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Lucy - also known as Nyu - is the main character of the anime series Elfen Lied. Throughout the series, she displays a split personality: one side is a vicious killer whereas the other is innocent and childlike. Hers is a story of suffering, violence and tragic love as she struggles between finding a place for herself in the world with the only person that's ever truly accepted her and her genetic compulsion to kill the entire human race.

Lucy is a Diclonius: a mutant human characterized by a pair of horns resembling cat ears protruding from her head. As well as these physical oddities, there is an unseen trait that is common amongst her kind. Diclonii all possess a form of telekinesis known as "vectors" which manifests as a set of invisible arms. These arms reach up to two metres, are capable of lifting heavy objects and vibrate at such a frequency that they can cut through most materials. Vectors are the Diclonii's main method of killing human beings and people within their proximity will appear to others to suddenly come apart for no discernable reason.

Lucy is the "queen" of the Diclonii, the first of a new breed. Ingrained in her DNA is the impulse to seek out and destroy human life so that Diclonius will replace Man as the dominant species on the planet. As the queen bee, Lucy is able to reproduce whereas other Diclonii are not, though all Diclonii are capable of spreading a virus via their vectors to humans, causing them to sire only Diclonius infants.

Japanese voice: Sanae Kobayashi

English voice: Kira Vincent-Davis

History

Early life

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The circumstances of Lucy's birth are unrevealed in the Elfen Lied anime, as is her real name. What is known is that she was raised in an orphanage in the small coastal town of Kamakura, having been taken there after she was found in the middle of a field. While living at the children's centre, she often became sick (which unknown at the time was a result of her vectors developing) and both the staff and children treated her as an outcast due to her horns. She repeatedly found herself being bullied by some of the boys in the centre and tried to prevent showing her emotions to anyone, though such actions only encouraged the bullies to re-double their efforts to hurt her.

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During her time in the orphanage, Lucy came across a stray puppy and she secretly started taking care of it. A girl discovered her with the dog one day and promised to keep it a secret from the other children. Unfortunately, on the following day, Lucy's regular tormentors approached her with the puppy, the girl who Lucy confided in apparently having blabbed to them about it. Whether the girl had been forced to talk about the dog, was simply a blabber-mouth or had intentionally spoke about it in order to hurt Lucy is unclear, but it resulted in the bullies beating the puppy to death while forcing Lucy to watch. At that moment, Lucy unleashed her vectors for the first time and violently butchered her tormentors. After this incident, she ran away from the orphanage and she buried the puppy in the place she had found it.

Kouta

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On that same day she fled from the orphanage, Lucy encountered the one person who would truly mean something to her: an eleven year-old boy called Kouta. He appeared behind her at the place where she had buried her puppy, grabbing her attention with a music box playing the melody "Lilium". He noticed the horns on the girl's head, but rather than being disturbed by them he actually thought they looked "cool". He offered his friendship to the girl, but Lucy didn't trust him and feared he would just hurt and betray her like everyone else. As she ran off, Kouta called out to her and promised that he would come again to that same place at the same time the next day.

Lucy sought shelter for the night, knowing that the police would be looking for her after what had happened at the orphanage. She took refuge in a random family's house, murdering the occupants and then leaving the next day.

The following day, Lucy returned to her dog's grave in spite of her belief that Kouta would not show up. But Kouta was true to his word, though he was delayed due to having to sneak out of the house since his father wanted to keep him indoors after reports of a serial killer on the loose in the area. Little did Kouta suspect that this apparent killer was actually the nameless girl he had befriended (Lucy never gives her name to Kouta, real or otherwise). Kouta had even brought a hat for his new friend so that she could hide the horns that were bothering her so much. The two children spent most of their time sheltering from the rain and Kouta showed Lucy some sketches he drew of the local scenery. When the time came for them to part again, Kouta promised to meet her again and spend the whole day with her. As for Lucy, she found a new shelter for the night after murdering another family to stay in their house.

The third day

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Lucy and Kouta would meet again the next day. With the weather as clear as it was, Kouta took Lucy to the zoo and treated her with his extra allowance. At first, Lucy acted defensively and didn't expect she would have any fun at the zoo, but she soon started to let her feelings show and was excited to see all the different animals, much more excited than Kouta expected anyone would be.

While she certainly appeared to be happy, Lucy was struggling with her doubts and the urges of a strange voice in her mind. This voice warned her that Kouta would only break her heart and that she would be better off if she killed him, but Lucy refused to listen. The voice proved to be persistent, however, and as Kouta and Lucy rode the bus away from the zoo, Lucy found herself suddenly strangling Kouta. She snapped out of it before she could seriously hurt him and then made a request that, at the time, made no sense to Kouta: If Lucy couldn't stop herself from killing people, she wanted Kouta to kill her.

Before they parted ways again, Kouta told Lucy he wouldn't be able to see her again the next day as he was going to a festival with his cousin and he would be going home to Hokkaido afterwards, though told her that he would be coming back next summer. Lucy asked if Kouta's cousin was a boy or a girl, apparently harbouring romantic feelings toward him. To spare her feelings, Kouta told her that his cousin was a boy. This would turn out to be a mistake with terrible consequences to follow.

Tragic festival

Lucy's murderous instincts urge her to fulfill her purpose of destroying mankind

On the evening of the festival, Lucy went into town to find Kouta, hoping to say goodbye to him properly before he left. She spotted him from a distance and also saw a girl standing with him, the apparent cousin that Kouta had previously mentioned. Horrified to find that Kouta had lied about his cousin's gender, she felt betrayed and heartbroken. She withdrew into her own mind, finding herself being taunted by images of the mutilated bodies of the orphans who once tormented her. It was then that she finally gave in to the malicious voice within that urged her to kill people, and so she engaged in a horrific killing spree at the festival, chopping people to pieces all around her.

Covered in his sister's blood, Kouta cries

A short time later, Kouta, his father and his sister Kanae were on the train headed for Hokkaido. Lucy had also boarded the train with the intention of taking revenge on Kouta in a manner that to her seemed "fair". When Kouta saw her on the train, Kanae told him to run away as she had seen this girl during the festival and believed she was the one who killed all those people. Kouta was outraged by Kanae's accusations and said he would hate her forever unless she apologised. It was then that Lucy exacted her revenge by tearing Kanae in half right in front of Kouta, followed shortly by beheading his father. Kouta was shocked, outraged and confused by what Lucy had done, unable to understand why his friend would do such things. Lucy, however, felt perfectly justified in her actions since Kouta had lied to her, and she intended to kill Kouta's cousin Yuka as well. Kouta then lunged at Lucy and screamed, begging her to stop killing as he shook her violently. While not shown to the viewer, Lucy ran from the scene and went into hiding for some time. She came to realise that killing Kouta's loved ones wouldn't make him love her only and that she had in all probability pushed him away forever and broken him in the process. After that tragic night, she vowed to one day find Kouta again and somehow try to atone for what she had done to him.

Capture

After that fateful day at the festival, Lucy maintained a low profile. For the next five years, she would find new places to hide and lay low, all the while committing murder at night. She would come to better control her vectors and refine her killing methods, using her vectors' deadly touch to rupture arteries in people's brains to simulate seizures or stopping their hearts. Lucy also used her vectors to spread the Diclonius virus to several people, ensuring that they would sire Diclonius children and not humans. Eventually, the Diclonius Research Institute would track her down and capture her. Just prior to her capture, Lucy had befriended a girl who sheltered her and this girl was mortally wounded by the SAT squad sent after her. After the girl died, Lucy vowed revenge against Kurama by promising to kill anyone and everyone that he cared about but leave him alive so that he could suffer the same sense of loss as her. (These events only occurred in the Elfen Lied OVA which has not been included in any DVD release outside of Japan).

It was only after her capture that Lucy was given her name. Her real name was unknown and the name "Lucy" was derived from "Lucifer", since Diclonii were typically regarded by humans as monsters and Lucy had already demonstrated a terrifying sadistic streak. She would remain imprisoned at the Institute for three years, subjected to various inhumane experiments and forms of torture.

Escape

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Three years following her capture, Lucy would manage to escape from the Institute thanks to the machinations of Professor Kakuzawa. He arranged for an earlier guard shift rotation and placed a key on one of the hapless guards that allowed Lucy to free herself from her restraints. She then proceeded to slaughter 23 of the facility's personnel as she walked out of the compound. Just as she was about to dive off a cliff at the edge of the island, Kurama ordered a sharpshooter to open fire on her with a .50 caliber rifle. The shot connected but didn't kill her, only damaging the helmet she wore and knocking her unconscious. She fell into the ocean and awoke the following day on the shore of Kamakura, her old home and the place where she had committed all her killings. It was also the place where she had met Kouta eight years ago, and where she would meet him once again.

Nyu

Lucy would awake on the Kamakura beach naked and possessing no memory of what had happened the previous night or any time before. She was found by her long lost childhood friend Kouta (who had also lost his memory regarding the death of his family) and his cousin Yuka, who had recently moved into an empty restaurant house in the area while they were attending university. Surprised as they were to find a naked and seemingly mute girl on the beach, they were even more surprised to find that she had a pair of horns growing out of her head. Unwilling to just leave her, Kouta and Yuka took the girl home with them until they could find out where she came from.

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In this ignorant, amnesiac state, Lucy had lost all sense of identity and was largely unable to speak, the only word she spoke when found being "nyu". Kouta and Yuka took to calling her "Nyu" and tried to take care of her as best they could, unaware of the girl's true nature.

Over time, Nyu would come to learn new words and mannerisms, often getting up to mischief during her time in Kaede House. Her childish behaviour and total innocence proved to be quite disarming, though the more Kouta paid attention to her, Yuka would become envious despite the fact that she knew that Nyu didn't know the concept of romance and that she was also aware of Kouta's past trauma, although she made no attempt to remind him of that horrific incident.

Over the course of her time in Kaede House, Nyu would find herself confronted by individuals from the Diclonius Research Institute determined to either capture or kill her. On many of these occasions, her Lucy persona would re-emerge and engage in murderous activity, yet in almost all instances she never caught Kouta's attention. That all changed when the DRI released Mariko - the most powerful Diclonius of them all - to capture her and terminate the other rogue Diclonius Nana. A struggle ensued between her and the Special Assault Team and Kouta found himself caught in the middle, causing Lucy to re-awaken to protect him. Lucy attacked the SAT team that threatened her and Kouta, using her vectors to tear them all apart. This bloody spectacle caused Kouta to recall the time eight years ago when he had befriended an anonymous girl with horns and they had played together. However, he also recalled that same girl turning against him and murdering his sister Kanae and his father, traumatising him so deeply that he inadvertantly surpressed his memory of the event to save his sanity.

Farewell

With Kouta's memory recovered, Lucy had her opportunity to try and make amends for what she had done to him. But there were still threats to deal with: former SAT operative Bando who Lucy had previously crippled and the monstrous Mariko. With the help of Nana, Lucy settled these conflicts and would meet with Kouta one last time on the old stone steps leading up toward Kaede House.

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Lucy explained to Kouta the purpose of the Diclonius: to end the human race. This is not a purpose she can fulfill, however, since it would also meaning killing Kouta, the only friend she ever had and only source of happiness in a life that had been nothing else but a hellish nightmare. Even knowing that there was nothing she could say or do to ever make up for murdering Kouta's family, Lucy apologised profusely before preparing to walk out of his life forever. Kouta tried to stop Lucy from going, not wanting her to continue killing. Even though he refused to forgive her for what she had done to his family and to him, he still loved the girl he knew from that summer eight years ago and the girl he knew as Nyu. Both of them know that they have to part ways, much to their regret. The two embrace and kiss one another passionately before finally saying goodbye for the last time.

Fate

In the final episode, after leaving Kouta, Lucy is confronted by another contingent of SAT troops. At the same time, Lucy throws up her vectors and the SAT unit opens fire on her. One of Lucy's horns is seen flung up into the air, a small drop of blood falling from it. This would imply that Lucy is killed, but after this scene we return to Kaede House at some unknown time after Kouta and Lucy parted. At the very end, a shadow appears behind the gates of Kaede House and as Kouta goes to answer it, the grandfather clock in his hallway - which had been broken throughout the series despite Nyu's occasional tinkering with it - suddenly starts working again, its bell starting to chime. It is unknown who the shadow behind the gate is, though it is strongly implied to be Lucy.

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