Otaku Elf Review

Otaku Elf Review

Otaku Elf anime series cover art
Otaku Elf

The Goddess From Another World

Otaku Elf (Edomae Elf / 江戸前エルフ) is a comedy, slice of life series about an elf summoned as a goddess into our world. 400 years ago, Tokugawa Ieyasu summoned Elda from another world. Since then, she’s been the enshrined deity of the Takamimi Shrine in Tokyo.

But, Elda doesn’t have any particularly special powers. She can’t grant wishes or make miracles happen. The only thing she can do is have spirits relay messages to her Miko, Koito Koganei. And, these messages tend to be Elda asking Koito to buy her things, like limited edition figures.

Yes, as you likely guessed from the (English) title of the series, Elda is a complete otaku. And, I don’t mean she’s an otaku as many people in the West understand it. It’s not like she’s only obsessed with anime. She devotes all her time to her interests to the detriment of her social skills.

Elda, Goddess of Red Bull from the anime series Otaku Elf
Elda, Goddess of Red Bull

Elda loves anime, collectible figures, manga, Japanese history, Japanese culture, and more. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s also one of those people obsessed with Japanese trains. As I said, she’s a full-blown otaku. And, her “condition” goes beyond that.

Usually, having sub-par social skills is part of being an otaku. Well, Elda is a hikikomori (shut-in). She rarely ever leaves the inner shrine of the Takamimi Shrine. And when she does, it tends to be at night and she wears a disguise. She can’t even interact with the people delivering the stuff she orders online.

But, there are reasons as to why Elda is this way. I’ll discuss more of them later in the review. However, right now, I want to point out that Elda’s love of Japanese history and culture makes sense. After all, she’s lived through and experienced 400 years of it.

Takamimi, Hiromimi, and Uramimi

Elda is the enshrined deity of the Takamimi Shrine. But, she’s not the only elf enshrined as a deity in a Japanese shrine. There are two others we know of who were summoned into our world around the same time as Elda.

The first one we meet is Yolde of the Hiromimi Shrine. Yolde is a dark elf, which just means that she has darker skin than Elda. She also has a very child-like appearance and personality, despite not being a child. She’s a year older than Elda. But, it’s unclear if her appearance has to do with her being a dark elf.

Yolde’s personality is also the opposite of Elda’s. She’s very outgoing, interacts with her parishioners, and enjoys traveling. And, because of this, she and Elda view each other as rivals. Well, and the fact that Toyotomi Hideyoshi, rival of Tokugawa Ieyasu, summoned Yolde.

Yolde of the Hiromimi Shrine from the anime series Otaku Elf
Yolde of the Hiromimi Shrine

Haira of the Uramimi Shrine is the third and final enshrined deity (elf). She looks very similar to Elda and is the oldest of the three. Haira’s Miko, Izusu Koimari, is an influencer who’s always taking pictures of Haira. Izusu even makes photo books of Haira to capture her beauty.

Of course, Haira isn’t perfect; she has a personality defect of her own. Elda is a hikikomori, Yolde is a dumb “kid,” and Haira has a gambling addiction. She spends all her money betting on races of various kinds or buying lottery tickets.

So, who’s the best enshrined deity (elf)? It may seem obvious, but Elda is the best one. She’s the most entertaining. Yolde is very annoying, so I’m ranking her last. And, I’m indifferent toward Haira, so she’s the second-best by default. Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded if these other elves just weren’t in the series.

Immortal Otaku

Alright. So, earlier in this review, I mentioned that there are reasons why Elda is the way she is. Why did she become a shut-in who doesn’t want to interact with most people? The reason only came up twice in the series: Elda is immortal.

From the stories she tells, we know Elda wasn’t always a hikikomori. She used to go out. And when she was first summoned (400 years ago), she lived a pretty normal life. But, the perk of being immortal comes with a serious drawback. Everyone she meets dies.

Well, everyone except Yolde and Haira.

So, why did Elda become a shut-in? It’s not for the reason she says, that kids made fun of her ears. It’s because she doesn’t want to get close to people only for them to die. If you’re watching Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End right now, this should be familiar to you.

Elda using her laptop from the anime series Otaku Elf
Elda using her laptop

This was, by far, the most interesting thing in the series. That’s not surprising considering it was primarily a slice of life anime. But, what’s unfortunate is that it wasn’t explored very much. Koito recognizes that this is why Elda is a hikikomori and then doesn’t pry further.

Now, Koito tries to get Elda comfortable with interacting with more people. So, she’s doing her part in that sense. But, I still would have liked to learn more about specific people from Elda’s past. Or, the series could have gone more in the other direction and explored how people feel about Elda.

That last point was covered a bit. For example, Koito mentions how people like the fact that Elda is an ever-present part of their lives. She’s there when they’re born and she’s still there when they die. And, there’s comfort in knowing that she’ll remember them.

Final Thoughts

I considered giving Otaku Elf a 7. But, the final two episodes of the series were kind of weak. So, I ended up dropping my rating down to 6/10. I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t say it’s a must-watch or anything. And, the best parts of the series were probably the OP and ED.

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