"Elfen Lied" (エルフェンリート, Erufen Rīto) has a rather confusing plot and setting in the anime version alone; the bits of the setting which I glimpsed from discussions about it hint at the original manga being even more complex in the relationship department between the characters and organisations. It doesn't help that the manga wasn't finished by the time the anime was produced, which very likely leads to inconsistencies between the two with material which so heavily relies on uncovering secrets to drive its story forward.

How does the plot (as opposed to superficial details, like location or hair colour) differ between the anime and manga, then?

  • Oh man... they diverge like crazy towards the end. I'm unsure of the details though.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 6:32
  • The manga has a more in-depth treatment for all characters, as well as lots of new characters and storylines.
    – Ikzer
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 8:32
  • @Mysticial: What, the anime? It doesn't diverge that much. It was rather accurate most of the times actually. It was just until the very end where things were spoiled.
    – Saturn
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 1:01
  • it's near the end of the anime where it start to split from the anime, they had a set amount of episodes to fill, so they had to cut the story short and think of the ending which hadn't been written yet Commented May 4, 2013 at 14:51

2 Answers 2


Clearly, the anime does not cover the whole story. One of the major plot points in the whole series is the execution of the plan to eliminate homo-sapiens by the research facility, which involves spreading the virus through a large population by using a missile. We could say that this is half of the whole story and the anime only covered the first half.

The relationship between Lucy and Kouta is very similar in both the anime and the manga. The major difference is the fact that Kouta is a bit more agressive regarding avenging his father and his sister, but in both cases he still tries to protect Lucy (not forgiving her though).

The bridge incident (the ending of the anime) also differs slightly. Mariko does forgive her father and engages Lucy in a battle. She uses the explosives within her to attempt to kill Lucy (thus, her father actually survives and is not killed). She fails and Lucy merely loses her horns.

There obviously are a bunch of characters not introduced in the anime. Most of them are not critical for the storyline, though, which might explain their exclusion at first.

One of the biggest discussions regarding the anime is whether Lucy died or not at the ending. Technically, from the point of view of the manga, the answer is no - she actually survived the bridge incident. She loses her horns, which disables the "evil" Lucy and keeps her as Nyuu. The horns grow back, however.

At first, it doesn't seem like the anime is capable of continuing, since they killed Mariko's father (whose name I forgot), who plays rather important roles through the rest of the manga. This is fixable though, they just need to do a few tweaks and make a new scene where he somehow survives the bridge explosion.

So, yes: the main difference is the fact that the anime only covers half of the story, and kills some people who shouldn't have died.

  • 1
    A great write-up, about what I needed. Mariko's father is Dr. Kurama, by the way (at least in the anime). Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 0:35
  • @MartinSojka: Ah, yes. Also in the manga... oh wait, you didn't read it? Damn, I guess I spoiled some important things then.. sorry :(
    – Saturn
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 1:03
  • 1
    No problem about the spoilers. After all, I asked for them. Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 10:59

The anime is mostly the same up to about half the manga. The end of the manga, when Lucy goes on the bridge and loses her horn while being shot is the same in the manga. I think the only thing from the latter parts that were included in the anime was the side-story OVA which featured some of Lucy's past and the reason why she didn't attack Director Kurama from the research containment facility where Lucy escaped. I could be misremembering, though.

  • You're pretty much dead on. Except there's another part to the plot in the manga that's involved even in the bridge part. The anime lacks this part and as a result when you get to that part of the series they make a fairly drastic shift away from each other as at that point the anime is winding down where as the manga is actually winding up. I would go into more details as it relates to the additional plot elements, but for fear of spoilers I would recommend reading it as it's an amazing read.
    – user146
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 0:45
  • @Jyasuten: Wait, do I remember wrong or doesn't the anime end after the bridge scene, where the camera goes up, you hear shots, and see one of Lucy's horns fly away? Edit: I remembered right, that was the second-to-last scene, the last one being where someone approaches the house.
    – Xeo
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 1:25
  • The entire bridge event unfolds completely differently between the manga and anime as the manga has an additional and quite major plot element to it that is one of the driving forces between the events of the entire manga. I haven't seen the anime quite sometime so I don't remember all that well, but the manga sticks with me...especially the ending. I really wish the entire thing had been animated as it was a great series.
    – user146
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 1:51
  • @Jyasuten: Yeah, till waiting for Season 2. :( On the bridge thing, yes, that went differently and sets quite some flags in the manga.
    – Xeo
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 1:56
  • I don't think they would be able to due the manga justice due to how they finished off the anime. Quite a similar thing happened with Fruits Basket as well. It's a shame.
    – user146
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 2:01

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