March 23, 2022
By Shelley Pallis.
It’s been eighteen years since the Elfen Lied anime finished on Japanese telly, but its imagery and music has become a staple of the anime fan scene, appearing in innumerable AMVs, and emo mixtapes, and also on a 2015 list of 38 anime officially banned in China. The music by Kaiyo Konishi and Yukio Kondo has become one of the anime’s most enduring legacies, and it should come as no surprise that it has been snapped up in one of the 21str century’s new fan fads – a quality re-release on old-school vinyl from Tiger Lab.
Full marks to the producers for including “LILIUM”, the haunting, operatic opening theme from the series – a number of original soundtracks, particularly in the maze-like rights environment of Japanese animation, are forced to leave the opening and ending tracks out, so it’s nice to have such an iconic part of the series’ sound. The album also closes out with a violin version of the same track, that is frankly even better, although neither hold much of a candle to this Ukrainian choir, trolling an audience in 2013 by claiming to be singing a “traditional Japanese tune.”
Despite the title “Longing” is an up-tempo series of growls on a cello, like a jauntier version of the theme from Jaws. Other tracks play to Elfen Lied’s reputation as one of the weepier anime, especially “Samsara”, which channels both leitmotifs from “LILIUM”, but also strings lifted from Beethoven’s Seventh. “Cradle” adds an element of toy-box discordance, playing to the anime’ smore chilling moments, while “Flower Shape” is a piano recital played with a halting hesitance, as if an accomplished but timid pianist is not sure how the tune will be received.
The Elfen Lied OST vinyl is a well-chosen set of tracks, including the most memorable high-points from the season, and dropping the sort of incidental stings that make so many soundtracks hard to listen to for pleasure.
Elfen Lied vinyl OST is on sale in the UK from Anime Limited in an exclusive neon variant.