December 17, 2006

Elfen Lied

Over at Chizumatic, there's this:
Elfen Lied begins with a bang, all right. Only difference is that the "bang" leaves behind lots of guts, blood, and gore. Elfen Lied is almost a slasher feature, given how much violence there is and how explicitly the violence is presented, or so I've been told. It's a good thing they created it digitally, because the bill for red paint would have bankrupted them.

The "bang" it begins with is Lucy's escape from the laboratory where she and the other diclonius's (read "demons") were being studied. To escape, she killed all the guards, by cutting them into pieces. Ick... (I've seen screen caps, and you don't want to.)

Elfen Lied is a mixed bag. It is, as Steven says, extremely violent and very graphic in that violence. It makes Hellsing (either version) look like Azumanga Daioh, actually.

But, for all that, I found it to be incredibly absorbing, and I don't usually groove on shows of that style. What ultimately makes it work is the dichotomy of the Lucy/Nyu character... one side is an awesomely powerful creature that thinks nothing of, say, tearing the head off an innocent secretary then using her pens as head-shotting missiles, using her 'arms'. The other side of her is a sweet, caring, brain-addled cutie who can only say 'nyu.' Yes, I know, it sounds awful, but it hooked me.

Look, there's no easier way for me to describe the show's violence level than to tell a story from the Duck U. Anime Club. The Club receives monthly screener DVDs from ADVocates, the ADV club group, and one month had the first episode of EL on it. Nobody having heard of the show, we sat down to run it.

ADV throws up a black screen over nudity and extreme violence on their screener DVDs, and the FIRST EIGHT MINUTES were nothing more than black screen and subtitles (except for brief flashes of non-graphic animation).

An example (note: not really).

Best darn OP ever, though. Bar none. EVER.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 05:18 PM | Comments (14) | Add Comment
Post contains 335 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Lucy/Nyu sounds like Pai from 3x3 Eyes. Only more so.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 17, 2006 05:21 PM (xyVrU)

2 You're not wrong, Pixy. In fact, now that it's been mentioned, I don't know why I didn't notice the similarity before...

It bears repeating: Best. OP. EVAR.

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 17, 2006 05:33 PM (YadGF)

3 I'll agree with you that EL is 'incredibly absorbing'. This was the first series I watched that hadn't been already released, so I had to wait a couple of months between disks. The waiting drove me nuts - I wanted to know where it was going now. I still consider it one of my favorites and rewatch it from time to time.

I'll almost agree with you that the OP is the best. I still rank 'Lain' higher, just because of the awesome BoA tune...

Posted by: astro at December 17, 2006 06:08 PM (FyzEs)

4 According to Wikipedia, Lucy kills 23 staff and guards in the first 10 minutes of the first episode. And she kills all of them by tearing them apart.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 18, 2006 10:07 AM (+rSRq)

5 I loved the intro sequence's song and the visuals go along nicely. It's one of the few series whose opening sequences I don't mind sitting through (the others being GITS: SAC season 1 and 2).

Posted by: Cineris at December 18, 2006 01:34 PM (6xvdl)

6 Wow.

One has to wonder, given that policy, why Elfen Lied was put on the screener DVD in the first place.

...then again, I can certainly see that working to get someone interested in the series, so perhaps it does make sense after all.

Posted by: Aaron Nowack at December 18, 2006 01:39 PM (hW9mq)

7 But, for all that, I found it to be incredibly absorbing, and I don't usually groove on shows of that style. What ultimately makes it work is the dichotomy of the Lucy/Nyu character... one side is an awesomely powerful creature that thinks nothing of, say, tearing the head off an innocent secretary then using her pens as head-shotting missiles, using her 'arms'. The other side of her is a sweet, caring, brain-addled cutie who can only say 'nyu.' Yes, I know, it sounds awful, but it hooked me.

Exactly my feelings. The show as a whole is also like that, containing the well-known bloodbaths but also some of the most touching scenes I've seen in any anime.

The OP song and animation are both beautiful (I was actually introduced to the show via the OST), but the ED also bears mentioning. Mainly because it's so ridiculously out of place in a show like this--you see Lucy commit some unspeakable act of violence to end an episode, and then it's "BABY I WANNA BE YOUR GIRL". So delightfully warped...

Oh, and Wikipedia is wrong. She doesn't kill them all by dismemberment. There's the ballpoint-pen-through-the-head guy, and the one who had his heart ripped from his chest. ;-)

Posted by: Andrew F. at December 18, 2006 01:58 PM (/TVYf)

8 I'm seriously considering a post of screencaps from the first 8 minutes, showing the various methods of death.

Andrew, the ED song is completely wrong for the show, and I love it, too. Actually, most of the staff of the Duck U. Bookstore like it, as well... even the ones that don't watch anime. It's just catchy as all heck.

Posted by: Wonderduck at December 18, 2006 02:02 PM (0Co69)

9 Sounds like it's just as out-of-place as the ED for Divergence Eve.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 18, 2006 03:26 PM (+rSRq)

10 Elfen Lied was a high stakes effort. To their credit, they kept alot of different plates spinning for quite some time ( horror, ecchi, harem, coming of age romance). Unfortunately, the whole thing came crashing down at the end. It was quite a wild ride while it lasted, though.

Posted by: Mark Brinton at December 18, 2006 06:07 PM (8dVqy)

11 ... and EL has the best OP. I was left speechless.

Posted by: Mark Brinton at December 18, 2006 06:23 PM (8dVqy)

12 It's a good thing you liked it. I posted something on my blog a zillion years back about how EL had a good song (which I translated and annotated, since the munchkins weren't doing it), but that I had no intention of ever watching the show. I know my violence limits, among other things.

And people keep sending me emails to tell me how bad I am for not watching their show! Or for having an opinion about what I'll probably like and what I won't!

*snicker* 'Cause no anime fan ever has opinions or tastes of her own....

Posted by: Maureen at December 21, 2006 11:39 AM (Ct5LW)

13 RE: EL's OP. Yes, it's quite good. But I think the OP for the Hakkenden is still one of the best in all of anime. The series is from 1990. I've seen a lot of anime since, and I can honestly say I've never seen an OP that comes close to comparing.

Too bad the anime itself was mediocre at best.

For some reason I have the entire series on LD. Some of which are still unopened. Heh.

As Steven often says -- everyone's entitled to their opinion. But if you want to see a *real* OP ...

Kidding, kidding.

Posted by: bkw at December 27, 2006 06:52 PM (KhFAm)

14 Hmmm. Just went back and watched the OPs to Hakkenden and Elfen Lied, to make sure I remembered them correctly.

My memory of Hakkenden may be slightly rose colored; it's a little dated, but (imo) still generally superior to the typical j-pop soundtracks. One of the things that I like the most is that it is pretty evocative of the series itself.

This is where I think the OP for Elfen Lied falls down a bit -- I would argue that it fits the tragic aspects of the anime, but misses all the other facets that make up the series. The OP doesn't give you a clue as to what to expect, except that it all very likely ends in tears ...

But anyway.

Posted by: bkw at December 27, 2006 07:17 PM (h/KQ9)

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