Nope, you're not hallucinating. I'm gonna take a couple minutes and talk about a couple anime
that I *GASP* recently watched. Yes, after over two and a half years of being completely burnt out
on anime due to you anime otaku [REDACTED]s, I've recently had a bit of an anime "reawakening."
Earlier this year I started purchasing Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex but stopped doing so
volume by volume because the series just isn't easy to digest like that. Now that the whole series is
out on DVD now, I'll be picking up the final 4 volumes this week.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANYWAY, since I caught the anime bug recently and didn't wanna re-watch anything
in my old VHS/DVD collection, I gave a couple titles the ol' download.
This one came highly recommended from a lot of sources. I didn't really have anything else to go on
going into this anime other than, "OMG SO VIOLENT OLO!!!"
Elfen Lied is a gory tale of mutant human beings known as "Diclonius" born with horns on their heads who develop highly
destructive telekenetic abilities at an early age. These children are usually tracked down, "collected," and whisked off to
a mysterious agency to be studied. The reasons for the Diclonius' confinement stretches far beyond
merely studying them and keeping them out of society for the good of humanity, but it ultimately feels
a little contrived. But this is anime, so seriously what doesn't? Suspend disbelief a bit, you fucks.
One night, an imprisoned Diclonius breaks free from her confinement and unleashes what can only be accurately
described as all 147 flavors of "I Just Fucking Killed You." She is eventually immobilized but not before
her pursuers lose track of her. She's later found by two hapless college students and they decide to take
her in for whatever fuck reason. Like I said, suspend disbelief. When she finally regains consciousness,
she appears nothing like the ruthless killing machine we saw in the first 6 minutes of the show. Instead,
she seems to have lost her memory and can only speak one word. (Boy is that a trend I wish would die
And that sets everything into motion. Elfen Lied's somewhat complex plot unravels itself at a decent
pace through all 14 episodes managing to end EVERY SINGLE EPISODE in a cliffhanger making it really hard
to stop watching for the night. You're given a really good amount of story and back-story in every
episode, so there are no "filler" episodes to speak of. This one's locked to the plot entirely.
While the plot is interesting, the characters are just God awful boring at times. Kohta and Yuka,
the college going cousins who take in the escaped Diclonius have absolutely no distinguishable attitudes
or features whatsoever. Since they're at the center of this unfolding storyline it's really odd that
they have almost no real identifiable features. The small storyline that plays out between them hardly
helps bring them to the center of the stage at all. The "main" character Lucy (the escaped Diclonius)
switches between two personalities throughout the series. "Lucy" being her killing-machine half,
and "Nyuu," being her annoying stupid fuck cutesy half who can only say "nyuu." Other characters
such as Lucy's rival Nana and her papa seem to stand out more than most everyone else. It's a
very cliche'd and what would seem like a boring cast, but for some reason, I ended up liking most
of them in the end.
This show has something that seriously might just offend everyone. During the first 6 minutes of
the show it's like they wanted to see exactly how much red they could paint the screen with at any given
time. I didn't find the violence all that disturbing, though. It came off kind of Kill Bill-ish
most of the time. Limbs being severed from bodies, heads exploding, tons of nudity (though none
of it is there for sexual purpose), pedophilia (a brief flashback scene), and awful bludgeonings
of an animal or two seriously might turn a lot of people off to this show. Definitely not for
All in all though, I have to say I enjoyed the show even with all the shortcomings. I can't really
put my finger on what it is that I love so much about the show, it's just one that when it ended, I
wanted to see and know more.
Chicks with guns. It's an overdone concept, but I feel that Gunslinger Girl kinda wormed its way through
toward being just a TEENSY more than the others.
Terminally ill or severely wounded girls are given a second chance at life using new cybernetic bodies.
The catch? They're brainwashed into becoming deadly assassins loyal only to their male companions
and the organization they work for. That's the base premise for Gunslinger
Girl. Though the title may imply that this is a solid action anime akin to something like Noir, that's
actually pretty far from what Gunslinger Girl really is.
Gunslinger Girl does have some really slick looking action segments and its own fair share of the
gore, but it focuses more on the relationships that exist (or in some cases don't) between the girls
and their chosen "handlers."
The majority of the series seems to take place from the point of
view of Henrietta and her handler Jose. We find that the relationship formed between the two is
very similar to that of a father and daughter and is often contrasted by how the other girls'
handlers treat them. Some handlers see their girls as merely tools to accomplish a mission, while
others simply distance themselves from their girls as far as possible. We get to see how this
affects both parties in the process, and most of the series is made up of episodes focusing on
certain girl/handler combos.
While it may seem like the formula of a male being paired with a pubescent girl in an anime is just
ripe for the loli, this series thankfully takes the high road. The girls are never sexualized in any
way or even come close to being seen on screen naked. I found the depictions of the various relationships
between the handlers and the girls to actually be quite interesting and really felt like a lot of thought
and heart went into them. Seeing Henrietta's happy and almost loving relationship with Jose versus other girls
who only follow their handlers blindly with unwavering loyalty, or girls who only want to be noticed or even loved back honestly kept me interested.
Maybe it's a chick flick thing.
Sadly though, the series really ends up going nowhere. It's too episodic and self-contained to really
say that the plot is great or anything. The characters are greatly fleshed out and could
have easily pushed a large 26 episode ongoing plot forward.
Overall though, I did enjoy Gunglinger Girl, even if just for the characters and their stories. A really
calm and relaxing, but welcome entry even if it doesn't quite live up to its name. Oh and it's got a great
And come on, there's just something oddly enjoyable about seeing something psychotic as a little girl mowing
down hordes of terrorists with machineguns!