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The Summer 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Plus-Sized Elf

How would you rate episode 1 of
Plus-Sized Elf ?
Community score: 2.6

What is this?


Naoe-kun, a massage therapist, is about to head home for the day when he's saddled with a rather strange patient. This lovely lady has emerald eyes and pointy ears and grew up in the forest–everything about her screams “elf,” except for one thing: her bodacious body. It turns out she left her world but loves junk food in this one, and now her obsession has caught up with her.

Plus-Sized Elf is based on the manga series by Synecdoche. The anime series is streaming on HIDIVE on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

Caitlin Moore
Rating: The average weight of women's bodies you're attracted to, divided by 100

This is a fetish series. As is the case with any fetish series, how much you enjoy it will depend almost entirely on whether you share a kink with the intended audience. If you like fat chicks, specifically ones whose weight tends to yoyo, then Plus-Sized Elf is for you! If you want a series that looks nice, is funny, or has good writing, then go ahead and skip this one.

To be clear, when talking about kinks in the paragraph above, I'm not talking about finding fat women beautiful or being attracted to them. I'm not talking about “beautiful at any size.” I'm not talking about body acceptance. I'm talking about chubby chasers and feeders. I'm talking about people who get boners when they see a woman who once was 120 pounds balloon up to 250. If you get turned on by the guilt and shame society associates with weight gain, while simultaneously fetishizing fat bodies, even better as far as enjoying this series goes! Now go sit in the corner and don't talk to me!

If you're not into that, we have something in common and you can safely skip Plus-Sized Elf. If you have an eating disorder, have suffered from one before, or are at risk for developing one, then DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW. I cannot emphasize this enough! Plus Size Elf has some decent weight loss advice, like “don't drink soda,” but it's also full of calorie-counting and encourages orthorexia and anorexia athletica. This isn't just moralistic handwringing; eating disorders are often easily triggered and something like this can lead to a dangerous relapse.

TL;DR: Plus-Sized Elf is just borderline porn and deserves to be treated as such. No thanks.

Nicholas Dupree

You know, it's funny. Given the topic of this show, I was expecting something...well, something more. Weight loss and dietary health are sensitive topics that anime generally don't approach with more consideration than jokes featuring objectively thin girls looking mortified at their bathroom scales. So I was bracing for something obnoxious, tired, or just eye-rolling with this premiere. Instead, I found out this show is both too cheap and slight to be upsetting.

First off, this thing is barely animated, even for what amounts to a half-length series. The two and only things that move at all are the female characters' breasts and even those move with all the fluidity of a broken seesaw. The designs themselves are at least trying to portray a broader range of body types than usual for anime, but they compensate for that ambition by giving every woman ill-fitting clothes and boob socks. There are a whole lot of attempts at fanservice, and the HIDIVE release is allegedly uncensored (the screen copy I'm working with is not), but the art totally fails to make the characters look appealing. There are tons of artists that can and do portray plus-sized bodies in sensual, provocative, and attractive ways – but none of them are working on this production, so instead we get a slideshow of boobs and an occasional love handle, rendered with all the visual flare of a stained McDonald's napkin. So even if you're just here for some pinup shots of large ladies, you're better off reading the manga.

You could probably spend a lot of time interrogating the horrifically mixed signals of a work that's happy to sexualize chubby characters for the audience's benefit while textually shaming them for the circumstances that resulted in those body types, but that'd be putting in more work than the show did. Elfuda's reason for wanting to lose weight isn't anything relatable or personal – it's just that the portal back to Fantasy World has a weight limit for some reason, so she has to drop pounds to get back home. Any larger discussion about body dysmorphia, cultural expectations of beauty, relationships with food, general health, or anything else that might be worth interrogating about the topic is stridently kept out of frame. The only joke is that this elf lady just loves chowing down on fries and needs to stop so she can ride a magic escalator back to Elf-Ville.

That could still work if there were any sense of comedic timing to this adaptation, but there absolutely is not. Every punchline falls flat because the animation is struggling to make anything move, so every gag flubs its timing harder than me trying to dismount an abdominal bench. Even the 10-minute chibi anime tacked onto the end can't function the way it's supposed to. Turns out, it's hard to demonstrate a character doing wrist and ankle stretches when they aren't drawn with either. At least it offers decent advice on how to do sit-ups at home without injuring yourself. So you're left with 20 minutes of poorly rendered nudity, unfunny jokes, and barely helpful workout advice.

It's just a total nonstarter, and I'm halfway tempted to score it lower than I have. Maybe I'm just being soft because it didn't do anything to actively tick me off in this episode, but in that respect, I acknowledge that I'm approaching this from the perspective of a man who faces considerably less cultural pressure about my body than any woman. I can only guess how uncomfortable this premiere may or may not be to any lady who's struggled with body issues or weight. So in a way, I'm glad the production values are so crap and the script is so thin (ba-dum tish) since it left this show too inept for me to take seriously?

James Beckett

People of a more rotund profile have never had the best treatment from…well, any media, ever. Anime is no exception. So, on the one hand, I can see the positives in there being more shows like Plus-Sized Elf, even though the main character's chunkiness is still the crux of a lot of the humor, because the treatment of our heroine Elfuda feels reasonably well-intentioned? Or, maybe it falls flat even more, simply because the show's fixation on her plus-sizedness is obviously motivated in part by fetishization (what with all of the gratuitous fanservice, and all). Then again, the anime industry has been exploiting the sex appeal of more conventionally shaped women since the dawn of animation, so I can also see why there'd be fans who are excited to see a gal with Elfuda's figure get the chance to be comedically censored with little chibi cutouts of her own head.

The point is, navigating the optics of a show like Plus-Sized Elf can be tricky, but I didn't find anything in this premiere to be exceptionally offensive, so take that for whatever it may be worth. As a show, however, I also didn't find a whole lot to be enthused by, either. The problem, as is the case with so many of these comedies, is that it simply isn't very funny. The jokes about Elfuda's crippling French fry addiction and the overwhelming jiggliness of all her bits have already started to get stale, and we're talking about a premiere that is technically only ten minutes long. The characters themselves are pleasant enough, but with art this stiff and flat looking, there's only so much appeal that is going to come across. Maybe there's a lot more charm to be found in the manga, but I'm not feeling it from this adaptation.

Then there's the fact that the episode's one truly redeeming factor — it's a comedy anime that has the good sense to be a short — gets undone by the extended exercise sketch that's stapled onto the end of this thing. To Plus-Sized Elf's credit, it's nice that the show is promoting healthy exercise and whatnot, but the even more stiff and lifeless animation of this segment doesn't seem like an especially useful way to demonstrate proper form and technique for people who don't know what they're doing. I feel like fans who are in need of some motivation to improve their lifestyle would be better off seeking the millions of hours of live-action tutorials you can find on YouTube.

Richard Eisenbeis

Let's be clear, I get what Plus-Sized Elf is trying to do. Basically, through the use of extreme amounts of fanservice and comedy, it's trying to both hook an audience and promote healthy living through diet and exercise. The big problem here is that the fanservice largely works against the message.

Basically, we're told that Elfuda's body is horribly unhealthy due to her french-fry only diet—only for the anime to spend as much time as possible hyper-sexualizing her. We see her naked numerous times. We see her panting orgasmically as she gets a massage. Shots of her chest and ass are constant throughout. There's no subtext here, just text. So what we end up with is a show that feels like its trying to capture an audience who like their women big and beautiful—only for the point of the anime to be that they shouldn't like what they see (even as the anime is making what they see as erotic as possible). Thematically, it's a mess.

The other big downside is that Plus-Sized Elf feels like a short-form anime pretending to be a normal TV anime. The actual episode is only 10 minutes long. The rest of the runtime is just a 10-minute exercise video with the characters acting as hosts. It's done as cheaply as possible with what looks like flash animation and is, to be frank, boring as all hell. Now, I don't begrudge the show for starting with super simple exercises like crunches and planking but riveting TV this is not.

In the end, I am left wondering who exactly this is for. The comedy is just one joke over and over (i.e., fat elf wants to eat junk food—defeating the purpose of her exercise and diet). Even one episode in and it's already getting old. Meanwhile, the basic idea of promoting healthy living is contradicted by the glamorization of Elfda's overweight body—so you're not likely to get health nuts watching this one. I guess this show is really just for people who want to see thicc and meaty monster-girls with little-to-no clothing on. And if that's your jam, more power to you—but as for me, I'm already done with this one.

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