So the other day I ended up watching Elfen Lied over the span of one day.
I just had nothing else going on at the time.
So here’s my review of it.
Spoiler free, because I just can’t bring myself to spoil anime unless it’s a sequel or I’ve covered it before on the blog.
Naturally, the fact that I binged this anime in a single day should at least hint that I enjoyed it. I’ve binged some less enjoyable anime before like this, but it’s not that common for me.
Super Basic Synopsis
A special girl with special abilities escapes a facility and washes up on a beach having lost her memories, sort of. Then she is taken in by a boy, the facility sends people to try and get her back, and madness ensues. Much blood is spilled throughout the story.
Well if you’ve followed some of my other reviews you’ll know exactly what I’m about to write here.
I love a dark and gritty anime! Anime that don’t hesitate to kill characters off, tear characters apart, and overall just go nuts. The violence and gore in this one reminded me a lot of Claymore, although I guess Elfen Lied came out first.
I’ll give my usual spiel: while I love my slice of life and happy anime, there’s just something so refreshing about watching a dark and gritty anime. Maybe I’ve just been looking in the wrong places but it feels somewhat rare to get an anime that commits to this level of gore, grit, whatever you want to call it. It’s a shame that the few anime like this that are out there are usually just written off as edgy. To me edgy is when something tries too hard to be cool, and I didn’t get that vibe here at all.
Anyways, Elfen Lied was very bloody.
It wasn’t as dark as it could have been, and it wasn’t as dark as I felt like it should have been. So take that however you will.
A Little Disorganized
Anyone else feel like Elfen Lied seemed a little disorganized? I thought the story overall was great, and it absolutely had me interested from the first minute of the first episode.
But I felt like there were parts and devices used that seemed a little clunky in the story. Many of these center around the protagonist, Kouta. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I guess it just seemed like many times the way the story interacted with him felt off. It’s hard to really delve into without spoiling anything, but he’s a very wishy washy character (with some issues) and personally I felt like he took away from the story at times.
That said, the flashbacks surrounding Kouta I really enjoyed, so I guess his character overall was really just a mixed bag for me.
In addition, as I mentioned prior, I felt like the story could have been much darker. Given the tone that was set very early on, I was actually hoping it would, but the anime sort of chickens out at times which I think is unfortunate. What I’d really love to see is a truly unapologetic anime in this genre, a real tragedy of an anime.
Won’t spend too much time on this, but I did want to bring up that Elfen Lied looks it’s age. Not the cleanest animation I’ve ever seen, I was actually surprised to see that Elfen Lied came out in 2004 because it almost feels older than that. But then I see other anime that I’ve watched around that time and it seems consistent with the time period.
Some serious animation improvements or budget increases or something must have happened between 2004 and 2007. In 2007 we have anime like Claymore, Clannad, Baccano!, and other really clean looking anime. What happened in those 3 years? Increased use of digital animation or something maybe? Or perhaps I just don’t know what I’m talking about here, it’s not something I know much about.
Anyways, I don’t really care how old an anime looks. Even today anime are being churned out that have awkward animation and seriously cut corners. If anything, I guess the 2004 look just gives Elfen Lied a bit of classic charm.
Overall, Elfen Lied is a very thrilling anime, start to finish. There’s always some sort of tension, action, or mystery that keeps you hooked. The anime also uses a lot of cliffhangers which is great for a binge session.
I’ll give Elfen Lied a 8 / 10.
Great anime to watch on a rainy day. It’s got a couple issues I think that are story-related and don’t really want to spoil or delve into, but honestly it’s just such a fun anime to watch play out that my personal issues with it don’t matter too much in the end.
If you like dark and gritty anime then this is a great anime to check out.
And that’s Elfen Lied.
I’m sure most of you have already seen it, because I’ve known about it forever but just never ended up watching it until now.
What this anime makes me realize is that I’d really like to watch a truly tragic anime, one that doesn’t hold back. So if anyone has some recommendations I’d love to hear them!
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.