Thematic Implications of Elfen Lied
Most of you probably know Elfen Lied as only some show with gratuitous death caused by pink/purple haired anime girls. Well, I myself see it as a story of forgiveness, love, that debates the age old idea of nature versus nurture. Here's why:
Lucy, as a child, begins her killing spree only after she is harmed by others. Had other people left her alone Lucy probably would have never killed anyone. As a child "gifted" with superhuman abilities, Lucy was not yet capable of understanding the moral implications of the mass death she caused. Notice that once Lucy escapes, she only harms those who seek to recapture her or hurt her friends. She seems to be bent on getting Kouta's forgivness. We never see her even come close to killing Yuka, yet if she were just a cold-hard killer we would expect Yuka to be one of the first victims of Lucy.
The nature versus nurture thing comes in when comparing the three diclonius Lucy, Nana, and Mariko (Number 35). Lucy definetly seems to be a product of her environment. Nana on the other hand seems to have been born with an inherently good personality. Tortured and imprisoned, she would never harm an innocent despite what has been done to her. Nana only uses her powers for the protection of the innocent. Mariko on the other seems to have been born with evil tendencies. When exposed to the outside world, she only wishes to kill, maim, and destroy. Yet, before she and Kurama perish, we see a vision of the world as it "should have been." Kurama, his wife, and Mariko are smiling happily as she leaves for school. It seems she, like Lucy, would have had a bright future had other humans not tried to use/abuse her power.
It is my understanding that in the manga, once a diclonius horns are removed, they lose their killing tendencies. I find this very boring. The human drama of the anime is much better because the killing tendencies are not due to some external force like horns, but because of bad experiences and the diclonius having the ability to automatically kill those who would harm them physically and emotionally.
Well, I just thought I'd post all this because all I ever see people say about Elfen Lied is "girls kill everyone," or talk about how hot Nyuu is. The anime is deeper than that, and Lucy is much more of an overall beautiful character than the simple Nyuu to me. Also, Kouta doesn't get anywhere near the amount of credit he deserves. This guy helps those in need, and FORGIVES Lucy. He's the nicest guy in the world, and if I'm ever half as awesome as him I'll be satisfied.