If you are anything like me than undoubtedly you have a shelf full of anime box sets. With plenty of great selections to choose from there is a genre and story line truly for all audiences. However since we live in a capitalist society lots of crap gets made; nonstop is there uninspired pieces of juvenile franchises which exist for nothing more than to satisfy some teenagers need for importance. In such a crowd it can often be difficult to discern the good from the bad but in the case of Elfen Lied, this is not a problem.
Though only comprised of 13 episodes Elfen Lied is a masterstroke of mature cinema. Lacking the predictable plots of other anime and opting instead for an original take an on old idea (metahumans tortured in a lab) Elfen Lied takes more than a few plot risks but ends up being a unique show which will definitely leave you scratching your head.
The basic story is simple: An unknown number of humans are born with a genetic mutation which gives them invisible hands called “vectors.” Vectors are not ordinary hands, however. These creatures, called Diaclonious, are subsequently captured or killed upon their birth for the mutation which grants them vectors, identifiable by the horns which grow upon their heads, are able to tore apart humans with the slightest touch. Naturally such creatures are kept in check by a shadowy group called the Institution.
However one such creature escapes.
What follows is an intense tale of redemption told through the struggles of the characters who, unlike in a great deal of other anime, have endured intense emotional, psychological, and even sexual abuse. It is a story of sorrow, of forlorn love, freedom, and desire to leave behind the carnage of the past.
Though still encumbered with some genre quirks largely thrown in to alleviate the mass-pooling of blood such moments are rare and have the trait of actually adding to the protagonist’s development.
Though this tale can be disturbing to those who are used to cuddly yearns about friendship it ultimately provides a much needed break from a market saturated with media about megalomaniacal, power-hungry villains searching for godhood. It is a story for adults and youth who reach out for a higher quality of Japanese animation.