Synopsis and basics
Lucy/Nyu (real name: Kaede) is the main character, main protagonist and Anti-hero/anti-villainess of the Elfen Lied series. The so-called 'Queen' Diclonius, Lucy, was an individual difficult to pin down by any standard of "good" or "evil" societal mores. She was both ruthlessly tormented and was also a sadistic tormentor to others, driven to a mental breakdown at an early age by the cruelty that surrounded her. Though she never expected to receive any form of love and acceptance from others, occasionally she got the chance to see that such things were, indeed, possible for someone like her. Her great love was Kouta, a boy she met when they were both children and again when they were young adults.
Kaede (楓 ) was a young Japanese woman from Kamakura responsible for the murders of several hundred people. Kaede was the first of the diclonii, a human sub-species that emerged in the late 1990s and noted by their horns and ability to kill using high-vibrating arms called "vectors", which are invisible to normal human sight.
Elfen Lied is, beyond the extreme gore, violence, and otherwise, extremely uncomfortable subject matter, a tale defined both by her love for Kouta and her desire to atone for her past sins against him. This goal, while she's dogged by corrupt humans out to either take her life or re-purpose it to suit their aims. 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, possessing X with a range of two metres. She was also capable of spreading the Diclonius mutation to humans via infecting their parents with her vectors, a process capable of gradually replacing regular Humans with her kind, albeit mostly of sterile, rapidly growing Silpelits that were to serve as "drones" to her role as "Queen." This infection process, which is described as a virus, is used perhaps for lack of a clearer term.
Kaede's abandonment as an infant and life in a hostile orphanage environment in Kamakura played a part in her early violence, and she was forced to flee after losing control and killing several children with her vectors. As a young child, Kaede was not a suspect in the high-profile killings of families in Kamakura after the orphanage massacre, and was believed to have been abducted by the killer. Following a traumatic incident at a festival, Kaede killed several more in what was believed to be a terrorist attack. For several more years, Kaede continued to live in the area and killed people by inducing heart attacks, with the side-effect of survivors being infected with a heritable virus which resulted in diclonius children, dubbed "Silpelits". This got the attention of the Japanese government, who funded two institutes to investigate anti-Diclonius countermeasures and provided them with defense equipment. Kaede's location was deciphered by Dr. Kurama, who compared old case reports to track down who he dubbed "Lucy", and she was captured in a botched raid that resulted in the apparent death of a human friend of her's. From this, Kaede held a lifelong obsession with killing anyone he cared about. Kaede escaped after three years of captivity and returned to Kamakura though, suffering from head trauma and the shock of meeting her childhood sweetheart, Kōuta (or Kōta), she developed an infantile personality dubbed "Nyu", and was taken in by him and his cousin, Yuka. The Japanese government, recognizing the threat Kaede posed to the world, pressed for a renewed search and her capture or death.
Lucy was born to the actual 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 actual origin of the virus that spawned them. The series reveals nothing about the background of Lucy's parents. Throughout her short life, Lucy believed that both parents had abandoned her, leaving her naked in a field to die of exposure as an infant. Towards the end of the series, Lucy learned that only her father had shunned and tried to dispose of her. Her mother, realizing what he had done, spent the rest of her life searching for her, a quest that finally caught the attention of the wrong person.
Kaede was rescued and raised in an orphanage (possibly after being kept in an infant care facility), where she grew up believing her parents wanted her dead.
Captured by Chief Kakuzawa, Lucy's mother was held, studied, and forced to bear a son by him, committing suicide sometime after this occasion. Meanwhile, Lucy knew nothing of this and instead continued to believe both parents had abandoned her, a belief that leads her to harbor a deep resentment, and even murderous urges, towards them. It remains unclear if Chief Kakuzawa knew of Lucy's existence before Kurama and his son did, so the time frame of the conception and birth of Lucy's half-brother is also uncertain.
At the orphanage, Kaede was avoided and neglected by the staff, frequently bullied and referred to as an "Ox" (due to her horns), and told by the other kids that she should live outside. In an odd way, she understood this as the other kids using her as a way to distract themselves from their misery of being forgotten and abandoned. Lucy did little to prevent the abuse 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. It remains unclear how or when Lucy and the other children learned of the story of her abandonment, but it seemed common knowledge at the site. Over time, her ignoring the bullying backfired twice over; it marked her off as emotionless and therefore more of a 'freak' and egged tormentors on, hoping to get a reaction from her.
As she matured, Kaede's vectors began to develop, though she had little understanding of what this meant at the time. Lucy eventually discovered a stray dog in the woods around the orphanage, whom she thought of as her first friend. Feeding the puppy on breadcrumbs left him still hungry, so she felt forced to give most of her dinner to it. During this time 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 truly 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, needing more food for the dog, told the girl about the puppy. However, although promising to keep it a secret, the girl soon told the boys about the puppy and its significance, and the bullies took it from the woods. After confronting Lucy in the classroom, the bullies 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 dog, as Tomoo casually revealed. Despite her apologies and protests that she hadn't known the puppy would be hurt, she was seen by Lucy smiling behind her supposedly covered eyes.
Feeling betrayed and enraged, Lucy unleashed her vectors for the first time, killing all of her tormentors in a swift, brutal manner. She then buried the dog, apologizing for not being able to protect it, and decided to go on the run. The orphanage regarded her as missing, perhaps taken away by whoever had murdered the other four children.
While burying her dog in the mountains, Kaede made the decision to go on the run, but was stopped by Kouta, a young boy on vacation who went into the hills to draw. The two formed a close bond much to the surprise and confusion of Kaede. However, these moments of happiness were not enough to stop her from following her newfound instincts and slaughtering entire families to use their houses for the night. Their time together was cut short when the Kaede's constant killings led to curfews which prevented Kōuta from seeing her. After three days, Kōuta took to sneaking out of the window for the two to meet up, and gave her a hat so she could hide her horns, oblivious as to why anyone would dislike them but wanting to help. As the final day of his vacation arrived, Kōuta and Kaede spent their whole day together and visited Nogeyuki Zoo. Kaede hoped to attend the Bonbori Matsuri festival at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine with him, but was dejected to learn he had already promised to go with his cousin, believing herself to in fact be nothing more than a substitute for a girlfriend. Kaede began choking Kōuta in rage, but came to her senses seconds later and begged Kōuta to kill her if she couldn't stop her murder spree. A confused Kōuta ignored the remark and, understanding her feelings about going with someone else, lied about his cousin being a boy.
Kaede went to the Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine that night to confess her feelings, but was shocked to find Kōuta talking to a girl, Yuka, who was crying at him having to go so soon. Kaede suffered another breakdown and experienced a dream where her victims and a manifestation of her instincts encouraged her to kill or she would forever have nothing to live for. In addition, the crowd at the carnival began to overwhelm her. Finally, Kaede surrendered to these murderous instincts and began brutally and indiscriminately killing festival-goers in what was believed to be a bombing. Kaede then departed for the Gokurakuji Train Station, intent on killing Kōuta and his family before heading back to kill Yuka. On the train, she was recognized by Kōuta's sister Kanae, who was a witness to the first killings at the festival. Kanae was cut in half, followed by the decapitation of her father. An angry and crying Kōuta then tackled Kaede to the ground and repeatedly demanded that she stop. Kaede was disturbed by the event, as she realized it was her own actions that prevented the two of them from being together.
While she stood at the puppy's grave, a young boy arrived and noticed her horns. Thinking he would just harm or deceive her further, she prepared to kill him. However, he, surprisingly, found her horns to be 'cool' and immediately wanted to befriend her. She thought he was attempting 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 evening 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 from someone. 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 that 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 and even something as simple as a flavored ice treat 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, even mildly embarrassing Kouta when she showed no modesty. Oddly, at this time, Kouta never learned or asked the name of his new friend. In the story, Lucy never refuses to answer; the subject apparently just simply never comes up.
During the bus ride back to town, she felt 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. As Lucy internally challenged the voice, she awoke to find herself choking Kouta, and stopped, terrified of her 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 male, and she, relieved, thought to herself that she would probably have killed him if he said his cousin was a girl.
After Kouta had gone back to where he was staying, Lucy decided to visit the festival anyway so she could confess her feelings toward him before he left, as she was sure to regret it if she didn't. While there, she saw an upset Yuka hugging Kouta and begging him not to leave. Shocked he 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 Lucy 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 many people at the festival. This slaughter 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 she saw people 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 senselessly, begging and screaming at her to stop killing. Lucy came to realize that her actions had not brought Kouta closer to her but instead hurt him immeasurably. By her actions against him, Lucy lost herself any chance of earning his affection. Shaken to her core, Lucy ran away, leaving a broken and sobbing Kouta on the train with his massacred family.
For the next five years, Kaede did her best to avoid drawing attention to herself. In her efforts to survive, she naturally killed many people but avoided sudden violent outbursts. The majority of her victims would suffer heart attacks after her vectors damaged their blood vessels. She would then use the crowds that gathered around the fallen to infect males with the Diclonius birth virus. 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 suspicion solidified when they found a picture of a horned child who was noted to be missing since the time of the massacre in the orphanage.
Kaede 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 (or at least felt she had) 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 a nearby museum, once again. After hiding in the hall, Kurama found them two and ordered the forces with him to open fire. Aiko jumped in the way of the gunfire to save Kaede's life. In exchange for a promise of immediate medical attention for Aiko, Kaede surrendered to Kurama. After being imprisoned within the Diclonius Research Institute, Kurama informed Kaede that Aiko had died from her wounds, also asserting that she could have lived had they simply given up and that Humans only wanted the Diclonius race to co-exist with them. Kaede refutes this, stating that nothing Humans did indicate wanting co-existence. As vengeance for Aiko's death, Kaede 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. She also quickly gained a reputation as a casual murderer, prompting all to keep back from her containment area. The series relates nothing of her care and feeding during this period. With her power growing and the difficulty of keeping her under watch increasing, the staff devised a new more secure holding area. During her transfer from the original holding area to the new one, a security guard dropped his mobile phone into her strike zone, and Lucy used it to cut his arm off, and in the resulting panic, killed him and his partner. 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 ripped her head off 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 kill her instantly. However, she turned her head towards the sharpshooter just before firing, 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.
Nyū and Life in Maple House
When she finally came ashore, Lucy emerged on Yuigahama, the coastal beach near Kamakura. By sheer coincidence, she happened to have been found by an amnesiac Kōuta and Yuka as they walked along the same beach. Because of the blow to 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 Kōuta's new home - Maple House. At the start, Nyū knew little of hygiene and other forms of restraint, but she began to learn slowly over time.
Her impulsive nature, while gentle and well-meaning as Nyu, caused trouble right from the start. Seeing that a keepsake seashell, a gift from Kōuta's sister Kanae, was making him sad, Nyū snapped it in two. This seemingly random act sparked outrage in Kōuta, on more than one level. Not only was his memento lost, but the person who had killed his sister enacted the same fate on her keepsake. This knowledge, though, was kept back from him by his amnesia, the result of the trauma he witnessed as a boy. He yelled at Nyu, who ran off crying, till at last Yuka and then Kōuta himself went out to bring her back. As he left to join Yuka in the search, Kōuta had a suspicious encounter with two Kamakura police officers, sent out in pursuit of the killer Lucy.
Version depending, either both Yuka and Kōuta or just Kōuta alone found Nyū digging at the edge of the surf. Tearful (perhaps both as Nyu, and as Lucy, realizing somehow that she had once again hurt Kōuta), it was revealed she was digging for a replacement seashell. As a becalmed Kōuta thanked her and coaxed her to return home with him, the duo/trio found themselves assaulted by members of Japan's elite Special Assault Team, led by the ruthless and highly skilled Agent Bando. Quickly rendering her companion(s) unconscious, Bando relished the idea of testing himself against a killer like Lucy, only to be disappointed by the infantile Nyu, striking her only to get tears and confusion. Believing her to be of no consequence, Bando ordered his subordinate Satou to execute the horned girl summarily. Lucy, awoken by the blows Nyū took, ripped Satou to pieces and then faced down a stunned Bando, who at first was delighted to meet a real challenge.
This joy rapidly evaporated as it became apparent that Lucy knew how to use her destructive power strategically. She also showed that she could improvise, placing Bando on the defensive and quickly shutting down any plans he made to surprise her. Before he knew it, Lucy stood above Bando, firearm in hand, his position all but hopeless as Lucy began to slowly maim and dismember him, taunting his curses and expletives as the torture kept on. As she prepared to finish Bando off, Lucy saw an object in her hand. It was the replacement seashell Nyū had obtained for Kōuta, and the reminder was enough to force Lucy back into mental slumber. Panicking, Nyū tearfully darted off the beach, leaving the gravely wounded Bando and passing the beach shelter of a homeless girl named Mayu and her small dog, Wanta.
Nyū sought out Maple House and Kōuta, who found her on the outside steps in the rain. Kōuta, who had been taken to the hospital and had an encounter that only deepened his suspicions of the police, was now determined not to turn her over. Despite, or perhaps because of some awkwardness between Kōuta and the innocent yet always curious Nyu, Yuka agreed with this as she moved in, supposedly to keep an eye on the pair. Yuka also bought Nyū some clothes, including a tasseled cap that she is often depicted wearing in fan art. While Kōuta and Yuka struggled with his new limitations, Nyū engaged in childish antics that seemed mainly to get Kōuta in trouble, though occasionally bedeviling Yuka as well. Lucy was absent until the girl from the beach, Mayu, came to Maple House seeking to return a piece of property lost in the struggle that same night. As Kōuta asked Mayu to confirm the presence of soldiers that night, Nyū lost her balance and took a blow to the head, which seemed to awaken Lucy again. Lucy seemed set to murder all three Humans present, till she recognized Kōuta and withdrew. In a telling moment, she paused on the way out of Maple House, slicing the leash but not harming Mayu's dog, Wanta. Oddly (though as time would prove, characteristically), Kōuta and Yuka did not challenge her as the suddenly coherent Nyū walked out. Wandering for a short while, unclear on where she even might go, Lucy encountered her second would-be agent of retrieval. This adversary was a Diclonius like herself, born from one of the countless men Lucy had infected in her travels. She was called Nana, and though Lucy didn't learn this right away, she considered herself to be the daughter of Lucy's arch-nemesis, Kurama.
Since the two could sense each other's approach, Nana quietly walked up to Lucy and requested her return to the Institute peacefully, an offer Lucy refused. She also warned Nana to leave, calling their species 'real people' as opposed to Humans, and having no desire to hurt her. Nana refused, feeling her status before her 'Papa' Kurama dependent on bringing Lucy back when in fact she was exceeding her mission of observation already. A battle began, with each surprising the other regarding raw power and skill. As it became ever more brutal, fortune fell Lucy's way when Mayu, who recognized Lucy as Nyū from Maple House, attempted to intervene, distracting Nana. Lucy used this opportunity to slice one of Nana's legs off, before batting Mayu away and proceeded to tear off all of Nana's remaining limbs. Once again, fate spared her victim before the killing blow, leading to a new confrontation with Kurama at the head of a rescue/sniper squad. Determined and more skilled than Lucy allowed for, Nana was able to temporarily disable Lucy's vectors, allowing her 'Papa' to survive a direct assault on Lucy. Lucy, not only powerless but feeling Nyū slipping back into control, fled the scene, the assembled soldiers frozen in fear by her deadly reputation. As Nyu, she once more made her way back to Maple House and was among those who welcomed Mayu when she agreed to live there permanently. Again, her unexplained absence was mostly overlooked by her housemates.
At some point shortly after this, the cousins came to realize that they could not leave Nyū alone at home while they went to college, so they thought of a way to take her with them. One or both of them would attend classes with Nyū in tow, instructing her to draw no attention, making staff and students think she was just another student. Nyū proved easily confused and led off, even running into Lucy's wounded nemesis Bando before Kōuta found her. She slowly improved her social and speaking skills, but this would prove her short-term undoing. A class the trio attended had as its instructor the dismissive, arrogant Professor Kakuzawa, son of the man who ran the Institute that Lucy escaped. When Nyū could not avoid saying the only word she knew besides her name (Yes!), the Professor immediately recognized her as Lucy. Deceiving and manipulating her would-be guardians with talk of being Nyu's uncle as well as threats of legal action, Professor Kakuzawa forced Yuka and Kōuta to yield up custody of the infantile girl. As they left, Nyū cried out for Kōuta, placing the cousins in tears after they were well away. In his private lab beneath the classroom areas, the Professor drugged, stripped, and made ready to rape Nyu.
To his surprise, the drugging once more brought out Lucy, who found her vectors finally returned after Nana had disabled them. With his plan to forcibly mate with Lucy and counter what he supposed to be his own father's intent to do the same on the rocks, Professor Kakuzawa moved to form a conscious alliance with Lucy. He explained several things to her, including his role in planning her escape, and his family's Diclonius heritage, diluted by generations of inter-marriage with non-horned Humans. His florid grandiose talk held no appeal for Lucy, leading to the Professor's decapitation before Lucy departed the lab.
Back in Maple House, Mayu challenged the veracity of the Professor's claims about Nyu, leading Kōuta to return to the school to retrieve Nyu. Encountering the Professor's overworked assistant, Doctor Arakawa, Kōuta and the Doctor faced the Professor's remains. For the first time, Kōuta learned that the condition of having horns was considered a disease, doubling his resolve to keep Nyū from authorities. This resolve was moot for the time being as Lucy escaped into the town, fighting off the reversion to Nyū while also killing some bystanders.
Kōuta and Yuka began to search for Nyu, who had remained as Lucy despite her fears. Another fear presented itself when she saw the two together, prompting her to recall her first childhood meeting with Kōuta, as well as it's tragic outcome. Resolving to put Kōuta out of her life, and herself out of his, Lucy pretended to be a coherent Nyu, saying she had regained her memories and found her family. Kōuta surprised her by calling out the iffier parts of her story and by not wanting her to leave. Once more, Lucy resolved to have done with him, this time by confessing her murder of his family, theorizing it would surely drive him away for good. As she spoke she faltered, both from the guilt over her crime (this crime, anyway) and from the desire to stay with Kōuta. Unable to handle this rush of emotions, Lucy withdrew as the childlike Nyū came forward. After annoying Yuka yet again with a persistent embrace, the three returned to Maple House, where not one but two new residents were soon to join them.
As Nyu's omnivorous sexual escapades (including quietly cuddling nude next to a sleeping Kōuta and groping both Yuka and Mayu) continued, Yuka prepared the house for a visit from her high school kohai, a girl named Nozomi. After an awkward introduction to Kōuta, Nozomi enchanted the house with her singing talent, most notably Nyu. However, after offering to teach Nyū a song, in this case, Elfenlied, Nyū crossed a line that for many fans are as controversial and off-putting as anything her Lucy persona ever did. Before a stunned Nozomi could react the always curious Nyū shoved two of her fingers into Nozomi's vagina until she climaxed, stunning Nozomi, who did not correct Kōuta and Yuka when they entered and thought Nyū was "merely" groping at her breasts. When Kōuta chastised her for this, Nyū made plans to shock-scare him by jumping out of a closet when he next passed by it. This prank would not go as planned.
Nana and Mariko
Away from Maple House, Mayu reunited with Nana, who had been given vector-respondent artificial limbs by Kurama and sent away from the Institute to evade Chief Kakuzawa's execution order. As they talked, Nana realized that Nyū might be Lucy, traveling with Mayu to Maple House so to confirm. At first not sensing Lucy, Nana prepared to leave when Nyū surprised her instead of Kōuta. Panicked and angry, Nana began attacking Nyu, leaving them in tears when Kōuta and the other residents defended Nyū and yelled at her instead. Mayu pursued Nana for an explanation while Kōuta and Yuka attended a feverish Nyu, not realizing as she shifted to an equally ill Lucy.
Again recalling her lonely childhood, Lucy came to the conclusion that she could only stay with Kōuta as Nyu. Any other way risked harm to Kōuta or rejection for herself, if and when he recovered his memories. Not ever wishing to leave his side, Lucy forced her personality as far back as possible, allowing Nyū to predominate. Awaking as Nyu, she was told by Kōuta about his regret over his last harsh words to his little sister Kanae. With some wish to see Kōuta happy and perhaps some subliminal guilt over Lucy's actions, Nyū cut her hair and trimmed her clothing to look like Kanae. In this limited guise, she forgave Kōuta as Kanae. Realizing her misguided but loving intent, Kōuta embraced Nyu, keeping to his usual timing in these matters as Yuka returned just in time to witness this. Realizing Yuka had left, Kōuta pursued and found her on Yuigahama Beach.
In the meantime, Nana, who had briefly sensed Lucy before she withdrew, returned with Mayu. Nana allowed the information her nature provided to override her dread, fear, and anger and realized that Nyū was for all purposes a separate person from Lucy. However, she did not relent from keeping watch over Nyu, all to see if Lucy returned and posed a threat. For her part, Nyū seemed happy to have a new friend, making small gestures to try and make Nana more comfortable, of course never realizing the source of her enmity. Nana was not there long when she sensed the presence of the Diclonius called Number 35 by the Institute, brought in to execute her and recapture Lucy. Feeling she was a threat to the people in Maple House, Nana departed to confront # 35, only to discover this was a girl younger than herself. After initially butting heads with Nana, Kōuta became concerned and went to find her, hoping to bring her back to her new home. A crowd and barricade at the bridge to Enoshima Island stopped Kōuta and Nyū dead in their tracks, though the rambunctious Nyū got past.
On the other side of the bridge, both a dramatic Diclonius battle and a wrenching family drama played out. Number 35 was Mariko Kurama, the Diclonius daughter of Lucy's nemesis Doctor Kurama, and in a sense, Nana's sister. At first, Mariko's greater raw power ruled the day, battering Nana mercilessly. However, Mariko made the mistake of taunting Nana with the death of her 'Papa' (not yet knowing this man was her father as well and in any event believing the worst of him), leading Nana to successfully counter-attack. Seizing the advantage, she disabled Mariko's power as she once had Lucy's. The arrival of Doctor Kurama both calmed and escalated matters, with both girls learning Mariko's identity. Mariko was at first enraged by Kurama's resolve to kill his child, to stop her from being a danger to herself and others, but Nana forced a reconciliation (with some rather large bumps and twists, best covered elsewhere). This brief peace was made all the more fleeting by the arrival of two new players. The first was Kurama's former secretary Shirakawa who told how Chief Kakuzawa was planning to unleash a weaponized version of the Diclonius virus meant to overtake the entire globe. The second was Nyu, who only wanted Nana to return home. Realizing that Nyu's state of mind rendered her powerless, Kurama tried to use her (or Lucy's) life as a bargaining chip to stop the Chief's plans. This hope proved pointless as the false satellite launch went off without any interference. Resolving to deprive the Chief of at least one of the pillars of his plans, Kurama ignored Nana's pleas and shot Nyū in the chest. This threat brought Lucy to the forefront, saving her life and placing everyone present in mortal danger. The Lucy they faced here was easily at her most sadistic and cruel. Lucy immediately began to threaten and taunt her assembled enemies, personally assuring Nana and Kurama that neither would survive this encounter. Mariko, who had forgiven her father and who had recovered both her powers and state of mind (she had been in a mental state like Nyu's) now challenged Lucy. Mariko, who had bombs embedded in her since birth, knew they might soon explode and sought to trade her life for her father and Nana's. Despite the best efforts of Kurama and Shirakawa, the control mechanism for the bombs was destroyed by Lucy, with Shirakawa beheaded. Blindsided by worry and by the force of Lucy's attack, Mariko lost her legs to Lucy's power, making her vectors too difficult to use amidst the pain. Clinging to Lucy as the countdown concluded, Mariko died in an explosion that also took off Lucy's horns. Once again, Nana pleaded on the helpless Nyu's behalf and stopped Kurama from executing her on the spot. In the aftermath, Nana took Nyū and found Kōuta, who walked them back to Maple House. Lucy was apparently gone for good at this point, though Nana promised Kurama she would kill Nyū if Lucy came back. The first phase of Chief Kakuzawa's grand plan was in motion; Lucy remained his target for the final steps. Related to Nana, the story's narrative resumes six months after Mariko's death.
A New Nyu, Old Threats
According to Nana, the most dramatic change over the course of those six months was the sudden maturing and coherence of Nyu. Absent any signs of Lucy's return, Nyū was a young woman in every way, fully participating in the household, only showing signs of her infantile self when made nervous or when "compelled" to grope Yuka's breasts. In a sign of just how far she had come, Yuka had no qualms about striking Nyū the way she once did Kōuta for such an intrusion. Nyū now traveled to class with them again, this time able to keep from drawing attention to herself. Nana, who correctly felt that this period of peace could not last marveled as the recent mass killer Lucy gently and lovingly attended to a small distressed baby bird.
Nana's prediction came true several times on several fronts, almost all at once. At Maple House, the vile Kakuzawa operative the Unknown Man invaded the home, injuring Nana and nearly raping Mayu before being turned back by Bando. At college, Kōuta, Yuka, and Nyū found themselves cornered by the increasingly desperate Doctor Arakawa. The scientist even attempted to take Nyū hostage, before realizing just who her hostage was, releasing her in a blind panic. In the aftermath of the intruder's assault, the three encountered Bando, who recognized Nyū as Lucy. Mayu, who had even advised Nyū not to go down to the beach for fear of this confrontation (early on, she reasoned Bando might be looking for Nyu) saw herself chastised for her deception. Nyū was shot by Bando, with no better luck than Kurama's attempt. An awakened Lucy regretted disrupting the peace she had found but accepted Bando's challenge to meet him back at the beachfront.
The battle began quickly, but it was far from a one-on-one, and Lucy did not have the advantage she did when she first fought Bando. The former soldier had cleared the beach of debris and laid down several booby traps to weaken and disorient her. Lacking anything to throw, Lucy tore the head off of the suddenly worshipful Unknown Man and launched it like a missile at Bando. Bad timing and miscalculations also lessened the value of Bando's prepared tactics. Nana attempted to aid Bando against Lucy, but her prior wounds left her too weak. When Lucy managed to sever one of Bando's arms again, Mayu realized that Lucy had been the one who severed Nana's limbs. With a regretful pause, Lucy decided to kill Mayu, rather than risk her waking Kōuta's lost memories as well. Despite harsh words towards Mayu for her deception Bando rushed in and took the blow meant for the young girl, which split him in two. However, as he fell, Bando also managed to shoot one of Lucy's regrown horns off, sending her fleeing from the battle. While Mayu and Nana mourned the dying Bando, Nyū took control once more, and once more was scared and horribly confused. Nana swore to kill Lucy when next they met, even if she was Nyū at that point.
As Nana and Mayu sat and talked through their bizarre situation, and as Kōuta reluctantly sought the biased input of Doctor Arakawa, Nyū wandered a nearby forest, trying to find those she considered her family, even if they now had cause to think otherwise of her. In a stroke of bad luck, she happened to Nana and Mayu while they were discussing Lucy and how to deal with her. Horror-struck, Nyū attempted suicide by slashing her wrists but found herself not able to go through with it. Still not wishing to live as the killer Lucy, she returned to face Nana, hoping the younger girl would kill her. For her part, Nana was further enraged to realize Nyū was using her as a means to commit suicide. However, Nana's warm feelings for Nyū were genuine, so she lied and said that Nyū was not the same person as Lucy. Whether Nyū believed this is debatable, though perhaps she merely appreciated Nana's caring enough to spare her a harsh truth.
With the aid of a persistent Wanta, Kōuta came upon the trio insisting that they all return home to Maple House. His heartfelt and even angry plea of concern about them all broke through the doubts of both Nana and Nyu. Though they finally went back with him, events had reached the point of no return. Kōuta had planned to finally press the horned girls and Mayu for any secrets they had kept from him, fearing for their safety and the safety of their home. Unwittingly, Kōuta himself had already ended their family's peaceful existence. Unknown to him, after rejecting the advice of Doctor Arakawa, Kōuta had been followed back to Maple House by the ambitious scientist who promptly alerted Chief Kakuzawa as to where Lucy lived.
War With The Chief
A quiet dinner, in which the only tense subject was awaiting Nozomi's music school entry results, was sundered by the entry of armed troopers, in tandem with an Intelligence Agent, a scientist more ruthless than Arakawa, and three clones of the late Mariko Kurama. Nyū watched in terror as she saw Maple House invaded and her friends assaulted. Her manner and position remained unprovocative; so much so, it took the force's leaders a few moments to recognize her while securing the other residents. In the interim, both Kōuta's and Nana's efforts to either turn back or gain information from the invaders resulted in their undignified injury and disabling. Upon realizing who Nyū was, the technical Commander, Doctor Nousou, commanded his three viable Mariko clones, Alicia, Barbara, and Cynthia, to hold 'Lucy' against the nearby wall with a chokehold. Unaware of their target's nature, the attackers began dangerously escalating their efforts.
The defeated Nana was held up like a limbless doll or trophy by the arrogant Nousou; Nozomi was kept in a chokehold, potentially ending her singing career. When Yuka objected to this treatment, she was shoved and held face down, while the crowd of men likely did nothing for Mayu's peace of mind. The last straw for Kōuta was the sight of little Wanta kicked away by one of the steel-booted soldiers. Grabbing one of their guns, Kōuta held Nousou hostage, even adjusting his tactics to meet the ante of the doctor's taunts. Either uncaring or simply so desperate that he forgot his position, Kōuta was shot by The Agent, who needed Nousou alive for a variety of reasons. As Wanta was the last straw for Kōuta, so was seeing him fall the last one for Nyu. In her shock and rage, for the first time in the series, Nyū exhibited vectors like Lucy's and was now just as willing to use them.
Her horns regrown to demonic size, Nyū ripped through a great many of the soldiers as well as Cynthia, one of the Mariko clones. Though wounded, Kōuta witnessed Cynthia torn in half, something both Nyū and Lucy would soon have cause to regret. Nousou's efforts to regroup with the remaining two clones proved futile as Nyū moved forward relentlessly. Sighting helicopter guns and transport ships outside the house, Nyū gives way to Lucy herself, who destroys the ships to one, raining debris down on the retreating Nousou, killing another of the clones (Alicia) who is defending him. As she left Maple House, Lucy heard Kōuta plainly say that his memories of how his family died had returned, this while glaring at her. Resigning herself to the inevitable, Lucy departed for the last time, charging Yuka with caring for Kōuta and Nana with protecting the house and their family. Once outdoors, the Agent ambushed Lucy, and used the dying Cynthia first to knock one of her horns off, then when she was on the ground, to shoot off the other. Deranged and lost at this point, Lucy's old enemy Kurama finds his way there and cradles the dying Cynthia, thinking she was his late daughter Mariko. When the clone passes on, Lucy taunts Kurama once more for it, and the two bitterly recall how they first met, including the tragedy that led to Lucy's capture before the series began.
While Kōuta began to recover in the hospital and while Nana struggled with both Yuka's mother and her 'Papa' Kurama, Lucy was bound over by the Agent and taken back to the Diclonius Research Institute. Nyū awoke restrained in the underground grotto beneath the facility, nude and with her horns starting to regenerate. In the custody of Chief Kakuzawa, she also encountered the Chief's daughter, Anna, transformed into a living computer and behemoth. Kakuzawa confirmed that she was the killer Lucy, a great shock and sadness for Nyu, who only wanted to return home to those she saw as her family. Showing a feeling of control (justified or not) the Chief released Nyu, who showed modesty uncharacteristic of either Lucy or her former infantile self. He also began to make his case for an alliance between himself and Lucy, with her bearing the children of the new world order. Explaining that the persecution of his ancestors, who he sees as the first horned people, or Diclonii, shows Humanity's true nature, the Chief says that their destruction is inevitable. When Nyū rejects his biased, self-serving notions, the Chief orders Anna to attack Nyu, which she does with her massive arms.
The tables turn when Lucy seizes control from Nyu. With more potent vectors, Lucy is both more experienced with and more willing to use them than the gentle Nyu. She severs one of Anna's monstrously large arms, and then the other when Anna persists in attacking her. Simultaneously, the island erupts with vectors' power and begins the process of its destruction. The narrative does not make entirely clear whether this is the result of Lucy's battle with Anna or the reaction of the Clone Diclonii (rejected clones of Mariko Kurama) to the anti-Diclonius birth vaccine created by Doctor Arakawa. Whatever the health of the island, Lucy's health falls into question as she weakens, coughing up blood as Chief Kakuzawa reveals that high-end usage of her powers reduces her body's integrity. Ordered to stand down against Lucy, Anna makes an attempt to relay what she feels is vital information, but Kakuzawa blends this into his beliefs about what will happen at that moment. Sarcastically musing that between Kurama and Kakuzawa, her enemies seem to wait for her presence to have parent-child discussions, Lucy received a great shock, perhaps the greatest of her young short life.
Perhaps seeking to disorient her further and gain Lucy to his side, the Chief told Lucy that only her birth father had tried to abandon her. Her mother not only opposed what he did, but she also spent the rest of her life searching for her daughter. Sadly for the mother, her search seemed to place her in the crosshairs of Chief Kakuzawa who captured and imprisoned her, resulting in her rape by him. This assault led to a male heir, Lucy's half-brother whom Kakuzawa introduced as her potential mate, to keep the new Diclonius line pure. As noted elsewhere the boy's age and the timeframe of his mother's imprisonment are difficult if not impossible to determine from evidence in the story itself, though the problems are not wholly unresolvable. Also of note is Lucy's apparent reaction or non-reaction to the news that her mother always loved her, a fact that contradicts much if not all of her world view. While later developments would indirectly indicate the news did have an impact on her, the character neither introspects nor muses upon what seems crucial personal information.
Lucy gave the father and younger son the same answer she gave the elder son, this by swiftly decapitating both of them before delivering news of her own. This revelation was the same information Anna had been unable to provide for fear of breaking his dreams. Lucy, who could sense others of her kind, had never sensed anything from the Kakuzawas save for her half-brother, this because they were not Diclonius despite their family's beliefs. The horns the males of their clan (or at least the Chief and the Professor, no others are seen) hid beneath hairpieces were not the vestiges of non-Human lineage but merely a scalp mutation that caused first discrimination and then a family mythology to comfort and compensate. Lucy tauntingly asked Anna if she had known of their heritage which the behemoth confirmed while seeking to avenge her father. Lucy made short work of Anna while spotting something that seemed to confirm Kakuzawa's earlier claims of not being a cruel parent. At this time what she saw remained unknown. At the very end of the manga, not only would Anna be shown as alive but that her monster form was a shell for her unaltered body. Lucy did pause to apologize to the remains of her younger brother saying that even though he had done nothing wrong, there was no bright future for their kind and that their race must end. She also realized that her own time would soon be at hand. Though unstated, possibly she feared the boy's exploitation in further Diclonius experiments and living life as miserable as her own had been.
Leaving the grotto and the dead Kakuzawas behind, Lucy made for the surface of the sinking island. Once there, Lucy had a very brief confrontation with an obsessed government operative whose attack vehicle proved an expensive toy against her. She also confirmed to Doctor Arakawa via a gesture and nod that the Chief was dead. In a scene not depicted, Lucy found a floating escape pod like the one Kurama had sent Nana away in as the island's existence finally came to an end. In a manner never explained, Kōuta somehow knew of her approach to that same stretch of beach they met as young adults on and left the hospital despite his wounds. He was waiting for Lucy as she came ashore, but this time, both of them had their full memories. As their confrontation began, Kurama and Nana also bore down on their position, in addition to the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.
Kōuta already seemed distant to Lucy as she arrived, and this distance between them would only grow. This coldness was immediately apparent as Kōuta all but demanded the nude Lucy wear his coat, while stubbornly refusing to return to the hospital. His collapse while attempting to walk leads to Lucy carrying him to the entrance gate of the Enoshima Sea Candle, a lighthouse, and observatory completed after the death of Kanae, who had wanted to see it. Once they reached the summit, Kōuta asks why Lucy murdered his family, and why she has killed others. Unfortunately for Lucy, her explanations of her nature to spread her kind across the planet and of the voice of her DNA driving this do not even begin to satisfy Kōuta. Her exact explanation as to why she killed Kōuta's father and sister is inconsistent as well, saying she wished to end her attachment to any Humans; in the past, she had seemed to call it a transactional payback for a betrayal, while still wanting to be around Kōuta. Later, when circumstances caused Nyū to emerge, she saw it as a chance to begin again and redeem her relationship with Kōuta, absent the baggage of memories. Whether her motives or beliefs were clear or muddled, she offered up an apology for murdering Kōuta's family, hoping it would be enough.
Breaking her heart, Kōuta made it explicitly clear that he would never forgive her for killing Kanae and their father. Kōuta also firmly rejected her explanation of a homicidal inner voice, saying all people dealt with such a thing, and that her having no choice but to listen to it was just an excuse. Whether Nana, who once felt the voice's pull and who knew of Barbara's words about it later confirmed that the voice was present in some way to Kōuta is never revealed. Preventing him from rejecting her apology outright was his affection for Nyu, whom he saw as part of his family, and, to not lose another member of his family, he offered to let both Nyū and Lucy live with them at Kaede House if Lucy swore never to kill again. Kōuta does question her about the nature of Nyū and the Voice. For Nyu, Lucy explains this personality as her ideal self, free of the crimes she has committed and those done against her, all part of an effort to stay near Kōuta. The Voice she claims is merely a guide, and while she has rarely strayed from its advice, is not able to control her outright. With her promise not to kill any longer, Kōuta warms a bit towards her and allows Lucy to call for an ambulance to take him back to the hospital. Unknown to her, Kurama had located Lucy and is ascending the tower while she is descending to make the phone call for Kōuta's aid.
Kurama, seeing his mortal enemy, did not hesitate and fired his pistol straight at her. Lucy decided that she must keep her promise to Kōuta even at the expense of her life. At that moment, the DNA Voice seized direct control of Lucy and cut Kurama's arm off, scaring even her with the fact that it could do so. Worse still, Kōuta walked in on this scene and assumed the absolute worst of Lucy, now proclaiming that he hated her. Inside Lucy, the Voice exulted in its seeming triumph, only to have its narrow point of view ever more firmly rejected. The wounded Kurama takes aim as Lucy is distracted, only to have Kōuta jump in front of Lucy, taking a new bullet wound to save her life. When pressed as to why he would do such a thing given his vow of hatred towards Lucy, the fading Kōuta claimed he wanted to avoid leaving things unresolved, as he did with Kanae.
Even if otherwise heartened by his hidden affection, Lucy's rage at Kōuta's certain death began to rock all of Japan, and perhaps the world. Lucy decided that if the world would continually conspire to take away the ones she loved, she would end it. Her anger-driven power destroyed what remained of the JSDF's First Escort Fleet and left the surrounding area ridden with shockwaves; the United States military refused to make use of atomic weapons, unable to guarantee they would even come near their target. Nana rescued Kurama, cast off the tower of the Sea Candle by Lucy's power, but it seemed soon there would be no safe place to flee. Despite the danger, Yuka, Mayu, Nana, and Nozomi with Wanta also made their way to the ruined Sea Candle to be by the side of their loved ones as this drama played out. As her vectors were growing still further, Lucy received a painful reminder of the late Chief Kakuzawa's warning as one of her hands melted off at the wrist.
Firmly realizing that her end is near no matter what, Lucy realized that she could either end the world or use her power to save Kōuta's life. Though the DNA Voice resisted, it found no doubt in Lucy's being that it could exploit. Lucy used her powers in several ways, at least two of them never explained. The mechanics of her healing Kōuta ended up keeping him alive and no longer in danger of dying, though he still had to return to the hospital to fully recover. At the same time, Lucy put up a force field of sorts around herself and Kōuta to keep the military bombardment at bay while somehow also broadcasting the German poem/song Elfenlied, taught to her by Nozomi, while she sang it. The precision of saving Kōuta on one level along with the high power usage of turning back heavy weapons fire perhaps along with the dying statement the series' titular song made via broadcast took the most massive possible toll on Lucy. When Kōuta awoke, he found Lucy/Nyu's body had melted while leaving her still alive and in agonizing pain.
The other Maple House residents reached the pair, horrified when Kōuta's coat was pulled away revealing the damage to Nyu's body. Lucy is pleased, even in her state, to see the residents gathered. Kōuta vainly demands she now let him take her to the hospital, while the other ladies make a pledge of aid that heartens her for what Lucy knows must happen. This debate is rendered moot as an Operative for Saseba, the government's separate response to the twin threats of Diclonius and Kakuzawa enters at the head of a large group of heavily armed soldiers. The operative pledges to execute Lucy while threatening the others with death as well should they interfere. The essences of Lucy and Nyū ask that Kōuta not oppose the death sentence, feeling it is well-deserved. This determination added to the pain of their melted body to cause them to leave it once and for all. Sadly, this leaves the DNA Voice all alone inside the body. In a flash, the Operative, and all his men end up pulped by the body's vectors which once more threatened the world with destruction. Kōuta urges the Voice to focus its wrath on him, only to hear and see the departed spirits of Lucy and Nyu. Able to protect only him and only in that spot, the two ask that he fulfill his childhood promise to kill her should she ever start killing on a massive scale. Before the two ghosts leave and end their protection, they remind Kōuta of when and where they first met as children. They tell Kōuta to return to that same spot on the last day of the Kamakura Summer Festival, and that one day, she will return to see him there. The essences then leave Kōuta to his task.
Finding a gun from a fallen soldier, Kōuta raised it and prepared to fire on the Voice-possessed body, but found he could not, loving his friend despite all she had done and the fact of her spirit's departure from the crumbling shell. The Voice is stunned to see him relent, and in pain itself, asks that Kōuta still is the one who ends her life, which he finally agrees to do. Before returning to the hospital for weeks if not months, Kōuta killed the body of the girl known as Lucy and Nyu.
War and Hope
Even without their Queen and with an anti-Diclonius birth vaccine 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, Kōuta returned to the spot where he met Nyū 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, Kōuta found with little Nyū'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 Kōuta gave to Lucy when they were children, along with a heartfelt note from her. In the letter, she expressed her gratitude toward him for giving her such a beautiful 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 Kōuta broke down in tears as he finally got to meet and understand the friend he could never have.
As Kōuta cried and Little Nyū wondered about him doing this, twin girls who looked much like Lucy did as a child approached them. Nyū even called one "Kaede" by name, and one of the girls smiled as she said they'd been waiting there for Kōuta, their "special friend." The manga ends with a tearfully smiling Kōuta turning toward the girls.
Lucy suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder and had developed up to three different and distinct mental personas over the course of her life.
Kaede/Lucy's default persona is a middle ground between the personalities of Nyū and The Voice. Since others discriminated against her, 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 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 the kindness. As shown with both Kouta and later Aiko Takada, 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 quickly thrown off when her only two friends praised her or caught her acting in any way other than calm, cool, and collected.
Since Kōuta 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 explained why she allowed Nyu's creation and why she let Nyū 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 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 as she wanted without him being reminded she killed his family and without her living forever racked with guilt for ruining his life. Kōuta'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 looked like Kōuta would find out she did it, and her desire to refrain from again causing him pain is why she doesn't kill or harm Yuka, or at least 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 Bando 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 Kōuta. Despite wanting his forgiveness, she understood Kōuta'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, Lucy saw the situation as zero-sum, and though she was shown lamenting resorting to killing people to stay safe, Lucy did nothing to resist The Voice's direction. Feeling this was what she must do, Lucy continued killing people anyway. However, Lucy made a brief attempt to reform herself by helping Aiko, as the thought came that helping Aiko reunite with her mother would prove the person she had become wasn't just a murderer. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as planned, and the girl's death 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 Kōuta, 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 found out of her relationship with Kurama. For most of the series, Lucy was incredibly blase about killing others. She even thought about killing Kōuta until he showed her kindness, and even after the massacre, she didn't show any remorse for killing those who harassed her. Such as with Bandou, Nana, and Mariko, Lucy 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. Her sadism is especially prevalent in the manga, in which she openly laughs while dismembering a helpless Nana whereas she did not in the anime (though she did grin briefly). And when they met again at Maple House, she tauntingly asked Nana if she was there for a rematch (though she converted back to Nyu before this could happen). When she fought against 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. She is also noticeably more profane in the manga, saying "shit" several times.
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 stance shows 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 change first occurs 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 conversations in front of me?", a possible residue of her 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 kind was puzzling. She didn't appear to hold much of attachment or loyalty to other Diclonii, as she had no problem attacking Nana and Mariko when it became apparent 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 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 critical position as the single fertile Diclonius, Lucy didn't seem to have any interest in perpetuating her 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 Chief 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 from 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 Kōuta 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, Lucy 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 never to 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 words, Nyū (also written as "Nyū") is the kind of woman she would have been if she hadn't been born with horns. Nyū first appeared on Yuigahama after Lucy received a cranial wound from a .50 caliber rifle bullet. The only sound she could make was "nyu," which led to Kōuta and Yuka naming her Nyu. Mentally, Nyū had the intelligence of a toddler, which gave her a very ignorant and sheltered view of the world, a very narrow sense of right and wrong as 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 Kōuta that she broke.
When Lucy lost her horns in the battle with Mariko, Nyu's persona predominated and remained for six months. Nyū matured significantly 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, Nyū could use vectors like Lucy, but her control of them appeared tied to her emotional state at the time as a reaction to what was going on around her (i.e. Kōuta being shot, Kakuzawa telling her he would use her body for his goals).
To better show her growth from a mental toddler to an ordinary woman in the manga, Nyū refers to everyone using proper Japanese honorifics. This shift puts her in contrast to Lucy, who uses no honorifics at all (ex: Nyū always refers to Kōuta as "Kōuta-san," whereas Lucy only ever calls him "Kōuta").
It cannot be confirmed from evidence in the series whether or not this personality, supposedly the voice of Lucy's Diclonius DNA, actually existed or was merely the embodiment of the young girl's profound 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 Kōuta 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 in 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 did briefly take over Lucy's body as she was close to death. Kōuta 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 rejects this possibility either, leaving it an open question and one of the series' greatest unresolved mysteries.
The personality of Lucy's particular 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 Nyū that all Humans were vile creatures that truly needed to die, and was even willing to kill Kōuta 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 Kōuta is urged by Lucy and Nyū 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 paused. Seemingly shocked and perhaps even moved by Kōuta's love for her, or more likely in too much pain to want to continue her onslaught, it 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, Kōuta finally shoots her to put her out of her misery. In the end, it's not clear if The Voice gave in and allowed her death out of surprise for Kōuta showing compassion for her or being overwhelmed by pain, but it's possible both motivated her. Though Lucy and Nyū are implied to have been reborn, it's unknown if the third personality was reborn as well.
Relationships to other characters
As the main/central character in the series and with at least three personalities to speak of, the girl once known as Kaede is also positioned among many if not most other characters. Her relationships with them vary widely on who she is at the time. Her relationship with Bando being purely adversarial, will not be expanded upon here.
As noted elsewhere, on most occasions, Lucy followed the directives of the DNA Voice with so little hesitation; they often may as well have been the same personality. When Lucy showed resistance to the Voice's ideas, the entity was not above deception, persuasion, and possibly seizing control even before the manga's end, when Lucy realized it had done so. Lucy regarded the Voice as a tool, till it forcefully showed it thought of her in the same way, and with better cause.
While Nyū became aware of or concerned about the existence of Lucy, she seemed to remain unaware of the Voice, a perhaps deliberate move on Lucy's part. Constructed by Lucy using the pain and shock of her head wound, Nyū was both her ideal self and someone capable of living with and possibly even loving Kōuta. Towards the very end of the series, the line between the two leading personalities began to blur.
All three personas had intense feelings for Kōuta. Lucy was devoted to him since childhood; Nyū literally since birth. The Voice may have wished to rid itself of him, but saved its ace of actually controlling Lucy's actions for life and death situations. Once this power was used, especially against Kōuta, its game would be up. Instead, it waited for the situation it and Lucy had created to cause him to turn against her. While he did this, his actions immediately after also removed all doubt from Lucy's mind, leading ultimately to the Voice's mercy killing at his hands.
Kōuta was a friend to Kaede/Young Lucy, though he only met the Lucy persona a handful of times, almost always very briefly. His noted denseness, the romantic obliviousness of a young boy, and his lack of understanding of the depths of Lucy's solitude left him unaware of just how much he meant to her, and perhaps how much she meant to him.
Kōuta could be called a bit of a father figure and older brother to Nyu, both when she was infantile and when she matured after first losing her horns.
Lucy apparently viewed Yuka as a rival and an obstruction from the very start. Her threat or intent to kill Yuka proved enough to shake Kōuta from his grieving stupor and show a horrified young Lucy that she had done wrong by him. Her removal quickly became as problematic as Kōuta's, although in this case, it was Lucy's dilemma, not the Voice's. Yuka was held very dear by Kōuta, and it was possible for them to be together as it was not for Kōuta and Lucy. Even as Nyū it was only possible for her to live with Kōuta, a fact she often acknowledged herself. In time, Yuka became another fact of Lucy's existence made perhaps less distasteful by the fact she genuinely loved Kōuta. In the same chapter Lucy first admits to herself that her persona cannot be with or around Kōuta, she shows confusion and bemusement at Yuka's Nyu-targeted warning against any strange sexual behavior. When Lucy leaves Maple House for the final time, she directly charges Yuka with the care of Kōuta, knowing that she would care for him and also perhaps a shot at her one-time tendency to strike him. Except for an instance of tripping Yuka when the couple thought she was Nyu, Lucy never makes an attempt to hurt or kill her rival. Despite the Voice's tendency to exploit Lucy's doubts, it never brought up the subject of making Yuka vanish, indicating this was never something Lucy actively wished to do.
In Nyu's case, it was a relationship of open affection on both ends, and at times with Yuka more of a mother to Nyū than to Mayu. Yuka might have well felt that Nyū could be all too affectionate and all too curious for her comfort. One indicator of Yuka's regard and concern for Nyū might be that not merely the dense Kōuta but she often ignored Nyu's sudden islands of coherence and loquaciousness. Her stance was likely similar to Kōuta's, fearing that asking too many questions might upset their hard but pleasant lives.
Mayu met Lucy very infrequently in either version, her life in potential danger on each occasion. Mayu was in an odd position regarding Lucy. She received neither the venom nor the protection that Yuka did, and on one occasion, Lucy nearly killed in the same way she murdered Kōuta's little sister Kanae. This action was meant to purchase her silence on the matter of Lucy's existence, yet it likely would have awakened Kōuta's memories since he regarded the young girl as another younger sister or even a daughter. While Lucy seemed to hold her in a protective mode of sorts at times, it took active consideration about her fate for good or ill. While physically older and later leaving her infantile stage behind, Nyū was more of a little sister to Mayu. Like Lucy, Mayu knew the world's harshness but had to navigate it without vectors or other advantages which left her sharper socially than Lucy and certainly than Nyu. Mayu once had to warn Nyū away from the beach frequented by the vengeful Bando. Mayu's devotion to Nyū was such that even nearly being slaughtered by Lucy was not enough to entirely place Nyū as the great killer of so many, even doubting the first-hand accounts of Nana, to whom she was even closer. Mayu was among those the captive Nyū thought of when Chief Kakuzawa held her in the underground grotto and Mayu indeed grieved with the others when Lucy/Nyū was gone.
Nana's case is one of the most difficult to gauge since she alone knows that Lucy is two personalities within one body and she knows of the Voice as well. She is simultaneously familiar with both the savagery of Lucy and the gentleness of Nyu. Unlike Kōuta, Nana knows both are genuine but cannot relent in guarding against one giving way to another. Nana desperately wished not to kill the gentle Nyu, who she cared for, even if this would be the easiest way to be rid of Lucy, whom she feared and despised. Nana mourned Nyū when she was gone and accepted the responsibility of protecting their family offered by Lucy. Nana is Lucy's polar opposite not merely in kindness but in creating a path to surviving and building a life for herself, a goal that eluded the Queen.
Nozomi also occupies an odd position within Maple House. While her relationship with Nyū started out very awkwardly, it was a positive one. Lucy did not think of her as a rival or a threat and in fact, held the song she taught Nyū close to her heart. Apart from the peril of having Lucy around to start with, Nozomi was absent any direct danger from her.
In their mutual obsession with destroying each other, Lucy and Doctor Kurama failed to see the greater enemy as well as their responsibilities in creating the world in which they dwell. Each ends up placing the other as the embodiment of all that is wrong with their lives, something that must be continually punished or destroyed. In their final meeting. their actions are still sadly locked into automatic, though Lucy tries to resist. Lucy finds her resistance unfortunately overridden by the Voice, and when Kurama again shoots someone else while hunting Lucy, he finally gains a moment to pause and reflect.
With Chief Kakuzawa
While exceedingly brief in their direct interactions, the possibility exists that the late manga sequence was not the first time Lucy and Chief Kakuzawa met. Whether the Chief ever viewed or spoke with her as a captive, his role in their first and last on-panel meeting jibes with a particular style of villainy. Author Stephen King once said that, from a remove, evil could seem darkly glamorous and grimly seductive. Up close, the wealthy, powerful, and scheming Chief offered up a sleazy existence based on lies and delusions. His relationship with Lucy is best summed up as a warning sign against getting what she always wished for.
See also: Kaede/trivia