ADV Films // 2005 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // September 1st, 2005
The hands that ruled the world.
The first four episodes of Elfen Lied were a grab bag of violence, gore, nudity, dark comedy, and more violence. The three episodes on this disc feature more of the same, but also toss in some mystery, a boatload of character development, and even a little romance. If you enjoyed the first batch, you will probably be even more impressed with these.
Here is a brief recap of the essentials from the first volume: College students Kohta and Yuka live in what was once a restaurant owned by Yuka's mother. They take in a teenage runaway named Mayu. They also give shelter to Lucy/Nyu, who is a Diclonius, one of a race of horned mutants who posses lethal phantom arms known as vectors. Lucy is the murderous half of this particular Diclonius's personality; Nyu, so named because "nyu" was the only word she initially could say, is the innocent, childlike half. Lucy escaped from a secret island lab by slaughtering more than a dozen guards. Once she reached the mainland, the Nyu half of her personality kicked in. (Confused yet?)
Now that we have that out of the way, here is a rundown of the episodes included on Volume 2:
* Episode 5: "Receipt"
This episode opens with a chronicle of Mayu's life before she met Kohta and Yuka, a life consisting of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather and mental abuse on the part of her mother. The focus then shifts to Kohta and Yuka as they attend classes at their university. Unable to leave Nyu home alone, they are forced to take her along. Their teacher, Professor Kakuzawa, recognizes Nyu as the Diclonius he knew as Lucy. Kakuzawa says he is Nyu's uncle and will make sure she is safely returned to her family. Kohta and Yuka reluctantly leave her behind. Kakuzawa restrains and drugs Nyu, which ends up being the last mistake her ever makes, as his actions awaken the murderous side of the Diclonius.
* Episode 6: "Innermost Feelings"
Following the successful attachment of his mechanical arm, Bandoh, the psychopathic soldier who lost a couple of limbs during a fight with Lucy, assaults his doctor and flees the hospital. Kohta heads back to the university to check on Nyu. Kohta runs into Professor Kakuzawa's lab assistant; together they go looking for the professor and discover what is left of him in his basement lab. Mayu runs into Bandoh on the beach; the young girl inadvertently lets slip that she knows Nyu. Realizing the girl is actually talking about Lucy, Bandoh threatens Mayu, but she turns the tables on him. Nana, the Diclonius who was almost killed by Lucy, comes to in an escape pod on a rocky shore. Testing out her artificial limbs, she stumbles about like a newborn foal. She begins making her way down the beach, only to run into Bandoh, who sees her horns and levels his gun at her.
* Episode 7: "Confrontation"
Nana does her best not to attack Bandoh, but she snaps when he tells her the world she thinks she knows is really one big lie. After having destroyed Bandoh's new arm, Nana realizes they both have been maimed by Lucy. Nana thinks they should work together in order to find Lucy, but Bandoh does not want a partner (especially one he believes is out to destroy all human life). Mayu takes her puppy for a walk; the dog runs off and discovers Nana. Mayu, unaware of the violent relationship between Nana and Nyu, takes Nana home. Kohta freaks when he realizes another stray Diclonius has entered his life. Nana takes one look at Nyu and attacks her.
The first four episodes of Elfen Lied were gleefully nasty and incredibly stylish, and I enjoyed them as such. I wasn't expecting the show to deepen the way it does in the three installments on this disc, so I was surprised when I suddenly found myself just as engaged (if not more engaged) by the story. Sure, the rampant decapitations and bloody fights are still fun, but there's now a genuinely engaging emotional undercurrent to the proceedings. This is shaping up to be a great series.
ADV supplies another beautiful, flawless transfer. Both audio options are excellent, although the voice acting in the English dub is grating. Extras include clean opening and closing sequences, a couple of art galleries, as well as the ever-present previews for other ADV releases.
I used to like Elfen Lied, but now I love it. I am anxiously awaiting the release of the next volume.
Review content copyright © 2005 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Clean Opening/Closing Animation
* Character Art Gallery
* Production Art Gallery
* Anime News Network Page
* Official Site
* Volume 1 Review