I've heard a lot of hype about this series, a lot of hype. An opportunity to watch the entire series presented itself, and out of curiosity I gave in. The one thing that people talk about when plugging Elfen Lied is the very first scene of the first episode: A naked, pink-haired devourer of worlds ruins the day of a whole lotta people and is found washed up on the shore by our idiot hero and his plucky sidekick/childhood friend. What the advocates fail to mention is that a blow to the head turns the Lady Godiva among the Four Horseman turns her into the magical retard, and to top it off probably delays a big chunk of the story development to the end.
Some heavy subjects and themes are tackled by the series, but in such a clumsy way that the message easily gets lost as the viewer watches slack-jawed. Because the mental age of the leading lady reverts to near infancy, a number of scenes border on pedophilia. Then there's the episode with an actual scene of pedophilia. Prejudice and cruelty to the "other" is one of the main themes because ripping off the X-Men sell, but male power fantasies seem fairly common and not the good kind. Not even Sean Connery could get away with the violence against women.
Randy boys plug Elfen Lied because there is ultraviolence and gratuitous nudity, which is cool but in context the violence is hard to stomach while the nudity is so tacked on and frankly boring. A chained, naked loli who I think was covered blood on paper sounds like an album cover for a heavy metal record, but in practice it's really unnerving and unsettling. One particular scene felt as if the character was thinking, "Oh, that's right. We need a little more nudity right now."
Episodes 10 and 11 I think are the ones which go into the backstory which is much hinted at throughout the series, but I think they should have been the second and third. From there the conflicting emotions of the central characters could have defined the arc of the series rather than thrown in at the last minute to wrap things up.
This series has been out for a while, and it may be possible to argue that this anime blazed the trail for better anime with pointless violence and fanservice, but at the same time Elfen Lied just hasn't aged well. It doesn't stand up to anime like Highschool of the Dead or Demon King Daimao which have violence and shameless fanservice, but one plays it refreshingly straight with the zombie genre and the other is just good fun. Hell, Sgt. Frog is a wildly entertaining show and you can watch it around your family.
Oh dear god. Why did you cave into pressure and watch this? It was one of the few shows Spooks showed me that I regret ever knowing about it. Sadly I was linked to it when comparing When They Cry but at least that anime had a better plot to it. This was just.....why...
As for why this anime is so popular...my guess is the fanservice and just how 'shocking' it can be to show people. Otherwise I can't understand why anyone can stand it. Then again, maybe I have weird taste in shows?
Now now, I didn't cave, it had been a while since I heard the hype. I stumbled onto it in the Netflix streaming. Besides, I seem to get more feedback reviewing a train wreck than a masterpiece :P What did Spook think of it? I'm guilty of weird, even bad taste, but the anime sucked.
Funny point you brought up there. I think everyone enjoys ranting over praising for some reason. :stantounge:
I don't think Spooks really enjoys it either. She just enjoys the reaction she sees in others when she shows it to them.