Elektra - Who is she?

Elektra is the first mate if the submarine "Nautilus", and therefore also captain Nemo's second-in-command. In order to really understand her, you have to look a bit further, of course:

The Past


13 years before the events told in "Nadia", there was a coup d'état in the kingdom of Thartessos, the people of which were descendants of Atlantis. After ursurping the throne and renaming Thartessos to "Neo-Atlantis", the advisor of the king who now called himself "Gargoyle" tried to gain domination over the whole world by using the "Tower of Babel", which had originally been an interstellar communication device, as a weapon of incredible destruction capacity. To prevent this, the legitimate king sabotaged the tower, with disasterous results. Thartessos was destroyed completely and almost all its citizens died.

One of the few survivors was a nine year old girl, who had become an orphan because of the cathastrophy. After making the horrible experience of finding her brother's dead body, she had lost her will to live and would have died too had she not been found by a group of survivors that was led by a man who called himself Nemo.

<blush> As she grew up, Elektra fell in love with Nemo, although he probably was more of a substitute father. One day, she coincidentially overheard a discussion between Nemo and some friends who were talking about the planned campaign against Neo-Atlantis and about herself. She had to learn that Nemo himself had been partly responsible for the inferno that had destroyed Thartessos.

Despite this, Elektra decided to stay with him to fight Gargoyle. So great was her ardour that she even became Nemo's first mate on the Nautilus. However, she always kept her feelings for him a secret.

The Present

In the 39 episodes of "Fushigi no Umi no Nadia", the story of the Nautilus and Neo-Atlantis has its climax and conclusion, as well as Elektra's life (since Elektra is only the name she adopted for the fight against Neo-Atlantis).

Nothing The emotional stress that Elektra already has to suffer because of her feelings for Nemo is increased manyfold through the presence of Grandis and especially Nadia. Despite this, she tries not to let anything show and plays her role as the competent first mate, succeeding only partially, of course. At least once she comes very close to admitting to Nemo her feelings for him, but she backs out at the last moment. And her conflicts with Grandis tell their own tale.

Whether Elektra's inner conflict stays unnoticed is doubtful. At least the the old engineer seems to guess what makes her tick. Nemo himself possibly also knows of it but prefers keeping the status quo.

The only positive experience for Elektra during this time is her friendship with Jean. The rest of her days she spends arguing with Grandis, failing to notice Hanson and trying to be fair towards Nadia.

This situation, being not exactly stable and harmonious to begin with, collapses completely when in episode 22 the Nautilus is destroyed by Gargoyle's air battleship and Elektra's fight seems to have been in vain. She desperately tries to complete her revenge anyway by suggesting to blow up the Nautilus's reactor as final step, in order to drag Gargoyle to hell along with themselves. When Nemo refuses this, she has to believe that he has abandoned their mission because of his daughter Nadia.

Elektra with gun The loss of the two pillars (Nemo and her revenge on Neo-Atlantis) that she erected her whole world on makes causes Elektra to break psychically. She tries to kill Nemo. After he tells her that he didn't want to blow up the Nautilus because of her, she isn't anymore able to do it and tries to commit suicide (she had probably been planning to do that anyway). But Nemo stops her and when we last see her she's cowering on the floor as a sobbing heap of misery while the Nautilus is sinking irrevocably into the depths...

Because this scene is so important for understanding Elektra-chan's character and motivations and also provides background information for the whole series, I did an exact transcription of it.

When Elektra reappears at the end of the series in episode 37, she is an entirely new woman, in her psyche as well as in her outward appearance. She wears her hair short. Instead of the strange uniformlike clothing there now is a tight white overall (sorry: "space suit") which is pretty sexy, by the way. What's more important however, is that she seems to be much more stable and content (she now smiles much more often and doesn't anymore react as hostile towards Grandis).

Obviously her breakdown was a healthy experience for her because she was forced to think about herself, her past and her motivations, things and facts she had always tried to ignore and avoid. In addition, there was the relief at finally telling Nemo about her feelings and it seems that he did accept her love. Unfortunately we don't see what has occurred in the meantime and so we can only make guesses.

Anyway, Elektra still wants to go through the battle against Neo-Atlantis until the bitter end, and so she does. But her composure when she has to say her final goodbye to Nemo is rather puzzling. It actually contradicts the assumption that they were planning a future together and she's carrying his child. The last thing that we hear from her, that she's raising her kid, isn't very helpful either when trying to solve this riddle.

I see three possibilities:

  1. After Elektra's breakdown, she and Nemo became lovers and he made her pregnant. Against this theory stands the fact that she took his death so well. Besides, Nemo said himself that he only thinks of Elektra as his adopted daughter.
  2. She realized that Nemo was more of a substitute father for her and fell in love with another man (There were enough candidates on the Nautilus and there also was enough time) who made her pregnant. The problem here is that no other man is ever shown or mentioned.
  3. Elektra did have an affair with Nemo and realized only after some time the nature of her feelings for him. They talked about it and separated. But it doesn't sound like Nemo to start something that was doomed from the beginning and could have hurt Elektra even worse than she already was.

Even the LD extra #9 where we learn that Elektra is actually married doesn't shed any new light on this, because it's not really determined to whom and when.

Unfortunately, we don't know enough about the "new" Elektra to make a definite decision. We don't see enough of her to exclude the second theory completely or to evaluate whether she might actually be tough enough to accept a lover's death so easily. However, the third theory seems to be the most probable.

The Future

What becomes of Elektra after the end of the series stays unclear, we only know that she's raising her kid. She will probably call herself "Medina" again in order to close the "Elektra" chapter of her life also symbolically.

With her technical knowledge, she could doubtless become a top scientist and make lots of money, but I believe that she will decide against this since she has learned in the most awful fashion how dangerous the Atlantean technology can be if it gets into the wrong hands, and her experience is mainly with weapon systems.

Teacher Another possibility is that she may become a teacher. She has proven that she's good at dealing with children. Even if she wasn't very successful with Marie, I think she is quite talented in this field. Besides, it is one of the few professions that was socially acceptable for a young woman at the beginning of this century. Of course, after all that she's been through, Medina won't be afraid of any challenge, but on the other hand she has to show consideration for her child. And she really has deserved a peaceful and contented life.

The Voice


Kikuko Inoue

Among the persons who make an anime character "come alive", one of the most important is the seiyuu. In the original, Elektra-chan's voice is done by Kikuko Inoue. She was born on September 25th 1964 in Kanagawa. She has a daughter who was born in February 1998. As a seiyuu, Inoue-san is working for Ezaki Productions and is a member of the following seiyuu groups: DoCo, Goddess Family Club, Idol Project, Osakana Penguin and Angels. More information can be found here. By the way, in "Nadia", Inoue-san did not only the voice of Elektra, but also the nurse Ikoriina and the narrator in the backflashes at the beginning of each episode. I also have a list with the seiyuu to all other characters in Nadia.



It gets interesting if you take a look at the other characters Inoue-san has done. The most well-known are undoubtly Belldandy in "Oh my Goddess!" and Kasumi Tendou in "Ranma 1/2". These two are nearly identical: beautiful, always smiling, never saying an angry word and also perfect at cooking - in short: the dream of every man. And Inoue-san speaks them accordingly high-pitched and soft. Actually, it's rather difficult to imagine Elektra-chan with such a voice, it wouldn't really fit the character.

Kasumi Tendou

Kasumi Tendo

However, one must not forget that japanese seiyuu are probably the best in the world (due to the popularity of anime) and most of them have an incredibly flexible voice.

For if you look at Inoue-san's other roles, you're in for at least one big surprise (assuming you have enough knowledge about anime): among them is the Queen of Hearts in "Miyuk-chan in Wonderland". Now this character is about as different from Kasumi and Belldandy as it's possible (the picture says more than 1K words)! Here, Inoue-san suddenly speaks loud, low-pitched and (above all) aggressive.

Oujo-sama to oyoubi!

The Queen of Hearts

In "Nadia", she uses a rather "normal" voice. But I do not doubt, that in the later episodes she uses her bandwidth to its fullest and in this way helps to make Elektra-chan the interesting and complex character that she is.

The German voice actress is very good too. She's quite good at playing Elektra's character and emotions. Her name is Aleksandra Ludwig.

The Name

Elektra-chan's real name is Medina, as we get to know in the last episode, and she has only chosen the name Elektra for her battle against Neo-Atlantis.

The story of Elektra, princess of Sparta derives from greek mythology. It was briefly mentioned in Homer's Ilias, and later was told in greater detail by both Sophokles and Euripides in stage plays. There also is a German opera "Elektra", composed by Richard Strauss, with a libretto by Hugo von Hoffmannsthal. It was first performed in 1909 in Dresden. All three works can be found on my "goodies" page.

Elektra is the daughter of Agamemnon and Klythemnestra, the rulers of Sparta. While Agamemnon fights in the Trojan war, Klythemnestra takes a lover and murders Agamemnon after his return. She does have a sound reason for this, but that would take us too far (keyword: Iphigenia). Anyway, from then on, Elektra is driven solely by the desire to avenge the death of her father. When her long lost brother Orestes returns, they finally carry out her plan. In Euripides' play, they go to exile afterwards, while Sophocles' work ends with the fate of the siblings unresolved.

Obviously, there aren't any exact parallels between this story and "Nadia". What could have caused Medina to assume the name Elektra is that she too is driven by hatred and the desire to take revenge. However, she is not quite as obsessed as the greek Elektra.

By the way, there also is the expression "Elektra complex" in psychology, which is simply the female variety of the Oedipus complex, i.e. an unhealthily strong fixation of a woman on a father figure. Of course that is somehow true for Elektra-chan with Nemo, but it's a tad bit more complex.

An illustration of
Medea on a greek vase "Medina" is of course the holy city of Islam where the prophet Mohammed is buried, but I can't see a meaningful interpretation of that in respect to the character Elektra/Medina. On the other hand, it is possible that "Medina" is a garbled form of "Medea" and stems from greek mythology too(Euripides again). Medea is the wife of Jason (the guy with the Argonauts, I think). When he leaves her for another woman, she reacts by killing just about everyone who is even remotely associated with him, so it's a typical greek tradgedy (with the exception that Medea herself does not die at the end).

But this doesn't anymore have anything to do with the character Elektra/Medina in "Nadia", since Medea is even some notches more obsessed than (the greek) Elektra, while in "Nadia" the name "Medina" belongs to the saner, more composed person we see at the end of the series. So either the speculation is wrong and they didn't mean "Medea" after all, or they just used the name at Gainax without giving much though to the implications. I think the first is more likely, since Japanese ears can easily distinguish between "Medea" and "Medina". And I have been told that in the Japanese original Nemo does definitely pronounce it "Medina".

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