Elfen Lied

The Boring Info The Characters The Terms The Songs The Opinion
Lucy
Nyuu
Kouta
Yuka
Mayu
Nana
Diclonius
Silpelit
Vectors
Lilium
Be Your Girl


The Animoo

Elfen Lied PosterWhen watching the first episode, Hell, when watching the first couple of minutes of the first episode, you’ll know that this isn’t your average anime.

What you’ll essentially see is a naked chick in her late teens, wearing an iron mask, brutally slaughtering dozens of soldiers and personnel using her vectors, whilst escaping the military facility where she has been held captive for roughly 7-8 years.

During the last part of her escape, she is shot in the head with a .50 BMG (in layman’s terms, a REALLY big bullet), however, because of her iron helmet and the partial deflection by using her vectors, she manages to survive, albeit wounded and with brain damage. Unconscious, she falls into the sea below the cliff she was standing on.

The story from this point on essentially switches between your everyday Harem/love story anime (usually when Nyuu is dominant), a complete slasher/slaughter horror flick (when Lucy is dominant), the inner workings of the “facility”, and finally, flashbacks revealing what really happened with Kouta when he was a child.

The Boring Info

  • The anime is 13 episodes long and has a single-episode OVA, which, chronologically, takes place between episodes 10 and 11.
  • It was produced at the same time as the manga and the story therefore differs quite a lot.
  • The first seven minutes of the first episode are known as some of the most provocative anime made, because of its strong graphical content.
  • The titles of each episode are in German, which seems to be the case for any anime that has to do with the occult or something dark and supernatural.
  • If you go to most other websites, they’ll say that “it is an anime based on the German poem, Elfenlied“, but I don’t see it. Other than the title and a single word from the poem (which is actually taken from an opera), there are like ”no” similarities whatsoever. Not that I care, I just mentioned it for good measure.


The Characters

In snack-sized bits

Lucy
A ruthless and sadistic Diclonius, who escapes her confines. As a child, she was always quiet and alone, since all the other children in the orphanage were afraid of her because of her horns.

She was often teased by three sadistic bullies, who even went as far as beating the stray dog, Lucy had befriended, to death, right in front of her, just to make her cry.

The bullies had heard about the dog from the only person Lucy had trusted in her life, which finally pushed her over the edge, making her lose all faith in the human race and regard in human life, now thinking of everyone not like herself as “non-humans”.

Nyuu
Lucy’s split personality, who was created due to the damage from the shot that hit Lucy’s head. In the manga, it is said that this persona was partially fabricated by Lucy, because she was afraid to face Kouta.

She has language difficulties (all she could say at first was “nyuu”) and has regressed into a childlike state of mind, and is essentially like Chii from the anime/manga Chobits.

Nyuu has no control of her vectors, nor does she seem to know they even exist.

Kouta
A boy in his late teens, who unofficially becomes the caretaker of his cousin’s family’s inn. He suffered traumatic events as a child, but suppressed them, making his memory of his past very hazy.

During the storyline, his childhood is explained, as well as what happened to him as a child. He is very protective of anyone who reminds him of his late sister.

Yuka
Kouta’s cousin, who has had a crush on him since childhood. Still very much in love with him, she becomes jealous whenever Kouta shows any affection towards another girl.

Mayu
A young adolescent girl, who ran away from a broken home. She lived on the street with a puppy she named ”Wanta” (a dog’s bark in Japanese is “wan”), having nothing to eat but the bread crusts she got from a baker. She is later taken in by Kouta and Yuka.

Nana
A young Silpelit sent to recapture Lucy. Unlike other Silpelits and Diclonius, she has never shown any murderous intent towards humans and refuses to kill anyone, even when she herself is in mortal danger.

Her name is derived from the ID number she had at the “facility”, #7 (”Nana-ban” in Japanese).

The Terms

Diclonius
Diclonius is a word from Latin, meaning ”double sprout”, and is a reference to a common trait for the Diclonius; the two cat-ear-like horns sprouting from their skulls.

According to the statements I could “gather” from the animoo scientists, Diclonius are mutants, described as the ”queen bees” of a bee colony because of their shorter and lower amount of vectors (compared to the Silpelits) making them “weaker” in combat and for their ability to reproduce.

They have a lifespan and age rate similar to regular humans.

Silpelit
Silpelits are sterile Diclonius and described as the ”worker bees”, because of their sole purpose of killing off the human race (as said by the scientists).

Some of them can however still spread the Diclonius Virus by touching a man’s pineal gland (a part of the brain) with one of their vectors.

They age at approximately twice the rate of normal humans.

Vectors
Vectors are the “extensions” of Diclonius and Silpelit used to manipulate the objects around them.

They appear in the anime as invisible, intangible arms (they become tangible when the user “wills” it) and extend from the backs of the Diclonius and Silpelits. When not in use, they are inside the body.

Other than the obvious use as extensions, they can be used to deflect bullets and objects that do not have to much force (essentially, the higher the calibre bullet, the harder it is, while armor piercing bullets add to the threat) or to cut through objects by vibrating them at a microscopic level.

The strength of the vectors increase with age. While the vectors of Diclonius shown in the anime have a max range of 2 meters, those of Silpelits have a minimum range of 3 meters and the thus far longest range of a Silpelit’s vector has been 11 meters.

It seems to require a certain amount of concentration to use the vectors, and if one inflicts enough pain to break this concentration, the vectors will not come out. As evident by Nana, the vectors can also be “turned off” temporarily by disturbing the pineal gland.

The Songs

Lilium
The opening song is called ”Lilium” (Latin for the flower, ‘lily’) and is performed by Oguro Kumiko, though not written by her.

It is used a couple of times in the anime itself, e.g. Lucy was humming it during the slaughter of soldiers in the beginning of the anime and again in the end. It is also the tune played by the music box Kouta bought when he was about 10-11 years old.

The song itself is sung in Biblical Latin and seems to be based on a hymn, as well as a few stanza from “the good book” – the Bible – itself.

Personally, I think it’s a really, really beautiful song and kind of sad as well. I simply love the singing and the music is pretty good too, but oh(!!!) the singing… It’s not like it’s the ”greatest” voice I ever heard, but it’s so pure and she varies it so well to follow the music, so it’s probably still among my top 3.

I would advise against the full extended version (7 minutes and something long), because they added so much crap, including a male voice, which just sounds awful. The regular full version (3-4 minutes) is also kinda odd, but still good though.

The “story” of the animation is somewhat cryptic, but all the images seen are heavily influenced by the works of Gustav Klimt (Thank you Mindi for making me realize this ^_^), but features all the main characters rather than the actual models.

Those that are not directly taken from his works are drawn in the overall same style.

Here are the works I’ve been able to recognize thus far, as well as the time-stamps of when they appear (Note that my German is rusty, so the titles may be slightly off, and also, this is original research that took me several hours to complete; please do not re-use elsewhere without giving me proper credit):

The words vaguely seen on the side of all the pictures are the lyrics of the song, and also use the same style as the writings in Gustav Klimt’s paintings.

Be Your Girl
To be honest, I never heard past the first couple of seconds, because I felt it clashed too much with anime. It’s a happy-go-lucky J-pop-rock song (reminds me of Avril Lavigne songs with a mix of a young Janet Jackson) which just didn’t fit in with the mood set by the anime; the contrast was just too great.

I’ve heard that people believe that it is “a reflection of the relationship between Nyu and Kohta“, but I think that that is simply fan-bullshit that started off as a tired guy or girl being pestered with questions about the song until s/he just said some random crap that people decided to believe in.

In another anime, I don’t doubt I would have liked it better.

I have no idea of what the animation is, seeing that I never watched it, but since it has the same image in the beginning as it does in the thumbnail (which is taken from the middle of the video), I’m gonna guess it’s a single image with no changes.

Like the opening, the image is based on a painting by Gustav Klimt, this time being the one called “Danaë“.

The Opinion

Elfen Lied was a total shocker for me, but it was nice to see an anime “breaking the mould” of the gazillion anime we’ve seen already. Well… at least it tried to, but I’d say it succeeded for the most part, even though you could see the distinct Love Hina “One-guy-multiple-girls-living-in-the-dormitory-like-House-that-he-is-now-the-caretaker-of” Harem scenario at times.

Other than that, it is a brilliantly gory and psychological animoo, though with a bit too sugar-sweet ending (from what I hear, the manga is far more sadistic and emotionally ruthless throughout the story).

A thing I find unfortunate is how short the anime is. Not because longer series are always better, but because the anime grazes many psychological aspects of the characters, but fails to expand on them in any way, leaving the characters somewhat hollow.

For instance, it is revealed that Mayu ran away from home because her stepfather sexually molested her and her mother did nothing to prevent it or help Mayu, because she (the mother) was jealous of her. Despite this, Mayu doesn’t seem to have any psychological after-effects of these traumatic experiences and the issue – from a storyline point of view – is never dealt with.

The ending of the anime (which I will not reveal) has essentially the same “problem”.

Regardless, it shows themes not usually depicted in anime (at least realistically), such as sexual molestation of minors, social alienation/”racism”, repressed psychological trauma and several other psychological aspects, not to mention the extreme sadistic tendencies and complete disregard for human life seen in many of the characters.

It is well worth a watch, if you aren’t to squeamish about sudden decapitations, bodies cut in half and limbs slowly being ripped off.