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I'll like to share this video. It's of a guy that reviews (mainly) old anime. He did an analysis on Elfen Lied from the point of view of why it does have a cult status.
http://channelawesome.com/elfen-lied-anime-abandon/

I suppose it's just me but it did ring a bell, how despite the flaws, exploitation and shock value. Elfen Lied does provoke you. I suppose it can be an age thing but I haven't found an anime that despite heavy flaws like this one I turned to like it as much. It could also be because it also has a thing I do like in any media. CONTRAST. Violence vs. cuteness, bland dialog with gorgeous music giving it weight, heavy handed sadness but also sweet and tender melodramatic moments.

I don't know. I suppose I'll agree with the bottom line. That sometimes you stick with the homeruns and sometimes you stick with the strikes with something. Sometimes the few good aspects brush aside some serious issues, and sometimes the issues ring too heavy to appreciate the overall good points something brings.

Anyway just to go back down-to-earth. This anime isn't for everyone and I do understand why many people despise it.