Elfen Lied #1

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100 minutes
English/Japanese
English Subtitles
Released: 05/17/2005
Reviewed: 03/28/2006

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It's a bit too late for pleasantries, but I think the pictures show, quite clearly, that what you're going to see here is not for the squeamish. If you're at work or something and you want to click the little 'X' box and run away so your boss doesn't see you looking at creepy Japanese gore-porn that's totally fine man, I understand. I mean god's honest truth me and Joel didn't exactly want to be a part of this whole affair at all, work or not... it just sort of happened.

A couple months ago I got into an argument about this show, but not having seen it there wasn't a whole lot I could contribute beyond my old maxim of 'less is more'. Joel seems to like the phrase 'addition by subtraction'. It's like when you bleep out a curse word on the radio, it's funnier because everybody already knows what they're saying anyway. When you cut away from Jack Bauer shooting a terrorist it's a good thing. We understand that the terrorist has been shot, heck we probably have a little 'squelch!' sound effect thrown in to assure that such information is relayed to us. My opponent was not so convinced, instead he mouthed out some tripe about how excessive violence "speaks to the human condition" or something because "this stuff really happens." I don't know, he had some mangled metaphor about a human being killing a fly that I didn't really understand the purpose of.


So here I am today, in a daze after having watched this abomination of celluloid. A couple weeks ago I ordered the DVD just to see what the fuss was about, right? I figured that $17 and a four day wait was a reasonable amount of expenditure to find out why people were clamoring about this ostensibly awful show. As I detailed in the podcast for this week, last Monday, before Joel came over, I held the box in my hand I sat there and thought "what happens if I'm wrong about this show and it's actually good?" Do I have to come back with my tail between my legs and kowtow to all the people that said Elfen Lied was the next coming of christ? That would be rather awkward, I should think. I've never been particularly good at making projects.

Well, glad to say that's not a problem.


Elfen Lied is, without a doubt, the most exploitative show I have ever scene and it does it in both directions. As if it was sculpted directly in the fires of hell, genetically engineered to be the most annoying, offensive, pointless, outrage-inspiring show of all time. By this I clearly can mean only one thing: it's a harem show with a lot of gore. Take your time to mull that one over, it's like it was created in some lab, nestled in a test tube, grown to contain all the parts that stupid/sick people need to enjoy cartoons.

The show is downright pornographic, and I'll let you take that in any sense of the word you want to muster. Lots of people take Gantz to town for being bloody and gory or whatever, fine, and it is... to an extent, but it's nothing compared to the levels of excess that Elfen Lied goes through minute by minute. When the main character, a genetic mutation named Lucy, isn't ripping the arms off fourteen year old girls she's fortunate enough to indulge in her other personality, that of Nyu. Nyu is the pleasantly retarded catgirl-esque harem staple. You'll cheer Lucy on while she dismembers yet another innocent civilian or pubescent girl and you'll weep for Nyu when she embarrasses herself by pissing all over the floor. Har har har! Now THAT'S what I call endearing!


Someone during the creation of this show literally could not decide whether they wanted to make a harem anime or a serious anime and crap like this is the result. I think you've got enough mis en scene there to figure out what's going on, but let me spell it out for you. In her alternate persona, Lucy is too retarded to dress herself and the main character's "sorta but not really" girlfriend (who's also his cousin) walks in at an inopportune time. Hilarity ensues!! This goes beyond the tenuous concept of moe, the fascination some Japanese (and American!!) perverts have with ultra-cute, innocent, helpless naive girls and into literal retarded "back of the short bus" behavior. I don't see how anyone can find that kind of behavior endearing. Too take the cute girl fetishization to a whole new level look at this (warning, you will lose your lunch). That is porn, no ifs ands or buts about it, straight up porn and if you disagree then you're lying to yourself. Nobody makes images like that without some level of fetishization involved.

Listen, I'm a pretty open guy and you want like crappy shows like crappy Tenamonya Voyagers or some junk like that, fine. I can't respect your decision, but at least I can understand that what you're watching isn't hurting anybody. Hey, I like Fist of the Northstar and by all accounts that is a terrible show. But at least neither of those shows goes to the masturbatory excess that Elfen Lied aspires to. I'm going to flat out say it: if you enjoy watching a cute little girl's arms getting ripped off, even a cartoon little girl, then there is something seriously wrong with you. I don't know why I ever doubted myself. Elfen Lied sucks. Also, judging by this picture, obviously it has no concept of what makes an intimidating character either.