wFeb 4, 2008

Elfen Lied, eps 1-4

The series Elfen Lied is rather notorious for being one of the most....offensive? extreme? anime series in existence. This is one of the reasons why I'm choosing not to include screencaps in my review. That, and because few anime bloggers have written about the series.

I've learned over the course of time not to pay much attention to people who try to discourage me from watching series. I tend to usually disagree with just about everyone, and if I also dislike it, it's for different reasons. Thus, when we watched the first four episodes of this series in Anime Club last Saturday, many members were almost gleeful at the prospect of my "innocence being taken away." (I'm not really sure why people feel this way, except that people know I enjoy things like Sailor Moon and Princess Tutu. Hi, I'm also a fan of Hellsing manga (more gory than the series) and Priest manga (in which rib cages burst through flesh, etc.). But anyway.) The series is noted for its excessive, horrific violence, as well as its nudity.

I should say that the nudity does have a context. The main character is Lucy, a diclonius who has small horns on her head. She also has invisible "vectors," or 2-meter long arms that she uses to brutally murder people with. And when I say brutally murder, I mean ripping limbs completely off while blood pumps profusely from the body to the floor. Having spent her entire life being experimented upon in a sadistic manner, Lucy is literally a lethal weapon. However, because she's lived in isolation, she has absolutely no grounding in reality. Thus, in the beginning she happens to be naked while killing people because she has no clothing. She does not understand the concept of clothing.

Additionally, while escaping from the testing facility (it remains to be revealed why she was tested in this way at all), a bullet seems to have triggered a complete split in her personality. When she encounters physical harm, she reverts to Lucy, and is content to violently kill anyone in the vicinity. However, when she is "normal," she is capable of absolutely nothing, except being an idiot.

Which brings me to what disgusts me about this series. It is not the millions of still female nudes in the opening sequence. It is not the naked girl who happens to be a tool. It is not the sprays of blood or the ripped limbs or the rampant nudity. It's the role of the female characters in the storyline. Because, you see, nobody told me that this was a harem anime.

The term "harem anime" does not refer to a series about a brothel, but rather a series in which the male protagonist is devoid of personality, and is therefore relatable to all men ever. The male protagonist invariably gets himself into a situation in which he must live with at least 3 other women (possibly more!), all of whom have a romantic interest of some kind with him. HIJINKS ENSUE. This is the premise of a "harem anime."

Spoilers for episodes 1-4

I've been assured by many people whose opinions I respect that in the end, Elfen Lied is a good series. Since I'm already 1/3 of the way way through (it is 13 episodes long), I intend to keep watching. If nothing else, I can continue to blog about why I hate it.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 6:57 PM

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