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 AT-X 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. Both the manga and adaptations are noted for their heavy violence and emotional themes of how the characters change through the whole 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.