Michibiki Jizoudou is a small structure, part of a temple adjacent to Gokurakuji Train Station that hosts a small but pivotal scene in the beginning and growth of the friendship between Nana and Mayu.
In the series
Despite appearing on only one occasion, it also helps to demonstrate the differences between the two versions of the series, which end up being on display more than in many more visible locations.
A Jizoudou is a shrine for the Buddhist deity Jizo Bosatsu, who is the guardian of children. There are many in Kamakura itself, and much more in Japan overall due to the god being much beloved. The need for such a guardian and sanctuary is abundantly evident in Elfen Lied, and rarely more so than for these two children. As depicted, the grounds seem to have undergone leveling for shifting, placing it slightly above and tilted about street level.
This anime-only real-world structure is shown and introduced in Episode 8. Mayu, while taking Wanta for a walk near Jouju-in Cemetery, once more encounters Nana, who has recently been sent away from the Diclonius Research Institute, and is ignorant of the world in many ways, including the meaning and value of money, as well as public and spiritual conduct.
The last time the two had seen each other, Nana was in the midst of a brutal attack by Lucy, who Mayu only knew as the much gentler Nyu. Seeing Nana's new, artificial limbs, which to all appearances were regular ones, Mayu at first once more believes that the great battle was only a dream, till one of Nana's limbs comes loose, causing Mayu to faint. Realizing that Nana now needs a place to stay and a friend, Mayu brings her back to Maple House, having also piqued Nana's curiosity about Nyu, who Nana correctly suspects is also Lucy. Confused by not sensing Lucy's presence, Nana is surprised to see Nyu and begins to attack her, out of vengeance and fear. When this attack upsets the residents of Maple House, even to Mayu, Nana flees in tears and fury down the stone steps that lead to and from Maple House.
It is not apparent which direction these steps lead, in this instance, though the cemetery and temple at Jouju-in are adjacent to the beach areas on and around Enoshima Island. They are also nearby to Gokurakuji Train Station, all of which the series seems at times to place relatively close to the fictional location of Maple House. It is never shown clearly in either version whether more than one set of steps lead to and from Maple House. Mayu finds an angry Nana at the steps, who refuses her explanations and runs off. Mayu finds her and talks with her at the Michibiki Jizoudou, where Nana fails to convince Mayu that the girl she sees as Nyu is, in fact, Lucy. Frustrated, Nana demonstrates her powers on a Jizou statue nearby, diagonally slicing it in two. This innocent vandalism is perhaps another demonstration of Nana's lack of knowledge about the world, to deface a statue possibly centuries old and one held sacred as well and echoes her earlier unintentional defamation of the graveyard. Their time at the Jizoudou is brief but tells us many facts by implication and comparison. Maple House is once more centrally placed near some Kamakura landmarks, wherever it is supposed to be. Nana is nearly an alien visitor in ways that far exceed her species designation, in matters of money, custom, and the ability to realize the complexity of situations. It may be that Mayu, once homeless, knew of the Jizoudou's location as a place she might flee to, perhaps even before she ran away from home for good, and guided Nana there so they could talk. This place, like so many depicted in the series, seems to be eternally devoid of visitors outside of the cast, and open to entry at virtually anytime, day or night. Finally, it stakes out an important difference between the manga and anime versions.
In this version, not only the location but the timing of Nana's full explanations to Mayu are markedly earlier and different than in the manga. Here, Nana explains vectors and Lucy's existence to Mayu just shortly after their second meeting. In the manga, this explanation comes very near to the conclusion of the series, and only a day or so before Kouta regains his memories of Lucy's murder of his family. Also, the manga version of Nana's revelation includes details of Nana's past at the Institute, whereas the anime one holds many details back, presumably for a later time, perhaps after Lucy's disappearance in the final episode. Also, whereas Mayu in the anime has seen quickly denied evidence of Lucy's existence at this point, Mayu in the manga has Nana's revelations directly preceded by Lucy trying to murder her, averted only by the sacrifice of Bando. While in the anime, Mayu and Nana venture back to Maple House on their own, in the manga, it is Kouta, guided by Wanta, who finds them and Nyu and brings them back home. Nyu's presence is telling. In the anime at this point, Nana is perhaps afraid that Nyu is a trick, a deception used by Lucy to hide, or at least an unreliable fluke that still places everyone in danger. In the manga, Nana has lived peacefully if vigilantly with Nyu for close to a year and cares enough about her to lie and tell the devastated Nyu that she is not truly the murderous Lucy. Lastly, the choice of Michibiki Jizoudou for this scene reflected the anime's deliberate use of real world locations in Kamakura. The manga's similar scene takes place in a rest shack or hut somewhere in the forest, a mundane area that is, in keeping with the series, still not all that far from Maple House. Like Maple House, this hut or shack may not have a real life counterpart. Of these sacred structures it may be said once again: If ever their resident spirits were needed, it is fundamentally so in the Elfen Lied universe.