I don't want to act like a curmudgeoning cynic, but there are no redeeming qualities about this show; those that are present are miniscule at most. And i don't want to look as if I am trying to contradict the previous reviewer of this series. He had a valid point I will bring up at the end.
This is the part of the review where I tell you a brief summary of what Elfen Lied is about but it is hard to give it a decent plot summary since the plot is shaky at times, at least from my perspective, but I'll give it a shot. The show revolves around a diclonius (beings that are not human, have horns, and have invisible arms called vectors that can slice through anything) Lucy and her second personality Nyu who is taken in by college student Kohta and his cousin Yuka as they try and figure out who the mysterious girl is as due to a massive concussion, Nyu is mostly in control of the body.
The characters in this series are annoying in their own special ways. Kohta acts like a twt, Yuka is an inconsiderate envious moron, Lucy is irrational and I would like to know whose idea it was to make her alter ego a ditzy, know-nothing who doesn't grasp the concept of what a toilet is and can only utter one syllable. It's note cute; in fact it's quite irritating when "Nyu" is the only thing that escapes her lips for most episodes. To me, the only likeable characters are Mayu and Nana who you can understand their struggles and as a person who has studied child psychology, their actions also make sense.
The plot is also cumbersome to keep track of. At one point, the plot is trying to explain how Diclonius are the scourge of the Earth and a "be excellent to each other" motif is emminating from the show since, in the way they explain it, the whole struggle between Diclonius and Humans is comparable to the Jewish genocide at the hands of the Nazi party...just image the Jews could chop your head off and it'd be a little more accurate. Something comes up towards the end about how the real plot is to have the Diclonius wipe out the human race and replace it and while it was hinted at several times during the show, I honestly wasn't feeling it. Even when the surprise twist reveals a new major antagonist to the whole show emerges, it's too little too late as it was the final episode of the anime. As I said in my eX-Driver review, you don't include the main villian at the very end of the show and expect people to know what is going on. The manga pushes this story and such, but that is not the focus today.
I think the major reason why this is such a wide spread anime is the amount of violence in the show. I discussed this in my "Anime Mistakes" blog about how it isn't good yet fans flock to watch the dismemberment and buckets of gore that would put Peter Jackson to shame. Twenty-four deaths in six minutes is not good entertainment.
Even the ending is wrong and this is a major spoiler, so I have decided this next paragraph will be in a spoiler box. Read at your own discretion.
I knew Kohta was a moron, but this takes the cake in the most stupid anime character I have ever seen. At least his manga counterpart has a little more common sense.
With the small redeeming qualities this show has from the very few good characters to the spectacular soundtrack this show possesses, it's not enough to salvage the series as a whole. Its very morose and inappropriate with the amount of nudity, violence, abuse, and murder that occurs in the short thirteen episodes.
In closing, I want to make the following statement. Elfen Lied can be compared with great accuracy to an Eli Roth movie. You don't go to see it for the plot or the characters, you go because of the gratuitous amounts of violence you will get. If all you want is blood and gore and naked chicks, this show is for you. If not, I recommend you spend your time doing something more productive.