1. Gratuitous violence – I haven’t seen any other anime, TV show, or movie that has as much violence as Elfen Lied. Seriously, buckets of blood are spraying everywhere. There are tons of decapitations, not to mention the severing of limbs, and the punching of holes through torsos. When the Diclonius get pissed off, you’d better watch out. No one is safe. Everyone is a target. I love that the violence crosses the line. You keep thinking that it will hold back, but it doesn’t. And the best part is that the show doesn’t look back. Every episode has geysers of blood splattering everywhere, and the Diclonius are complete unremorseful about it. Not a lot of characters make it through to the end. In the first episode the show tricks you into thinking this cute, ditzy girl will be a primary character. Nope. She gets killed very quickly, and then Lucy (the main character) uses her corpse as a human shield against a torrent of machine gun bullets. Badass. The fight scenes are all essentially massacres. They aren’t dragged out over multiple episodes like so much shonen garbage. Instead, they are quick, bloody, and brutal.
2. Violence against women – The Diclonius are mostly women, and there is a lot of Diclonius vs Diclonius action. This means girls are fighting each other, which is hot in itself. They don’t wrestle naked in a mud pit, but they do get naked quite a bit during their fights. Any time these girls battle, they kick the crap out of one another, and it rules. But the women don’t get all the fun. Even the main guy, Kohta, bitch slaps females when they get hysterical. He hits his cousin, his sister, and anyone else with two X chromosomes who is within slapping range. It’s actually very refreshing, as in most anime all the female characters go into histrionic rants constantly and no one ever shuts them up. But Kohta does. Nobody knows how to shut up a woman faster than Kohta, except for maybe Sean Connery.
3. Violence against children – The creators of Elfen Lied were really not fucking around when they decided to make the most hardcore series ever. I can’t think of any story in any medium where children are brutalized so much. They get beaten, molested, sliced in half, and tortured. Kids attack other kids in school. The Diclonius kill kids. Hell, even the adults get in on the kid-crushing action. The villainous Bandoh beats up a poor, defenseless human girl for information. Scientists launch cannon balls at kids, and even the motherfucking police gun down Lucy when she was just a little girl. Awesome.
4. Violence against animals – If anything is taboo in storytelling, it’s violence against animals. Fucking PETA have brainwashed society at large. It’s so bad that in any movie or TV show we can have humans destroyed in a blaze of genocide and no one blinks, but god forbid the cute horsey gets hurt! These goddamn hippies even got up in arms when the contestants on the reality TV show Survivor were eating rats for sustenance. What the hell were they supposed to do, starve to death? Jesus. Well, this show told those stinky hippies to go to hell. In a flashback scene we see Lucy’s dog held down and bludgeoned to death, and the perpetrators all thought it was hilarious. They were even saddened when the dog died too soon. Of course, Lucy’s revenge that comes soon after is bloody goodness. Damn, Elfen Lied is so metal.
5. Incest – The only other good anime series I can think of that showed incest was Shakugan no Shana. The Incest Twins were constantly making out, and I imagine they were fucking behind the scenes as well. Kanon came close by teasing us with the possibility of hot incest. Of course it pussied out, and the asshole protagonist in that series ended up choosing a comatose girl instead of going for some sweet cousin-on-cousin lovin’ (oops, spoilers!). Anyway, Elfen Lied doesn’t hold back. Kohta’s female cousin makes it quite clear that she gets wet for him. She is constantly getting mad any time he so much as looks at another girl. She makes a move and makes out with him, and being the super stud he is, he makes his own move on her later. Although we only saw them kissing, we can all guess what it led to. Kohta also manages to make out with Lucy, who also wants him. While this would seem harem-ish (e.g. Tenchi Muyo, Love Hina) you have to remember that Kohta is actually kissing these girls, so Elfen Lied already rises above those typical harem shows. They probably had a giant orgy at the conclusion of the series.
6. Nudity – Nudity is always better than no nudity. Here we get tons of nudity. Lucy wanders around naked for half the series. Nana is naked for practically all of her fight scenes. Mariko gets in on it, too. Honestly, I’m surprised that more of the female characters didn’t get naked. Nudity rules, and so does Elfen Lied. If you didn’t like this series, then you just weren’t manly enough to handle it.