|Elfen Lied (エルフェンリート Erufen Rīto?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto. It was originally serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump from June 2002 to August 2005, with the 107 chapters collected into twelve tankōbon volumes. A thirteen-episode anime television series adaptation 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 began airing before the manga was complete; as a result, the plot differed between the two, especially the ending. The series’ title is German for “Elf Song” and takes its name from the poem “Elfenlied”, which is featured in the story.
Elfen Lied revolves around the interactions, views, emotions, and differences between human beings and the Diclonii, a mutant species similar to humans in build but distinguishable by two horns on their heads and “vectors”, transparent telekinetically controlled arms that have the power to manipulate and cut objects within their reach. The series is centered on the teenage Diclonius girl “Lucy” who was rejected by human beings and subsequently wants revenge.
Elfen Lied involves themes of social alienation, identity, prejudice, revenge, abuse, jealousy, regret and the value of humanity. The series employs graphic violence and profanity. So far, only the thirteen-episode anime series has been licensed in the US, by ADV Films and in Australia by Madman Entertainment. ADV Films said the series was one of their bestselling and “most notorious” releases of 2005.
Elfen Lied takes place in Kamakura, Japan, focusing on a new strain of the human race, Diclonius, similar to human beings but different at the genetic level and notable due to physical abnormalities, particularly a pair of short horn-like protrusions. One such Diclonius, Lucy, is the main character of the series: Initially held in a facility built for experimentation, located off the coast of Kamakura, she manages to escape and wreak havoc, but is injured in the process, an event which causes her to develop a secondary, child-like personality known as Nyu.
Lucy is found by two locals, Kohta, who studies at the local university, and his cousin Yuka. They take her in, and become involved with the numerous, often brutal, attempts to recapture her by a Special Assault Team and a number of other Diclonius, who shift frequently from oblivious to murderous. Other characters include Bando, an SAT trooper mauled by Lucy and infected with a virus, and Kurama, a carrier of the virus.