Without a doubt, I can recommend Elfen Lied as the perfect show to start any young child on his or her path to becoming a full-blown anime fan. The characters, especially Nyu-chan and Nana, are so adorable, and the wacky hi-jinks that they get into in every adventure will entertain the little ones for thirteen episodes straight and make any grown-up titter with glee. And did I happen to mention the cute little puppy? Oh my fucking god, he's just the cutest little sonovabitch you've ever seen! There's playful trips to the zoo, fun Japanesey festivals, and goofy, adorable "special" powers that prove that even those who may think of themselves as outsiders can find people who care about them and -- ...
Oh man, seriously, I can't go on. I thought I could do whole review like this, but I just can't. True, Elfen Lied was probably nothing but a kids' show in Japan, the land of the perverts and guro-fiends, but you'd kill me if on my recommendation you put your 5 year-old in front of the TV with this playing and after 30 minutes he came at you, hysterical, with a knitting needle, trying to shove it into your left eye.
Let me be perfectly clear here: Elfen Lied is one of the MOST fucked up shows that Japan has ever produced. Yes, even more so than Narutaru. Elfen Lied made Narutaru look like ALF. The first ten minutes of EL alone will scar any impressionable child for life (trust me, I ran experiments). Holy Jesus fuck. After watching this whole thing in a day I had a very hard time getting to sleep that night. The hands... The hands kept coming for me. I could not see them, but I felt them, wrapping around my torso and neck, getting ready to TWIST and RIP my body to shreds. Then my dreams would suddenly turn into hot and wet porn, but that's only because I've spent years practicing changing any nightmare into mental pornography. Only run a marathon of this show if you've received the same special training from the Dalai Lama like I have.
Anyway, Elfen Lied is all about these pink-haired chicks with horns in their skulls who have the power to move around invisible arms attached to their backs -- arms that can swing around, stop bullets, rip flesh apart, toss cars, and play bowling with human heads. Think Doc Ock, but with unseen tentacles, and instead of a tubby scientist the extra limbs are attached to little mutant girls. Speaking of whom, the main problem with these little mutant girls (aka diclonius) is that they are 100% PSY-FUCKING-KO. For some reason they think that the only way to solve any problem that they come across is to tear somebody a new asshole... Literally. True, most of the diclonius that we meet are psycho because they were held captive by some sort of government agency that's studying them (and keeping the girls drugged, contained, and mind-warped) their whole lives, but even those who were never in captivity are fucking bonkers. But they're just so goddamn cute!
Anyway, we start the story off with Lucy, a captured diclonius, making her (beyond fucking bloody) escape from the secret agency that captured her. It's these first ten minutes that let you know what you're really in for in this series. In Lucy's casual walk to freedom she utterly destroys an army (and a few secretaries and scientists) without breaking a sweat. This scene is so brutal and disturbing that even I cringed and had to look away a few times, and I love CSI and that gory ER show on the Learning Channel. Just the nonchalant way in which Lucy pops off a head and lets the neck-cavity gush a fountain of crimson for a few seconds before tossing the skull at another person and playfully removing yet another soldier's still beating heart (after which she tosses it into the lap of that soldier's comrade) will either make you feel sick, or just blink your eyes in disgust and amazement, then feel sick. All over the cat.
Ugh, I should go on with the story, but I just feel compelled to continue talking about the unmitigated, frenzied bloodshed. It is the perfect example of driving past a car wreck... Even if you see blood and parts of a body through a windshield, you just can't help but rubberneck. You HOPE for more. You think "Oh man, let there be a decapitation too! Please!" But then when you see the head several yards down the highway you're like "Ugh... Oh fuck, I didn't really mean it.. BLARRRGH!"
The murders in this show are so palpable too. The way the flesh and muscle are torn, the animation and the sound effects... I've never experienced anything as grotesque in my life. If this had been a Hollywood movie, those effects would have been either laughably over the top, or crappily underused. Here, they make you FEEL the pain that the victim of the invisible arms feels. It will fuck you up a little, even if you're as completely desensitized to bloodshed as I am.
Where was I? Oh yeah, so Lucy escapes and immediately meets up with average college student Kouta and his female cousin (who has the hots for him... Seriously, why is Japan so infatuated with cousin couples? That's just, God, ewww); but now Lucy's all amnesiatic and stupid thanks to a sniper who got off one lucky shot to the head as the diclonius made it to the edge of a cliff on the island where she was held prisoner. So Kouta takes Lucy in (and names her "Nyu" because that's all the retard can say), and soon a strange harem forms around them... Though don't be thinking that Tenchi Muyo harem-hilarity then ensues -- Instead think "Manson family fun!"
That's probably my main caveat about Elfen Lied... The whole show is filled with a sense of dread. Pretty much every second of every episode makes you feel that every character on screen at any given time can and will die a horrible, disgusting death. Yes, there is some humor, but it's usually preceded by or immediately followed by a puppy getting kicked to death by some dickwad kids or a little girl getting Anakin Skywalker-ized and left limbless, bleeding on the ground of a cemetery. The music is a total bummer too. There's not one happy tune in the whole show!... Well, that's not true I guess. See, right at the end of every episode we're left with a bloody and dramatic cliffhanger and then BAM!, the ending theme kicks in, and it is the most inappropriately unsuitable, boppy poppy song ever written. It's actually called something like "Baby, I Want to be Your Girl." It's kind of like watching a loved one get eaten alive by both a pack of hyenas and a flesh-eating bacteria at the same time, and then having a clown come in, do a little clown dance and make you some cute balloon animals. You wonder just what the fuck you're supposed to feel. The song's catchy, true, but it'll make you shake your head in wonder as you ponder how the animation producers pick these things for their shows. I have five bucks saying that they choose opening and ending theme songs with a dartboard.
My other warning/problem with this series is how the director tries to keep you on your toes by making the main characters so overly cute while fighting this terrible and disgusting battle with their foes. It's so goddamn obvious that they're only trying to shock and awe us with the hyper-violence that blasts in our faces like a tentacle monster after 2 minutes of repeated thrusting animation, immediately following a couple of saucer-eyed children eating snow cones or playing with adorable puppies (and no, I'm not kidding about those two visuals). This attempt to make the violence seem even more horrible than it already is (and holy Christ-fuck is it horrible) is really just annoying. It doesn't keep you on your toes, it just makes their bad attempt at playing with your emotions something to get pissed off about... Like the way Lucy simply keeps repeating the sound "Nyu" over and over again while in her childish state. Not cute, just irritating.
Other than that there's something in the plot about these diclonius being the next phase of human evolution thanks to some weird virus that will infect the world's population in the next few years, and something about Kouta's traumatic childhood, and some child abuse and plenty of attempted rapes and stuff. So, to misquote the ever great "Weird Al" Yankovic, "if you like the six o'clock news then you'll love" Elfen Lied. Just don't let any kids under the age of 14 watch it unless you really really hate them.
Okay, now I've skinned and gutted a few cats and goats in my life, but not even real-life skinnings messed with my head as much as this here show. This Elvish Leed thing was just a bit over the top without being really gruesome. Yeah, tons of people die, but they all die the same way. It was like, "Oh, hey! That dude's head just got twisted off!" and, "*Yawn*... Ho hum, another head got twisted off.... Wonder what's next..."
If they had put a little more effort into the killin's then I might have gotten a bit more excited about the whole thing, but as is I just found all the death and decapitations a bit boring. Give me Faces of Death any day over this kind of cheap crap. In FoD you at least get a new, violent offing in each clip. Awesome.
Yeah, you like death, you little whitey mothafuckas? You like to pull out yo wang and jack it to images of people gettin' they's bodies torn in two? You are sick, sick little fucks, you know that?
Yeah, you THINK you know what violence is, bitch, but you don't know jack shit. You see an animated bitch get her arms ripped off and you wanna hump that ho thinkin' those bloody stumps is a turn on for both of you. But not even that bleedin'-to-death, fake animated girl is gonna give you the time of day if you approached her... You know why? 'Cause you SICK, mothafucka. You fuckin' SICK!
In Japan, this show, even with all its titties, violent deaths and beyond disturbin' child abuse, would be considered children's TV... But that shit just don't fly here, homie. I want to see each of you fat fucks who get off on dead animated bodies see how you hold up when tryin' to stop yo homie's chest and guts from bleedin' out after a drive by that Loco Luiz ordered on yo ass. Yeah, you prolly shit yo pants the minute you feel warm intestines oozin' on yo fingertips, faggot.