At First Glance – Elfen Lied

Note: There are spoilers for the first episode of the anime in question in this article.
You have been warned.

Welcome back folks. As a quick reminder for those who are new or have forgotten, the idea of these “At First Glance” things is that I watch the first episode of an anime I’ve never seen and give my thoughts on it. Simple, right?
With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Elfen Lied

You know? I never intended to watch this anime. Ever. I had some idea of what to expect, and it didn’t really interest me much because of that. However, this was suggested and therefore was added to my list. I had actually intended to do Tokyo Ghoul as the other “Halloween special” article, but as AnimeLab finally made it available for streaming, I decided to watch it instead. So yes. This is an anime I at least had an idea of what to expect. Been a while since I’ve covered one like that, hasn’t it?

I must admit, the spoilers in this are gonna be pretty heavy. So you better hope you listened to the spoiler warning earlier. I can’t really avoid spoilers or there won’t be much to talk about. We good? Okay then.

The first…..I don’t know….10-15 minutes or so are basically Lucy’s escape. It’s fairly explicitly gory. Like I’m not even kidding here. There’s more blood in Elfen Lied’s first few minutes than most shows have in their entire run. Calling it a bloodbath would be pretty appropriate. It’s pretty intense, with only like, one brief break from the death count to show a conversation between some female characters, because one of them dies later. So I guess at least it…paid off somehow?

Now, I’m not gonna show many if any actual screenshots from the rampage, or the episode in general, mainly for one reason. For the vast majory of the episode, Lucy is naked. Like full on naked. In particular she’s also naked for the entirety of this opening rampage.

This screenshot is safe enough so I’ll show it at least. Partly to help explain what I mean when I say the rampage is a bloodbath. See the men in that image? At least eight of them survive out of about 16-18 that are there. And that’s mainly because Lucy just can’t be bothered to kill the rest. She is mainly just trying to leave after all. She does have psychic powers after all. If she wanted to kill them it wouldn’t take much effort.

As if it weren’t obvious, she escapes. Though she also gets shot in the head with an anti-tank rifle. All it really does though it make the helmet thing they had on her come off and knock her out (though she does end up bleeding). Later she washes up on a beach and is discovered by Kouta and Yuka, two cousins who just happened to be on the beach. Unlike most “discovering people on the beach” this is more them noticing her and reacting, rather than her still being unconscious and them waking her up.

One other thing that happened due to Lucy being shot in the head though, is that Lucy reverted to a very child-like persona incapable of normal speech, only being capable (at least for now) to say “Nyu”, which Kouta and Yuka decide to refer to her as. Later there’s a misunderstanding and Kouta yells at “Nyu”, making her run off back to the beach. Meanwhile the organisation who’d been containing Lucy (or had created her or something, I have no idea) deploy a Special Assault Team to kill Lucy, rather than capture her, considering the threat she poses.

One member of this team is Bando. Bando is a complete fucking arsehole. He’s also pretty homicidal. Totally enjoying the fact he’s finally being given orders to actually kill someone. When I say he’s an arsehole though, they make this point pretty clear. A woman comes up to offer him some coffee or tea, and he smacks her down very hard, telling her off for “standing behind him” or something to that effect.

That’s about it as far as what happens goes (the episode ends with Lucy/Nyu on the beach again). Now, what are my thoughts on it? Holy shit where to begin, right? The gore is pretty intense, so if you’re squeamish this is not the anime for you. At all. If you hate nudity in anime? Then pretty much this entire first episode is gonna bother you. Considering I thought Lucy was supposed to be underage, the nudity bothered me a lot. Though really it was kind of distracting anyway, so even though she is supposed to be 18 it still kinda bugged me. Especially when she becomes “Nyu” and is supposed to basically have the mind of a toddler.

I mean I’m not even kidding about this. The opening credits, the episode itself and ending credits all have more bare breasts than most sexual fan service anime have. That’s quite an accomplishment. Though I will give the anime this much. At least the nudity in the episode itself is at least just kind of there, rather than necessarily supposed to be a sexual thing. At least in episode one. Either way it still kinda bugged me, but yeah, that’s just my stance.

Wow. I had a lot to say on this first episode with really trying, didn’t I? Well, I’ll just leave it there then. So, will I continue to watch Elfen Lied? Well, honestly probably, yes. But I must admit, it will probably be low on my priority list. I mean it’s not bad at all, but I’m not as morbidly curious to continue as I thought I’d be. I’ll try to watch more, but I’ll take my time. For those interested, Elfen Lied consists of 13 episodes and a tie-in OVA, all of which are available in both subbed and dubbed formats. However when I watched it on AnimeLab I had to watch it subbed because I guess they hadn’t put the dubbed version up yet? Not sure why.

Well, that about covers it. If anyone has any suggestions for anime I should watch for this in the future, give me a shout and I’ll put it on my list. If it’s already on my list, I’ll bump it up in priority. However if I’ve already watched it then I’m obviously going to have to decline.
I’ll see you next time folks.