Elfen Lied has done the imposable when it comes to manga and me- grab my heart and force me to cry. Anime can do this easily, but up until I read this gem of a manga I never even shed a real tear to print media.
Art (5/10)- I understand that this was (and most certainly is) suppose to be a bloody, gorey, nudity fest that usually appeals to guys and girls who are fans of guro. I wouldn't say I'm not a fan of guro, but I would say I'm not a fan of pointless guro which the first few volumes of the series seemed
to be. The artist draws very awkwardly character wise during the first 6 or so volumes of the series, but when the art does improve it is a great time because the story kicks it up a notch as well.
Characters (8/10)- Some of the characters were really awkward in my opinion. Especially this one girl who has a habit of peeing when she gets nervous. Some of the other characters were a bit too one sided for me to even remotely want to give them a fair chance at capturing my heart; there was one in particular that had a redeeming moment too late. Overall the characters were well rounded, even some side characters who were only part of the story for less than a volume were able to make me feel for them.
Story (10/10)- What Elfen Lied lacks for in art, it makes up for 10x fold in story. The anime felt just like a gore fest while the first half of the manga felt the same, then the plot really kicked in during the second half and started to make me shed real tears. Then that last volume. Ugh, how can an artist/writer DO THIS TO ME! I've never ever read a manga that made me cry real tears. It is so well written...