Fans of “Stranger Things” have to be patient for a while until the big series finale goes over the stage. Alternatively, you can now switch to Prime Video – where you can recently stream a series that was the inspiration for the Netflix hit.
A young girl who is locked up in a mysterious research facility – and uses telekinetic powers to find her way to freedom. That certainly brings back memories of the Netflix megahit “Stranger Things” and Eleven – also known as “Elfi” – played by Millie Bobby Brown. But the series this article is about is a different one – even though its story, as well as the creature at its center, evokes strong memories of the mysterious events surrounding the small town of Hawkins. And not without reason…
With “Elfen Lied” one of the ultimate anime hits of the early 2000s landed on Amazon Prime Video a few days ago. As of now, all 13 episodes of the FSK-18 cult are available on the streaming platform. A great and above all cheap and convenient opportunity to catch up on the bloodthirsty carnage without spending 50 euros for the DVD* or 60 euros for the Blu-ray*.
Not least fans of “Stranger Things” and similar material should definitely put the 13-parter on their watchlist. Because the creators of the mega-popular Netflix series, Matt and Ross Duffer, have already revealed years ago: “Elfen Lied” was the inspiration for “Stranger Things” – and protagonist Lucy role model for Eleven.
“ELFEN LIED”: BLOODTHIRSTY, TRAGIC AND ABSOLUTE CULT
“Elfen Lied” is based on the manga of the same name by Lynn Okamoto, but moves further and further away from its original as the plot progresses – and was (not) concluded with an open ending that has always caused mixed feelings among fans.
At the center is Lucy, a Diclonii/mutant who possesses telekinetic powers. Locked in a laboratory, the girl – who is 18 in the manga and only 15 in the anime – is subjected to cruel government experiments, which one day (namely in the first episode of the series) she no longer wants to endure.
She is able to free herself with the help of her powers, kills without exception everyone who gets in her way in the course of her escape – and is finally picked up badly injured and without any memories by Kouta and Yuka. The two take in the supposedly disturbed and vulnerable creature and eventually christen Lucy “Nyu” – after the only sound they get out of her. But a special unit is already close on Lucy/Nyu’s heels – and once again awakens the monster in her…
“Elfen Lied” is the perfect mix of entertaining (and incredibly bloody) spectacle and depressing drama. The individual episodes easily look away thanks to their crisp length of just under 25 minutes, scoring with a visual force between picturesque anime aesthetics and uncompromising orgy of violence. Yes, already the opening sequence in episode 1 makes it more than clear what to expect here: An atmospheric, intense and in terms of violence quite rampant saga – but which ultimately delivers more than mere carnage.
For the story of Lucy is also one of abuse, suffering and pain – one that provides food for thought about the value of human beings, about exclusion and discrimination, prejudice and identity. So the contrasts in “Elfen Lied” can be quite challenging, the cute and the murderous, the oppressive and the funny. But in the end, they are also what make the series so complex, so unique, so special – even 20 years later.
ALSO NEW ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO: “RED ROCKET
With “Red Rocket” you can now also stream an absolute insider tip with your Prime Video subscription, which was in theaters in 2022:
In this mix of drama and comedy from hit studio A24 (“Hereditary,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once”), ex-porn star Mikey Saber (Simon Rex) returns to his Texas home after a few busy years in Los Angeles – where he moves back in with his estranged wife and her mother.
The FILMSTARTS review gave a strong 4 out of a possible 5 stars to the “wonderfully unobtrusively relevant film” with which “The Florida Project” maker Sean Baker once again paints a portrait of marginalized society.