|“||I was born to put an end to Human life.||”|
–Lucy, in the final anime episode
Lucy/Nyu (real name: Kaede) is the main character, protagonist and anti-heroine/anti-villain of the Elfen Lied series. The so-called 'Queen' Diclonius, Lucy was an individual difficult to pin down by any standard "good or evil" social mores. She was both ruthlessly tormented and was a sadistic tormentor to others, driven to a mental break at an early age by the cruelty that surrounded her. Though she never expected to receive love and acceptance from others, occasionally she got the chance to see such things are indeed possible for someone in her situation to obtain. Her great love was Kouta, a boy she met when they were both children and again when they were young adults.
Elfen Lied is, beyond the extreme gore, violence, and otherwise uncomfortable subject matter, defined by her love for Kouta and her desire to atone for her past sins against him while she's dogged by humans out to either take her life or re-purpose it to suit their own goals. As a Diclonius, Lucy possessed power rivaled by very few others of her kind, and her control over her vectors was virtually second to none. She was also capable of spreading the Diclonius mutation to humans via infecting their parents with her vectors, a process capable of gradually replacing normal humans with her kind.This process was described as a virus.
Lucy was born to the true progenitor of the Diclonius race, her mother. Her mother was an ordinary human, though with the exceptional capability of giving birth to Diclonius who could reproduce (as opposed to the sterile Silpelit children), and was apparently the true origin of the virus that spawned them. Captured by Chief Kakuzawa, Lucy's mother was held, studied and forced to bear a son by him, committing suicide after this occasion. Meanwhile, Lucy knew nothing of this and instead believed both parents abandoned her. Only her father actually abandoned her, having left her in the forest without her mother's knowledge. Upon learning her infant daughter had been abandoned somewhere, her mother ceaselessly searched for her until her capture by Kakuzawa. It remains unclear if Chief Kakuzawa knew of Lucy's existence before Kurama and his own son did, so the time frame of the conception and birth of Lucy's half-brother is also uncertain. She was taken in by an orphanage, where she was avoided and neglected by the staff, frequently bullied and referred to as an "Ox" (due to her horns), and told by the other children that she should live outside. In an odd way, she understood this as the other children using her as a way to distract themselves from their own misery of being forgotten and abandoned, and did little to prevent it other than to refuse to react, presumably in the hopes they would tire of bullying her if they couldn't get any reaction from her.
Diclonius Instinct Awakened
Lucy discovered an abandoned puppy in the woods around the orphanage, whom she thought of as her first friend. Feeding the puppy on breadcrumbs left the pup starving, so she felt forced to give most of her dinner to it. During this time, it was later revealed that young Lucy, while holding her pup, sometimes heard and listened in on the singing of young Nozomi, who fled to those same mountains to hide her singing from her family, but the two never officially met during these times. When a boy named Tomoo threw milk all over her bag, a young girl saw, and shouted for a teacher. Thinking of her as a new friend, Lucy told the girl about the puppy. However, although promising to keep it a secret, the girl told the boys about the puppy and its significance, and the bullies took it from the woods.
After confronting Lucy in the classroom, the boys brought in the puppy and began violently bludgeoning it to death (with a rock in the manga and a vase in the anime). The girl came in to intervene, admitting to telling them about the puppy. Despite her apologies and protests that she hadn't known the puppy would be hurt, she was smiling behind her supposedly covered eyes. Feeling betrayed and enraged, Lucy released her vectors for the first time, killing all of her tormentors. She then buried the dog, apologizing for not being able to protect it, and decided to go on the run.
During the nights, she went with her Diclonius instincts and slaughtered entire families to stay in their houses. The murders became more and more publicized and she found it harder to stay at a house for very long. At odd moments, the horror of what she was doing would strike her, but her pain and need reasserted itself in a short period of time.
While she stood at the grave, a young boy arrived and noticed her horns. Thinking he would just harm her further, she prepared to kill him. However, he, surprisingly, found them cool and immediately wanted to befriend her. She thought he was trying to deceive her and tried to leave, but Kouta persisted, promising that he would be there the same time tomorrow. In a sad touch of irony, Kouta's Father did not let him out, because of the homicides happening in Kamakura caused by Lucy.
Even believing that Kouta would never come, she hoped against hope and went to the place of the meeting, staying there until night, regretting what she saw as her foolishness in the rain. Kouta, loyal to his promise, snuck out during the night, and went to meet her, giving her a hat upon his arrival. The hat not only hid her horns, but was the first actual gift she'd most likely ever received. They agree to play together the next day. Kouta only came three days later, because of his father's fear of having a serial killer in the neighborhood. Since it was the final day of vacation and there had been no more murders in the past three days, his father acquiesced and let him go out.
Because it was the last day he could stay with her, Kouta decided to take Lucy to the zoo and spend all day with her. Her fascination with the animals she'd never seen before surprised Kouta, and he took delight in her joy. After their trip to the zoo, they visited a nearby river to play in the cool water since the day's heat was bearing down. In the manga, Kouta gave her a jade stone he found while playing in the river. While waiting for their clothes to dry, Lucy remarked it was the best day of her entire life. Oddly, at this time, Kouta never learned or asked the name of his new friend.
During the bus ride back to town, she was wrought with regret that she couldn't spend time with Kouta anymore. When she learned he was going to a nearby festival for the last day of his visit, she begged to go with him, but he said that he promised to go with his cousin. A voice inside her head said to her that Kouta must be going to the festival with another girl, and said she would better off killing him now, so as to avoid suffering later. Lucy found herself choking Kouta, and stopped, terrified of her own actions. She begged a puzzled Kouta to kill her if she ever ended up killing lots of people, but brushed the topic aside when he asked her what she meant. Before parting ways, Lucy cautiously asked Kouta whether his cousin was a boy or a girl. Not wishing to hurt her feelings, Kouta lied and said his cousin was a boy, and she, relieved, thought to herself that she would probably have killed him if he said his cousin was a girl.
After Kouta left, Lucy decided to visit the festival anyway so she could confess her feelings toward him before he left, as she was sure she'd regret it if she didn't. While there, she saw an upset Yuka hugging Kouta and begging him not to leave. Shocked he actually lied to her, Lucy fell into a mental breakdown and was tormented by hallucinations. One such illusion was Kouta saying that he could never be friends with a weirdo like her, and that he had only been nice to her because he adores strange animals. As she broke down further, she saw her orphanage tormentors as horrific specters, also saying there was no place for someone like her, and that lying to her wasn't the same as lying to a real human being. The Voice of her Diclonii instincts took the mental image of herself, first covered in bandages. As the bandages fell away, the specter smiled at her with a cold and psychotic expression, saying she couldn't coexist with humans. The Voice proposed she join her, as with her powers, they could make a place in the world all of their own. Overcome with despair, Lucy accepted her other self's offer, sealing her fate by performing a proverbial "deal with the devil".
In a rage, and corrupted by her inner voice, Lucy began brutally and indiscriminately murdering numbers of people at the festival. This was reported later as a bomb attack, though Kouta's little sister, Kanae, who possibly had the extraordinary gift to see her vectors, ran away and told her family that people were being killed by a horned girl. Kouta immediately thought of his friend, but he didn't believe in his sister's story. With summer and their visit over, Kouta and his family boarded the train for Hokkaido and said goodbye to Yuka and her mother. Lucy watched with contempt as Kouta comforted a tearful Yuka. On the train, Kanae insisted her story was true even as Lucy strolled into their car on the moving train. Kouta angrily denied Kanae's account that Lucy could be responsible and slapped her, reducing his little sister to tears when he said he hated her. Lucy then ripped Kanae in half and beheaded Kouta's father, telling the horrified boy Yuka was next as she turned to leave. In a grief-borne rage, Kouta tackled her and shook her senseless, begging and screaming at her to stop killing. Realizing her actions had now only hurt Kouta immeasurably and lost herself any chance of earning his affection, she was shaken to her core and ran away, leaving a broken and sobbing Kouta in the train with his massacred family.
For the next five years, Lucy laid low and did her best to avoid drawing attention to herself. In her efforts to survive, she naturally killed many people, but avoided violent outbursts. The majority of her victims would suffer heart attacks after her vectors damaged their blood vessels. As these murders and the instance of Silpelit births multiplied throughout Kamakura during this time, Kurama and Kakuzawa pieced the information together with the Festival and orphanage murders she also caused, realizing the murderer in the latter must surely be the source of the Silpelit infestation. This was solidified when they found a picture of a horned child, Lucy, who was noted to be missing since the time of the massacre in the orphanage.
Lucy befriended a young girl named Aiko Takada who liked to draw. Aiko too, was lonely, dealing with an abusive father and hoping to reunite with the mother who abandoned her. When Aiko accidentally killed her enraged father, the two were accused of murder and ran away from the scene, hoping that the girl could see her mother, who was having an art show at the nearby museum, again. After hiding in the museum, Kurama found them two and ordered the forces with him to open fire. Aiko jumped in the way of the gunfire to save Lucy's life. In exchange for a promise of immediate medical attention for Aiko, Lucy surrendered to Kurama. After being imprisoned within the Diclonius Research Institute, Lucy was informed that Aiko had died from her wounds. Kurama asserted that she could have lived had they simply given up, and that Humans only wanted the Diclonius race to co-exist with them. Lucy refutes this, stating that nothing Humans did indicated wanting co-existence. As vengeance for Aiko's death, Lucy promised Kurama she would make him suffer like she did, that she would make his world fall apart around him the same way he did to her.
It was during her three year imprisonment within the facility that she gained the moniker "Lucy," courtesy of the researchers. During a transfer from one holding area to another, a security guard dropped his mobile phone within her strike zone, and Lucy used it to cut his arm off, and in his resulting panic, killed him. The man possessed a key to the cell, which she retrieved and unlocked. The conditions for this opportunity were later revealed to be part of a plan by Professor Kakuzawa. Now free, she made her escape, slaughtering tens if not dozens of security guards. Eventually she found Kurama and a group of guards, fully armed and standing within a perimeter not to her advantage. Kurama's secretary Kisaragi clumsily entered the room and was taken hostage by Lucy. Lucy then pulled her head from her body, and used her body as a shield against gunfire before killing the guards, further driving in her promise to Kurama that only he would live to suffer. She made her way to the exit, and as she peered over the cliffside, Kurama had a sniper use a .50 caliber rifle to fire at the back of her head, which was supposed to instantly kill her. However, she turned her head towards the sharpshooter just before it was fired, resulting in the bullet hitting the helmet instead. The force of the impact knocked her unconscious and also threw her over the edge and into the sea.
Nyu and Life in Maple House
When she finally came ashore, Lucy was ashore on Yuigahama, the coastal beach of Kamakura. By sheer coincidence, she happened to have been found by an amnesiac Kouta and Yuka as they walked along the same beach. Because of the blow on the head she had suffered, she temporarily lost her memory and developed a childlike and ignorant personality, only able to make the sound Nyu, which prompted the two to call her Nyu. They took her with them to Kouta's new home - Maple House. At the start, Nyu knew little of hygiene and other forms of restraint but she began to learn slowly over time. On occasion, Lucy herself would re-emerge, such as during her brutal battles with Bando and Nana, and when she was held by Professor Kakuzawa. When in Lucy persona, she discovered that she was living with Kouta, her childhood love. At the beginning of the story, she wants get away from him and occasionally disappears, always returning because of the Nyu persona. She holds tremendous guilt over killing his family, but when she realizes the existence of her other personality and about Kouta's lost memory, she decides she wants to live in peace as Nyu with the other residents, including Nozomi and even Nana. The Nyu and Lucy sides of her psyche kept her inner voice from ever harming Kouta and also Yuka, whose loss she knew Kouta would never forgive.
Lucy emerged once again during her and Nana's battle with Mariko, and marked the first time she lost her horns. For a time, this seemed to cause the Nyu personality to not only predominate, but to mature into that of to a young woman who still had many of Nyu's mannerisms. Nana, at first hostile to Nyu for the loss of her limbs in battle, eventually accepted that Nyu and Lucy were two different people. During another battle with Bando and the Unknown Man, Mayu, who had witnessed the first battle between Lucy and Nana, regained her memories of Nana's dismemberment, for which Lucy, albeit reluctantly, seemed to be prepared to kill her. Bando stopped this at the cost of mortal wounds, again shooting off her horns. Confronted for the first time with the idea of Lucy's existence, Nyu appeared to be suicidal judging by her wounded wrists and her lack of resistance toward Nana's desire to kill her. Nana, however, relented and recanted, saying Nyu herself was no murderer. This assuaged Nyu's concerns, and she was persuaded to return to Maple House, where a joyful dinner was interrupted by an assault team led by Nousou and the Agent and backed up by three clones (Alicia, Barbara, and Cynthia) that were bred from Mariko's DNA. With her friends harassed and wounded and Kouta shot, Nyu re-grew her horns instantly and gained the ability to use vectors without becoming Lucy. Lucy's personality appeared to be awake after the initial killing spree, just as Kouta remembered how his family died, and though stricken with grief for Kouta's apparent contempt for her, Lucy swore to protect him and the others. She wiped out nearly the entire assault force, but was taken down by the Agent and a dying Mariko clone. From there she was taken back to the island facility and kept in an underground grotto, and at last confronted Chief Kakuzawa.
With a distraught Nyu in his custody, Chief Kakuzawa revealed to her that he too was of Diclonius descent, and that all his efforts to seemingly harm the Diclonii were in fact part of a master plan to ensure their dominance and replacement of non-horned Humans. During this time, he also revealed Lucy's continued use of her powers was slowly destroying her body. As he prattled on, Lucy took over once more to comment on Anna Kakuzawa's presence, as well as to be introduced to her own half-brother. The boy was Kakuzawa's son, produced by him impregnating Lucy's mother. His plan was for Lucy to mate with her own younger brother to kickstart the Diclonius race, which Kakuzawa dreamed himself to be the "God" of. Lucy killed Kakuzawa, her half-brother, and seemingly the mutated Anna as well. Speaking to Chief Kakuzawa's corpse, she hatefully rejected his plans, saying that he was just a mere human, and that other Diclonius individuals could probably tell he wasn't anything like them. Their horns were just a minor genetic mutation that his clan mistook for them being true Diclonii. To her half-brother's corpse, she apologized, saying that even though he had done nothing wrong, there was no sunny future for their kind, and that their race must end.
Evading armed forces from various parts of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, some equipped with vector-based weapons, she made for the mainland, determined to see Kouta again before she died. Japanese forces, Kurama and Nana, and a recovering Kouta himself made for Lucy's position. Lucy at last apologized to Kouta for killing his family, also explaining that an inner voice, that of her own DNA, drove her to the horrible things she did. Breaking her heart, Kouta made it explicitly clear that he would never forgive her for murdering Kanae and their father He also firmly rejected her explanation of a DNA voice, saying all people dealt with such a thing, and that her having no choice but to listen to it was just an excuse. Preventing him from rejecting her apology entirely was his affection for Nyu, whom he saw as part of his family, and, in order to not lose another member of his family, he offered to let both Nyu and Lucy live with them at Kaede House if Lucy swore to never kill again. Attacks by Kurama and armed soldiers made keeping this vow impossible, and also began to dissolve her body from overuse of her powers. Faced with a choice of destroying the world that had caused her so much pain and saving Kouta, whose wounds had been worsened unto death, she turned all her remaining energy into healing him. As her body began to literally fall apart before his eyes, Kouta was given a gun and urged to fulfill his childhood promise to kill her before the DNA Voice took control and tried again to destroy the world. The Lucy/Kaede and Nyu personalities held the third one back, but Kouta found that he could not kill his old friend, no matter how she wronged him. Before fading, Lucy urged him to return each year to where they first met, and one day, she would be waiting for him. The most vicious personality now had full control, but was in such incredible pain that it placed the gun in Kouta's hands, and in a mix of mercy and vengeance, Kouta killed the girl he knew as Nyu.
Even without their Queen and with an anti-Diclonius birth vaccine being distributed in the midst of a total worldwide birth ban, the remaining Diclonius were years in being taken down, and killed many non-horned humans before it was all done. In the intervening years, Kouta returned to the spot where he met Nyu as a child on the anniversary of that day. In one such instance, he arrived in the company of his daughter Nyuu, whom he named after his fallen friend, and who looked much like her presumed mother, Yuka. Speaking of playing there as a child, Kouta found with little Nyuu's help, a note inside a bottle in the area around the large stone near the grave of Lucy's Puppy. In it was the jade stone Kouta gave to Lucy when they were children, along with a heartfelt note from her. In the note, she expressed her gratitude toward him for giving her such a wonderful day in her life, as well as her desire to wear the jade stone as a wedding ring. The note concluded with her signing her name, Kaede, and Kouta broke down in tears as he finally got to meet the friend he could never have.
As Kouta and Little Nyuu cried, they were approached by twin girls who looked remarkably like Lucy did as a child. Nyuu even called one "Kaede" by name, and one of the girls smiled as she said they'd been waiting there for Kouta, their "special friend." The manga ends with a tearfully smiling Kouta turning toward the girls.
In the anime, Lucy's quest ends by the time Mariko arrives. Here, she unlocks Kouta's repressed memories on purpose by humming Lilium while slaughtering an entire battalion of soldiers right in front of him, not to mention her method of killing Shirakawa, identical to how she killed Kanae. However, before she could directly confront him, she is interrupted by Bando, who is bent on taking revenge on her. As the night falls, we are shown that Lucy has, once again, defeated Bando in combat. This time, Lucy merely ignores his taunts and leaves him broken, but still alive. Later, she confronts Mariko, and is soundly defeated by her, losing a horn in the process, which left her in a state of shock. She wakes up just in time to see Kurama die alongside his biological daughter.
After seeing her long-time nemesis perish, Lucy, in a shocking display of empathy, saves Nana's life from Isobe, and urges her to go live the life she knows will never be able to have herself. She finally reunites with Kouta at the top of a staircase, in which Lucy proceeds to declare she was born as an agent for human extinction. She also states that, given five years, she can easily cause their demise and ensure there are more Diclonii being born than humans. Yet she is unwilling to do so, her love for Kouta being the main factor. She then prepares to leave, but is stopped by a desperate Kouta, who, while making it clear that he could never forgive her horrible deeds, just wants the carnage and suffering to stop, all while declaring that he still loves her. After a tender scene where Lucy kisses and embraces the only (currently living) person ever to show kindness to her, she departs to confront a much larger number of soldiers, losing her second horn in the process. Some time later, the resident of the Maple House are greeted by a surprise visitor, strongly implied to be Lucy herself.
Lucy suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, having three different personalities.
Kaede/Lucy's default personality is a middle ground between the personalities of Nyu and The Voice.
Since she was discriminated against by others, Lucy is quiet, withdrawn, and guards her emotions carefully in response to the bullying from her classmates, neglect from the child welfare workers in charge of her, and the absence of her parents. Though she understood the other miserable children in the orphanage were using her to forget their own misery, she is shown wondering why they have to treat her in such a way just because of her horns. The bullying left its mark on her interactions with others by leaving her puzzled about how to return kindness. As shown with both Kouta and later Aiko, she didn't know how to react to people being kind to her other than being embarrassed. She even let her emotions slip around them and became easily embarrassed when her only two friends praised her or caught her acting in any way other than calm, cool, and collected.
Since Kouta was the first person to show her kindness, Lucy's feelings about him were deeply affectionate and intense, yet fraught with guilt and shame as well. She wanted nothing more than to be by his side, which she explained is partly why she allowed Nyu's creation and why she let Nyu hold the reins so often. Lucy herself would only cause him pain by reminding him of his family's murder and she was sure to cause some kind of trouble inadvertently when her pursuers showed up again, so she didn't want her murderous self to be near him. As Nyu, she could stay with him like she wanted without him being reminded she killed his family and without her living forever racked with guilt for ruining his life. Kouta's impact on her and her wish to apologize to him drive the plot forward. She only seemed to show hesitation for hurting people if it seemed like Kouta would find out she did it, and her desire to refrain from hurting him again is why she doesn't kill or harm Yuka...very much. She'll still punch her with her vectors, but that's the extent of it. Her seemingly being ready to kill Mayu when Mayu saw her attacking Bandou and Nana, however, shows she possibly views some of the Maple House's family members in a hierarchy of how much their death would impact Kouta. Despite wanting his forgiveness, she understood Kouta's anger toward her and realized he had no obligation to forgive her.
After witnessing her dog's murder at the hands of the orphanage bullies, she began to develop a deep hatred of Humans, killing whole families just to use their houses, without regret or guilt. Shortly after this, she began to hear a voice in her head telling her to forget about coexisting with humans and offering her the chance to remake the world to her liking. After accepting The Voice's offer, Lucy deferred to its suggestions by killing some Humans by way of inducing heart attacks and spreading her genes to Male Humans, who would have Diclonius children who would in turn kill and infect more. As she grew up, Lucy's view of killing people changed. In general, she viewed it all as "kill or be killed," and though she was shown lamenting that she has to resort to killing people to stay safe, she did nothing to resist The Voice's direction and continued killing people anyway. However, she made a brief attempt to reform herself by helping Aiko, as she thought helping Aiko reunite with her mother would prove she wasn't just a murderer. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as she planned, and after the girl's death, she focused all of her hatred toward humans in general into seeking vengeance against Kurama for Aiko's death. Her driving goal, aside from apologizing to Kouta, became the desire to see Kurama suffer by her hurting those around him, which she happily acted upon by maiming Nana and Mariko as soon as she learned their connection to him. Even Kisaragi's death at the beginning of the series would not have been so brutal if Lucy hadn't learned of her relationship with Kurama. For most of the series, Lucy was incredibly blase about killing others. She even thought about killing Kouta until he showed her kindness, and even after the massacre, she didn't show any remorse toward killing those who harassed her. Such as with Bandou, Nana, and Mariko, she didn't shy away from being unnecessarily brutal and gleefully dismembered them in varying ways, laughing at each one of them and overall behaving like a cat tormenting a mouse. As shown with the Unknown Man, she didn't even mind using other people as weapons against her opponents, as she threw his head at Bandou for lack of a better projectile. Also notable is that she could be something of a hypocrite when fighting, as she would lengthen someone's suffering when she had the upper hand, yet was impatient and irritated when it was the other way around or when her opponent appeared overconfident.
Also interesting to note is that when fighting others, Lucy's posture changes. Most times, her posture will be hunched forward, almost animalistic, as she stares down her target from behind her hair. This is seen when she fights the run of the mill guards in the facility, then Bandou. Toward other opponents, however, her posture is straighter, more confident. This is first seen when Kurama appears with the guards in the facility, as she straightens up and walks through his guards without lowering her head once as she kills them. It's shown again later in her fights against Nana and Mariko and even during the latter portion of her fight against Bandou. This change in posture can be taken to mean she views opponents such as Kurama, Nana, Mariko, and Bandou differently than regular humans, whom she kills with an aura not unlike a wolf hunting prey. Her straightened posture could be a sign of her acknowledging their greater threat to her, as well as giving her the chance to look down on them when she gains the upper hand.
For someone so morose, Lucy commented twice on her tendency to be an unwitting audience to father's having meaningful talks with their children, both times being when Kakuzawa or Kurama had moving dialogues with their daughters. Lucy bitterly remarked "Why does everyone start parent-child talks in front of me?", a possible residue of her own resentment toward her parents for abandoning her.
Lucy made it obvious she didn't care for humans and didn't count them as people. Her hatred for them culminated in her viewing other Diclonii, of whom she'd never actually seen any others besides herself, as "real people" compared to lowly humans. However, Lucy's regard for her own kind was puzzling. She didn't appear to hold much of an attachment or loyalty to other Diclonii, as she had no problem attacking Nana and Mariko when it became clear they would pose a problem to her freedom (though she did offer Nana one chance to leave). When she first escaped the facility, she didn't make any sign to look for and/or free any other Diclonius individuals, though to be fair, she might not have known they were there. The second time, though, she willingly let them die when she sank the island. At that point, however, she had already told her half-brother that the end for their species was coming soon anyway. It wasn't clear if she believed their race should die from the trouble they caused or because their lives were just endless suffering and torture. Given her view of humanity, it was most likely the latter. Also, despite her important position as the sole fertile Diclonius, Lucy didn't seem to have any interest in perpetuating her own line and legacy. Her feelings toward her family were also conflicted. She hated both her parents for a long time because they abandoned her, but during her last meeting with Kakuzawa, she wanted to meet her mother or at least learn of her fate after being told the woman had wanted to find her all along and that it was her father who threw her away. After learning of her mother's death, she killed her brother and Kakuzawa both, but didn't grieve long for her mother due to her wish to leave the island to return home. Killing her younger brother, like the killing of the other Diclonii, might have been to prevent him living a miserable life like her own, as evident from her remorse over killing him in his innocence.
Close to the end of the manga, when she got to speak to Kouta after so long, Lucy revealed she'd always wanted to be part of human society and take part in their lives. She was just never allowed the chance due to her instincts and the scientists wanting to either kill her or use her. In spite of this desire, she viewed her impulse to kill humans, spurred by The Voice, as natural and had difficulty fighting it. While she desperately wanted to be part of humanity, she gradually came to never expect them to accept her, leading her to do little more than try and create a niche for herself.
For the entirety of the series, this personality is known only as "Lucy," due to the researchers from the Diclonius Research Institute designating it to her, but is only ever referred to it by people with relations to the facility (such as Nana, Mariko, Kurama, Shirakawa, etc.).
In Lucy's own words, Nyu (also written as "Nyuu") is the kind of woman she would have been if she hadn't been born with horns. Nyu first appeared on Yuigahama after Lucy was shot at by a .50 caliber rifle bullet. The only sound she could make was "nyu," which led to Kouta and Yuka naming her Nyu. Mentally, she had the intelligence of a toddler, which gave her a very ignorant and sheltered view of the world, a very simplistic sense of good and evil like a child would have, and she was easily frightened by bloodshed and violence. She also had an odd curiosity about sexuality that often made life awkward for her housemates, but it was born out of her simply not knowing better. In all other aspects, she was a kind, sweet, innocent, and very naive girl. She cared for others more than herself, such as offering Mayu or Nana her food when they were hungry and risking her health in the rain to replace the seashell so dear to Kouta that she broke.
When Lucy lost her horns in the battle with Mariko, Nyu's persona predominated, and remained for six months. Nyu matured greatly over those six months: she began to learn the basic morals and norms of society, learned how to speak properly, coherently, and in complete sentences, how to cook, clean, and, thankfully, to show at least some restraint on her sexual curiosity. She was even shocked and appalled at the idea of her groping anyone when Yuka and Mayu reminded her she used to do that to them. Later on in the manga, Nyu could use vectors like Lucy, but her control of them appeared to be tied to her emotional state at the time as a reaction to what was going on around her (i.e. Kouta being shot, Kakuzawa telling her he would use her body for his own goals).
To better show her growth from a mental toddler to a regular woman in the manga, Nyu refers to everyone using proper Japanese honorifics. This puts her in contrast to Lucy, who uses no honorifics at all (ex: Nyu always refers to Kouta as "Kouta-san," whereas Lucy only ever calls him "Kouta").
It cannot be confirmed from evidence in the series whether or not this personality, supposedly the voice of Lucy's Diclonius DNA, really existed or was merely the embodiment of the young girl's intense alienation and pain. All that's known is that she named it The Voice of her DNA. The Voice first called out to her after the death of her puppy at the orphanage, and Lucy heard it even more as she feared Kouta had betrayed her. It was a compelling voice that Lucy often gave into, yet she stated that it never actually controlled her but merely guided her, and she willingly gave in to its demands. Nana seemed to hear a similar voice on at least two occasions on which she felt she had no place in the world, and the Mariko clone Barbara said that she heard a voice urging her to kill all Humans as well. Since both Nana and Barbara suffered cruelly at the Institute, it isn't clear whether the DNA Voice is something all Diclonii possess or if the young minds of Lucy and the other Diclonius children created such personalities as ways of coping with their lives. The idea that it may have been more of a split personality than an actual echo of Diclonius DNA and base instinct is given strength by the fact that it finally did briefly take over Lucy's body as she was close to death. Kouta dismissed this voice as a variant of impulses all people have to struggle with, but best evidence also contains no information from the anime or manga that dismisses this possibility either, leaving it an open question and one of the series' greatest unresolved mysteries.
The personality of Lucy's specific DNA Voice was that of a cold, sadistic, hate-twisted, manipulative, obsessive-compulsive and truly psychopathic killer without guilt or remorse. She had a strong wish to destroy all of Humanity and replace it with Diclonii, in which she would possibly rule the world, since she is in essence a Queen Diclonius. She also had no qualms in trying to convince Lucy and later Nyu that all Humans were vile creatures that truly needed to die, and was even willing to kill Kouta and company at any cost, regardless of their compassion towards her, to achieve this. Near the end of the manga series when she manages to gain full control of her then mortally wounded body, and Kouta is urged by Lucy and Nyu to shoot and kill her with a nearby gun. He backs down at the last moment, unwilling to kill his long-time friend no matter how much she wronged him in the past, even though Lucy and Nyu's illusions are now fading away, unable to protect him anymore, and the DNA Voice is now in full control. Despite this sudden freedom to finally kill him and his friends/family as she pleases, the DNA Voice, seemingly shocked and perhaps even moved by Kouta's love for her, or more likely in too much pain to want to continue her onslaught, ceases all attacks and uses a single vector to hand him the gun again. As she whimpers quietly about the pain wracking her ruined body, Kouta finally shoots her to put her out of her misery. In the end, it's not clear if The Voice gave in and allowed herself to be killed out of surprise for Kouta showing compassion for her or being overwhelmed by pain, but it's possible she was motivated by both. Though Lucy and Nyu are implied to have been reborn, it's unknown if the third personality was reborn as well.
Vector Range: 1.4m (before the start of the series); 2m (beginning of series); 5m (with long horns); Worldwide (end of manga)
Strength: Very strong (in the beginning of the manga and the anime), according to Nana and enormous (enough to destroy the whole Earth) in the end of manga.
Speed: Unknown, about average of a Diclonius.
Vector Special Abilities: Cell reconstruction/restoration, giving a healing ability. Ability to use vectors in the "sleeping state" (as Nyu, but they are far weaker) and while in pain. Like those of other powerful Diclonius, they can also vibrate so fast that they become visible.
Kills: Over 9,000 people, implied to perhaps be in the many tens of thousands.
Manga vs. Anime
Aside from the above noted ending to the anime's story, there are other, Lucy-specific differences between the manga and anime.
- Unlike in the manga, Lucy's vectors number only at four and are limited to the 2m range in the anime.
- Lucy's age is shown briefly in the anime during a screenshot of a data file Kakuzawa has for her. This sheet also reveals she has a height of 162cm (between 5'3"-5'4") and weighs 48kg (106 lbs), which is underweight for someone her height.
- While still pink in the anime, Lucy's hair color is a darker cerise than the cotton candy pink of the manga. In the anime, her pink hair becomes the default for all Diclonius characters.
- Another change from the manga to anime is her eye color. In the manga, the eyes of Lucy and the other Diclonii are mostly colored black but have a greenish hue. In the anime, her eye color is changed to red.
- In the manga, Lucy never actually reveals her horns to Aiko. Her hat stays on the entire time the two interact.
- The name Kaede never appears in the anime, where in the English dub Kaede House is sometimes called Maple Inn except for one instance where Kouta specifically calls it "Kaede House."
- Lucy is portrayed as more sympathetic in the anime compared to the manga. For example, some of Lucy's more sinister behaviors, like laughing maniacally while dismembering people, are absent from the anime and she rarely smiles or laughs. Also, more attention is paid to her showing remorse for what she's done to Kouta when she's in control and not Nyuu. This could be a result of the anime director Mamoru Kanbe and his desire to pair Lucy with Kouta, as he interpreted Elfen Lied as a love story.
- Lucy's kill count is much smaller in the anime compared to the manga. Her confirmed kill count in the anime is in the 60s, vs. a confirmed kill count in the thousands in the manga.
- Lucy's primary reason for fighting Mariko in the manga is to bring suffering and torment to Kurama as a part of her revenge against him. This was not Lucy's motive in the anime during her fight with Mariko, in which she appears almost selfless, stating her desire not to involve anyone else in their fight.
- Although perhaps still present, the "DNA Voice" is never explained to be a real, independent entity in the anime. Its only appearance in the anime is during Lucy's psychological breakdown in her childhood flashbacks, while on the Manga it is a prominent personality that eventually grows to posess Lucy herself by the end of the story.
- Concept art of Nyu shows she (and, by proxy, Lucy) was originally meant to look quite different. This art shows her with light brown or dark blonde hair, similar to Yuka's hair color in the manga, an ahoge, and with more angular, even alien-looking horns. Okamoto's notes on this concept art say he forgot to add her right hand (though based on her pose, said hand is present in the drawing).
- Nyuu is the only resident of the Maple House to have their name written in hiragana instead of katakana. Obviously, Lucy herself is an exception to this (her names are written in katakana and kanji), as is Kouta, whose name is written in kanji in the letter Lucy wrote to him when she was a child.
- Kaede means 'Maple' in English; Note that this name is never used except at the very end of the manga; she is known largely as Nyu to her friends, and as Lucy to her pursuers. It is also the name of the central location in the series, Maple House. However, there is also reason to believe this name isn't her birth one, given to her by her mother, as she was abandoned as an infant and was shown to be naked without any means of identification. This makes it highly likely the orphanage workers gave her the name "Kaede," but the matter is never specified in-series, and Kakuzawa makes no mention of the name her mother knew her as. When asked about the situation, Okamoto merely said the origins of her name were "a secret," leaving the matter a mystery to all but him.
- Lucy is the name given to an Australopithecus afarensis skeleton of immense importance, as that Lucy is one of humanity's earliest known ancestors. The skeleton likely played a role in Kakuzawa's renaming of Kaede, though this is never confirmed in-series.
- Lucy may also be a reference to Lucifer, king of demons and popularly conflated with Satan, and the other Diclonius characters are seen as inhuman demons by some.
- Nyuu is similar to the word "gyuunyuu" meaning milk. It could be an example of a baby word, since milk is a common first word for babies, but babies don't always pronounce words properly. This reversion to baby speech would imply that Nyuu is like a complete rebirth for Lucy.
- The word Nyu is similar to how the word cow is spelled in Japan. Since the bullies at the orphanage called her an ox this may be why she spoke that word. It also has an 'ecchi' connotation as slang for breasts, which as Nyu she frequently groped, even when 'mature.'
- At the anime's end, it is left for the viewer to decide whether Lucy or Nyu is the one at the door. Many fans believe that Lucy allowed her horns to be removed so her personality would "die," allowing Nyu to live with Kouta without causing him any harm.
- Lucy appears taller than Nyu when standing, which is probably an oversight in the animation process or an attempt to make Lucy appear more intimidating than Nyu.
- "Nyu" or "Nyaa" is the sound a cat makes in Japan.
- Neither anime nor manga ever makes clear the extent to which Lucy (or other Diclonii) was naturally prone to killing Humans or how much of it was reciprocated hatred and self-defense.
- Lucy is possibly left-handed, although her left-handedness is assumed since she has only ever been seen using a weapon in her left hand. This is in contrast to Nyu, who is shown using chopsticks with her right hand. Left-handedness has been seen in an extremely negative light in many cultures, with some associating it with evil or bad luck.
- Until she was captured and learned she was a Diclonius, Lucy was unaware of the origin of her vectors and DNA Voice, believing perhaps they were the result of some kind of magic. This is backed up by her telling Aiko that she's a "magician."
- Sanae Kobayashi, Lucy's Seiyu, also lends her voice to the acclaimed anime series Baccano. In it, she plays the part of Ennis, another powerful young woman used by others, and who faces questions about her own essential humanity, much like her character in Elfen Lied.
- Sanae Kobayashi also voices another redhead Gemini Sunrise who shares a few similarities with Lucy and Nyuu. Bubbly, cheerful Gemini has a split personality named Geminine, who is more aggressive and driven toward avenging her master, yet honors the samurai code Gemini follows.
- With the exception of Chief and Professor Kakuzawa, Lucy is the only horned character in the series who uses a firearm, and certainly the only true Diclonius to do so.
- There's an animation goof in Episode 13: when Lucy approaches Mariko after knocking her out of her wheelchair, her hair ribbons are missing for several frames, yet appear again when Mariko attacks her with a barrage of her vectors and are only knocked off onscreen when Mariko breaks one of her horns. Also during this scene, Mariko's prosthetic arm appears to be her left arm when it should actually be her right arm.