IntroductionEditElfen Lied is a shounen manga series also made into an anime. It is neither the darkest nor the most violent such series ever made, but it is easily at least near to the top on both of those fronts. It is a mature readers' series covering grim and mature themes, and it is not shy about either violent action or sexy fanservice. It takes a dark look at Humanity's treatment of itself, but it also offers hope for a better tomorrow. Humor and some slapstick are also not unknown. Despite this, it is on balance an extremely mature series and should only be viewed or read by those of age or with explict informed parental permission. This is not a mild series, its quality aside. The Wiki has taken steps to keep the worst of it in a vague presentation, but the main series itself can be rough, and perhaps should be regarded as having an R or Mature rating.
Elfen Lied tells the story of Lucy, a girl born with horns who is tormented as a child because of this. After an instance of bullying that reached new depths of loathsome behavior, Lucy snapped and killed her tormentors, and then began a war against Humanity, interrupted only by her one childhood friend, a boy named Kouta whose innocent missteps cost them both the chance to be happy. Years later, when both are suffering from traumatic amnesia, their relationship starts again. But how long can it be before Lucy's murderous side re-emerges, or Kouta regains his memories of her terrible vengeance on him as a child? Even if their love can survive, dark forces want to control Lucy, who they see as the next step in Human evolution.
The manga and anime both begin with Lucy's brutal escape from the facility she was held in after being captured. A trail of blood is left behind her as she goes. It goes on with Kouta, Lucy and Kouta's would-be girlfriend Yuka (also his cousin) living in Maple House Inn where they take in other girls in need of help. A series of mishaps separate and reunite the cast members, until the day comes when an awful childhood promise Kouta made is fufillred, and lives local and international are touched and put in jeopardy.
(More and detailed EL plot info can be found here.)
Character links will in this case redirect to the full article at the Elfen Lied Wiki.
Lucy - The main character and anti-hero of the story. Born with horns (actually small ones that resemble cat ears), she is seemingly abandoned by her parents and left to be raised in a cold orphanage where she receives contempt from both her classmates and the staff. When one final act of cruelty breaks her, she unleashes her vectors, invisible telekinetic arms capable of lifting and cutting. Fleeing the resulting scene of carnage, she first encounters Kouta and through him first learns of real friendship and love when he not only doesn't care about her horns, he finds them 'cool'. Tragically, a misunderstanding causes the young girl to believe Kouta has betrayed her. In retaliation she kills his family, only to realize too late he never meant to hurt her. After five years on the run, she is captured by a research facility which investigates her type of mutation. Steadfast in her desire to again see Kouta and apologize, Lucy stages a bloody escape from the island facility, only to lose her memory from a head wound, winding up on the same beach that Kouta is walking with his cousin Yuka.
Kouta - The male lead. As a young boy, Kouta met and befriended the girl who would come to be known as Lucy (not her true name). He was also close friends with his cousin Yuka, who he liked and who sported an intense crush on him, just as young Lucy did. Wishing to spare the feelings of his new friend, Kouta told an innocent lie, that the cousin he was attending a summer festival with was a boy. But young Lucy's trust was a fragile thing, already wounded by betrayals in the recent past, and the exposure of his lie cost him the lives of his father and younger sister when a vengeful Lucy attacked. Kouta entrirely supressed the memories of this gruesome incident and all memories of that period. Years later, while meeting up with Yuka again, she was upset that he no longer recalled her, though Yuka came to realize it was the incident that cost him those memories. Walking on the beach as they did when children, they encounter a girl with no memories nor the ability to speak or reason clearly, who they come to call Nyu. Though both see her horns, neither realizes that this Nyu is in fact the amnesiac Lucy, whose personality has been supressed but not destroyed. The trio become the first three to live at Maple House, also known as The Kaede-Sou, a former restaurant owned by Yuka's mother. With a romantic triangle and powerful people looking for Nyu, Kouta has his hands full.
Yuka - The secondary female lead. Yuka often acts a bit tsundere towards Kouta, but this is explainable by how events have torn apart a reunion she sought for almost a decade. Yuka can also be very kind and giving, and cares for all who live in Maple House, even if she has to dig at Kouta for his 'harem' of girls. Yuka, like everyone else, often gets a taste of the curious Nyu's playful side-which includes having her chest groped by Nyu.
Mayu - A young homeless girl who comes to live at Maple House and who is in essence adopted by Kouta and Yuka. Mayu's constant companion is a small dog named Wanta whom she found while fleeing a sexually abusive stepfather and uncaring mother. Mayu is haunted by her past, but grateful for what she has in the present. In a sad echo of his past with Lucy/Nyu, Kouta falls under Mayu's suspicions because of Nyu's antics, but this clears up in time. Mayu enjoys a sisterly relationship with Nana.
Nana - Nana is a horned girl like Lucy, a Diclonius. In fact, Nana is what is referred to as a Silpelit, a secondary type of Diclonius, as opposed to the monarch, Lucy. Their genetic goal is to continue what Lucy started with their parents, causing Human children to be born instead as Diclonius and wipe out Humankind. While many if not most Diclonius resent their treatment by Humans and become violent as a result, Nana refuses to harm any other living being, even when the man she sees as her father tells her to. She pays a price for her gentleness when she is sent out to find and faces Lucy, costing her all four limbs, which are replaced by new ones that respond to her powers. Nana comes to live at Maple House, partly to keep an eye on Lucy/Nyu, but also because the simple pleasures of life found there are like luxuries to her, and the people there become like her family.
Nozomi - A manga-only character. Yuka was her Senpai in High School, and by associating with the people in and eventually moving in to Maple House, the nerve-ridden Nozomi learns the confidence to try and enter music school. Gifted with a magnificent singing voice, Nozomi was opposed, sometimes violently, in her dream of singing by her overprotective father, who saw his wife, Nozomi's mother, die from the bitter disappointment of having her voice fail her. It is Nozomi, at least in the manga, who teaches Nyu/Lucy the song Elfen Lied. Due to some inspiring words and support on Kouta's part, Nozomi also sports a crush on him, though respect for her senpai means she will never speak of it. Her presence/absence in the anime was a source of friction between Okamoto Lynn, the series creator, and Kanbe Mamoru, the anime's director.
Kurama - Director Kurama was recruited to and for a while was in charge of the secret facility that oversaw the sudden outbreak in births by horned children and attempted to contain this phenomenon. It was he who oversaw the capture of Lucy, and a deep abiding enmity between the two developed when one of Lucy's only human friends was killed during her capture. While at the facility, Kurama was unknowingly infected with the virus that causes men to sire horned children, causing his daughter Mariko to be born Diclonius. Even though he had been actively euthanizing any such children upon birth, he made a deal with the head of the facility to keep his daughter alive. Kept away from Mariko after this, he developed a fatherly relationship with Nana, who he was later forced to use to try and locate Lucy, which nearly cost Nana her life. Eventually, Kurama, who had always questioned the cruelty his employers used upon their Diclonius subjects, came to realize that the Kakuzawas had an even darker agenda and rebelled. Despite this rebellion, he remained resolute in his desire to remove and kill what he saw as the number one threat to Human existence - Lucy.
Bando - A member of Japan's elite Special Assault Team and likely one of its best and most ruthless operatives. Sent in to kill or capture Lucy, he was overwhelmed, humiliated and maimed. Vengeance-minded but practical to a fault, Bando spent many months preparing for a rematch after cybernetic surgery replaced his lost eyes and arm. In the meantime, he formed alliances with Kurama and Nana, both of whom want to stop Lucy, and formed a relationship with Mayu, who saw the kinder man beneath the bluster. Even with all his preparation, his rematch with Lucy will be the fight of his life.
Mariko - Mariko is the daughter of Kurama and his late wife Hiromi, and a Diclonius more powerful and uncontrollable than even Lucy. Whereas Lucy is dominated by hate and rage, Mariko is more like a small child with playthings she does not consider real people. What will happen when she faces not only Lucy, but the horned girl who her father now treats as a daughter--Nana?
Chief Kakuzawa - On the surface, Chief Kakuzawa is simply a man ruthlessly dedicated to the Japanese government's goal of wiping out the Diclonius before they take over from normal Humans. But to the Chief's mind, he and his family *are* Diclonius, and Lucy is their long-awaited messiah. A man of wealth, power, and connections, Chief Kakuzawa will sacrifice anyone, even his own children, to achieve his ultimate goal - to have the new Diclonius species regard him as God.
The forces that once held Lucy become increasingly desperate to get her back, and the danger increases. Lucy emerges more and more often, and when she does, she is not shy about using her powers to punish those that cross her. Eventually, they will find Lucy, and Kouta's lost memories will come back. Can this small makeshift family survive? With some joy and laughter breaking through the horror, they just might, but it will definitely be a happy ending they will have to earn.