16 Oct 2006

Elfen Lied


There are times when I’m very ambivalent about contiuing a series. A number of episodes of Maria-sama ga miteru were that way. When the seniors were graduating, or something really traumatic was happening.

Elfen Lied isn’t quite the same. but I have a lot of trepidation about continuing.

If this were purely a horror show, I wouldn’t have a problem. It’s extremely violent and gory. Since it isn’t really a spoiler to talk about the first few minutes, I won’t wrap this in a spoiler tag. The first episode opens with twenty one people being killed by being ripped limb from limb, or rather head from body, sliced in two, squished and splattered all over the walls… All of the killing perpetrated by a woman who’s naked but for a helmet, and not drawn with any attempt at modesty. There’s a lot of nudity – and a lot of splatter violence – through the series. (Or the first half, which is all I’ve seen, but it’s hardly likely to change.)

That’s fine. This is clearly an anime for adults. What makes it hard to take is that bad things are happening, or are constantly on the edge of happening, to people we care about. This is also a romance (/ harem) anime, with typical comedic touches, which is happening surrounded by the gore, and the sympathetic kids and their fragile relationships are being drawn into the horror.

At the mid-point, we have three cute girls and one guy, in a typical harem anime setting, with one of the girls being a part-time mass murderer. Which doesn’t begin to describe her brutality. [spoiler /Moderate spoiler about one of the others./ /Hide spoiler/] The youngest girl is a runaway. After enduring several years of child sexual abuse, shown barely off-camera. When we meet her, she’s alone and homeless – hardly a typical harem anime figure.[/spoiler]

These kids are on the edge of something really bad, and I find myself wishing I could put the series aside and not know – but, of course, needing to continue. As anyone would who’s made it this far, because it really is an excellent anime. The horror and evil play off the romance and innocence in a way that diminishes neither. So I have to go on. At the mid-point, at least, I’d recommend this – for anyone with a stomach as strong as the recommendation.

The opening is perfect, with the (mainly) latin song, Lilium, sourcing a pathos that carries throughout the show. If I’m not mistaken, there is no music other than variants of Lilium within the series – I’ve been too absorbed much of the time to pay attention, but when I have noticed music, it is Lilium. Other than the bizarre switch to the ending theme, which seems completely out of place – except that this is exactly what the anime is like. (Both opening and ending include nudity.)

Most animes have ambiguous episode previews at the end which are interesting, but tell you little about what will happen. The previews at the end of Elfen Lied episodes are heavy spoilers, and I need to stop watching them. I keep doing so because I want to be prepared for whatever the next horrible event is, but watching them has harmed the story.

The problem I have is that I’ve now watched the first two of four DVDs – and the other two are already checked out at the rental place. I have plenty of Erementar Gerad to watch – I didn’t expect to add that to the obsessions list, but it seems to be there now – but I need to know what’s going to happen in Elfen Lied. Even though i don’t really want to.

Current obsessions: (anime) Simoun
Elfen Lied
Erementar Gerad

This entry was posted on Monday, October 16th, 2006 at 10:01 pm and is filed under Anime. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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