Elfen Lied is a Hot Mess

Just another series I got into way too late…and boy, do I have some words for this one.

Elfen Lied is schlocky. No doubt about that. It’s the sort of gratuitous blood splatter you watch on Halloween, late at night, if you’re not afraid of invisible (badly-done CGI) hands.

…but why are the Diclonius all female and subservient to their “Papa” (as Nana calls Dr Kurama)? If to be female is to be subservient and to “stay in the kitchen”, for guys to mope about and lust over…this ups the shock factor. That’s my answer, at least. Elfen Lied is trying to milk the difference between opposites for all it’s worth, between a stereotype of innocence and generic cuteness (including rather “uguu” eyes which are rather typical of where it came from in 2004), while also trading in murder for the sake of it.

When the Diclonius are murder machines, is the juxtaposition of “cold-blooded killer” and “innocent girl who can only communicate through a single syllable” (<-note the use of the word “girl”, not “woman” – they are clearly being infantilised) is meant to be mined for humour? Elfen Lied tries that, sure, but the anime is trying to have its cake and eat it too there, by putting Kohta and Lucy into various ecchi situations…and you can’t be a serious terror-inducer when the audience doesn’t take you seriously. It’s a male fantasy and it’s not very apologetic about it. Lucy even imprints on people like a lost duck, which is also what I said for one of the Kanon girls at one point.

After having written this post, it’s simultaneously kind of odd that I’m making parallels between Kanon and Elfen Lied, considering one is bloody and one is…not…but it also kind of makes sense, in a weird way. Just think about it though: a guy, surrounded by a group of girls in kinda-sorta-romances, with weird shenanigans happening in the background…which anime am I talking about? You can’t tell, yeah?

This is a very low-energy post I’ve written for the end of the year, on an anime I did mention in my end of year post but never actually discussed even though you can tell I really wanted to do so at one point (and…then I abandoned the post). To be honest, aside from my usual real life things, I’ve been working on something big, but it’s still in the early stages. It might be a while before I unveil it, so you’ll have to expect more low-effort posts until it’s finished.

4 thoughts on “Elfen Lied is a Hot Mess

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  1. The anime was not the greatest thing, but I love the manga. It fleshes out the story much more and in a better way.


    1. I don’t think I’ve seen the manga around in a physical format, but now that I’ve checked it up, the manga’s on Japanese Bookwalker…so maybe I’ll check it out one day once I have enough money to spare on 12 volumes.

      I’ve heard the anime and manga deviate significantly from each other due to them being ongoing concurrently and the manga finishing later. Given that the anime was 13 episodes, I’m not surprised the manga delves deeper…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that there are omnibus editions for the series, so 4 three in one volumes, if that works better for you.

        Liked by 1 person

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