The Elfen Lied manga series ran for One-Hundred-Seven Chapters (plus two non-linear special chapters) in Japan from 2002 to 2005, written and illustrated by Lynn Okamoto, and published in the manga magazine, Weekly Young Jump, published by Shueisha, which collected the series in twelve volumes of Tankōbon Digests.
The series is considered for mature readers only, due to its multiple instances of graphic violence, nudity, extreme sexual situations, and child molestation. It tells the story of Lucy, a super-powered escapee from a project where she was imprisoned and studied. She is a member of a human evolutionary off-shoot known as Diclonii, who are marked off by small 'horns' made of bone atop their heads that resemble cat-ears in shape, as well as telekinetic abilities and, at certain times, an unrelenting desire to replace non-Diclonius humans as the planet's dominant species. The series begins with her memorably violent escape from the project where she was held, and how she is subsequently taken in by two college-bound cousins, Kouta and Yuka. She is then rendered amnesiac by a bullet wound inflicting her head during her escape, and lapses into a childlike persona the two cousins name Nyu, although she can and does re-emerge, especially when being threatened.
The three are the first of many characters to dwell in the Maple House, a former restaurant and inn owned by the cousins' family. A romantic triangle also develops as Yuka has some long-standing designs on Kouta that Nyu's presence frustrates. As the series goes on, new characters are introduced and past connections, which are often tragic, are revealed among the main characters, especially Lucy and Kouta. The project that held her also seeks to recapture her, and is behind a sinister agenda that will eventually touch them all. The series often makes it hard to tell what drives the Diclonii to attack non-horned humans, their own nature or the abuse they suffer as a result of their appearance and abilities. Both ideas remain very much evident throughout the entire series. It has been compared to both harem and horror manga, having elements of both.
Currently, the Elfen Lied manga series is not available for purchase in the United States (despite similarly violent and racy titles like Gantz or even more violent and racy titles like Berserk being released (in Berserk's case, it was released before the TV anime was released in North America)), possibly owing to the controversial material contained within, this despite being released in neighboring Mexico. A total of six special chapters were also published in various volumes--of these, only two are related to the world of Elfen Lied, and only one of those has an official standing, the second being a fan-service alternate universe or dream sequence. Should the manga be released in the United States, then most likely either Viz Media (since it's published by Shueisha, also the co-owner of Viz alongside with Shogakukan) or Dark Horse Comics would release them.
An anime series consisting of 13 episodes, plus an OVA was based on the first 65 chapters of the series, and featuring alterations to its ending, which was both self-contained and a cliffhanger. It is available on R1 (North American region) DVD as a box set.