Elfen Lied is a Japanese manga series created by manga author Lynn Okamoto. A thirteen-episode anime television series adaptation based on the manga was produced by the studio ARMS and broadcast on TV Tokyo from July to October 2004. The anime started before the manga was complete; as a result, the plot differed between the two, especially towards the ending of the story. The anime has the legendary opening theme 'Lilium' with a gripping storyline and is extremely graphic, while the manga art style is very softly drawn. But for now i am going to review the anime.
The Diclonius are a species of evolved humans with two horns and vectors, transparent arms that have the power to manipulate and cut objects within their reach. These arms are capable of incredible strength able to lift objects of extremeweight and move at super sonic speeds easily able to cut through any object with ease, including the human body. Diclonius are being held in a special experimental facility off the coast of Kamakura in Kanagawa, south of the city of Yokohama. However one night Lucy a teenage Diclonius escapes from her restraints and trys to break out of the facility. She effortlessly kills many in the facility with her vectors and makes it outside. However a marksman has been ordered to shoot Lucy, landing a would-be fatal blow to her head which causes Lucy to fall into the ocean only to be washed up on sure in the south city of Yokohama,developping a split personality and creating the persona 'Nyu'.
Elfen Lied involves themes of social alienation, identity, prejudice, revenge, abuse, jealousy, regret and the value of humanity. The plot is extremely sad to say the least, I found myself being rather depressed that these diclonius are being experimented on in a far off facility. What makes it even worse is the amount of innocent people that just end up dieing, its hard to know whether Lucy or Nyu as a single person is the protaganist or the antaganist of the story. However it is that complexity which makes the plot line great. Sadness and depression is a powerful emotional tool which makes the viewer question him or herself about the treatment of these diclonius. We follow the story of these Diclonius and especially Lucy and how she interacts with human life. When you see Nyu in character she is harmless, cute, innocent girl but then you see Lucy who is violent and dangerous and would kill without question.
The characters of Elfen Lied are ones that many will love, the work together so perfectly with Nyu acting as the light in this very dark anime.
Lucy: She is the main female protagnist and the teenage Diclonius who escaped the experimental facility at the begining of the anime, developing a split personality in the process resulting in 'Nyu'. For her whole life she has been met with hatred, alienation and contempt and this has caused her to develop an extreme hatred to all humans because of the treatment she received as a child, causing her to kill them without a second thought. What makes things worse is that she is the most powerfull diclonius in the anime, her power unstoppable, which makes her a difficult adversary to defeat, even for other diclonius.
Nyu: When Lucy was struck in the head with a 50. Calibre bullet, she developped an alternate personality. When she awoke, she became Nyu, who is one of the most cutest anime characters in existence. She becomes completely selfless and is always smiling craving for attention. She becomes this child like character unaware of how the world works and only wants to be with her loved ones. In this form she does not even know she is a diclonius and thus cannot use her vectors. It is this innocence and soft heartedness that us the viewers become conflicted and question our feelings. This because Nyu and Lucy are the same person as 2 sides of the same coin, truly a dangerous combination.
Kohta: Kohta is the male protagonist of the anime, who does everything for the girls that live with him. He shows his authority by not allowing any of the girls to stay if they do not work, yet still shows sympathy towards each one acting as a father figure to many of the girls in the house. It shows he has responsibility and very reliable. Even with his stern attitude he does have a soft side to him as he is ussually caring most of the time. He is so caring he is the only human Lucy refuses to kill because of their past relationship that is revealed in the anime.
When you watch the first 7 minutes of the first episode in the anime, you see Lucy killing and endless amount of people with blood shed flying in all corners of the screen. This over the top graphical violence most people think is very unnecessary. Throughout the series, there is a great deal of nudity, blood and gore, extreme graphic violence as well as psychological violence. Dicloius are essentially just mutations of normal humans, yet they are locked away in a far off facility and are experimented on day and night. These inhumane actions cause much shock to the viewer, which in turn allows them to take pity on the diclonius. Lucy shows so much violence throughout the entire anime, however when she reverts back to Nyu she becomes cute and harmless. This sudden change of personalities and the never ending violence is a true juxtaposition on context for the anime.
I found this anime truly amazing and it holds a place at the top of my list. The story was amazing, it showed me the true extent of human nature and how lonliness can develop into hatred. Many people would agree that Elfen Lied is one of the greatest animes ever, I find it hard to believe that a second season has not been developed, but I love the animation in the Elfen Lied anime. The music is so fitting, with many parts being these dark orchestral pieces that create an ominous atmosphere for the anime, the title song, 'Lilium' is played throughout in many different versions, a favourite of mine being the music box piece. For this reason I believe Elfen Lied is the very best anime because it is just so shocking, yet very depressing and cold as well. When watching Elfen Lied everything feels forced upon you, the emotions and feelings of the characters all try and make you question humanity and cause you to question yourself about what you would do in the position that the characters are forced into and if you would meet Lucy with the same hatred and alienation that so many already did in the past.