|“||Japan's National Research Facility went out of control.||”|
–The Agent's superior, literally not realizing the half of it
Saseba is the name of the Diclonius research project sponsored solely by the Japanese government, supposedly to concentrate on research into Diclonius' telekinetic Vectors while research on the Diclonius virus was to take place at the Diclonius Research Institute. The facility is located in Sasebo.
In the series
In reality, the Japanese government was already deeply suspicious of the DRI's head, Chief Kakuzawa and had begun research into the military application of vector-based biotechnology, for use against the Diclonius, but also for possible use against Kakuzawa himself. While still considering Lucy to be the ultimate threat, Saseba began to send different types of agents in posing as people loyal to Kakuzawa and his agenda. It is possible, though not confirmed in-story, that Saseba recruited Kurama after his falling-out with Kakuzawa over the fate of Nana since Kurama later knows things about Kakuzawa's hidden agenda of which he previously seemed ignorant. In turn, Kurama may have recruited Bando as well, explaining his ultimate survival in the series.
Through these infiltrators, Saseba learned the truth: Kakuzawa, far from being a distasteful ally in the fight against the Diclonus, actually considered himself one of them and had plans to speed up their takeover of the planet. While a deadly final encounter with Lucy ended those plans, Saseba decided not to wait and ordered the First Escort Fleet to sail against the island stronghold of the Institute. Unknown to the crews of the ships in the fleet, specialized Vector Attack Crafts were among their cargo. Their mission was twofold: to recover any and all files from the DRI about the virus and a possible vaccine, and to keep any foreign governments from learning of Japan's past involvement with Kakuzawa. In the course of the operation and the destruction on the island, most combatants on both sides died, and they lost all but one of the vector craft. Still, the operation did succeed in rescuing the Anti-Diclonius Birth Vaccine and its developer, Arakawa. The series end states that the vaccine saw worldwide distribution.
Saseba accomplished many of its goals, but given the global crisis, caused by Diclonius attacks, it remains unclear if its aim of hiding the involvement of the Japanese government in once aiding Kakuzawa's goals came to fruition.
Saseba's known and stated agents inside the Diclonius Research Institute include Shirakawa and the unnamed Agent who took part in the raid and assault on Maple House. Outside agents included the Operatives overseeing the use of the Vector Attack Craft by the First Escort Fleet, with sufficient authority to override the Fleet Commander.
- Saseba, like some other names used in Elfen Lied, appears to have been taken from a childhood friend of mangaka Lynn Okamoto.