Plus-Sized Elf Episode 1 Review: A Rather Bland Anime About Weight Loss That Fails to Hit the Mark

The first episode of Plus-Sized Elf, titled The Elf of the Forest, premiered at 1:30 am JST on Sunday, July 7, 2024. The anime was expected to appeal to a specific audience, and its adaptation was unexpected for many. However, the premiere did not live up to the viewers’ expectations, which was surprising considering the captivating storyline about an elf struggling to lose weight in order to return to her home world.

Based on a Japanese manga series by Synecdoche, Plus-Sized Elf was originally released on the Comic Gum website of Wani Books. A sequel is currently being published in Akita Shoten’s Dokodemo Young Champion magazine.

Please note: This article includes spoilers.

Plus-Sized Elf: Episode 1 Review – An Anime About Weight Loss That is Lacking in Spice

Episode 1: A Brief Synopsis of Plus-Sized Elf

Naoe as seen in Plus-Sized Elf episode 1 (Image via Elias)
Naoe as seen in Plus-Sized Elf episode 1 (Image via Elias)

The first episode of Plus-Sized Elf centers on Tomoatsu Naoe, a worker at Smiley BOAR Massage Relaxation center. Upon completing his duties for the day, Naoe comes across an unconventional customer named Elfuda, who is participating in their Diet and Bodywork Therapy program.

Naoe is intrigued by Elfuda, whose striking emerald eyes and prominent ears catch his attention. She confides in him about her recent weight gain and her struggle to go back to her native land, the Kafar forests, seeking his assistance. During their therapy session, Naoe discovers that Elfuda is actually an elf.

Elfuda reveals her experience of traveling from another dimension through a portal. The cuisine in this realm, specifically french fries, caused her to overindulge and put on weight. However, in order to make her way back home, she must lose the excess pounds.

With Naoe’s guidance, Elfuda sets out on a mission to lose weight. She can be seen jogging, shadowboxing, and resisting the temptation of high-calorie foods like french fries and soda. Naoe consistently reminds her of the significance of maintaining a calorie deficit, while Ino takes her to hot baths to help boost her metabolism.

One month later, Elfuda reverts back to her original form and expresses gratitude to Naoe before heading back home. However, Naoe discovers her at a fast food restaurant, indulging in french fries. Elfuda explains that she can easily shed the weight again if necessary, allowing her to savor her preferred cuisine without guilt.

Review of Episode 1 of Plus-Sized Elf: Highlights

Elfuda after weight loss as seen in Plus-Sized Elf episode 1 (Image via Elias)
Elfuda after weight loss as seen in Plus-Sized Elf episode 1 (Image via Elias)

The most notable aspect of Plus-Sized Elf episode 1 is its original concept, which captivates viewers from beginning to end. In contrast to the usual isekai anime formula where characters are transported to alternate worlds, this show flips the concept by introducing fantasy characters into our own world.

As a result of the stress, unhealthy habits, and poor food choices that are widespread in this world, an elf who has entered this world and given in to temptation is now suffering the consequences and urgently requires assistance to return.

The first episode of Plus-Sized Elf has a relatively short duration of approximately 11 minutes, which could be a factor in its pacing. The animation is of decent quality and, being an ecchi anime, the animators have added extra scenes and made certain moments more explicit compared to the manga.

Plus-Sized Elf: Episode 1 Review – The Not-So Good Parts

Ino as seen in Plus-Sized Elf episode 1 (Image via Elias)
Ino as seen in Plus-Sized Elf episode 1 (Image via Elias)

Despite the considerable efforts put into its production, the first episode of Plus-Sized Elf starts to feel excessively lengthy. While it may be premature to make a definitive judgement, this sentiment could possibly be attributed to the superficial nature of the content in the episode.

It appears that Elfuda’s challenges are resolved rather effortlessly, only for the narrative to circle back to its starting point. It seems this may become a recurring pattern as the story lacks a clear direction. This approach can have both positive and negative consequences, depending on its execution in future installments.

The manga adaptation is currently undergoing revisions by the creative team in hopes of producing the most optimal version. The success of these modifications is yet to be determined. It is important to acknowledge that while some anime adaptations enhance the original material, others fall short in capturing the essence of the manga. In this particular case, the humor and quirkiness of the characters fail to evoke a positive reaction.

Concluding Remarks

Elfuda and Naoe as seen in Plus-Sized Elf anime (Image via Elias)
Elfuda and Naoe as seen in Plus-Sized Elf anime (Image via Elias)

Despite being the first episode of the series, there is still much to anticipate. One of the most pleasing aspects is the absence of an explicit moral lesson. While a healthy lifestyle is not promoted, the elf’s need to be physically fit is simply a technical necessity for their return home. However, if the other elements of the anime do not improve, the overall viewing experience may be dull.

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