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Review
Show: Elfen Lied (2004)  
Review by: Animetique
This summary/review is provided by animetique.com and used under the Creative Commons License.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

First Impressions After 3 Episodes
I just finished a promo screener of the first Elfen Lied dvd containing episodes 1-3 coming out sometime in May from ADV. The dvd wasn't a final product so there weren't menus or extras and the only language option was the English track.

The first 10 minutes or so involve a humanoid agent of death escaping her confines in a government laboratory. Lucy is a cold blooded killer who takes down 20+ guards in under 5 minutes in a very gory showdown with human limbs and heads flying everywhere. No, this isn't for small children or the faint of heart. She's also naked as she makes her escape, though the nudity is downplayed in the drawing style.

Some background - Lucy is a Diclonius, a genetically altered human with a deadly set of extra hands (or receptors as they're sometimes called) that can vibrate at high frequencies and cut through just about anything like it was butter. Visually, what sets them apart from normal humans is a set of horns growing atop their head.

Once Lucy escapes the compound, a sniper takes aim at Lucy in a last ditch effort to spare the world from this killer. She is hit in the head but lives, and dives off the cliff into the ocean below. (I'm not exactly sure why these government researchers didn't try to recover her body in the water, but moving on...)

Two college kids (and cousins, I think?), Kohta and Yuka, are reminiscing about their childhood on the beach when Lucy walks onto the shore. Instead of continuing her murderous rampage, Lucy is now transformed into a totally different person. She's still completely naked - and this time, there's a bit more detail. Thus, her alter ego, whom the kids name Nyuu, emerges.

Nyuu is a sweet girl who can't say any other word but "nyuu" - hence her name. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and has a very innocent curiosity about her - reminding me of Chi from Chobits.

The government soon sends out a special assault unit to retrieve Lucy, and when they fail, Chief Kurama sends out Nana, another diclonius who looks very similar to Lucy. When we first see Nana, she is naked, covered with blood, and chained to a wall. We learn that she's been tortured and subject to very painful tests - so much so that to keep her will to live, she clung desperately to the Chief. She now calls him papa and will do anything for him... except kill another living thing. Kurama is willing to compromise and tells her to just find Lucy, whom she should be able to sense with her diclonius powers. He then comments to his assistant that if it comes down to a fight between Lucy and Nana, Nana won't stand a chance, but her loss will be for the greater good.

While it seems Nana cares deeply for her papa, he remains emotionless towards her - possibly the early threads of the classic humans vs. the "other" (mutants/robots/aliens) theme where human life is superior to all other life forms. We do learn early on that the diclonius species intend to wipe out the human race, but why or how isn't revealed just yet.

Finally, there are allusions to an earlier time in Yuka and Kohta's life where they might have encountered a diclonius. Kohta seems to be suffering from amnesia though it's unclear what Yuka remembers. At one point, Lucy recognizes him and stops her attack before she does any damage, yet neither of the kids notices her mutant arms.

Yuka appears to have a dark side of her own that may play out in later episodes. She's fiercely jealous when other females interact with Kohta and often makes snide remarks about the mild (yet accidental) ecchi that's going on between Kohta and Nyuu. Often she'll ask Kohta if he remembers something he said or did from his past, and when he doesn't, she grows angry or breaks down into tears. Kohta remains clueless and when he asks her to explain, she tells him it's no big deal.

With all the themes currently in play, I'm looking forward to more. It certainly has the potential to be a great story with interesting characters.

Animation:

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

The animation is beautiful with vivid colors and lush backgrounds. The intro frames are gorgeous, with the characters posing in vibrant patterns that reminded me of Ganzo's rendition of Gankutsuou. The actual character designs fall along the lines of classic shoujo and range anywhere from simplistic to highly detailed depending on the scene.

Music:

My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

I love the opening theme, which has a dark, eerie feel. A woman sings passionately in Latin to a slow paced instrumental accompaniment. The closing theme has more of a pop/alternative guitar riff that transforms into a j-pop melody.

Character Design:

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

So far, the characters are all interesting. As mentioned above, it seems each has a darker side and/or hidden past that will eventually be revealed. Yuka is my least favorite - perhaps because I view her as irrational at this point. I hope her character will be fleshed out in greater detail but right now, she seems to harbor this intense jealousy that stems from 8 years ago. I find the romantic tension between cousins a bit odd too, but it's better than the brother/sister romance in some anime.

Lucy/Nyuu on the other hand is fascinating. I love how the anime has split their personalities to make them so radically different. As Lucy, the character is extremely menacing while as Nyuu, you couldn't imagine she could harm anything.
Last Updated: 5/17/2007
Other Reviews by Animetique
1) FLCL (Updated: 1/18/2007)
2) Ah! My Goddess! (Updated: 1/18/2007)
3) The Animatrix (Updated: 1/18/2007)
4) Chobits (Updated: 1/25/2007)
5) Parasite Dolls (Updated: 1/25/2007)
6) Noir (Updated: 1/25/2007)
7) Martian Successor Nadesico (Updated: 1/25/2007)
8) Gasaraki (Updated: 1/25/2007)
9) Fullmetal Alchemist (Updated: 1/25/2007)
10) The Vision of Escaflowne (Updated: 1/25/2007)
11) Neon Genesis Evangelion (Updated: 1/25/2007)
12) Scrapped Princess (Updated: 2/8/2007)
13) Escaflowne (Updated: 2/8/2007)
14) Metropolis (Updated: 2/9/2007)
15) Howl's Moving Castle (Updated: 2/9/2007)
16) Spirited Away (Updated: 2/15/2007)
17) Tenchi Forever! (Updated: 2/15/2007)
18) Blood: The Last Vampire (Updated: 4/4/2007)
19) Paranoia Agent (Updated: 4/23/2007)
20) Perfect Blue (Updated: 5/10/2007)
21) Elfen Lied (Updated: 5/17/2007)
22) R.O.D the TV (Updated: 6/5/2007)
23) Read or Die (Updated: 6/5/2007)
24) Elfen Lied (Updated: 6/29/2007)
25) The Twelve Kingdoms (Updated: 7/9/2007)
26) Love Hina (Updated: 8/17/2007)
27) Samurai Champloo (Updated: 3/6/2008)
28) Texhnolyze (Updated: 3/12/2008)
29) Tsukihime Lunar Legend (Updated: 9/2/2008)
30) Full Metal Panic! (Updated: 2/2/2009)
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