Tag Archives: Elfen Lied

Ktulu’s 5th Annual Awards & Shaming Ceremony

All right, Everybody. It’s this time of year again. Time to go over the best and worst of the works I’ve reviewed from February 15th of 2017 right up to last week’s review of Trinity Blood. Now, last year I didn’t do anything based off of the bonus reviews since those only became a thing starting in December. So, there weren’t may to choose from. This year, we’re going to have two simple awards for those based on the best and worst things I’ve done bonus reviews of.

I’ll start with the best and worst in show for the bonus reviews and our list of contestants is as follows: Blackest Night, Civil War, DC vs Marvel, Doctor Who- The First Doctor, Dragon Quest VII, Frosty the Snowman, Gravity Falls, Jem and the Holograms volume one, Justice League- Crisis on Two Earths, Miitopia, Mortal Kombat- Defenders of the Realm, Muppet Fairy Tales, Ohimesama no Himitsu, Secret Wars, Spider-man Unlimited, Tiny Toons- Night Ghoulery

The Worst In Bonus:

Honestly, there were two big contenders for this one. Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm & Civil War. But only one can be the worst and this year that one is Civil War.

Civil War2

There are two big reasons that Civil War takes the title. The first is that it, ultimately, had a greater impact. Defenders is barely remembered and the franchise certainly isn’t going to try and make anything from it canon. Civil War, in contrast, led directly to a lot of other horrendous things. The One More Day event, the second Ultimate Alliance game being a load of wank, a sequel that was almost certainly also shit and factored into several other bad Marvel decisions. The second is that Civil War is bad in more egregious ways. Defenders is bad in the manner of a lazy cartoon where the premise wasn’t going to work and no one gave a shit. Civil War had a premise with potential but did everything wrong. And some of it in ways that say really bad things about the creative team.

The Best in Bonus:

This one was a lot harder to pick. I’ve reviewed some phenomenal works as part of the bonus reviews this year. Dragon Quest VII. Gravity Falls, Jem, Secret Wars & Ohimesama no Himitsu are all superb works and I have a lot of affection for every single one of them. But, ultimately, the award goes to Ohimesama no Himitsu. Because out of all the minor problems I had with all of these, it had the most minor. It’s damn close to being the perfect romance work.


Onto the anime awards. The potential contestants are: AD Police, Arion, Ayakashi, Azumanga Daioh, Bakemono no Ko, Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper, Chocolate Underground, Dennou Sentai Voogie’s Angel, Devil May Cry, Dragonball- Legend of Shenron, Drifters, Elfen Lied, Final Fantasy Unlimited, Futari wa Precure- Max Heart film 1, Futari wa Precure- Max Heart film 2, Futari wa Precure- Splash Star, gdgd Faeries, Girls und Panzer der film, Green Legend Ran, Gyo, Harmonie, Hunter x Hunter 2011, Idol Project, Iria- Zeiram, Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken- Diamond Wa Kudakenai, Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken- Stardust Crusaders 2, Karas, Kaze Tachinu, Kemono Friends, Kill me Baby, Koe no Katachi, Kowabon, Love Stage, Mob Psycho 100, Mobile Suit Gundam- Iron-Blooded Orphans, Mononoke, Nanbaka, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, Osomatsu-san, Palme no Ki, Phantasy Star Online II, Rose of Versailles, Rurouni Kenshin, Sakamichi no Apollon, Shuumatsu no Izetta, Stranger- Mukou Hadan, Street Fighter Alpha, Tales of Eternia, Tales of Zestiria the X, Trinity Blood, Tsuritama, Twilight Q, Vivid Strike, Warau Salesman New, Windaria, Wizardry, Wolf Guy, Youjo Senki

So, there’s our stable of contestants. Let’s move on to the awards.

The Moffat Award for most horrendous writing in a supposedly serious series or OVA. Our previous hall of shamers include such piles of rubbish as Dansi Bunri no Crime Edge, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Madhouse’s X-men & Brain Powerd. This year the big stand outs were Wolf Guy & Elfen Lied. Either one of which deserves recognition but there can be only one “winner” and this year that’s Elfen Lied.


Not only is there more of Elfen Lied to hate, with about twice the content, but there’s also what the series were going for. Wolf Guy was a dumb action work that was trying to be a dumb action work. Elfen Lied was trying to be psychological, mature & filled with horror. None of which worked because the writing was roughly equivalent to a twelve year old who’s trying way too hard to show how mature they are.

The Simone Award for excellent writing in a mostly serious series or OVA. Our prior winners were Psycho Pass, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS & El Cazador de La Bruja. This year’s tough. I gave out a lot of 8s, but not much above that. The two big contenders end up being Mononoke & Vivid Strike. Ultimately, the Simone Award is going to Mononoke.


So, why Mononoke? While both these series are very much worthy, I ultimately feel that Mononoke is a little bit more solid. Because setting up new characters with interesting facets to them and a compelling new scenario for every arc is a little more challenging than telling a really good story about two friends reconnecting over martial arts.

The Abrams Award for worst writing in a film. Our previous hall of shame consists of End of Evangelion, Metropolis, Hetalia: Paint it White & Hanare Toride no Yonna. This year I reviewed quite a few films and the worst, by a good margin, was Arion.


Who would’ve thought that a film ostensibly about mythology that doesn’t understand said mythology, has a confused aesthetic and that thinks a rousing speech is the protagonist complaining that he just killed his father and wants to bone his sister, would turn out to be such an absolute mess? Besides Everybody.

The Miyazaki Award for film writing excellence. Our prior winners were Nausicaa, Kara no Kyoukai 4, Spirited Away & Mononoke Hime. This one was harder to choose. I saw some very solid films this year. But the award ultimately goes to Koe no Katachi.

koe no katachi1

This one touches on some very real challenges and actually tells a really strong redemption all while keeping things largely realistic.

The Macfarlane Award for shittiest comedy. Our previous winners were OreImo, Kill la Kill, Sunabouzu & Kashimashi. Now that’s company you want to stand upwind from. This year there was a clear winner and that’s Idol Project.

Idol Project1

Yes, the comedy where random nonsense is used as a substitute for actual jokes and where the under-developed characters aren’t even used for comedic possibilities. All in all, a failure.

The Pratchett Award for best comedic elements. Our prior winners are Bottle Fairy, Doki Doki PreCure, Yuru Yuri San Hai & Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka 2. This year the bell of fortune tolls for Azumanga Daioh.


This was a tough one because I’ve seen a good number of enjoyable, consistently funny comedies. But, ultimately, Azumanga Daioh is the one that stands above the others.

The Meyer Award for worst romantic elements. Our prior anal leakings of amore were OreImo, Mawaru Penguindrum, Love Hina Again & Dance in the Vampire Bund. This year the series that showcases the worst idea of what love is is Wolf Guy.

Wolf Guy

Yeah, the series where our “romance” consists of our protagonist not letting the woman he supposedly loves abort her rapist’s baby even though giving birth is going to kill her because she’s had her mind destroyed and can’t make that decision. This also takes place in a fucked up world where, apparently, this piece of shit is the best one to make the decision for her.

The Kanemaki Award for strongest romance. Our previous winners were Btooom (for Himiko/ Ryouta), Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanha StrikerS (both for NanoFate) & El Cazador de la Bruja (Ellis/ Nadie). This year was actually really difficult to pick a winner. On one hand, we have the Finé/ Izetta romance from Shuumatsu no Izetta and it’s beautiful. On the other hand, we have the Fuuka/ Rinne relationship from Vivid Strike. Which is also lovely. These two dynamics are kind of similar too, both being about old friends reconnecting as their love blossoms. The big difference is that Finé/ Izetta work together and have to overcome outside obstacles while Fuuka/ Rinne have to overcome those elements which caused a falling out betwixt them. Ultimately, I think one of those does lead to a slightly stronger romantic dynamic and that’s why the award goes to Shuumatsu no Izetta.


In the end, we just see more moments of these two as a couple while Vivid Strike is more about the hesitation brought on by past events that’s getting in the way of them coming together. Which gives us more time to spend with Finé & Izetta as a pair and more really sweet moments betwixt the two. And that’s why they edge out the competition and emerge as the better couple.

The Anno Award for the shittiest cast of characters. Our former winners were End of Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Love Hina Again & Kashimashi. All terribly obnoxious groups of characters with no complexity to be found. This year they’re joined by a series that fits right in, Elfen Lied.


Yes, a series with annoying, trope characters. Some of whom have tragic back stories that end up contributing nothing.

The Moore Award for strongest cast of characters. Our prior winners have been Sailor Moon, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, Death Parade & Sailor Moon S. As a general rule, I prefer to give this one to a series that has well written characters and a good sized cast of them. This year the series that best fits those criteria is Hunter x Hunter 2011.


This series has a large cast of compelling characters, all of whom possess verisimilitude. In terms of personality, at least. Not so much with their super powers. It also has some of the best written antagonists I’ve ever seen in a shounen action series.

The Bendis Award for the worst major conflict in a series. Our previous piss stains of poor plotting were From Up On Poppy Hill, Sword Art Online, Ice & Sword Art Online II. This was a tough choice because there were several series that legitimately deserved this. But, ultimately, I’m giving the award to AD Police.

AD Police

Yes, the series wherein we learn that all major conflicts are caused by over-sexed women. And we can’t bring ourselves to remotely care about any of it because the writing is shite.

The Claremont Award for the greatest major conflict. Our preceding powerhouses of plotting were Psycho Pass, Shingeki no Kyojin, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha As & Haibane Renmei. This year Vivid Strike will be joining their ranks.

vivid strike3

Vivid Strike’s poignant conflict of a pair of old friends trying to reconnect while also delving into the mistakes that were made on both sides is really engrossing and the added romantic tension between the girls just gives their falling out all the more punch.

The Liefeld Award for worst visuals. Our former ocular atrocities in the series category were Aku no Hana, Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Brothers, Corpse Party: Tortured Souls & Byston Well Monogatari: Garzey no Tsubasa. The film category awards have gone to DBZ: Fusion Reborn & Hanare Toride no Yonna. This year our vomit inducing visuals were found in Elfen Lied & Arion.

Arion should come as no surprise but you might be wondering how Elfen Lied won over series like gdgd Faeries where the artwork looks generally like bad cg. Well, the ultimate reason is that gdgd Faeries has bad artwork, but it’s artwork that doesn’t detract from anything the series is doing. Elfen Lied, in contrast, is trying to incorporate subtle, psychological elements. It fails completely, but it’s trying to. And when you’re trying to incorporate subtle psychological elements, having overblown, ridiculous violence and nudity undermines that aspect. Even if the series hadn’t been really terribly written the visuals would hurt it. And that’s why it’s the worst.

The Urbino Award for vivacious visuals. Our prior comely chieftains were (series) Mushishi & Stand Alone Complex 2nd gig and (film) Nausicaa, Tokyo Godfathers, Spirited Away & Mononoke Hime. This year they’re joined by Kaze Tachinu & Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.

A film that was just okay but with the lovely visual elements of most Ghibli films and a series where the art was stellar.

The Spencer Award for scrub-tier acting. Our previous grade school theatre productions were the English dub of Sailor Moon, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ice & Kashimashi. This year it goes to Wolf Guy.

Wolf Guy1

Like most of the winners, this one had some good actors. It just had good actors who sounded terrible due to writing and direction that demanded dreadful performances.

The Sir Stewart Award for amazing acting. Our preceding pinnacle performances came from Black Rock Shooter (OVA), Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Glass no Kamen & Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. This was really tough to choose since a lot of the more average series I’ve reviewed have still managed to have good acting. But this year they’re being joined by Hunter x Hunter 2011.


This series has a lot of excellent performances and it, ultimately, deserves to be recognised for it.

The Perry Award for malodorous music. Our former ear beatings were the English dub of Sailor Moon, Street Fighter II, Mars of Destruction & Kagewani. This year it goes to Arion.


Yes, the film where the lousy sound mixing damages music that actually did come from a good composer. Even if it is probably was his worst composition work even without the balancing problems.

The Kloss Award for magnificent melodies. Our previous cherished compositions came from Slayers Perfect, K-on the film, Love Live series 2 & Love Live the School Idol film. This year they’re joined by Michiru’s prominent OST work on Shuumatsu no Izetta.


There were some other strong candidates but none as consistently good, musically, as this. It’s a superb soundtrack, period.

That’s it for this year’s awards. Thank you all for reading my snark-laden reviews another year. I’ve enjoyed all of your comments. You’re a fantastic bunch of readers. Tomorrow I’ll post the Junjou Romantica review. So, there’s that to look forward to.

Elfen Lied: Mature Content Handled Without the Maturity

Elfen Lied is an anime I’ve heard talked about by multiple people and the vast majority of it has been exceedingly negative. Terms like “worst anime ever made,” “trash” & “containing nothing of value” have all been thrown around. The series is based off of a manga written by Okamoto Lynn and was handled by Arms. A studio I’m not super familiar with. Most of their works are listed as either Ecchi or Hentai and I don’t tend to watch either. So, is this anime as bad as virtually everyone has told me it is? Let’s go down the rabbit hole and decide for ourselves.



We open with a severed arm on the ground. We then get to watch as a naked girl with pink hair & horns, Lucy, tears her way through a bunch of people while escaping a secure facility. We cut to a young man and woman, Kouta & Yuka, finding the same girl, still naked, on a beach. They take her in because she seems harmless enough, not even being capable of speaking normally (She can just say “nyu”). From there the series explains what she is, how her powers works and shows the agency she escaped trying to retrieve her. All while she’s just trying to live with the cousins who picked her up.

Let’s delve right into the narrative problems with the series. You might want to get some tea and biscuits, this may take a while. First off, let’s talk about the “horror” aspect of the series. I use quotations there because this series is about as scary as Twilight. The series substitutes copious amounts of gore for actual horror elements. Not only that, but the whole element is under-mined. Not just by the gore effects coming across as silly more often than not but because it’s full of stupid little moments. We get a character later on who fires her arms like a mecha doing a rocket punch. We also have a scene that’s very reminiscent of the black knight scene from The Quest for the Holy Grail, but here it’s being taken seriously. And therein lies the fundamental flaw with gore-based horror. It’s not scary. It’s either just gross, if it’s realistic, or, in this case, overblown to the point of absurdity. Obvious comparisons to Corpse Party are obvious.

Now, let’s go into the subject of dramatic contrivances. This series has a lot of moments where the reasonable, realistic narrative course is disrupted for something stupid that doesn’t make a lot of sense but it’s supposed to be dramatic. Now, I’ll warn you that there are going to be some minor spoilers ahead. So, if you think that you might want to watch this anime and you want to go into it without knowing too much, just skip this paragraph. Our first example has to do with Nana. She’s got the same type of power as Lucy but she won’t hurt humans. So, naturally, she’s sent to try and subdue Lucy. This results in her losing all her limbs. As such, she’s seen as useless and the director is ordered to kill her. However, we see that this organisation has functional prosthetic technology. They use it for some nobody mercenary because he could be useful but the obedient girl with actual super powers isn’t? How does that work, exactly? Not only that, but she’s given artificial limbs when orders are broken that she can move around on just fine. It’s almost like the orders to put her down are super flimsy to the point of being nonsensical. Another prime example comes when a scientist is cut in half and tossed through heavy glass but she somehow lives long enough to press a specific button and maintains the presence of mind to do so. And I’m sure someone is going to say “Wait, you can believe the whole premise of these girls with superhuman abilities but that breaks verisimilitude for you?” Well, yes. I can buy that in this world there are girls with these abilities but this is supposed to be a regular human and I don’t believe for one second that a regular human could manage that. Rather I think that the scientist in question only manages that because the writer wrote his way into a corner and needed some utter bollocks to get out.

Let’s move on to the “psychological” elements. This series is as bad at handling psychology as it is with horror. The attempts at doing so can be put into two categories. The first are exposition scenes where a character talks to a bunch of faceless mannequins in a shadowy place. Get it? It’s like they’re talking to themselves to confront their issues. It’s super shallow and not remotely clever. The second method is having flashbacks that show some traumatic past. The trouble here is that, for the most part, these flashbacks contribute nothing to the narrative and largely serve as a vehicle to give characters informed characteristics rather than actually granting them any kind of depth. Some of the flashbacks are even repeated in a short span of time because they really want to hammer them in. And don’t expect the serious topics like sexual abuse, severe bullying or murder to be handled with any kind of maturity. Clearly, Okamoto isn’t the best at handling serious themes like an adult.

Let’s move on to the “romance” elements. Elfen Lied went to the harem school of romance writing. Kouta is being romantically pursued by his cousin and by Lucy. Both of whom are childhood friends. He also ends up living with a young homeless girl, Mayu, & Nana. And there are stupid scenes that seem like they’d come right out of a harem. Nyu, Lucy’s other personality, randomly gropes Yuka. Yuka walks in on Kouta and Nyu in multiple compromising situations and always gets mad at him for it. I’ll draw more comparisons between this and harem shite in a moment when I discuss the characters.


Speaking of ways that this series “psychological” element is royally buggered, let’s talk about the characters. Like a terrible harem series, Elfen Lied has characters who are really shallow including a generically nice guy protagonist who the ladies seem to flock to by virtue of his blandness, Lucy suffers from the pop culture version of a dissociated identity. She’s a wholly shallow yandere character and her other self, Nyu, is your naive innocent. Yuka might as well be Love Hina’s Naru and the antagonists are just cartoonishly evil.

Now, I want to return to what I said about the tragic back stories and how little they matter to the characters. This is going to be a spoiler, so you may want to skip this paragraph if you’re still interested in watching this series. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Kouta’s tragic back story. It’s heavily implied from very early on that Kouta’s father & sister were killed by Lucy. In a very obvious turn, he regains his memories and finds out. As for why he lost them, there’s no adequately explained reason for it. Maybe the manga says. Upon remembering what she did, Kouta embraces her and urges her to come back and live at the Inn with everyone. Wow, did that revelation contribute nothing. It’s almost like this entire series is just a poorly written mess.



I’ve already talked about one of the big art problems, the absurdly overdone gore effects. So, I shan’t linger on it much. I’ll just say that this is one of those series where blood spurts like it’s coming out of a high-powered hose instead of a human body. The nudity is also an issue. We’re supposed to be taking this series seriously, for the most part, but it feels the need to come across as highly puerile with its handling of both nudity and violence. Both aspects come across as a twelve year old trying to write something “mature” and having nudity & blood all over the place totally makes it mature, right? Well, that’s where you’re wrong. You see, a truly mature writer knows how to use elements like that sparingly, to create a specific effect. A lousy writer just tosses them all over the place to the point where any impact is going to be irrevocably lost through over-saturation. Which is what we get here. So much gore and nudity that it loses all impact. Aside from that, we have some goofy action sequences and artwork that manages to be, at best, mediocre in some scenes.


I’ve heard some of these actors deliver decent performances before, good even. Kobayashi Sanae, Matsuoka Yuki, Noto Mamiko & a lot of the other actors are good actors. Unfortunately, this is one of those series where the direction demands performances that are either very flat or exaggerated to all hell. Which leads to them sounding like they belong in old Hollywood B-films. They’re just bad performances. The music is probably the best element of the series. It’s just average, but it’s not bad. Which is more than I can say for most of this schlock.


There’s the scene where Nyu gropes Yuka for no apparent reason. That’s the most ho-yay you’re getting.

Final Thoughts:

I now fully understand why the vast majority of people I know hate this series. Elfen Lied is an attempt at sensationalism without any regard for restraint, character motivation, characterisation, class, narrative or anything else. It’s entire draw is being crass & over the top. I’ve seen worse anime but, ultimately, I can’t recommend it. My final rating is going to stand at a 1/10. It’s utter rubbish. Plain and simple. That’s it for this year’s horror anime month. Next week I’ll go back to looking at requests with a review of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.