this party in the same costume. Aw-kward.

Edit - Now I feel incredibly stupid. I have a different avatar on here than I do on Twitter.

razer17:
Very good review, the pictures break up the text nicely. Although, one or two of the pictures are oddly pixelated, especially, the one at the bottom. Not that it's a major problem.

I really enjoyed Elfen Lied, I keep meaning to read the manga, since the anime finished about halfway through that.

Darktau:
Same avatar here

Oh. We have turned up to this party in the same costume. Aw-kward.

Edit - Now I feel incredibly stupid. I have a different avatar on here than I do on Twitter.

Wait? I didn't say that, and I just made them? Can you link me your twitter? :D

razer17:
Very good review, the pictures break up the text nicely. Although, one or two of the pictures are oddly pixelated, especially, the one at the bottom. Not that it's a major problem.

I really enjoyed Elfen Lied, I keep meaning to read the manga, since the anime finished about halfway through that.

The manga is meant to be really different from the anime, or so I've heard. It's really hard to find a decent translation online, and as far as I'm aware in book-form there isn't any english translations.

excellent review makes me wanna watch it again beeen ages since i watched it

Cpt.Ziltoid:
excellent review makes me wanna watch it again beeen ages since i watched it

Thank you.

Also, your avatar is terrifying.

Great review, I pretty much agree on all strengths and flaws mentioned, though as I've yet to (re)watch it subbed (except that 14th episode OVA, which isn't dubbed), I wouldn't know that difference.

Be sure to post a news update with a link to this review in the Elfen Lied user group.

I'm about to start watching Berserk, and the notion that it should be more violent than Elfen Lied arouse worry me a bit

Interesting thing about the anime is that it diverges from the manga storyline around episode 12 or so since the manga was only half-way finished at that time. So for anyone who liked the anime I recommend that they read the manga too since that gives you way more story.(I read it on onemanga but now that sites gone)

I thought Elfen Lied was alright but not great, an outcast that views her as a monster for no reason other than the way she was is (an emotionally disturbed woman who can rip people in half with ease). Kinda like Frakenstein's monster.

I've been trying to get into anime recently, since it's such a massive part of nerd culture. I started with Tokko. Yeah, trust me to pick an anime that actually does involve incest (sort of). Anyway, I'll try to check this out. Is there anything else you recommend for a newbie like me?

Freebird.:
I've been trying to get into anime recently, since it's such a massive part of nerd culture. I started with Tokko. Yeah, trust me to pick an anime that actually does involve incest (sort of). Anyway, I'll try to check this out. Is there anything else you recommend for a newbie like me?

For a real newbie, I would recommend Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop. The Ghost in the Shell universe is also great, but it's hard to recommend a place to start with them as it's not the most coherent of series's. It's good to try and find some stuff for yourself, as finding a gem on your own always feel more rewarding.

If you want, you can send me a PM with what kind of genres you like and I'll try and give you some more specific recommendations.

Imperator_DK:

Be sure to post a news update with a link to this review in the Elfen Lied user group.

I'm about to start watching Berserk, and the notion that it should be more violent than Elfen Lied arouse worry me a bit

Good idea actually, thanks :)

And Berserk has a lot more blood and gore then Elfen Lied. The only difference is it's not based around children or at least young kids, so it's not always as shocking. It beats it out on a pure gore level however.

FargoDog:

Freebird.:
I've been trying to get into anime recently, since it's such a massive part of nerd culture. I started with Tokko. Yeah, trust me to pick an anime that actually does involve incest (sort of). Anyway, I'll try to check this out. Is there anything else you recommend for a newbie like me?

For a real newbie, I would recommend Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop. The Ghost in the Shell universe is also great, but it's hard to recommend a place to start with them as it's not the most coherent of series's. It's good to try and find some stuff for yourself, as finding a gem on your own always feel more rewarding.

If you want, you can send me a PM with what kind of genres you like and I'll try and give you some more specific recommendations.

Thanks. I ordered Death Note a couple of days ago so I'm glad to know it's a good place to start. I've heard good things about the other three, so I'll try and watch them in the future.

This show contained enough blood to make me forget about the tits, of which there are aplenty. It's also one of the few animes I actually enjoy, and one of the only anime action shows that I don't think is a giant over the top mess.

It's worth a look. Gets pretty furking creepy at times though.

Freebird.:

FargoDog:

Freebird.:
I've been trying to get into anime recently, since it's such a massive part of nerd culture. I started with Tokko. Yeah, trust me to pick an anime that actually does involve incest (sort of). Anyway, I'll try to check this out. Is there anything else you recommend for a newbie like me?

For a real newbie, I would recommend Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop. The Ghost in the Shell universe is also great, but it's hard to recommend a place to start with them as it's not the most coherent of series's. It's good to try and find some stuff for yourself, as finding a gem on your own always feel more rewarding.

If you want, you can send me a PM with what kind of genres you like and I'll try and give you some more specific recommendations.

Thanks. I ordered Death Note a couple of days ago so I'm glad to know it's a good place to start. I've heard good things about the other three, so I'll try and watch them in the future.

Start with death note (sub) and Fullmetal alchemist (dub)

then move on to code geass (sub) when you can get over it's animation style :P. and there, you have just watched, debate-ably, the 3 greatest anime out there :)

Darktau:

Freebird.:

FargoDog:

Freebird.:
I've been trying to get into anime recently, since it's such a massive part of nerd culture. I started with Tokko. Yeah, trust me to pick an anime that actually does involve incest (sort of). Anyway, I'll try to check this out. Is there anything else you recommend for a newbie like me?

For a real newbie, I would recommend Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop. The Ghost in the Shell universe is also great, but it's hard to recommend a place to start with them as it's not the most coherent of series's. It's good to try and find some stuff for yourself, as finding a gem on your own always feel more rewarding.

If you want, you can send me a PM with what kind of genres you like and I'll try and give you some more specific recommendations.

Thanks. I ordered Death Note a couple of days ago so I'm glad to know it's a good place to start. I've heard good things about the other three, so I'll try and watch them in the future.

Start with death note (sub) and Fullmetal alchemist (dub)

then move on to code geass (sub) when you can get over it's animation style :P. and there, you have just watched, debate-ably, the 3 greatest anime out there :)

The Death Note dub is better than the sub. Just throwing that out there.

FargoDog:

Darktau:

Freebird.:

FargoDog:

Freebird.:
I've been trying to get into anime recently, since it's such a massive part of nerd culture. I started with Tokko. Yeah, trust me to pick an anime that actually does involve incest (sort of). Anyway, I'll try to check this out. Is there anything else you recommend for a newbie like me?

For a real newbie, I would recommend Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop. The Ghost in the Shell universe is also great, but it's hard to recommend a place to start with them as it's not the most coherent of series's. It's good to try and find some stuff for yourself, as finding a gem on your own always feel more rewarding.

If you want, you can send me a PM with what kind of genres you like and I'll try and give you some more specific recommendations.

Thanks. I ordered Death Note a couple of days ago so I'm glad to know it's a good place to start. I've heard good things about the other three, so I'll try and watch them in the future.

Start with death note (sub) and Fullmetal alchemist (dub)

then move on to code geass (sub) when you can get over it's animation style :P. and there, you have just watched, debate-ably, the 3 greatest anime out there :)

The Death Note dub is better than the sub. Just throwing that out there.

OBJECTION! You obviously have a lack of hearing!

Darktau:

OBJECTION! You obviously have a lack of hearing!

OBJECTION! Allesandro Juliani as L is one of the best anime dubs I've ever heard, and Brad Swaille as Light is freaking fantastic too.

FargoDog:

Darktau:

OBJECTION! You obviously have a lack of hearing!

OBJECTION! Allesandro Juliani as L is one of the best anime dubs I've ever heard, and Brad Swaille as Light is freaking fantastic too.

You seriously going to tell me you didn't cringe once, the entire way through?

(And go on steam damnit)

Darktau:

FargoDog:

Darktau:

OBJECTION! You obviously have a lack of hearing!

OBJECTION! Allesandro Juliani as L is one of the best anime dubs I've ever heard, and Brad Swaille as Light is freaking fantastic too.

You seriously going to tell me you didn't cringe once, the entire way through?

(And go on steam damnit)

Yes. And it was called 'Misa'. But I didn't find the Japanese actress any less annoying.

FargoDog:

Darktau:

FargoDog:

OBJECTION! Allesandro Juliani as L is one of the best anime dubs I've ever heard, and Brad Swaille as Light is freaking fantastic too.

You seriously going to tell me you didn't cringe once, the entire way through?

(And go on steam damnit)

Yes. And it was called 'Misa'. But I didn't find the Japanese actress any less annoying.

Hah your post makes little to no sense because I quickly edited mine after posting :P, unless this is actually your response, in which case. WHA? I liked misa :(, the

scene made me sad ;(

Nice review. I like blood, I like (?) anime, and I like dark themes, so stands to reason I like this.

However, is it English dubbed? If not, I'll pass.

i wasn't aware that you did reviews....and look a review of elfin lied.

Mackheath:
Nice review. I like blood, I like (?) anime, and I like dark themes, so stands to reason I like this.

However, is it English dubbed? If not, I'll pass.

You're back! Ahem. Yes it is dubbed, although the dub isn't too great. It's decent, just not anything spectacular.

Nice review I enjoyed it. Elfen Lied is one of my favorite anime shows of all time. Lilium is also the first song I learned on the guitar... but there is one thing that bothered me...

FargoDog:
being all-female,

There were men diclonius...

FargoDog:

Mackheath:
Nice review. I like blood, I like (?) anime, and I like dark themes, so stands to reason I like this.

However, is it English dubbed? If not, I'll pass.

You're back! Ahem. Yes it is dubbed, although the dub isn't too great. It's decent, just not anything spectacular.

Yeah, I jail-broke this afternoon. And goodoh. I might give it a look then. After all, I put up with DBZ's British dub and its slightly sexual lines.

Sacman:
Nice review I enjoyed it. Elfen Lied is one of my favorite anime shows of all time. Lilium is also the first song I learned on the guitar... but there is one thing that bothered me...

FargoDog:
being all-female,

There were men diclonius...

It was never explicitly stated they were actual Diclonius, it was very fuzzy. For example, the Professor..

I think it's open to interpretation whether they are not, and if they are to what extent they've evolved. The manga probably clears it up, but I have yet to read it.

Double post! How professional of me.

Freebird.:
I've been trying to get into anime recently, since it's such a massive part of nerd culture. I started with Tokko. Yeah, trust me to pick an anime that actually does involve incest (sort of). Anyway, I'll try to check this out. Is there anything else you recommend for a newbie like me?

I'd recommend Kino's Journey for a somewhat more obscure example. As one reviewer put it, it's like the Twilight Zone, but with actual subtlety (we still love you, Rod Sterling).

I agree, and it's one of my favorite animes, along with NGE, Serial Experiments Lain, Hellsing Ultimate and Death Note.
Actually those animes are the only ones I have seen...

FargoDog:

Sacman:
Nice review I enjoyed it. Elfen Lied is one of my favorite anime shows of all time. Lilium is also the first song I learned on the guitar... but there is one thing that bothered me...

FargoDog:
being all-female,

There were men diclonius...

It was never explicitly stated they were actual Diclonius, it was very fuzzy. For example, the Professor..

I think it's open to interpretation whether they are not, and if they are to what extent they've evolved. The manga probably clears it up, but I have yet to read it.

But he says he does that because after years of breeding the diclonius gene has become recessive, he even states that's the reason why he can't use his vectors...

Sacman:

FargoDog:

Sacman:
Nice review I enjoyed it. Elfen Lied is one of my favorite anime shows of all time. Lilium is also the first song I learned on the guitar... but there is one thing that bothered me...

There were men diclonius...

It was never explicitly stated they were actual Diclonius, it was very fuzzy. For example, the Professor..

I think it's open to interpretation whether they are not, and if they are to what extent they've evolved. The manga probably clears it up, but I have yet to read it.

But he says he does that because after years of breeding the diclonius gene has become recessive, he even states that's the reason why he can't use his vectors...

Hmm.. I clearly wasn't paying attention at that part then. My bad. I'll edit the review.

FargoDog:

Sacman:

FargoDog:

It was never explicitly stated they were actual Diclonius, it was very fuzzy. For example, the Professor..

I think it's open to interpretation whether they are not, and if they are to what extent they've evolved. The manga probably clears it up, but I have yet to read it.

But he says he does that because after years of breeding the diclonius gene has become recessive, he even states that's the reason why he can't use his vectors...

Hmm.. I clearly wasn't paying attention at that part then. My bad. I'll edit the review.

No problem I'm probably the only it really bothered anyway...

I've watched it quite recently.

My 1st impression was; What the fuck is going on? *Severed body parts.
2nd impression was; Oh this is quite a good anime actually.

I think my favorite part of elven lied was the fact that once they established the rules for how the powers worked, they never really broke them, in most anime rules are just there for the main char to get pissed off and break, usually with stupid hair

 

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