The story revolves around the girl Lucy aka Nyu who is the 'queen' of the Diclonius race. Diclonius are mutated humans with psychokinetic powers. This race can be identified by the horns they posses. Lucy has been locked up in a secret hidden laboratory but manages to escape. While escaping she receives a gunshot to her helmet which causes her to lose her memory and fall back into a todler state of mind. Kouta stumbles across her and takes her into his home which causes several problems as the government is trying to recapture her.
The anime follows the manga relative good altough there are some big differences sometimes. For example the part where she escapes. The anime has one of the best openings Ive ever seen where Lucy escapes and kills alot of the employees in a Terminator emotionenless state. She does not hesitate either to kill the directors clumsy assistant.
The manga however explains how she was able to escape and we see more emotions from Lucy and their captors. (The number of deaths in the manga is also alot lower).
When Lucy and the assistant meet Lucy first holds her hostage which made me feel she didnt want to kill an innocent person. However when the director gives the order to shoot them both (with much hesitation) she kills of the assistant while maniacally laughing at her pointless death. The director of the facility seemed alot more human aswell as he didnt want to shoot the assistant at first and was really upset about her death.
The anime however wrapped up the storyline while the manga was not even halfway thus both have a completly different ending. The manga ending was dark and violent but it contained alot of unnesecary plottwist in my opinion. Several characters were unneeded (diclonius male, Anna and especially Nozomi) and some people should of not have returned from their obvious ''death'' to create some sort of happy ending.
Without these twists the manga would be almost perfect.
Even though the manga is very enjoyable and much better as the anime.
It is relative simple which makes it clean and easy to follow. The faces/expressions are in the anime/cartoony style instead of realism (the big eyes, big mouths and big facial expressions). That is no issue for me but I did notice that after reading a manga which had more realistic faces/expressions. But no real complaints here.
It however does contain a certain amount of ecchi. Would be nice to have less of it but not everyone shall agree with me on this.
As said, there are quite some unnessecary characters which cluttered the story and had no additions or just where there for a plottwist. Sometimes suddenly a bunch of new characters appeared which made me sometimes lose track of who I was looking at and what they wanted. These character didnt appeal to me so there was no emotional connection either. While I loved Lucy as a character I had several moments of annoyance with Kouta which is a big drawback as he is the second main character. Some of the side characters as Nana and Kuruma were much better created with alot more connection with them.
Overall I give the manga a 8 as especially the ending was so amazing, even though cluttered with plottwists.
Elfen Lied involves themes of social alienation, identity, revenge, child abuse, jealousy, regret and the value of humanity. At least, thats what Wikipedia says. All of these themes are explored in the most shallow of ways and doesnt leave much for you to think about. Good and bad are clearly distinguished, with the bad mostly being the most extreme forms of sadism and the good being everyone else.
There are mainly two things that makes this manga "Mature". First is gore. Which isnt done badly, but overused alot. Ultimately reducing the shock value of seeing someones limbs getting torn off for the ten tousandth time.
The other is Nudity and Sex, and boy did the Author get caried away on this one. The entire manga is plagued with unnecessary nude/sex scenes. Mostly involving weird fetishes such as girls pissing themselves. Most of these comes out of nowhere and destroys much of the mood by being out of place.
Elfen Lied is a story about Lucy, a teenage Diclonius girl who had been subjected to experimentation, abuse and social alienation at the hands of humans. The story starts off with her breaking out of captivity and gruesomely murdering everyone in her sight with her Diclonius powers.
The plot mainly revolves around her thirst for revenge against mankind. Sounds kinda awesome right? But unfortunately, the need of the Author to include out of place characters and their stupid nobody cares backstories ultimately caused Elfen Lied to have a trainwreck of a plot.
How did this happen? Well, after one chapter of being treated to possibly the most awesome opening for any manga ever, Lucy lost her memories and stumbles upon a couple of teenagers, who decides to take her in. One of them is the supposed Male lead, Kohta. Things go downhill from now on. The plot becomes filled with events that has little to do with the main plot, mostly consisting of Kohta and various girls he takes in to his house. (Explained more in the characters sections.)
These events successfully pollutes much of Elfen Lied's main plot, and just left me having the temptation to skip alot of the pages. But dont worry, i forced myself throough them, so i have read every single page of the manga.
The ending is a severe disapointment for me and destroyed much of what the series is building itself into. I wont go much into detail as it might have some major spoilers with the points i would like to address.
There are about 8 characters in the series i would like to talk about. These characters takes up a significant amount of the manga, or i wont mention them. Some of these make the show, and the others break it, actually, more like break the fuck out of it. I'll start off with Lucy.
I see her as the main character of the story. Mainly because she is one of the most interesting characters in Elfen Lied and the only thing that kept me reading. Her history, sadism, and thirst for revenge are all very much intriguing. Unfortunately, she was reduced to a brain dead retard right after the first chapter and stays that way most of the time.
Only capable of saying the "Nyu?", her main role is degraded to causing Kohta to stumble into sexually awkward situations, and groping the breats of other girls. Occasionaly, she returns to her original persona, which are mainly in short spurts until near the end of the manga. And everytime she degrades back into being a retard, my heart sinks, and i murder a kitten.
In the end though, she does manage to stay interesting for the brief moments of returning to her original persona. Especially in the end, where much of her history is explored.
Male lead. Mostly accompanied by his lovestruck cousin, Yuka. This guy has very little to do with the main plot. His role is to accept homeless girls into his house and forming a mini harem/ecchi series within it, so as to contribute to the nudity/sex in the series. Most of the time, i just breeze through the pages with him because he has very few important things to say.
His most important role is his past(conveniently hidden by amnesia and does not appear until the later chapters), which is the only thing that really allowed me to tolerate his existence.
Still, one of the worst male leads ever.
Kohta's cousin. Is in love with Kohta. Role is to get jealous everytime Kohta finds himself groping other girls. Their half-assed relationship is a shit stain on the pages of the manga. And let me tell you, its one hell of a large stain that would cause most janitors to consider retirement. As such, she needs to die in a fire.
Cant remember her name. One of the girls Kohta takes in. She wears diapers because she got piss control problems. One of the Author's fetishes he so kindly shared. Nothing to do with the plot, die in a fire plz.
Another girl Kohta takes in. Chased out after being sexually abused by her step father. Uninteresting character overall, weak back story and no real significance to the plot. Has several interesting relationships with a couple of characters though, i'll let her slide..
Whew, finally, another decent character apart from Lucy. Nana is a Diclonius, also subjected to experimentation. She also escaped, with the aid of her "father". Unlike Lucy, she does not detest humans as much and even sees one as her father. She wishes to live in peace and coexist with humans, with the ultimate wish of being with her "father".
Another good one. Kurama is one of the staff of the Research Centre which inhumanly operates on Disclonius girls. He is the only one who feels guilty for his actions and has a great deal of history. His story is one of the more interesting ones in the manga, making him one of the most memorable of Elfen Lied charactes.
One of the few characters with character development. Introduced as a bloodthirsty Police Force member sent to kill Lucy. He failed and seeks revenge on Lucy. Over the course of the manga, he changes and begins to show affection for people. Kind of like the Tough guy showing affection to weak people cliche. But, hey, at least hes better than diapers girl.(Or about half of the cast, Kohta included)
This ends my character section.
The art in Elfen Lied is bland, no other word for it. Most panels have white backgrounds, and character designs are generic to the max.
For a series that boasts blood and gore, there really isnt anything impressive. There is definitely lots of blood, but i dont know about gore. The most goriest of images is probably bones shattering and some instentines.(Which dont really appear often)
Most of the times, its just lots of blood spurting out of severed limbs and heads, theres really not alot of details in the gore.
Has a pretty interesting core plot, but becomes too riddled with uninteresting characters and events that caused it to fall flat on its face. Sex and nudity are horribly implemented and the gore is repetitive.
This makes it really hard for me to recommend this to anyone. I read the manga because i heard lots of people saying its superior to the anime. If thats the case, i recommend staying away from Elfen Lied, anime or manga.
Well this manga immediately throws you in the action, with what i'd call the main character, Lucy, breaking out, blood flying everywhere and bullets that can't hit her -except for one.
Because of some logic i don't really get (a bullet to the head makes you get split personalities???) Lucy gets a new personality that will be known as Nyu and is basically a toddler you'd want to get in your bed.
Nyu/Lucy then gets taken in by Kouta and Yuka, who apparently don't think of warning the police after a lost, naked girl.
Then some shit happens, we get tons of side characters who are of course all female (except for some adult people, most characters are teenagers), we get some fights (which is the main reason i wanted to read this) and then there's also some shallow talk about racism in both directions (so against and from the diclonii: should they be deleted from this world, or rule it?). I can't honestly say that any part of what was going on particularly excited me. If you're a big fan of gore, you might like it a bit more though.
The conclusion to the story was kinda boring too, and seemed far-fetched.
the only interesting people are the diclonii and Bandou, and in the diclonii only Lucy/Nyu is really interesting. Lucy and Bandou are also the only ones with some character development.
Most of the side characters (like Nozomi and Yuka) are plain unnecessary, and are often only annoying. It would've been nice to not get the harem crap too.
was ok in my eyes - gore looked gorey, but there was nothing that especially stood out for me
Please note that this is my first ever manga review, so please treat this kindly.
"Elfen Lied" was one of those titles that I avoided like a hawk when I was just starting to find the gem that is the anime genre. I thought I didn't have the stomach for the notorious limb-flying and frequently naked female cast. I will admit that the darkness humanity can venture in and psychology that serves as the backbone of the manga truly got me intriguied. Since even the sound of spliced limbs and blood squirts can make me cringe, I decided to read the manga first though I watch more anime. When finished, I can say that it left wanting to see the anime adaptation and OVA; a comparision review may come in the future when I finish watching it. But first things first: the manga!
The manga starts off very slow, I didn't get hooked to read the rest at about chapter 30 or so. So whether you're still hooked up till that point is totally up to the reader. Reasons why I lost interest was that it was following the same trend: Lucy kills, Nyuu's touching of certain female parts that can't be described as either cute or perverse, Yuka calling Kouta a stupidhead and the constant losing Nyuu and reuniting her. The building cast (which is mostly female I might add) further adds wood to the fire, leaving the reader to wonder when on earth the plot is going to get underway. It also doesn't help that the art is below par. It's not the most gorgeous and is your traditional cutesy anime girls with a dash of blood sprays. I will say though that it does get better as the story goes on. Though if anyone is uncomfortable with seeing the female nude, (or even half-nude for that matter), then this manga is not for you because there is plenty of it and can even be a part of the major themes of the story. It's there that much. I also found to be plot holes and the happy ending just didn't feel right after finishing. With so much sadness, I thought the story would have ended better by staying in that mood. SPOILER: Not to mention bringing back some who died with NO explanation doesn't help.
However, if you want to delve into other aspects of the plot, there's plenty of themes. All of them deal with human morals, science, psychology (especially dissociative identity disorder for this was a major trait in the diclonus), biology, what makes innocence and the loss of it, youth, multiple thoughts on the act of killing, the ability to move on, apoycalpse and mankind as a race just to name the most prominent. Even physics get mentioned at certain points. All are intriguing and I wish that these were focused on more than the ups and downs of romance. Granted, love (in multiple relationships from friends, lovers, family and especially fathers and daughters) fits with the story, but I personally saw this as a forced drive to the story. I will also note that the manga also has very intense themes as well: human and animal cruelty, torture, experimentation, heartache, rape espicially with children, violence and gore. If any of these bother you, this may be another reason not to read this. After all, it's only in Japan for a very, very good reason. It's certainly one of the darkest manga I've read, no questions asked.
"Elfen Lied" is without a doubt a tradegy. Rin Okamoto holds no bars back in making all of his characters suffer in multiple ways. He is also the master of providing brief happy moments that are struck down by sadness also in various forms ranging from military attacks, the loss of dear ones, verbal and physical actions. He also loves teasing the viewer in that a certain event is going to happen , say a a character's death and suddenly a few pages go: nope not yet! Now for the characters: the cast is one that the majority will get killed off so take care of who you decide is your favorite or even choose to like. Since I haven't seen the anime, I'm not sure how their portrayals compare. Certain ones such as Lucy and Nana are so wonderfully developed and I applaud Okamoto for providing them in multiple scenarios and making them experience a grand range of emotions that made me a reader want them to finally have a place to call home and forget their sorrows and suffering. However, what made me give the character rating a low number is that with 107 chapters, not all the characters are given the same range of depth. In particular, some of the human characters (particularly the main crew of the Maple Inn) appeared to be very static and despite the trials they have to overcome to form their own definition of family, they just seemed the same throughout. I'm looking at you Yuka. Others seem like total clones of each other (Kurama's partner in the lab and the chief). While others seem a bit rushed in order for the reader to care for them before their inevitable death.
In short, "Elfen Lied" is one of those stories that's either going to turn you off or get you to continue to read it after the first brutal chapter. The story takes a while to find its footing and even when it does, it tends to trip on itself. The art isn't the greatest, but the emotions that certain cast members will go through may keep your atttention until the very end. Much like the ocean waves found throughout the story, "Elfen Lied" has ebbs and flows that help make it stand out in science fiction, psychological and apocalyptic storytelling. Giving it a try won't hurt, but you're not missing out.
Story: The story was absoulutely amazing. It was heart-breakingly sad at some points, but that was only because I was so connected to the characters. The story flowed well and although I was confused at some points, my questions were answered as I kept reading. Also, I was impressed with the amount of details woven throughout the story. It obviously took the mangaka some thinking to come up with this tragic yet wonderful story. Elfen Lied made me think a lot, and although it's a supernatural tale, I drew numorous parallels to the real world.
Art: I didn't like the art all too much... I can't really describe it, but the characters looked odd at some points. However I did like how the mangaka drew Lucy's alternate personalities so you could tell them apart (especially the eyes). Also take note that the art is very excplicit, so if you don't have a strong stomach or are offended by nudity, then I would suggest you not read this manga. Overall, the art was alright. I liked it at some points but not others.
Characters: I loved the characters! At first most characters were easily hateable, but as you learned more about their past, you came to understand them and love them. Nana was probably my favorite character because of her internal strength to protect her friends and family. She was probably the character most easy to sympathize with, too. Also, the characters were very human, even if they were exagerated, because of their emotions.
Overall I definitely recommend this manga. It is one of my favorites :)