Elfen Lied is a difficult anime to sum up in a word or two, like "funny" or "cool", mainly because so many of these kinds of words can fit the show. It definately has it's humorous moments, just like it has it's action-packed battles, and gorey killing scenes, along with a little romantic tension thrown in for good measure. Anytime you add these things together and do them right, you get an excellent anime like Elfen Lied. You can think of this anime as a cross between Hellsing and Chobits, I know it sounds crazy but that's probably a very accurate description. Hellsing has loads of gore and action scenes, and Chobits has the whole relationship/comedy deal, Elfen Lied is equally both of these. Now that you have an idea of what kind of anime this is, it's time to introduce the basic story and characters.
Elfen Lied begins with Lucy (Aka Nyu) escaping from a secret facility dedicated to capturing and terminating creatures called diclonius, which are humanoid's with horns. Lucy violently forces her way out of the facility, and towards the sea. She is wounded as she reaches her goal, and falls into the ocean. She is washed up on shore the next day to be discovered by two cousins going to college together, Kouta and Yuka. The two do the best they can to help the confused, ignorant girl they found and later name "Nyu". As Nyu gets herself into more and more trouble, Yuka finds that Kouta is constantly chasing after her and looking out for Nyu, completely ignoring her. This causes Yuka who is in love with Kouta, to become very jealous and hostile towards the middle of the anime.
Mayu is introduced next. She is a homeless girl who is eventually adopted by Kouta and now stays at the Maple Inn. Mayu doesn't play too big of a role in the anime, but she is responsible for bringing Nana into the picture. Nana is a diclonius like Lucy, and is at first introduced when she is sent to hunt down and capture her as Director Kurama, responsible for the secret research facility and the supervision of Lucy and Nana, ordered. Nana fails however, when she lets her guard down as Mayu runs in on her and Lucy fighting in a graveyard close to the Maple Inn. With her guard down, Lucy literally tears Nana limb from limb, leaving nothing but a head and a torso behind to be discovered by Director Kurama and his cronies. This isn't the last we see of Nana however, as she is soon saved, given artificial limbs, and sent back to the island where she meets Mayu again. Mayu takes her back to the inn, where Nana is at first hostile towards (and even attacks) Lucy. Eventually Nana realizes that Nyu is playful and innocent, she only has to watch out for Lucy. Nana earns her keep and is the fourth girl to move into the Maple Inn with Kouta.
As you can see there are many questions in the series. Who are the diclonius? What will happen between Yuka, Kouta, and Nyu? Will Nyu ever fully mentally recover and become one whole person again? Well, these questions and the rest can only be answered by actually watching Elfen Lied. Hope you enjoy it! (Vyrik)