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Elfen Lied May 5, 2009

Posted by gtoproject in Manga.


Elfen Lied (エルフェンリート ,Erufen Rīto?) is a Japanese manga series created by manga author Lynn Okamoto. A thirteen-episode anime television series adaptation based on the manga was produced by the studio ARMS and broadcast on TV Tokyo from July to October 2004; the anime was later licensed in North America on DVD by ADV Films. The anime started before the manga was complete; as a result, the plot differed between the two, especially towards the ending of the story. In 2005, a special original video animation, written to occur between the tenth and eleventh episodes of the series, was released. The title is literally German for “Elven Song” and takes its name from the poem Elfenlied and the German word lied, a classical-romantic poem or musical work.

Elfen Lied revolves around the interactions, views, emotions, and discrimination between humans and the Diclonius, a mutant species similar to humans in build but distinguishable by two horns on their head and “vectors”, transparent telekinetically controlled arms that have the power to manipulate and cut objects within their reach. The series is centered around the teenage Diclonius girl “Lucy” who was rejected by humans and subsequently wreaks a murderous vengeance upon them.


The Diclonius are a species of evolved humans with two horns and vectors, transparent arms that have the power to manipulate and cut objects within their reach. The arms vibrate with such a high frequency, that they can cut through almost anything, and they are strong enough to lift heavy stones or lesser boats; depending on the strength of the individual Diclonius. Diclonius are being held in a special experimental facility off the coast of Kamakura in Kanagawa, south of the city of Yokohama, by the chief executive of the experimental facility. A teenage girl named by the staff as “Lucy,” escapes, using her vectors to deflect gunfire and effortlessly kill security guards. As she makes her way out of the facility, a sniper shoots her, breaking her metal helmet and causing her to fall into the sea. The next morning, Kohta is moving to Kamakura to study in a university where he is reunited with his cousin Yuka. He encounters Lucy on a beach in the area, naked with her head bleeding from the bullet wound and only capable of saying the word “Nyu.” Kohta and Yuka decide to take her with them, naming her “Nyu” as a result.

Lucy and Nyu have opposite personalities, and switch between them very abruptly, the first instance of which Bando becomes a victim.

A Diclonius named Nana and a Special Assault Team task force, led by the violent soldier Bando, are sent to hunt down Lucy. However, Lucy and her cold characteristics have not yet faded away; whenever she hits her head or is confronted with violence, she reverts to her sadistic side and makes transitions between her two personalities throughout the series, the first of which is seen against Bando, who has his eyes poked out, and Nana, who has all her limbs ripped off by Lucy’s vectors. Eventually, Kurama decides to repair the bodies of Bando and Nana and send Nana back to Kamakura, contrary to his orders to put her down. Nana and Mayu, a 14-year-old runaway youth who witnessed the confrontation between Nana and Lucy, as well as the result of Bando’s encounter with Lucy, both end up living in Kohta’s household.

Several developments in the story are made and explained in the latter end of the series regarding the pasts of the characters and the links between them. Mayu is revealed to have been molested by her stepfather, and Kurama is also revealed to be a carrier of Diclonius DNA. Professor Kakuzawa, Kurama’s colleague and the son of his boss, is revealed to be a Diclonius just seconds before his head gets torn off by Lucy. Kurama’s wife died as a result of complications after giving birth, and Kurama was almost forced to kill his newborn Diclonius daughter; however Kakuzawa’s father, the head of the facility, agreed to let her live on the condition that explosives be planted inside her to be detonated if she escaped the facility and caused destruction in the human world. Lucy’s past, why she turned sadistic, and her connections with Kohta are also revealed.

Toward the end of the series, Kurama is forced to unleash Mariko, his Diclonius daughter and disputedly the most powerful Diclonius, to kill Lucy and return the species into hiding forever. Lucy, Nana and Kohta encounter Mariko, accompanied by the staff at the facility, on a bridge, where Mariko almost kills them. As Lucy kills the search team accompanying Mariko in retrieving her, including the majority of the remaining staff at the facility, Kurama is cornered with the last three Diclonius left. He chooses instead to spend a final father-daughter moment and die with Mariko as the explosives in her detonate. Nana returns to the household with Kohta, Yuka and Mayu, and Lucy sees Kohta on the same set of steps as where they had their final conversation eight years earlier, telling him her true feelings, her remorse, and how she is in love with Kohta. Lucy leaves to face the remaining assault team deployed by the facility; her ultimate fate is unknown.


  • Lucy (ルーシー Rūshī) is a teenage Diclonius girl around eighteen years old. Lucy has developed strong emotions of hatred and vengeance towards regular humans mainly because of how she was treated by the majority of them as a child, making fun of her horns and giving her insulting nicknames such as freak. She seems to lack empathy, kills without much concern, and acts somewhat sadistically; however, towards the end of the series, she begins to show remorse for her actions, especially towards Kohta.
  • Nyu (にゅう Nyū?) is a split personality of Lucy that developed after a .50 BMG round ricocheted off a metallic helmet encasing her head. Nyu has a childlike personality and infantile knowledge of the world, forgetting even that she is a Diclonius and how to use or manifest her vectors, leaving her as a human with horns. She initially lacks spoken language skills; however, she eventually learns a handful of words and phrases until (in the manga) she can finally speak properly despite the fact she still uses the nonsensical phrase nyu as her catchphrase. Nyu is innocent and incapable of violent acts, a foil to the normally cold and sadistic Lucy; she is the manifestation of her “good side”. Whenever Nyu hits her head or when she is confronted with violence, she reverts to her sadistic side, Lucy. 
  • Kohta (コウタ Kōta?) is around nineteen years old and enters the story when his cousin’s family allows him to move in to their closed-down inn in exchange for maintenance while he goes to a local university. Kohta has repressed traumatic memories of his father’s and sister’s deaths during his childhood at Lucy’s hands. Because of him repressing his memories, Kohta does not remember Lucy from when he met her earlier as a child. Due in part to his loss, he has a soft spot for girls in trouble and is extremely generous and protective to the girls around him. He is more forgiving in the anime, but in the manga when he gets his memories back he truly is unforgiving about Lucy killing his father and sister. Even so, he also remembers the happy memories, and even though she killed his father and sister, he still loves her.
  • Yuka (ユカ ) is Kohta’s cousin. She is about the same age and attends the same university as Kohta (she attends the same class with him, so she should be around nineteen years old as well). She last saw Kohta when they were ten, parting ways with him on the same night in which Lucy killed Kohta’s family, completely oblivious to the events following their last meeting. She moves in with him at the inn after having not seen him in many years. She has had a crush on Kohta since childhood, and is uncomfortable with Nyu’s attachment to him. V


Diclonius, according to the Elfen Lied manga, are an evolutionary branch off of humans. Their bodies are very similar to humans, the only difference being the two horn-like temporal protrusions, which are said to relate to their telekinetic powers (hinted at when Lucy only released two vectors towards several soldiers when one of her two horns was chipped off). In the manga, it is mentioned that Diclonius would fall into a coma if they lose one of their horns, and would never return from their lethargic state if they lose both horns. Lucy’s horns grow back though and manage to recover from this twice. Their powers involve the usage of invisible arms, known as “vectors”. They usually have a limited range of a few meters; Lucy’s are able to extend to two meters in the manga. They also have the ability to detect the location of each other,  such as when Kurama releases Nana from the offshore laboratory to search for and retrieve Lucy.

A key dispute throughout the series is the Diclonius propensity towards violence. Many have a vendetta against humans, and have ambitions to wipe out the human race and populate the world with their own species. Diclonius DNA is transferred to normal humans if the vectors of the Diclonius penetrate them. An incident involving the escape of a child Diclonius during Kurama’s early years where the Diclonius’ vectors penetrated him resulted in Mariko being born a Diclonius, and Kurama takes precautions against a recurrence by attempting to sterilize Bando.

It is disputed and contradicted during the series as to how Diclonius develop this behavior, whether it is part of their personality or whether it stems from abuse by humans, and both conclusions are supported by significant evidence. Kurama explains to Bando that Diclonius are born with the intention of populating the world, and Lucy has implied to be directed by Diclonii instincts when she kills humans.  In the anime’s final episode Lucy tells Kohta that “I was born to destroy humans.” However, it is also shown that the Diclonius have usually been subjected to some type of severe psychological trauma; for example, Lucy was tormented by her human peers and witnessed the killing of her pet as a child, while Mariko was raised in neglect since her birth. They could therefore have developed their homicidal tendencies from abuse.

The researchers at the experimental facility believe the Diclonius to be nothing less than an existential threat. The Diclonius there are kept in isolation; where they are heavily restrained and fed through a tube. Lucy mentions the danger to the human race to Kohta in the final episode: “Given just five years, I can ensure that there are more babies of our kind born in the world than there are normal humans.”


Written by Lynn Okamoto, Elfen Lied premiered in Japan in Weekly Young Jump magazine in June 2002. New chapters continued to appear in the magazine until August 2005, when the final chapter was published.[13] The series’ 107 chapters were also published in twelve collected volumes by Shueisha from October 2002 through November 2005.

Due to the fact that the manga had not been finished by the time the TV series started airing, the manga and anime show several significant plot differences. While the manga covers 107 chapters, the anime was condensed into thirteen episodes, and director Mamoru Kanbe mentioned that he wanted to feature much more of the original story. The anime series only covers events roughly up to about halfway through the manga storyline, though the anime has its own original ending. As a result, much of the characters’ pasts and many details of their pasts and of the Diclonius that were in the manga do not appear in the anime.

My Rating:  Story 8, artwork 7.5