Judge Mitchell Hattaway feels cheated and disillusioned. Elves are supposed to be so noble!
Idle hands are the devil's plaything.
Elfen Lied is the story of teenage cousins and their schizophrenic mutant friend. Sounds fun, huh? In fact, it is pretty fun. It's also incredibly violent, packed to the gills with female nudity, and borderline misogynistic. If you're so inclined, it's just what the doctor ordered.
Here's a little bit of background: On a small island somewhere off the Japanese coast, a group of Diclonius are being kept in an underground lab/bunker. Diclonius are humanoid mutants; their mutant traits include small horns sticking out of their skulls and telepathically manipulated phantom arms (known as vectors) with a reach of at least two meters. Being trapped inside all these years (not to mention being poked and prodded by scientists on a daily basis) has left the Diclonius with serious mental health issues (homicidal tendencies being the most troubling). The government has taken every precaution to keep the Diclonius from leaving the island, but…well, you can probably guess what happens.
ADV's first volume of episodes from this series contains four installments. Here's a rundown of each:
• Episode 1: "A Chance Encounter"
• Episode 2: "Annihilation"
• Episode 3: "Deep Feelings"
• Episode 4: "Attack"
I don't normally go for shows like Elfen Lied; I'm not a big fan of pointlessly gratuitous violence, and cartoon nudity isn't my bag, either, but for some reason this one works for me. I'd probably be hard-pressed to defend the show on an artistic level, but it is rather stylishly done. And while at times the plot's treatment of some of its female characters seems ready to cross the line, a course correction is usually right around the corner. For example, when we first meet Bandoh, he cold cocks his female assistant simply because she interrupts him; later on, following his encounter with Lucy, Bandoh (who is now limbless and blind) is told he will have to be castrated. Seems Lucy, in an effort to create more of her kind, used her vectors to taint his seed with Diclonius DNA, so it wouldn't be a good idea to let him procreate. I was also pleased by the distinct lack of annoyingly goofy, stupid characters. Imagine that—a cast populated primarily by kids, but not a needlessly immature idiot in sight. In fact, the one bubbly, bumbling character is dispatched in the first five minutes (Lucy uses her vectors to remove the young woman's head). Gotta love that.
ADV's transfer is darn near stunning; it's bold and bright and really pops. Both audio options do the job nicely. While neither is as immersive or punchy as I was hoping, they do really cut loose when the action starts. (Just so you'll know—some of the voice acting in the dub made my ears bleed. Don't say I didn't warn you.) Extras include clean opening/closing animation, production art for the show's characters and settings, a preview for the second volume in this series, and previews for other ADV releases.
I quite enjoyed Elfen Lied, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Give it a shot.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
• Clean Opening/Closing Animation
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