The Duffer brothers have already spoken on more than one occasion about their inspirations for ‘ Stranger Things ‘, and taking into account the bombardment of anime that reached the West in the 80s and 90s, it is normal that some anime classics have also been cast.
The creators of the Netflix series have admitted on more than one occasion that ” Akira ” was a key influence in creating part of the story, although an anime series also greatly inspired the character of Eleven.
Warning, minor spoilers for ‘Stranger Things’ season 4!
The thing is about telepaths
Of course ‘ Akira ‘ was a decisive influence and it also marked many other later manganime creations. One of them was ‘Elfen Lied’, which reminded Matt Duffer of some of his favorite things about the classic 1988 anime film.
“I hadn’t seen [‘Akira’] in a long time. And more recently I had seen an anime called ‘Elfen Lied’ which is clearly inspired by ‘Akira’, it was a huge influence,” Matt Duffer admitted in an interview with the Daily Beast . . “When I saw her I felt that she was like a kind of super violent ‘ET’. She had a lot of things that I liked and that ended up in the series, especially with the character of Eleven.”
Originally, ‘Elfen Lied’ was born as a manga by Lynn Okamoto that was later adapted into an anime between 2004 and 2005 with thirteen episodes and an OVA. The series became popular very quickly, but it also received its dose of criticism for its large doses of violence and the sexualization of some characters.
Lucy, the protagonist of ‘Elfen Lied’ is a very powerful telepath who lives in a secret government building until she manages to escape. Once out of it, Lucy manages to hide out with a boy with whom she begins an affair, although government agents continue to pursue her.
During the first season of ‘Stranger Things’, Eleven has a very similar arc to Lucy, especially trying to adjust to normal life for the first time while dealing with the supernatural aspects of the series. And yes, the Duffers even took inspiration from ‘Elfen Lied’ for the ambiguous ending of the first season of their series that does not make it very clear if its protagonist is dead or not.
Too many similarities around here?
The influence of ‘Elfen Lied’ does not remain only in the first chapters of ‘Stranger Things’ and has also managed to sneak into the fourth season, not only with the character of Millie Bobby Brown but also with the creation of Vecna.
Vecna is a complicated character with multiple personalities and telekinetic powers who is even closer to Lucy than Eleven. Vecna also hates humanity with all her strength and the way he kills is quite similar to that of the protagonist of ‘Elfen Lied’, only instead of invisible arms, Vecna uses her tentacles and yu’ñas.
The similarities are many, but to complete the loop, the Duffers have even included the symbolism of the clock in their series. In the anime, Lucy is constantly trying to fix her love interest’s grandfather clock…while Vecna’s grandfather clock is a constant fixture in ‘Stranger Things’ season 4.