I won't make any bones about it - Elfen Lied is not perfect by any standards. But that doesn't matter. It's not the best animated and the storyline has more holes than a colander, but it's undoubtedly one of the most compelling Anime's out there.
The story revoleves around a group of girl who are all Diclonius - an alien species, usually born to human parents - and their struggle to find acceptance in a world which views them as monsters while at the same time battling the madness which comes with their dual natures. The image of a teenage girl standing naked and streaked with blood, surrounded by the bodies of the soldiers charged with keeping her imprisoned, is one of the most enduring and iconic in anime.
The story leaps from tradgedy to tradgedy - from a the horrors of school yard bullying to the little girl who sacrifices herself to save the father who abandoned her. In any other anime this constant gloom would get boring quickly, but the compelling and tragic characters Lynn Okomoto created draw you into their world and make a place for themselves in your heart. And it is not without it's uplifting moments - the scenes of ordinary life amongst the strange little family the characters form are truely touching.
So please don't be put off by the low budget or the jumpy plot. The theme song says it all here - bizarre, incongruous but hauntingly and achingly beautiful. A real gem.