Thursday, July 20, 2017

Anime Corner: Elfen Lied (2004)

Usually when I call a horror movie or show "creepy", it's meant as a compliment. Well, Elfen Lied makes me feel weird and is pretty creepy, but that is not a compliment here. I'm not one to usually complain about infantilization (I don't find it arousing or anything, it just doesn't usually stand out to me as a problem), but this show has a serious infantilization problem with a teenage girl who can only say one word (like a Pokemon), can't dress herself, behaves like a small child, and - back to that whole "can't dress herself" thing - spends a good deal of time in the show naked. I don't know what they were attempting, but I felt sleazy just watching it, and I can't help but to feel it's shows like this that give anime the reputation it has for being somewhat pornographic.

Storywise, there's nothing here that really stands out to me as particularly unique, and with just 13 episodes, it never has a chance to become fully fleshed out, so it's pretty hard to get too absorbed. The show started off with a bang, full of extreme violence and intensity, but by the end of the first episode it almost feels like a high school drama. Some shows are able to handle juggling genres, but this one just feels clunky as it alternates between them.

But I could have forgiven the forgettable story, weird nudity, and genre identity crisis had there been some strong characters or enough brazen action and horror scenes to drive the show along. But apart from the eye-popping intro, I never really felt drawn into what was happening or any of the characters. It's not even that they were bad characters, just underdeveloped to the point I had trouble distinguishing one from the next, resorting to telling them apart just by their hair. That being said, long-pink-hair was probably the most complex character, but she didn't really talk and was also the naked one who made me feel like a pervert for watching the show to begin with. Sort of a double-edged sword there.

Usually shorter animes like this are more episodic, realizing it would be harder for them to tell a complete story in only about a dozen episodes, but this one didn't give up and quit trying to move the plot along (as short-lived as it may have been), and I can apprecite that. Even though I found the plot pretty uninvolved until about halfway through, the story did progress fairly naturally, and once things got rolling I found myself enjoying it fairly well. But considering how long it took for that to happen, I didn't get to enjoy the show for very long.

The animation itself is passable, never particularly standing out both in style or overall quality, and the music is about the same with the exception of one track that starts off sounding almost exactly like Beethoven's 7th symphony, 2nd movement and another almost directly ripped from the SNES game 'Chrono Trigger'. Given the fact it's only 13 episodes long, I was hoping it might have gotten to the point a little quicker, and maybe they could've put more effort into the production, but again, the resuls were fairly average, so it's not like it was a massive failure. I liked bits and pieces of this show, but as a whole it was pretty lacking.

Episode count: 13

My grade: D+
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