Elfen Lied Review & Characters – Dark, Intense, and Brilliant


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Dark, Intense, and Brilliant


  • Episodes :13
  • Genre : Action, Drama, Horror, Romance, Psychological
  • Airing Date : July 2004 – October 2004
  • Producers : VAP, Arms, Genco, ADV Films, A Line

Elfen Lied Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Adapted from the manga by Lynn Okamoto, Elfen Lied is an anime that has become quite infamous around the world for its violence, gore, and nudity. Indeed, the first few minutes of the first episode is enough to silence the casual viewer. As the series’ main character, Lucy, calmly rampages through a heavily-guarded facility while trying to escape, the series horrifically demonstrates the brutality of a massacre in all its ugly glory.

As the mysterious Lucy attempts to escape, the director of the facility orders her to be gunned down. However, the bullet merely injures her, and she falls to the ocean. She was later picked up by cousins Kohta and Yuka, who have only been reunited after a long time. However, what the cousins saved from the beach was not the cold, dark Lucy, but the innocent, childlike Nyu.

As the series progresses, the viewers bear witness to the events that unfold as the organization sends agents both human and non-human to take out Lucy, who, oblivious to the organization, has already become dormant inside the mind of Nyu. Later on, mysteries regarding Lucy’s past as well as her connection to Kohta and Yuka’s past are revealed, unfolding in a rich tapestry of storytelling that becomes both gritty and poignant at the same time.

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Who does Elfen Lied cater to?

Adapted from the manga by Lynn Okamoto, Elfen Lied is an anime that has become quite infamous around the world for its violence, gore, and nudity. Indeed, the first few minutes of the first episode is enough to silence the casual viewer. As the series’ main character, Lucy, calmly rampages through a heavily-guarded facility while trying to escape, the series horrifically demonstrates the brutality of a massacre in all its ugly glory.

As the mysterious Lucy attempts to escape, the director of the facility orders her to be gunned down. However, the bullet merely injures her, and she falls to the ocean. She was later picked up by cousins Kohta and Yuka, who have only been reunited after a long time. However, what the cousins saved from the beach was not the cold, dark Lucy, but the innocent, childlike Nyu.

As the series progresses, the viewers bear witness to the events that unfold as the organization sends agents both human and non-human to take out Lucy, who, oblivious to the organization, has already become dormant inside the mind of Nyu. Later on, mysteries regarding Lucy’s past as well as her connection to Kohta and Yuka’s past are revealed, unfolding in a rich tapestry of storytelling that becomes both gritty and poignant at the same time.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

People who like an intense anime that will leave the viewer glued to the screen as the plot gets unraveled and explored would find a lot of things to like in Elfen Lied. The primary plot of the story is not very unique at all, as there are elements of traditional drama, romance and even a twisted air of a harem anime thrown in. However, what makes the plot so engaging and irresistible is its execution, as mystery after mystery is layered on top of each other, and secret after secret gets revealed.

Viewers who desire an extreme story will feel right at home with Elfen Lied, as the series is full of scenes that will jar the senses. The twists in each of the characters’ backgrounds are enough to induce tears to a lot of viewers, and the shock factor alone is worthy of Gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe’s definition of horror – sensual and physical that dares you to turn away, but also mental and psychological that draws you in as you unavoidably wait for what happens next.

Overall, if you are a viewer that likes anime that breaks grounds in execution, and a show that has enough guts to do what most would be reluctant to do, then this show definitely is for you.

Elfen Lied Trailer

Elfen Lied Main Characters List

Lucy/Nyu

elfen lied lucy

Voice Actor :Sanae Kobayashi

Lucy is the first character that viewers get introduced to in the series, and is the primary reason why the first episode became so controversial. Introduced as a mysterious woman who brutally kills people without the slightest hint of hesitation, she is portrayed as a sadistic killer with very little empathy for human life. Her massacre of the facility she was being held in is what greets the viewer during the anime’s first minutes.

However, Lucy does have a lighter side, which is symbolized by the emergence of her split personality, the childlike, innocent Nyu. As a character, Nyu is as much a blank slate as Lucy is a filled-up canvas. She also shows a great degree of empathy for people, unlike Lucy, who considers human life expendable for the most part. Lucy and Nyu are two parts of the same coin – similar, yet naturally opposing.

Kouta

elfen lied kouta

Voice Actor :Chihiro Suzuki

Kohta, the male lead of the story, is a university student who arrives in Kanagawa Prefecture to study in college. He lives in a closed-down restaurant, the Kaede House, which his cousin Yuka’s family has entrusted to him provided that he maintains it. As a child, Kohta experienced a traumatic event that triggered his psyche to repress the memory, thereby making him forget most of the things that he and Yuka held dear back when they were children.

On a fateful day, he and Yuka find the injured Lucy on the beach, who has then regressed to the innocent Nyu. Taking the mysterious girl back to Kaede House, Kohta and his cousin had no idea that such a decision would trigger a series of events that will change their lives forever.

Yuka

elfen lied yuka

Voice Actor :Mamiko Noto

Yuka is also a university student in Kanagawa Prefecture. She and Kohta used to be very close when they were very young, but due to the events of a fateful, very traumatic night, Kohta’s psychological stability took a dive, causing him to repress most of the memories that they shared before.

Kohta’s repression of memories is a severe blow to Yuka, since she holds romantic feelings for her cousin. Thus, she has a tendency to feel very jealous and irrational when it comes to her and Kohta’s affairs. She is a very capable young woman though, as signified by the other members of the Kaede House “family” considering her as the mother of the group.


Contains Spoilers

Elfen Lied Review

Elfen Lied is not an anime for everyone. Indeed, a lot of people have abandoned the series a few minutes into the first episode because of the extreme gore and blatant nudity alone. Indeed, one will not find a lack of people saying that the deaths portrayed in the anime’s first minutes hold the honor of being the bloodiest, most brutal in anime since Berserk.

It is easy to classify Elfen Lied as an anime which uses violence and nudity to shock its audience, much like the way Hollywood movies like Saw uses such techniques to jar the viewer. Just like the Hollywood movie however, behind all the gore, nudity and the misplaced fan service, is a story that is very contemplative, intelligent, and socially relevant.

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The Diclonius are thought of by the humans in the anime as a hostile sub-species. When one looks at Lucy and her actions during the course of the series, one might agree with this assumption. Responsible for the cold-blooded murder of innumerable people, she does fit the profile of a psychopathic, remorseless killer. However, beyond all these actions lie a series of experiences that have happened in her past that shaped her into the monster that she became. What is particularly brilliant about the anime is the fact viewers bore witness the shocking events that triggered her murderous tendencies.

One of the most prominent events in question here is the infamous murder of Lucy’s puppy. When she was but a child, Lucy was castigated by other kids due to her horns, which made her life very lonely. Her only source of solace was a little puppy that she has befriended. However, when the other kids who bullied her found out about the puppy, they cruelly bludgeoned it to death while forcing her to watch the gruesome death of her innocent friend. Immediately after this incident, Lucy went out of control, inciting the first bloodbath of her violent life.

Looking at Lucy’s experience at the hands of humans prior to her killing rampages, one would see that the anime is actually touching on a relevant social issue prevalent in the world today – xenophobia and the issue of nature vs. nurture. As observed by many sociologists and history itself, humans have a tendency to reject anything that exists outside the norm, especially if it steps beyond the realms of conventional knowledge.

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In Elfen Lied, the Diclonius could be considered as the next step in the evolution of man. However, rather than embracing the new species, humans have decided to exploit and eradicate them. This in turn conditioned the Diclonius’s viewpoint of the human race to such a degree that they end up considering humans as nothing but expendable monsters that do not deserve to exist. Lucy was among the first to experience this firsthand, and its effects on her mind and psyche are explored in the series.

The issue of nature vs. nurture is also explored in depth in the anime, as the Diclonius are continually subject to cruel tests and torture by the humans, thereby triggering murderous tendencies that, paradoxically, make the humans consider them as savages. A twisted exception to the rule here is Nana, a 6-year old Diclonius who spent her entire life being tortured and experimented upon by humans. However, due to the kindness that Nana felt in the presence of Kurama, who sees much of his child in her, Nana develops into a character with a heart that remains emphatic and pure. Ironically, in the anime, the most human character turned out to be not human at all.

1. The Diclonius – Beyond Humanity

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The Diclonius are a subhuman species that are featured prominently in the anime. Noted for a couple of hornlike protrusions extending from the temporal and parietal regions of their skull, Dicloni are usually thought of as having a propensity for violence towards humans.

One of the key aspects of the story is the debate about whether the Diclonius is really a subspecies of humans that desire to eradicate the human race and populate the Earth with their own species, or if they simply turned towards their violent tendencies because of the abuse that they endured in the hands of human beings. In cases such as these, the Dicloni’s tendencies towards violence can be referred to as a vendetta against the ill treatment their kind has and is receiving under the humans’ oppression.

2. Vectors – The Sixth, Deadly Sense

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Vectors are the Dicloni’ most prominent feature. Ranging from a few feet to numerous meters long, vectors are invisible arms that the Dicloni are able to manipulate by will. Vectors can grasp things as if they were made of solid matter, but they are also insubstantial as to be able to pass through objects.

The vectors are the Dicloni’ primary weapon, being able to function a lot like blades when in contact with their victims. In fact, the massacre in the first episode was accomplished by Lucy through the use of her vectors.

3. Darwinian Tendencies – Survival of the Fittest

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One of the things that I loved most about Elfen Lied is the underlying theme of the Diclonius being the next step in human evolution. Being the more evolved species, the humans ended up trying to suppress them, to the point of treating them as nothing but test subjects and torturing them to within an inch of their lives.

However, the case of Lucy proves to be a central point to this Darwinian tendency of the story, as she ends up developing an instinct that enables her to view humans as nothing more than expendable pieces that can be killed. Through her trauma at the hands of a less evolved species, she has ended up looking at life as survival of the fittest. Since she is more powerful than humans, she exterminates them without hesitation.


Elfen Lied is an anime that is worth a watch if you are willing to think about the underlying themes of the story while looking at the profound social commentary that it shows without any hesitation. Showing the ugly realities of life in the unveiling of its plot, this anime pulls no punches when delivering its message to its audience. Indeed, it has a number of scenes that are over-the-top in its gore, and a number of scenes involving nudity seem out of place. However, remember that these are but the surface of the story. Beyond it lies a plot that is dark, intense, and undoubtedly brilliant.

Peter

Writer

Author: Peter "Virage" de Jesus

In the game of life, the Universe deals us a hand of cards. Some revel in the fortunes they are provided. Others resort to clawing their way up with the bad hand that they are dealt. A number would fold as the years go by. Our existence is a game of chances, and in this game, we all play. I play life in Hard Mode.

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