Region: 1 - North America
Volume: 1 of 4
Length: 100 minutes
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
Nyu is a helpless young girl found on the beach by college students Kohta and Yuka, she's unable to communicate other than to say the word 'Nyu' and seems totally innocent, relying on the pair for virtually everything. Lucy, on the other hand, is a merciless killer. Lucy uses an array of psychic arms called 'vectors' to dismember anyone in her path before they have a chance to scream. At first glance these two seem like diametric opposites, however they share the same body, flipping between the two personalities at a moments notice.
Now, as Kohta takes in mutants and runaways into his new rented home, Kaede House, he and Yuka have no idea of the darkness descending around them, or the evil luring in the seemingly helpless Nyu. Outside a battle rages, as the forces that allowed Lucy to escape send soldiers and mutants after her, Kohta and Yuka have no idea that one wrong move could make the difference between living and dying.Now, as Kohta takes in mutants and runaways into his new rented home, Kaede House, he and Yuka have no idea of the darkness descending around them, or the evil luring in the seemingly helpless Nyu. Outside a battle rages, as the forces that allowed Lucy to escape send soldiers and mutants after her, Kohta and Yuka have no idea that one wrong move could make the difference between living and dying.
With this series the first thing to notice is the sheer amount of violence in this series, the first frame, for instance is of a severed arm on the floor of a secret base. From then on whenever the "Lucy" persona is in charge not even traditionally safe characters such as the important or ditzy ones are safe, and are usually ripped apart with savage ferocity. Lucy's other persona "Nyu" however is cute and hapless, aided partially by the fact that triangular horns on top of her head and the fact that all she can say is 'nyu' makes her seem much like the stereotypical catgirl seen in many popular anime. Of the other main characters, Khota is reserved but nice, though he has frequent flashbacks and seems to have something in his past that he can't quite remember, Yuka is energetic and friendly and usually ends up pushing or dragging Khota around. When the group are together and Nyu is around instead of Lucy, the series almost seems to be a light-hearted romantic comedy, with Nyu acting almost like Chii from the Clamp series Chobits and ending up in sexually suggestive positions with Khota just as Yuka walks in (there is quite a bit of nudity), but there is a certain bleak quality to it, almost as if their is no hope of happiness to be found for any of the characters. Through all of this each characters seems to have something dark in their past, something within that seems to eat away at all of them from inside.
The animation in the series is done quite well, resorting to computer graphics only for such things as cherry blossoms falling in the wind or Lucy's invisible 'vectors', though much like the series itself it is rather bleak, though interestingly goes for the overexposed and far too bright look in quieter scenes rather than staying dark throughout. The title music is dark cathedral choir-esque and in Latin while in contrast the ending theme is a rather upbeat j-rock love song.
As for incidental music, there isn't loads of it, but what there is of it is mostly a different rendering of the title theme. Both the subtitles and the dub are excellent, leaving the viewer to simply select their preferred format, and enjoy.
To be frank this anime is seriously messed up, fusing romantic comedy, and military and psychological drama to leave a series that while not quite as manically schizophrenic as Full Metal Panic, switches view points at the drop of a hat, going from funny to gory at a moments notice plunging the viewer into a sea of blood and severed limbs. I really cannot convey the level of violence depicted in this series, in the first five minutes alone, tens of guards are ripped apart and others are killed in increasingly complex and sadistic ways, though bizarrely enough, this all seems to be within the scope of the series and does not seem out of place. What really saves this anime, and stops it from becoming just another horror series, is the amount of interest it manages to generate from the viewer, as it is clever and well written and will hold your interest and make you long for the next disk. If you can keep your lunch down that is. Overall Elfen Lied is an interesting series and looks to hold much promise for future episodes, but only if you can stomach the violence and despair that it drags along with it like so much extra baggage.