Exploring the World of Anime

Being Different – Elfin Lied

I just finished watching Elfin Lied for the first time. I had been avoiding it for a while, then I forgot the reason why I had an aversion for it and finally watched it. I’m still not sure why I hadn’t watched it. I didn’t read any reviews right before I watched it and I’m not going to read any reviews until after I’ve completed this post. Seeing as I just posted about fanservice, Elfin Lied had it, in almost every episode. However, it wasn’t the annoying kind and there were only two scenes that I could say it was seriously annoying. That is not what I want to talk about; been there, bought the t-shirt.

I want to discuss differences. For me, Elfin Lied was about how we handle differences in others and how we handle differences in ourselves. It seems lately we have been hearing a lot about bullying in the media. Bullying that can lead to the bullied child committing suicide or the bullied child committing a single or mass murder. These children are usually bullied because they are different in some way. I’m aware that adults get bullied as well but for the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on children.  But what is so wrong with being different? Why do some feel the need to antagonize others based off a difference? Can you really blame a child for snapping and losing control under all that pressure? Building up a hatred for others and themselves. That is a painful life and is absolutely not enjoyable.

Forgiveness was also an underlying theme in Elfin Lied. Forgiving those who have hurt you and there was some serious damage caused to people in the show. I couldn’t say that I would be able to forgive someone for something so egregious that happened to the main character (Kohta) of the show. But there are those who are able to forgive, to understand the pain that was behind the act.  To still love someone when they did what I would consider one of the worst things that could happen to a person is amazing. The ability to see past someone’s hatred to the loneliness and sadness inside is a gift. Now that I think about it, Mirai Nikki might be exploring this but that’s another post for another day.

As fans of anime, we’re not exactly the norm. I have friends that tease me regarding my fandom and one friend even referred to my blog as “kinda creepy”. But what does he know? He doesn’t watch anime and hentai doesn’t count. I know there are people who are in the proverbial closet with their anime fandom. Thankfully, I have not read or heard any stories regarding people bullying those who are fans of anime. I will say one thing, from watching anime, Japanese bullies can be pretty harsh. There was a scene in Elfin Lied that was absolutely horrifying and if you have watched this series, the scene I’m referring to probably popped right in your head. It was probably the most disturbing scene of this show.

Have you ever been bullied? If so, how did you handle it?  Do you know someone who has been bullied? Do you know any other anime series that deal with being different?



  1. “There was a scene in Elfin Lied that was absolutely horrifying and if you have watched this series, the scene I’m referring to probably popped right in your head.”

    Yep, immediately.

    “Have you ever been bullied? If so, how did you handle it?”

    Often, when I was growing up, from about 2nd grade until around 7th or 8th grade. It was like a feedback loop – the more I was bullied, the more withdrawn I became, and thus the more I was bullied. What happened to make it stop? Something snapped, and I beat the crap out of a couple of my tormenters. The others got the hint.

    Now, I’m not saying what I did was the right thing. Hell, the parental direction I was getting at the time was unstable at best (a long story I’m not going to get into), so I had no guidance as to what I should have done. It’s certainly not what I advise my own son to do.

    “Do you know any other anime series that deal with being different?”

    Hmm. Good question – need to think about it a little.

    • Ao no Exorcist – Rin was usually alienated growing up. The show touches on it some, and how it had to learn to not react violently.

      • I watched Ao no Exorcist but I really didn’t feel sorry for Rin. Luckily, he had an incredible strength in physical situations, there are the innumerable who do not have that physical strength or even a loving “father” and brother to lean on. I still enjoyed Ao no Exorcist, could have been a bit better, ending left me agitated. 😦 The show definitely did touch on being different and how those who are considered “normal” respond to difference.

    • It’s a shame that you were treated that way, glad you were able to defend yourself. There are so many who are not able to and have to live in fear and silence for a very long time. I wasn’t bullied, there was childhood teasing as well as light teasing as an adult but I understand that it is all in play not to seriously hurt.

  2. I’m not going to repeat what I said in the Fan Service post about what I think about this series, but that bit about being bullied causing people to turn into murderers. I don’t quite buy it. For the reason that correlation isn’t causation and I think many factors are needed to create murderers. The bullying itself isn’t the cause though. Why? Well I’ve been bullied, quite a bit growing up actually. Not for watching anime or having nerdy hobbies. I didn’t know about anime when I was a kid and I wasn’t that into gaming either. I just, didn’t seem to fit in, I guess (since it was the same at two different schools). But I never really wanted to kill anyone because of it (I did want to punch a few people though when it got really frustrating). I never really did anything about it in the end. I just played the ignore card and remained stoic throughout most of it (although two really bad moments did break my calm). In fact, being bullied made me more compassionate. It made me understand how much you can hurt a person by shunning/betraying/calling them worthless/etc. The exact opposite of a murderer, I would say. So I don’t think bullying makes people into murderers as it can have the opposite effect, like it did in my case. Just my two cents about the stigma of bullied people being “broken” by bullying.

    • I wouldn’t say “murderers” more so than people who have snapped. Not everyone responds to situations the same; so although you may not have killed others who had bullied you does not mean others will not. What I consider “light-hearted” teasing, someone may consider that bullying. Perceptions differ between individuals and this world has billions. There will be those who behave in a way that is shocking and hard to understand but it is not improbable.

      I always hate to hear that someone was bullied. I didn’t encounter bullies nor than I know anyone who was bullied. This is not to say this did not occur. People simply fought back if they felt they were being threatened. People weren’t shot up, blown up, stabbed, etc. They just fought it out and lived to see another day. I also don’t see a “stigma of bullied people being “broken” by bullying”. There may be a stereotype but not a stigma.

      • Hurting people in retaliation does not equal becoming murderers, which is what you were suggesting in the post. The thing with most murders (not manslaughter) is that it is done in, so to say, cold blood. The murderer does not feel remorse and most murderers have been noted to have major psychological problems (problems that you don’t just develop by being bullied). I don’t mean to go all psychologist on you and I’m no expert but I do have a background in it and it kind of irks me when people think you can call murder, snapping. Like I said, there is defensive manslaughter and then there is murder. Killing a fellow human being and being fully conscious of your doing that, involves a great degree of desensitivity (one beyond the norm). You have to be able to view the person you kill as a thing. Studies have shown that normal human brains show distress when they see someone in pain. Murderers don’t have that distress.

        In the end, I guess you didn’t mean to make it sound so strong, but I do feel like people often see bullying as a stigma, not in the usual sense, but more subtlety. And saying that bullying makes people into murderers is part of that. I hate being pitied because I was bullied. I don’t need people to treat me like I’m made of glass because of that. I think people who were bullied are a lot stronger because of their experience and not the other way around. There are like a handful of examples of teenagers “snapping” and murdering their classmates, whereas bullying is much more common than that. A few examples does not make it a fact. Again correlation does not equal causation. People who become murderers do have troubled childhoods and that sticks out and it makes them a target of bullying, but that doesn’t somehow make the bullying into the cause (perhaps a trigger, or an additional factor, but definitely not the sole cause). Sorry about this rant, but it really hits close to home and it reminds me of the similar “video games make you into a killer” argument floating around in popular media (just because of few of those troubled youths were noted to be playing FPS).

      • That is not what I suggested in the post at all. In fact, it appears that you may have missed the point. This is what I stated “It seems lately we have been hearing a lot about bullying in the media. Bullying that can lead to the bullied child committing suicide or the bullied child committing a single or mass murder.” This was referring to what we have been seeing in the media. When referring to a child “snapping” it does not automatically equate to murder which is why I also stated “I wouldn’t say “murderers” more so than people who have snapped”. It can equate to beating someone up, committing suicide, and killing their antagonizer. This is in psychological research articles which I do know something about. There are also what is called passion murders, people who have been known to crack under an extraordinary amount of pressure. It is too bad that it “irks” you but these things do happen and there is information to back this up. As I said before, there are billions of people in this world and theories do not satisfy all of them. Studies have also shown that killers have the distress of seeing someone in pain and afterwards feeling distress about their crime. That is why some turn themselves in or commit suicide after what they have done. The point of this post was not to suggest anything of the sort, the point was to discuss differences not to debate the points of whether you feel people can or cannot snap.

        I meant for my post to sound the way it did, you misunderstood it. Being stigmatized is not being pitied, it’s being disgraced. The age old statement “correlation does not equate causation”, there was nothing in my post that suggested bullying causes murderers. There are differences in reactions which you have clearly shown based off your response. Another has responded to this post and had a different reaction. There was also the part about forgiveness. Forgiving those who hurt you; that is not suggesting murder. Thank you for reading my post.

      • Perhaps I did misunderstand, but my intention was not to misrepresent you. I’m sorry if you somehow felt my comments were attacking you; that was not my intention. My sole intention was only to look beyond the surface of that statement, “Bullying that can lead to … the bullied child committing a single or mass murder.” And I did it exactly because the mass media portrayals. I do not mean to somehow lessen the impact of the bullying or excuse it. No that was never my intention. I just wanted to raise questions about what that statements is trying to say and how our society views bullying. I didn’t want to get into this, because this is a very personal topic and much more painful than bullying, but I think the reason that these kids do kill is not due to the bullying. That is but the trigger. The problem to me is much deeper, I believe. It usually has roots in family problems or mental illness. I say this because when I was bullied, I could come home and seek support from my parents. I cannot imagine a child in my situation going home and having more abuse piled on them or having no one to seek comfort in. I can see in such a situation that child becoming so overwhelmed that they eventually pick up a gun or beat their attackers to death. That was all I was trying to say, but I was trying to say it without mentioning family abuse because I didn’t want to bring up painful memories for anyone just to question the idea that bullying damages people to the point of picking up a gun and shooting their classmates. My big problem and issue here and what really “irks” me so to speak is that media often uses bullying and video games as a scapegoat for a bigger issue. Again, I’m not saying the bullies aren’t culpable, but perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to say, “so and so bullied X and he ended up killing him and that’s the end of that story.” Perhaps as a society we should be asking why this child was put to this point of break down. What did the school system do or fail to do? What did his/her parents do or fail to do? This is all I meant. And I know you probably didn’t mean to go so deep when you posted this topic, but I just wanted to use this as an opportunity to think deeper about these things.

        About the other points. I just want to clarify a few things, that I think you misunderstood about what I meant. ^__^ I hope you don’t take these as an attack. I just feel like I need to give my side of the story here:
        -Yes, I know you didn’t mean that, but again, the way the post was written sort of implies that snapping is equated with killing your antagonist. You did write “can” but what I mean by implied is that it gives the idea (although I know you didn’t mean it this way) either the child suffers through their bullying or they “can” commit suicide or murder. My main problem here was that it could have been worded less ambiguously as in “in extreme cases the bullied child can….” The rest of your post talks about what happened in Elfin Lied, which was basically Lucy killing people because she was bullied and you asking about people snapping. I don’t think it’s abnormal that I felt a little uncomfortable by this (as it appeared to me) sweeping generalization that bullying eventually leads to murder by the bullied child, or that all bullied children respond with violence. I hope this helps you understand why I felt the wording was a little off here.

        -Crimes of Passion: thing is, this can’t really cover all “the child/teen kills his bullies” cases. Cases where the child/teen plans in advance or brings a gun to school for the sole purpose to kill his bullies is not a crime of passion. Crimes of passion, by definition, happen in the moment. They are not planned, they are not even contemplated. They are just a surge of anger. If I can just make a small digression here. I actually hate the “crimes of passion” excuse because I’ve seen it used as a excuse for domestic abuse. I’d rather just have self defence and leave it at that but obviously I don’t make the law.

        -Hm, well the thing is, if they kill themselves, how would you know they felt distress? When I hear of a murderer killing her/himself, I think more so that s/he was disturbed than distressed. Which goes back to my point about murderers often having mental illnesses. Bipolar disorder for example can lead to situations of maniac murder and then depressive suicide.

        – Stigma, I readily admit is too strong a word, I even said so myself in the last response: “but I do feel like people often see bullying as a stigma, not in the usual sense, but more subtlety.” (meant to write subtly) I was just lacking for a better word so I used it. I feel thus that I must defend myself on this point because I did try to quantify it as I was lacking a better word for the experience I get when I tell someone I was bullied/an outcast as a kid. I certainly did not mean to say that I am somehow looked down upon and oh poor old me. I would be a bit ashamed if I had somehow painted myself as a poor victim. I just wanted to express my sadness and frustration at how people sometimes think of those who are bullied as poor broken things in need of pity.

        -Yes, of course not. One person may find “bitch” horribly offensive and another may not. One person may find “gay” used in the context of stupid offensive and others may not. I don’t think that somehow discredits my response (or people feeling offended by those two previous examples). I may be a little more questioning of blanket statements but I don’t think that means I attack those who make them or that I’m somehow super over sensitive or something. I honestly didn’t intent to pick any fights, and I am painfully aware that sometimes I do not pick the best words or ways to express myself. But I felt I needed to write this just to let you and other readers know that I’m not some crazy person attacking you for writing something for no reason.

  3. I admit there were some times I didn’t handle bullies so well. I once got in trouble because I threatened a kid who was constantly picking on me (say something stupid one time and it gets you…yeesh). Still, I like to think I used the bullying to fuel a competitive drive that let me do well in school. They’d say things about me or try to beat me up (I say try because I was really good at finding adults nearby), but I would try to get back at them by being better than them in academics instead.

    • That is really smart finding adults nearby. I wonder where those who try to bully you are now. Being competitively academically was a good way to go. They say the strong survive but I think it might be the smart.

  4. I was bullied as a kid, but I got over it. I used to be considered the chubby kid and called ugly and a few bad things in general. Luckily, I slimmed down, lost the baby fat, and people don’t call me ugly. High school was a good experience and not at all bad for me.

    Being a kid who was born in the 80’s and probably the last few generation of people who know what it’s like to not have Facebook, smartphones, Twitter, etc. I’m scared for kids who grow up in this day in age. The bullying gets a lot worse, especially when they use the Internet and social media to severely damage one’s reputation. It’s no wonder kids have a hard time dealing with it. All it takes is one click of a mouse and any untrue defammatory remark will be up on the Internet for all to see in seconds.

    Being called names and other things is just as bad, but at least they are just words. It’s up to you to shrug it off and remember that it’s not true. It also helps to have a strong family and friend foundation to fall back on too. It can get you through. You may even come out better than your tormentors down the road anyway.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I feel that social networking makes bullying a lot more painful than it did before. More individuals have access to a person’s humiliation and it is there forever. It doesn’t just happen to children either. With the advent of social networking, I think the bullying of adults is being ignored. I see adults being attacked and taunted almost daily on one social networking site or another.

      It definitely helps to have a strong support system, people to back you up.

  5. Being the introvert that I am, I wasn’t particularly popular in class and was often misunderstood when I was little. I’m laughing now because the two bullies in particular that I had were so cliche. There was the big dumb looking guy and a skinny smart looking one with glasses. I felt that the whole class shared the same sentiment as the bullies did about me, but that could’ve just been my imagination.

    It was not all bad though, because I remember this one girl standing up for me when I was being teased. I think I actually had a crush on her… anyway…. (blush)… If things got too difficult for me I just usually tell the teacher. Back at home, I don’t discuss it since I was able to bear through it anyway. My home environment is very loving and encouraging though, so it didn’t matter if there was an occasional unfairness or two at school.

    At high school that was sort of the same scenario, but I was a bit more assertive and actually got into a sort of fistfight. My would be enemy actually turned out to be one of my best friends later on.

    Hmmmm… someone who has been bullied…. not really. Oh yeah, wait… nope.

    The anime that jumps to my mind with regards to the sort of bullying you describe would be Jigoku Shoujo, Although it’s focus is on the supernatural/horror aspect, many of the stories were about people being treated unfairly. Then they summon the hell girl to get revenge at some point while the reporter tries to stop them to save their souls.

    Another anime is GaRei Zero. The main character Yomi is treated very unfairly by the family she was adopted into save her stepfather. This affects her outlook on life later on and becomes a key reason why things turn out the way they did in the series.

    • Thanks for sharing. You were bullied by the “skinny smart looking one with glasses”. I wonder if he was bullied to because that seems like a prime candidate for taunting. It’s nice when someone stands up for you, isn’t it? I’ve stood up for people a few times in my life because I can’t stand anyone being picked on for being different. I hated seeing the looks on their faces.

      Thanks for the recommendations. I have not heard of any of them.

      • No prob.

        Hell Girl is a pretty popular series, surprised you haven’t seen it… but then again, I haven’t seen Evangelion.

        GaRei Zero is not that well known. I watched it randomly, but it was the series that got me hooked seriously on anime. So I’m promoting it!

      • I started on Hell Girl but never finished so I guess it’s untrue that I hadn’t heard of any of them. I watch popular series but sometimes I don’t see why they are so popular.

      • True. 😀

  6. “Do you know any other anime series that deal with being different?”

    Dang, how could I forget Fruits Basket. A major, perhaps main, theme of that show is dealing with being different.

    • Fruits Basket is a good series. I enjoyed it immensely. And I love mythology which was interlaced throughout the show.

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