|“||When we were young, we came to play here a lot.||”|
Yuigahama Beach, a part of Kamakura city, is a pivotal location in the Elfen Lied universe, the site of multiple important events. It is perhaps secondary only to Maple House and the Diclonius Research Institute in its importance in the series.
In the series
Yuigahama Beach is shown to be only several minutes away from Jouju-in Temple, and thus not far from where the Maple House sits.
As children, Kouta, Yuka and Kanae played on this beach extensively during the fateful summer that Kouta's family stayed in Kamakura with Yuka and her family. Years later, it would be among the only memories Kouta even partially recalled after the trauma of seeing his family murdered by his new friend.
Upon his return to Kamakura to attend college there, Kouta is greeted by Yuka who takes him to the beach, hoping to reminisce and rekindle their childhood romance, as she begins to realize there is much he does not recall. At first Yuka and then Kouta spot a nude girl with pink hair, horns and a bleeding head wound emerging from the surf, reduced to an infantile status by her trauma. Though neither truly recalls the other at this point, this proves to be Kouta's childhood friend, who in a rage brought on by a tragic misunderstanding, killed his family out of a misguided revenge. Despite her wound and lack of any identification, Yuka suggests the two take the horned girl to the house Yuka's mother is providing for Kouta to stay in while at school.
Once in there, the girl, who they call Nyu (after the only sound she seems capable of making), casually breaks a keepsake Kouta was given by Kanae before her death. This enrages Kouta, who chases Nyu out, only to join Yuka's search for the helpless girl. Fleeing back to Yuigahama Beach, Nyu digs in the cold rain and colder surf to find a replacement for the keepsake she broke, a seashell. Version depending, either Kouta alone or Kouta and Yuka both there encounter trouble.
Nyu, absent her head wound, is in reality a killer from a new and different species called Lucy by the semi-governmental organization she escaped from. Pursuing her for death or recapture is Japan's elite Special Assault Team, One of these, a highly skilled if exceptionally difficult agent named Bando trades with another soldier for the search of Yuigahama Beach, correctly predicting the return of their quarry. Along with another more junior operative, Satou, his search reveals Nyu and Kouta. Quickly knocking Kouta out and seizing Nyu, Bando is disappointed to learn that Nyu is not the one to match him and test his battle skills, and orders Satou to execute her near some lifeguard rowboats and netting. This action plus the blows she'd taken from Bando reawaken Nyu's personality as Lucy, who tears through Satou and Bando with frightening ease. Bando's life is only saved when the sight of the keepsake replacement reawakens Nyu, who flees.
Unnoticed during this battle (which likely saved their lives) is a pre-teen girl and her small dog, eking out an existence in a makeshift shelter on the beach. Fleeing an abusive home, Mayu emerges from her shelter due to the noise, and ends up saving the life of the badly wounded Bando by providing aid and calling authorities. Mayu also finds an umbrella with Maple House's address listed, and going there, meets Kouta, Yuka and Nyu for the first time. Mayu, who had been living on the beach not in comfort but in a manner she found at least bearable, found this life impossible to return to. Beach flooding was going to destroy her shelter. A woman claiming to be her dog Wanta's true owner takes him away, with threats and warnings not to try and see him again. A nearby bakery merchant who had been giving her scraps of food closed shop as well. Yet by speaking to her and other business owners, Kouta and Yuka learn enough about Mayu to invite her to stay with them, essentially adopting the slightly younger girl, who sometimes returns to the beach with Wanta.
It is worth noting that it is on this beach that Mayu first found Wanta, while she was wading into the water, with the possible intent of killing herself. Whether Wanta actually was the dog the woman claimed he was is never confirmed.
It is during one of these return trips that Mayu reunites with Bando, now rebuilt with cyborg eyes and a replacement arm. Initially less than delighted at learning he'd been rescued by a little girl, Bando begins to warm to her, while cleaning up the beach, keeping a patrol of it against the return of Lucy while working towards a larger goal. Bando makes his home on the beach, and is occasionally brought food by Mayu. Yet it is not Lucy who Bando faces next on that stretch of beach.
Originally sent out by the Institute's Doctor Kurama to locate Lucy, fellow Diclonius Number 7, or Nana, chose upon her own initiative to capture Lucy, ending in disaster for her when Lucy overwhelmed her and cut off all four of her limbs. Now called useless by the Institute's leader, Nana is instead spared by Kurama, who sees her as a daughter. Outfitting Nana with highly realistic replacement limbs that respond to her power as a Diclonius. It can be assumed that prevailing tides in the area guide people and objects to that stretch of beach, because Nana emerged (version depending on whether she had her new limbs before she left or became aware of them upon awaking) from her escape pod to find Bando hovering over her at gunpoint.
Bando's jumpiness at dealing with another Diclonius combined with his brusque often cruel approach to matters drove Nana into despair, with her ready to kill him before a stray shot snapped her out of it. The two forged an awkward, almost one-sided alliance which saw its first strain when Nana's artificial arm slipped off while gripping Bando's. Nana agreed to watch for Lucy, who she quickly found at Maple House, along with the secret of her becoming Nyu. Actually liking life there, she returned to tell Bando that she would not be seeking Lucy anymore. This was cut short by Nana's abilities telling her another, even more powerful Diclonius was entering the area. This one sensed her as well, leading Nana to confront this newcomer on the bridge leading to Enoshima. The beach itself would not again be a central location until the time of another momentous battle, but it would be seen in the buildup to it.
After Mariko's death, Kurama went insane and tried to kill himself. Saved by Bando for his ability to repair Bando's bionic parts, Kurama lived in a shack on the beach and was fed by Mayu, who never realized that this was the 'Papa' her 'sister' Nana spoke of. Bando was on the beach when he received a dire phone call from Mayu, as she and Nana were being attacked by a sadistic killer and rapist sent out to find Lucy. After Bando repelled him, he agreed to bury an unfortunate Diclonius used by the attacker as a tracking device and then killed by him in a fit. But as he was leaving Maple House, Bando encountered Nyu and shot her on instinct, causing her to once more become Lucy and agree to face him back at Yuigahama, for their final battle.
Once on the beach, Lucy soon realizes that Bando's preparation has cleared it of every last easily thrown object, and that his choice of weapons plainly disadvantages her. When the attacker from earlier re-emerges, claiming to be an ally and protector for Lucy, she merely beheads him and throws the head at Bando. Losing the advantage and unable to be aided by a wounded Nana, Bando sacrifices himself to save Mayu, who Lucy has turned her attention to. Split in two, Bando seems to die on the beach, with Mayu telling him a comforting half-truth about Lucy's fate. At Nana's urging, she and Mayu flee the beach, where Kurama emerges and does something with Bando's body that remains unclear. Mayu is later seen assuming Bando's duties of cleaning the beach in tribute to his memory. Kurama finally wanders from the beach, arriving at Maple House just in time to see the home invasion by military forces and seize the dying body of one of Mariko's clones, before returning to the shack on the beach.
Avoiding an awkward moment with Yuka's mother, Nana at the hospital (where the wounded from Maple House have been taken) offers to bring food to the man Mayu has been feeding, only to reunite with her 'Papa' Kurama. There, she faces a heartbreaking rejection, with a deranged Kurama claiming she is merely an experiment. Rejecting his rejection, Nana relocates the two and sees to it that the Mariko clone is buried, this before facing down another, more vicious clone. Nana suggests to a recovered Kurama that they seek out Kouta as an ally, but at this point Kouta had left the hospital and himself returned to Yuigahama, somehow anticipating the return of Lucy to that same spot.
Lucy escaped the sinking of the island housing the Diclonius Research Institute in an escape pod like the one Nana left in, once again raising questions about prevailing tides in the area as she arrived in the same area, with Kouta waiting for her, his memories recovered. He at last demanded answers about why she killed his family. They left the beach itself and climbed up the nearby Sea Candle to hash out their differences, and it was just above the beach area that Lucy met her fate.
In the manga series' concluding chapter, Mayu continues cleaning the beach in honor of Bando's memory, only to be surprised by the return of Bando himself, alive but now much more machine than man. As Wanta wanders that area, he also passes a poster for an art show which raises the question of whether or not Lucy's friend Aiko Takada actually survived being shot by Kurama.
In a special manga story published in 2012 that was set in the anime continuity, the residents of Maple House (Kouta, Yuka, Nyu, Mayu, Nana and Wanta) all seek relief from a hot summer day at a beach called Katase Enoshima Beach where the Fireworks Festival was anually held until recent years. The series creator has indicated he originally desired to have many more slice-of-life stories as part of the series, rather than the emerged preponderance of dramatic and action sequences.
A recurring place of both idyllic calm and bloody combat, Yuigahama Beach's importance in the series cannot be discounted.