Elfen Lied (Erufen Rīto) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto.
The series follows the various psychological and emotional differences between human beings and the Diclonii, a mutant species. The series is centered on the teenage Diclonius girl “Lucy” who was rejected by human beings and subsequently wants revenge.
The series’ title is German as well as Dutch for “Elves’ Song” or more formally “song of the elves'” and takes its name from the song “Elfenlied”, which is featured in the story.
1. Quick Review
Elfen Lied revolves around the relationships, perceptions, and differences between human beings and the Diclonii, a mutant species similar to humans in build but has visible differences.
They are characterized by the two horns on their heads and “vectors”, which are translucent telekinetically controlled arms that can manipulate and cut objects in their path.
The protagonist of the series is a teenage Diclonius girl “Lucy” who was rejected by human beings and is hence, seeking revenge.
Elfen Lied involves themes of social estrangement, an identity crisis, animal cruelty, revenge, child abuse, jealousy, and the value of humanity. The anime also has a mix of Japanese culture weaved into the storyline.
The Elfen Lied anime series has certain praise-worthy qualities such as the story and technical excellence in production quality, animation, and color Due to the many scenes of nudity and gore in the series, it has drawn criticism as being “overly blatant.”
2. Info Card
Elfen LiedAir Date: July 25, 2004 Status: Finished Studio: Arms No. of Seasons: 1 No. of Episodes: 13
3. Is it worth watching?
Elfen Lied is well-known for its graphic violence, emotional themes of how the characters change through, and the taboo topics that the anime displays throughout the whole story.
The art and animation work does justice to the show. If you are into the harem genre or even to just follow a gory plot that doesn’t require too much of your attention, then you should give Elfen Lied a shot.
Lucy belongs to a special mutant species that are called “Diclonius”. They are born with a pair of horns and invisible telekinetic arms which is a result of inhumane scientific experimentation by the government.
When she finds an opportunity and escapes, Lucy goes on a bloodthirsty massacre as she seeks revenge corrupted by the confinement and torture. During her breakout, she suffers a major head injury leaving her with a split personality. Sometimes, she becomes someone having the mental capacity of a harmless child with limited speech capacity.
During one of her personality shifts, she crosses paths with two college students, Kouta and his cousin Yuka, who unknowingly take her into their care and soon find themselves dragged into the shadowy world of government secrecy and conspiracy.
Elfen Lied’s plot may seem like it has mindless and extremely graphic violence and nudity. Even though this is the selling point for the anime, the gore and various atrocities committed by the characters are justified with seemingly acceptable reasons.
Elfen Lied primarily takes place in two locations: Kamakura and Kanagawa. The series focuses on the “Diclonius”, a newly mutated species.
Their appearance is similar to humans except for the prominent horns on their head and translucent arms called vectors that can control objects in their path.
III. Theme Songs
The opening sequence is one of the best parts of the whole show. The beautiful soundtrack “Lilium” is performed by opera singer Kumiko Noma and is sung in Latin and Greek, with lyrics extracted from biblical passages and Christian sources, including the Book of Psalms, the Epistle of James, the Kyrie prayer, and the hymn “Ave Mundi Spes Maria”.
The track is filled with a melancholic melody. It’s like something you would expect playing in the background during the end of the world as we know it.
The ending theme song is “Be Your Girl” by Chieko Kawabe. The song is ironic if you compare it to the storyline of the anime. The music is so upbeat and friendly that you forget about all the insane manslaughter that makes up most of the show.
IV. Action Sequence
The art and animation are terrifying yet admirable especially during the gory scenes where the disturbing images of the bones of the characters can be seen.
There is no easy way to explain the action you will witness in this show because it is a bloody nightmare that you are choosing to witness. After all, it is just that good. The story may be interesting but it’s the limb-flying, blood-spurting action that will leave you truly speechless.
4. Character Review
Lucy is the main character, protagonist, and anti-heroine of the series.
She could be referred to as ‘Queen’ Diclonius. Lucy is the type of character you come across in an anime and realize that it is very hard to find the thin line between good and evil. You do not know whether you find her actions justifiable because of the torment she was put through or if she’s simply on a torrent of mindless slaughter.
Following Lucy, Kouta is the main male protagonist in the Elfen Lied series.
His character is described to have been born and raised initially in Hokkaido. He is very important to Lucy and is the tragic love of her life. Kouta and Lucy have known each other since childhood and have faced many trials and tribulations because of their vast differences.
Yuka is a young woman who is described as the “Mother hen” character to those living in the Maple House in Kamakura.
This is where Kouta and Yuka stayed while attending college. Yuka is Kouta’s cousin whom she had strong romantic feelings for as a child and we see that those feelings have remained as the story progresses.
Nana is another main character in the anime series and a Diclonius.
She was among the ones of her kind who were not euthanized at birth, but instead taken and experimented on at the Diclonius Research Institute. Nana had an unusual personality for a Diclonius as she did not have the urge to kill or even hurt someone in the slightest.
6. Final Thoughts
Elfen Lied will always be a memorable show because of its distinctly violent characters and a psychological thriller of a story.
The most terrifying thing about this series is how it highlights the effects of a traumatic event on an individual that leads them down such a destructive and twisted path. If you love all things gory and gruesome, then this show will be your wicked wonderland.