Know your Anime: Supernatural Psychological HorrorsBy Allen Simpson 13 February 2014 | Categories: feature articles
This week we take a look at anime of a more psychological nature. Be it dark and gloomy horror as in Death Note, or the psyche of a strange race of beings via Elfen Lied.
Light Yagami, a high school student discovers a supernatural notebook, the Death Note, that was dropped on Earth by a Shinigami (a god of death) named Ryuk.
The Death Note grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face they know. All you have to do is write the name of the person you want dead in the book, while visualising their face. Pretty dark, right?
The series revolves around Light's attempt to use the notebook to create and rule a world "cleansed of evil", with him cast as a type of ‘god’, and the efforts of a detective known as L to stop him. In the first few episodes, criminals starts dying one by one and fear falls in the criminal world like a dark rain. People become too afraid to commit crime, rumours float around about Kira, a name for this unseen murderer of criminals. Light decides to adopt this name to sow his seeds of fear. Throughout this the Shinigami Ryuk watches with amusement as Light plans and executes these criminal deaths by writing them in the notebook, playing a cat and mouse game with the authorities and L, staying a step ahead of them as they try to catch “Kira”.
Death Note is anime at its best, going above and beyond our expectations, and is a supernatural thriller incomparable to others. A lot of anime strategically relies on action packed battles and fights, not Death Note. It is refreshing and unique because of the fact that there is not a lot of action, more a fight of wills, a constant game of chess between the lead investigators and Light Yagami, battling to outsmart each other.
Once done with the series, you can watch the two live-action Death Note movies as well as read the manga. Not done yet? Hold out for the musical that composer Frank Wildhorn and theatre director Tamiya Kuriyama are working on that will hit the theatres in April 2015.
Elfen Lied (2004)
Elfen Lied tells the tale of a mutated species amongst the human race, Diclonius, similar to humans but with invisible arms called vectors and a pair of short horn-like protrusions. One such Diclonius, Lucy, is the main character of the series. Initially a subject of experimentation at a research facility, she manages to escape and wreaks havoc in her wake. Injured in the process, Lucy develops a secondary, childlike personality known as Nyu.
Lucy (now Nyu) is found by two locals; Kohta, who studies at the local university, and his cousin Yuka. They take her in, and become involved with the many, often brutal, attempts by a Special Assault Team as well as a number of other Diclonius, to recapture her.
Throughout the series, there is a great deal of blood and gore, graphic and psychological violence, so it’s not recommended for the squeamish.
Regardless of the violence, the storyline is solid and the artwork is beautifully crafted. The intro and credits music is very addictive and the highlights of this anime’s great soundtrack. Elfen Lied is a must see for those that crave well-crafted stories with dark plots that make one think about deeper issues such as the end of innocence, goodness, and how quickly the line between good and evil can blur.
Also recommended: Other series in this genre that is worth a watch is Night Head Genesis and Monster
About our contributor: Allen Simpson is a blogger and a published poet who has a deep passion for anime. He is also co-owner of AnimeFanatika, a reliable source of information on Anime providing fans with the latest news, reviews and goings on in the industry. Visit their Facebook page and become a Fanatik today. Sugoi!
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