- “It's me again. I need someone to be my friend. Someone who won't run away. Maybe send me an angel! The nicest angel you have.”
- ―Lilo wishing on a shooting star, which is actually Stitch's ship crashlanding
Lilo Pelekai is one of the titular protagonists of the Lilo & Stitch franchise. She is a young, orphaned Hawaiian girl who lives on the island of Kauai with her older sister, Nani, and her extended yet unconventional family of alien visitors marooned on Earth.
In the original movie, Lilo is a six-year-old girl living on the island of Kauai with her older sister, Nani. On a rainy night, Lilo and Nani's parents were killed in a car accident, leaving the two sisters orphaned. With Nani being of age by the time of the tragedy, she was dubbed Lilo's legal guardian.
Lilo's spirited and highly eccentric personality, especially in light of her parents' death, has alienated her from her fellow children (whom she oddly still considers her friends despite them mistreating her and openly admitting that they hate her and don't want her around), yet Lilo makes the perfect best friend for Stitch, an alien experiment whom she adopts, initially believing he is a "dog" (although he actually bears more of a resemblance to a koala, which is pointed out several times). She is also extremely disobedient. Lilo is emotionally sensitive and usually cries whenever she's really hurt or if something bad happens to someone she loves and cares for (mainly Nani or Stitch), having been emotionally scarred by losing her parents at such a young age. Lilo was patient and faithful towards Stitch throughout the film, even after he causes Nani to lose her jobs and nearly drowns her. But when the Pelekais' house got destroyed, Lilo was about to be taken to foster care and her family photo got ruined, Lilo became so bitter towards Stitch that she wanted him to get out of her life, showing that she has breaking points as well.
She attends hula school and her hobbies include the photography of obese tourists, talking about creatures from horror/sci-fi movies, and capturing and rehabilitating Jumba's evil genetic experiments. She also idolizes Elvis Presley and often does not seem to understand that her eccentricities cause her to be an outcast from most of the other children.
In addition to her naughtiness, she enjoys being messy and having fun, though her recklessness sometimes causes her to make a mess of her surroundings, much to the disapproval of others around her. She does have a tendency to act selfish and irresponsible, however, especially when an experiment is around that she can use for her own personal benefit, which usually causes huge trouble and brings out the worst in her. It is hinted once in the film through Nani that Lilo might have chased away a bunch of social workers before Cobra. She is very adventurous, brave, and clever, easily coming up with strategies to capture the experiments and never showing fear in the face of the many life-threatening dangers to her life that she faces while capturing the experiments. In fact, she views the experiments as part of her ʻohana, and as a result, devotes so much time to capturing them that it sometimes interferes with her life, but sometimes she abandons them and leaves them free for Gantu to capture (which Nosy calls her out for in the last episode).
Nonetheless, she is sweet and believes in the good of everyone as shown through her interactions with Gantu and the experiments, especially Stitch.
Despite their kindness and generosity, Lilo can sometimes be a selfish hypocrite. In the first film, when Lilo attempted to push Nani out the door after calling out on a fallen star, Nani pretended gravity is increasing on her, prompting Lilo to call her weird. In "Fibber", while Lilo acknowledges about valuing honesty, there are some instances in which Lilo lies in order to gain what she wants, usually out of good intentions but sometimes for herself. In "Tank", when Lilo wins tickets to the Elizabethan Fair and invites Elena, Teresa, and Yuki, she got caught up with having human friends to where she neglected Stitch and even outright called him "weird". In "Angel", Lilo acknowledges about believing in love but when she saw Angel she didn't trust her, she even prevented Stitch from hanging out with her out of jealousy despite his affection toward her. Lilo was right to assume when she discovered Angel was working for Dr. Hämsterviel but was proven wrong when Angel sided with Stitch out of love. In regards to this, Lilo can learn from her mistakes and admits when she is wrong about something.
Lilo is a 6-year-old Hawaiian girl with long, straight black hair and brown eyes. She's most often seen wearing a red or green muumuu with white leaf designs and blue or black sandals but also wears other warm-weather clothing as well as traditional hula costumes - in hula class, she, like the rest of the hula girls, all wear red bandeau tube tops, grass skirts, grass headdress, grass wristbands, and leg bands.
Throughout the franchise, she can be seen wearing several outfits. Getting ready for bedtime, she wears a light blue nightgown. Some episodes of the TV series had Lilo wearing a T-shirt and shorts, which vary in either light green and dark blue or light purple and green, respectively. When swimming, she wears a red and orange striped swimsuit.
In Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, her reflection in a mirror is compared to a picture of her mother when she was her age, suggesting that they look similar. In the episode "Skip", where an experiment is used to skip time, it's mentioned that the older Lilo resembles Nani.
Lilo turns 7 in the original movie's ending montage and remains that age throughout Lilo & Stitch 2 and Stitch: The Movie. She then has her 8th birthday in the TV series and she is almost 10 by the end of Leroy & Stitch.
Lilo is first seen in the film swimming in the ocean before running late for her hula class. Upon arriving, she causes some of her classmates to slip and explaining her strange reasons for being late (feeding Pudge the fish), she gets into a fight with Mertle Edmonds, after Mertle mockly insults her and classes are ended early for the day as a result of Lilo's actions, to her dismay. Rejected by Mertle and her friends, she heads back home by herself and, feeling depressed, starts listening to "Heartbreak Hotel". Nani arrives trying frantically to get ready for a visit from social worker Cobra Bubbles that ends up turning out disastrously. Lilo then begins to scream and throw a temper tantrum, as she and Nani get into a fight and they both furiously storm off into their rooms. That night, when Nani goes to Lilo's room to apologize, Lilo spots a falling star (Stitch's starship) that lands near her house and makes a wish for "an angel" to be her friend.
The next day, Lilo and Nani visit the local animal shelter, where Lilo meets and adopts a strange alien creature and names him "Stitch" much to Nani's dismay. Nani wants to get rid of Stitch, but Lilo convinces her otherwise because she claims Stitch to be her angel. Unknown to Lilo, Stitch is a wanted, intergalactic criminal, being chased by two bounty hunters; Jumba Jookiba and Pleakley and is secretly using her for protection. That night Lilo and Stitch accidentally cause Nani to lose her job, the next day, Cobra Bubbles arrives again and orders Stitch to be made into a model citizen and for Nani to find another job. As Lilo and Stitch tag along with Nani to find another job, Lilo uses Elvis Presley as a role model for Stitch. At the beach, it ends in a disaster and Nani fails to get a job as a lifeguard. Nani's boyfriend David comes and takes Nani and Lilo surfing in order to cheer them up. After Jumba tries to get Stitch and it looks like Stitch was trying to drown Lilo, Cobra comes and says he will take Lilo away the next day. Stitch, realizing everything is his fault after David saying that he really believed Lilo and Nani had a chance, until Stitch came along, leaves Lilo. The next day, Nani applies for a job at the coffee shop and leaves Lilo at home. There, Stitch returns with Jumba and a fight begins, quickly resulting in the house's destruction.
As the fire department arrives, so does Cobra Bubbles (who Lilo contacted during Jumba and Pleakley's invasion) and decides it's time for her to be taken away. Nani returns and argues with Cobra, and during the chaos, Lilo escapes the scene. Stitch returns to her, but the little girl immediately hardens and starts crying when he hands her damaged photo of her parents, rightfully blaming the alien for causing her family so much trouble; even more so upon finding out Stitch is "one of them", referring to Jumba and Pleakley after he reveals his natural form, angrily pushes him and coldly tells Stitch to get out of her life. Just then, Captain Gantu, a member of the Galactic Federation who was ordered to capture Stitch, arrives and kidnaps both Stitch and Lilo and put them in a containment tube, tossing the tube up and down. Gantu puts the tube on the back of his ship. While Stitch escapes, Lilo is taken away. Fortunately, Stitch rallies Nani, Jumba, and Pleakley to rescue her and ultimately does so successfully. Lilo then happily kisses Stitch, calls him a good dog, and thus accepts him as a part of her family despite him being an alien.
When the Grand Councilwoman arrives on earth to take Stitch into custody, Lilo shows the certificate from the dog pound, showing Stitch is now legally in her possessions and points out that taking Stitch from her would be stealing. This, along with the fact that Stitch has had an obvious change of heart, leads the Grand Councilwoman to sentence Stitch (along with Jumba and Pleakley) to life in "exile" on earth with his newfound ʻohana. In the epilogue, it is shown that Lilo, with the help of Stitch, Nani, Jumba, Pleakley, David, and Cobra, has rebuilt their destroyed house and continued their days together as an ‘ohana.
Lilo is preparing for an important Hula recital just as Stitch's behavior becomes darker and he is unable to control himself, which causes tension between them. Unbeknownst to Lilo (and Nani and David), Stitch is malfunctioning and dying and Jumba and Pleakley are working on a solution with a fusion chamber.
Lilo becomes extremely obsessed with winning the contest and neglects Stitch, who is trying to prove he can become good, but because of the glitch, he tends to lose control. She wants to carry on her mother's legacy, as she had won the contest when she was Lilo's age. After a journey through Hawaii to find some ideas, they decide to use the story of the goddess Hi'iaka and the mortal Lohiau. At the tryouts in the hula class, Stitch's glitch causes him to lose control once again, resulting in disaster. Lilo gets into trouble with Kumu (the hula teacher) who angrily threatens to expel Lilo from hula school. Lilo, who doesn't realize that Stitch was glitching, blames him and thinks that he's doing it on purpose, then she exercises alone. After Stitch comes back, they have a big fight, with Lilo saying that he's bad, and he will always be bad, before abandoning him.
On the day of the recital, Stitch appears to wish her luck, but he accidentally malfunctions and scratches her on the face, just like in his nightmare at the beginning of the movie. Horrified, Stitch decides to leave Earth, believing himself to be too dangerous. Lilo, knowing that Stitch would never want to intentionally hurt her, finally realizes that something is wrong with him and begins to fear for him. Unable to focus on her dance she decides to forfeit the competition and leave to search for him, with Nani, David, Pleakley, and Jumba following behind. They search and communicate with him via phone. He's taken Jumba's ship to leave for an unknown galaxy but crashes during one of his glitches. Lilo finds him unconscious on the peak of a mountain. Stitch is placed in Jumba's newly-built fusion chamber but then dies. Lilo mourns for her departed friend, but out of nowhere, Stitch is revived. Lilo and her ʻohana have their own hula recital centered on how love is more powerful than death.
In this film, Lilo teaches Stitch about cousins but during a day at the beach, Stitch is unable to befriend anyone and ruins the luau. Back at the house, Lilo tries to cheer up Stitch right before Jumba is kidnapped by Gantu. Lilo and Stitch learn why he was captured ― Gantu's new boss Dr. Hämsterviel wants the other 625 experiments (as Stitch is the 626th) who have been dehydrated into the form of pods. Lilo refuses to give the experiments, as they are Stitch's family. Jumba still needs to be saved, so Lilo and Stitch unleash one of the experiments. Experiment 221 is activated through the use of water―the lightning bolt-like experiment runs loose, prompting Lilo and Stitch to chase after him. They give up for the night, but the next morning, they set off again, finally retrieving and befriending him. Lilo names him "Sparky" and heads to the lighthouse where Cobra Bubbles and Pleakley are about to trade the other experiments for Jumba's freedom.
While Jumba is freed, the experiments are taken, but Lilo, Stitch, and Sparky board Hämsterviel's ship. They rescue the other experiments, which are now scattered all over Hawaii. Sparky re-powers the old lighthouse back on Earth and claims it as his home while Lilo and Stitch become experiment hunters, setting out to find all the remaining experiments so they too can be turned from bad to good and given a place where they belong.
Lilo and Stitch have become full-time experiment hunters. In the series, Lilo has decided to name all the experiments. They meet various experiments along the way, some having large impacts on their lives while others are a grab and go. Nearly every day, they battle Gantu for the experiments. Aside from the hunting, Lilo falls in love with a local boy named Keoni Jameson (throughout the course of the series, she sometimes uses the experiments to impress him in some way). She also meets a new friend named Victoria who had just moved to town. Despite being a human with no powerful abilities, Lilo is viewed as a large threat to the plans and ambitions of the series' villains. She often refers to Gantu as "The Big Dummy", whilst he refers to her as "The Little Earth Girl".
The series also depicts Lilo as being rather mischievous as well, often resulting in her and Stitch getting into trouble with Nani and other adults around the island. She and Stitch have also had help on their adventures with other animated Disney Channel characters, such as Kim Possible, Jake Long, Penny Proud, and the Recess gang.
Lilo, Stitch, Jumba, and Pleakley are being awarded by the Grand Councilwoman as they have successfully retrieved all of the genetic experiments (except 625) and turned them from bad to good. Lilo becomes the caretaker of the experiments in Hawaii, Pleakley is given a position at the Galactic Alliance Community College, Jumba is given access to his lab again and Stitch becomes the captain of the Big Red Battleship. The friends are now given the choice to fulfill their dreams or stay together. Unfortunately for Lilo, the aliens depart, leaving Lilo and Nani alone and sad. After a few days, Jumba is held captive by Dr. Hämsterviel to finish an experiment, whom Hämsterviel names "Leroy". Lilo tries to communicate with Stitch, but he, Pleakley and Jumba have been captured by Leroy. Lilo goes to the only one who has the technology to reach her friends―625, who is soon named "Reuben". Together, they learn about Leroy and head to the Grand Councilwoman, who has been demoted to Hämsterviel's secretary. Lilo and Reuben are imprisoned by Gantu but later freed when Gantu has a change of heart.
They reunite with Stitch and set off to Earth in order to save the captured experiments. A battle ensues between the experiments and Leroy and his clones. Lilo, Stitch, Reuben, and other experiments rally together to defeat the entire Leroy army by singing "Aloha ʻOe" (during Leroy's creation, the song was playing and if heard again, Leroy and the clones would shut down). The plan is successful. Back at the Galactic Alliance, Lilo and her friends reunite, choosing to give up their awards and return to Hawaii together. There, they, along with Nani, David, Mertle, and all the other experiments come together to take a family photo.
Lilo originally never appeared nor was mentioned in the Stitch! anime, which made it the only time in the franchise that she doesn't play a major role, but many would still question her absence. In the English dub, it completely changed the story by implying that Stitch ran away out of jealousy of Lilo having a boyfriend, as mentioned by Jumba, "Just because little girl, has a new boyfriend now and is all washed up by 626 is no reason to act bad," which leaves us to believe that this takes place years after the events of Leroy & Stitch. Despite this, when Yuna once confronted Stitch, telling him that his previous family forgot about him, and offended Stitch quickly states, "Lilo didn't forget!" This statement implies that he still deeply cares about her, and is certain that Lilo still feels the same way about him.
Lilo finally appears in Episode 23 of the third season ~Zutto Saiko no Tomodachi~ (known in English as ~Best Friends Forever~) where she, now fully grown, visits Okinawa's Newtown with her daughter (whom Stitch thought was Lilo in the beginning). Both friends reunite, and we learn that there was never any boyfriend. Lilo had gone to college, and they planned to meet by the beach when she returned, but when that day came, Nani was in labor and caused Lilo to be late. Stitch, for unknown reasons, was never aware of Nani's condition (although the English dub states that Stitch had been away on a mission with the Galactic Armada throughout Lilo's time in college, which might provide an explanation to him being unaware of Nani's condition), and since Lilo didn't arrive at the time they planned, he thought Lilo had forgotten about him. He leaves his tiki necklace on the beach before flying away in his ship, and by the time Lilo arrives, he had already left, and cries when she finds his necklace. In the end, before Lilo and her daughter could board the plane, Stitch arrives in time to see her again. They both have a happy reunion, she hugs him, promises to visit him again, and asks Stitch to take good care of his new family. She gives Stitch his tiki necklace back before leaving.
Lilo is also removed as the main character in the Chinese animated series Stitch & Ai. She only appears in flashback scenes with Stitch who recalls memories of him and her together, based on scenes from the Western continuity. In this series Stitch has again become separated from her after being kidnapped by space pirates who failed in their attempts to recreate Jumba's 626 research. While it is not known how old she is by the events of this series, the flashback scenes in the first episode do reveal that Stitch was forcibly separated from her when he was kidnapped by the space pirates.
In It's a Small World: The Animated Series, Lilo makes a few brief, non-speaking cameos in the episode "Tropical Hideaway", seen among the children during the island get-together.
In the series finale of At Home With Olaf, a short clip of Lilo & Stitch featuring Lilo and Nami appears during a montage of heartwarming moments from Disney films playing in Olaf's song "I Am with You".
Lilo has yet to appear in the books, though she is mentioned in the fifth book. Here, when Finn is at Typhoon Lagoon, a female cast member gives him a surfboard and tells him Lilo told her to give it to him.
Lilo appears along with Stitch at the Disney theme parks around the world, as a meetable character.
Lilo appears with Stitch on a surfboard in the Islands section of It's a Small World.
Lilo also appears briefly with Stitch and Nani during the original finale of World of Color. She plays a prominent role in World of Color: Season of Light, which has a segment featuring Lilo and her extended family celebrating the holidays with a Hawaiian flair.
Lilo was featured in Disneyland Paris' Disney's Stars 'n' Cars parade and Merlin and the Witch Academy during Halloween.
Lilo makes a brief vocal appearance in the attraction Stitch Live. When she hears reports of Gantu's space cruiser being stolen by Stitch, she gives him a call on his cell phone to make sure. However, with the help of the audience, Stitch is able to trick her.
Lilo's friends are Stitch, Victoria, and Keoni. Lilo's ex-friends were Mertle Edmonds, Elena, Teresa, and Yuki. The main reason why Lilo's friends became her ex-friends is that her parents died and they didn't seem to show sympathy when she was explaining it to them. Victoria and Lilo's ex-friends are all students in their hula class. Reuben and Gantu became friends with Lilo by the end of Leroy & Stitch.
- Main article: Pelekai ʻohana
Lilo's parents died in a car accident sometime before the first film, and therefore, they have not appeared in the franchise apart from three photographs: one of Lilo, Nani, and their parents having a picnic on the beach; a photograph of Lilo's mother winning the hula contest at her school's May Day celebration and a photo of Nani with her parents when she graduated to intermediate hula.
Lilo loves and misses her parents very much, and so does Nani. She keeps a picture of them under her pillow and initially would not allow Stitch to touch it (rejecting him when his fight with Jumba caused her house and the picture to become damaged). In the episode "Remmy", which takes place on the anniversary of the accident, Lilo is depressed and takes a nap to help deal with her sadness. The picture is used to turn Lilo's nightmares into a dream of the day the photograph was taken, which manages to make her happy again.
The development of Lilo's ohana (extended family) begins with the adoption of Stitch in Lilo & Stitch. Though Lilo technically owns Stitch by Hawaiian state law, the relationship between the two is more like siblings and best friends. By the end of the series, Lilo's extended ʻohana includes Stitch, Nani, "Uncle" Jumba, "Aunt" Pleakley, David, Cobra Bubbles, the Grand Councilwoman, Reuben, Victoria, all 627 (627 and 628 were shown dehydrated in the episode "627", although it could be argued that they still count, and Mertle reluctantly joined because Gigi was Stitch's "cousin") of Stitch's "cousins" and Gantu.
- "Lilo" can mean "lost" or "the generous one" in Hawaiian, hence her generosity to others in the series, and possibly her loneliness.
- It is quite possible that both Lilo and Nani were named after Queen Liliuokalani, the last ruling monarch of Hawaii. Lilo has the same first three letters of the monarch's name, while Nani has the last three letters of her name.
- Lilo & Nani
- If this truly is indeed the case, then that would make their connection to the song "Aloha ʻOe" that much more meaningful, as they, as a whole, represent the last Queen of Hawaii, who wrote the song.
- Despite not appearing in the show itself (as the show ran for about one year before the movie came out), Lilo was featured with Stitch in some online games for the television series House of Mouse.
- Lilo was 5 years old in the original story.
- In the monarch at the end of the movie, Lilo has 7 candles on her birthday cake, meaning she was 6 for the majority of the movie. (This could also mean that she is 7 years old for the Lilo & Stitch franchise.)
- Lilo is the fourth heroine to be seen praying, the first being Snow White, the second being Penny, and the third being Esmeralda. However, the movie has Lilo saying that she is "making a wish" instead of praying.
- A stuffed toy Dumbo can be seen on Lilo's easel.
- She likes to be messy, which causes problems for the adults around her when she makes such a big mess.
- At least three times in the television series, when an experiment is christened, Lilo gives a ridiculous reason for its name after someone else gives a logical one:
- For Shoe, who had a horseshoe-shaped growth that affects its luck ability, she said he needed shoes, despite the fact that none of the experiments wear shoes.
- For Link, who binds together arguing people with sticky blue gunk that only mud can remove, she said he was named after Linkenstein, a zombie president.
- For Wishy-Washy, who grants wishes, she presumably named it that because it had "wish" in the name.
- She enjoys feeding peanut butter sandwiches to Pudge the fish and cleaning his grove for him. Since her parents died in a car accident, where rain made the road more treacherous, it is possible the reason she wants to appease Pudge is that she believes he controls the weather, and that if she continues to treat him in such a manner, a similar accident to the one that killed her parents won't happen again.
- When Lilo was in disguise in the original series, she pretended to be a girl named Penny whose parents own a pineapple factory. This may have been the inspiration for Penny in Stitch!.