Elfen Lied ( エルフェンリート Erufen Rīto ) is a short manga story also created by Lynn Okamoto, but having no bearing or connection whatsoever with the events of the better-known Elfen Lied Manga/Anime series. The short story was written in 2000, two years before the creation of the world of Lucy and her associates.
Note: This story summary was given to this Wiki by User Yoshik aka yk, and only edited for grammar, syntax, and flow. Gratefully, this Wiki praises Yoshik's tireless efforts, and it is even possible that this is the first time this story has ever been summarized in English, or perhaps anywhere outside Japan.
To be the number one pianist in the world --- this was the goal of Sara Wyoming. Her mother, a world famous pianist, also held such a goal and gave birth to Sara so she might accomplish it through her daughter if she couldn't reach it herself. Sara's father was a conductor Sara spent hours each and every day practicing the piano for as long as she could remember. At times, she complained about the tough practice schedule. Occasionally, she even threw a tantrum against this regimen, but her mother always shut this down by asking her "Don't you want to be the number one pianist in the world?" As Sara got older, she didn't care about this goal as much but did not want to disappoint her parents or be scolded by her mother, either. The hard practice paid off, though, with Sara's skill vastly improving over time, showing her natural talent, and earning her performances universal praise. With her confidence growing and the acclaim her performance earned, the drudgery of endless practice became endurable.
Attending the Chopin Concourse in Poland as the youngest entrant, Sara played with confidence and felt that she was now Number One. She did her best, and the audience showed its appreciation of her performance, though her mother never praised her, as usual. A ten-year-old boy from Japan then appeared in front of her and praised her performance in a backhanded, sarcastic manner. She objected to this snark, challenging him by asking if he thought he could do any better. The boy replied that her performance was mechanical and joyless, seemingly done only for praise, and wondering why an audience should enjoy it when she obviously did not. This challenge raised Sara's ire, questioning his supposed joy, but he would not relent in this. His performance showed that he spoke the truth, though arrogance and bit of insanity showed in his demeanor, and the audience showed their appreciation for his style and verve. Sara came to the sad realization that he was not only as good as he said but already at her limit in practicing, she felt she could never catch up to him. Always conscious of her appearance and how she came across to others, Sara realized she felt small and miserable, and that it showed. Sara told the boy that she would become a violinist instead and that someday, they would play together, with him as her accompanist on the piano. He reversed that and said it was she who would be violin accompanist for his performance. Sara gave him a tiny music box and promised that she would go to Japan to see him after she became the top violinist in the world so that they could play together. Ignoring strong opposition from her mother, she began to practice the violin. When she was older, she moved to Paris, her ties with her mother nearly severed by that point.
Eight years later, Sara is shown to have achieved her goal and had indeed become the Number One Violinist, becoming the first to win all three world-class violin concourses. Having fulfilled her childhood promise, she was determined to go to Japan to fulfill her second promise that she would play together with the boy pianist she had met. The two had once exchanged letters, but he stopped corresponding after the first one, something which confused Sara.
Once in Japan, she sought out her acquaintance's home, only to be glared at by a young man along the way, something which put her off badly. At the boy's home, she was greeted by his mother, who explained that Akira (the first time his name is used in-story) would soon be back from school.
To her surprise, Akira was the same young man who had so rudely glared at her on the street earlier, who further threw her by proclaiming he didn't know who she was. Invited by his mother to see Akira's room, Sara received a greater shock when she saw the room had no piano. Her efforts to learn what had happened were sharply rebuffed, Akira only saying that he hadn't played piano since he was a boy. Enraged, Sara accused him of breaking faith with their promise, while she had met the challenge of the talented yet selfish boy she met and risen to her goal. She finished by saying she would never see or bother with him again and left the room. As she prepared to leave, Akira's mother revealed that he had been in a traffic accident shortly after Sara had met him in Poland. Damage to his left hand had not been so great as to disable him but had ended his piano career, his hand now twisted so as to prevent him from playing correctly. Since being a pianist had been his life, the loss shattered his confidence and depressed him to the point he no longer smiled.
Now that she understood the reason why Akira had to abandon his dream, Sara thought that she should apologize to him for her remarks. When she opened the door to his room, she found that Akira was holding a tiny music box in his left hand, the same one Sara had given him as a gift at the Chopin Concourse eight years ago, only gazing at it.
Surprised by her return, he hastened to hide the music box inside a larger box, only to have it start playing inside. Recognizing the song, Sara tried to find where the music came from and grabbed the larger box. Akira tried to get it back from her, their struggle causing all the contents of the box to be scattered on the floor. Not only the music box was inside it, but also scraps from newspapers and magazines. Sara picked one piece up to read it and quickly noticed they were all about her many achievements as a great violinist.
She accused him of lying since he said earlier that he did not remember her at all. Akira admitted that he had never forgotten her, and explained the dilemma he faced. Although she had gone that far as a violinist, he could not proceed any further as a pianist, and could not meet the promise they made. Feeling unworthy even to think about her accomplishments, he decided it was better for her to end up disliking him. She loudly dismissed his argument, saying his abilities had nothing to do with his worthiness, and that his dream of being the Number One pianist should not have been given up just because of his injury. Challenging his drive and his courage, she got him to go with her to a concert she was giving that evening. Telling him to lay down on the piano stool, she directed him to use her legs as a pillow, urging him to play in that position, while she played the violin. To his shock, Akira found that this position allowed him to use his left hand to play once again. Still unsure of himself, his confidence slowly began to return, as did his motivation, with Sara reminding him of his words, not to play for praise, but for his enjoyment first and last. He grinned at her, and the two played together, with the audience applauding their performance.
After the performance, on their way back to the dressing room, they passed a woman who called out to Sara, with Sara ignoring her at first. The woman continued talking to her from behind, saying, " Sara, it was a superb performance!" Sara realized it was her mother, praising her for the first time in her life, at which Sara burst into tears, to hear these simple words.
The story concludes a few years later, with Sara chastising Akira to be thoroughly prepared for their first recital since getting married. Looking back on her childhood days, Sara realized that the reason she stopped playing the piano might have been defiance of her mother's plans for her. The reason why she continued to go into music despite that rebellion could have been that she still wanted her mother to appreciate her somehow. But in the end, the reason why Sara chose to play the violin instead might be that she just wanted to enjoy playing music together with Akira.
- Like many of Okamoto's works, both dogged devotion to a childhood dream and the roadblocks real life presents in achieving such goals are central themes.
- Despite the title, there is no reference to the music/song "Elfenlied" in this manga story. The title has little connection to the story. The Elfenlied composition by Hugo Wolf is for the piano, not the violin.
- Unlike the much better-known series of the same name, gore, violence, nudity and 'ecchi' elements play no role in this story. One 'perverted' moment shows up, though. When Akira lays himself down on the piano stool, he looked up at Sara's breasts from the below, a unique angle, and appreciated with surprise how big they are. Suddenly, he was motivated to play the piano, a bit of his childhood cockiness coming back along with his confidence.
- This work is the second one he used the word "Elfen Lied" in the title. The first one is the video game "Elfen Lied of the Country of Time" (see Elfen Lied Ancillary Works), and the third one is Lucy's story. Lynn Okamoto recently tweeted (Aug. 13th, 2016) that he liked the sounds this words "Elfen Lied" had.
- Lynn Okamoto said additionally that all the three creations that he used "Elfen Lied" as (a part of) the title were not sold well.